Saturday, September 26, 2020

US reports highest spike in COVID-19 cases since mid-August

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Washington [US], September 26 (ANI): The United States, for the first time since mid-August, reported 55,054 new COVID-19 cases across the country on Friday as per the latest updates by Johns Hopkins University, reported by CNN.

According to CNN, this is the highest single-day reporting of new cases since August 14, when the US reported 64,350 new cases in 24 hours.

The seven-day average of new cases reported in the US for the past week was 44,111, according to data from JHU.

According to the university's update, the US continues to be the worst-affected country from the virus with over 7.04 million COVID-19 cases reported in the country and 203,918 fatalities due to COVID-19.

Globally, there are 32,626,165 COVID-19 cases and 990,134 deaths due to the virus. (ANI)

Local police commander killed in Taliban attack in Badakhshan

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Kabul [Afghanistan], September 26 (ANI): A local police commander was killed in a Taliban attack in the northeastern province of Badakhshan province on Friday, said the spokesperson for the provincial police chief.

According to Tolo News, the attack occurred in the Aba Yaftal area of Faizabad after the Taliban attacked the public uprising forces checkpoints, the spokesperson said and added, "one of his men was also wounded in the clashes."

"The clashes continued for an hour and the Taliban's attack was pushed back by the security forces," he said and added, "Four Taliban were killed in the clashes and five others were wounded."

The Taliban has not commented on the attack yet, reported Tolo News further. (ANI)

Taliban will not accept permanent ceasefire until political settlement: Khalilzad

US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad (File Photo)


Kabul[Afghanistan], September 26 (ANI): The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said that the Taliban would not agree to a comprehensive ceasefire until there is a political settlement.

"The [Taliban] will not accept a ceasefire--comprehensive and permanent--until there is a political settlement. And that is not unprecedented in similar conflicts elsewhere, I think they can do a reduction of violence, they have said they will consider it depending on what the proposal is. The government is supportive of it too," Tolo News quotes Khalilzad in an interview to a magazine.

According to Tolo News, Khalilzad said that Washington is ready to work with the Afghan government and the Taliban.

This comes after the Taliban continues to attack multiple attacks in the country.

However, the Afghan security agencies insist that the security forces "are capable of defending the nation anywhere". Clashes were reported in parts of Faizabad city in Badakshan; in Taluqan, the centre of Takhar province, and in Kunduz province.

A resident of Kunduz province said, "You are not safe inside the city, with all that is going on here."

"Around 3:00 am, the Taliban launched an attack on the checkpoints of the local police in Doaba area. As a result of the attack, four Taliban fighters were killed and five more were seriously wounded. Unfortunately, a local commander named Ghazi was martyred in the attack and one of his colleagues was wounded," said Sanaullah Rouhani, a spokesman for Badakhshan's governor as reported by Tolo News.

Mohammad Hassan Sharifi Balkhabi, a member of parliament said that if security agencies do not come up with "more robust and coordinated planning" to counter the operations", " the peace talks will change in favor of Taliban", reported Tolo News.

The Afghans were hopeful that the violence would reduce after the US-Taliban agreement in Doha on February but the terrorist group's supreme leader Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada called on his fighters to increase "military capabilities".

"The physical presence of this group (Taliban) is not permanent anywhere, they are always on the run from one place to another," reports Tolo News quoting Tariq Aryan, a spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Interior.

Neelofar Ibrahimi, a member of parliament, said, "The security sector should act stronger and with new planning because if they (Taliban) demonstrate their military power during the talks, we must demonstrate our defense capability."

Tolo News further reported that this came after President Ashraf Ghani and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday discussed the peace process in Afghanistan.

Over the past two weeks, the Taliban has initiated 350 operations in various regions of Afghanistan resulting in 20 civilians killed and 80 more wounded, as per the Afghan Security agencies' statistics.

However, the Taliban spokesperson rejected the claims by the Afghan government about the civilian casualties, saying the casualties occurred as a result of mortar attacks by the Afghan forces. (ANI)

Italy's former PM Berlusconi tested COVID-19 positive again

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Rome [Italy], Sept 26 (ANI/Sputnik): Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has tested positive for the coronavirus again, Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper reported on Saturday.

Berlusconi was hospitalized in Milan with early phase bilateral pneumonia after testing positive for COVID-19 on September 3. The 83-year-old underwent treatment for 10 days and was released from the San Raffaele hospital on September 14.

