Friday, October 16, 2020

China denies encroaching on Nepali land, says building constructed falls within its territory

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Beijing [China], October 16 (ANI): Amid reports that China has encroached on Nepali land and is constructing structures, Chinese state media on Friday said that the buildings fall within the Chinese territory and are actually a newly-built village in Tibet Autonomous Region and not on the "encroached" land of Nepal.

"The buildings that some in Nepal accused China of encroaching on its land fall within Chinese territory and are actually a newly-built village in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region," Global Times reported citing sources.

Chinese state media reaction comes amid reports that China has encroached on Nepali land in Humla district and has started constructing structures on the encroached land.

Jivan Bahadur Shahi, who is a leader of opposition of Karnali Province, recently said people in Humla, which is his home district, are suffering due to Chinese presence in the area, adding Beijing has suspended permission to the trucks laden with food supply, Khabarhub reported.

Though Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli-government has denied the allegations. Shahi said that China has erected a pillar and the government officials have said that they were not consulted about such issues.

The basic principle of boundary pillars is that whenever a new pillar has to be set up, it should first be settled in coordination with the officials of both sides. However, this principle has been breached.

"The Junge Pillar 12 has been recently erected by China. The government officials say they have not been consulted about such issues. The Pillars 5.1 and 6.1 have been enclosed as there are Chinese security forces," he said.

"Our people have been chased away by Chinese security when they go to the area there for farming or cattle-rearing. There is ample evidence that shows that Nepal's territory has been encroached," the leader said. (ANI)

Armenian military says ready to observe ceasefire coordinated in Moscow - Defense Ministry

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Moscow [Russia], October 16 (ANI/Sputnik): The Armenian Defense Ministry said on Friday that its armed forces were ready to observe the humanitarian ceasefire coordinated in Moscow earlier in October and urged the OSCE to persuade Azerbaijan's forces to follow the ceasefire.

"The MoD of the Republic of #Armenia reaffirms that the units of the Armed Forces of Armenia and #Artsakh Defence Army are ready to observe the terms of the humanitarian ceasefire signed in #Moscow on October 10, as well as to apply the agreed ceasefire monitoring arrangements. In this regard, we urge the int'l community, in particular the @OSCE MG CCs, to address directly in their statements & appeals to the side of the conflict which avoids establishing ceasefire," the statement said.

Earlier in the day, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said that the country's armed forces were taking control of new settlements and strategic heights in Nagorno-Karabakh every day.

The deadly confrontation between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed Armenian-dominated region of Karabakh has been ongoing since late September. Last week, following the 10-hour talks in Moscow, the two countries agreed to cease hostilities starting October 10 at noon (08:00 GMT), but exchanges of fire have continued. (ANI/Sputnik)

EAM Jaishankar takes dig at Pakistan, says normal neighbours do visas, trade, they don't practice terrorism

EAM S Jaishankar (Photo: ANI)


New Delhi [India], October 16 (ANI): Pakistan continues its support to cross-border terrorism and it is very hard to conduct normal relations with them, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Friday.

Speaking during an online event hosted by the Asia Society, Jaishankar said normal neighbours do visas and trade, give connectivity and "most important they don't practice terrorism".

"How are we with Pakistan. Well, I am afraid we're still at the, if not the perennial issues, at least the long-lasting ones, which is terrorism from Pakistan continues," he said.

"Terrorism from Pakistan continues and remains publically acknowledged by their govt as a policy they're justifying. Makes it very hard to conduct normal relations with them. They don't do normal trade with India, we don't have a normal visa relationship" he added.

The minister said that this challenge to understand how to have a normal relationship with "this very unique neighbour" is a troubling issue for the country's foreign policy.

"Normal neighbours do visas and trade, they give you connectivity and most important they don't practice terrorism. They've blocked connectivity between India and Afghanistan...I think until we address that problem, this challenge of how do you have a normal relationship with this very unique neighbour, is a very troubling issue for our foreign policy," he said. (ANI)

Sudan opens inquiry into murder of 8 people at violent protests in Kassala - Government

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Moscow [Russia], October 16 (ANI/Sputnik): Sudan has launched an investigation into the killing of eight people as a result of recent violent clashes between the security forces and demonstrators following the dismissal of Saleh Ammar, the governor of the eastern province of Kassala, the Information Minister and government spokesman, Faisal Mohamed Saleh, has said.

Ammar, a member of the Beni Amer people, was among the 18 civilian governors appointed by Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok back in July, in a move that was seen as crucial for the country's transition to democracy. On Tuesday, Hamdok fired Ammar in light of sporadic protests organized by rival tribes, including al-Hadandawa, against his appointment. Ammar's supporters took to the streets. Eight protesters were killed, including a security serviceman, and another 29 injured.

"The Prosecutor's Office has started an investigation into events in Kassala," Saleh said in a press statement, as quoted by the Sudan Tribune news outlet.

Saleh also announced the introduction of a three-day state of emergency, hoping that tensions would calm down.

According to the news outlet, Ammar has accused law enforcement officers of opening fire against his supporters during "the peaceful protests that they organized."

