Saturday, October 3, 2020

HR executive starts Rice ATM to help the poor hit by pandemic

Dosapati Ramu talking to ANI (Photo/ANI)

Hyderabad (Telangana) [India], October 3 (ANI): Moved by the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Dosapati Ramu, a human resource executive in a corporate firm started a 'Rice ATM' to feed the poor and needy during the lockdown.

Speaking to ANI, Ramu said that initially he served cooked food to nearly 150 people per day but later he started distributing groceries to the people in need.

"During the lockdown, I along with a few of my friends started serving cooked food to nearly 150 migrant labours and after the lockdown has been lifted, I initiated this 'Rice ATM' and started to distribute groceries to the needy and poor round-the-clock every day."

Ramu said the inspiration behind the humanitarian work is a security guard he knew who bought 20 kilograms of chicken with her salary of Rs 6,000 to feed labourers during the lockdown.

"Inspired by the security guard, I started this Rice ATM to help the needy who have no work and money due to this Corona pandemic," he said.

As per Ramu, he thought that the Rice ATM can be discontinued when the lockdown was been lifted in June and trains started running, but then he realised that the situation of daily labour and daily workers is getting far worse due to lack of work during the pandemic.

"We then started giving groceries to the needy people. We have been providing the groceries for the last 172 days. Some days the count of the people who visit to take groceries maybe only 20 to 30 but some days it might reach 150 to 200 people. We don't know how they came to know about this but the message that a guy is providing ration to the poor spread like wildfire and people reach me every day seeking help," he said.

Remembering an incident where school teachers called him seeking help, Ramu said, "Due to this corona pandemic, the school teachers faced a lot of problem as they were not being paid their salary by the school management. I even received calls from teachers seeking help. And so in the last month, we distributed monthly groceries to nearly about 750 teachers."

Ramu and his friends distribute groceries to senior citizens monthly, and also COVID-19 infected people.

"We distribute 15 days' kit to pregnant women and single women to help them feed themselves and their families and then we distribute five days' kit to labourers," he said. He also helped the daily wage labours to find work and earn a living. Elaborating on that Ramu said, "We note the names of labourers who are unable to find any work and try to provide them with some work so that they can at least earn something."

"I wish for a day when I come out of the house and see no one asking me for help. This corona pandemic must end soon," he said.

He wished that no one must go to bed hungry and no one must die of hunger. (ANI)

Second edition of India and Bangladesh bilateral exercise held in Bay of Bengal

Indian and Bangladesh Navies conducted second edition of bilateral exercise in the Bay of Bengal. Photo/ANI

New Delhi [India], October 3 (ANI):
The second edition of Indian Navy (IN)-Bangladesh Navy (BN) bilateral exercise kicked off in the Bay of Bengal on Saturday.

According to an official statement, Indian Navy ships Kiltan, Khukri and Bangladesh Navy ships Abu Bakr, Prottoy, helicopter and MPA (Mariti
me Patrol Aircraft) undertook maneuvers, surface drills, helo operations and seamanship evolutions.

Ships of navies of India and Bangladesh will undertake the third edition of Coordinated Patrol CORPAT along with IMBL (International Maritime Boundary Line) on October 4-5.

This edition of Bongosagar and IN-BN CORPAT is significant to the view of Mujib Barsho, the 100th birth anniversary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. (ANI)

Car bomb attack targets Afghan National base in Kandahar

Representative Image

Kabul [Afghanistan], October 3 (ANI): A car bomb attack targeted an Afghan National base in Kandahar province on Saturday.

TOLO news cited security sources to report the attack that targeted an Afghan National Army base in Maiwand district, Kandahar province.

Casualties are feared in the attack.

ther details are awaited. (ANI)

Prime Minister Modi to inaugurate mega virtual summit on Artificial Intelligence on October 5

Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

New Delhi [India], October 3 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate RAISE 2020, a mega virtual summit on Artificial Intelligence (AI) on October 5.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and NITI Aayog are organising the mega virtual summit on October 5-9, 2020, a PMO release said.

It said RAISE 2020 (Responsible AI for Social Empowerment 2020) will be a global meeting of minds to exchange ideas and chart a course for using AI for social transformation, inclusion and empowerment in areas like healthcare, agriculture, education and smart mobility among other sectors.

Delegates and experts in research, policy and innovation on artificial intelligence will join from across the globe in RAISE 2020. The summit will discuss cross-sector subjects like 'Leveraging AI for Pandemic Preparedness', 'The Impetus that Innovation Places on Digitisation', 'Inclusive AI', 'Partnerships for Successful Innovation'.

The RAISE 2020 Summit will also feature some of the most exciting startups working in Artificial Intelligence-related fields. Startups chosen through the AI Solution Challenge will showcase their solutions in the AI Startup Pitch fest scheduled on Oct 6, 2020.

