News

  • The Goa State Govt has granted permission to about 250 hotels to open in the State for Domestic Tourists from this month.

  • The University Grants Commission has revisited its earlier guidelines related to university examinations.

  • Indian COVID 19 vaccines are in the global race to end the coronavirus pandemic. Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had written to 12 Medical Institutes in the country to start the first phase of Human Clinical Trials by registering volunteers.

  • Government today said a total of four lakh 39 thousand 947 people have recovered from COVID19 so far and the recovery rate has improved to 61.13 per cent in the country.

  • India and China have begun a long process of disengagement in eastern Ladakh after National Security Advisor Ajit Doval spoke to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Sunday evening.

  • The Union Government today said, a total of four lakh 24 thousand 433 people affected with Coronavirus have recovered in the country so far.

  • The Government and the World Bank today signed a 750 million US dollar agreement for the MSME Emergency Response Programme.

  • Government has said, there is no scarcity of fertilizers across the country during ongoing Kharif season.

  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that airborne transmission of novel CoronaVirus is not supported by clear evidence.

  • In Uttarakhand, Police has issued a notice of suspension of Kanwar Mela due to COVID-19 and request devotees not to come to Haridwar as the district's borders have been sealed.

  • Karnataka Chief Minister B. S. Yediyurappa launched Weavers Sammaan Yojana today.

  • Week-long Triple lockdown begins in Kerala's capital city Thiruvananthapuram.

  • The purpose of this MoU to conserve the Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Genetic Resources (MAPGRs) at designated space of ICAR-NBPGR in long-term storage module (as per availability) in the National Gene bank and or at Regional Station for medium term storage module and acquire hands-on training on plant germplasm conservation techniques to the working group of NMPB.

    Both NMPB and ICAR-NBPGR are committed to serve the National interests through conservation of germplasm on long-term basis, safely and cost-effectively for present and future generations to ensure the social and economic security.

    The authorized institute NMPB and the ICAR-NBPGR on behalf of the ICAR would develop detailed modalities for seed storage of MAPGRs and submit periodic progress report to their respective organizations.

    Medicinal Plants are regarded as rich resources of traditional medicines and are being used for thousands of years in the health care system. India has rich diversity of medicinal Plants (MPs) resources. The natural resources are gradually getting depleted due to various developmental activities in its habitat.

    There is a need to conserve these natural resources and make sustainable utilization of them. The conservation of plant genetic resources is an integral part of biodiversity conservation.

    The purpose of conservation is to make sustainable development by protecting and using natural resources in ways that do not diminish the variety of genes and species or destroy important habitats and ecosystems.

  • The U.N. chief said it’s too early to fully assess the implications of the coronavirus pandemic on terrorism, but all these groups seek to exploit divisions, local conflicts, failures in governing, and other grievances to advance their aims.

    Guterres told the launch of United Nations Counter-Terrorism Week that the Islamic State group, which once controlled a vast swath of Syria and Iraq, is trying to reassert itself in both countries, “while thousands of foreign terrorist fighters battle in the region."

    “The pandemic has also highlighted vulnerabilities to new and emerging forms of terrorism, such as misuse of digital technology, cyber attacks and bio-terrorism," he said.

    Josep Borrell, the European Union’s top diplomat, told the virtual meeting that a global understanding of the pandemic’s implications on counter-terrorism efforts across the world is needed.

    “It is true that, in some places, the crisis has led to a reduction of terrorist activity, mainly due to the mobilization of state security services," he said. “But in other regions, terrorism and human suffering caused by it continue unabated."

    Former American diplomat Richard Haas, who heads the Council on Foreign Relations, said he believes COVID-19 “will add to the challenges of counter-terrorism."

    “It will perhaps create an environment where more countries become weak or fail," he said, and recruitment for terrorist organizations will quite possibly go up.

    Tunisia’s U.N. Ambassador Kais Kabtani, who chairs the U.N. Security Council’s counter-terrorism committee, said its recent report on COVID-19 described how the pandemic may have temporarily limited operations of terrorist groups because of lockdowns and travel restrictions — but also how groups including the Islamic State are exploiting increased social isolation and online use “to spread their propaganda through virtual platforms. "With global attention focused on tackling the pandemic, Kabtani said, terrorist groups are also seeking to capitalize “by undermining state authority and launching new attacks."

    The report by the committee’s executive directorate said the global population, including over 1 billion students, is spending more time on the internet as a result of COVID-19.

    “The increase in the number of young people engaging in unsupervised Internet usage – particularly on gaming platforms – offers terrorist groups an opportunity to expose a greater number of people to their ideas, although the relationship between online activity and radicalization to violence is not fully understood," the experts' report said. “The reported rise in cyber crime could also lead to increased connectivity between terrorist and criminal actors."

    The U.N. experts said a wide variety of terrorist groups have already integrated COVID-19 into their propaganda “to exploit divisions and weaknesses among their enemies" including by intensifying hatred for certain groups, “resulting in racist, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic and anti-immigrant hate speech."

    “These narratives have been fused with an array of new or existing conspiracy theories, particularly by the extreme right, including through the linkage of 5G technology to the spread of the virus," the experts said.