Earlier this week, Sudanese media reported that, following Ammar's dismissal, inter-tribal riots also erupted in the two port cities of Suakin and Port Sudan, which are located in the neighboring province of Red Sea. The country's committee of doctors said that participants of the scuffle in Suakin used knives and sticks, which left six people dead and another 20 injured. The exact number of victims in Port Sudan remains unknown. Following the unrest, the authorities imposed a curfew.

Sudan is currently governed by a hybrid transitional government made up of military and civilian officials with the objective of building institutions and procedures for a democratic society. The transition is set to last until 2022, when a new constitution will be adopted and cycles of elections will take place, according to the agreements reached during the formation of the transitional government. (ANI/Sputnik)

Chirag Paswan says, I am PM Modi's Hanuman

LJP chief Chirag Paswan speaking to ANI in Patna on Friday. [Photo/ANI]


Patna (Bihar) [India], October 16 (ANI): Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Chirag Paswan on Friday said that he is "Hanuman" of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and that his relationship with the senior BJP leader will not be affected by statements of the other leaders of the ruling party at the Centre and in Bihar.

Paswan, whose party is contesting polls outside the NDA in Bihar, also said that the next government in Bihar will be formed with BJP leader as Chief Minister and LJP will be part of it.

Paswan made a veiled reference to remarks of BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi who had said that the BJP may write to the Election Commission to prevent any other party except partners of NDA from using Prime Minister Narendra Modi's photograph in their posters in Bihar elections.

"I actually do not need to use PM Modi's photos for campaigning. He lives in my heart, I am his Hanuman. If needed, I will tear open my chest and show it. My relationship with PM Modi would not be affected by any statements of BJP leaders. Even if they include my criticism in PM Modi's speeches in the upcoming rallies in the state then also I will not mind that. But I reaffirm that on November 10, I will make a BJP leader as the Chief Minister of Bihar and LJP would be part of the government. I will never put candidates against any BJP candidate in the assembly elections," Paswan told ANI.

"I have full faith on the Prime Minister and I have confidence that after November 10, BJP and LJP will form a government together in Bihar," he added.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar told the media on Thursday that Paswan was trying to mislead people by taking names of senior BJP leaders.

"Chirag Paswan has decided his own path in Bihar and is contesting elections separately. He is trying to mislead people by taking names of BJP senior leaders. We don't have any A, B, C or D team in Bihar. We only have one strong team of BJP, JDU, Hindustani Awam Morcha and Vikasheel Insan Party in the alliance," he said.

Javadekar also said that the LJP will only be reduced to the role of "votekatwa (vote cutter)" party and asserted that NDA will get a three-fourth majority.

Paswan also attacked Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and referred to party's stance on triple talaq legislation and earlier stance of its leaders on abrogation of Article 370.

"Nitish Kumar was worried that LJP might use PM Modi's photo. Where am I using PM Modi's photo in our party's posters and manifesto? Actually, Nitish Kumar needs PM Modi's photo. In 2013, when Narendra Modi was the PM candidate then Nitish had abandoned the NDA," Paswan said.

He said BJP leaders should refrain from making comments on LJP as being a 'votekatwa' party and claimed that these comments are being made at the behest of Nitish Kumar.

"I do not understand why Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) cannot expand its public base. Using terms like 'votekatwa' for our party is beyond my understanding. At the same time, I can see where this language is coming from. The top BJP leadership is speaking Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's language. BJP is performing its coalition dharma but they should think before speaking as they are talking about Ram Vilas Paswan's party to whom they paid condolences a few days back," he said.

Paswan further said that his goal is not to "rule" Bihar but to work for the pride and development of the state.

"There is an attempt to spread a rumour that if Ram Vilas Paswan was alive then LJP would have been part of the coalition. I would like to clarify that if I had a vision of ruling in Bihar then there would have been a red carpet for me on the lines of our victory in Lok Sabha. However, my politics is not of ruling Bihar but for 'Bihari Asmita' (securing pride of the state)," he said.

"I have chosen the path of struggle under the guidance of my father Ram Vilas Paswan. He had told me recently that if the present chief minister of Bihar retains his post in the upcoming elections, he would never be able to forgive me as this would take back Bihar by another 5-10 years," he said.

He accused Nitish Kumar of practicing caste-based politics.

"Nitish Kumar has only done caste-based politics by dividing the society on the basis of his so-called 'social engineering'. He has not done anything to industrialise the state and for education and health facilities in the state. Nitish Kumar does not trust the BJP leadership. He is not called 'Kursi Kumar' without any reason. After 2010, he never paid any attention to development matters," he alleged.

He claimed that Nitish Kumar will not become the Chief Minister of Bihar again.

Bihar will go to polls in three phases - October 28, November 3 and November 7 for its 243 assembly seats. The results will be declared on November 10. (ANI)

Change in mindset must to curb rape, harassment in Bangladesh, says PM Hasina's daughter

Saima Wazed, daughter of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. (Photo: ANI)


Dhaka [Bangladesh], October 16 (ANI): Stressing the need of educating children about gender equality, Saima Wazed, daughter of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has said mentality of people is required to change in order to reduce rape and oppression against women in Bangladesh.

Wazed made the remarks at the launching of the campaign 'Women's Safety in Public Places (WSPP)', jointly launched by Young Bangla - the youth wing of the ruling Awami League's research wing Centre for Research and Information (CRI) in collaboration with UNDP and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday evening.