As reported, Berlusconi, like many other COVID-19 patients, is still struggling with the consequences of the disease, particularly the fatigue and physical exhaustion, due to which he remains bedridden. At the same time, a repeat hospitalization is off the table at the moment, according to the report.

The politician will get another test this coming Monday, the newspaper said.

Berlusconi is currently quarantined in his villa outside Milan with his girlfriend, Marta Fascina, who also tested positive for COVID-19. The politician reportedly continues to actively, though remotely engage in the activities of his party, Forza Italia, and the European People's Party, which placed him as a lawmaker to the European Parliament.

San Raffaele virologist Massimo Clementi told the Adnkronos news agency that Berlusconi had no COVID-19 symptoms requiring any further treatment.

Berlusconi and the 30-year-old Fascina purportedly contracted the virus while vacationing in the Mediterranean island of Sardinia this summer. (ANI/Sputnik)

UK to work with G7 to promote 5 point plan against another pandemic: Johnson

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. (Image: ANI)


New York [US], Sept 26 (ANI): The United Kingdom will use its G7 presidency next year to create a new global approach to health security based on a five-point plan to protect humanity against another pandemic, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday.

Addressing the United Nations' General Assembly, Prime Minister Johnson said that the very notion of the international community "looks, frankly, pretty tattered" after nine months of fighting COVID-19.

"So we in the UK we're going to work with our friends, we're going to use our G7 presidency next year to create a new global approach to health security based on a five-point plan to protect humanity against another pandemic," Johnson said.

"Our first aim should be to stop a new disease before it starts. About 60 percent of the pathogens circulating in the human population originated in animals and leapt from one species to the other in a 'zoonotic' transmission," he added.

The second objective will be to develop the manufacturing capacity for treatments and vaccines and the third one will be to design a global pandemic early warning system, according to Johnson.

Should these three steps fail in preventing a new pandemic, Johnson said the fourth step must be to have ready protocols for a genuinely global emergency response rather than "193 different campaigns against the same enemy," as it was the case with COVID-19.

Many countries imposed export controls at the outset of the pandemic, about two-thirds of which remain in force.

"So I would urge every country to take the fifth step and lift the export controls wherever possible - and agree not to revive them - and cancel any tariffs on the vital tools of our struggle: gloves, protective equipment, thermometers and other COVID-critical products," Johnson said. (ANI)

How long India will be kept out of decision-making structure of UN, asks PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi.


New York/New Delhi [US/India], September 26 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday called for the reforms "in the responses, in the processes, and in the very character" of the United Nations along and an expanded role for India and its presence in the decision-making structures of the global body.


Addressing the 75th session of United Nations General Assembly, Prime Minister Modi asked how long will India, the world's largest democracy and home to 1.3 billion people, be kept out of the decision-making structures of the United Nations.

"Reform in the responses, in the processes, and in the very character of the United Nations is the need of the hour. For how long will India be kept out of the decision-making structures of the United Nations?," PM Modi asked.

"This is a country, which has hundreds of languages, hundreds of dialects, many sects, and many ideologies; This is a country, which was a leading global economy for centuries and also one which has endured hundreds of years of foreign rule. How long would a country have to wait particularly when the transformational changes happening in that country affect a large part of the world?" he asked.

Barring China, all other four permanent members of the UNSC have expressed support for India's candidature for a permanent seat in the security council.

Prime Minister said that the international community is faced with a very important question about the relevance of United Nations as the "requirements and challenges" of the present as well as the future are vastly different from those when the world body was constituted in 1945.

The Prime Minister also questioned the role of the United Nations in the battle against COVID-19 pandemic. "Over the last 8 to 9 months, the whole world has been battling the pandemic of the Coronavirus. Where is the United Nations in this joint fight against the pandemic? Where is its effective response?" he asked.

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

Modi underscored that the ideals on which the UN was founded and India's own fundamental philosophy has a lot of commonalities and are not different from each other." Within the halls of the United Nations, one has often heard the words 'the world is one family'," he said, adding that it is part of India's culture, character and thinking to treat the whole world as one family.

The Prime Minister also referred to India's contributions to about 50 UN peace missions over the decades.

"India has always given priority to the welfare of the whole world. India is the country, which sent its brave soldiers to about 50 peacekeeping missions the world over to keep peace. India is that country, which in the course of maintaining peace, has lost the maximum number of its brave soldiers Today every Indian, while seeing the contribution of India in the United Nations, aspires for India's expanded role in the United Nations," he said.

