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  • He informed that three vaccine candidates have reached the clinical trial stage of Phase one, two and three. He appealed to the people to adopt the social distancing and "Do Gaz Ki Doori" as a social vaccine till the arrival of vaccine.
    Replying to a discussion in Rajya Sabha on COVID-19 pandemic situation in the country, he said, an Expert Committee is working on the development of vaccine by giving all the necessary support to the various bodies. He said, India is working with WHO and other international organizations in the direction of vaccine development.

    Appreciating the role of COVID warriors in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic, he said, the Prime Minister has taken every decision with the help of experts and the government tried to resolve every issue related to this disease. He said, India started the fight against the COVID-19 disease from the initial days and fought this battle with honest and meticulous manner. He added that effective contract tracing, surveillance mechanism and lockdown reduced the number of COVID-19 cases and mortality.

    The Minister said, the government provided every support to the State Government and strengthened the laboratories network across the country to improve the COVID testing mechanism. He added that the country is conducting 11 lakh COVID tests every day and within a few days India will be the first country in the total numbers of tests. He said, India has achieved self-reliance in the production of PPE kits and N-95 masks within a short span of time.
            

  • The U.S. case count rose to 6,626,242, with the national death toll reaching 196,661 as of 19:22 Eastern Standard Time, according to the CSSE.

    Since the outbreak started in the United States, the federal government has been making attempts at political meddling in scientific research and reports of public health agencies and health experts, which severely damaged the credibility of institutions including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    It was also recently reported that Michael Caputo, assistant secretary for Public Affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has allegedly interfered in the CDC's weekly reports on COVID-19 in the past few months.

    The HHS on Wednesday announced in a statement that Caputo is taking a 60-day medical leave of absence from his post, while his scientific advisor Paul Alexander would also be leaving the department.

    Alexander had previously told the press team of Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious disease expert, that Fauci should not promote mask-wearing by children during an MSNBC interview, according to U.S. media reports.

  • Jammu & Kashmir DGP Dilbagh Singh said, the encounter broke out after terrorists opened fire on security forces while carrying out a search operation in Batamaloo area. So far 177 terrorists including 22 foreigners have been neutralized in 2020, 12 in Jammu division and 165 in Kashmir division. 20 terrorists have surrendered so far. Pakistan desperate to disturb peace in UT's informed DGP Dilbagh Singh. 

  • As the world organization commemorates it 75th anniversary this year, Guterres warned that the organization faces its own "1945 moment," noting that efforts must be made to "meet that moment."

    "In this 75th anniversary year, we face our own 1945 moment. We must meet that moment," Guterres told journalists at a hybrid press conference held at the UN headquarters in New York City.

    "And we must show unity like never before to overcome today's emergency, get the world moving and working and prospering again, and uphold the vision of the Charter," said the UN chief.

    The UN was established after World War II with the aim of preventing future wars, succeeding the ineffective League of Nations. On April 25, 1945, 50 government representatives met in San Francisco for a conference and started drafting the UN Charter, which was adopted on June 25, 1945 and took effect on Oct 24, 1945, when the UN began operations.

    Pursuant to the Charter, the organization's objectives include maintaining international peace and security, protecting human rights, delivering humanitarian aid, promoting sustainable development, and upholding international law.

    At its founding, the UN had 51 member states. The membership now is 193, representing almost all of the world's sovereign states.

  • During the last 24 hours, more than 82 thousand COVID patients have been recovered. Health Ministry said, the total number of recoveries has reached over 40.25 lakh. The constantly increasing recoveries have ensured that the actual caseload of the country has reduced and currently comprises only 19.73 per cent of the total positive cases. It said, that the active cases of Covid 19 in the country is less than one fifth of the total cases.
     
    Presently, the total number of active cases in the country is 10,09,000. The Ministry said, effective implementation of Centre's strategic and graded Test-Track-Treat approach has led to higher recoveries and lower fatality. Currently, India’s Case Fatality Rate is at 1.63 per cent, which is one of the lowest globally. In the last 24 hours, 1132 deaths have been reported taking the toll to 83,198.
     
    According to ICMR, during the last 24 hours, more than 11,36,000 thousand tests have been conducted. The total sample tested so far has reached to over six crore five lakhs. The Testing strategy also ensured a steady expansion of the national lab network.

    Today, with 1059 labs in the government sector and 692 private labs, 1751 labs are providing comprehensive testing facilities to the people.

  • The National Security Advisors of the BRICS nations will deliberate upon the issues related to strengthening political security and cooperation among the five countries. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin at a press briefing on Wednesday confirmed participation of Yang Jiechi, Director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, in today’s meeting.

    He said, China is ready to work with other BRICS members for positive outcomes of this meeting and deepening mutual strategic trust in political security. However, he refused to answer a question on Pakistan’s vicious agenda to show a fictitious map during SCO NSA’s meeting on Tuesday which was in violation of SCO charter.

    India, Russia and China are members of BRICS, SCO and RIC and act as platform for mutual trust building and cooperation. This year Russia is chair of BRICS and SCO. Russia tried to stop Pakistan for such behavior at Tuesday’s SCO NSA meet but China shied away from even acknowledging the vicious act of Pakistan, it’s all weather friend.

    Today’s NSAs meeting is an important event before the BRICS leaders' meeting this year, where the five countries will have in-depth exchange of views on international security, biosafety, cooperation on counter-terrorism and cybersecurity, among others. Earlier this month, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar participated in BRICS FMs meet.

    Report by Anshuman Mishra/Beijing

  • In Mumbai, there will be Generally cloudy sky with Light rain. The temperature is likely to hover between 26 and 32 degree Celsius. Chennai is likely to witness Generally cloudy sky with Light rain. The minimum temperature was 26 degree Celsius while the maximum is expected to be around 32 degree Celsius. Kolkata may have a Partly cloudy sky with one or two spells of rain or thundershowers. The minimum temperature was 28 degree Celsius while the maximum is likely to be 34 degrees.
           
    On to the North, in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the minimum temperature was recorded at 25 degree Celsius in Jammu while the maximum will be around 36 degrees. The city will have mainly clear sky. In Srinagar, the temperature will hover between 12 and 30 degree celsius. The city is likely to have mainly clear sky.
             

    Ladakh will also have Mainly Clear sky. The temperature may hover between 9 and 26 degree Celsius. In Gilgit, the minimum temperature was 13 degrees and the maximum will be 28 degree Celsius. The city will have a mainly clear sky.
    Muzzafarabad is also likely to have Mainly Clear sky. The minimum temperature was 18 degree Celsius and the maximum is expected to be around 35 degree Celsius.
             
    In Dehradun, the minimum temperature was 24 degree Celsius and the maximum will be around 33 degrees. The city is expected to have Partly cloudy sky with possibility of development of thunder lightning. Chandigarh may witness Partly cloudy sky. The temperature may hover between 27 and 36 degree Celsius.
             
    In Hyderabad, the minimum temperature was 22 degree Celsius while the maximum is expected to be around 29 degree Celsius. The city will experience Generally cloudy sky with Heavy rain. The temperature in Ahmedabad is expected to hover between 27 and 34 degree Celsius. The city will have Generally cloudy sky with Light rain. Guwahati may experience a Generally cloudy sky with Light Rain or Drizzle. The minimum temperature was recorded at 26 degree Celsius while the maximum will be around 34 degrees.

  • Mitchell Starc swept a four for the winning runs as the Australians consigned England to its first loss in a bilateral ODI series at home since 2015 with a record chase at Old Trafford, giving them a famous win to take back Down Under from their white-ball tour. England recovered from losing the wickets of Jason Roy and Joe Root from the opening two balls of the match to post 302-7 after winning the toss in the third ODI, with Jonny Bairstow hitting 112 for his 10th ODI hundred and Chris Woakes a late-innings 53 off 39 balls.

    Australia, playing without Steve Smith for the third straight game this series after the star batsman failed to recover from a knock to the head, slumped to 73-5 after Marnus Labuschagne's sloppy run-out to make England the big favorite.
    But Carey and Maxwell were defiant and produced a record sixth-wicket stand against England to slowly turn the tide. Maxwell pulled Adil Rashid for six to reach his second ODI century, quickly followed by Carey nudging a single to bring up his first ton in the format.

    Maxwell eventually fell for a 90-ball 108 and Australia needed 14 off the last two overs, then Carey departed for 106 to a fabulous diving catch by Mark Wood off the seventh-to-last ball. Starc entered, with Australia needing 10 off six, and smashed his first ball for six off Rashid. After two singles, Starc swept Rashid round the corner and the ball sped to the boundary rope, sealing a three-wicket win and sparking cheers for his teammates on the balcony.