    On the negative side, they said the pandemic in addition to limiting the movement of terrorists may disrupt their supply chains making it difficult for them to get food, medicine, money and weapons.

    With the overwhelming global focus on COVID-19, the experts said terrorists may seek “even more `attention grabbing’ targets or techniques — as with the May 2020 attack on a maternity hospital in Afghanistan."

  • Disclosing this, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in a Press Release on Monday said that these Bangladeshi nationals were lured by human traffickers to Vietnam.

    After it came to the notice of the Bangladesh embassy in Hanoi, it arranged for a repatriation flight for them on July 2. While eleven illegal immigrants took the flight back to Dhaka from Hanoi, 27 of them refused to return asking the government to pay the fare.

    These people went live on social-media making derogatory comments against Bangladesh. They are now threatening in the social media that if their demands are not met they will similarly occupy all Bangladesh embassies abroad.

    The statement said that the Bangladesh government does not have a provision to pay for the airfare of returning illegal workers.

    According to the release, a certain quarter is trying to tarnish Bangladesh’s recent success in controlling human trafficking by threatening to attack Bangladesh missions abroad involving illegal Bangladeshi migrants.

    In the recently released US State Department report on Trafficking in Persons (TIP), Bangladesh has been upgraded to tier-2 for its efforts to check illegal migration from the country.

    Speaking about the incident, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told the official news agency BSS that a new organisation named ‘Prabashi Odhikar Parishad’ is involved in patronising these illegal migrants. He said that those people who illegally go abroad should also be sent behind bars along with the traffickers as both are responsible for tarnishing the image of Bangladesh abroad.

     

     

    Rajesh Jha/  Dhaka

  • Spot gold was almost unchanged at $1,784.06 per ounce by 0453 GMT, just $4.90 shy of a near eight-year high hit last week. U.S. gold futures edged 0.1% higher to $1,794.30.

    “The proliferation of new COVID-19 cases globally has added to lingering nerves, with investors preferring to hedge that risk via gold, even as they load up on equities again,” said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at OANDA.

    Meanwhile, growing expectations of an economic rebound in China and better-than-expected U.S. services sector data lifted investor sentiment towards riskier assets.

    Indicative of sentiment, speculators increased their bullish positions in COMEX gold and silver contracts in the week to June 30. Elsewhere, palladium dropped 1.1% to $1,918.87 per ounce, while platinum gained 0.7% to $818.66.

    Silver eased 0.1% to $18.18.

  • The minimum temperature recorded was 27 degree Celsius and the maximum is expected to be 33 degrees.

    Mumbai will have a generally cloudy sky with heavy rain. Minimum temperature  recorded was 25 degree Celsius and maximum will be 29 degrees.

    In Chennai, the minimum temperature recorded  was  28 degree Celsius and the maximum will be   34 degrees. It will have a generally cloudy sky with light rain.

    In Kolkata, the minimum temperature  recorded  was   27 degree Celsius and the maximum will be 33 degrees. It will have a generally cloudy sky with one or two spells of rain or thundershowers.

    Chandigarh will see a generally cloudy sky with one or two spells of rain or thundershowers. The minimum temperature recorded in the city was  26 degrees Celsius and the maximum will be 33 degrees.

    Dehradun will have a generally cloudy sky with a few spells of rain or thundershowers. The Minimum temperature  recorded was 25  degree Celsius and the maximum is expected at 33 degrees.
           
    In Hyderabad, rain or thundershowers would occur towards evening or night. The minimum temperature was recorded at 22 degree Celsius while the maximum will be around 28 degrees.
           
    Bengaluru experienced a minimum temperature of 20 degree Celsius while maximum will be 28 degrees. The city will have a generally cloudy sky with light rain or drizzle.
           
    Ahmedabad will have a generally cloudy sky with light rain. Minimum temperature in the city was recorded at 25 degree Celsius while the maximum will be around 36 degrees.
           
    In Bhopal rain or thundershowers would occur towards afternoon or evening. The minimum temperature was recorded at  23 degree Celsius while the maximum is expected to be 31 degrees.
           
    Patna will have a generally cloudy sky with light rain.  Minimum temperature was recorded at 27 degree Celsius while the maximum will be around 33 degrees.
           
    Guwahati is likely to witness a generally cloudy sky with one or two spells of rain or thundershowers. The minimum temperature in the city was recorded at 26 degree Celsius while the maximum will be around 33 degrees.

    In the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the minimum temperature was recorded at 26 degree Celsius in Jammu while the maximum will be around 36 degrees. The sky will be partly cloudy with the possibility of rain or thunderstorm or duststorm.

    In Srinagar, the minimum temperature was recorded at 17 degree Celsius while the maximum will be around 34 degrees. The city will have mainly clear sky becoming partly cloudy towards afternoon or evening.
           
    In Gilgit, the sky will be mainly clear becoming partly cloudy towards afternoon or evening. The minimum temperature was recorded at 16 degree Celsius while the maximum will be around 33 degrees.
             