Talking about India's stint as a non-permanent member of UN Security Council, Prime Minister Modi said the country will not hesitate in raising its voice against the enemies of humanity, the human race and human values including terrorism, smuggling of illegal weapons, drugs and money-laundering.

India's two-year stint as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council will begin from January 1 next. Modi said the country will bring years of rich developmental experience for the benefit of the whole world.

The Prime Minister assured the international community that India's coronavirus vaccine production and delivery capacity will help all humanity in fighting the pandemic.

"As the largest vaccine producing country of the world, I want to give one more assurance to the global community today. India's vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used to help all humanity in fighting this crisis. In India and in our neighbourhood, we are moving ahead with phase 3 clinical trials in India. India will also help all the countries in enhancing their cold chain and storage capacities for the delivery of the vaccines," he said.

Modi said even during these very difficult times of the raging pandemic, the pharmaceutical industry of India has sent essential medicines to more than 150 countries.

The phase-3 trial of coronavirus vaccine 'COVAXIN' in India is scheduled to start in Lucknow and Gorakhpur from October.

During his nearly 20-minute address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi outlined how the world's largest democracy has moved forward with the vision of a "Self-reliant India".

He noted that more attention was being paid to health of women in the country and government has made provision of paid maternity leave of 26 weeks.

The Prime Minister told the general assembly that about 600 million people have been freed from open defecation and 500 million people have been provided free access to healthcare.

"Following the mantra of Reform-Perform-Transform, India has made great efforts to bring about transformation in the lives of millions of its citizens," he said. (ANI)

Lebanon PM designate resigned as efforts to form govt fails

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Beirut [Lebanon], September 26 (ANI/Sputnik): Lebanon Prime Minister Minister-designate Mustapha Adib, who assumed office following the massive blast at the port of Beirut has announced his resignation on Saturday after his attempts to form a new government failed.

His resignation on Saturday comes after his attempts to form a new government failed.

"The reason for my resignation was that the political factions did not meet my conditions. They failed to refuse to politicize the process of forming a government," Adib said in a statement that was televised by regional broadcasters.

French leaders, most notably President Emmanuel Macron, put sustained pressure on Lebanon's political factions to form a government, and Adib called on Paris to continue its efforts to support Beirut, Sputnik reported.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Monday said that Adib was unwilling to take into account the views of the parliamentary factions in the Middle Eastern country during his attempts to form a new government.

The previous Lebanese government, under former prime minister Hassan Diab, resigned on August 10 in the wake of the massive explosion at the port of Beirut that left at least 190 people dead. (ANI/Sputnik)

Iranian President vows to beef up coronavirus-related restrictions amid surge in cases

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Tehran [Iran], September 26 (ANI/Sputnik): Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has ordered for a toughening of the coronavirus-related restrictions, including the introduction of fines for non-compliance, amid the continuous spread of the infection, Iran's government said on Saturday.


Earlier in the da
y, Rouhani told the Iranian response center that he had instructed the government to put together a special plan of action for countering COVID-19 and adopt a set of penalties for citizens who, specifically, do not wear face masks as prescribed.

"After being approved in the upcoming meeting of the National Coronavirus Headquarters, this plan and pertinent regulations will be put in force first in Greater Tehran and next in other major cities across the country," Rouhani said, as quoted in a press release on the government's website.

The Iranian president also greenlighted local governors to "shut down any places or businesses in their provinces for a week if necessary."

As reported by Iranian state news agency IRNA, as part of the toughened health protocols, all religious activities for the Arba`een holiday -- when Shia Muslims commemorate Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of prophet Muhammad, who was killed in a battle -- will also be canceled.

According to the latest situation report by the Iranian Ministry of Health, close to 440,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed as of Saturday, including more than 25,000 deaths and almost 370,000 recoveries. (ANI/Sputnik)

Russia COVID-19 cases total rises by 7,523 to 1,143,571

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Moscow [Russia], September 26 (ANI/Sputnik): Russia has registered 7,523 new cases of the coronavirus disease over the preceding 24 hours, up from 7,212 a day earlier, which brings the cumulative total to 1,143,571, the federal response center said on Saturday.


The largest increase was identified in
 Moscow, the Russian capital, where 1,792 new positive tests were registered. Additionally, 232 new cases were identified in St. Petersburg and 204 more were found in the Moscow region.

The response center also reported 169 coronavirus-related fatalities over the last 24 hours, which brings the total death toll to 20,225, and 6,004 people were confirmed to have recovered from the disease over the last day, bringing the total number of discharges to 940,150.

