Monday, October 5, 2020

Indian Coast Guard ships with pollution response gears, escort MT New Diamond under tow to Fujairah

Indian Coast Guard shipped off Samudra Pavak, Samudra Praheri and Shaunak with pollution response gears with integral helo to MT New Diamond under tow to Fujairah. (Twitter/Indian Coast Guard)


New Delhi [India], October 5 (ANI): Indian Coast Guard vessels Samudra Pavak and Sumdra Praheri with on-board helicopter and ICSG Shaunak with pollution response gear have been deployed to escort, under tow at high seas, the MT New Diamond vessel to the Fujairah Port in the United Arab Emirates.

The crude tanker, which caught fire after a major explosion in its engine room on September 3, while on its way to Pardip in Odisha, is stable and safe 95 kilometers from Sri Lanka coast, the Navy had said.

"IndiaCoastGuard ships Samudra Pavak, Samudra Praheri and Shaunak with pollution response gears with integral helo deployed for preventive pollution response to MT New Diamond under tow to Fujairah," the ICG said in a tweet.

A joint team of Indian Navy, Sri Lanka Navy, and a diving team had completed underwater inspection.

The large 333-metre long crude carrier was carrying over three lakh metric tons of crude oil for the Indian Oil Corporation from Kuwait to Paradip. (ANI)

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany tests COVID-19 positive





Washington [US], October 5 (ANI): White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Monday tested positive for coronavirus.

"After testing negative consistently, including every day since Thursday, I tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday morning while experiencing no symptoms. No reporters, producers, or members of the press are listed as close contacts by the White House Medical Unit," McEnany said in a statement.

She added, "I definitively had no knowledge of Hope Hicks' diagnosis prior to holding a White House press briefing on Thursday. As an essential worker, I have worked diligently to provide needed information to the American People at this time."

The Press Secretary said will begin the quarantine process and she has planned to work remotely. (ANI)

India has to fight its own wars, US deployments according to their perspective: IAF Chief

Indian Air Force Chief RKS Bhadauria. (Photo: ANI)


New Delhi (India), Oct 5 (ANI): Noting that there has been no coordination with the US forces in relation to border tensions with China, Air Force Chief RKS Bhadauria on Monday asserted that India has to fight its wars on its own and cannot count on others for this.

Addressing the annual Air Force Day press conference here, the Air Force Chief said India does not plan its war efforts with support from others and does everything on its own.

He ruled out any linkage of deployment of US military assets in the Indian Ocean with India's border tensions with China and said American deployments are done according to their perspective.

"American deployments are done as per their perspective. We don't plan our efforts with support from someone else. They have not been deployed in coordination with us. We have to fight our own wars. No one will fight our wars for us. We have to do it ourselves," he said.

The Air Chief was asked to comment on reports that reported American deployment of B-2 bombers in the Indian Ocean was to deter the Chinese from doing any misadventure in Ladakh.

On the possibility of the Indian Air Force buying the second batch of 36 more Rafale fighter aircraft, the Air Chief said it was a complex subject and "various options" were being deliberated upon in the Force.

He suggested that the decision to either buy more Rafales or to go in for an open tender for 114 multirole fighter aircraft was yet to be finalised.

"Whether we go in for more Rafale or MRFA, it will be an open competition...The current status is that we have received all the RFIs (for the MRFA programme). All these issues are on the table now in terms of taking a final call...There are various issues that need to be considered," he said.

The first batch of five Rafale jets arrived in India on July 29, nearly four years after India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 of the fighter aircraft at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore. (ANI)

Melania Trump thanks everyone for support, prayers for her recovery from COVID-19

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump.


Washington [US], October 5 (ANI): US First Lady Melania Trump, who was tested positive for coronavirus, on Monday thanked everyone for extending their prayers and support for her recovery from the infection.

Taking to Twitter, Melania said, "My family is grateful for all of the prayers and support! I am feeling good and will continue to rest at home. Thank you to medical staff and caretakers everywhere, and my continued prayers for those who are ill or have a family member impacted by the virus."

Last week, US President Donald Trump and Melania were tested positive for coronavirus.

"Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!," Trump said on Thursday (local time). (ANI)

MoS Health and Family Welfare and MoS for South East Asia Affairs discuss relations in the health sector

Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey on a videoconference call with United Kingdom's Minister of State for South East Asia Affairs Tariq Ahmed. (Photo: ANI)


New Delhi [India], October 5 (ANI): Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey and United Kingdom's Minister of State for South East Asia Affairs Tariq Ahmed on Monday discussed bilateral relations in the health sector of the two countries through video conferencing.

The two ministers deliberated upon the current status of the COVID-19 vaccine, its attempts to reach the public, and the efforts being made by both countries to end the pandemic.