    The sky in Muzaffarabad will be mainly clear becoming partly cloudy towards afternoon or evening. The city witnessed a minimum temperature of 22 degrees Celsius while the maximum temperature will be around 39 degrees.

  • “I don’t want to get out in front of the President (Donald Trump), but it’s something we’re looking at,” Pompeo said in an interview.

    U.S. lawmakers have raised national security concerns over TikTok’s handling of user data, saying they were worried about Chinese laws requiring domestic companies “to support and cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.”

    The app, which is not available in China, has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience and has emphasized its independence from China.

    Pompeo’s remarks also come amid increasing U.S.-China tensions over the handling of the coronavirus outbreak, China’s actions in Hong Kong and a nearly two-year trade war.

    TikTok, a short-form video app owned by China-based ByteDance, was recently banned in India along with 58 other Chinese apps.

    Media reports suggest that TikTok would exit the Hong Kong market within days, deciding to do so after China’s establishment of a sweeping new national security law for the semi-autonomous city.

  • Active Cases - 2,59,557

    Cured/Discharged- 4,39,947

    Deaths - 20,160

    Migrated - 1 

  • In a comment piece that takes direct aim at the World Health Organization for its reluctance to update its advice, researchers recommended new measures including increasing indoor ventilation, installing high-grade air filters and UV lamps, and preventing overcrowding in buildings and transport.

    "There is significant potential for inhalation exposure to viruses in microscopic respiratory droplets (microdroplets) at short to medium distances (up to several meters, or room scale)," wrote the authors, led by Lidia Morawska of the Queensland University of Technology.

    "Hand washing and social distancing are appropriate, but in our view, insufficient to provide protection from virus-carrying respiratory microdroplets released into the air by infected people."

    The new paper appears in the Oxford Academic journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

    When an infected person breathes, speaks, coughs or sneezes, they expel droplets of various sizes.

    Those above five to ten micrometers -- which is less than the width of a typical human head hair -- fall to the ground in seconds and within a meter or two.

    Droplets under this size can become suspended in the air in what is called an "aerosol," remaining aloft for several hours and traveling up to tens of meters.

    There has been a debate in the scientific community about how infectious microdroplets are in the context of COVID-19.

    For the time being the WHO advises that the potential for infection from an aerosol occurs "in specific circumstances" mainly in hospitals, for example when a tube is placed down a patient's airway.

    On the other hand, some studies of particular spreading events suggest that aerosolization and microdroplet transmission can happen in a variety of settings.

    The air flow from an air conditioning unit appeared to waft the coronavirus to several tables in a Chinese restaurant in January where patrons became infected, according to a study that appeared in Emerging Infectious Diseases.

    Another study that appeared in a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that the virus was spread by microdroplets from people singing during a choir practice in Washington state in March.

    Fifty-three people fell ill at that event and two died.

    That is in addition to the fact that bars jam-packed with people have also emerged as hotspots of contagion, with droplets of all sizes believed to contribute to the spread.

    Cath Noakes, a professor of environmental engineering for buildings at the University of Leeds, who contributed to the paper, said COVID-19 doesn't spread in the air as easily as measles or tuberculosis, but is a threat nonetheless.

    "COVID-19 is more likely to be 'opportunistically' airborne and therefore poses a risk to people who are in the same room for long periods of time," she added.

    The WHO advice is out of step with both the US CDC and its European counterpart.

    "We are aware of the article and are reviewing its contents with our technical experts," the WHO said in response to the new commentary.

    The authors recognized that the evidence for microdroplet transmission was "admittedly incomplete," but argued that the evidence for large droplets and surface transmission was also incomplete yet still formed the basis for health guidelines.

    "Following the precautionary principle, we must address every potentially important pathway to slow the spread of COVID-19," they wrote.

    Put another way, "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence," said Julian Tang, an associate professor of respiratory sciences at the University of Leicester who contributed to the commentary.

    "The WHO say that there is insufficient evidence to prove aerosol/airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is happening. We are arguing that there is insufficient proof that aerosol/airborne transmission does not occur," he said.

  • At the start of a week of virtual International AIDS Conferences, the UN said the world was already way off course in its plan to end the public health threat even before COVID-19. Although AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 60 percent since the peak of the HIV epidemic in 2004, in 2019 around 690,000 still died from the illness.

    Around 1.7 million people were infected last year, and there are now close to 40 million people living with HIV worldwide.

    The UN's annual report said that the 2020 target of reducing AIDS-related deaths to fewer than 500,000, and new HIV infections to under 500,000 will now be missed.

    Millions of people had died in recent decades despite the existence of effective treatments, it said, calling on the world to learn lessons from the AIDS epidemic in its COVID-19 response.

    "Like the HIV epidemic before it, the COVID-19 pandemic is exposing our world's fragilities -- including persistent economic and social inequalities and woefully inadequate investments in public health," said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

    Key populations at high-risk of HIV/AIDS are being put in further danger as lockdowns and distribution of medicines leaves them "even more vulnerable than usual", the report said.

    Research released Monday showed the pandemic was already impacting access to preventative medicine (PrEP) among at communities at risk. At one Boston medical centre, a survey of more than 3,500 patients on the PrEP programme showed that lapses in picking up repeat medication had risen 278 percent in the first four months of 2020.