Advocating for the idea that it all starts from home, Wazed called upon everyone to raise children ensuring gender equality and giving equal respect to male and female kids. She also stressed the need for instilling a sense of dignity among girls and imparting proper education to them so that a girl can thrive with equal courage and quality as boys.

The internationally acclaimed mental health expert, Wazed said: "Well, self-protection skills must be acquired. Off course! But, why do we have to live like this? Why should we carry a gender identity? Why should we live under apprehension just because we are women? Why must we move extra carefully? Why won't we be able to live up to our choice?"

Wazed is a CRI Trustee and Co-chairman and Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) Thematic Ambassador. She is also a member of the World Health Organization's Expert Advisory Panel on Mental Health.

With a call to build Bangladesh a harassment-free country, she said: "We must advance the country to the point where not even a single girl will be the victim of harassment. No lady will be disrespected. Let us march forward with dignity. Let us work out whatever we dream of."

Referring to the kind of experiences women come across in public places, she said, "These are not fairytale stories. These are real and I can relate to my life experiences as well."

"When I was a college student, I had to travel by train. Once we, three friends, were going somewhere by train and there was a compartment for ladies. In that compartment, we sat on our baggage placed on the floor because we knew that we would be harassed if we got into a general compartment. We would be safe and secure in the ladies' compartment," she said.

"Why do we women have to live like this? Why would you feel uncomfortable? Why should we live in apprehension? Why should we get dressed in a certain way and otherwise be blamed? Why is the fear instilled in our minds since our childhood? Why won't we be able to move with courage?," she added.

Stressing the need for educating children on gender equality at home, Saima Wazed Hossain said, "I want everyone in our country to be taught the way I teach my four children that women and men are no different. We are all equal. Let us pay the deserved respect to women in the home, outside the home, on streets, in schools, and the workplace."

"If a girl is harassed somewhere and no one comes to protest, what can she do alone? Anyone witnessing that incident must stand beside that girl," she added.

"Our boys have to be educated on gender equality from home so that that education reflects on their behaviour when they grow up and play a role in the family. So, it all starts with the home," she further said.

UNDP Country Director Sudipto Mukherjee, State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Fazilatun Nessa Indira, State Minister for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Zunaid Ahmed Palak, Chief Coordinator for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Zuena Aziz, and Inspector General of Police (IGP) Benazir Ahmed joined a panel discussion as part of the online launching.

Earlier, in March, the Young Bangla and Human Rights Programme of UNDP signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to promote the 'Women's Safety in Public Places' campaign. (ANI)

Mathura court admits plea seeking to remove mosque adjacent to Krishna Janmabhoomi

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Mathura (Uttar Pradesh) [India], October 16 (ANI): Mathura court has admitted the plea seeking to remove the mosque, situated adjacent to Krishna Janmabhoomi.

"We had approached the civil court in Mathura for this case before the civil senior division. The entire land of 13.37-acre land belongs to Lord Krishna Virajman. Today, the district judge has given a notice to all the parties and the next hearing will be on November 18," said Vishnu Jain, Petitioner.

On September 30, a Mathura civil court had refused to admit a suit to remove an Idgah "built on Krishna Janmabhoomi".

The court of the civil judge had dismissed the suit, filed by advocate Vishnu Jain, citing a bar under the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991. The Act had only exempted the litigation on the ownership of the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land in Ayodhya but barred the courts from entertaining litigation that would alter the status quo of a religious place as existed on August 15, 1947.

The suit blamed Mughal ruler Aurangzeb for demolishing a Krishna temple, built at the "birthplace of Lord Shree Krishna at Katra Keshav Dev, Mathura, in the year 1669-70 AD" and raising the "Idgah Mosque" in its place.

The suit sought the removal of encroachment and the superstructure, now maintained by the Committee of Management of Trust Masjid Idgah with the consent of the Sunni central board.

The suit was filed against the UP Sunni Central Waqf Board and the Committee of Management Trust Masjid Idgah as it granted approval to the later to enter into an "illegal" compromise with Shree Krishna Janmasthan Seva Sangh on October 12, 1968. It was illegal and void for the reason that the society had no right over the property involved in Civil Suit No. 43 of 1967, decided by Civil Judge, Mathura, it said, adding that the 1968 deed was not binding.

The Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act declares that the religious character of a place of worship shall continue to be the same as it was on August 15, 1947. The Act also declared that all suits, appeals, or any other proceedings regarding converting the character of a place of worship, which were pending before any court or authority on August 15, 1947, would abate as soon as the law came into force. (ANI)

6 people killed, 3 injured in bomb blast in Afghanistan's Ghor province

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Ferozkoh [Afghanistan], October 16 (ANI): At least 6 people were killed and three other suffered injuries in a roadside bomb blast in Ferozkoh city of Ghor province, on Friday.

"At least six people were killed and three more were wounded in a roadside bomb blast in Ferozkoh city, Ghor province, on Friday," Tolo News quoted Interior Affairs Ministry's spokesman Tariq Arian as saying.

No terror group has taken the responsibility of the attack so far.

