News

  • Dominic Thiem advanced to his second Grand Slam final of 2020 after a win over third seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev 6-2, 7-6(7), 7-6(5) at the US Open.

    Germany’s Alexander Zverev has broken through to his first Grand Slam final, dismissing Pablo Carreno Busta, 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3, to advance to the championship round of the 2020 US Open.  

    In women's singles of the tournament, Belarusian Victoria Azarenka will face Japan's Naomi Osaka in the summit clash of the women's singles today. 

    In the semifinal, Azarenka defeated Serena Williams 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 and smashed Serena's hope for 24th Grand Slam singles title. 

    In another semi final, Naomi Osaka of Japan beat American Jennifer Brady 7-6, 3-6, 6-3.

    Vera Zvonareva and Laura Siegemund won the Women's doubles title beating the third-seeded team of Xu Yifan and Nicole Melichar 6-4 6-4. 

  • In a joint statement issued on Friday, Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Tunisia, UK and the US asked Myanmar to ensure that individuals of all communities, including Rohingya, are able to participate safely, fully, and equally in credible and inclusive elections.

    Expressing concern over clashes between the Myanmar military and the Arakan Army in Rakhine and China states, the UNSC members called for immediate cessation of hostilities.

    The countries also extended support to Myanmar in fighting the COVID 19 pandemic through economic relief plan, public awareness campaign and other efforts.  

    The UNSC members also called upon Myanmar to address the long-term causes of the crisis in Rakhine and create conditions conducive to the safe, voluntary, sustainable, and dignified return of refugees.

    In order to find a solution to the problem, they asked Myanmar to intensify bilateral dialogue with Bangladesh to find a solution to the Rohingya refugee problem.

    The Security Council members expressed appreciation for the effort of Bangladesh in providing assistance and protection to the Rohingya refugees forcibly displaced from Myanmar. 

     

    Rajesh Jha/Dhaka

  • Narendra Modi also interacted with the beneficiaries under PMAY-G in Madhya Pradesh.

    The Prime Minister said that the 1.75 Lakh beneficiary families who are moving into their new houses today have got their dream home and also a confidence about the future of their children.

    He said that the beneficiaries who got homes today have joined the ranks of the 2.25 crore families who have got their own house in the last 6 years and will now be living in their own house rather than living in a rented house or a slum or a kutcha house.

    He wished the beneficiaries Diwali and said that he would have been amongst them personally to share their joy if not for the Corona.

    The Prime Minister said that today is not only a memorable moment in the lives of 1.75 lakh poor families, but it is also a major step to give pucca house to every homeless person in the country.

    He said while this strengthens the hope of the homeless in the country this also proves how Government scheme launched with right strategy and intention reach the targeted beneficiaries.

    The Prime Minister said that notwithstanding the challenges during the Corona period, work of 18 lakh houses has been completed throughout the country under the Prime Minister Awas Yojana-Gramin and among that 1.75 lakh houses completed in Madhya Pradesh itself.

    He said that on an average, building a house under PMAY-G takes about 125 days but during this period of Corona, it was completed in just about 45 to 60 days which is a record in itself. He said this was made possible owing to the migrants returning from cities to their villages.

    The Prime Minister said this is a great example of turning a challenge into an opportunity.  He said that these migrant labour took care of their families by taking full advantage of the Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyan and at the same time worked to build homes for their poor brethren.

    The Prime Minister expressed satisfaction that in many states of the country including Madhya Pradesh projects worth about Rs 23 thousand crores have been completed under PM Garib Kalyan Abhiyan. He said under this scheme, homes are being built for the poor in every village, works are being undertaken to provide water supply to every house, buildings are built for anganwadis and panchayats, along with cow sheds, ponds, wells etc.

    He said that this has led to two benefits. One is millions of migrant labourers who returned back to their villages from the cities have got meaningful employment. And second - goods related to construction like Brick, Cement, Sand, etc. have been sold. He said that in a way Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan emerged as a big support for the village economy in this difficult time.

    The Prime Minister said that various schemes were launched in the country for decades to build homes for the poor. But the goal of giving a dignified life, giving home to the crores of poor, could never be achieved.

    This is because there was too much interference of the government, lack of transparency and no consultation whatsoever with the actual beneficiary. He added that lack of transparency in earlier plans led to the poor quality of those houses.

    PM Modi said that in 2014, the scheme was modified after analysing tthe past experiences and it was launched as Prime Minister Awas Yojana with a new strategy. The entire procedure, right from selection of beneficiary till handing over the houses, was made transparent. He said earlier the poor had to run after the government, now the government is reaching the people. He said that scientific and transparent methods are being adopted from selection to manufacture.

    Not only this, priority is also given to locally available and used goods, from materials to construction. He said the designs of the house are also being prepared according to the local needs and style.

    The Prime Minister said there is complete monitoring of each phase of the house construction. Various installments of money are released after completion of each stage.  

    He added that the poor are not only getting a house, they are also  getting toilets, Ujjwala Gas connection, Sowbaghya Yojana, Power connection, LED bulb and Water connection also along with it. He said that schemes like PM Awas Yojana, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan are playing an important role in changing the lives of rural sisters.

    Prime Minister said about 27 welfare schemes of the Central Government are linked to the PM Awas Yojana.

    The Prime Minister said that the houses built under the PM Awas Yojana are mostly registered in the name of the woman or registered jointly alongwith the woman of the household.

    New work opportunities are being created for and at the same time, a large number of lady masons are used for the construction.

    He said that in Madhya Pradesh alone more than 50 thousand masons have been trained out of there are 9,000 lady masons. When the income of the poor increases, their confidence grows. So the resolve to build a self-reliant India is also strengthened.

    To strengthen this confidence, the Prime Minister said that modern infrastructure is being developed in every village since 2014.

    The Prime Minister recalled his promise made on the 15th August 2020, from the Ramparts of the Red Fort, on laying optical fiber cable in around 6 thousand villages in the next  1000 days.

    He said that even in this corona period, under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan, this work has progressed rapidly. He said that in just a few weeks more than 5000 kilometers of optical fiber has been laid in 116 districts.

    He said more than 1250 Gram panchayats are connected with about 19 thousand Optical fiber connections and about 15 thousand Wi-Fi HotSpot are provided.

    He said that when better and faster internet comes to villages, the children of the village will get better opportunities for education and the youth will get better business opportunities.

    He said that today every service of the government has been made online so that the benefits are also fast, there is no corruption and the villagers do not have to rush to the city for even small work. He said that to empower the village and the poor this campaign will be faster now, with the same confidence.

  • So far, over 36 lakh 24 thousand people in the country have recovered from the viral pandemic. The overall recovery rate stands at 77.77 per cent. The Health Ministry has said that the gap between recovered cases and active cases is progressively growing wide. It said, more than three fourth of the total cases have recovered whereas less than even one fourth remain as active Cases. The constant increase in recoveries has ensured reduction in the actual caseload of the country, which currently comprises only 20.56 per cent of the total positive cases.

    The number of recovered patients in the country has overtaken the active cases by nearly 3.8 times. Unprecedented surge in COVID Recoveries with more than 100 per cent increase in patients recovered and discharged in the past one month has also been reported. 

    The Health Ministry has informed that the sustained high recovery rate is fuelled by 9 States and Union Territories reporting recovery rate of over 80 per cent which includes Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, West Bengal, Rajasthan and Gujarat among others. 

    The ministry has informed that high levels of recovery is being reported from various States and UTs and almost 60 per cent of the total recovered cases are pooled in by 5 States including Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. 

    The country has progressively maintained a low Case Fatality Rate compared to the global average. Currently, India’s Case Fatality Rate stands at 1.66 per cent, where 17 States and UTs have reported fatality rates even lower than 1 per cent. 

    In the last 24 hours, nearly 97,000 new cases have been reported and the total active cases stand at around 9,58,000. 1,201 fatalities have also been reported in the last 24 hours taking the toll to 77,472. 

  • These trains will be fully reserved trains. Railways has said that all the precautionary measures will be in place such as social distancing, thermal screening and wearing of face masks by passengers will be strictly followed. 

    AIR Correspondent reports that booking for these trains had already started from 10th of this month. The decision to run these special trains was based on the trend of people's movement and occupancy in the trains. This move will help to avoid congestion often caused by fewer train availability. 

    These 40 pairs of trains are in addition to the existing 30 special Rajdhani trains and 200 Special Mail Express trains. The Railway Ministry is keeping a close watch over the demand and waiting lists in various areas of the country. The Ministry said, more trains will be made operational in due course of time, if needed. 

    Meanwhile, All the lines of Delhi Metro are now open from today. In a tweet, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, DMRC said, the metro service is available from 6:00 AM to 11:00 PM on all lines. 

    It said, with the resumption of service on the Airport Express Line today, all lines of the Delhi Metro network are now open. DMRC has requested passengers to follow the guidelines during travelling.
     