According to an official statement issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, "Choubey said that Covid-19 has given humanity an opportunity to come together and fight this pandemic with full force and resolve."

"For centuries India had advocated the spirit of 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam', The World as One family." Explaining how this cultural attitude will play an important role for humanity in the future, he stressed upon the need to "fight this epidemic as a family in this difficult time."

"India-UK bilateral relations in the health sector are deep and strong. Cooperation between the two countries has strengthened over time." Choubey said while recollecting the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed in Geneva between the two countries in 2013 for continued cooperation in health.

In the agenda of the next joint working group meeting, Choubey focused on the need to include the theme of "Ayushman Bharat," and suggested to further cooperation in the fields of e-health, drug regulations, regulatory cooperation, pharma exports, collaborative research, capacity building, etc., to toughen the relationship between the two countries.

"UK's Minister of State for South East Asia, Tariq Ahmed took this occasion to discuss the work being done by India and United Kingdom on the COVID-19 vaccine. He thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for India's critical help in the form of medicines during this transition period," the statement added. (ANI)

COVID-19 to potentially increase child mortality in developing countries by 45 per cent: World Bank

World Bank President David Malpass (File Photo)


Washington [US], October 5 (ANI/Sputnik): The novel coronavirus pandemic will likely drive up child mortality rates in developing countries by slightly less than half of the current rate, World Bank President David Malpass said on Monday.

"Our early estimates suggest a potential increase of up to 45 percent in child mortality because of health service shortfalls and reduction in access to food," Malpass said during a virtual discussion ahead of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund annual meetings next week.

Malpass said the World Bank estimates the increases in child mortality to persist in the coming years.

The World Bank President also said the difficulties in administering education amid pandemic can lead to significant issues for the developing countries in the future.

"Since the outbreak, more than 1.6 billion children in developing countries have been out of school because of COVID-19, implying a potential loss of as much as $10 trillion in lifetime earning for these students," Malpass said.

The World Bank is doing everything possible to bolster the health and education capabilities of countries in need, Malpass added. (ANI/Sputnik)

India presents 3,000 vials of Remdesivir to Myanmar as mark of commitment to assist Nay Pyi Taw in fight against COVID-19

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and Army chief General MM Naravane meet Myanmar State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi [Photo: Twitter/India in Myanmar]



New Delhi [India], October 5 (ANI):
Army Chief General MM Naravane and Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla during their visit to Myanmar presented 3,000 vials of Remdesivir to the State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as a symbol of "India's commitment to assist Myanmar in its fight against the
 pandemic".

The Indian dignitaries also indicated India's willingness to prioritise Myanmar in sharing vaccines as and when these become available.

During their two-day visit, Naravane and Shringla called on State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the Commander in Chief of Defense Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. Naravane also met Vice Senior General Soe Win, Deputy Commander-in-Chief, Myanmar Armed Services. Shringla met U Soe Han, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar.

According to an official statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), "Shringla and Naravane presented 3,000 vials of Remdesivir to the State Counsellor, symbolic of India's commitment to assist Myanmar in its fight against the pandemic. FS indicated India's willingness to prioritise Myanmar in sharing vaccines as and when these become available."

Meanwhile, Myanmar appreciated India's decision to provide debt service relief under the G-20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative, for the period up to December 31, 2020, the statement read.

India and Myanmar also agreed to further strengthen their partnership in connectivity projects, capacity building, power and energy, deepen economic and trade ties, further facilitate people to people and cultural exchanges, and broad-base their defense exchanges across all the three services.

India and Myanmar have also agreed to deepen cooperation to overcome the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The MEA further said, "Both sides also discussed progress in the ongoing Indian-assisted infrastructure projects such as the Trilateral Highway and the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project. They exchanged views on an early initiation of work on fresh initiatives such as the upgradation of Yamethin Women's Police Academy, Basic Technical Training School and measures to provide long term sustainability to projects such as the Myanmar Institute of Information Technology. They agreed to work towards operationalisation of Sittwe Port in the Rakhine State in the first quarter of 2021."

During the visit of Naravane and Shringla, the project agreement on the upgrading of agricultural mechanisation under the Rakhine State Development Programme (RSDP) was also signed.

"Both sides noted the considerable progress made under the Rakhine State Development Programme (RSDP) and proposed finalising projects under Phase-III of the programme, including setting up of a skills training centre. FS conveyed India's support for ensuring safe, sustainable and speedy return of displaced persons to the Rakhine State," the statement said.

The two sides also discussed maintenance of security and stability in their border areas and reiterated their mutual commitment not to allow their respective territories to be used for activities inimical to each other. India expressed appreciation to Myanmar for handing over of 22 cadres of Indian insurgent groups to India, the statement read.