This is part of government's continuing support to tech entrepreneurs and startups by providing exposure, recognition and guidance, the release said.

It said India is well-positioned to become a global leader in the development of artificial intelligence as it is home to the world's third-largest startup ecosystem, elite science and technology institutions like the IITs, robust and ubiquitous digital infrastructure, and millions of newly-minted STEM graduates every year,

Industry analysts predict that AI could add up to $957 billion to India's economy by 2035.

The release said that Prime Minister NarendraModi plans to leverage AI for inclusive development, representing the country's 'AI for All' strategy in the spirit of Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas.

"Directed by the Prime Minister's vision, India will soon stand out in the international community not just as a leader in the Artificial Intelligence field, but also as a model to show the world how to responsibly direct AI for social empowerment," the release said.

It said RAISE 2020 is a first-of-its-kind global meeting of minds on artificial intelligence to drive India's vision and roadmap for social transformation, inclusion and empowerment through responsible AI. (ANI)

More than 300 people protest in Paris against human rights violations in China

Demonstrators at the Trocadero square near the Eiffel Tower in Paris protesting against human rights violations by China.

Paris [France], October 3 (ANI): More than 300 people belonging to several groups gathered at the Trocadero square near the Eiffel Tower in Paris to protest against the human rights violations in China and join the global resistance against the Chinese Communist Party.

The protesters belonging to multiple groups including Tibetan associations, the Uyghur Association of France, South Mongolians, Falange Gong, Hong Kong dissidents and Taiwanese gathered at the Trocadero square on October 1 to give a clarion call to the global leaders to resist China.

Each group carried banners and flags representing their group and raised slogans against China. Leaders of the various groups called on the international community to support their struggle against China.

Protestors carried "Free Hong Kong" placards and many wore masks with "Free Tibet" on printed on them. The protest, which lasted more than three hours ended with all protestors lighting up the Paris night with their mobile phone torches and singing "We shall overcome".

The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China also lent its support to the protest.

Meanwhile, a similar kind of protest was held in Japan against the Chinese Communist Party.

These protests come on the occasion of the 71st National Day of the People's Republic of China. (ANI)

SAD chief says, Congress had mentioned similar farm laws in its manifesto

SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal (Photo/ANI)

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], October 3 (ANI): Commenting on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's impending visit to Punjab on Sunday, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Saturday said that the Congress party had mentioned farm laws in its manifesto and Gandhi's visit is a drama.

"Rahul Gandhi ji is coming to Punjab tomorrow to perform a drama. It was the Congress party which initiated talks about these Farm Laws. They had written in their manifesto that they will open private 'mandis' and contract farming, if they come to power," Badal said during a press meet.

Holding Congress party's 2019 Punjab assembly election manifesto in hand, he asked why Congress did not oppose the agriculture ordinance in Parliament.

"I want to ask you why you didn't fight in parliament against these farm bills (now laws). Why did your MPs in parliament walkout during bills' discussion? Rahul Gandhi must answer my questions," he said. (ANI)

Around 3000 people in Tokyo participate in protest march against China's human rights violations

Protesters in Japan marching against China's ongoing human rights violations on Tibetans, Uyghurs, Mongolians, Hong Kongers and Taiwanese.

Tokyo [Japan], October 3 (ANI): Nearly 3,000 people belonging to and supporting the Tibetans, Uyghurs, Mongolians, Hong Kongers, Taiwanese voice against atrocities and human rights violations by China held protest marches in Tokyo on Saturday.

The well-planned demonstration comprised of about 600 Uyghurs, over 2,000 Hong Kongers, and over 600 in the Tibetan and Mongolians. The protesters proceeded to the central venue through three different areas of Tokyo.

While the Tibetans came from Hibiya Park, the Hong Kong refugees came from Shibuya to join the protest march.

The protesters shouted slogans against China's draconian National Security Law in Hong Kong, the imposition of the Mandarin language in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, a crackdown on religious freedoms in Tibet and Xinjiang, and China's aggressive and threatening actions against Taiwan.

The participants included not only people from these affected regions, but also from within the Japanese community, and from other Asian nations.

Meanwhile, a similar kind of protest was held in France giving a clarion call to global leaders to resist against the Chinese Communist Party.

These protests come on the occasion of the 71st National Day of the People Republic of China. (ANI)

UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath orders CBI probe in Hathras case

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath

Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], October 3 (ANI): Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday gave orders for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe in Hathras incident of torture and alleged gangrape of a 19 -year-old Dalit woman who later died in a Delhi hospital.

The Chief Minister's Office said that Yogi Adityanath has given orders for CBI probe into the incident.

The state government had earlier ordered a Special Investigation Team probe into the case.

The government also gave directions to suspend SP, DSP, Inspector and some others officials based on the first report of SIT.