    Delhi Metro had resumed its services from 7th of this month in a calibrated manner after being shut for more than five months due to Coronavirus pandemic.

  • In his address, EAM conveyed that the peace process must be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-controlled. It has been India’s stand for long.

    Addressing the conference virtually,  EAM also said that the process must respect the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan and promote human rights and democracy. In his address, the EAM stressed that the Intra Afghan talks must ensure the interest of minorities, women, and the vulnerable section of the society.

    Highlighting the need to end violence in this strife-torn country the minister highlighted the need to effectively address violence across the country. Underlining the traditional goodwill and rapport India enjoys across sections among the people of Afghanistan, Jaishankar said that the friendship of our peoples is a testimony to our history with Afghanistan. India is one of the largest development partners of Afghanistan, with a commitment of more than US $ 3 billion.

    Referring to the development work that India continues to do in Afghanistan he said that no part of Afghanistan is untouched by our 400-plus development projects.  EAM expressed his confidence that this civilization relationship will continue to grow.

    Prominent speakers at the opening ceremony in Doha included Abdullah Abdullah, chairperson of Afghanistan's High Council for National Reconciliation, Taliban deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

    The formal negotiations, between the Afghan Government and the Taliban will start from Monday. The talks are happening to negotiate a power-sharing arrangement between the warring factions to eventfully put an end to decades of war.

     

    Report by Abhishek Jha

  • According to a statement provided by IPFT   the variety of surfaces like door handles, chair armrest, computer keyboard & mouse taps etc. may transmit microbes to the individuals through direct or indirect contact.

    Keeping this in view IPFT has developed; alcohol based “Disinfectant Spray” for the surface applications containing botanical anti-microbial which may be effective in prevention from various diseases caused by microbes, bacteria and virus. The formulation is volatile and evaporates quickly after disinfecting the surface and does not leave any stains, odor and residue etc. 

    IPFT has also developed Disinfectant Spray to remove pesticide residues left over on the surface of fruits and vegetables.  Fruits & vegetables are basic food commodities and necessary component of daily nutrition.

    Sometime non judicious uses of pesticide contaminate raw vegetables and fruits as pesticide residues  persist on their surface and can causes health risk upon consumption. 

    To make fruits and vegetables 100 percent safe for human consumption  IPFT has developed a water-based formulation .The decontamination procedure using the formulation is simple; vegetables or fruits are soaked in the diluted solution of this formulation for15-20 minutes thereafter rinsed with fresh water.  This simple procedure makes fruits and vegetables totally pesticide free.

    Gurugram, Haryana, based IPFT was Established in May 1991 under the Department of Chemicals & Petrochemicals, Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers as an Autonomous Institution.

    Intitute has been working towards the development of safer, efficient and environment friendly pesticide formulations. IPFT has four administrative divisions namely, Formulation Technology Division, Bioscience Division, Analytical Science Division and a Process Development Division.

  • Thanks to certain atmospheric turbulence parameters specific to the Himalaya region that scientists have calculated.

    Scientists at the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), an autonomous institute under the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Govt. of India, have estimated turbulence parameters in the lower troposphere over the central Himalayan region for the first time.

    The researchers have calculated the magnitude of refractive index structure (Cn2), a constant that represents the strength of the atmospheric turbulence using observation from their Stratosphere Troposphere Radar (S T Radar). In the study published in Radio Science journal led by Aditya Jaiswal, a Ph.D. student at ARIES Nainital and ARIES faculties D.V. Phani Kumar, S. Bhattacharjee, and Manish Naja have found that the refractive index structure constant (Cn2) is as large as 10-14 m-2/3. Such large values at the lower altitudes are due to the mountain wave activities and presence of low-level clouds.

    Proper and timely information of the higher values of the atmospheric turbulence parameters and understanding of time and space distribution of turbulence structure in the troposphere could help improve performance of numerical weather prediction and climate models.

    While the turbulence parameters for southern India were known earlier, the same were not known over the Himalayan region. Thus some approximate values were used by modelers for calculation. They have now been found to be much higher over the Himalayan region. Now modelers will be able to update these values in their existing models. This will help in improving weather predictions. Also, precise knowledge on turbulence over this region will help in safe air traffic movements.

    It is also important to model clear-air turbulence as that would aid in limiting the air traffic disasters, particularly over the complex mountainous regions. Low levels of cloud are generated in a mountainous region with complex topography. Because of this, stable air in this region is set into oscillations known as mountain waves and lee waves. Characterization of turbulence in the mountainous region is vital to understand the dynamics of mountain induced wave disturbances and other related phenomena, which has crucial role in modulating the general circulation wind patterns.

    Talking about the SERB, DST funded indigenously developed ST Radar used in the study, DST Secretary Professor Ashutosh Sharma said, “Development of such radar at 206.5 MHz, within the country, will further strengthen our efforts to better understand the regional changes in weather and climate, particularly in the Himalayan region, which is having complex topography."

  • The test which is the qualifying exam for appearing for the JEE (Advanced) was held in 10 shifts from 2nd to 6th of September this year. 

    Twenty four candidates scored 100 percentile in the Joint Entrance Examination (Main) and the largest number of toppers are from the State of Telangana. Among the remaining toppers, five are from Delhi, four from Rajasthan, three from Andhra Pradesh, two from Haryana, and one each from Gujarat and Maharashtra.
       
    JEE (MAIN) was postponed twice due to COVID-19 pandemic. The examination was conducted without any glitch in 660 centres in 232 cities including 8 outside the country.
     
    Since 2019, the test has been conducted twice a year. The first cycle of the entrance test, this year, was held in January.

  • The cave-in occurred on the "Detroit" mine site at around 3 p.m. local (1300 GMT) following heavy rains, said Emiliane Itongwa, president of the Initiative of Support and Social Supervision of Women.

    Itongwa said that around fifty young miners were trapped in the shaft of the mine.

    Photos on social media showed hundreds of people gathered on a hillside around the mine-shaft entrance.

    The mine was not located on the Kamituga gold concession owned by Canadian miner Banro Corporation, the company's chief executive said.

  • Zverev, with his back against the wall, raised his game just in time to deny the Spanish 20th seed the upset and, in doing so, secured his first career victory from two sets down on his second match point.

    The German looked headed for certain defeat after committing 36 errors through the first two sets but used his versatile game to pick himself up and looked like a completely different player the rest of the way.

    Zverev, who is bidding to become the first German Grand Slam champion since Boris Becker won the 1996 Australian Open, will face second seed Dominic Thiem in Sunday's final.

  • All of these houses have been built/completed during the current challenging COVID-19 pandemic period. Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh will also be present on the occasion. The program will be telecast Live on DD News.

    Prime Minister had given a clarion call of “Housing for All by 2022”, for which a flagship programme of PMAY-G was launched on 20th November, 2016. So far 1.14 crore houses have already been built across the country under the programme.  In the state of Madhya Pradesh, 17 lakh poor households have also benefited from this scheme till now.  These are all households of poor people who either had no house or lived in dilapidated makeshift homes.

    Under PMAY-G, each beneficiary is given 100% grant of Rs. 1.20 lakh with a  sharing ratio of 60:40 between Centre and State. Funds for all these houses constructed under PMAY-G are given by way of 4 instalments directly into the bank account of the beneficiary after verification of various stages of construction through Geotagged photographs. The scheme envisages to construct 2.95 crore houses by the year 2022.           

    In addition to the unit assistance, the beneficiaries are provided support of unskilled labour wages for 90/95 person days under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and assistance of Rs. 12,000 for construction of toilets through Swachh Bharat Mission- Gramin, MGNREGS or any other dedicated source of funding.

    The scheme has provisions for convergence with other schemes of Government of India and State/UTs for providing LPG connection under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Scheme, electricity connection, access to safe drinking water under Jal Jeevan Mission, etc. Madhya Pradesh Government, through its “Samridh Paryavas Abhiyaan”, has dovetailed 17 other schemes like social security, pension scheme, ration card, Prime Minister Kaushal Vikas Yojana, National Rural Livelihood Mission, etc to provide additional benefits. 

  • In the semifinal, Azarenka defeated Serena Williams 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 and ended Serena's 24th Grand Slam singles title. In another semi final, Naomi Osaka of Japan beat American Jennifer Brady 7-6, 3-6, 6-3.

    In Men's Singles semifinals later tonight, while Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain will face Germany's Alexander Zverev, Russian Daniil Medvedev will take on Dominic Thiem of Austria. The winners will meet in the final on Sunday.

  • As per the revised guidelines, the candidates as well as the political parties, regarding candidates nominated by them, will publish the details of criminal antecedents, if any, in newspapers and television.

    The first publicity will be within the first four days of the last date of withdrawal. Second publicity will be within the 5th to 8th day of the last date of withdrawal. The third publicity will be from 9th day till the last day of campaign which is two days prior to the date of poll. The Poll Body said, the timeline will help the voters in exercising their choices in a more informed manner.