    It was England's only series loss of its international summer — during which all of its games have been played without fans — after playing the West Indies, Ireland, Pakistan and Australia in various formats.
    England won the T20 series against Australia 2-1.

  • Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin refused to give any clear-cut response to the question on disengagement by sending the troops back to their respective positions and restoring the status quo of April. Wang expressed hope that both sides will follow through the 5-point agreement reached between both the foreign ministers in Moscow. He also said China is ready to work with India to resolve the border standoff peacefully. Both the sides are working to implement the 5-point consensus after the Moscow agreement between both the foreign ministers.

    Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh had said, India wanted to peacefully resolve the border standoff with China and would like the Chinese side to work with India. He stated that there is no commonly delineated Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the border areas between India and China and there is no common perception of the entire LAC.

    That’s the reason why India and China have many agreements and well-defined protocols in place for border and troops management and to avoid any escalation at the border. Two sides in a meeting on June 6, 2020 agreed on a process of disengagement that involved reciprocal actions.

    Both sides also agreed to respect and abide by the LAC and not undertake any activity to alter the status quo. However, in violation of this the Chinese side created a violent face off on June 15th at Galwan. China has not yet responded to India’s demand of restoring the status quo ante of April 2020 when reports first came in of movement of Chinese troops and armament in Eastern Ladakh.

    Report by Anshuman Mishra/ Beijing

     

  • Earlier, on Tuesday, Defence Minister had made a statement in Lok Sabha over the issue. Rajnath Singh had asserted that India remains committed to resolve the current issues in its border areas through peaceful dialogue and consultations.
    He said, India believes that mutual respect and mutual sensitivity are the basis for peaceful relations with neighbours.
     
    Defence Minister had said that India wants to resolve the current situation through dialogue. He said, India has been continuously maintaining diplomatic and military engagement with the Chinese side.
     
    Defence minister mentioned that both sides should strictly respect the LAC and asserted that any attempt to unilaterally alter the status quo will not be acceptable.

  • Welfare activities are being organised across the country to mark Prime Minister Narendra Modi's birthday. Bharatiya Janata Party is organising a week-long Seva Saptah to mark the occasion. Several programmes related to cleanliness, distribution of sanitation pads, wheel chairs and social service are being organized from 14th to 20th of this month across the country.

    Party leaders and workers all over the country are undertaking various welfare programmes to celebrate the birthday. President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu, Home Minister Amit Shah and other Cabinet colleagues extend greetings to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

    Prime Minister of Nepal K P Sharma Oli greets PM Narendra Modi on his birthday. In a tweet, PM Oli says, the two leaders will continue to work closely together, towards strengthening relations between the two countries.

  • The World Health Organization warned on Wednesday that COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, is spreading at a worrying pace in some parts of the northern hemisphere, a few months away from the winter influenza season.

    “We are starting to see worrying trends in some countries,” Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead for COVID-19, said during a social media webcast.

    “We are seeing increases in hospitalisations, in intensive care units, particularly in Spain, France, Montenegro, Ukraine and some states of the United States. That is worrying because we have not seen the flu season yet.”

    Van Kerkhove also said hospitalisations of people aged 15-49 infected with COVID-19 were increasing in several countries. Dr. Mike Ryan, the WHO’s top emergency expert, advised people at high risk for COVID-19 infections to get a flu vaccination.

  • In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, Goyal said, despite the presence of several IT platforms for investing in India such as in departments of the central government, and state single window clearances, investors have to visit multiple platforms to gather information and obtain clearances from different stakeholders.
     
    He also said the cell is being planned as a one-stop digital platform to obtain all requisite central and state clearances and approvals to start business operations in the country. Goyal said, the investment clearance cell will be a national portal that integrates the existing clearance systems of various ministries and departments of the government and of states without disrupting the existing IT portals of ministries.

  • The Bill was earlier passed in Lok Sabha on 19th March, 2020. This paves the way to establish a state-of-the-art Ayurvedic institution called the Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda (ITRA) at Jamnagar, Gujarat, and to confer the status of Institution of National Importance (INI) to it.

    The ITRA is sought to be established by conglomerating the presently existing Ayurveda institutes at Gujarat Ayurved University campus Jamnagar. This is a cluster of highly reputed institutions, namely, (a) Institute for Post Graduate Teaching and Research in Ayurveda, (b) Shree GulabKunverba Ayurveda Mahavidyalaya, and (c) Institute of Ayurvedic Pharmaceutical sciences, (d) MaharshiPatanjali Institute for Yoga Naturopathy Education & Research (to be made part of the Department of Swasthvritta of the proposed ITRA). These institutions had come up over the past many decades, and together made a unique family of Ayurveda institutions existing in close proximity.

    It is expected that the enactment of the proposal will further provide autonomy to the institute to develop patterns of teaching in undergraduate and postgraduate education in Ayurveda and Pharmacy. The synergies among the different constituent institutions will help ITRA to demonstrate high standards of such education and to emerge as a lighthouse institution to the entire AYUSH Sector. It is expected to provide the highest level of training of personnel in all important branches of Ayurveda including Pharmacy, and to take up in-depth study and research in the field of Ayurveda.

    ITRA will be the first institution with INI status in the AYUSH Sector, and this will enable the institution to be independent and innovative in the matter deciding course content and pedagogy. The decision comes at a time when global interest in health solutions based on traditional wisdom is at an unprecedentedly high level and ITRA is poised to take Ayurveda education to new vistas.

  • Moving at an agonizing 3 mph, or about as fast as a person can walk, the storm made landfall at 4:45 a.m. local time on Wednesday close to Gulf Shores, Alabama, about 30 miles from Pensacola. It accelerated to a light jog as it battered the Pensacola and Mobile, Alabama, metropolitan areas encompassing nearly 1 million people.

    It cast boats onto land or sank them at the dock, flattened palm trees, peeled away roofs, blew down signs and knocked out power to more than a half-million homes and businesses. A replica of Christopher Columbus' ship the Nina that had been docked at the Pensacola waterfront was missing, police said.

    Sally tore loose a barge-mounted construction crane, which then smashed into the new Three Mile Bridge over Pensacola Bay, causing a section of the year-old span to collapse, authorities said. The storm also ripped away a large section of a fishing pier at Alabama's Gulf State Park on the very day a ribbon-cutting had been scheduled following a USD 2.4 million renovation.

    By the afternoon, authorities in Escambia County, which includes Pensacola, said at least 377 people had been rescued from flooded areas. More than 40 people trapped by high water were brought to safety within a single hour, including a family of four found in a tree, Sheriff David Morgan said.

    Authorities in Pensacola said 200 National Guard members would arrive Thursday to help. Officials also announced a three-day dusk-to-dawn curfew in the county, where the storm turned some Pensacola streets into white-capped rivers for a time. By early afternoon, Sally had weakened into a tropical storm, with winds down to 70 mph (110 kph), but the worst may be yet to come, with heavy rain expected into Thursday as the storm pushes inland over Alabama and into Georgia. For much of the day, it was moving at just 5 mph (7 kph), concentrating the amount of rain dropped on any one place.

    Morgan estimated thousands more will need to flee rising waters in the coming days. County officials urged residents to rely on text messages for contacting family and friends to keep cellphone service open for 911 calls. “There are entire communities that we're going to have to evacuate,” the sheriff said. “It's going to be a tremendous operation over the next several days.”

    West of Pensacola, power poles leaned halfway over in Perdido Key, Florida, as Joe Mirable arrived at his real estate business to find the two-story building shattered, its contents scatted on the ground. Digging through the ruins, Mirable pointed out a binder labeled “Hurricane Action Plan.” “I think the professionals got this one wrong,” he said before the wind blew away his hat.

    More than 2 feet of rain (61 centimetres) was recorded near Naval Air Station Pensacola, and nearly 3 feet (1 metre) of water covered streets in downtown Pensacola, the National Weather Service reported.
    “It's not common that you start measuring rainfall in feet,” said forecaster David Eversole. “Sally's moving so slowly, so it just keeps pounding and pounding and pounding the area with tropical rain and just powerful winds. It's just a nightmare.”

    It was the second hurricane to hit the Gulf Coast in less than three weeks and the latest blow in one of the busiest hurricane seasons ever recorded, so frenetic that forecasters have nearly run through the alphabet of storm names with 2 1/2 months still to go. At the start of the week, Sally was one of a record-tying five storms churning simultaneously in the Atlantic, strung out like charms on a bracelet.