Afghanistan in recent weeks has witnessed an increase in violence despite the ongoing talks between the Afghan government and Taliban to restore peace in the war-ravaged nations. (ANI)

Apparel export sector on path of V-shaped recovery: AEPC Chairman

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New Delhi [India], October 16 (ANI): The Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) Chairman Dr A Sakthivel said that the double-digit growth in apparel exports in September indicates that the sector has begun its V-shaped recovery and is going to get better.

"Apparel exports rose for the first time this fiscal in September. The steep recovery from 90 per cent fall in April to 10 per cent rise last month corroborates our belief that the apparel sector is already on the path of V-shaped recovery," Dr Sakthivel said on Friday.

The Chairman thanked the Government of India and Minister of Textiles Smriti Zubin Irani, Minister of Commerce Piyush Goyal, Minister of MSME Nitin Gadkari and Minister of Finance Nirmala Sitharaman for leading the industry out of this crisis.

"It is all possible because of the positive steps taken by the Government of India especially the Ministries of Textiles, Commerce, MSME and Finance. Pro-active government with dynamic ministers and supporting policies, our foray into medical textiles and positive sentiment towards India are making the revival strong," he said.

"The apparel exporting industry has risen like a phoenix from the deep crisis because of the hard-working and ingenious apparel exporters, who must be complimented for their agility and enterprise for protecting both industry and jobs," Dr Sakthivel added.

Apparel exports saw positive growth of 10.22 per cent for September 2020 (USD 1,190 million) vis-a-vis USD 1,079 million in September 2019.

"The impact of the pandemic on apparel exports had been severe. However, we believe this turnaround with a positive growth of more than 10 per cent will only increase as we go forward in the second half of the fiscal. The negative growth trend has been arrested after several months and a lot of lost ground will be captured in H2. Apparel exporters are walking through positive growth," Dr Sakthivel said. (ANI)

Priyanka Gandhi says, UP CM doesn't have time to hold 'special session' on crimes against women

Congress Leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (Photo: ANI)


New Delhi [India], October 16 (ANI): In the last one week, 13 crimes against women were committed in Uttar Pradesh but Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath does not have time to hold a 'special session' on them, said Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi on Friday.

"In the last one week, 13 horrific incidents of crime against women have taken place in UP. According to the reports, in 4 incidents the victim was killed or the victim committed suicide. This state of women's security is disturbing. CM does not have time to hold a 'special session' on this but yes the photo session is on," Priyanka Gandhi tweeted (roughly translated from Hindi).

Her statement comes a day after a local BJP leader Dhirendra Pratap Singh in Ballia district allegedly shot dead a man during a meeting called for allotment of shops under government quota.

Earlier, after an alleged acid attack by an unidentified attacker on three sleeping sisters in Uttar Pradesh's Gonda district came to light, Priyanka Gandhi on Tuesday once again lashed out at the Yogi Adityanath government and said the government has "a politically motivated narrative" which is "justifying and protecting perpetrators".

Gandhi tweeted a video of the father of the three girls and said that state government's narrative has emboldened criminals across Uttar Pradesh.

Meanwhile, a team of Special Task Force (STF) will investigate the conspiracy to incite ethnic and communal riots in Uttar Pradesh on the pretext of Hathras incident, the state government said on Friday.

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

25 lakhs virtual hearings took place in various courts of India during COVID-19: Ravi Shankar Prasad tells SCO

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad


New Delhi [India], October 16 (ANI): Highlighting the initiative taken by the Indian government for providing affordable and easy access to justice for all, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member states on Friday that over 25 lakh hearings through video conference have taken place at various courts of India during COVID-19, out of which 9,000 virtual hearings have taken place at the Supreme Court alone.

Addressing the Seventh Meeting of Ministers of Justice of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) the Member States, hosted by India, Prasad highlighted that through Tele-Law services initiated in 2017, so far 3.44 lakh free legal consultations have been given to poor people through video conferencing.

He also highlighted e-Courts projects with Video-Conferencing facility and rolling out of virtual courts, as part of government's successful transformative change in process automation from the conventional brick and mortar court architecture.

"During COVID-19 pandemic over 25 lakh hearing through video conference have taken place at various courts of India, out of which 9,000 virtual hearings have taken place at the Supreme Court alone. He apprised the gathering of the high priority, the government has given to frame business facilitating laws and rules, including Commercial Courts Act and Arbitration Laws with a view to make India a preferred destination for investment and business," the official statement read.

Besides Prasad from India, Justice minister of China, Tang Yijun; Justice minister of Kyrgyz Republic, M.T. Dzhamankulov; Russian Justice minister K. A. Chuichenko; Tajikistan Justice minister MK Ashriyon; Uzbekistan Justice Minister RK Davletov; and an authorised representative of the Ministry of Law and Justice of Pakistan, Ambreen Abbasi, participated in the Justice Ministers' Meeting.

The keynote address and closing remarks in the meeting were delivered by Anoop Kumar Mendiratta, Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs, Ministry of Law and Justice participated in the event.

As part of activities of Justice Ministers' Forum, Prasad urged the SCO Member States to promote the exchange of ideas, best practices and experiences in identified areas through the platform. He also stressed on widening the spectrum of activities being undertaken in the Forum, in particular, and SCO in general.