    Year on year, the overall number of patients receiving PrEP had fallen 18 percent, the research showed.

    World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the findings were "deeply concerning".

    "We cannot let the COVID-19 pandemic undo the hard-won gains in the global response to this disease," he said.

    One model run in conjunction with the WHO showed that if COVID-19 measures disrupted HIV treatment programmes for six months it could leave an additional 500,000 people dead.

    The WHO said it had conducted an additional international survey showing that 73 countries had warned they are at risk of running out of antiretroviral medicines as a result of the pandemic.

    Twenty-four countries reported having either a critically low stock or disruptions in the supply of the life-saving medicines. In addition, initial data from lockdowns around the world show spikes in abuse and domestic violence.

    Winnie Byanyima, UNAIDS executive director, said women and girls were especially vulnerable to sexual violence during lockdowns, and therefore at elevated risk of contracting HIV. "We know that women who experience such violence are 1.5 times more likely to acquire HIV than women who have not experienced violence," she said.

    "Successful pandemic responses must be rooted in human rights, be evidence-based, community-led and fully funded. We must learn the lesson once and for all."

  • In a letter to the Union Higher Education Secretary, it said that the final Term Examinations are to be compulsorily conducted as per the UGC Guidelines on Examinations and Academic Calendar for the Universities and as per the Standard Operating Procedure  approved by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

  • The pause at leading online social network Facebook and its popular messaging service WhatsApp would remain in place "pending further assessment" of the new national security law, and would include "formal human rights due diligence and consultations with human rights experts," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement.

    "We believe freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and support the right of people to express themselves without fear for their safety or other repercussions," the spokesperson said.

    Twitter and Google said that they too would not comply with information requests by Hong Kong authorities in the immediate future. "Like many public interest organizations, civil society leaders and entities, and industry peers, we have grave concerns regarding both the developing process and the full intention of this law," Twitter said.

    "Twitter cares and is committed to protecting the people using our service and their freedom of expression."

    China last week imposed the security law on the restive city of around 7.5 million people, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The law stipulates that trials can be held behind closed doors without juries, with offenders subject to a maximum of a life sentence.

    The legislation, which has sent a wave of fear through the territory, has criminalized dissenting opinions such as calls for independence or autonomy.

    "Last Wednesday, when the law took effect, we paused production on any new data requests from Hong Kong authorities, and we'll continue to review the details of the new law," a Google spokesperson said.

    Digital rights group ProPrivacy called Facebook's move "a win for both digital privacy and human rights in the region." "With the stakes so high, and the punishments so severe, it is great news to see big tech companies like WhatsApp pushing back in favor of democracy and freedom of expression," the group said.

    However, it noted the move could lead to WhatsApp being blocked in Hong Kong, as it has been in mainland China.

  • The encounter began in the early hours between security forces and terrorists in the area that falls under Pulwama. 

    More details are awaited.

  • The 38-year-old, who has undergone two knee surgeries this year, had already announced he will not play again until next year.

    This week was scheduled to be the second week of Wimbledon, where Federer has won a record eight men's singles titles, but the tournament was cancelled for the first time since World War II due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    "Personally, it has been very pleasant to stay in the same place for a long time, I hadn't experienced that for more than 25 years," Federer said at the launch of the "Roger Center Court" running shoes created by Swiss brand On. "But of course I miss Wimbledon, of course I would like to be there currently playing on Centre Court for a place in the second week.

    "Clearly, one of my big goals, and that's why I do recovery work every day and work so hard, and why I'm preparing for a 20-week physical preparation block this year, is because I hope to play at Wimbledon next year."

    Federer said the coronavirus lockdown gave him the chance to recuperate following surgery, but said he will have to be "patient" as he waits to return to the court. "Combined with my operations, it was an important moment for me, (to know) if I wanted to continue," he said.

    "It's very easy to say but it's a long way to come back, you have to be patient, it also was a time for reflection. "We were in the mountains, isolated, we didn't see anyone, I didn't see my parents for almost three months, we were very serious and strict."

    The ATP and WTA Tours are set to resume in August despite a raft of professional players having contracted COVID-19.

    Federer could have lost his record of most men's Grand Slam singles titles by the time he returns, with his old rival Rafael Nadal just one behind on the all-time list.

    The US Open will be the first Grand Slam following the restart, getting underway behind closed doors in New York on August 31, before the French Open starts, with fans allowed to attend Roland Garros, on September 24.

    The Swiss star will also be hoping to claim Olympic singles gold for the first time next year at the postponed Tokyo Olympics in Japan, with the final to be played a week before his 40th birthday. Federer is out of the rest of the tennis season through injury.

  • "Nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States," US Immigration and Custom Enforcement said in a statement.

    "Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status," ICE said. "If not, they may face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings."

    ICE said the State Department "will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor will US Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States."

    F-1 students pursue academic coursework and M-1 students pursue "vocational coursework," according to ICE.

    Universities with a hybrid system of in-person and online classes will have to show that foreign students are taking as many in-person classes as possible, to maintain their status.