    Like the wildfires raging on the West Coast, the onslaught of hurricanes has focused attention on climate change, which scientists say is causing slower, rainier, more powerful and more destructive storms. An emergency crew rescued two people on Dauphin Island, Alabama, after the hurricane ripped the roof off their home and the rest of the house began to crumble. “As things started to peel off and fall apart, they got scared and called for assistance,” Mayor Jeff Collier said. He said no one was injured.

    In Orange Beach, Alabama, the wind blew out the walls in one corner of a condominium building, exposing the interiors of condos on at least five floors, video posted online showed. At least 50 people were rescued from flooded homes and taken to shelters, Mayor Tony Kennon said. “We got a few people that we just haven't been able to get to because the water is so high,” Kennon said. “But they are safe in their homes. As soon as the water recedes, we will rescue them.”

  • More than 12,000 people, mostly refugees from Afghanistan, Africa and Syria, were left without shelter, proper sanitation or access to food and water by the fire that tore through Moria's containers and tents.

    But Greek authorities have struggled to convince migrants to move into the new camp, who had hoped that they would be allowed to leave the island.

    The migrants pushed baby strollers and trash bins piled with their belongings that survived the fire as they arrived to enter the new camp.

    Those entering were tested for Covid-19. Of the roughly 1,200 that had settled in the previous days, 35 have been found positive.

    Four migrants appeared before a prosecutor on Wednesday over the Moria blaze, from among six arrested the previous day.

  • "The IBSA Foreign meeting attended by foreign ministers of all three members of the group adopted a joint statement on the Reform of the UN Security Council, as a common endeavour of the Global South. The Ministers emphasized the need for the international community to redouble efforts and bolster commitment to not only reform of the UN Security Council but also towards the expansion of its membership by including representation from emerging and developing countries.  
     
    The representation, in both the permanent and non-permanent categories, should be for achieving a representative, inclusive, equitable, responsive, and effective UN Security Council said the joint statement. 
     
    Highlighting that, while a comprehensive reform of the United Nations system remains a crucial international undertaking, on which there has been some progress, the minister reiterated that advancing the reform of the Security Council should remain an urgent and key priority.
     
    The failure to reform the Security Council has serious implications for international peace and security. Significant and accelerated reform is critical to ensure that this organ is more representative, effective and responsive, and remains capable of delivering on the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, said the Joint statement.
     
    Expressing dissatisfaction on the transparency and frustratingly slow pace of reforms in the Inter-Governmental Negotiations process, the three ministers insisted that the time has come to move towards a result-oriented process, with provision for substantive negotiations based on a single comprehensive text, in a formal setting.
     
    The IBSA meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday was held virtually. The meeting was chaired by EAM Jaishakar and attended by his South African Counterpart Grace Naledi Mandisa Pandor and Brazilian counterpart Fabio Marzano.
     
    The Ministers also discussed various issues of global significance including peace, security, countering terrorism, climate change, sustainable development, multilateral trading system, disarmament, non-proliferation issues and South-South Cooperation. 
     
    Further, the Ministers shared their experience on COVID-19 pandemic situation and appreciated the work done by the IBSA Fund for Alleviation of Poverty and Hunger. Brazil and South Africa also congratulate India on its successful election as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the term 2021-2022.

     

    Abhishek Jha

  • As of Wednesday evening, the total number of cases stood at 29,607,590 and the fatalities rose to 935,871, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

    The US accounted for the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 6,606,674 and 195,961 respectively, according to the CSSE.

    India is currently in the second place in terms of cases at 5,020,359, while the country's death toll stood at 82,066.

    In terms of cases, Brazil ranks third (4,382,263), and is followed by Russia (1,075,485), Peru (738,020), Colombia (728,590), Mexico (676,487), South Africa (651,521), Spain (603,167), Argentina (577,338), Chile (437,983), France (433,905), Iran (410,334), the UK (376,670), Bangladesh (342,671), Saudi Arabia (326,930), Pakistan (303,089), Iraq (298,702), Turkey (294,620), Italy (289,990), Philippines (272,934), Germany (265,956), Indonesia (228,993), Israel (166,794), Ukraine (166,694), Canada (140,900), Bolivia (128,286), Qatar (122,214), Ecuador (119,553), Romania (107,011), Kazakhstan (106,984), Dominican Republic (104,803), Panama (102,832) and Egypt (101,340), the CSSE figures showed.

    The other countries with over 10,000 deaths are the Brazil (133,119), Mexico (71,678), the UK (41,753), Italy (35,633), France (31,007), Peru (30,927), Spain (30,004), Iran (23,632), Colombia (23,288), Russia (18,853), South Africa (15,641), Chile (12,040), Argentina (11,852) and Ecuador (10,963).

  • Apart from this the Prime Minister shall also inaugurate 12 rail projects related to passenger facilities for the benefit of the Bihar State. These include a new railway bridge on the Kiul River, two new railway lines, 5 Electrification projects, one Electric Locomotive Shed and 3rd Line Project between Barh-Bakhtiyarpur.

    The dedication of the Kosi Rail Mahasetu is a watershed moment in the history of Bihar and the entire region connecting to the North East.

    In 1887, a meter gauge link was built in between Nirmali and Bhaptiahi (Saraigarh). During the heavy flood and severe Indo Nepal earthquake in 1934, the rail link was washed away and thereafter due to meandering nature of river Kosi no attempt was made to restore this Rail link for long period.

    The Kosi Mega Bridge line project was sanctioned by Government of India during 2003-04. The Kosi Rail Mahasetu is 1.9 KM long and its construction cost is Rs. 516 Crore. This bridge is of strategic importance along the India-Nepal border. The project was completed during the COVID-Pandemic where the migrant labour also participated in its completion.

    The dedication of this project will fulfil the 86 year old dream and the long wait of the people of the region. Along with the dedication of the Mahasetu, the Prime Minister shall also be flagging off the Saharsa- Asanpur Kupha demo train from the Supaul Station. Once the regular train service begins, this would prove to be highly beneficial to the Supaul, Arariya and Saharsa districts. It would also make it easy for long distance travel to Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai for the people of the region.

    The Prime Minister shall also be inaugurating two New Line projects at Hajipur-Ghoswar-Vaishali and Islampur-Nateshar. Shri Modi shall also be inaugurating the Karnauti-Bakhtiyarpur link bypass and 3rd line between Barh-Bakhiyarpur.

    The Prime Minister shall also be inaugurating the Railway Electrification projects of Muzaffarpur – Sitamarhi, Katihar–New Jalpaiguri, Samastipur-Darbhanga-Jaynagar, Samastipur-Khagaria, Bhagalpur-Shivnarayanpur Sections.

  • The salient features of the guidelines include the following:

    (i) Airport Operator will create Sample Collection cum Waiting Lounge facility for RT-PCR testing.

    (ii)Waiting Lounge should be located away from the Operational area, should follow all sanitization and social distancing related guidelines issued by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, should have no unauthorized access, should provide necessary amenities to the passengers like Wifi, F&B options, washrooms etc. and should provide cashless options for making payments with regard to testing and various amenities etc. 

    (iii) Airport Operator shall provide option to the passengers to either stay at the Waiting Lounge awaiting the test results or to proceed to designated Hotel(s) in order to isolate themselves till the test results are available.

    (iv)Sample collection to be in strict compliance with the protocols established by ICMR and NABL.

    (v)Passengers to do online booking of the RT-PCR test through respective websites or other appropriate online platforms. A well-defined flow to be laid down by airport operators for smooth conduct of testing at airports.

    (vi)Passport of the passenger to be retained by the State authority at the Sample Collection cum Waiting Lounge till the test results are available.

    (vii)If the test result is negative, passenger will be permitted to exit the Waiting Lounge and proceed to the Departures to catch the connecting flight. However, if the result is positive, the passenger will be processed in line with applicable ICMR protocols by the State authorities.

    (viii) No passenger should be able to make an unauthorized exit.

    This information was given in a written reply by Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State (I/C), Civil Aviation in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

  • The Lt Governor made an impromptu visit to block Khanmoh of the district in connection with the 21-days long Jan Abhiyan/ Awami Muhim, which is being held as a prelude to the flagship Back to Village-3 programme throughout Jammu & Kashmir. During the tour, he inspected the proceedings of the administration’s efforts in providing door-step governance to the public.

    He also interacted with the locals availing benefits of the program as well as the field staff of departments, enquiring about the progress on beneficiary oriented schemes in the block and the steps being taken for reaching out to the deserving and needy people by ensuring universal coverage of beneficiaries under various Social Assistance and Welfare schemes.

    Deputy Commissioner Srinagar briefed the Lt Governor about the coverage of beneficiaries under various schemes in the block, road development works, interventions in the education & health sector, and about public demands related to water supply and sports.