Saturday's rise to the case total is the largest observed in Russia since June, and the head of the national public health watchdog Anna Popova said that the increase in the number of new positive tests was due to residents not abiding by the country's epidemiological recommendations.

"We are seeing growth, we already sense it. It is more pronounced and begun in the last days of August ... First of all, it is connected with the fact that people are not complying with requirements. Therefore, the main task today is not to return to fear or scaring people, but to call on people to be alert to prevent new infections," Popova said during an appearance on Russia's Rossiya 1 broadcaster.

Popova added that public health officials had expected to see a rise in new cases with the onset of the influenza season at the start of fall.

Sergei Sobyanin, the mayor of Moscow, on Friday issued new recommendations amid the rising number of new cases in the Russian capital. Senior citizens and those with chronic health conditions have been asked to remain at home and large companies have been requested to transfer employees to remote work wherever possible. (ANI/Sputnik)

Fadnavis agrees to give interview to Saamana only if it is not edited

Former Maharashtra Chief Minister and BJP leader, Devendra Fadnavis (File Photo/ANI)


Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], September 26 (ANI): Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut and Former Maharashtra Chief Minister and BJP leader, Devendra Fadnavis met in Mumbai on Saturday.

Pravin Darekar, Leader of opposition Maharashtra legislative Council asserted that this meeting was regarding Raut planning an interview of Fadnavis for Shiv Sena's mouthpiece Saamana.

"Fadnavis has expressed that he wants that his interview with Saamana should not be edited. The meeting between Raut and Fadnavis was regarding the interview with Saamna. Fadnavis has agreed to give Raut an interview after returning from Bihar elections. This meeting had no political relevance," Darekar added. (ANI)

Iranian president vows to beef up Coronavirus-related restrictions amid surge in cases

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Tehran [Iran], September 26 (ANI/Sputnik): Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has ordered for a toughening of the coronavirus-related restrictions, including the introduction of fines for non-compliance, amid the continuous spread of the infection, Iran's government said on Saturday.

Earlier in the day, Rouhani told the Iranian response center that he had instructed the government to put together a special plan of action for countering COVID-19 and adopt a set of penalties for citizens who, specifically, do not wear face masks as prescribed.

"After being approved in the upcoming meeting of the National Coronavirus Headquarters, this plan and pertinent regulations will be put in force first in Greater Tehran and next in other major cities across the country," Rouhani said, as quoted in a press release on the government's website.

The Iranian president also greenlighted local governors to "shut down any places or businesses in their provinces for a week if necessary."

According to the latest situation report by the Iranian Ministry of Health, close to 440,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed as of Saturday, including more than 25,000 deaths and almost 370,000 recoveries. (ANI/Sputnik)

Spotify partners with Chernin Entertainment to adapt podcasts for movies

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Stockholm [Sweden], September 26 (ANI): Spotify has joined hands with Chernin Entertainment to develop TV and movie pitches based on Spotify-exclusive and original podcasts.

"Spotify has one of the largest libraries of unattached IP that exists in the world today--and that library is being added to daily, Chernin Entertainment Chairman and CEO Peter Chernin said in an official statement.

"This treasure trove of content plus the acceleration of new voices and stories provides an enormous opportunity to transform these addictive stories and IP into content for the screen," he added.

The partnership will include access to more than 250 Spotify originals from around the world.

"As we continue to expand our content ambitions, we are thrilled to collaborate with Peter Chernin, who, along with his exceptional team, are the perfect partners to help us share these stories with audiences across mediums and around the world," said Spotify Chief Content and Advertising Business Officer Dawn Ostroff in an official statement. (ANI)

Belarusian Police Arrest at Least 10 People During Opposition 'Women's March' in Minsk

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By Belarusian Police Arrest At Least 10 People During Opposition 'Women'S March' In Minsk

Minsk [Belarus], September 26 (ANI/Sputnik): At least 10 people were arrested during a protest rally in Minsk's northeast near the Kamarouski Rynak marketplace, a Sputnik correspondent reported on Saturday.

Yet
 another so-called women's march, the signature feature of post-electoral protests in Belarus, began in Minsk earlier in the day. Protesters initially planned to rally in the city center near the Victory Square but re-located to Kamarouski Rynak after the square was shut down an hour before the scheduled start of the protest.

The updated arrangements were translated to people via pro-protests Telegram channels.

First participants gathered at the marketplace at around 2 p.m. Minsk time (11:00 GMT). Almost immediately, law enforcement officers arrived in vans and began conducting arrests. Their arrival prompted the protesting women to dissociate. Police vans then moved to the Victory Square and arrested several people there.