    "The cruelty of this White House knows no bounds," tweeted Senator Bernie Sanders. "Foreign students are being threatened with a choice: risk your life going to class-in person or get deported," he said.

    Most US colleges and universities have not yet announced their plans for the fall semester.

    A number of schools are looking at a hybrid model of in-person and online instruction but some, including Harvard University, have said all classes will be conducted online.

    Harvard said 40 percent of undergraduates would be allowed to return to campus -- but their instruction would be conducted remotely.

    There were more than one million international students in the United States for the 2018-19 academic year, according to the Institute of International Education (IIE).

    That accounted for 5.5 percent of the total US higher education population, the IIE said, and international students contributed $44.7 billion to the US economy in 2018.

    The largest number of international students came from China, followed by India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Canada.

    According to Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, who works as the policy counsel at the Washington-based think tank American Immigration Council, the new rule is "almost certainly going to be challenged in court."

    He explained on Twitter that foreign students will likely struggle to continue their studies while abroad, due to time differences or a lack of access to technology or academic resources.

    President Donald Trump, who is campaigning for reelection in November, has taken a bullish approach to reopening the country even as virus infections continue to spike in parts of the country, particularly the south and west. With more than 130,000 deaths linked to the novel coronavirus, the United States is the hardest-hit country in the global pandemic.

    In June, he froze until 2021 the issuing of green cards -- which offer permanent US resident status -- and some work visas, particularly those used in the technology sector, with the stated goal of reserving jobs for Americans.

     

  • Saudi Arabia has said it will allow only around 1,000 pilgrims already present in the kingdom to participate in this year's hajj, scheduled for the end of July, a far cry from the 2.5 million who attended the five-day pilgrimage last year.

    Foreign residents, aged between 20 and 65 who have no previous health ailments such as diabetes and heart conditions, are allowed to register on https://localhaj.haj.gov.sa., the hajj ministry said. The registration process will be open until Friday, it added.

    Saudi citizens will make up the remaining 30 percent of the pilgrims, with the ritual restricted to medical professionals and security personnel who have recovered from the virus, the ministry said.

    "They will be selected through the database of those who have recovered from the virus," the ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

    The pilgrims will be tested for coronavirus before arriving in Mecca and are required to quarantine at home after the ritual, according to health officials.

    Last month, Saudi Arabia announced it would hold a "very limited" hajj, a decision fraught with political and economic peril as it battles a coronavirus surge.

    The decision to exclude pilgrims arriving from outside Saudi Arabia is a first in the kingdom's modern history and has sparked disappointment among Muslims worldwide, although many accepted it was necessary due to the health risks involved.

    Saudi Arabia has so far reported more than 213,000 coronavirus infections -- the highest in the Gulf -- and nearly 2,000 deaths.

  • The move comes as pressure mounts to kickstart the country's ailing economy after nearly four months of coronavirus restrictions that have devastated key industries such as tourism.

    Kenyatta said in a televised address that "international air travel into and out of the territory of Kenya shall resume effective 1 August 2020."

    He also announced that a ban on movement in and out of the capital Nairobi, the port city of Mombasa and northeastern Mandera, would be lifted from July 15. However, a curfew from 9pm to 4am will remain in place for another 30 days.

    Kenya has recorded just over 8,000 cases of the virus and 164 deaths -- the highest official figures in East Africa -- and has seen a steep increase in numbers in recent weeks, with a fatality rate of 2.09 percent.

    Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe on Sunday warned "our healthcare facilities risk being overwhelmed". Fewer than 200,000 people have been tested in the population of 47 million people.

    In June, Kenyatta had said that before lifting restrictions, the country would need to have contained infections with numbers headed downwards; the health care system must be prepared to deal with a surge in infections; and the capacity for surveillance and contact tracing must be in place.

    He said Monday that experts looking at those conditions determined "we have not met the irreducible minimum 100%". However, they agreed "we have reached a reasonable level of preparedness across the country to allow us to reopen," he said.

    Kenyatta also warned the reopening was "conditional".

    "Any trends that signal a worsening of the pandemic, we will have no choice but to return to the lockdown," he said. Kenyatta also announced that places of worship will be allowed to reopen, but with a maximum of 100 people attending.

    He urged citizens to continue to implement social distancing, and to avoid travel as much as possible, asking them to, "exercise cautious optimism and avoid reckless abandon."

    Like many nations in East Africa, Kenya took swift action to combat the coronavirus, closing its borders on March 25 when it had only 25 cases, shutting schools and imposing a curfew while advising people to work from home. The restrictions were a blow to millions of poor in the city who live hand to mouth.

    "Jobs have been lost, businesses have closed and livelihoods endangered. And this is the sorry state of things the world over," said Kenyatta.

    In recent weeks Nairobi has become busier, with traffic jams returning to the streets of the capital and restaurants re-opening. Masks are obligatory in the country, but Kagwe has warned of increasing laxity which he said could "spell disaster in coming days".

    "We have observed that many of our people are going about their everyday activities as if we are in normal times," he said Sunday, citing overloaded public transport and house parties.