Earlier, the Experts Working Group of SCO Member States discussed the importance of promoting alternative dispute resolution mechanism as also cooperation in all spheres including legal, given the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Seventh Session of the Ministers of Justice of the SCO Member States deliberated on areas of cooperation; emphasised the high relevance of mutual exchange of legal information on counteraction to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and acknowledged the need for cooperation in ADR mechanism area, among others.

A joint statement following the results of the Seventh Session of the Ministers of Justice of the SCO Member States was also adopted.

The ministers agreed to strengthen the work on the implementation of the Agreement on Cooperation between the Ministries of Justice of the SCO Member States in August 2015 and to continue the work on the implementation of the Action Plans of the working groups of experts on forensic activities and legal services for 2018-2020, as well as to develop Action Plans for 2021-2023.

They also agreed to consider organising exchange programs for representatives of the ministries (law and justice of the SCO member-states) to study the best practices in alternative dispute resolution. (ANI)

Pakistan opposition terms mega rally against Imran Khan an attempt to restore sanctity of people's vote

Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman. (Photo: ANI)


Gujranwala [Pakistan], October 16 (ANI): Pakistan's opposition is committed to restoring sanctity of people's vote, said Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman before leaving for the first demonstration by Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) against the Imran Khan government.

"The opposition [...] is committed and there should be no impression that any of the parties are waiting for an agreement. All [parties] are committed and are united in restoring [the sanctity] of the people's vote," Dawn quoted Rehman as saying.

Speaking to the media in Lahore before his departure for the agitation, he said: "We don't have personal enmity with anyone. But it should be specified that Pakistan belongs to Pakistanis. It does not belong to Western entities."

"Pakistan did not come into power to be ruled by the global establishment," he added.

The recently-formed PDM is holding its first anti-government protest in Gujranwala.

The opposition comprising 11 parties including PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz), PPP (Pakistan Peoples Party), and JUI-F (Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl) will be holding the Gujranwala Rally.

The anti-government rally is organised to protest against army atrocities and demand for PM Imran Khan's resignation in the backdrop of corruption, economic slowdown, and poor governance.

Meanwhile, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz left for the rally from her residence at Jati Umra in Lahore. Before her departure, Maryam said that she was embarking on this "mission as Nawaz's foot soldier".

"I have dedicated myself to your struggle, your mission for Pakistan and its people. May Allah be with us and may we return triumphant and victorious. Pakistan Zindabad," she said in a tweet addressed to the PML-N supremo who is also expected to address the rally.

Pakistan government had challenged the opposition to fill the Jinnah Park since the government had allowed it to hold a public gathering. "Tell us will you resign forthwith if the venue is full," PML-N Senator Pervaiz Rashid asked the minister.

PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari arrived in Lala Musa in Gujrat at the residence of Qamar Zaman Kaira on Thursday evening. It is expected that he will lead PPP workers from there to the venue of the rally.

PDM President Maulana Fazl will leave for Gujranwala from Jamia Ashrafia on Ferozepur Road, Lahore. The JUI-F leadership has directed its supporters to reach the rally venue directly. (ANI)

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad tests positive for COVID-19

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad



New Delhi [India], October 16 (ANI):
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Friday tested positive for COVID-19 infection.

The Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha is home quarantined and has requested those who came in contact with him to follow protocol.

"I have tested positive for COVID-19. I am in h
ome quarantine. Those who came in contact with me in last few days may kindly follow the protocol," Azad said in a tweet.

There are 22,605 active cases with 2,92,502 recovered and 5,924 deaths so far in the national capital.

Meanwhile, with a spike of 63,371 new cases and 895 deaths on Friday, India's COVID-19 count reached 73,70,469, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).

As per the MoHFW, the COVID-19 count includes 8,04,528 active cases, and 64,53,780 cured and discharged or migrated cases.

Further, with 895 deaths reported due to the disease today, the toll due to the disease is at 1,12,161 in the country. (ANI) 

India, US 2+2 dialogue likely to take place on October 26-27, official announcement expected soon

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New Delhi [India], October 16 (ANI): The India-US 2+2 dialogue between the foreign ministers and defence ministers of the two countries is likely to take place later this month in New Delhi.

The talks between the defence and foreign ministers of India and the United States are expected to take place on October 26 and 27 in New Delhi. An official announcement is yet to be made in this regard.

High powered dialogue between India and the United States is going to take place in the backdrop of ongoing border tensions between India and China. New Delhi and Beijing have held seven rounds of military talks and multiple rounds of diplomatic level talks which have remained inconclusive and tensions between the two Asian giants along Line of Actual Control (LAC) still persist.

A key focus of 2+2 dialogue will be peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific region. High-level strategic defence cooperation, trade, connectivity, improvement of supply chains structure, counter-terrorism and dialogue on the regional issue including Doha peace talks vis a vis Afghanistan may also come on the table.

The two countries may also exchange notes on cooperation in COVID-19 response and related vaccine and strengthening of partnership at the United Nations where India will assume office as a non-permanent member at the United Nations Security Council.

Preparations for 2+2 dialogue are underway. Foreign Minister Jaishankar met his US counterpart Pompeo at the quad meet in Tokyo recently.