    Interacting with the public, the Lt Governor underscored the commitment of the government for ensuring participatory planning and empowering the people by providing opportunities for the articulation of their demands and issues. He assured the people that all their issues shall be considered and addressed on merit. ‘Government officials have been directed to attend weekly programme to help the PRIs and the local public for formulation of plans, working out solutions for local issues, judicious use of financial resources for best possible outcomes on the developmental and socio-economic landscape’, he remarked.

    The Lt Governor observed that under the Jan Abhiyan/ Awami Muhim, Deputy Commissioners and Superintendents of Police shall conduct weekly public hearings in their offices every day except Wednesdays and Sundays, 10.30 am to 11.30 am, and advised the public to project their issues and demands. Deputy Commissioners and Superintendents of Police and senior district officers shall personally visit each sub-divisional headquarters every Wednesday during the Jan Abhiyan/Awami Muhim period and hear public grievances.

    He further stressed upon them to address public grievances religiously and visit all subdivisions on a rotational basis for a larger reach of the Jan Abhiyan. ‘Once the system is established thoroughly, the initiative shall be extended up to the block/tehsil headquarter level’, announced the Lt Governor.

    Later, responding to the public demands the Lt Governor stated that his vision for development is based on realistic planning backed by financial and technical aspects; and he encourages actual developmental initiatives instead of mere announcements. He directed Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar to submit proposals on demands projected by the locals including up-gradation of hospital and schools, sports grounds, water supply schemes, road development, and other demands. He further asked the Deputy Commissioner for clearing the bottlenecks and expedite the process for the establishment of Degree College.

    The Lt Governor reiterated that all panchayats of the UT are free to utilize funds under 14 FC, MGNREGA, and the additional amo

    unt of Rs 10 lakh according to the needs and demands of the local population. He stressed on cleanliness and hygiene in villages and directed for dovetailing of funds under 14th FC, MGNREGA, and B2V for local interventions in both creation of infrastructure and working out labour component for manpower to ensure this. He also called for prioritizing the procurement of transformers under B2V funds for the creation of buffer stock to ensure timely replacement of transformers in case of damage.

    Addressing the youth, the Lt Governor announced that a number of initiatives have been launched and many others are in pipeline for their overall development. He said that the government is committed to provide the requisite handholding to the youth and measures for skill development are already in offing. He announced that an online career counseling platform has been launched on a pilot basis in district Ganderbal and Udhampur for students, which aims to provide career education guidance to the students at an early stage of their studies to choose an appropriate academic and career options.

    Similarly, the Lt Governor informed the public about the establishment of two Centers for Invention, Innovation, Incubation & Training (CIIITs) in Jammu & Kashmir in collaboration with Tata Technologies. The two centers are being built at Government Polytechnic College, Jammu and Government Polytechnic College, Baramulla and shall be established at a cost of approximately Rs 360 crores, which are aimed at bringing qualitative improvements in the field of technical education and to create a learning environment for training manpower to cater to the industry requirements in J&K and outside.

    ‘The District Development Plan shall be based on the ground assessment made with feedback of the local populace and the officers of the administration would act as facilitators in the overall developmental processes’, assured the Lt Governor.

    The Lt Governor said that under a comprehensive approach adopted by the UT administration, all roads from UT headquarters to District headquarters and from District headquarters to Block/Tehsil headquarters shall be made pothole-free in the first phase.

    The Lt Governor stressed that people should not face any difficulty in accessing the services of the government. The Lt Governor also called for saturation of individual beneficiaries of all Centrally Sponsored Social Assistance and Welfare schemes on a mission mode.

    Later, the Lt Governor also handed over various certificates and sanction letters to beneficiaries under different departmental schemes as a token of service delivery to be ensured by the Government in such camps regularly.

    During the tour, the Lt Governor was accompanied by Advisor, Sh Baseer Ahmad Khan; Principal Secretary Information Department & PDD; Sh Rohit Kansal and Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Dr. Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, and other senior officers.

  • Employees below the level of Deputy Directors have been asked to work for two weeks from home and two weeks from office each month. However senior officials will continue to attend office on a daily basis. The government servants will not be allowed to go outside without permission while they work from home. This is in continuation of several other restrictions reimposed in the country after the second wave of corona infections hit Myanmar.

    State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi has also urged people to follow rules and discipline of the government to control the spread of Corona virus in the country. She assured that sufficient medical supplies and health facilities will be arranged for people to cope with Corona infection, reported Global New Light of Myanmar, the official media channel of the government.

    In the meanwhile, the government is building a field hospital with 500 beds in Yangon to cope with the surge in the Corona positive cases. Three hospitals in Yangon have been repurposed to treat COVID 19 patients, reports Reuters. The government has also reduced the quarantine period from three weeks to two weeks in order to relieve pressure on medical facilities in the country. 

    The Ministry of Health and Sports reported 134 new COVID-19 cases till morning of Wednesday taking the total number of infected people to 3636. The country has also reported 39 deaths till now. 

    Country’s commercial hub Yangon is the worst hit area in Myanmar with close to 1850 cases reported till Tuesday. Rakhine is the second hardest hit state with 722 cases. 

    Myanmar recorded 33 COVID-19 deaths in the two weeks from Sept. 4 to 16, after seeing a total of six in the first wave of cases from March 23 to Sept. 4. 

    - Rajesh Jha

  • Representing India, Union Environment Minister, Prakash Javadekar, congratulated the Saudi Presidency for exemplary work in bringing together the nations of the world to address the urgent environmental challenges and propose impactful solution.  He also shared the efforts made by India towards achieving land degradation neutrality, and towards attainment of global goals of climate change mitigation and adaptation. Prakash  Javadekar said, India is committed to work with G20 nations for a better world. He said, India is blessed with vast bio-diversity and ecosystem.

    Union Minister Prakash Javedkar elaborated on efforts made by India for protection of environment, forests and wildlife as well as for combating pollution, coral reef management and climate change. The Minister highlighted the efforts made by National Coastal Mission Programme under which government has taken several steps to protect coral reefs in the country. He said that India is walking the talk on Paris Agreement and its Climate commitments. Javadekar said, India has taken significant steps to protect environment and forest and wildlife as well as combating pollution and climate change. 

    Union Minister applauded the launch of Global Initiative to Reduce Land Degradation and Coral Reef program at the G20 Environment Ministers meeting.As the world is arising out of the Global pandemic of Covid-19, Union Minister Prakash Javedkar at the Environment Ministers Meeting  committed to scale up the efforts in addressing the environmental challenges at all levels and to urgently take concrete actions to conserve and restore the environment.

    - Tapas Bhattacharya’s report

  • Commenting on Delhi Capitals’ much talked about team spirit, the experienced leg-spinner said “the best thing is that all the players are enjoying each other’s company”. “Everyone is really keen and excited to play in this season of the IPL. With just one week to go now, everyone has been putting in great effort in preparing for the tournament under such difficult circumstances,” he said. 

    “I’m really happy that everyone has been really cautious in their approach and have made sure that all protocols are being followed and have been within the bio-bubble, and the fact that no one from the bio-bubble has been affected by COVID-19, is proof of how well everyone has followed the rules,” Mishra added. 

    Asked whether the pitch and weather conditions will favour the spinners, Mishra said only time will tell. “The conditions so far have been neutral - I can’t say if they favor the batsmen or the bowlers more. When we start playing, then we will have a clearer picture and can say whether it is helping the batsmen or the bowlers more,” said the veteran spinner who is currently 13 IPL wickets behind Malinga. 

    Speaking about his team’s preparations, Mishra said “everyone is focused on their individual roles” and “understand exactly what they have to do during the matches.” 

    With Delhi Capitals having had an excellent last season, Mishra believes his side will again be “putting in all the effort to win matches.” “We are really positive, but in T20 cricket, you know it is hard to promise a win, because all teams are so competitive and have quality players in their ranks. We also have a lot of match-winners in our team, and we will do our preparations according to each team. We cannot underestimate any team, and need to treat everyone equally,” he said.

  • Government has allowed the sale of fifty percent of the tickets on intercity trains online while the rest of the tickets are to be sold on the stations. No standing ticket will be issued. Prior to this, only 50 percent of the seats on the trains were allowed to be occupied by passengers in order to maintain social distancing. 

    In the meanwhile, Bangladesh reported 21 deaths and 1615 new cases of Corona infection in the country on Wednesday. According to the latest figures released by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) till Wednesday, 4823 people have died due to Corona in the country. The number of people infected by the virus  stands at  3.42 lakh after testing 17.70 lakh people.