Besides, India also announced a grant of USD 2 million for the construction of the border haat bridge at Byanyu/Sarsichauk in Chin State that will provide increased economic connectivity between Mizoram and Myanmar. "A quota of 1.5 lakh tonnes of Urad (Vigna mungo) for import from Myanmar till March 31 in 2021 was also announced. The Centre of Excellence in Software Development and Training in Myitkyina, was virtually inaugurated. FS also inaugurated the Embassy Liaison Office in Nay Pyi Taw along with U Soe Han, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar," the MEA stated.

Myanmar expressed appreciation for Indian assistance in the preservation of cultural heritage, including the repair and conservation of Bagan pagodas that had been damaged in the 2016 earthquake.

The two sides discussed plans to install a bust of Lokmanya Tilak in Mandalay to commemorate his 100th death anniversary as it was during his incarceration in Mandalay jail that Lokmanya Tilak wrote Gita Rahasya, an exposition of the Bhagvadgita. Other areas of cooperation in culture that were discussed included translation of Indian epics into the Burmese language, the MEA said.

Shringla congratulated Myanmar for successfully holding the fourth meeting of the 21st Century Panglong Peace Conference and assured India's continued support in sharing experiences in constitutionalism and federalism to assist Myanmar in its democratic transition.

The visit of COAS and FS to Myanmar reflects the high priority both countries attach to sustaining the momentum in their expanding bilateral ties, the MEA said. (ANI)

We want India to become a global hub for Artificial Intelligence: PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi


New Delhi [India], October 5 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said that the government wants India to become a global hub for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and noted that the National Education Policy 2020 focuses on technology-based learning and skilling as a major part of education.

Speaking at the RAISE 2020 Virtual Summit, he said that technology has improved transparency and service delivery in the country.

"Raise 2020 is a great effort to encourage discussion on Artificial Intelligence. You all have rightly highlighted aspects relating to technology and human empowerment. Technology has transformed workplaces, it improved connectivity. This merger between social responsibility and AI will enrich AI with the human touch. AI is a tribute to human intellectual power," PM Modi said.

"The teamwork of AI with humans can do wonders for our planet. In India, we have experienced that technology improves transparency and service delivery. We want India to become a global hub for AI. Many Indians are already working on this. I hope many more do so in the times to come," he said.

The Prime Minister said that it remains a collective responsibility to ensure trust in how AI is used.

"Algorithm Transparency is key to establishing this Trust. Equally important is accountability. We must protect the world against the weaponisation of AI by non-state actors," he said.

"While we discuss AI, let also have no doubts that human creativity and human emotions continue to be our greatest strength. They are our unique advantage over machines," he added.

PM Modi said that India has recently adopted the National Education Policy 2020 which focuses on technology-based learning and skilling as a major part of education.

"E-courses will also be developed in various regional languages and dialects," he said.

The Prime Minister highlighted that the government launched 'Responsible AI for Youth' programme this year in April.

"Under this programme, more than 11,000 students from schools completed the basic course. They are now building their AI projects," he said.

Modi said that the National Educational Technology Forum is being formed that will create an e-Education unit to boost the digital infrastructure, digital content and capacity.

In pandemic times, he said that people have seen how India's digital readiness was of great help. (ANI)

Suresh Raina, Nitishwar Kumar discuss initiative to set up sports academies to train aspiring J-K cricketers

Suresh Raina with Nitishwar Kumar (Photo/ DIPR-J&K Twitter)


New Delhi [India], October 5 (ANI): Former India cricketer Suresh Raina on Monday met Nitishwar Kumar, Principal Secretary to Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, to discuss the initiative to set up sports academies to train young cricketers from far-flung areas of the Union Territory.

"Celebrity Cricketer Suresh Raina calls on Principal Secy to LG @nitishwarKumar, discuss the initiative to set up sports academies to train aspiring cricketers especially youngsters from far-flung areas of Jammu and Kashmir," the Department of Information and Public Relations (DIPR), Jammu and Kashmir tweeted.

Last month, Raina had said there is "so much more in store" for the Union Territory after the inauguration of Jammu and Kashmir Police Women's 2020 Cricket Tournament at Anantnag.

"Excited to be part of the inauguration of Jammu and Kashmir Police Women's 2020 Cricket Tournament at Anantnag, South Kashmir along with LG @manojsinha_ Sir. This is just a humble beginning. So much more in store for J&K!" Raina had tweeted.

Also, he had met Sinha last month and had requested him to set up a Cricket Academy in Jammu and Kashmir. He had also agreed to set up 10 schools, five each in Kashmir and Jammu divisions, to give professional cricket training to local youth.