Victim's brother had said earlier in the day that the family was not satisfied with the investigation.

The orders for CBI probe came on a day Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi visited the family of the victim in Hathras.

The woman died earlier this week in Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi. All the four accused in the incident have been arrested. (ANI)

Akshay Kumar shares heartfelt video message, talks about Sushant Singh Rajput death, drug problem in Bollywood

Akshay Kumar (Image courtesy: Instagram)

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], October 3 (ANI): Actor Akshay Kumar in a new video on shared on his social media on Saturday talked about the death of Sushant Singh Rajput and the subsequent investigation into the alleged drug problem in Bollywood.

The 'Khiladi 786' actor speaking in Hindi said: "I speak to you today with a heavy heart. In the last few weeks, I wanted to say some things but there was so much negativity all around that I could not understand what to say, how much to say and whom to say it to. Even though we are called 'stars', it is you (the viewers) who has made Bollywood what it is, with your love. We are not just an industry; through the medium of films, we have promoted Indian values and culture to every corner of the world."

The 'Special 26' actor added, "Films have tried to portray the sentiments of the people in our country; however you have felt, all these years. Whether it is the rage of the Angry Young Man, corruption or unemployment, cinema has tried to highlight these issues in its own way. So today, if your sentiments are angry, we accept that anger."

The actor further said, "After the sudden death of Sushant Singh Rajput, a lot of issues came to light which pained us as much as they pained you. These issues forced us to look at what is happening in our own backyard. It forced us to examine many ills of the film industry, which need to be looked into. Like, narcotics and drugs are being talked about now. I cannot lie to you and tell you that this problem does not exist. It definitely does, just like it must exist in every industry and profession. However, it cannot be that every person in every industry is involved in the problem. How is that possible?" he asked.

"Use of drugs is a legal matter and I am confident that whatever action will be taken by our law enforcement agencies and courts will be absolutely correct. I also know that every member of the film industry will fully cooperate in the investigation. But please, I implore you with folded hands, do not look at the entire industry in the same tainted light. That is not correct," he added.

Asserting that they have the power to destroy someone's hard-earned reputation within seconds, the actor appealed to the media to report with sensitivity.

He said, "Personally, I have always believed in the power of the media. If our media does not pick up the right issues at the right time, then many people will neither find a voice nor justice. I request the media to continue raising its voice but please maintain some sensitivity because one negative news item can destroy someone's reputation that took years of hard work to build," he said.

Concluding the video, Akshay sent out a message for his fans. He said, "My message to my fans is, you are the ones who have made us. We will not let you down. If you are upset, we will work harder on our flaws. We will win your trust and love. We exist because of you. Please stand with us. Thank you very much." (ANI)

Third US Senator tests positive for coronavirus in 24 hours

US Republican Senator for Wisconsin Ron Johnson (Photo credit: Ron Johnson twitter)

Washington [US], October 3 (ANI/Sputnik): US Republican Senator for Wisconsin Ron Johnson has tested positive for COVID-19, becoming the third senator to come down with the disease in 24 hours.

According to a statement circulated by Johnson's spokesman, Ben Voelkel, the senator had already undergone self-isolation before eventually catching the virus.

"Senator Johnson was exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 on September 14. He stayed in quarantine for 14 days without developing symptoms and tested negative twice during that time. He returned to Washington on September 29 and shortly after was exposed to an individual who has since tested positive. After learning of this exposure, the senator was tested yesterday afternoon. This test came back positive," Voelkel said in a statement as cited by CNN.

The senator "feels healthy and is not experiencing symptoms," Voelkel went on to say. (ANI/Sputnik)

Sushant was being bullied, outcast by movie mafia: Kangana Ranaut

Actor Kangna Ranaut

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], October 3 (ANI): A few hours after the All India Institute of Medical Sciences' (AIIMS) Forensic Medical Board, in a report ruled out the murder of late actor Sushant Singh Rajput, actor Kangana Ranaut has said that Sushant "was being bullied and outcast, he feared for his life".

The 33-year-old star took to Twitter and said,"Young and extraordinary individuals don't just wake up one fine day and kill themselves. Sushant said he was being bullied and outcast, he feared for his life, he said movie mafia banned him and harassed him, he was mentally affected by being falsely accused of rape #AIIMS."

"The presence of any seductive material was not detected by Bombay FSL and AIIMS toxicology lab. The complete examination of ligature mark over the neck was consistent with hanging," said Dr Sudhir Gupta who is chairman of the AIIMS Forensic Medical Board comprising seven doctors.

Earlier in the day, the board formed to investigate the late actor's death issued a report.

Dr Sudhir Gupta, AIIMS Forensic Head told ANI on Saturday, "We have concluded our conclusive report. It is a case of hanging and death by suicide. There were no injuries over the body other than hanging. There were no marks of struggle/ scuffle in the body and clothes of the deceased."