    Regarding the publicity by uncontested winning candidates as well as the political parties who nominate them, the Commission clarified that uncontested winner candidates as well as the political parties who nominate them shall also publicise the criminal antecedents, if any, as prescribed for other contesting candidates and political parties.
     

  • The virtual meeting discussed issues such as combating COVID-19, counter terrorism, India’s membership on the UN Security Council, efforts to counteract recent destabilizing actions in South Asia, and the broader Indo-Pacific region. Both sides also agreed to further strengthen consultation through United States-India-Australia-Japan Quadrilateral consultations. 

    The Indian delegation was led jointly by Vani Rao, Joint Secretary (Americas) in the Ministry of External Affairs, and Somnath Ghosh, Joint Secretary (International Cooperation) in the Ministry of Defence. The U.S. delegation was led jointly by Dean Thompson, Senior Bureau Official, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs in the U.S. Department of State, and David Helvey, Acting Assistant Secretary for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs in the U.S. Department of Defense.

    Both sides reviewed the progress and developments in bilateral ties in defence, security, and foreign policy areas since the last 2+2 Ministerial meeting held on 18 December 2019 in Washington D.C. The United States also underscored the importance of India’s status as a Major Defense Partner, growing military-to-military cooperation, and other defense priorities. 

    The Intersessional meeting mechanism was set up pursuant to the 2+2 Ministerial. India and the US are expected to hold 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue later this year.

    -Abhishek Jha

  • Speaking at a webinar held by Washington-based Center for Strategic & International Studies in Tokyo, Kono pitched for a larger regional mechanism or global mechanism to counter China.
     
    Indo Pacific region is largely viewed as an area comprising the Indian Ocean and the western and central Pacific Ocean, including the South China Sea.
     
    China's territorial claims in the South China Sea its efforts to advance into the Indian Ocean are seen to have challenged the established rules-based system.
     

  • This enabled many stuck Indians to unite with their family members and enabled them to join back work in China. Indian Consulate in Shanghai tweeted that the flight carried back 54 Indians who wanted to return back to motherland. Travellers to both sides will have to follow extant quarantine requirements in respective countries.

    The first Vande Bharat flight to China was operated on 20th of June. Last month, China allowed entry of certain categories of foreigners which enabled Indian employees of multinational companies to return to China. However, China has not yet cleared the decks for entry of foreign students to China. Over 23,000 Indian students are waiting for their return to China.

    The Ministry of External Affairs in a statement said, as on 10th of September, 13.74 lakh Indians from across the globe have been repatriated through different modes of the Vande Bharat Mission including Air India, private and foreign carriers, chartered flights, naval ships and land border crossings

  • The Members have been asked to get their test done within 72 hours before the commencement of the session at any hospital or laboratory authorized by the government or at Parliament House Complex.

    For the convenience of the members, three Test Centres are functioning in Parliament House Annexe from today. The members have also been requested to ensure that their test report is sent in advance to the Rajya Sabha Secretariat through a designated e-mail, to avoid any inconvenience at the time of their entry into the Parliament House during the session.

    Similarly, RT-PCR test has been made mandatory for the employees of Parliament Secretariats and other agencies deployed in Parliament House Complex who remain in close proximity of the members during the course of performance of their duties.

  • Hours after the Japanese Prime Minister announced his decision to resign from the top post, PM Modi had tweeted, “Pained to hear about your ill health, my dear friend @AbeShinzo. In recent years, with your wise leadership and personal commitment, the India-Japan partnership has become deeper and stronger than ever before. I wish and pray for your speedy recovery.”

    PM had also shared a picture of him at a dinner hosted by the Japanese Prime Minister at his holiday home in Yamanashi while he was there to take part in the 13th India-Japan Summit in October 2018. 

    Japanese PM Abe had a summit-level talk with PM Modi on the telephone on Thursday. Referring to his telephonic conversation, the Japanese PM said, “Prime Minister Modi and I have spent many hours together through our mutual visits every year. We have shared the vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific and have been successful in rapidly strengthening the cooperative relationship between Japan and India, including in security.”

    During the conversation, the two leaders also reviewed the status of ongoing cooperation, including the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail (MAHSR) project, under the framework of the India-Japan Special Strategic & Global Partnership. 

    India and Japan have also signed the acquisition and cross-servicing agreement (ACSA) on Wednesday. Referring to the agreement the Japanese PM said, “The Agreement will promote closer cooperation between our Self-Defense Forces and the Indian Armed Forces and serve as a major cornerstone for Japan and India to actively contribute to international peace and security”

    ACSA establishes the enabling framework for closer cooperation between the Armed Forces of India and Japan in the reciprocal provision of supplies and services while being engaged in bilateral training activities such as United Nations Peacekeeping Operations and humanitarian international relief. The Defence Ministry, in a statement, has said that the agreement will also enhance the nations’ inter-operability, thereby furthering the bilateral defence engagements under special Strategic and Global Partnership between the two countries. 

    While conveying his intention to work closely with the new government of Japan, PM Modi, in conversation with the outgoing PM of Japan, expressed confidence that the strong momentum attained by the India-Japan partnership in the last few years will continue unabated in the future.

    Report by Abhishek Jha

  • PM Modi stressed on the importance of advancing the  students with 21st century skills. He listed out the 21st century skills - Critical Thinking, Creativity, Collaboration, Curiosity and Communication. He said that students should learn coding from the beginning, understand Artificial Intelligence, join Internet of Things, Cloud Computing, Data Science and Robotics. He said that the earlier education policy was restrictive, but in the real world, all subjects are related to each other. He said, the present system does not provide an opportunity to change the field, to connect with new possibilities and this has also been a major reason for the dropout of many children.  

    The Prime Minister said that National education policy also addresses another big issue, marksheet driven education dominating in place of learning driven education in our country. He said, a new National Assessment Center “Parakh” will also be established for the overall improvement of the evaluation system.

    The Prime Minister called upon the cooperation of all the teachers, administrators, voluntary organizations and parents in this national mission.

    Speaking on the occasion, Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank said, the new National Education Policy focuses on overall development of students with scientific temperament. He said, this will also help in developing strong intellect in students. 

  • Scientists at the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), an autonomous institute under the Department of Science & Technology (DST), have estimated turbulence parameters in the lower troposphere over the central Himalayan region for the first time.

    The researchers have calculated the magnitude of refractive index structure (Cn2), a constant that represents the strength of the atmospheric turbulence using observation from their Stratosphere Troposphere Radar (ST Radar). In the study published in Radio Science journal led by Aditya Jaiswal, a Ph.D. student at ARIES Nainital and ARIES faculties D.V. Phani Kumar, S. Bhattacharjee, and Manish Naja have found that the refractive index structure constant (C n 2 ) is as large as 10 -14 m -2/3. Such large values at the lower altitudes are due to the mountain wave activities and presence of low-level clouds.

    Proper and timely information of the higher values of the atmospheric turbulence parameters and understanding of time and space distribution of turbulence structure in the troposphere could help improve performance of numerical weather prediction and climate models.

    While the turbulence parameters for southern India were known earlier, the same were not known over the Himalayan region. Thus some approximate values were used by modelers for calculation. They have now been found to be much higher over the Himalayan region. Now modelers will be able to update these values in their existing models. This will help in improving weather predictions. Also, precise knowledge on turbulence over this region will help in safe air traffic movements.

    It is also important to model clear-air turbulence as that would aid in limiting the air traffic disasters, particularly over the complex mountainous regions. Low levels of cloud are generated in a mountainous region with complex topography. Because of this, stable air in this region is set into oscillations known as mountain waves and lee waves. Characterization of turbulence in the mountainous region is vital to understand the dynamics of mountain induced wave disturbances and other related phenomena, which has crucial role in modulating the general circulation wind patterns.

    By Tapas Bhattacharya

  • The study could provide a new understanding to tackle the COVID 19 patients and control the pandemic, which has caused crisis of unprecedented dimensions affecting every continent of the globe. Dr. Vincent Prevot, previously a principal investigator supported by the Indo-French Centre for the Promotion of Advanced Research (CEFIPRA), supported by the Department of Science & Technology, along with a team of Indian and French scientists, have shown that specialized glial cell called tanycytes in the hypothalamus, as well as olfactory neurons, could provide an opening for SARS-CoV-2 into the brain. They have also shown that hypothalamic circuits could act as a hub for the numerous risk factors as well as the physiological effects of viral infection. This work has been published in the journal ‘bioRxiv’.

    While COVID-19 has been considered a respiratory disease, many of the reported symptoms could also have a neurological origin. However, most investigations so far have not found the virus in the brain, or have found it only in the cerebrospinal fluid or blood vessels. Similarly, the only confirmed molecule that the virus binds to on the host cell surface in order to enter the cell – angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 or ACE2, a molecule that regulates blood pressure, has not been shown to be present at high levels in the brain, other than in capillary walls.