"Cricketer Suresh Raina, who called on Lt Governor Manoj Sinha to set up a Cricket Academy in Jammu and Kashmir, agrees to set up five schools each in Kashmir & Jammu divisions to hone the talent of aspiring youth and train them to become professional cricketers," the J-K DIPR had tweeted. (ANI)

Israel and India agree to continue cooperation in fight against COVID-19

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (File Photo)


Tel Aviv [Israel], October 5 (ANI): Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday spoke to "his friend" Prime Minister Narendra Modi and agreed to continue its cooperation in the fight against the coronavirus.

Following the telephonic conversation with his Indian counterpart, the Israeli Prime Minister tweeted, "I have spoken with my friend Prime Minister Narendra Modi and we have agreed to continue to promote cooperation between countries in the fight against the coronavirus, with an emphasis on technological cooperation and testing."

In August, a delegation of Israeli scientists has visited New Delhi bringing with them medical equipment with cutting-edge technologies to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Israel and India share collaborations in every area of science. The friendship and trust our countries have developed over the years have improved the ongoing studies' speed and quality. I am sure that some of these will be successful and result in great value to our countries and humanity," K Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Advisor from the Prime Minister of India's office (PMO) had opined.

These trials were a part of a multi-pronged mission visiting India from Israel to cooperate on COVID-19 research and development, further cementing the strategic relationship between the two nations. (ANI)

12th BRICS Summit to be held on November 17

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Moscow [Russia], October 5 (ANI): The 12th BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Summit will be held on November 17 to discuss partnership among its members for global stability, shared security and innovative growth.

According to an official statement issued by Russia's Presidency in the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation), "The theme of the meeting of the leaders of BRICS countries is 'BRICS Partnership for Global Stability, Shared Security and Innovative Growth'."

The purpose of the Russian BRICS Chairmanship in 2020, as it is for multifaceted cooperation between the BRICS countries, is to contribute to raising living standards and quality of life of our people, the statement said.

"Despite the current global situation due to the spread of the coronavirus infection, the activities under the Russian BRICS Chairmanship in 2020 are carried out in a consistent manner. Since January 2020 more than 60 events have been organised, including via videoconferencing," said noted Anton Kobyakov, Adviser to the President of the Russian Federation, Executive Secretary of the Organising Committee to Prepare and Support Russia's SCO Presidency in 2019-2020 and BRICS Chairmanship in 2020.12th BRICS Summit to be held on November 17

The BRICS Summit will be the "jewel-in-the-crown event" of the Russian BRICS Chairmanship, which will provide impetus for further strengthening cooperation together with our partners to ensure the well-being of BRICS countries, Kobyakov added. (ANI)

BJP campaigning against Hathras victim: Priyanka Gandhi

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi (File Photo)


New Delhi [India], October 5 (ANI): Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi on Monday accused the BJP of campaigning against the Hathras victim who had died on September 29 after allegedly being raped in Uttar Pradesh.

Gandhi asked the government whether it will order a judiciary enquiry in the case and when it will take action against the District Magistrate.

"Yesterday, the Chief Minister of UP spoke to solve problems through dialogue. So will they listen to the victim's family? When to act on Hathras DM? When to order a judicial inquiry? The first step to justice is to listen to the victim girl. The reality is that BJP is still campaigning against the girl," Gandhi tweeted.

Two days ago, Priyanka Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi reached Hathras after the UP administration conveyed that a group of five persons can meet the victim's family.

Priyanka drove the vehicle towards DND Flyway where police were present in strength and Congress workers had also assembled in support of their leaders.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister had announced a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the incident. It had earlier announced a probe by SIT.

The 19-year-old woman died at Delhi's Safdarjung hospital on September 29. All the four accused in the incident have been arrested. (ANI)

Ink thrown at Aam Aadmi Party delegation in Hathras

Visual from Hathras (Photo: Raghav Chadha Twitter)


Hathras (Uttar Pradesh) [India], October 5 (ANI): An unidentified person threw ink at the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) delegation on Monday, which reached Hathras to meet the family members of the alleged gangrape victim.

The incident took place when AAP Rajya Sabha Sanjay Singh was speaking to media here along with Delhi party leaders Rakhi Birla and Ajay Dutt.

"Cowardly act in Hathras. Police took us in their vehicles to Gudiya's residence. Attack took place while we were returning. MLA Rakhi Birla, Ajay Dutt and Faisal Lala were also there. Yogiji (Adityanath), you are not a Thakur but coward. No matter how many cases are registered against me, do lathicharge or kill me but the fight for justice for the Gudiya will continue," Singh tweeted (translated from Hindi).