     

  • It aims at  supporting  increased flow of finance into the hands of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) which are severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

    The World Bank’s MSME Emergency Response Programme will address the immediate liquidity and credit needs of some 1.5 million viable MSMEs to help them withstand the impact of the current shock and protect millions of jobs.

  • Silver prices also declined by Rs. 1,217 to Rs. 49,060 per kg.

  • In June 2020, the company has also recorded the highest ever exports for any month. It exported 3.4 lakh tonnes steel during this period. It also achieved the best ever June dispatches of rails to the Indian Railways in June’20. Incidentally, for the first time in the country, SAIL flagged off the first rake of R-260 grade Vanadium alloyed high strength 260-metre rails to the Indian Railways, capable of delivering higher speed and bearing higher axle load.

    Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Steel Dharmendra Pradhan congratulated the SAIL collective for achieving the feat and said, the record June sales and exports by SAIL is indicative of the buoyancy and sharp recovery our economy is witnessing. The Chairman of SAIL, Mr. Anil Kumar Chaudhary said, India will turn every challenge into an opportunity with IspatiIrada and success story of an Aatmanirbhar Bharat. Connecting the higher sales with demand recovery after lockdowns, he said, the nation has entered into the Unlock-2 phase and gradually the pace of industrial activities has started picking up.

  • The United States continues to remain the worst-hit with 2,982,928 cases and 132,569 deaths, followed by Brazil 1,604,58 cases and 64,900 deaths and Russia reported  681,251 along with 10,161 deaths.

  • This will enhance collaborative and cooperative engagements in the domains of maritime law enforcement, maritime search and rescue and marine pollution response.

    This is likely to entail exchange of information towards combating transnational maritime crimes, facilitation of coordinated search and rescue operations at sea and conduct of capacity and capability building activities. 

  • The Afghan President said this today during the virtual meeting which was called by him to discuss host of issues including building a regional and global consensus on peace talks with Taliban.

    The meeting was also attended by representatives from 20 other Countries and international organisations including the United Nations.During the meeting, issues concerning Afghan peace and reconciliation process and support of the regional partners for an independent, unified, democratic and sovereign Afghanistan were discussed.

    India, one of the largest development partners of Afghanistan, with commitment of more than 3 billion US dollars , reiterated the importance of an inclusive, Afghan–led, Afghan–owned and Afghan – controlled peace and reconciliation process.

  • Chemicals and Fertilizers  Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda said, prepositioning in adequate quantities have been done in consultations with the State Governments.Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan today met Mr. Gowda in New Delhi where the Union Minister assured him of adequate availability of urea in MP as per the demand.  

    Mr. Chouhan said, though there has not been scarcity of urea in the state so far, the consumption of urea has increased due to higher rainfall in this monsoon and commensurate increase in sowing by 47 percent as compared to corresponding period last year.

    He urged Central Government to make additional allocation of urea to the State. Mr. Gowda assured that adequate supply of urea will be made available to Madhya Pradesh in coming days.

    Department of Fertilizers is continuously monitoring the situation and is committed to make adequate supply of urea to meet the demand of farmers during ongoing Kharif season.  

  • Government has also helped the States to significantly ramp up testing capacities and this has resulted in reduced positivity in the country. Currently the national positivity rate stands at 6.73 per cent in India.

    The Health and Family Welfare Ministry said, tests were ramped up in Delhi through increased RT-PCR testing along with Rapid Antigen tests which gives results in only about 30 minutes.

    It said, Delhi has witnessed a huge increase in testing. It said, an average of 18,766 samples per day between 1st to 5th July were tested.

    The Ministry said, due to the increased testing, the positivity rate has seen a substantial decrease from about 30 percent to 10 percent in the last three weeks.

  • According to the reports, the statement made by Dr. Benedetta Allegranzi, technical lead of infection prevention and control in the WHO has come after 239 scientists in 32 countries outlined a research regarding spread of COVID-19 through airborne droplet particles.

    The researchers called for a relook at the health agency’s recommendations regarding spread of the COVID infection. However, WHO has not found the evidence for the virus being airborne as convincing.

    Director General, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Shekhar Mande has urged everyone not to let down their guards. He said, even airborne infections cannot last long in the air.

  • The assessment audit and ranking of the National Highways is aimed to take corrective recourse, wherever needed, to improve the quality and provide higher level of service to highway commuters.

    The assessment parameters are based on different international practices and studies for benchmarking highway performances in Indian context.

    The criteria for the assessment have been broadly categorised in three main heads. They are - Highway Efficiency, Highway Safety and User Services.

    On the basis of outcome of the assessment, the authority will undertake a comprehensive analysis and decide on the level of intervention required to enhance the overall service quality.

    Additionally, important parameters like operating speed, access control, time taken at toll plaza, road signages, road markings, and accident rate will also be considered while conducting the assessment.

    The score obtained by each Corridor in each of the parameter will provide a feedback and corrective recourse for higher standards of operation, better safety and user experience to improve existing highways.
     

  • This nano-coated filter media has been fabricated by a nylon-based polymer coating on cellulose paper and was developed through the electrospinning process. The coating properties are optimized for efficient removal of sub-micron sized dust particles in the air.