    However, the researchers were struck by a curious coincidence. Many of the functions affected in severe COVID-19 patients, temperature control, hydration, cardiorespiratory function, the senses of smell and taste were coordinated or transmitted by the hypothalamus. Besides, many of the risk factors for severe COVID-19, including male sex, metabolic diseases such as obesity, diabetes or hypertension, and even old age, also involve hypothalamic cell networks.

    With the aid of funding from the European Research Council Synergy grant, the team stumbled upon multiple findings. Their bioinformatician and postdoctoral fellow Dr. Sreekala Nampoothiri found that both the hypothalamus and related regions involved in cardiorespiratory function, smell, or taste expressed the viral receptor ACE2 and the most commonly used protease, transmembrane proteinase, serine 2 (TMPRSS2). The hypothalamus and connected regions could thus indeed be infected by the virus, with ACE2- or TMPRSS2-correlated genes playing important roles in the perception of smell, taste, or the hypothalamic regulation of multiple bodily functions.

    Florent Sauve, a French Ph.D. student and other members of the laboratory, found that ACE2, albeit at low levels, and TMPRSS2 were present in tanycytes in a part of the hypothalamus bordered by fenestrated blood vessels. Just as importantly, other cell types, including sensory neurons of the nose, which perceive smell, and their fibers entering the olfactory bulbs of the brain also expressed ACE2 and TMPRSS2. Thus not only could the virus directly affect the sense of smell by infecting these neurons but could also find its way to other brain regions, including the hypothalamus with its other crucial functions, bypassing from neuron to neuron along olfactory pathways.

    The team also showed a correlation between known risk factors for severe COVID-19, such as sex or metabolic diseases, and the susceptibility of the hypothalamus to infection. The research team hopes that their finding will aid future studies to reveal exactly what cellular and molecular pathways are triggered by viral infection and whether they can be targeted to improve the outcome of severely ill patients.

    By Tapas Bhattacharya

  • Addressing the National Conclave on School Education in the 21st Century, PM Modi today said, the new policy will be a medium to fulfill the aspirations, expectations and requirements of new India. He said, the new policy is the result of untiring hard work of various stakeholders over the last four to five years.

    PM Modi said, Pre-school is the first outside experience for the children. He said, the country needs teachers right from the Pre-school level for focus on fun-learning, activity based learning and discovery based learning. The Prime Minister said, we have to promote easy and innovative learning methods. PM Modi said, Engage, Explore, Experience, Express and Excel should be the Mantra of the New Age Learning

  • Union Minister was speaking on Friday, as the country observes the 15th national forest martyr day, to pay tribute to those who have sacrificed their lives in protecting the forests and wildlife across the country. 
    The impressive biodiversity of the country is guarded by a dedicated workforce of Forest Officers and staff who relentlessly work towards the protection and improvement of this irreplaceable wealth.

    Nearly 230 years after Khejarli massacre for the cause of forests and wildlife, National Forest Martyrs Day was observed to mark the exemplary valour and sacrifice made by the forest personnel. Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate change Prakash Javadekar paid tributes to 13 forest martyrs and acknowledged their families with digital certificates.

    Union Minister said that forests are part of our cultural heritage and it is our duty to protect the flora and fauna of the country. Union Minister also stressed on the importance of forest laws and regulations. He added that strict actions will be taken against sand mafia to ensure sustainable environment.

    He also urged the states to make stringent laws in order to fight the menace. Celebrating National Forest Martyrs Day is a way of giving due credit to those unsung heroes who laid their life to protect our environment. A salute to those heroic act.. 

    Tapas Bhattacharya’s Report

  • Azarenka will play Japan's Naomi Osaka on Saturday (September 12) in her third final at Flushing Meadows, having lost the previous two to Williams in 2012 and 2013.

    Azarenka said her mental game had been crucial in beating the 38-year-old Williams, who needed a medical timeout to have her left ankle re-taped in the third set due to Achilles trouble.

    "I have been working on finding a calm mind and keep the body going," the Belarusian said in an on-court interview. "She dug me in a big hole in the first set. I needed to find energy to climb out of the hole and it wasn't easy."

    Six-times U.S. Open champion Williams came out firing winners from all sides of the Arthur Ashe Stadium court while Azarenka struggled with her serve, committing four double faults in the first set and winning just six of 15 first-serve points.

    She also had 10 unforced errors and appeared increasingly frustrated, with a mic catching her muttering a pair of expletives at herself before Williams took a 4-1 lead.

    Williams wrapped up the opening set in little more than half an hour but Azarenka seized momentum in the second frame, breaking the third seed's serve with a pair of backhand winners from the baseline to take a 3-2 lead.

    Playing her first Grand Slam semi-final in seven years, Azarenka got the better of Williams in some explosive exchanges of power-hitting while her serve also saw major improvement.

    The 31-year-old took the set to force a decider after winning nearly 75% of her first-serve points and committing just one unforced error.

    The twice Australian Open champion kept up the pressure in the third set and looked to be in a deep meditative state as Williams had her ankle taped, not even reacting as an insect landed on the bridge of her nose as she waited to resume the match.

    Azarenka then sealed her place in the final with an ace.

  • This enabled many stuck indians to unite with their family members and enabled them to join back work in China. Indian Consulate in Shanghai tweeted that the flight carried back 54 Indians who wanted to return back to motherland. Travellers to both sides will have to follow extant quarantine requirements in respective countries. First Vande Bharat flight to China was operated on 20th June. Last month, China allowed entry of certain categories of foreigners which enabled indian employees of multinational companies to return to china.

    However, China has not yet cleared the decks for entry of foreign students to China. Over 23000 indian students are waiting for their return to china. The Ministry of External Affairs in a statement said, as on 10 September, 13.74 lakh Indians from across the globe have been repatriated through different modes of the Vande Bharat Mission viz. Air India, private and foreign carriers, chartered flights, naval ships and land border crossings.

    The Ministry continues to monitor the demand for repatriation through Indian Missions/Posts abroad, as per the statement. Vande Bharat Mission Phase 6 became operational on 1 September. 1007 international flights have been scheduled to operate during this month and over 2 lakh people are expected to be repatriated.

    Anshuman Mishra/Beijing

  • Pakistan’s continued denial has once again failed to hold ground. In a joint statement on measures on countering terrorism, the USA has joined India in underlining the "urgent need for Pakistan to take immediate, sustained, and irreversible action to ensure that no territory under its control is used for terrorist attacks". The two sides have also asked Pakistan to expeditiously bring to justice the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai Attack and Pathankot Attack. 

    During the Seventeenth meeting of the U.S.-India Counter-Terrorism Joint Working Group and the third session of the U.S.-India Designations Dialogue, the U.S. reiterated its support to India in the fight against terrorism.

    In the meeting which was held virtually on September 9-10, both sides denounced the use of terrorist proxies and strongly condemned cross-border terrorism in all its forms. They exchanged views on threats posed by UN-sanctioned terrorist entities and emphasized the need for concerted action against all terrorist networks, including al-Qa’ida, ISIS/Daesh, Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), and Hizb-ul Mujahideen.

    India was represented by Mahaveer Singhvi, Joint Secretary for Counter-Terrorism, Ministry of External Affairs while Ambassador Nathan A. Sales, U.S. State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism, led the US side in the meeting.  
    The discussion was centered around counterterrorism cooperation and resolving to continue close coordination on this important element of the comprehensive global strategic partnership that exists between the two countries

    India and the US both expressed commitment to strengthen cooperation on information sharing to disrupt the ability of international terrorists to travel around. Both sides highlighted their efforts in countering the financing and operations of terrorist organizations, radicalization and terrorist use of the internet, cross-border movement of terrorists, and prosecuting, rehabilitating, and reintegrating returning terrorist fighters and family members.

    Report By Abhishek Jha

  • During the meeting India maintained that the recent incidents in eastern Ladakh, has “Inevitably impacted the development of the bilateral relationship.” Therefore, an urgent resolution of the current situation was in the interest of both nations.  
    In the meeting, sources said that the Indian side highlighted its strong concern at the massing of Chinese troops with equipment along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).  The presence of such large concentration of troops was not in accordance with the 1993 and 1996 Agreements and created flashpoints along the LAC.  The Chinese side has not provided a “credible explanation” for this deployment.  India also underlined that the “provocative behavior of Chinese frontline troops at numerous incidents of friction along the LAC also showed disregard for bilateral agreements and protocols,” said sources.  
     
    Both sides agreed that the immediate task is to ensure a comprehensive disengagement of troops in all the friction areas to prevent any untoward incident in the future.  The final disposition of the troop deployment to their permanent posts and the phasing of the process are to be worked out by the military commanders.
     