"Is there anything left to understand now? This is the accused who attacked us together with ADG Law & Order Prashant Kumar and we were in police security. Do not hide your black tricks behind black ink. Shoot from the front," he said in another tweet.

AAP chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the incident showed the disgraceful conduct of the Uttar Pradesh government.

"Sanjay ji, you have been speaking fearlessly against the injustice and atrocities of the UP government. They registered 14 FIRs against you, sealed the office but did not dare to arrest you, then attacked them today. This shows the defeat and disgrace of the people sitting in the UP government. It means you're on the right track," Kejriwal tweeted.

AAP spokesperson Raghav Chadha tweeted: "Yogi Sarkar has given proof of his cowardice by throwing ink on Member of Parliament Sanjay Singh. Remember, we will write history with this ink."

The 19-year-old woman died at Delhi's Safdarjung hospital on September 29. All the four accused in the incident have been arrested.

On September 30, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath constituted a three-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) to conduct a probe in the Hathras gangrape incident.

The SIT is asked to present a report in seven days. He also recommended a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the case on October 3.

However, on October 1, Uttar Pradesh Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar said that the forensic report of the Hathras victim shows that the woman was not raped. (ANI)

India wants to be strong, unified, properous ASEAN member playing key role in Indo-Pacific region: V Muraleedharan

MoS for MEA V Muraleedharan speaking during a webinar titled 'India-ASEAN Relations and the Rise of Multilateralism in Indo Pacific and Beyond'


New Delhi [India], October 5 (ANI): Minister of State (MoS) for Ministry of External Affairs, V. Muraleedharan on Monday said India's vision for a strong, unified and properous member of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) playing key role in Indo-Pacific region was discussed during a webinar organised by North Eastern Hill University.

Taking to Twitter, Muraleedharan said, "Discussed India's vision for a strong, unified & prosperous ASEAN playing central role in Indo-Pacific. As envisioned by PM @narendramodi ji, ASEAN centrality & unity will be an important pillar of India's Indo-Pacific vision."

In another tweet he said, "Glad to speak on ASEAN-India Relations & the Indo-Pacific today @nehu_shg. Spoke about promoting seamless India-ASEAN connectivity, increasing bilateral trade to USD 200 bn by 2022, and enhancing people to people connect."

The webinar was titled 'India-ASEAN Relations and the Rise of Multilateralism in Indo Pacific and Beyond'. (ANI)

Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank congratulates JEE advanced toppers

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New Delhi [India], October 5 (ANI): Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank congratulated the students who cleared the JEE advanced examinations --whose results were declared today.

The minister spoke to toppers of the entrance examination over the phone and congratulated them for appearing for the examination despite the COVID-19 situation in the country and topping the examinations.

An Education Ministry official told ANI that Education Minister Pokhriyal had congratulated the successful candidates of JEE advanced and wished them a successful career.

"The Education Minister personally called the toppers of JEE congratulating them for topping the examination and lauded the parents of students who had shown full faith in the central government during this difficult time and send their wards to give the examination," the official said.

"The Education Minister also appreciated the role of the NTA for conducting a smooth examination during the COVID -19 pandemic, especially the safety and security measures taken by NTA (National Testing Agency) at examination centres across the country," the official said further.

The results of the JEE Advanced 2020 were declared by the Indian Institutes of Technology, Delhi today. The results have been made available on the official portal of JEE Advanced -- jeeadv.ac.in

Pune-based Chirag Falor bagged the top rank in the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE)-Advanced results of which were announced on Monday, according to officials.

The second and third positions have been bagged by Gangula Bhuvan Reddy and Vaibhav Raj respectively. Kanishka Mittal is the national topper among girl students, as per the result.

The JEE Advanced 2020 counselling and seat allotment registration process is scheduled to begin on October 6.

Earlier in the day, the Union Education Minister took to Twitter to congratulate the students who received the result of the examination adding that there are "plenty of opportunities" for students who did not get the desired rank.

"I congratulate all students of #JEEAdvanced who got their desired rank and request them to work for #AtmaNirbharBharat in the near future. Plenty of opportunities are available for students who couldn't get their desired rank. Students should remember that an exam cannot define them,"he said.

He further went on to congratulate IIT Delhi for conducting the examination "successfully" and announcing the results on time. "I also congratulate @iitdelhi for successfully conducting the exam and announcing the results on time. The results can be viewed at http://result.jeeadv.ac.in," his tweet read further. (ANI)

Hyderabad: MoS Kishan Reddy inspects construction of double bedroom dignity flats, slams TRS govt for delay

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Hyderabad (Telangana) [India], October 5 (ANI): Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy on Monday slammed Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao-led government for a delay in providing the 'double bedroom dignity flats' to the poor.