    The nano-coated filter media is in the process of being field tested in practical applications. Upon validation through field trials, it will be recommended for bulk manufacturing through industry collaborations.

    This pioneering work is funded by Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) for defence applications and due to its high potential for the need of the hour, it is repositioned in health care applications.

    The Practical Applications of this nano-coated filter media include:

    1. Face masks with an enhanced particle filtration efficiency

    2. Respirator devices

    3. Air purification system in operation theatres of hospitals

    4. Cabin air filters for the comfort and health of air passengers

    5. Air filters for the armoured vehicle engines

    6. Computer hard disk drive filters, and

    7. Pneumatic equipment.

    The current status of project is that the researchers are trying to optimize the coating parameters of nanomaterials for bulk manufacturing at an affordable cost and testing the antiviral properties for broader utilization in various applications. Also, attempts are being made to develop composite nano-coated filter media having more than one nanomaterial coating with the possibility of manufacturing multi-layered masks.

  • A total of 1,917 patients have recovered out of total of 2076 positive cases reported so far as only 148 patients are currently receiving medical care. Only two positive cases were reported on Sunday while over 40 people recovered.

    The country has not seen any community case for over two months and the few positive cases over past days are from people returning from abroad and who are undergoing quarantine. A navy camp had seen maximum number of cases since the COVID outbreak but a total of 885 navy personnel have recovered with only few receiving treatment.

    Meanwhile, schools resumed their academic activities partially today for the first time after they were closed for COVID. The government has approved state schools to reopen in stages under the health guidelines.
    As part of it, students of Grade 5, 11 and 13 returned to school today.

  • The State Government has allocated 10.96 crore rupees under the programme. There are 40,634 handloom weavers registered with Seva Sindhu software. Out of them 37,314 applications for financial assistance have been approved. Chief Minister said that all the eligible handloom weavers will be given financial assistance under Weavers Sammaan Yojana.

    Speaking about another announcement made earlier to provide one-time financial assistance to workers employed in powerlooms, the Chief Minister said that out of 1.25 lakh workers in this sector, one time financial assistance of two thousand rupees is approved for 8,897 workers.

  • Earlier, Haridwar District Magistrate C Ravishankar said that Kanwariyas who enter Haridwar defying the ban on the annual Kanwar Yatra will have to serve a 14-days quarantine at their own expenses.

    The annual yatra, which sees a huge congregation of Kanwariyas in Haridwar to collect the holy Ganga water, was cancelled this year in view of the Coronavirus pandemic. District Administration is maintaining strict vigil in order to prevent entry of Kanwariyas into the city.

    The month of Sawan, in the Hindu calendar, is of huge significance to devotees of Lord Shiva who go on Kanwar Yatra to Haridwar every year. But this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Uttarakhand Government has said, Kanwar Yatra will not be possible and Ganga water will be taken from Har ki Pauri and sent to all states for the devotees of Shiva.
     

  • Army sources said, Chinese forces were seen removing tents and structures at Patrolling Point 14. Rearward movement of vehicles of Chinese Army seen at General Area Galwan, Hotsprings and Gogra. This development is in line with what the Corps Commanders agreed to on 30th of June at Chushul.

    Government sources said that this is a work in progress and they will have to wait till sunset to see up to what distance the Chinese have retreated. The Indian and Chinese Armies were locked in a standoff in eastern Ladakh recently.

  • Under this scheme, 19,744 handloom weavers in the state will get annual financial assistance of two thousand rupees through Direct Benefit Transfer.

    The State Government has allocated 10.96 crore rupees under the programme. There are 40,634 handloom weavers registered with Seva Sindhu software. Out of them 37,314 applications for financial assistance have been approved. Chief Minister said that all the eligible handloom weavers will be given financial assistance under Weavers Sammaan Yojana.

    Speaking about another announcement made earlier to provide one-time financial assistance to workers employed in powerlooms, the Chief Minister said that out of 1.25 lakh workers in this sector, one time financial assistance of two thousand rupees is approved for 8,897 workers.

  • The government constituted a 5-member committee on Sunday, headed by the Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Information to bring the content and revenue of social media and OTT platforms under its regulations.

    Speaking to the media through video conferencing in Dhaka on Sunday, the Information Minister of Bangladesh Dr. Hasan Mahmud said  that the OTT platform is a fast growing field with their business running into thousands of crores which is taxable. However he pointed out that the government is not getting  tax-revenue from the business carried out by platforms like Netflix, YouTube etc. in the country. 

    Citing the example of India, the Minister said that Facebook has been registered in India to run its business and regulate the content on OTT platforms but it is not yet registered in Bangladesh.

    Referring to the recent controversy about uncensored content being aired on these platforms, Dr. Hasan Mahmud said that the content of social media is reaching people in large numbers through their mobile and Internet. He said aht it has the capacity to build a society but it can also destabilise society through rumours and communal riots.

    Speaking on this occasion Minister of Posts and Telecommunications Mustafa Jabbar said that the social media and OTT platform operators should have a sense of responsibility in all areas, including social and cultural values, state security and law and order in the country. 