Shortly later, protesters began marching back toward the city center, chanting what can be translated from the Belarusian as "We are coming!" Halfway to the square, they were approached by the nearby parked police vans and around 10 people were arrested.

Officers were confiscating cellphones of the arrested protesters when placing them in the vans.

As the remaining part of the rally continued to march across the city center toward the Belarusian National Technical University, security vehicles returned and officers continued to conduct more arrests.

People have been protesting in Belarus for over a month now, dismayed by the official results of the August 9 presidential election that catapulted incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko to a sixth consecutive term.

Police cracked down on protesters during the first several days of the unrest. More than 6,700 people were detained during the initial phase of the protest. According to the Belarusian Interior Ministry, three people died and several hundred others sustained injuries during that period, including more than 130 security officers.

This past Wednesday, Lukashenko held a clandestine inauguration ceremony. When it became known to the public, protests escalated and security forces used force to disperse the rallies. (ANI/Sputnik)

Bomb squad sent to check places of worship in AP after reports of attacks

The bomb squad outside a place of worship. (Photo: ANI)


Krishna (Andhra Pradesh) [India], September 26 (ANI): A bomb squad has been ordered to check places of worship in the light of increasing incidents of attacks on them in Andhra Pradesh.

The squad, headed by Vijayawada Police Commissioner B Srinivasulu, has checked places of worship in Kondapalli and Ibrahimpatnam.

"The police have taken the help of local village secretaries and volunteers to check churches and mosques in the vicinity. Checkings are being done at regular intervals after the recent incidents of attacks on temples in the state, the Ibrahimpatnam Police said.

This year, six temples have allegedly been vandalized by unidentified miscreants in Andhra Pradesh, including the burning of a chariot at the Antarvedi Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple in the state's East Godavari district. (ANI)

India will raise its voice against terrorism, illegal weapon smuggling at UNSC: PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing the general debate of 75th United Nations General Assembly. (ANI)


New York/New Delhi [US/India], September 26 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said India will not hesitate in raising its voice against the enemies of humanity, human race and human values including terrorism, smuggling of illegal weapons, drugs and money-laundering during its stint as a non-permanent member of UN Security Council.


Addressing the 75th United Nations General Assembly, the Prime Minister referred to India starting its two-year stint as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council from January 1 next and said the country will bring the years of rich developmental experience for the benefit of the whole world.

The Prime Minister, who spoke in Hindi, said India will always speak in support of peace, security and prosperity and noted that the country's developmental journey, marked with its ups and downs, will only add to strengthening the path to global welfare.

"Starting from January next year, India will also fulfil its responsibility as a non-permanent member of the Security Council. I express my gratitude to all fellow members states who have bestowed this trust upon India," he said.

India had got 184 votes in the 193-member General Assembly in the election held in June for a non-permanent seat at the UNSC.

"As the world's largest democracy we will bring our years of rich developmental experience for the benefit of the whole world. Our way forward is to proceed from human welfare to the welfare of the world," the prime minister said.

"India will always speak in support of peace, security and prosperity. India will not hesitate in raising its voice against the enemies of humanity, the human race and human values - these include terrorism, smuggling of illegal weapons, drugs and money-laundering. India's cultural heritage, tradition, thousands of years of experience will always stand in good stead for the developing countries," he added.

India, a founding member of the world body, has been elected as a non-permanent member of the Council for seven times - 1950-1951, 1967-1968, 1972-1973, 1977-1978, 1984-1985, 1991-1992 and most recently in 2011-2012.(ANI)

India one of those countries where women are provided Paid Maternity Leave of 26 weeks: PM Modi UNGA

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the UN General Assembly (Photo/ANI)


New York/New Delhi [US/India], September 26 (ANI): In his address to the UN General Assembly's general debate on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi outlined how the world's largest democracy has moved forward with the vision of a "Self-reliant India" along with paying more attention to the health of women in the country by providing them Paid Maternity Leave of 26 weeks.

"In the changed circumstances of the post-pandemic era, we are moving forward with the vision of a "Self-reliant India". A Self-reliant India will also be a force multiplier for the Global Economy. Today, it is also being ensured that there is no discrimination in extending the benefits of all the schemes and initiatives to every citizen of the country," Prime Minister Modi said.

Addressing the general debate of 75th United Nations General Assembly, he added, "India is one of those countries where women are provided Paid Maternity Leave of 26 weeks," further highlighting the progress made in regard to the rights of members belonging to the transgender community. "In India, the rights of transgenders are also being secured through necessary legal reforms."