Foreign secretary Harsh Shringla and US deputy secretary of state Stephen Biegun, who was on an India visit, discussed agenda of upcoming 2+2 ministerial dialogue. Indian Army's vice-chief, Lt Gen SK Saini. will also visit the Hawaii-based Indo-Pacific Command ahead of 2+2 dialogue. (ANI)

Pakistan Democratic Movement's rally to start in Pakistan's Gujranwala soon, govt trying to obstruct it

PDM Rally heading towards Gujranwala (Photo/ANI)


Gujranwala [Pakistan], October 16 (ANI): The Pakistan Democratic Movement's (PDM) first anti-government protest is going to take place in Gujranwala within hours.

The opposition comprising 11 parties including PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz), PPP (Pakistan Peoples Party), and JUI-F (Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl) will be holding the Gujranwala Rally today.

The anti-government rally is organised to protest against army atrocities and demand for PM Imran Khan's resignation in the backdrop of corruption, economic slowdown, and poor governance.

Pakistan is under tremendous pressure owing to the coronavirus pandemic which has worsened the decay already existing in the system.

Balochistan, POK (Pakistan-occupied Kasmir), GB (Gilgit-Baltistan), Sindh, and now Punjab are also under pressure to form different political groups to stop this decay.

A large gathering of PML-N supporters was witnessed in Punjab province before the start of the rally. Anti-government protesters shouting slogans like "Look who has arrived, Lion is here." The PML-N supporters swarmed the streets with Nawaz Sharif's placards accompanied with music, who will virtually address the rally from London today.

The protestors had already started pouring in Gujranwala since last night, where the whole atmosphere reverberated with the slogans like, "Ek take me do Niyazi" referring to the shady performance of Imran Khan as the PM of Pakistan.

In order to foil the rally, the Punjab administration in connivance with Pak Army and centre started blocking the road leading to the rally spot. About 5,000 police personnel were deployed along the road leading to the Jinnah stadium.

People coming from other places to participate in the rally with their own vehicles were stopped four-five km away from the venue. Also, containers were put in the middle of the road to block the entry of the protesters.

Truck/container drivers who were bound to leave for Karachi with goods were forcibly stopped by the police and the trucks/containers were placed in the middle of the road to obstruct the path of the protesters. "Nothing was paid to us (truck/container drivers) and we are left in the middle of the road", said a truck driver when asked about the reimbursement.

Top opposition leaders including JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Maryam Nawaz, and Bilawal Bhutto are scheduled to address participants at the stadium. (ANI)

Uyghur issue: Liberal democracies like UK must call "a gulag a gulag"

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London [UK], October 16 (ANI): As crimes against humanity in China's Xinjiang region grow exponentially, there is a need for the liberal democracies to call "a gulag a gulag" and slap sanctions on Chinese entities and individuals who are behind the atrocities on Uyghurs.

According to a report by The Economist, the United Kingdom must "speak up" on the Uyghur issue and it should offer asylum to Uyghurs and, like America, slap targeted sanctions on abusive officials and ban goods made with forced Uyghur labour.

Xinjiang region is home to around 10 million Uyghurs. The Turkic Muslim group, which makes up around 45 per cent of Xinjiang's population, has long accused China's authorities of cultural, religious and economic discrimination.

About seven per cent of the Muslim population in Xinjiang has been incarcerated in an expanding network of "political re-education" camps, according to US officials and UN experts.

The Economist stated that the inmates have reportedly said that month after month, they are drilled to renounce extremism and put their faith in "Xi Jinping Thought" rather than the Koran.

"One told us that guards ask prisoners if there is a God, and beat those who say there is," The Economist said.

Citing the latest evidence, the newspaper reported that hundreds of thousands of Uyghur children may have been separated from one or both detained parents and many of these temporary orphans are in boarding schools, where they are punished for speaking their own language.

Meanwhile, China regularly denies such mistreatment and says the camps provide vocational training. However, people in the internment camps have described being subjected to forced political indoctrination, torture, beatings, and denial of food and medicine, and say they have been prohibited from practising their religion or speaking their language.

Recently, the United Nations Human Rights Council had included China and Pakistan as its members.

"It (China) is working in international forums to redefine human rights as being about subsistence and development, not individual dignity and freedom," said The Economist.

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.

Urging the liberal democracies to "call a gulag a gulag", The Economist said, "China's regime is not impervious to shame. If it were proud of its harsh actions in Xinjiang, it would not try to hide them. Nor would it lean on smaller countries to sign statements endorsing its policies there. As the scale of the horror emerges, its propaganda has grown less effective: 15 majority-Muslim countries that had signed such statements have changed their mind. China's image has grown darker in many countries in recent years, polls suggest: 86 per cent of Japanese and 85 per cent of Swedes now have an unfavourable view of the country. For a government that seeks to project soft power, this is a worry." (ANI)

Abhishek Kapoor a master in capturing human emotions: Vaani ahead of shooting new film by him

Vaani Kapoor


Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], October 16 (ANI): Bollywood actor Vaani Kapoor, who is all set to start shooting for her next film with Ayushmann Khurrana, has termed her director Abhishek Kapoor a "master in capturing human emotions."

"Abhishek is a master when it comes to capturing human emotions. He has done it brilliantly in films like Rock On!!, Kai Po Che, Kedarnath among others," she said.