    Even though the sample to infection ratio has been above 19 percent in the country, the number of active cases has been declining. The number of recoveries in the last few weeks has consistently been above the number of new cases bridging down the total number of active cases in the country to 89,879. The recovery rate in Bangladesh has gone up to 72.36 percent. 

    Adding to the number of high profile cases in Bangladesh, the state Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury has been diagnosed with Coronavirus infection.

    - Rajesh Jha/Dhaka

  • In the first leg, the 8 states that have been approved for setting up of KISCEs are Odisha, Mizoram, Telengana, Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala.

    The support will be in the form of infrastructure upgradation, setting up of sports science centre and also soft component in the form of quality coaches and sports science human resources eg Physiotherapists, strength and conditioning expert.  High quality equipment will also be provided to the players. The academy will also have a High performance Manager to ensure quality sports science input and performance management.

    The Sports Ministry is upgrading existing sporting infrastructure in each state and UT, in partnership with the state and UT, and creating KISCEs with the aim to create a robust sporting ecosystem in the entire country. Each KISCE will be extended sports-specific support in 14 Olympic sport, of which one state or UT will be given support for a maximum of 3 sports.

    Speaking about the decision to set up the KISCEs, Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju said, "These Khelo India State Center of Excellence is yet another step towards building a robust sports ecosystem one one hand and India's pursuit of excellence in Olympics, on the other. These state-of-the-art centers will ensure that athletes proficient in a certain sport can be given the highest level of training and these centers become the best facilities in the country to train athletes in the priority sport for which they have been earmarked. I am confident this step will help to further India's effort of becoming one of the top 10 countries in the Olympics in 2028."

    The setting up of the KISCE will also help to broad-base talent identification, since the states and UTs will also identify and develop talent in each sport for which funding is received. As a joint partnership, the Sports Authority of India will provide financial support in various avenues like sports science back-up, engagement of coaches and support staff, procurement of sports equipment, among other things. The state will be responsible for lodging, boarding, regular maintenance, infrastructure upgradation and overall management of the center. Wherever required, SAI will provide technical expertise and assistance, while putting in place a regular monitoring mechanism, to ensure that athletes are trained at par with international standards.

    Meanwhile, top sporting facilities have been identified in 6 more states and union territories - Assam, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya and Sikkim - which will be upgraded to Khelo India State Centre of Excellence. Currently SAI is undertaking the "Viability Gap Analysis" to identify areas where upgradation and support is needed in each centre.

  • "According to the results, our house has decided to name Yoshihide Suga prime minister," lower house speaker Tadamori Oshima told parliament after the votes were counted.

    Suga, 71, won an easy victory, taking 314 votes of 462 valid ballots cast in the lower house of parliament, where his ruling Liberal Democratic Party holds a commanding majority with its coalition partner.

    He bowed deeply as lawmakers applauded following the announcement, but made no immediate comment.

    He is expected to announce his cabinet later Wednesday, with local media reporting he will retain a number of ministers from Abe's government.

    Suga has said he will prioritise keeping coronavirus infections under control and kickstarting Japan's economy, and has promised to continue Abe's key policy programmes.

    Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has congratulated Excellency Yoshihide Suga on the appointment as Prime Minister of Japan. In a tweet, the Prime Minister said, "Heartiest congratulations to Excellency Yoshihide Suga on the appointment as Prime Minister of Japan. I look forward to jointly taking our Special Strategic and Global Partnership to new heights."

  • He said the world is looking to India for large scale production of COVID-19 vaccine once it is rolled out.
     
    In an exclusive interview to a news agency, Gates, whose foundation is focusing on fighting the pandemic, called it the "next biggest thing" the world has been confronted with after the World War.
     
    Scientists and pharmaceutical companies globally are racing against time to find a vaccine for the coronavirus pandemic which has killed about 9,32,000 people and infected around 24 million.
     
    Some of the vaccine candidates have entered the third and final phase of testing.
     
    Gates said India will be helping to make sure we have equity. We have a model that shows that getting the vaccine out to those who need it the most will save half the lives that you'd lose if you only send it out to the rich countries.
     
    The Microsoft co-founder talked extensively about India's strength in production of vaccines and referred to companies like Serum Institute, Bio E and Bharat Biotech.
     
    Gates also said that his foundation has been having "great discussions" with India's NITI-Aayog, adding the ICMR is looking at the regulatory aspects of the COVID-19 vaccines.
     
    He said the focus should be to keep the cost of the vaccines low and it should be ensured that they can be made in very high volume.
     
    Gates also complimented India's digital cash transfer scheme.
     
    Getting payments through digital cash transfers, that has been a fantastic thing, and obviously, India has done that at a scale that no other country ever has," he said.
     
    "The whole Aadhaar digital financial system in India has proven to be once again a huge asset," he said, adding it can be extended to all the countries of the world.

  • She was formerly a member of parliament and also served as Secretary to the Government of India in the Ministry of Education, where she was responsible for the establishment of a large number of national institutions of higher education.

    She served as the founding director of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts. She was former President of India International Centre (IIC) and an IIC Life Trustee and the Chairperson of the IIC International Research Division. She was 91.

    - Jyotika Grover

  • Exercising the right of reply to the statements made by Pakistan at the 45ths session of Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva, the First Secretary at India’s Permanent Mission, Pawan Badhe said, “It has become habitual for Pakistan to malign my country with false and fabricated narratives for its self-serving malicious purposes. Neither India nor others deserve this unsolicited lecture on human rights from a country that has consistently persecuted its ethnic and religious minorities, is an epicenter of terrorism, has the distinction of providing pensions to individuals on the UN Sanctions list, and has a Prime Minister who proudly admits training tens of thousands of terrorists to fight in Jammu and Kashmir.”
     
    Exposing Pakistan for abusing various HRC mechanisms and platforms for raising issues, which relate to the internal affairs of India, The Indian statement said that it is an attempt to “distract the attention of the international community from serious human rights violations committed by it against its own people, including in Indian territories occupied by it”. 
     
    India also rejected the reference made by the Organisation of Islamic Council (OIC) to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir which is an integral part of India. “The OIC has no locus standi to comment on internal affairs of India. The OIC has allowed itself to be misused by Pakistan to subverse its own Agenda. It’s for the members of the OIC to decide if it is in their interests to allow Pakistan to do so,” said the Indian representative.
     
    Pakistan is under severe pressure from international organization to act upon the menace of money laundering to stop terror financing. “Its not surprising that other relevant multilateral institutions have been raising serious concerns on its failure to stop terror financing and lack of effective actions against all terror entities in Pakistan,” said the Indian statement.
     
    India also said that the nefarious designs of Pakistan also continue in Pakistan Occupied parts of Indian Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Laddakh. The mass influx of outsiders has whittled down the number of Kashmiris to an insignificant number in Pakistan occupied parts of Indian Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Laddakh. “In its zeal to reassert its theocratic ideology, it has ensured that ethnic and religious minorities have no future through systematic persecution, blasphemy laws, forced conversions, targeted killings, sectarian violence, and faith-based discrimination,” said the Indian representative.  Thousands of Sikh, Hindus, and Christian minority women and girls in Pakistan have been subjected to abductions, forced marriages, and conversions.
     
    Beside, the plight of people under its subjugation is well represented by the state of affairs in Baluchistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh. Security forces of Pakistan are regularly blamed for the disappearance of people in this region which, of late, has become a daily occurrence. “Not a single day has gone by when a family in Baluchistan doesn’t find its members picked up or kidnapped by the security forces of Pakistan,” stated India.
     
    The involvement of Pakistani authorities has been found in cases of intimidation and attacks against journalists, human rights defenders and political dissidents. India said, “It is not without a reason that Pakistan has been highlighted by international organizations as a country where journalists are slain and their killers go scot free.”

    Report by Abhishek Jha

  • Sources said that during his visit which lasted a few hours only, he called on External Affairs Minister S Jaishakar in the presence of National security Advisor Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla. During the meeting, Khalilzad briefed the Indian side about the US assessment of the ongoing Intra Afghan Negotiation and shared the US perspective on the Afghan peace. The two sides discussed future steps and possible cooperation between India and the US in furthering the Afghan peace process.
     
    EAM Jaishankar had participated in the inaugural session of the intra-Afghan negotiations held in Doha on 12 September via video conferencing. During his address, EAM had conveyed that India’s policy on Afghanistan had been consistent. India believes any peace process must be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled, has to respect the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan and preserve the progress made in the establishment of a democratic Islamic Republic in Afghanistan. He also underlined that the interests of minorities, women, and vulnerable sections of society must be preserved and the issue of violence across the country and its neighbourhood has to be effectively addressed.

    The US interlocutor’s Delhi visit precedes his meeting with senior leaders and officials of the Pakistan government in Islamabad on Monday.