The board has discussed its findings with the Central Bureau of Investigation, which is investing the late actor's death case.

However, the medical board has refused to provide the details as the case it is still sub-judice. (ANI)

India to observe one day state mourning tomorrow on demise of Emir of Kuwait

Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Emir of the State of Kuwait. 

New Delhi [India], October 3 (ANI): India will observe one day of state mourning on October 4 (Sunday) as a mark of respect for the departed dignitary His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Emir of the State of Kuwait, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said.

"His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Emir of the State of Kuwait, passed away on September 29. As a mark of respect to the departed dignitary, the Indian Government has decided that there will be one day's State mourning on October 4 throughout India," MHA said in a statement.

The National Flag will be flown at half-mast on all buildings throughout India where it is flown regularly and there will be no official entertainment on the day, the MHA added.

Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah passed away on Tuesday in a hospital in the United States. He was 91.

According to Sputnik, the news of Emir's demise was confirmed by the minister responsible for his affairs on September 29.

He became Kuwait's Emir in January 2006 after the death of Sheikh Jaber al-Sabah.

Upon his death, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences describing him as a "beloved leader" of the Arab world and a "close friend" of India.

PM Modi said the late leader played a leading role in strengthening bilateral relations and always took special care of the Indian community in Kuwait.

The state-run TV on September 30 reported Kuwait's Crown Prince Nawaf Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah of taking the constitutional oath before the country's unicameral parliament as the new ruler of the Persian Gulf monarchy. (ANI)

three advisors, two officials test COVID-19 positive

Representative Image

Kathmandu [Nepal], October 3 (ANI): Three advisors and two officials from Nepal PM Secretariat including Chief Secretary and Secretariat Photographer have tested positive for coronavirus, the advisors announced on Saturday.

Prime Minister Oli's Political Advisor Bishnu Rimal took to Twitter to announce about his infection while requesting people who came to his contact to take care of themselves.

"I was confirmed COVID-19 positive after the PCR (polymerise chain reaction) test that I took yesterday. Meanwhile, I urge all those who have come in contact with me to take care of their health," Rimal tweeted on Saturday afternoon.

Prime Minister Oli's Press Advisor, Surya Thapa also confirmed himself being tested positive via Facebook.

"From yesterday's PCR test I have been tested corona-positive. Meanwhile, I urge all those who have come in contact with me to take special care of their health," Thapa stated.

In a telephone conversation with ANI, Thapa said, "We underwent COVID-19 test on Friday. I was tested positive along with two other advisors and Chief Personal Secretary of Prime Minister. Political Advisor Bishnu Rimal, Foreign Affairs Advisor Dr Rajan Bhattarai and Chief Personal Secretary Indra Bhandari have tested positive in PCR test. Secretariat Photographer Rajan Kafle has also tested positive."

It has not been clear about the status of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and there was no response to the query about it.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, 68 years old, recently had his kidney transplanted and has been facing problems in the chest.

Oli is always surrounded by his aides who have now tested COVID-19 positive and had held multiple rounds of meeting with other senior leaders and multiple rounds of the cabinet meeting.

Aides of PM Oli who tested positive for the virus have not mentioned further about whether they are symptomatic or asymptomatic. (ANI)

Pakistan's news channels barred from covering Lahore motorway rape case

Representative Image

Islamabad [Pakistan], October 3 (ANI): The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has barred the news channels from covering the gang rape case of the woman that took place on a motorway in Lahore in September.

According to a report by Samaa TV, the PEMRA referred to the order of a Lahore anti-terrorism court hearing the case while imposing the ban.

Directing the PEMRA chairman to stop coverage of the case, the court said, "It is an offence related to sex, and certainly due to media coverage, concerned victim and her family will also be disgraced."

"In case of non-compliance, PEMRA shall be constrained to initiate legal action," the court ordered.

The Express Tribune had earlier reported that the woman agreed to give her statement to the police and also identify one of the suspects, Shafqat Ali, who was arrested in Okara district's Depalpur.

Earlier, the rape victim had refused to give her statement to the police.

This development came after Pakistan police officer Umar Sheikh had stoked controversy by blaming the victim for the rape on Lahore-Sialkot motorway. In front of the Senate human rights panel, he had said the incident took place as the woman was travelling late night without her husband's permission.

The 30-year old woman was reportedly raped by two men in front of her children on motorway after her car ran out of petrol. The incident resulted in national outrage and protests erupted throughout the country. (ANI)

Italian court summons former deputy prime minister on charge of kidnapping over a hundred migrants to gain popularity

Representative Image

Italy [Rome], October 3 (ANI): An Italian court summoned former Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini on Saturday on charges of kidnapping more than a hundred migrants in an attempt to boost his popularity.