"I was awed by the way he depicted the story of three friends in 'Kai Po Che.' It was real, it was simple but complicated and it was heartbreaking but beautiful. I cannot wait to work with him because I feel I will learn a lot on the sets of this progressive love story," she added.

The Befikre actor also said that she is grateful for the good reviews she got for her last release WAR, in which she was paired opposite Hrithik Roshan.

"It was a huge film with megastars. It was Hrithik and Tiger coming together for the first time on screen and I also happened to be a part of a big song. I may have had a smaller part to play in the film but it was substantial," she said.

Kapoor recently wrapped up the shooting of Bellbottom, in which she is paired opposite Akshay Kumar. (ANI

EU to strengthen counter-coronavirus cooperation at highest level: Council President

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Geneva [Switzerland], October 16 (ANI/Sputnik): The heads of states and governments of the European Union have agreed to reinforce the cooperation and make the coordination regular around issues pertaining to the fight against COVID-19, European Council President Charles Michel said on Friday.

"The situation is serious and unprecedented. And we took the decision to strengthen our European cooperation, especially on testing and tracing. And we also took the decision to organise, on a regular basis, cooperation and coordination at the level of the head of states or governments," Michel said ahead of the second day of EU leaders summit.

The World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11. Collective Europe emerged as the world's biggest outbreak in the beginning of the year, and most EU member states imposed strict measures aimed at curbing the spread of the disease. Following a retraction of these measures during the summer, the fall brought a resurgence of cases across Europe.

On Thursday, WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge said that the region's prolonged relaxed COVID-19 policies could lead to daily mortality in January being four or five times higher than in April. He stressed, however, that the increase in the number of cases was first of all associated with the increased number of tests.

According to the latest WHO estimates, more than 38.3 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed globally by now. Europe currently stands as the third-worst-affected region to the Americas and South-East Asia, with just above 7.4 million cases. (ANI/Sputnik)

55 people dead, 7 missing in central Vietnam's floods, natural disasters

Rescue team workers clearing out trees in Vietnam that were affected due to heavy downpour and storm. (Photo credit: Reuters)


Hanoi [Vietnam], October 16 (ANI/Xinhua): Floods and other natural disasters triggered by heavy downpours have killed 55 people and left seven others missing in central Vietnam over the past 10 days, the country's Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control said on Friday.

The death toll increased from 40 on Thursday. The victims were mainly reported in the provinces of Quang Tri, Thua Thien Hue and Quang Nam, according to the committee's latest report.

Among the dead, 13 were part of a rescue team who suffered a landslide on their way to verify reports of victims buried by a previous landslide in Thua Thien Hue's Phong Dien district. Over 30 others were swept away by floods, the committee said, adding that search and rescue are underway for the remaining missing.

Between October 5 to 13, heavy downpours were witnessed in central and central highlands Vietnam, with the accumulative rainfall surpassing 2,000 mm in some areas.

Some 900 hectares of rice fields and over 5,500 hectares of other croplands were submerged. Meanwhile, more than 445,700 cattle and poultry animals were killed or swept away, said the committee.

Heavy rains are expected to hit Vietnam's central and central highlands localities again starting from Friday and may last until October 21, according to the country's National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting.

As of September 22, natural disasters had left 93 people dead or missing and 272 injured in Vietnam.

The disasters, mainly whirlwinds, floods, landslides and downpours, also caused economic losses of about 5 trillion Vietnamese dong (217.4 million U.S. dollars) during the period, said the committee. (ANI/Xinhua)

Pakistan's ex-Major General admits to the country's role in Kashmir conflict in new book

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Islamabad [Pakistan], October 16 (ANI): "On October 26 (1947), the Pakistani forces captured Baramula where only 3,000 survived out of 14,000. The troops were now only 35 miles from Srinagar when the Maharaja (Hari Singh) sent his papers of accession to Delhi asking for help": these are the excerpts from a recently published book, Raiders in Kashmir, penned by Major General (retired) Akbar Khan of Pakistan.

The book released decades after Pakistan's Operation Gulmarg in Jammu and Kashmir admits to the role of Pakistan in the conflicts in the valley.

Giving out minute details of Pakistan's aggression in Kashmir, he said that the crisis was hatched and formulated in Lahore and Pindi.

The author wrote that at the beginning of September 1947, he was asked by Mian Iftikharuddin, then a leader in the Muslim League (the ruling political party) to prepare a plan to take over Kashmir.

"Ultimately, I wrote a plan under the title of "Armed Revolt inside Kashmir". As open interference or aggression by Pakistan was obviously undesirable, it was proposed that our efforts should be concentrated upon strengthening the Kashmiris themselves internally -- and at the same time taking steps to prevent the arrival of armed civilians or military assistance from India into Kashmir," Khan said.

Giving proof of top leaderships' role in the crisis, he said, "I was called to Lahore for a conference with the prime minister of Pakistan Mr Liaqat Ali Khan. On arrival there, I first had to attend a preliminary conference at the Provincial Government Secretariat in the office of Sardar Shaukat Hayat Khan who was then a minister in the Punjab government. I saw copies of my proposed plan in the hands of some..."

"On October 22, the operation began with Pakistani forces crossing the border and attacking Muzaffarabad and Domel on October 24 from where the Dogra troops had to withdraw. The next day these troops moved forward on the Srinagar road and again took on the Dogras at Uri... On October 27, India intervened and sent troops to Kashmir," he wrote.