    The Indian side clearly conveyed that it expected full adherence to all agreements on the management of border areas and would not countenance “any attempt to change the status quo unilaterally”.  It was also emphasized that the Indian troops had scrupulously followed all agreements and protocols pertaining to the management of the border areas.  
     
    EAM while underlining that India-China relation has developed on a largely positive trajectory over past decades said that there have been incidents from time to time but peace and tranquility has largely prevailed in the border areas.
     
    During the discussions, while the Indian side recognized that a solution to the boundary question required time and effort, it was also clear that the maintenance of peace and tranquility along the border areas was essential to the forward development of ties.

    In the 5 point press statement released following the 2.5 hour-long talks, the two Ministers agreed that both sides should take guidance from the series of consensus of the leaders on developing India-China relations. Agreeing that the current situation along the border areas is not in the interest of either side both the ministers agreed “the border troops of both sides should continue their dialogue, quickly disengage, maintain proper distance and ease tensions,” said the statement.

    The two Ministers agreed that both sides shall abide by all the existing agreements and protocol on China-India boundary affairs, maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas and avoid any action that could escalate matters.
     
    According to the joint statement, India and China have agreed to continue to have dialogue and communication through the Special Representative mechanism on the India-China boundary question. Accordingly, the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China border affairs (WMCC), would also continue its meetings.
     
    The Ministers also agreed that as the situation eases, “the two sides should expedite work to conclude new Confidence Building Measures to maintain and enhance peace and tranquility in the border areas”.

    Report By Abhishek Jha

     

     

  • This happens at a time when Pakistan continues to foment a ‘culture of violence’ at home and across its borders. “Pakistan’s deplorable human rights records and discriminatory treatment of religious and ethnic minorities is a cause of persistent concern for the international community. Blasphemy laws are used against religious minorities such as Hindus, Christians, and Sikhs, to violate their human rights and dignity. Women and girls remain particularly vulnerable as they are abducted, raped, forcefully converted and married to their violators,” the statement added
     
    Exposing the Pakistani delegation’s propaganda India said, “Talk of ‘culture of peace’ from the delegation of Pakistan is nothing but a decoy to divert attention from their own shameful records.” Tearing apart the duplicity of the Pakistani state India said that before making absurd allegations against India, where equal rights of people of all faiths are guaranteed by the constitution, the delegation of Pakistan must do itself a favour of looking at their own system and records of protecting minorities.
     
    Referring to the ongoing pandemic worldwide the statement said that it has underscored the interconnectedness and interdependence of the humankind like never before. It added that India understands the importance of promoting dialogues and building alliances between religions, cultures, and ethnic groups. In the same spirit, India remains ready to support all efforts to build bridges of understanding across the world to emerge stronger from this crisis and to shape the foundation for a better world. 

    The statement underlined the importance of collaboration in dealing with the misinformation campaign. “We need greater collaboration among states and other stakeholders including technology companies, to stop the spread of misinformation and disinformation, and to build strong counter-narratives based on reason, science, and empathy. We need to bolster access to information to ensure informed decision making at all levels and to empower women and youth,” said the statement.
     
    India has played an important role globally, despite being hit by the pandemic; it has assumed the responsibility of helping other countries through humanitarian assistance. Underlining India’s global outreach the statement said, “We have also extended assistance to fellow developing countries under the rubric of South-South Cooperation to strengthen their capacity to respond to the crisis.
     
    Inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue between individuals and groups with different backgrounds are key to promoting a culture of peace. The UN system, especially UNESCO has played a pioneering role in this. The Alliance of Civilizations (AoC) is a platform for dialogue between people from diverse backgrounds within and between countries. India said that the world needs to encourage more such cross-cultural engagements to mitigate the hateful narratives that tend to dominate public discourse.

    - Abhishek Jha

  • Earlier in the day, EAM attended the SCO meeting of the Council for Foreign Minister. The deliberation in the meeting centered around the preparations regarding the upcoming meeting of the SCO Heads of State Council. Russian President Vladimir Putin had said on Wednesday that the SCO Heads of State Council meet will take place in November via videoconference due to the sanitary and epidemiological situation.

    Meanwhile, Foreign ministers of Russia, India, and China also engaged in the RIC bloc’s meeting on the sidelines of the SCO meet on Wednesday.  The joint press release of Russia-India-China Foreign Ministers said that the Ministers exchanged views on further strengthening of Russia-India-China trilateral cooperation as well as topical issues of international and regional importance, in the spirit of mutual understanding, friendship and trust.  The statement further said that the Ministers reiterated their support for inclusive multilateralism and respect for universally recognized principles of international law. The Ministers also agreed that the three countries, with strong scientific and industrial capacities, could make a significant contribution towards mitigating the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    EAM Jaishankar's first engagement in Moscow on Thursday began with meeting his Uzbek Counterpart Abdulaziz Kamilov. Both the leaders agreed to coordinate closely on regional concerns. External MInster said the countries will take forward the growing development partnership. EAM also appreciated Uzbekistan's vital role in India's engagement with Central Asia. 
    EAM also met with the Kazakh Foreign Minister Mukhtar  Tleuberdi.

    - Report by Abhishek Jha

  • A detailed SOP for the campers along with quarantine norms were discussed with all stakeholders and accepted by all. Due to paucity of time, it was decided that the players would report to the camp with a Covid negative test report and be in quarantine, to be tested for Covid again on the 6th day.

    SAI also posted an assistant director, who has helped in drawing up the Covid protocols in the Bengaluru centre where the hockey players are training, at the badminton academy to sensitise players about Covid protocols and quarantine norms.

    However, it has been learnt that owing to unwillingness of some campers to undergo the quarantine period, the camp which was to start on September 7, could not begin.

    Stressing on the importance of all players following the quarantine protocol as well as staying inside the camp, Col. Dr Bibhu Kalyan Nayak, member of the committee that drafted Covid protocols for SAI and the Sports Science Consultant at the Sports Science Centre in Safdarjung Hospital, Delhi, said, “All actions, decisions and policies being drawn out during the pandemic are guided by the principle of ensuring safety of players.

    To minimise the risk of transmission of the virus, especially where players are coming from different places and have been training at different locations, it is important to ensure that everyone is quarantined and a test is conducted thereafter.

    Our athletes are our national assets and their safety is of utmost importance. In these times ensuring safety and minimising risks at camps have to be based on the dual philosophy of self-protection by maintaining all protocols and solidarity to ensure others around are also safe, which is very important in team games. However, given the dynamic nature of the situation every policy is drawn up keeping the current scenario in mind and may evolve as the situation changes.”

  • Breaking down the novel coronavirus challenge into many pieces to get to its root and see it from multiple directions, Dr. Indrajit Saha, Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering of National Institute of Technical Teachers’ Training and Research, Kolkata and his team have developed a web-based COVID- Predictor to predict the sequence of viruses online on the basis of machine learning and analysed 566 Indian SARS- CoV-2 genomes to find the genetic variability in terms of point mutation and Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP).

    The study being sponsored by Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), a statutory body under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), has been published in the Journal called Infection, Genetics, and Evolution. They have mainly found 57 out of 64 SNPs are present in 6 coding regions of Indian SARS-CoV-2 genomes, and all are nonsynonymous in nature.

    They have extended this research for more than 10 thousand sequences around the globe, including India and found 20260, 18997, and 3514 unique mutation points globally, including India, excluding India and only for India, respectively.

    The scientists are on the track to identify the genetic variability in SARS-CoV-2 genomes around the globe including India, find the number of virus strains using Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP), spot the potential target proteins of the virus and human host based on Protein-Protein Interactions as well as by integrating the knowledge of genetic variability, recognise candidates of synthetic vaccine based on conserved genomic regions that is highly immunogenic and antigenic and detect the virus miRNAs that are also involved in regulating human mRNA.

    They have computed the mutation similarity in sequences of different countries. The results show that the USA, England, and India are the top three countries having the geometric mean, 3.27%, 3.59%, and 5.39%, respectively, of mutation similarity score with other 72 countries.

    The scientists have also developed a web application for searching the mutation points in SARS-CoV-2 genomes globally and country wise. Besides, they are now working more towards protein-protein interactions, epitopes discovery, and virus miRNA prediction.

  • Improving technologies to increase the efficiency of coal based thermal power plants requires use of nickel based super alloy materials as against chrome based steels widely used now. The nickel based Alloy 617M has been selected by the Indian Advanced Ultra Super Critical (AUSC) consortium.

    The alloy is industrially available and the AUSC consortium has already expressed confidence in indigenous development of the alloy. However, lack of experimental data on performance of Alloy 617M rotors hinders effective usage of this alloy in the Indian AUSC power plant.

    To overcome this challenge, Department of Science & Technology under Clean Energy Research Initiative has supported a project to Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited BHEL (R&D), Hyderabad for establishment of High Temperature Spin Test Rig (HTSTR).