    During his interaction in Delhi Khalilzad appreciated India’s participation in the Intra-Afghan Negotiations. The two sides also deliberated upon how to promote regional and international cooperation with regard to Afghanistan. India has always maintained that it will continue its support for strengthening peace, security, unity, democratic and inclusive polity, and protection of rights of all sections of the Afghan society. India enjoys goodwill among all factions of Afghanistan and has been actively engaged in the development and humanitarian work in the strife-torn nation. India is one of the largest development partners of Afghanistan, with a commitment of more than US $ 3 billion, and over 400 projects have been completed in all the 34 provinces of Afghanistan with Indian assistance.

    Today’s discussions of Khalilzad with senior Indian leaders are a reflection of the India-US strategic partnership which provides for close consultations between the two countries on bilateral, regional, and international issues of mutual interest.
     
    The formal negotiations between the Afghan Government and the Taliban have begun on Monday. The talks are happening to negotiate a power-sharing arrangement between the warring factions to eventfully put an end to decades of war. Apart from the US, Afghanistan, the Taliban, and Qatar which is hosting the talks, the discussions over the weekend were also attended by representatives from India, Pakistan, Russia, Germany, Indonesia, Uzbekistan, Norway, and the United Nations.

    Report by Abhishek Jha

  • On the direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully conducted an Anti-Satellite (A-SAT) missile test ‘Mission Shakti’ from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha on 27th March 2019.

    DRDO developed A-SAT Missile successfully engaged an Indian orbiting target satellite in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) in a ‘Hit to Kill’ mode. The interceptor missile was a three-stage missile with two solid rocket boosters.

    Tracking data from range sensors had confirmed that the mission met all its objectives. The entire effort was indigenous which demonstrated the Nation’s capability to develop such complex and critical missions. A number of industries also participated in the mission. With this success, India became fourth nation in the world to possess such capability.

    NSA Ajit Doval in his address stated that it was a very brave step on part of DRDO to go for Mission Shakti. He further stated that DRDO has plenty of achievements to be proud of; however the future is in space based technologies.

    Satellites are critical and with this capability India can defend it’s assets in space. He appreciated the way in which the mission was kept a secret and complimented the whole DRDO fraternity for doing well in all other fields.

    Speaking on the occasion, Dr G Satheesh Reddy, Secretary DDR&D & Chairman DRDO thanked Hon’ble Prime Minister and NSA for assigning such a critical and complex mission to DRDO. He further stated that A-SAT mission enabled development of many technologies and capabilities for precision kill at higher altitudes. He called upon DRDO fraternity to take up more such complex and critical projects.

  • The scheme has now been extended for another 180 days i.e. 6 months. This Central Sector Scheme provides an insurance cover of Rs. 50 lakh to healthcare providers, including community health workers, who may have to be in direct contact and care of COVID-19 patients and therefore at risk of being infected. It also includes accidental loss of life on account of contracting COVID-19.

    The scheme also covers private hospital staff/ retired/volunteer/ local urban bodies/contract/daily wage/ ad-hoc/outsourced staff requisitioned by States/ Central hospitals/autonomous hospitals of Central/States/UTs, AIIMS & INIs/ hospitals of Central Ministries drafted for COVID-19 related responsibilities.

    The insurance provided under this scheme is over and above any other insurance cover being availed of by the beneficiary.

    There is no age limit for this scheme and individual enrolment is not required. The entire amount of premium for this scheme is being borne by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.

    The benefit/claim under this policy is in addition to the amount payable under any other policies. Ministry of Health and Family welfare has collaborated with the New India Assurance (NIA) Company Limited for providing the insurance amount based on the guidelines prepared for the scheme.

    Till date, under the scheme, a total of 61 claims are processed and paid. 156 claims are under examination by New India Assurance (NIA) Company Limited, and in 67 cases claims forms are yet to be submitted by the States.

  • According to a press release issued by the High Commission of India in Dhaka on Tuesday, over 4000 young Bangladeshi professionals have benefitted from various ITEC programmes since 2007. These training programmes provide an opportunity to share best practises which benefit both the countries.

    In the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic, in the current year several specialised e-ITEC courses on COVID-19 management strategies  were organised for health-care Professionals  and Administrators from Bangladesh. 

    An exclusive e-ITEC Bangla course for COVID-19  was organized by AIIMS Bhubaneswar in which  over 150 trainees  participated from all over Bangladesh. Another online training for Provincial and District level administrative heads on ‘Good Governance Practices in a Pandemic’ was organized by the National Center for Good Governance, Mussoorie. All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Raipur organised an e-ITEC course for Healthcare professionals in which more than 90 health care professionals from Bangladesh participated. 

    Instituted in 1964, ITEC is a flagship programme of the Government of India to provide development assistance to developing countries across the globe. More than 10 thousand  training slots are offered every year to more than 160 partner countries for training courses in various areas like Accounts, Audit, Management, SME, Rural Development, Parliamentary Affairs etc.

     

     

     

    Rajesh Jha/Dhaka

  • The SOP is in continuation of the SOP released by SAI earlier, and includes procedural changes with regard to new trainees joining the training camps.

    The key points in the upgraded SOP are: 

    1. Testing: The cost of all Covid 19 tests to be undertaken by athletes, coaches and support staff joining training, will be paid by SAI. All those joining the camp will have to adhere to the following protocols of testing: 

    i. Self-isolation: As far as possible, athletes are to self isolate themselves 15 days prior to joining of training along with a declaration for it.

    ii. All the athletes, coaches and support staff  have to undergo mandatory RT-PCR test for COVID19, 96 Hrs before travelling to the centres and would be allowed to enter the centre on production of COVID-19 negative certificate.

    iii. If the athlete, coach or support staff is unable to undergo the test before travelling, due to unavoidable reason he/she shall be tested through an RT-PCR test immediately on arrival.

    iv. Further, only athletes, coaches and support staff who are found negative for COVID-19 on retesting through RT-PCR on 6th day of quarantine after reaching the camp, would be allowed to resume sports activity after a total quarantine period of 7 days. However, these athletes should not mingle with the athletes, coaches, support staff who are already in the bio-bubble/secure training environment from before, for a further period of 7 more days. 

    v. For any athlete/coach/support staff who is found positive for COVID-19, the standard protocol as prescribed by the Government of India, State Government, SAI SOP, and the local bodies, would be followed. Further, all athletes, coaches and support staff joining the NCOEs would have to adhere to the guidelines of the Government of India, State Government, SAI SOP and the guidelines of local bodies, with regard to COVID-19. 

     

     

    By: Tapas Bhattacharya

  • The States of Assam, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya and Sikkim have been identified in the second leg.

    Earlier this year, the Ministry had identified eight centres including Karnataka, Odisha, Kerala, Telengana and the north east states of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland in the first leg. Their existing centres will be upgraded into Khelo India State Centre of Excellence (KISCE).

    These centres have been shortlisted based on the training facilities available in priority sports, infrastructure facilities and champions produced by the centre. The sports facilities were selected by each State and Union Territory, who was asked to identify the best sports infrastructure available with them or their agencies or any eligible agencies that could be developed into world-class sporting facilities.

    In order to upgrade the existing centre to the KISCE, the government will extend a ‘Viability Gap Funding’ in sports science and technology support for sports disciplines practiced at the centre and also bridge the gaps in requirement of sports equipment, expert coaches and high performance managers.

    The support extended will be to a maximum of 3 Olympic sports per center, though support can be extended in sports science and allied fields in other sporting disciplines being run in the centre.

    The six centres include:

    Assam – State Sports Academy, Sarjusajai Sports Complex, Guwahati
    Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu - New Sports Complex, Silvassa
    Maharashtra - Sree Shiv Chhatrapati Shivaji Sports Complex, Balewadi, Pune
    Madhya Pradesh - MP Academy, Bhopal
    Meghalaya - JNS Complex Shillong
    Sikkim - Paljor Stadium, Gangtok

     

     

    By: Tapas Bhattacharya

  • Remdesivir medicine is regarded as a broad-spectrum anti-viral medication for treating moderate to severely ill patients on oxygen therapy. According to medical research, the drug is proven to significantly reduce the duration of hospital stay and also diminish the recovery time of patients. 

    Indian ambassador in Kathmandu Vinay M. Kwatra handed over these medicines to the Foreign Affairs Minister of Nepal Pradeep Kumar Gyawali. 

    Earlier India has extended help to Nepal in the form of ICU ventilators, COVID-19 Test Kits, and essential medicines including Paracetamol and Hydroxychloroquine.