Prosecutors in the southern Sicilian city of Catania accused the far-right leader of misusing power.

In July 2019, Salvini as the interior minister had refused to allow 131 migrants and refugees, including 15 unaccompanied children to alight from the Gregoretti coastguard ship for five days.

He faces up to 15 years of jail for aggravated kidnap. A preliminary hearing judge will decide on Saturday whether the case is strong enough to proceed with the trial, Al Jazeera reported.

"If the court judges him innocent, he will re-emerge with new strength from his current decline, as he will be able to play the card of the victim haunted by the judiciary," Anna Simone, a professor of sociology at Roma Tre University told Al Jazeera.

"But if he is convicted, that will be Salvini's political definite downfall," she added.

Salvini has been holding rallies in the Sicilian city for the past three days where on Friday he commented, "I'll head to the court with peace of mind and a clear conscience to have saved lives and defended my country."

His political supporters include the far-right leader Giorgia Meloni and the representatives of Silvio Berlusconi's right-wing party Forza Italia, who are expected to attend the rally where a 500-strong police force has been deployed to prevent clashes between Salvini supporters and left-wing protesters.

When the left-wing politician first took to office as the Interior Minister in 2018, he declared Italy's ports off-limits to rescue ships, which triggered a series of stalemates between rescue vessels and the Italian authorities.

It would be the first time Salvini's "closed ports" policy would be tried, provided the court decides to proceed. A second hearing is assured to happen for his illegal imprisonment of 107 migrants on board of the Open Arms rescue ship, in August last year, even though no date has yet been set.

Prosecutors have charged Salvini with abuse of power by depriving the people on board the Gregoretti their personal freedom and for violation of law under which he had a responsibility to provide a "place of safety" for the rescued people, Al Jazeera wrote.

However, Salvini claims that his actions were directed towards the "common interest" and that the waiting was imperative to reach an agreement about the redistribution of the refugees and migrants with other countries. His defense team claims that the decision to hold the migrants was taken along with the government.

According to Al Jazeera, some believe that Salvini's trial shows that Italy is taking the abuse of refugees and migrants more seriously. Local elections two weeks ago saw gains by the left-wing Democratic Party, as it requested a revision of Salvini's anti-migrant mandates, which is expected to be approved within a few weeks.

The lawyer representing Open Arms and president of the Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties Arturo Salerni said that the two trials are restricting "what seemed to be a freefall in xenophobic feelings".

He further said, "The fact that the court says that a minister has to be tried for kidnapping on two different instances because people's human rights and international conventions can't be considered as waste paper, well that is a guarantee that certain things can't be done with impunity." (ANI)

Second edition of Nepal-India Franchise Investment Expo and Conclave to start from Oct 16

The second edition of the Nepal-India Franchise Investment Expo and Conclave will be held from October 16-18.

Kathmandu [Nepal], October 3 (ANI):
The second edition of the Nepal-India Franchise Investment Expo and Conclave will be held from October 16-18 through customised 3-D technology-enabled virtual platform, the organisers announced.

According to an official statement by the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu
, "This three-day Summit would be hosted through a customised 3-D technology-enabled virtual platform, which has been developed exclusively for the event."

The Embassy along with its partners -- Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Nepal -- has been hosting the annual event.

"India and Nepal are economies with bustling start-up ecosystems. Brands and franchisees from both sides stand to benefit immensely from such events as they provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs to quickly start their businesses, understand how brands are established and build upon the existing success of these brands in their domestic economy," the release stated.

"The second edition of this summit will help bring the leading Indian iconic brands to Nepal and Nepali brands to India. Their entry into each other's economy will not only bring investment but also stimulate technology transfers and business knowhow," it added.

The Embassy further said, "Indian business sector remains steadfast in its commitment of shared prosperity with its Nepali counterparts. The enthusiastic participation of the business community in events of this nature, only re-confirms this belief."

The first edition of the summit was held in May 2019 with an outpouring number of participants and enthusiasts, which got an overwhelming response. It had close to 70 leading Indian brands and around 20 Nepali brands participating.

The earlier edition witnessed more than 2,000 entrepreneurs from Nepal who were provided the opportunity to engage with various Indian brands and explore business opportunities. There were more than 50 business engagement leads generated during the event. (ANI)

Pakistan opposition needs to 'stick together' if they really intend to restore democracy: EFSAS

Representative Image

Amsterdam [Netherlands], October 3 (ANI): As opposition parties in Pakistan have formed a new united front with an aim of restoring "genuine and undiluted" democracy in the country, an European think tank said the opposition parties will need to "stick together" if they really intend to "loosen the stranglehold that the military establishment has had over governance and indeed the economy".

The leaders of 11 Pakistani opposition parties, prominent among which were the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Awami National Party (ANP), and Jamiat-e-Ulama-e-Islam (JUI), at the conclusion of the All Parties Conference (APC) on September 20 announced the formation of a joint platform, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).