    It will be the first facility in India for experimental validation of the design of AUSC steam turbine rotor relating to creep - fatigue damage (deterioration of metals and alloys subjected to a cyclic thermo mechanical load at elevated temperature) and will also be the only one of its kind in India in terms of establishing a real size engineering experimental set-up.

    It will subject the turbine rotor segments of weight upto 9000 kilograms to various damage conditions similar to that in the plant operation, like high temperatures upto 800 degree Celsius, high speed upto 3600 Revolutions Per Minute(RPM), followed by long term steady state operation and controlled heating and cooling. The facility will pave the way towards Atmanirbhar Bharat in this sector.

    This facility will enable design validation of 800 Megawatts AUSC steam Turbine rotors for certifying the long term performance of Super alloy Monometallic and Bimetallic welded rotor with a total of 2000 startups (Hot+warm+cold) and 100000 hours of total steady state operation.

    This is achieved, through accelerated testing within 200 cycles and 10000 hours respectively. An unique test protocol for accelerated testing is formulated by the BHEL team with the guidelines of ASME standards.

    Two rotor segments – Monometallic (Alloy 617M) and Bimetallic welded portions (Alloy 617M and 10 Chrome) of actual steam turbine rotor will be subjected to equivalent operating conditions over its guaranteed time line by increasing the temperatures and achieving desired thermal gradients within the rotors, during the heating and cooling operations. 
    This unique test protocol and its visualization software are registered under Indian patents and copyrights act.

  • The National Carrier Myanmar National Airlines (MNA) announced on Thursday that all domestic flights have been temporarily suspended till 30 September in order to protect people from COVID 19 pandemic. Several other domestic airlines have also announced the suspension of flights.

    Myanmar has already banned international flights till September 30.

    In a fresh surge in Coronavirus cases, Myanmar has reported 261 new cases on Thursday taking the total number of infected people to 2150. 14 people have died due to Corona so far in the country.  

    Over the last month, COVID 19 infections have gone up 4 times in Myanmar prompting authorities to close schools and reimpose restrictions which were eased earlier. 

    Yangon is the new hotspot for Coronavirus spread in Myanmar. As of Thursday morning, Yangon reported 756 cases. Earlier Rakhine State was the hotspot of Corona infection with  652 reported cases of Corona infection.

    The Ministry of Health and Sports announced on Friday that 21 townships in the Yangon region have been brought under the ‘stay at home’ programme with several restrictions imposed on the movement of people.  Restriction has also been imposed on transport services in this region. With this 28 townships out of 44 in Yangon have been brought under partial lockdown by the government. 

    However, offices, factories and government institutions will remain open in Yangon.

    Rajesh Jha/Dhaka/10.9.2020

  • This will be the first Prime Minister level meeting to be hosted by India since its elevation as a full-member of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, SCO.

    India will also be hosting two Ministerial-level meetings of SCO Member States. The Justice Ministers and the Ministers of Foreign Economic and Trade Activities are scheduled to meet before the CHG. Trade Ministers are expected to meet on 28th October.

    All the member states have supported India’s initiatives in the run up to the Heads of Government meet in New Delhi.
    In the run-up to the CHG Meeting, India has taken lot of initiatives in a wide range of areas. India hosted a Preparatory Seminar on Start-up Forum on 11th August and the first-ever meeting of Consortium of Economic Think-Tanks on 21-22 August.

    Both the events were attended by all the SCO Member States through Video Conferencing.
    India has also planned for many events and meetings to be held before the CHG in November, which include Cooperation in Traditional Medicine, Two meetings of Senior Officials Commission on External Economy and Trade, first-ever SCO Start-up Forum, Special Working Group on Innovation and Startups, first-ever SCO Young Scientists Conclave, Exhibition on Shared Buddhist Heritage, etc.

    This affords India an opportunity to contribute in a substantive way to the trade and economic agenda of the SCO that is the main mandate of the summit in November, Secretary (West) in the External Affairs Ministry, Vikas Swarup said at a webinar last week.

    He described the SCO as a “vibrant organization" that has emerged as a key regional organization in the Eurasian space in the past two decades of its existence.

    India attaches great importance to SCO as it provides an excellent platform for India to connect with its extended neighbourhood.

    This year’s SCO Summit or SCO Heads of State Council meeting is scheduled for November and will be held as a video conference.

    SCO Foreign ministers meet which concluded in Moscow today discussed about preparations for the upcoming SCO Summit.

    SCO Heads of State council and Heads of Government Council are two independent mechanisms which focus on political & security related matters and trade and economy related matters respectively.

    India joined the SCO as an observer in 2005 and became a full member alongwith Pakistan in 2017.

    SCO, an eight-nation regional grouping that represents around 42% of the world’s population and 20% of the global GDP, gives wings to India’s desire to deepen its Eurasian partnerships.

    More than a decade of engagement with the organisation, underscores India’s willingness to play a more meaningful role in this regional grouping.
     

    ANSHUMAN MISHRA/BEIJING/10-09-2020

  • Later, a visit to the Lok Sabha Chamber and the Galleries was also made for the media to show the arrangements for the Monsoon Session.    

    Briefing the media, Shri Birla said the 4th Session of the 17th Lok Sabha will commence from 14 September 2020 till 1 October 2020 and will have 18 sittings in all.  This Session is being held under very challenging circumstances when the country is facing the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Om Birla further said that Parliament represents the hopes and aspirations of our countrymen and even in the present scenario, it will fulfill its constitutional responsibility of ensuring the accountability of the Government.  

     Om Birla told that adequate arrangements have been made to ensure that the Session is held in a smooth manner by ensuring compliance with all the Covid-19 related health and safety guidelines.

    For this, elaborate consultations have been made with the Rajya Sabha Secretariat, medical experts and other agencies. 

     Om Birla further said that on 14 September 2020, the Lok Sabha will hold its sitting from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 15 September to 1 October 2020, the sittings will be from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.  Both the Chambers of the two Houses have been integrated for holding this Session.

    There will be sitting arrangements for 257 Members in the Lok Sabha Chamber and 172 Members will be seated in the Lok Sabha Galleries.  Arrangements have been made for the sitting of 60 Members in the Rajya Sabha Chamber and 51 Members will be seated in the Rajya Sabha Galleries.

    To ensure social distancing, transparent polycarbonate sheets have been placed between the benches.  The Answers to the Unstarred Questions will be laid on the Table of the House and half-an-hour each day has been allotted for Zero Hour matters.

    There will be the least usage of paper and efforts have been made to supply Parliamentary papers in a digital format.  The access to Central Hall has been restricted for Members only. 

    Shri Birla also informed that all MPs have been requested to get themselves tested for Covid-19, before the Session. A Mobile Attendance Application ‘Attendance Register’ has been developed for marking of attendance by the Members in the Parliament House Complex. 

    Underlining the fact that constructive debates are an integral feature of our parliamentary democracy,  Om Birla expressed the confidence that all MPs will productively fulfill their collective legislative responsibilities for ensuring the welfare of the people and in the national interest, just as they have ensured in providing relief and assistance to the public in the fight against Coronavirus.  

  • The project will help Bangladesh to mobilise private investment, develop infrastructure projects and create jobs which will help accelerate the economic recovery process in the aftermath of the Corona pandemic. 

    In a press release, the Country Director of ADB Manmohan Parakash said that the project will generate 3000 jobs in PPP projects supported by the Bangladesh Infrastructure Finance Fund Limited (BIFFL) by 2024. Further, the project will help the roll out of the government’s PPP strategy, said Manmohan Parkash.

    ADB has also assisted the government to develop the PPP Act, set up the PPP office, and an institutional framework for PPPs in addition to supporting priority sectors of Bangladesh as a transaction advisor.

  • Dr Jaishankar tweeted a group photo of the foreign ministers of the SCO member states including China and Pakistan.

    It is the third SCO foreign ministers meeting that India is attending as a full member of the eight-nation bloc.

    The SCO-Council of Foreign Ministers is the highest forum of SCO after the Council of Heads of State (CHS) and the Council of Heads of Government (CHG).

    It deliberates on important regional and international issues and considers documents for approval and adoption by the Council of Heads of State.

    India has been taking active part in various SCO dialogue mechanisms under the Chairmanship of the Russian Federation in this year.

    The CFM meeting will review the preparations for the forthcoming SCO summit and also exchange views on international and regional issues.

    The SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the Presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan were admitted as observers of the grouping in 2005.

    Both the countries were admitted as full members of the bloc in 2017.

  • Health Ministry said, the total number of recoveries has reached 34, 71, 783. It said, the constant increase in recoveries ensured that the actual caseload of the country is reduced and currently comprises only 20.58 per cent of the total positive cases.

    Effective implementation of 'Test,Track and Treat' approach has led to higher recoveries and lower fatality. Currently, India’s Case Fatality Rate is at 1.68 per cent.
     