    The medicines are part of the Government of India’s ongoing assistance to Nepal in meeting the challenge posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

     

     

    By- Abhishek Jha

  • The 4-member BSF delegation is scheduled to arrive in Dhaka on 16th for the meeting which will conclude on 19 September.

    Earlier, the meeting was scheduled to start from 13th September. However, due to some technical problems in the flight, the talks were postponed.

    The biannual talks between the heads of the BSF and Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) will take place at the Pilkhana headquarters of the BGB in Dhaka. 

    The meeting is part of  regular discussions between the two border guarding forces. During the meeting, issues related to border management, fencing and development works along the border are likely to be discussed. 

    The Last meeting was held in Delhi in December, 2019. 

    The biannual talks between BSF and BGB started in 1975. These are held on alternate occasions in Dhaka and Delhi for the management of the 4096 km long border between the two neighbours. 

     

     

    Rajesh Jha/ Dhaka

  • Inflation is expected to moderate to 5.5 percent and current account deficit is likely to narrow to 1.1 percent of GDP in FY 2021.

    Asian Development Bank (ADB) in its latest report Asian Development Outlook 2020 released on Tuesday says that Bangladesh's economy has started recovering from the pandemic. 

    It pointed out that prudent macroeconomic management and speedy implementation of the government stimulus measures are key imperatives to ensure the projected recovery. The report cautioned that the main risk to this growth projection is a prolonged pandemic in Bangladesh or its export destinations.

    ADB Country Director Manmohan Parkash said that recent economic performance in exports and remittances, and government’s macroeconomic management including securing foreign funds for economic stimulus and social protection measures have made this recovery feasible. 

    He said that the crisis provides an opportunity for Bangladesh to undertake further reforms in resource mobilization, export diversification, employment generation, skills development, as well as social protection.

    ADB has provided an initial assistance of USD 600 million in loans and USD 4.4 million in grants for managing socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and supporting quick recovery.

    It has programmed USD 5.9 billion firm and USD 5.2 billion standby assistance for Bangladesh in 2021-2023. 
     

     

     

    Rajesh Jha/ Dhaka

  • "The Chinese government is engaged in systematic abuses against the Uighur people" and other minorities, said Mark Morgan, acting commissioner of the Customs and Border Protection agency. "Forced labor is an atrocious human rights abuse," he said.

    The items include cotton, garments, hair products and electronics from five specific manufacturers in Xinjiang as well as adjacent Anhui. It also included all products tied to the Lop County No. 4 Vocational Skills Education and Training Center in Xinjiang, which Homeland Security Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli said was a center of forced labor. "This is not a vocational center, it is a concentration camp, a place where religious and ethnic minorities are subject to abuse and forced to work in heinous conditions with no recourse and no freedom," Cuccinelli told reporters.

    "This is modern day slavery." 

    The actions announced consisted of "withhold release orders" or WROs, which empower the CBP to seize products from the blacklisted companies and organizations.

    The US government is increasingly using such orders to pressure Beijing over its detention of more than one million members of the mostly Muslim Uighur minority in Xinjiang for ostensible reeducation.

    In July, the customs agency placed WRO blocks on hair products, used for wigs and extensions, from several companies operating in Xinjiang, and in August did the same for garments made and sold by the Hero Vast Group.  "The Chinese government needs to close its concentration camps," said Cuccinelli.

    The move came as rights groups and members of US Congress press the administration of President Donald Trump to take more resolute action over alleged Chinese repression of Muslims in the country's vast west.

    In July the US Treasury imposed sanctions on a major paramilitary group, Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, accusing it of abuses against Uighurs and other mostly Muslim groups.

    It also hit several officials with sanctions, including Chen Quanguo, the Chinese Communist Party chief for the Xinjiang region and architect of Beijing's hardline policies against restive minorities.

    "The Trump Administration has led the world in calling attention to the Chinese Communist Party's egregious human rights abuses in Xinjiang, and we've taken action to back up our rhetoric," said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement.  

    CBP officials said they are currently studying a measure to place a block on all cotton and tomatoes from Xinjiang.

    In August the Investor Alliance for Human Rights called for a ban on all cotton-made goods linked to Xinjiang, which supplies the lion's share of China's cotton.

  • Explaining India’s response to the pandemic globally he said “India’s answer has been to immediately come to the support of countries vulnerable to the pandemic rush urgently needed medical supplies, strengthen national health capacities and mitigate the diverse socio-economic impact of this crisis.”
     
     Marking the third year of India-UN Development Partnership Fund within the United Nations Fund for South-South, Tirumurti said ‘it embodies the spirit of South-South cooperation’. He added that it is guided by the priorities of the partner countries to foster sustainable development and is completely demand-driven.
     
    Established in 2017, the India-UN Development Partnership Fund focuses on least developed countries and small island developing states. United Nations agencies implement the projects in close collaboration with partnering governments. 
     
     Sustainability has been the focus of India’s developmental efforts. “India shuns any effort to impose conditionalities or to create indebtedness or to constrain developmental space for developing countries,” said the Indian PR.

    The Fund now encompasses 59 projects, approved in partnership with nine United Nations agencies in 48 countries. “India has always remained a strong votary of non-earmarked resources for development in multilateral institutions,” said the permanent representative.
     
    The India-UN Development Partnership Fund, managed by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), is working rapidly to support projects responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Projects are supplying medical equipment and aim to build healthcare capacities, mitigating socio-economic impact, and catalyzing transformative recovery.

     Lauding India's developmental works Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland said that the projects of Indian supported funds in collaboration with the Commonwealth are just the beginning. “India’s ambitious support is a statement of intent that is greatly welcomed,” said Scotland

    Congratulating the Indian initiative permanent representative of  Fiji at UN, Satyendra Prasad said that some of the most catalytic-innovative SDG investments are supported through this South-South Partnership. “Fiji welcomes India’s support for risk financing”
     
    In his address  Tirumurti said that India has through history prioritised cooperation over conflict, co-existence over competition, sharing over receiving, plurality over hegemony and inclusivity, and democracy over exclusion and control. "This has underpinned our approach to development cooperation as well," he added

    The Fund, managed by UNOSSC, is working rapidly to support projects responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Projects are supplying medical equipment and will be building healthcare capacities, mitigating socio-economic impact, and catalyzing transformative recovery.

     On the occasion, Palau’s envoy to the UN appreciated the gesture of solidarity from India and said that the Fund is an important partner of Palau and is valuable especially in the time of the Pandemic. Under India supported Fund a budget of USD 153,000 was approved for Palau for the purchase of medical supplies, equipment, and strengthening testing capacity to deal with the COVID Pandemic.
     
    The Envoy of Antigua and Barbuda at the UN said that the Fund has been extremely cooperative and helpful. A total budget of $1 million has been approved for UNDP implementation in Antigua Barbuda.  As the pandemic spiked in the country, on an urgent basis, USD 150,000 were disbursed immediately to purchase 5 medical ventilators that are now installed and operationally ready.
     
    Sustainability has been the focus of India’s developmental efforts. The Fund project portfolio aims to contribute to the efforts of developing countries towards the realization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

    -Abhishek Jha

  • Harshal, who only managed to play two matches for the Delhi Capitals in 2019, spoke about the disappointment, “It was pretty difficult for me to leave the tournament half-way because I think I was in good touch and of course I wanted to do well. IPL is the biggest tournament for me because I don't play international cricket, so it was really difficult, and hard to take.” 

    “Even when I left, I wanted the team to win, so I was following every single game and I was in touch with some of the players. I was really happy where we finished, but of course I think we could’ve won as well,” he added. 

    Having had a very successful Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy late last year, where he performed well with both bat and ball, Harshal said he has confidence in his skills and is looking forward to making an impact. “I have more confidence than I have ever had in my skills. I have worked harder on my batting and I am just not that pinch hitter anymore who would just hit boundaries here and there. I know how to finish games and have become more sophisticated that way. Similarly, in terms of my bowling, I am more aware of what I can and cannot do. So that puts me in a very good position ahead of this season.” 

    With the tournament being long and weather likely to be challenging, the 29-year-old all-rounder said he believes how players conserve energy will be key. “I think the heat is going to play a huge part, especially in the afternoon games, so we will need to sit down with our trainers and physio to make sure we are preparing well in order to tackle those challenges of playing in almost 42-43 degrees. It is important to conserve energy, especially in training to make sure you have plenty in reserve. If you are doing well in matches, and are feeling good, there has been talk in our group that you shouldn't train too much then (to conserve energy).” 

    Asked whether neutral venues will change anything, Harshal said, “I think every situation comes with its advantages and disadvantages. Having neutral venues will take away that home advantage for sure, so it's going to be challenging for teams because you can't rely on one brand of the wicket. We have seen in the past that teams like to prepare spin-friendly pitches when they have a spin-heavy squad and that enables them to win that way,” said Patel.