Prime Minister Modi further told the assembly that about 600 million people have been freed from open defecation and 500 million people have been provided free access to healthcare.
"Following the mantra of Reform-Perform-Transform, India has made great efforts to bring about transformation in the lives of millions of its citizens," he said.

"In just about 4-5 years, 600 million people have been freed from open defecation. This was not an easy task. But India has achieved it. Within just about 2-3 years, more than 500 million people have been provided access to free health care services. This again was not an easy task," the Prime Minister said.

Earlier, the Prime Minister said that India's coronavirus vaccine production and delivery capacity will help all humanity in fighting the pandemic. (ANI)

PM Modi makes strong pitch for India's inclusion in Security Council, calls for reform in character of UN

Prime Minister Narendra Modi while Addressing the 75th United Nations General Assembly. (Photo: ANI)



New York/New Delhi [US/India], September 26 (ANI): Making a strong pitch for India's inclusion as a permanent member of United Nations Security Council, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said "reform in the responses, in the processes, and in the very character of the United Nations is the need of the hour" and wondered as to how long India with its unique contribution to the UN will be "kept out of the decision-making structures" of the world body.

Addressing the 75th United Nations General Assembly in Hindi through videoconferencing, the Prime Minister said that the international community is faced with a very important question about the relevance of United Nations as the "requirements and challenges" of the present as well as the future are vastly different from those when the world body was constituted in 1945.

Reform in the responses, in the processes, and in the very character of the United Nations is the need of the hour. For how long will India be kept out of the decision-making structures of the United Nations?," PM Modi asked.

"This is a country, which has hundreds of languages, hundreds of dialects, many sects, and many ideologies; This is a country, which was a leading global economy for centuries and also one which has endured hundreds of years of foreign rule. How long would a country have to wait particularly when the transformational changes happening in that country affect a large part of the world?" he asked.


Barring China, all other four permanent members of the UNSC have expressed support for India's candidature for a permanent seat in the security council. Modi said that every Indian, while seeing the contribution of India in the United Nations, aspires for India's expanded role in the body.

He also referred to India's contributions to about 50 UN peace missions over the decades.

"India has always given priority to the welfare of the whole world. India is the country, which sent its brave soldiers to about 50 peacekeeping missions the world over to keep peace. India is that country, which in the course of maintaining peace, has lost the maximum number of its brave soldiers Today every Indian, while seeing the contribution of India in the United Nations, aspires for India's expanded role in the United Nations," he said.

He called for a "serious introspection of the work of the United Nations" as there have been several wars, terrorist attacks which shook the world.


The Prime Minister said in these wars and in these attacks, the people who died, "they are people just like you and me".


He said there are also several instances that point to the need for a serious introspection of the work of the United Nations. "One could say that we have successfully avoided a third World War. But we cannot deny that there have been several wars, and many more civil wars. Several terrorist attacks shook the world and rivers of blood have continued to ow by. In these wars and in these attacks, the people who died, they are people just like you and me. Hundreds and thousands of children, who would have otherwise enriched this world with their presence, have left us prematurely," he said. (ANI)

PM Modi hails India's vaccine production in UNGA, says delivery capacity will help humanity to fight pandemic

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the UN General Assembly. (Photo: ANI)


New York/New Delhi [US/India], September 26 (ANI): India's coronavirus vaccine production and delivery capacity will help all humanity in fighting the pandemic, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the United Nations General Assembly through a video message on Saturday.


"Even during these very diffi
cult times of the raging pandemic, the pharmaceutical industry of India has sent essential medicines to more than 150 countries," said Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The phase-3 trial of the coronavirus vaccine 'COVAXIN' in India is scheduled to start in Lucknow and Gorakhpur from October.

"As the largest vaccine producing country of the world, I want to give one more assurance to the global community today. India's vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used to help all humanity in fighting this crisis," he added.

Also, Serum Institute of India is all set to begin phase three trials of the Covishield Vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University at Sassoon General Hospital in Pune.

PM Modi further said in India and in "our neighbourhood, we are moving ahead with phase 3 clinical trials in India" adding, "India will also help all the countries in enhancing their cold chain and storage capacities for the delivery of the Vaccines."

Further in the address, PM Modi said despite the ongoing pandemic, India is moving towards a "Self Reliant India" adding that it would be a " Force Multiplier for the Global Economy".

"In the changed circumstances of the post-pandemic era, we are moving forward with the vision of a Self-reliant India. A Self-reliant India will also be a Force Multiplier for the Global Economy," the prime minister said.