    A total of 95,735 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours in the country. 60 per cent of the total cases are reported from only five states.

    Maharashtra has alone contributed more than 23,000 and Andhra Pradesh has contributed more than 10,000. The total number of positive cases has now reached 44,65, 863.
     
    Presently, the total number of active cases in the country is nine lakh 19 thousand and 18. In the last 24 hours, 1,172 deaths have been reported taking the toll to 75,062. In the last 24 hours, 11,29,756 tests were conducted. So far over 5.29 crore tests have been conducted across the country.

    Now the number of testing labs in the country has gone up to 1,686.

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Minister of the Armed Forces of France Florence Parly, witnessed the traditional Sarva Dharma Puja conducted at the Rafale induction ceremony.

    Rajnath Singh and his French Counterpart also witnessed the air display of Rafale fighter aircraft flanked by SU-30 and Jaguar aircraft in arrow formation. 

    An air show was held by daredevils of Air Force by flying the indigenous aircrafts Tejas while Sarang Helicopter Aerobatic team also participated in the airshow.

    Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria are also present on the occasion. 
     
    These aircraft will be part of 17 Squadron, the Golden Arrows. 

    The first five Rafale aircraft had arrived at Air Force Station, Ambala from France on 27th of July this year. 

    Water cannon salute was given to the Rafale fighter aircraft at the airbase.     

    Today on the occasion of induction of the Rafale fighter aircraft in the Indian Air Force Daredevil team of pilots of Air Force showcased their valour and capability to fly the jets in the sky.
     
    The echoes of Tejas in the air, not only made proud Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, they also proved the capability of making India Atamnirbhar.
     
    The aerobatic team Air Force showcased their talent on Sarang helicopters proving that the Indian Air Forces is capable of replying to any challenge on border.
     
    The Minister of Armed Forces of France Florence Parly and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh praised the capability of Indian Air Force, who witnessed the historical moment.

  • He also launched the e-Gopala App, a comprehensive breed improvement marketplace and information portal for direct use of farmers.
     
    On the occasion, several other initiatives in the fisheries and animal husbandry sectors in Bihar were also  launched by the Prime Minister.
     
    The Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana is a flagship scheme for focused and sustainable development of fisheries sector in the country with an estimated investment of over Rs. 20 thousand crore.
     
    This is the highest ever investment in the fisheries sector. It also aims at enhancing fish production by an additional 70 lakh tonne by 2024-25.
     
    Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said that the aim  behind launching all these schemes is that the villages should become the strength of 21st century India, energy and  self-reliant India.
     
    He said, today Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana  is being launched in 21 states of the country. 

    He said, over Rs. 20 thousand crore will be spent on this in the next 4 to 5 years.  
     
    PM Modi said, many facilities have been inaugurated and foundation stone was laid in Patna, Purnia, Sitamarhi, Madhepura, Kishanganj and Samastipur of Bihar.
     
    He said, through these facilities, fish producers will get new infrastructure, modern equipment and  new market. 

    He said, keeping in mind the trade of fish in every part of the country, for the first time such a big scheme has been prepared.
     
    He said, under PM Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme, money  has been directly transferred to the bank accounts of more than Rs. 10 crore farmers of the country out of which nearly 75 lakh farmers are from Bihar. He said, so far, about Rs. six thousand crore have been deposited in the bank account of farmers of Bihar.
     
    The Prime Minister said, e-Gopala app will be a digital medium which will  help livestock owners to choose advanced livestocks. This app will give all information related to productivity, health and diet to the cattle owners.
     
    PM Modi appealed the people to maintain precautionary measures during Corona time. He said, people should not  take Corona pandemic lightly.
     
    He said, it will take time for development of  Corona vaccine but we can secure ourselves by adopting social vaccine. He also stressed on wearing mask and social distancing.

  • Speaking at a webinar held by Washington-based Center for Strategic & International Studies in Tokyo, Kono pitched for a larger regional mechanism or global mechanism to counter China.

    Indo Pacific region is largely viewed as an area comprising the Indian Ocean and the western and central Pacific Ocean, including the South China Sea.

    China's territorial claims in the South China Sea its efforts to advance into the Indian Ocean are seen to have challenged the established rules-based system.

    Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counterclaims in the South China Sea.

    In recent years, Japan has expressed increasing concern regarding Beijing's activities in the region especially concerning the situation with the disputed Senkaku islands, known in China as the Diaoyudao islands and claimed by Beijing to be Chinese territory.

  • The event was organised by Sports Authority of India's (SAI) Chandigarh Regional Center to promote fitness amongst the youth. 

    Panjab University's Director of Sports Dr Parminder Singh, who was invited as a special guest for the occasion, also participated in the run along with few other SAI athletes, coaches and staff members.

    Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju had launched Fit India Freedom Run on August 14 with the aim of making it a countrywide fitness phenomenon.

    Keeping the current scenario of COVID -19 in mind the initiative allows participants to run at their own place and at their own pace at a time convenient to them. 

    So far many known athletes such as PV Sindhu, Hima Das, Manu Bhakar and Nikhat Zareen have already participated in the event.

    The initiative, that started on August 15, will conclude on Gandhi Jayanti October 2 and requires the participants to run a route during a time period that suits them, break-up the runs and make sure they run at their preferred pace while tracking the Kms manually, with a tracking app or a GPS watch.

     

    By- Tapas Bhattacharya

  • The Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Moscow will review the preparations for the forthcoming SCO Summit and also exchange views on international and regional issues.

    This will be the third Council of Foreign Ministers meeting that India will be attending as a full member of SCO.

    India has been taking active part in various SCO dialogue mechanisms under the Chairmanship of the Russian Federation this year. On Wednesday, EAM Dr Jaishankar met his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov. 

    In a tweet, EAM Dr Jaishankar said the talks reflected the Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between India and Russia. He said he values their exchanges on the international situation. The Minister also met his Kyrgyz Republic counterpart Chingiz Aidarbekov. In a tweet, he termed the meeting as fruitful and thanked Mr Aidarbekov for the support in facilitating return of Indian nationals.

    Both Ministers discussed issues of bilateral and regional interest. They agreed to further enhance Strategic Partnership in all spheres.

    The External Affairs Minister also had a meeting with Tajik Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin. EAM Dr Jaishankar said he is pleased with the growing bilateral and regional cooperation. He added that he highly values this strategic partnership.

  • A three-judge bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao referred the case to a larger bench to consider the constitutional validity of 2018 Maharashtra government law providing reservation to Marathas in the State.

    Maharashtra State Reservation for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Act originally provided 16 per cent reservation for Maratha community in educational institutions and government jobs.

    The law was challenged before Bombay High Court which in June 2019 upheld its validity but reduced the quota to 12 per cent in educational institutions and 13 per cent in jobs.

    Appeals were filed before Supreme Court stating that the reservation would lead to breach of the 50 per cent cap laid down by the Apex Court in its 1992 judgment of Indra Sawhney versus Union of India.

    Maharashtra government had on August 26th asked the Court to place the matter before a larger bench considering the fact that it involves determination of substantial legal questions.

  • PM Modi will also inaugurate the e-Gopala App, a comprehensive breed improvement marketplace and information portal for direct use of farmers. 

    The Prime Minister will also launch several other initiatives in the fisheries and animal husbandry sectors in Bihar. 

    In a tweet, PM Modi said, the PMMSY will transform the fisheries sector and add strength to the efforts of building an Aatmanirbhar Bharat. Prime Minister said, PMMSY addresses critical gaps in fisheries sector and infuse latest technology into it.

    PM said, Matsya Sampada Yojana focuses on value addition and upgradation of critical infrastructure. PM Modi said, the scheme will also boost welfare of those associated with fishing and create employment.

    The PMMSY is a flagship scheme for focused and sustainable development of fisheries sector in the country with an estimated investment of Rs. 20,050 crore. The investment of Rs. 20,050 crore under PMMSY is the highest ever in the fisheries sector. The project envisages investment of Rs. 1,390 crore in Bihar.

    PM Modi will also announce the establishment of a fish brood bank at Sitamarhi and an aquatic disease referral laboratory at Kishanganj.

    The Prime Minister will also inaugurate one-unit fish feed mill at Madhepura and two units of 'Fish on Wheels' at Patna under 'blue revolution'. He will also interact with the beneficiaries on the occasion. PM will also inaugurate a comprehensive fish production technology centre at Dr Rajendra Prasad Central Agricultural University in Pusa, Bihar. 

    The PMMSY is aimed at enhancing fish production by an additional 70 lakh tonne by 2024-25, increasing fisheries export earnings to one lakh crore rupees by 2024-25, doubling of incomes of fishermen and fish farmers.