Reddy's response came after he inspected the construction of double bedroom dignity houses in Hyderabad.

Speaking to media here, Reddy said the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) won the 2015 municipal corporation on the promise of providing double bedroom flats to the poor, but the government has not delivered its promise yet.

"The foundation stone of double bedroom dignity houses was laid in 2015. The then municipal corporation elections were won by the TRS government on the promise of providing double bedroom flats to the poor. But now even after five years, the construction of the flats is not over and not even a single house has been sanctioned to the poor," he said.

He further compared the TRS government in Telangana with the YSRCP government in Andhra Pradesh, stating that "in the neighboring state of Andhra Pradesh, the government promised about 12 lakh houses, out of which nearly seven lakh houses have been constructed".

Reddy urged the TRS government to complete the construction of the houses under the double bedroom dignity flats scheme at earliest. (ANI)

Ruckus, vandalism in Nepal's Province 5 Assembly as dispute over fixing provincial capital increases

Lawmakers from the opposition Nepali Congress vandalising properties of the state Assembly. Photo/ANI


Kathmandu [Nepal], October 5 (ANI): Several chairs and tables of Province 5 state Assembly were broken and microphones destroyed as dispute over naming the provincial capital faltered on Monday.

Lawmakers from the opposition Nepali Congress (NC) resorted to vandalising properties of the state Assembly as the meeting deliberated on the proposal tabled earlier to finalise the name of the province and its permanent capital.

The NC lawmakers who picketed the rostrum for several minutes went ahead destroying furniture and microphones as the House Speaker of the provincial assembly went ahead with tabling the proposal.

Ahead of incident, meeting was briefly adjourned following protest by the NC lawmakers who have been opposing government proposal to name Province 5 as Lumbini and Dang as capital.

Government will require a total of two-third majority votes to approve the proposed name and capital. The Province 5 Assembly has altogether 87 lawmakers, out of which 61 are from the ruling Nepal Communist Party.

The ruling party already has issued a whip to all its lawmakers to cast their votes in favour of the proposal.

After ruckus and vandalism, the meeting has been again called on Tuesday, which is expected to endorse the proposal to make Dang the new capital city of the province and name it as Lumbini despite ire and hullabaloo of opposition Nepali Congress. (ANI)

Uyghur activist to discuss 'Persecution of Islam in East Turkestan' by China on October 8

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Brussels [Belgium], October 5 (ANI): Continuing with the efforts to stop China violating human rights in the Xinjiang region, a webinar will be held on October 8 to dicuss the persecution of the Uyghurs.

The webinar tiled 'Persecution of Islam in East Turkestan' organised by the South Asia Democratic Forum will have Rushan Abbas, founder and Executive Director of Campaign for Uyghurs. Besides, Senge Hasnan Sering, President of the Institute for Gilgit Baltistan Studies, will also be one of the participants.

This diccussion comes amid US media reporting China of putting a million or more Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities into detention camps and prisons in Xinjiang over the last three years.

However, China regularly denies such mistreatment and says the camps provide vocational training.

Uyghur activists and human rights groups have countered that many of those held are people with advanced degrees and business owners who are influential in their communities and have no need for any special education.

People in the internment camps said they are subjected to forced political indoctrination, torture, beatings and denial of food and medicine and have been prohibited from practising their religion or speaking their language.

Now, as Beijing denies these accounts, it also refuses to allow independent inspections into the regions, at the same time, which further fuels reports related to China's atrocities on the minority Muslims.

The other discussants of the webinar include Fazal ur Rehman Afridi, PTM Representative to European Union and United Nations, and Gianna Gancia, Member of the European Parliament. (ANI)

FIR registered against Nawaz Sharif for 'criminal conspiracy'

Pakistan's former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif


Islamabad [Pakistan], October 5 (ANI): A First Information Report (FIR) has been registered against Pakistan's former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the case of criminal conspiracy for the "provocative speeches" he made in London to "defame Pakistan's institutions", Geo News reported on Monday.

The FIR was lodged against Sharif on October 1 by a local in the Shahdra Police Station's jurisdiction.

According to Geo News report, the case was filed under the provisions of the Pakistan Penal Code for criminal conspiracy against the Pakistan Muslim League (N) chief and other leaders.

Earlier this month, Pakistan failed to execute a non-bailable arrest warrant against Sharif, who was granted permission to fly abroad to get medical treatment in November last year.

For nearly one month, the Pakistan government made several attempts to get Sharif's arrest warrant signed.

Last week, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had slammed Sharif over his failure to appear before the court after he was granted permission to fly abroad for medical treatment.