Highlighting the intensity of the COVID-19 crisis that has ravaged the world for eight-nine months, the prime minister used the platform to question the UN saying, "Where is the United Nations in this joint fight against the pandemic? Where is its effective response?"

As per the official updates by the World Health Organisation, globally there are 32,110,656 COVID-19 cases and 980,031 fatalities due to the pathogen globally. (ANI)

Public representatives from Ladakh meet Amit Shah, G Kishan Reddy, Kiren Rijiju

Public representatives from Ladakh met Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday (Photo/ANI)


New Delhi [India], September 26 (ANI): Public representatives from Ladakh met Home Minister Amit Shah and Union Ministers G Kishan Reddy and Kiren Rijiju on Saturday.

Meanwhile, 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.

The talks happened at a time when the Indian side has also occupied six major hill features which are helping the Indian Army to be in dominating positions on heights. (ANI)

Amritsar farmers continue to burn stubble as alternative methods are expensive

Farmers in Amritsar burn stubble. (Photo/ANI)


Amritsar (Punjab) [India], September 26 (ANI): Farmers in Amritsar's Devi Dasspura village continued to burn their field stubble, causing plumes of smoke to emanate.

Stubble burning in Amritsar has taken place unusually early this year, due to an early Kharif harvest. Such incidents are likely to increase in the coming weeks from the southern part of the state as farmers prepare for Rabi season. Lack of resources compels many to take the drastic step as alternative equipment is expensive without support from the government.

"Farmers here don't want to burn stubble, but we are compelled to do it because the government is not providing us with a different solution. We asked the district administration to take the stubble and dispose of it properly, but they did not take any action. After continuously asking for 10 days, we burnt it," said Jeet Singh, a farmer.

"The government should set up a plant to produce something useful from the stubble. Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the air was very clean and fresh but we have been forced to do this as we don't have any other choice. Our children also breathe this air. We appeal to the government to do something," he added.

As many as 297 stubble burning incidents were reported between September 21 and 25 this year, Dr Brijender Pateriya, Director of the Punjab Remote Sensing Centre informed on Saturday. This is 100 more than the 197 incidents that were reported last year in the same time frame

During the last few years, the worsening quality of air in the national capital caused by stubble burning has been a cause for contention.

In November last year, the Supreme Court had slammed the Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, and Uttar Pradesh government for failing to curb the practice and came down heavily on the Central government for not taking concrete steps to improve the deteriorating air quality in the national capital.

Despite the distribution of over 28,000 agro-machines by the Punjab government in August last year, and the ban of the practice by the state government in October thereafter, farmers continued to burn stubble due to lack of alternative methods.

After the early burning of crop residue was brought to notice on Tuesday, the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) wrote to the chief secretaries of Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh to take stock of the situation and take action.

"We have written to chief secretaries of all the three states to take stock of the situation and start acting. We have asked them to implement the Supreme Court's order which is a state's responsibility," Bhure Lal, chairman of the EPCA said. (ANI)

Anil Kapoor remembers SP Balasubrahmanyam with his song 'Naguva Nayana Madhura Mouna'

Actor Anil Kapoor (Image Source: Instagram)


New Delhi [India], September 26 (ANI): Senior actor Anil Kapoor on Saturday remembered legendary singer SP Balasubrahmanyam as he shared a link of a song sung by the late singer featuring Kapoor in the lead.

The 'Nayak' actor took to Twitter to share the YouTube link of the song 'Naguva Nayana Madhura Mouna' from his Kannada film 'Pallavi Anu Pallavi.'

He also went on to state how the Padma Shri award winner's "magical voice made so many careers" of some of the leading men in the film industry.

"#SPBalasubramanyam's magical voice made so many careers of leading men and I am one of them," he tweeted.

"Still can't get over that he's no more but his songs will live on forever... a tribute to the magic of #SPBalasubramanyam and Illiaraja," he added.

SP Balasubrahmanyam breathed his last on Friday after over a month-long battle with his health conditions at a private hospital in Chennai.

He was admitted to the hospital on August 5 after he tested positive for coronavirus.

The musician recovered from COVID-19 but his health deteriorated later leading to his demise. (ANI)

Preity Zinta reminisces her skiing trips with throwback picture

Preity G Zinta (Image courtesy: Instagram)


Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], September 26 (ANI): Reminiscing her skiing trips, 'Dil Se' star Preity Zinta on Friday dug out a throwback picture of herself.