  • EAM’s meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov happened in the Evening around 7 p.m.  After the meeting Jaishankar tweeted:
    “Pleasure to meet FM Sergey Lavrov, this time in person. Excellent talks that reflect our Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership. Value our exchanges on the international situation.” India and Russia enjoy an important strategic partnership and this year marks the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of India –Russia Strategic Partnership.

    The two sides discussed issues within the common multilateral organizations like SCO, BRICS, RIC. The Russian Foreign minister in a tweet said, “We highly appreciate an opportunity to discuss the development of strategic partnership in all areas bilateral relations, cooperation within the frameworks of SCO, BRICS, UN.” 
     
    Earlier in the day, EAM met with his Kyrgyz counterpart Chingiz Aidarbekov. Both the leaders discussed issues of bilateral and regional interest and agreed to further enhance the Strategic Partnership in all spheres. 
     
    The external affairs minister also met with the Tajik Foreign minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin and discussed growing bilateral and regional cooperation. 
     
    On the Sidelines of SCO, Russia-India-China are expected to have a RIC group meeting also. EAM Jaishankar is also expected to have a bilateral meeting with the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. The bilateral meeting holds special significance in the backdrop of the ongoing military faceoff between the two countries along the LAC in Ladakh.
     
     The Russian president Vladimir Putin also addressed the CFM through Video conference in the evening on Wednesday. The meeting of SCO foreign ministers is scheduled to start from 12.30pm on Thursday.

    The SCO meeting will be chaired by the current Chair of SCO, Russia and the discussion will lay the ground for the upcoming session of the SCO Heads of State Council expected to be held later this year. This will be the third CFM meeting that India will be attending as a full member of SCO. 

    The foreign ministers at SCO will discuss key international and regional issues in the context of the 75th UN anniversary.  The deliberations will be centered around,  “a number of urgent foreign policy issues as well as decisions aimed at further developing SCO activities on overcoming the global political and socio-economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said a press statement from the  Russian foreign ministry last week. 

    EAM Jaishankar’s Moscow visit comes on the heels of Defence minister Rajnath Singh’s visit to the Russian capital last week, to attend the SCO Defense minister’s meeting.  The defense minister also held several bilateral meetings with the member states including Russia and China. During the bilateral discussion with the Chinese counterpart General Wei Fenghe the two Ministers had in-depth discussions about the developments in the India-China border areas as well as on India-China relations.

    The Defence Minister had stated clearly that while the Indian troops had always taken a very responsible approach towards border management, but at the same time there should also be no doubt about our determination to protect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

    By Abhishek Jha

  • Speaking about the decision, Sports Minister said, “It is important that athletes, especially 2024 and 2028 Olympic probables get a chance to continue their training wherever they are in the country. They may not be able to visit KSSR or other academies owing to the Covid 19 situation. However, many of them practice in their home range as well as in facilities near their homes. We want to ensure that their training is in no way compromised because of lack of availability of  ammunition. Athletes can collect whatever they need from KSSR and other accredited academies and continue their sporting activities.”

    The decision will impact a total of 253 shooters across elite, developmental and Khelo India athletes, who can now train at a sporting facility convenient for them, without having to come to Dr.KSSR.  With this decision elite shooters like Apurvi Chandela, Anjum Moudgil, Saurabh Chaudhary and several others will have the advantage of training in their hometowns. Speaking about the decision, elite shooter Anish Bhanwala, who interacted with Sports Minister during his visit, said, “It felt great that Minister Sir came to meet us and enquire about our needs. If we can get the ammunition and practice at a range which is closer to our homes it will not just ensure our safety during Covid times but also allow us to devote more time to training. I am sure elite shooters who do not live in Delhi will benefit hugely from this decision. This will ensure that we can continue our Olympic training.”

  • EAM will have bilateral dialogues with different member states including Russia. Even though there is no confirmation on bilateral meeting of Indian and Chinese foreign ministers as yet, Chinese foreign ministry on Wednesday said during a press conference in Beijing that foreign ministers of India, Russia and China will have a luncheon meeting in Moscow on the sidelines. It said that Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will hold bilateral meetings with foreign ministers of relevant member states. India, China and Russia are also part of Russia India China - RIC grouping which focuses on mutual cooperation between three countries.

    All eyes are on External Affairs Minister's visit to Moscow as it comes on the heels of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh who met his chinese counterpart in Moscow last week. Apart from the SCO forum's regional importance, this visit becomes all the more important as it will be the second in person ministerial level engagement between India and china amid the current border standoff. India, Russia and China are part of many regional groupings like SCO, RIC, BRICS and a peaceful resolution of India China border standoff will benefit entire region. 

    India has been constantly demanding to restore the status quo of April which was based on bilateral agreements but Chinese side has never replied clearly to it. This remains the central point. To break this deadlock, it is important that talks happen at the highest political level to develop strategic convergence and to come out of the state of strategic miscommunication as pointed out by experts.

    SCO remains an important forum

    This will be the third SCO foreign ministers meeting that India will be attending as a full member of SCO. Discussions will lay the ground for the upcoming session of the SCO Summit to be held this year where leaders will discuss political and security related matters. Next important forum is SCO heads of government meeting which discusses trade and economy. India will host SCO Heads of Government meeting for the first time in New Delhi in November this year for which ground will be prepared in SCO trade ministers virtual meeting in October. India is also expected to launch SCO Startup Forum during this meeting.

    India wants to utilise it's expertise in trade and investment, intellectual property rights, innovation and startup and other sectors to enhance cooperation with the member states.

    Recently, India has participated in many virtual meetings and webinars on India's engagements with SCO including one in the field of India's traditional medicines and economic think tanks.

    -Anshuman Mishra/Beijing

  • This is the first time the two-day event is being held entirely through virtual platforms owing to the COVID pandemic. The 73rd session is being hosted by the Government of Thailand (from  Bangkok) while the previous session was held in New Delhi. Dr. Harsh Vardhan addressed the gathering first as the Chair of the 72nd session before handing over the charge to the new Chair Anutin Charnvirakul, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Health, Thailand and then addressed the dignitaries present on behalf of India.

    Addressing the dignitaries as the outgoing Chairperson, he offered his deepest condolences for the loss of lives across the Region due to COVID-19. He also extended heartfelt gratitude to the brave frontline workers of the region whose “collective efforts at the cost of their own safety and wellbeing, have not only helped save lives but have also shown us resoluteness in caring for all in the face of adversity.”

    Dr. Harsh Vardhan highlighted the importance of such Regional Committee platforms as being “very useful not only for highlighting the advancements made as a result of all our collective efforts but also in discussing some of most pressing regional and global public health issues and the way forward.” South-East Asia Region, with its 11 Member States, represents a quarter of the world’s population and strengthening the healthcare systems of member states of the region will help in improving the state of global health achieving both the Triple Billion target and Sustainable Development Goals. “Our common goal of ‘Health for All’ unites us all, even from thousands of miles away, and this very goal will drive our discourse on regional health today,” he added wishing to meet them physically and safely in the near future.

    Representing India in the meet, Dr. Harsh Vardhan highlighted the giant strides the country had made under the guidance of Prime Minister Sh. Narendra Modi to protect the lives and livelihood of its citizens from the pandemic and “left no stones unturned to contain and mitigate the virus.”

    Speaking on India’s commitment to sustain its health goals, he elaborated on the National Health Policy 2017, which aims to provide affordable healthcare for all citizens of India and  Ayushman Bharat launched in 2018 which marks a significant milestone on the road towards universal health coverage and is also the world’s largest government-sponsored free healthcare assurance program. He reminded the audience that India achieved phenomenal success with its low-cost medicine stores called Jan Aushadhi kendras which provide quality affordable essential medicines to the people in need.

    The Union Health Minister informed the member states of the “significant achievements like the elimination of Poliomyelitis, Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus and Yaws as well as considerable reductions in maternal and newborn mortality.” He also informed them of India’s ambitious target of Elimination of Tuberculosis by 2025, five years ahead of the global target and commitment to eliminate neglected tropical diseases like lymphatic filariasis and kala-azar.

    Speaking on the multi-faceted and multi-sectoral nature of health governance that demands linkages to solutions, resources and interventions  to deliver tangible  benefits, he said, “The Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, Housing for All by 2022, Nutrition Mission, Skill Development, Smart Cities, Eat Right India, Fit India and many such multi-sectoral initiatives have been launched which are bringing us dividends in terms of elevating the quality of life of our people thereby elevating their health condition.”

    Elaborating on the Prime Minister’s vision, “Health is the biggest and most important investment that a nation can make for its people,” he spoke on the benefits of the National Digital Health Mission, which envisages the creation of a digital health ecosystem to enable Indian citizens to have unique health IDs, digitized health records as well as a registry of doctors and health facilities to ensure seamless delivery of health services across the country. Dr. Harsh Vardhan ended his speech by imploring all to invest in health as, “all of us who have gathered here today, are in a position to influence and drive more investment into healthcare.”