"Accused [Sharif] knows that he went abroad after defeating the system. He must be laughing at the system while sitting abroad. It's shameful conduct by the accused," Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani of the IHC was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan had tasked relevant authorities to bring back Sharif at the earliest. The decision was taken during a cabinet meeting where the Prime Minister also issued the directive to pursue the matter vigorously.

A cabinet member had told Dawn the government had already sent a request to the British government for the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) leader's repatriation but it would now send a fresh application.

Last month, the IHC came down heavily on the Imran Khan-led government for allowing Sharif to go abroad without informing the court and it was up to the dispensation to take steps for ensuring the latter's return to the country.

Additional Attorney General Tariq Mehmood Khokhar had told a bench comprising Justices Aamer Farooq and Mohsin Akhtar Kayani that Pakistan's Foreign Office implemented the court-issued non-bailable arrest warrants without delay through the Pakistan High Commission in the UK on September 17, Geo News reported. (ANI)

Human smugglers forcefully eject migrants from Djibouti, 8 drown

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Djibouti [Djibouti], October 5 (ANI): Eight migrants who were forcefully ejected off a boat near Djibouti by smugglers drowned, while 12 are missing, according to reports.

All the migrants were believed to be Ethiopians, returning to the Horn of Africa after being unable to reach Saudi Arabia via Yemen due to the COVID-19 border closures, Al Jazeera reported.

The journey to the Gulf Nations has become more difficult due to the coronavirus pandemic and the conflict in Yemen, because of which migrants are being forced to retreat.

"At least eight migrants have died and 12 are missing at sea after being forced off a boat by smugglers off the coast of Djibouti, Horn of Africa," International Organisation for Migration (IOM) spokesperson Yvonne Ndege said.

He added, "According to eyewitness survivors, assisted by IOM, three smugglers violently forced the young men and women off the vessel while still at sea. Smugglers are known to exploit migrants on this route in this way, many having to pay or their families having to pay large sums to facilitate travel."

Another 14 migrants survived and are receiving medical care, a statement mentioned.

Djibouti authorities took the responsibility of burying eight bodies that had washed ashore.

Ndege further warned that more tragedies could occur as hundreds of migrants are leaving Yemen every day on the precarious journey by boat across the Bab al-Mandeb strait. He said, "This tragedy is a wake-up call."

In 2017, up to 50 migrants from Somalia and Ethiopia were "deliberately drowned" when a smuggler forced them into the sea off Yemen's coast, and in 2018, at least 30 refugees and migrants died when a boat capsized off Yemen, the survivors reporting gunfire, Al Jazeera wrote. (ANI)

Sriram Raghavan one of the finest filmmakers: Ayushmann Khurrana as 'Andhadhun' clocks in 2 years

Actor Ayushmann Khurrana with filmmaker Sriram Raghavan (Image Source: Instagram)


New Delhi [India], October 5 (ANI): As his psychological thriller 'Andhadhun' completed two years of release on Monday, actor Ayushmann Khurrana termed the director of the film Sriram Raghavan as one of the "finest" filmmakers of the industry.

"Sriram Raghavan is one of the finest minds of our generation and when it comes to clever, psychological thrillers, he is simply a master of the genre. It has been a huge privilege for me to creatively collaborate with Sriram Sir and learn from him," said Khurrana.

The 36-year-old actor who has been voted as one of the most influential people by TIME magazine said he has been lucky enough to collaborate with the best directors of Bollywood.

"I have been fortunate enough to work with some of the best, visionary film-makers of our time and I'm honoured that I got the opportunity to work in a Sriram Raghavan film," he said.

"Yes, I'm known for my progressive social entertainers that leave a message but what matters most to me is being a part of the best cinema that is produced by our industry," he added.

The 'Article 15' actor considers Andhadhun to be a film that pushed him as an artiste.

"I like to experiment, mix it up and push the envelope as an artiste and Andhadhun gave me the opportunity to do something that I had never done before," Khurrana said.

"I thank Sriram sir for his faith in me and I can't wait to collaborate with him again, hopefully soon!" he added.

Khurrana was also awarded the prestigious National Award for his brilliant performance in 'Andhadhun.' (ANI)

COVID-19 disrupted mental health services in most countries despite high demand: WHO

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Geneva [Switzerland], October 5 (ANI/Sputnik):
A survey by the World Health Organization (WHO) on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic shows that mental health services have been disrupted in 93 per cent of countries despite increased demands, Devora Kestel, the director of WHO's Department of Mental
 Health and Substance Use, said on Monday.

The WHO official specified that the survey was conducted in 130 countries across WHO's six regions from June to August 2020.