"In the backdrop of these positive indications, the opposition will need to stick together if it really intends to loosen the stranglehold that the military establishment has had over governance and indeed the economy, of the country ever since its inception in 1947," the European Foundation of South Asian Studies (EFSAS), said in a commentary.

The 26-point resolution adopted by the APC pledged to ensure that all organs of the state are run strictly as mandated under the law.

It called for the establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission to probe abuses against the people since Pakistan's independence in 1947. Such an investigation cannot but reveal a long, sordid history of military abuses.

It also demanded that Prime Minister Imran Khan and his ruling Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) party step down and announce fresh nationwide elections.

The PDM proposes to launch a mass protest campaign comprising public gatherings, political rallies, no-confidence motions, en masse resignations from assemblies and, finally, a long march in January that will culminate in a sit-in in the capital Islamabad until their demands are met.

"It the protest programme proceeds on the planned lines, it has the potential to present major challenges to Pakistan's stability in the months ahead," the EFSAS said.

"The extent of the discomfiture that the formation of the PDM and radical nature of its stated aspirations generated in the establishment can be gauged from the fact that within days, PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif, who otherwise was known to be in the good books of the establishment, was arrested on corruption and money-laundering charges," it added.

The think tank noted that the previous efforts towards opposition unity have not yielded encouraging results, and have hence failed to inspire confidence in the masses.

"In May 2019, the PPP and the PML-N had announced the launch of anti-government protests citing spiralling inflation as the key reason. No such protests were, however, launched, and the two parties then decided to bring a motion to remove the Chairman of the Senate, the upper house of the Pakistani Parliament, who belonged to the ruling PTI," it said.

However, the EFSAS also noted that this time around the opposition is much more inclusive.

"With the greater number of parties involved, and the wide range of ideologies that these parties subscribe to, the scope for disagreements is more. Trust issues and conflicting personal and party interests also abound," it said.

"That said, if it is indeed the genuine intention of the PDM to reclaim the political turf that is rightfully its, the only way it can do so is by standing up firmly to the military establishment that has been the usurper of its workspace and the pillager of its country's abundant resources," it added. (ANI)

15 killed, over 30 injured in car bomb explosion in Afghanistan

Representative Image

Kabul [Afghanistan], October 3 (ANI): At least 15 people were killed and more than 30 injured in a car bomb explosion near the district governor's compound in Ghanikhil district in the eastern province of Nangarhar on Saturday afternoon, TOLO news reported.

Confirming the incident, the Nangarhar governor's spokesman said that some gunmen had attempted to enter the district governor's compound but were killed by the security forces.

Meanwhile, TOLO news quoted Obaidullah Shinwari, member of Nangahar provincial council, as saying that at least eight of those killed in the attack are civilians. (ANI)

Going green on the 'Bag-Route' - Dinesh Gupta

Dinesh Gupta, Bag Man of India.

New Delhi [India] October 3 (ANI): A humble cotton bag and even humbler, the person behind it have truly made the world move towards a greener way of life. Not with any roaring revolution, not by some aggressive moves; but with strong determination and great conviction, this 'Bag-Man' of India is taking people to betterment, driving women empowerment while doing good to mother nature.

Let's know more about Dinesh Gupta and his inspiring journey as a simple yet confident village boy to a successful entrepreneur. Let's get some insight into how his positive attitude and desire of standing out in the crowd changed the world for him and for many others as well.

Gupta always has a remarkable instinct of doing something different than others. He never wanted to be a sheep in a flock and follow others blindly. He wished and chose his own pathways. That is the reason he chose to be a computer programmer in the 80's when computers were new to India and very few people used to choose it as a career.

After spending some time in this line and after accomplishing some challenging jobs, Gupta had the thought of doing his own business. Here again, his instinct of doing something 'hatke' did not leave him alone. As he thought of Garment import-export, he didn't wish to go by the conventional and trusted route of exporting goods like ladies' garments or ethnic wear or something like that.

After a lot of brainstorming, he came up with an idea of making and exporting cotton shopping bags. Bags can be a good replacement for single-use plastic bags which is the biggest threat to the environment.

Now, even a common citizen knows about the hazards a plastic bag can cause. It is a threat to water bodies, fertile soil, animals, sea creatures, and even human lives.

However, when Gupta thought of working in this direction, this awareness was quite little. In western countries, people had started understanding the need of reducing plastic use, but in India plastic bags were sighted as a convenience and were largely popular.

Gupta could sense the need for this awareness and be determined to opt for this as his business. Gupta bagged his first order from Canada and executed it with no funds in hand but with the skill of negotiations and grit.