Meanwhile, on the evening of October 27, Pakistan Prime Minister held a conference at Lahore to consider the situation arising out of Kashmir's accession and India's military intervention.

"The Prime Minister held an unofficial conference at Lahore to consider the situation arising out of Kashmir's accession and India's military intervention. At this conference, among others, were also present Colonel Iskander Mirza (then defence secretary, later to be a governor-general), Chaudhri Mohd All (then secretary-general, later to be a prime minister), Abdul Qayum Khan, then chief minister of the Frontier Province and Nawab Mamdot, then CM of Punjab. Brigadier Slier Khan and I were also invited," the author wrote.

He further said, "At this conference, I proposed that an attempt should be made to liquidate Jammu in order to block the only road, along which India could send reinforcements into the valley and the rest of Kashmir. I did not suggest that troops be used for this purpose or that the government should get involved in this. I suggested only that tribesmen may be allowed to make the attempt. I thought that three lashkars of a thousand each should be used."

In the book, he also testified that the Pakistani Army had worked with the tribal forces in various incursions in Kashmir.

After being appointed as the military adviser to the prime minister, on October 28, 1947, he had "rushed back to Pindi to ensure that the tribesmen received their ammunition in time". (ANI)

Tech Start-ups helping businesses and people in India's Unlock 5.0 to fight against Covid-19

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New Delhi [India], October 16 (ANI): As India entered in Unlock 5.0 with restrictions being lifted and cinemas, theatres and multiplexes are allowed to open with up to 50 per cent seating capacity after seven months, technology would play a vital role in providing a safe environment to the people amid coronavirus pandemic.

From robots cleaning floors, to safe parking, to serving at restaurants, malls and tablets being used to check COVID compliance, technological innovations can be seen everywhere. Several indigenous start-ups have come-together to make our lives safe and secure as the country gears to go back to normalcy. In the days to come, these contactless technologies will revolutionise the way normal life for the post COVID world.

The five start-ups that have brought various innovations to keep us safe during the pandemic:

Bluesemi: This Hyderabad based startup is building the Internet of things (IoT) devices for a smart and sustainable technology revolution. During Covid-19, Bluesemi has introduced a new device called SENS - a contactless temperature-sensing device with medical-grade accuracy giving the temperature reading within 5 seconds and it will automatically detect a person in 15 cm distance. It is paired with its own app. SENS can help figure out who can work and who must stay at home.

Additionally, App will issue a risk alert if the temperature is above a certain acceptable threshold and a long-lasting efficient battery - charge will last up to 15 days at a time, with battery health notification on the sensor as well as on the app.

VAMS Global: A leading provider of Visitor Management Systems. During Covid-19 VAMS Global has come up with new device VAMS SafeGuard which scan individuals through a distance of 18" and checks permissible body temperate, check mask compliance, embedded with face and palm recognition sensor, VAMS SafeGuard offers 100 per cent hands-free hygienic user authentication.

In case of high temperature or mask complaint defaults, the device will generate a signal to prevent entry. Real-time visibility of people inside the premises can be administered. In case of any emergency, an alert notification can be generated that helps them to evacuate the premises immediately for the security or admin team.

Magneto: Magneto - UVGI Sanitization for Theatres - The clean-tech start-up recently launched Central Air Cleaner for Home ACS leverages UVGI- and ECF-powered technology to protect all kinds of ACs from transmitting COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, can float in the air. In particular, it can linger in poorly ventilated indoor spaces, spreading farther than 6 feet from its source. The indoor public spaces are at high risk.

In order to combat this situation, Magneto Cleantech has launched Magneto Central Air Cleaner High Wall and Cassette Series to sanitize indoor air for all kinds of environments including theatres, homes, offices, restaurants, shops, clinics, salons, gyms etc. Leveraging MCAC's legendary 'Trap & Kill' technology, this new cutting-edge cleantech solution integrates with any make and capacity of split or cassette ACs to sanitize the indoor air by removing PM 00.01, PM 2.5, bacteria, viruses, and other airborne microorganisms including SARS-COV-2. This innovative technology brings the proven efficacy of Magneto Central Air Cleaner against COVID-19 to much smaller versions of air conditioners, thereby helping safeguard people's health against fatal air-borne contractions at a larger scale.

Park+ Automated smart parking in India: A smart parking start-up has introduced a tech-driven social distancing solution for malls. The newly-launched solutions are aimed at preparing malls/offices/cinema halls for reopening and ensuring maximum safety while searching for a parking spot. This app will enable the mall personnel to check-in and out of customers as well as track and check body temperatures. Customers will also have to scan a QR code before entering or leaving a shop, which will help keep a real-time check on the number of footfalls in each store.

Green Grapes Devices: Delhi-based startup has built two solutions for startups returning to office including a wall-mounted automatic infrared thermometer, automated sanitiser dispenser and sanitisation gun. The infrared thermometer is a non-contact body temperature equipment that reads the body temperature of any individual standing in front of it. On the other hand, the automated sanitiser dispenser uses a motion sensor to detect the presence of hands under the nozzle and dispenses just the right amount of sanitizer. (ANI)

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