"The results are in a way confirming what we understood from previous preliminary surveys that indicated that now in almost 90 per cent of countries, 89, to be precise, per cent of countries, do have a national mental health and psychological support plans, but only 17 per cent of them do have funding allocated to implement those plans. We have also found that only 7 per cent of countries confirm no disruption of services, which means that in 93 per cent of countries some kind of disruptions took place," Kestel told a virtual briefing.

According to the WHO official, there has been a continuation of inpatient services despite the pandemic, but outpatient services were most affected.

"In terms of geographical location, I would say that the most evident distinction is among high-income countries or middle-to-high income countries versus low-income countries, where you see better coverage in some cases in high-income countries rather than in low-income countries," Kestel said.

She underlined that mental health services have been historically underfunded. (ANI/Sputnik)

Two rockets hit Baghdad's residential area near Green Zone

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Baghdad [Iraq], October 5 (ANI/Sputnik): Two rockets hit a residential area in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad on Monday morning not far from the so-called Green Zone, an area with multiple government buildings and embassies, the Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported, citing the country's security officials.

"Terrorist groups fired two rockets on Monday morning ... in the direction of the Jadriya district. The first rocket fell behind the Babilon hotel next to one of the restaurants, the second one fell near the Iraqi Airways office," the press service said, as cited by the media outlet.

There were no injuries and casualties reported.

The Baghdad green zone frequently suffers from rocket attacks. In mid-June, the joint command of the Iraqi armed forces said that Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi had ordered the creation of special committees to curb strikes on the zone.

On October 1, Al-Kadhimi said that his country was committed to defending foreign embassies and diplomatic missions amid the constant strikes and considered them to be an attempt to undermine the stability and relations of Iraq with its regional and international partners.

The prime minister has previously stated that a number of countries, primarily the United States, wanted to close their diplomatic missions in the Iraqi capital if rocket attacks on the green zone continued. Western diplomats said that such plans were not related to their ties with Baghdad but came due to security concerns. (ANI/Sputnik)

iPhone users can avail Live View in Google Maps for better location sharing

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California [US], October 5 (ANI): Augmented reality in Google Maps bring digital arrows, pins, and markers right in front of you as you walk while looking through your phone's camera. Google Maps calls it Live View, it's been around since August 2019, and it's incredibly helpful when a person is trying to get oriented or find an address or pinned location.

According to Mashable, Google Maps announced on Thursday (local time) that iPhone users will "soon" get to experience an updated Live View when location sharing, along with all Android users. Pixel -- that's Google's own smartphone -- users last month started seeing this upgraded Live View, which features even more helpful arrows and direction guidance to find a pinned location.

Now, if the user opens Live View in the Maps app when a friend shares a pin while chilling in the park, the user will see arrows and directions telling him/her exactly where to walk. This works best once the user is in the vicinity and have the phone held out in front of the walking path. The user needs to click on Live View and instead of guessing which meadow the other person is, the user will be directed right to the other person's direction.

Mashable reported that Google Maps has also updated its Live View to label landmarks like the Eiffel Tower or Empire State Building and put pinned location markers in more accurate alignment. The list of cities where landmarks will show up includes- Amsterdam, Bangkok, Barcelona, Berlin, Budapest, Dubai, Florence, Istanbul, Kuala Lumpur, Kyoto, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Milan, Munich, New York, Osaka, Paris, Prague, Rome, San Francisco, Sydney, Tokyo, and Vienna.

Live View only works on newer phones that are compatible with AR. (ANI)

FS Shringla, Army Chief meet Aung San Suu Kyi, discuss India-Myanmar bilateral issues

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and Army chief General MM Naravane meet Myanmar State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi [Photo: Twitter/India in Myanmar]


Naypyidaw [Myanmar], October 5 (ANI): Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and Army chief General MM Naravane on Monday called on Myanmar State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi here and discussed "important bilateral issues".

"Chief of Army Staff General MM Naravane and @harshvshringla, Foreign Secretary along with @AmbSaurabhKumar called on State Counsellor H.E. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi @MyanmarSC at @MOFAMyanmar NayPyiTaw on October 5, 2020. They discussed important bilateral issues," India in Myanmar wrote on Twitter.

Naravane and Shringla are on a two-day visit to Myanmar to "take stock of the existing bilateral ties and strengthen cooperation in areas of mutual interest".

"Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, few direct exchanges have taken place between the two sides. This visit will provide an opportunity to take stock of the existing bilateral ties and strengthen cooperation in areas of mutual interest," a Ministry of External Affairs release had said.

India attaches high priority to its relationship with Myanmar in accordance with its 'Neighborhood First' and 'Act East' policies, the MEA said.

In recent times, both sides have strengthened their cooperation in several areas, including connectivity and trade, development projects, energy, capacity building, defence and security and culture and people-to-people links. (ANI)

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