The 'Kal Ho Naa Ho' actor took to Instagram to share the picture with her fans.

"This crazy heat is making me miss my ski trips. Cannot wait fo
r winter #flashbackfriday #snow #ski #smile #ting" she wrote in the caption.

Preity Zinta was last seen in the 2018 film 'Bhaiaji Superhit' alongside Sunny Deol, Ameesha Patel, Arshad Warsi, and Shreyas Talpade. (ANI)

SEBI slaps Rs 1 crore fine on Rana Kapoor for violating disclosure norms

Kapoor is currently in judicial custody in connection with money laundering probe. (Photo: ANI)


Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], Sep 26 (ANI): The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has imposed a fine of Rs 1 crore on former Yes Bank Managing Director and CEO Rana Kapoor for violating disclosure regulations regarding a transaction of Morgan Credits Pvt Ltd, an unlisted promoter entity of Yes Bank.


SEBI undertook examination in the matter about possible requirements of disclosure in view of the transaction by Morgan Credits of raising Rs 950 crore from Reliance Mutual Fund through unlisted zero-coupon non-convertible debentures on April 19, 2018.

The stock market regulators sought information from the BSE and the NSE with respect to the transaction who informed that they had not received any disclosures under the LODR Regulations and the SAST Regulations from Yes Bank or its promoters.

SEBI also sought comments from the company and was informed that its promoter Morgan had raised Rs 950 crore from Reliance Mutual Fund which was not in the nature of encumbrance of shares by promoters. And thus, there has been no requirement of disclosures under the LODR Regulations and SAST Regulations.

"This is a case whereby not disclosing substantial material interest in the transaction to the company's board of directors, the noticee has created an opaque layer between him and stakeholders," said the SEBI order issued by Adjudicating Officer Amit Pradhan.

No lenient view should be taken in this matter and the case deserves imposition of monetary penalty proportionate to the default as found in this case.

"I am of the considered opinion that the deliberate defiance of mandatory obligations and hiding the crucial and material information as found in this case should be dealt with sternly and the penalty in such cases should serve as effective deterrence."

The SEBI imposed a consolidated monetary penalty of total Rs 1 crore on the noticee Rana Kapoor for the violations of Regulations 4(2)(f)(i)(1) and 4(2)(f)(i)(2) of the LODR Regulations under section 15HB of the SEBI Act.

Kapoor is currently in judicial custody in connection with a money-laundering probe by the Enforcement Directorate. (ANI)

PM Modi congratulates BJP's new team, expresses confidence they will serve people selflessly

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (File Photo/ANI)


New Delhi [India], September 26 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday congratulated Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) new team of national office bearers and expressed confidence that they will "uphold the glorious tradition" of the party of serving the people of India selflessly and with dedication.

He said the new team should work hard to empower the poor and marginalised.

"Congratulations and best wishes to the new team. I am confident they will uphold the glorious tradition of our Party of serving the people of India selflessly and with dedication. May they work hard to empower the poor and marginalised," PM Modi said in a tweet.

BJP chief Jagat Prakash Nadda announced the new team of national office-bearers on Saturday.

Dr Raman Singh, Mukul Roy, Annapurna Devi, Baijyant Jay Panda are among national vice presidents of the party. While Tejasvi Surya, an MP from Karnataka, has been appointed as Yuva Morcha chief and Rajkumar Chahar is Kisan Morcha president.

Bhupendra Yadav, Kailash Vijayvargiya and CT Ravi are among national general secretaries of the party. (ANI)

#StandWithDeepika trends on Twitter as Deepika Padukone gets interrogated by NCB

 

Actor Deepika Padukone (Image Source: Instagram)


New Delhi [India], September 26 (ANI): Fans of actor Deepika Padukone on Saturday showered her with support on Twitter as she appeared before a Special Investigation Team (SIT) at the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) office in connection with an alleged Bollywood drug case.

Twitterati flooded the micro-blogging site with tweets supporting the 'Piku' actor, as #StandWithDeepika was trending on the platform the entire day.

The 34-year-old actor was on Saturday interrogated for nearly five-hours by the NCB team in connection with an alleged Bollywood drug case.

Padukone and KWAN talent management agency's Karishma Prakash are being interrogated currently and they being are confronted with each other on their individual statements in the matter.

The 'Bajirao Mastani' actor had reached Mumbai from Goa earlier on Thursday ahead of the interrogation session.

Besides, Padukone, actor Sara Ali Khan had also reached the NCB office in Mumbai in connection with the case. (ANI)

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