    -Tapas Bhattacharya

  • The Union Minister laid foundation for a Synthetic Track & Astroturf for football in Lehat Open Stadium. The estimated project cost is 10.68 crore and scheduled to be completed by January, 2021. Similarly, construction of Gymnasium Hall in NDS indoor stadium would cost about 1.52 crore rupees and construction will be completed by March 2021.

    Speaking on the occasion, Kiren Rijiju said that under the leadership of PM Modi, the Union Government is inculcating a sporting culture in the country which in turn is keeping the people healthy and fit. He said that his ministry is contemplating to put sporting culture into a policy framework.

    The Minister also added that Khelo India, University Games and Winter Games at various places of the country are encouraging the students, youth and people to participate in sporting activities. The Sports Minister emphasized the importance of Sports and highlighted the efforts of Government to establish the predominance of India in the world sports events.

    Rijiju suggested Ladakh UT Administration to constitute awards and incentives like jobs for local sports persons to encourage them to excel in the sporting field. He also asked the Ice Hockey Associations across the country to come together to get the recognition for the sport, by following the laid down procedures. He reminded the federations that in principle his ministry has recognized Ice Hockey as national sport.

    For sports infrastructure and development in Ladakh, Kiren Rijiju announced relaxations at the function. He asked the UT administration to send proposals to develop sporting infrastructure in places with a thousand population in Ladakh. Under Khelo India programme, his ministry would relax the norms and provide funds and the facilities meant for Districts in the places suggested by the Administration as Khelo India district sub centres. Similarly, sportspersons excelled in local events would get training in 23 centres of excellence across the country, depending on their sporting disciplines.

    Speaking on the occasion, Ladakh Lieutenant Governor RK Mathur appealed to the Sports Minister to tap the potential in Ladakh for sports development. He suggested that during the winters, people from other parts of the country should come to Ladakh to experience and learn winter sports. As part of month and half long Fit India Freedom Run from 15th August to 2nd October, the Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju personally participated in Cyclothon earlier in the day along with MP Jamyang Namgyal and local cyclists. Ladakh MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, LAHDC CEC Gyal P Wangyal, senior officials from Ladakh UT and Sports Authority of India were also present at various programmes held on Monday.

    -Tapas Bhattacharya

  • A new low-cost method of upscaling production of graphene while preserving its single layered properties, developed by Indian scientists, may reduce the cost of producing this thinnest, strongest and most conductive material in the world.

    Researchers from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) an autonomous institute under the Department of Science & Technology, through their recent research work have upscaled graphene production while retaining its thin layered properties. This was made possible by a simple, affordable method wherein naphthalene coated nickel foil was heated for a few minutes in an ordinary vacuum by joule heating and was cooled to get twisted layers of graphene. A careful study using electronic diffraction and Raman scattering showed that the 2D single-crystal nature of the atomic lattice of the graphene is retained even in the multilayer stack. The twisted multilayer graphene that results is also highly conducting.

    In the research by Nikita Gupta (Ph.D. student, JNCASR) and Prof. G.U. Kulkarni (corresponding author) published in the ‘Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters’, the scientists have also defined a formula to quantify how much single layer like behaviour exists in such a system. The twisted system has multiple layers, each behaving like a single layer, allows variation in the experimental data within one sample, thus making quantification possible to achieve. The derived formula provides an insight into any twisted hexagonal multilayer system and may be used to tune superconductivity.

    The researchers used a combination of two techniques to understand and quantify how much single layer like behaviour exists in the graphene system. Raman spectroscopy, a technique to understand whether a graphene species has single layer like behaviour arising because of no interlayer interaction and electron diffraction, a technique to study the morphology of the given twisted system.
    Observing fascinating properties of twisted multilayer graphene such as visible absorption band, efficient corrosion resistance, temperature-dependent transport, influencing the crystalline orientation of source material, helped the JNCASR team to understand the landscape of the given twisted multilayer graphene system.

    The present understanding of twisted multilayer graphene will help in understanding any twisted hexagonal system. It gives an upper limit of relative Raman intensity which can exist in a particular multilayer graphene system.

    -Tapas Bhattacharya

  • The House also paid obituary references to the passing away of former president and ex-member of the Upper House Pranab Mukherjee as well as three sitting MPs, Beni Prasad Verma, MP Veerendra Kumar and Amar Singh. The house also paid obituary to other former members who passed away recently.

  • The Opposition had pitted Manoj Jha of RJD against Harivansh. However, opposition parties did not press for voting and the JDU MP was declared elected with voice vote.

    Congratulating Harivansh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said be it as a journalist or social worker, the JDU MP has endeared himself to many. He said everyone has seen the manner in which he conducts the House proceedings. PM Modi said he belongs to all sides of the aisle and conducted proceedings in an impartial manner. He said he has been an outstanding umpire and has always been diligent in performing his duties.

  • The seminar was organised under the aegis of Vice President, Delhi Police Gazetted Officer Association, Vijay Malik, T R Kakkar, the Chief Patron of the Association and was attended by a few lawyers, general representatives of the public, and retired senior officials of Delhi Police. The seminar discussed that many interested groups for the reasons best known to them are questioning on the investigation of riots in North East Delhi and the role played by Delhi Police in the same. 

    Delhi Police Commissioner S. N. Shrivastava put to rest all false accusations and claims made against the the Delhi Police force in the riots and reasserted that all actions thereof taken by the Delhi Police were in absolute compliance of law and the investigation was conducted with utmost care without any dictate of political interest or pressure. Commissioner congratulated the Association for conducting such a seminar and also reiterated the continued assistance of the association and its members with Delhi Police.

    By Tapas Bhattacharya

  • The Commerce Ministry has allowed nine exporters to send a total of approximately 1500 tonnes of Hilsa to India. The first consignment of Hilsa was reported to have been sent to India on Monday. The export will be allowed till October 10.

    Bangladesh imposed a ban on the export of Hilsa in 2012. However, as a special measure, last year also export of 500 tonnes of Hilsa to India was permitted by the government around the time of Durga Puja.

    Hilsa or 'Ilish' is considered a delicacy in Bangladesh and West Bengal. Bangladesh has a shore of  close to 75 percent in the production of Hilsa fish in the world. 

  • The 71-year-old is now expected to win a vote at an extraordinary Diet session on Wednesday to become Prime Minister, the country's national broadcaster NHK reported.

    Suga was elected at a joint plenary meeting of party members from both houses of the Diet (Parliament) and delegates from local chapter, reports Xinhua news agency.

    In the scaled-down vote, 394 Diet members cast their ballots.

    A total of 141 votes were cast by three delegates each from the country's 47 prefectural chapters.

    Besides Suga, the two other candidates in the fray were Shigeru Ishiba, 63, a former Defence Minister, and Fumio Kishida, 63, the LDP's policy chief.

    Under normal circumstances, the top leader of the LDP would be chosen with Diet members belonging to the party and rank-and-file members holding 394 votes each.

    However, due to Abe's resignation in the middle of his term and the Covid-19 pandemic, the LDP decided to hold an abridged version of presidential election to simplify the process and to avoid a political vacuum.

    On August 28, Abe, Japan's longest serving Prime Minister, abruptly announced his intent to resign citing his chronic illness, but said he would remain in power until a successor was chosen.

    In his announcement, the premier said that he needed to be treated for a flare-up of his intestinal disease that led his first one-year stint to end abruptly in 2007.

    After stepping down in 2007 over a medical issue, he returned to the top job in 2012 after a landslide election win in the Lower House.

    Abe, prior to his health condition, was set to spend one more year at the helm.

  • 77,512 patients have been discharged in the last 24 hours. The total recovered cases are 37,80,107. The gap between Recovered cases and Active cases is consistently increasing. This has touched nearly 28 lakh today (27,93,509).

    The total number of active cases in the country stands at 9,86,598 as on date.

    More than 60% of the Active Cases are concentrated in 5 States viz  Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. These States are also reporting 60% of the total recovered cases.

    92,071 new cases have been reported in the last 24 hours in the country. Maharashtra continues to contribute a high number. In the last 24 hours it has reported more than 22,000 new cases. Andhra Pradesh has contributed more than 9,800 new cases.

    Nearly 60% of the total cases are being contributed by five States viz. Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh.

    1,136 deaths have been logged in the past 24 hours. Of the new deaths, nearly 53% are concentrated in three States of Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Uttar Pradesh. These are followed by Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh.

    More than 36% of deaths reported yesterday are from Maharashtra (416 deaths).