This was the founding moment of Sekawati Bags. This company surely takes pride in telling that Debco Bags, Canada who started working 27 years ago and, their first customer is still connected to it. This consistency is a result of quality, punctuality, and standing strong with great values.

Sekawati has an array of products like shopping bags, tiffin bags, school bags, sacks, shoe bags, packaging bags, laundry bags, and whatnot. Every product is eco-friendly, recyclable, reusable, and biodegradable; promising a greener future to our coming generations.

Yes, you can call Gupta a man of values. Businesses are for making money, but not at the cost of exploiting others. In fact, if the people involved in your business grow, your business grows more and Gupta knows it well.

He also believes that whatever you do in your life, good or bad, comes back to you in multiples. This is what we call as 'Law of Karma'. This is the reason, he can proudly say that we at Sekawati, never follow unfair practices, never disobey any rules and regulations and never create any harm to the environment by our products or by the process of making the same.

As they use 100 per cent eco-friendly natural cotton raw material and there is no water wastage in the production. On the other hand, Sekawati has supported a number of underprivileged women to make their livelihood. The company has also distributed sewing machines free of cost to make them able to work and has uplifted the lives of many families.

Especially during this pandemic, while thousands are losing their jobs and earning sources, Sekawati is strongly backing lakhs of women by providing stitching work to them at their homes. The wheel of their sewing machine continues to keep their families run smoothly. This stands by the real meaning of women empowerment.

Sekawati, majorly exports its production. However, the company understands the need for increased use of biodegradable bags in our own nation. Our respected Prime Minister Narendra Modiji has also launched a nationwide initiative to stop the use of single-use plastic and in this context, single use plastic free India campaign was launched by MP CM Shivraj Singh and he not only appreciated Gupta's efforts but also tweeted from the tweeter account of his office.

Gupta is happy to go with this campaign and takes initiative in the free distribution of cotton bags and spreading awareness about the same. He has been doing this for a long now. He is connected with many organizations dedicated to social welfare. Through these clubs, organizations, or even independently, he often conducts such awareness drives. Moreover, he contributes to serving the homeless, poor people, providing food to the needy, and many more noble deeds.

Roots of the social work by Gupta go back to his childhood where he grew up seeing his father serving selflessly for the villagers. 'Sanskar' is an important aspect of our lives. It penetrates deep down in our persona without even knowing about it. No wonder, Gupta stood out with his incredible work in saving the environment and serving society. His silent and steady work had to get acknowledge at various platforms.

In a journey of making more than 1.5 billion bags and setting a world record in numbers, he has won the title of 'Bag Man of India' by FORBES in their recent June 2020 issue. He also has won the prestigious awards as a worldwide achievers and business leader and Rajasthan Gaurav Award in 2019.

Gupta's containment reaches to accomplishment as his wife always stood rock steady behind him and now both of his children have joined him in carrying on his legacy after completing their higher education abroad. He is undoubtedly a visionary man.

He believes that if people get cotton or eco-friendly bags easily and at cheaper rates, they will minimize the use of plastic bags. He dreams of installing bag vending machines at places where they are most needed like shops, malls, bus stands, railway stations, hospitals, etc.

Until now, with his positivity, confidence, and genuine hard efforts; Gupta has turned every dream into reality. Who knows next time when you go shopping, you will just drop a coin or to in the vending machine and get a nice Sekavati bag ready to keep your stuff. That time, please don't forget to remember this Bag Man of India and pay gratitude to him.

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

Nuclear disarmament can be achieved through multilateral framework: India

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla.

New Delhi [India], October 3 (ANI): India on Friday called for a "meaningful dialogue" among all countries possessing nuclear weapons, for "building trust and confidence" and said it supports "immediate commencement" of negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT).

The FMCT is a proposed international treaty to prohibit the further production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other explosive devices.

The remarks were made by Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla at the high-level meeting to commemorate and promote the International day for the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

India said it believes that nuclear disarmament can be achieved through a step-by-step process underwritten by a universal commitment and an agreed multilateral framework.

India accords high priority to the Conference on Disarmament (CD) as the world's single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum and supports the commencement of negotiations on a Comprehensive Nuclear Weapons Convention at the CD, Shringla said.

"Without prejudice to the priority attached to nuclear disarmament, India remains committed to the immediate commencement of negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty in the CD on the basis of CD/1299 and the mandate contained therein," Shringla said during the meeting.

The foreign secretary said India reiterates its long-standing and unwavering commitment to universal, verifiable and non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament leading to the "complete elimination of nuclear weapons, in line with the Final Document of the First Special Session of the UN General Assembly on disarmament (SSOD-1)".

He said India''s approach to nuclear disarmament is encapsulated in its Working Paper submitted to the UN General Assembly First Committee in 2006 and to the Conference on Disarmament in 2007.

"We believe that nuclear disarmament can be achieved through a step-by-step process underwritten by a universal commitment and an agreed multilateral framework. India remains convinced of the need for meaningful dialogue among all states possessing nuclear weapons, for building trust and confidence," Shringla said. (ANI)

India and Nepal bilateral cooperation supporting Kathmandu in building indigenous capacities: Ambassador Kwatra

Representative Image

Kathmandu [Nepal], October 3 (ANI): Indian Ambassador to Nepal, Vinay Mohan Kwatra, on Saturday appreciated the ongoing bilateral cooperation between New Delhi and Kathamndu to support Nepal in building indigenous capacities.

The Embassy of India marked the 56th anniversary of the Indian Technical & Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Day-2020 through a webinar on "Sharing Knowledge and Experiences on Covid-19 Management".

During the webinar, ambassador Kwatra apprised on the COVID-related cooperation between both the countries, under which India has been extending assistance to Nepal since April 2020 through gifting of essential medicines including Remdisivir, PCR test kits and ICU ventilators, according to a statement by the Indian embassy.

The ITEC is India's flagship capacity building assistance initiative with near-global coverage to 160 developing countries, including Nepal.

The webinar brought together distinguished ITEC alumni from Nepal as well as expert voices from government and industry in India and Nepal to exchange views and share perspectives on addressing the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since last year, several ITEC capsules have been organised at India's premier institutions for officials from various institutions of Nepal in areas like judicial services for Nepal Supreme Court, Public Finance Management for Finance Ministry, training for revenue officials, anti-money laundering, countering financing of terrorism training, intensive training in water resources and development and the e-ITEC program on COVID-19 Management.

Besides Kwatra, Dinesh Kumar Ghimire, Secretary, Ministry of Energy, Water Resources & Irrigation of the Government of Nepal; Bhagwan Koirala, Chairman-Nepal Medical Council; and Padmaprasad Pandey, Deputy Attorney General, Govt of Nepal participated in the discussion.

They were joined from India by Alka Sharma, Advisor, Department of Biotechnology in the Government of India, and Suchitra Ella, Joint Managing Director & Co-founder, Bharat Biotech International in Hyderabad. (ANI)

UK Prime Minister Johnson to hold last-minute Brexit call with Von Der Leyen on Saturday

Representative Image

London [UK], October 3 (ANI/Sputnik): UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will hold talks with the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, on Saturday to discuss current post-Brexit negotiations and steps ahead.

The call comes after the EU commission announced steps toward initiating an infringement procedure against the UK in the wake of London's plans to pass a controversial bill that would override parts of the bilateral Brexit agreement.

Johnson's spokesperson said Friday that the leader will be speaking to von der Leyen to "take stock of negotiations and discuss next steps."

The Internal Market Bill, which proposes rolling back some of the commitments the UK made on state aid and customs checks on goods entering Northern Ireland, was passed by the House of Commons earlier this week and will go on to face debates and votes in the House of Lords.

According to Johnson, the controversial legislation would ensure barrier-free trade between the United Kingdom's four constituent nations in the event current post-Brexit talks are unsuccessful, but the EU has accused the UK of breaching the "good faith" of the withdrawal agreement.

The UK and the EU are in the final round of negotiations on a post-Brexit trade deal. (ANI/Sputnik)

New war memorial built for 20 Galwan warriors who caused heavy casualties to Chinese Army

The memorial built in Ladakh for the 20 Indian soldiers who lost their lives in action against the Chinese Army in the Galwan Valley. (Photo: ANI)

Ladakh [India], October 3 (ANI): A memorial has been built for the 20 Indian soldiers who lost their lives in action against the Chinese Army in the Galwan Valley after evicting them from an observation post near the Y-junction area there under Operation Snow Leopard, according to sources.

The memorial has been built at the unit level near the KM-120 post on the strategic road Durbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldie, Ladakh.

The memorial has names of 20 soldiers and the details of the June 15 operation.

As per the operational details put out on the memorial wall, "On June 15, 2020 at Galwan Valley, Col B Santosh Babu Commanding Officer, 16 Bihar led the Quick Reaction Force of 16 Bihar and attached troops tasked to evict the PLA OP from Gen AY Nala and move further to Patrolling Point 14."

"The column successfully evicted the PLA OP from Y Nala and reached PP 14 where a fierce skirmish broke out between the IA and PLA troops. Col B Santosh Babu led from the front and his troops fought gallantly in a hand to hand combat, causing heavy casualties to the PLA. In the ensuing fight twenty "Gallants of Galwan" achieved martyrdom," it says.

India and China have been engaged in a standoff since April-May over the transgressions by the Chinese Army in multiple areas including the Finger area, Galwan valley, Hot springs, and Kongrung Nala.

The situation worsened after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in violent clashes with Chinese troops in the Galwan valley in June. (ANI)

Other Posts