  • Flooding and mudslides that began on the weekend have killed 21 people so far. A further 18 people were presumed dead pending official confirmation, and 13 people remain missing, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a news conference.

    "We have so far rescued more than 800 people," Suga said, adding that some 40,000 members police and fire departments, as well as the country's Self-Defence Forces and coast guard were involved in rescue missions. He added that evacuation centres were also working on preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus by distributing disinfectant and asking evacuees to maintain distance from one other.

    As of Saturday, some 200,000 people have been ordered to evacuate their homes, according to the Kyodo news agency.

    The floods are Japan's worst natural disaster since Typhoon Hagibis in October last year which left about 90 people dead.

  • The country saw over 4,300 news cases and about 230 new deaths in the past 24 hours, the CSSE data showed.

    The state of New York reported nearly 400,000 COVID-19 cases, reaching 397,131 on Sunday, of which New York City accounted for 216,969 cases, according to state figures.

    Its governor Andrew Cuomo on Sunday announced that New York City will enter phase three of reopening on Monday as scheduled, but without resuming indoor dining.

    The state of Florida reported 9,999 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, bringing the total number of cases in Florida to 200,111.

    This news came one day after state officials announced 11,445 new daily coronavirus cases in Florida - which was an all-time high, according to state officials.

    Florida also reported eight new deaths on Sunday. There had been 3,731 total deaths in the state.

    Other states that saw COVID-19 case spike in the past three days included Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Nevada.

  • In a tweet, the Civil Aviation Minister said, domestic operations continue on a healthy and steady growth trajectory. There were 817 departures and 814 arrivals. He said, there was a total of one lakh 57 thousand 506 footfalls at airports on Sunday.

  • The Iranian government's latest mask order, which came into force on Sunday, requires people to wear a mask both indoor and outdoor. A media study shows that prior to the order's enforcement, less than 50 percent of residents in the Iranian capital of Tehran wore mask, while after the order was enforced, above 80 percent of Tehran residents began to wear a mask.

    As of Sunday, Iran had reported more than 240,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Although the country has gradually resumed its production, its number of newly confirmed cases still remains high, with more than 2,000 newly confirmed cases every day. To curb the spread of the virus, the Iranian government has once again beefed up epidemic containing efforts by issuing a mandatory mask order.

    Many Tehran residents showed support to the government's latest COVID-19 measure.

    "The best way to eliminate the virus is to wear a mask, no matter it's required by the government or whoever else. Coercive measures are good for our health, but one should pay attention to one's own health, so we can contain the epidemic. Now all our family members are affected by the epidemic and everyone is facing economic and health pressures brought by the epidemic," said Ali, a local resident.

    Some people in the country also said that the government should introduce such measures earlier so that the epidemic will be controlled sooner. However, Iran has suffered a shortage in medical supplies partially caused by long-term U.S. embargo which delayed the country to mandate wearing face masks.

    At present, Iran has built the largest mask production plant in West Asia. Many local companies have also transformed to produce medical supplies to support the country’s epidemic containing efforts, driving the country's daily capacity of mask production from 200,000 to six million pieces. The increase in supply has also led to a drop in mask prices, which are basically affordable for the public.

    Despite the great pressures imposed by the United States, Iran has achieved a basic supply of masks and other healthcare materials that can meet the market demand. Recently, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the country's President Hassan Rouhani have made public appearances wearing masks to encourage people do the same.

  • In a series of tweets, Vice President said, he was an accomplished barrister, philosopher and educationist of great repute. Vice President said, Syama Prasad Mookerjee was a great patriot who fought relentlessly to preserve national unity and total integration of Jammu and Kashmir into India. Vice President said, his love for motherland will always remain an inspiration for every Indian.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, Syama Prasad Mookerjee made exemplary contributions towards India’s development. He said, Syama Prasad Mookerjee made courageous efforts to further India’s unity. The Prime Minister said, his thoughts and ideals give strength to millions across the nation.

    Home Minister Amit Shah paid tributes to Dr Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, founder of Bharatiya Jana Sangh, on his birth anniversary. In a tweet, Shah said, he was a visionary leader, who stressed on permanent solutions to India's problems and fought for them throughout his life. He said, Dr. Mookherjee also did very innovative work to improve education and the industrial sector. He was also very supportive of the quality of education and research work. Home Minister said, his dedication and sacrifice to keep Kashmir an integral part of India and for the unity and integrity of the country will always inspire the countrymen.

    Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar also paid tribute to Syama Prasad Mookerjee. In a tweet, Javadekar said, he was an eminent nationalist leader who laid down his life for the unity and integrity of India.

  • A private helicopter, hired by the Agriculture Ministry, had started locust control operations on Saturday carrying out its first sortie in the desert areas of Banda in Jaisalmer.

    Centre has stepped up efforts and is using the latest technology and equipment like drones and Bell helicopters to control the menace.

    India is facing the worst-ever locust attacks in three decades. Swarms of the marauding pests have been witnessed in various districts of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.

    The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has said that India should remain on "high " during the next four weeks. It said, locust swarms that have traveled as far as Nepal are expected to return to Rajasthan and join other swarms coming from Pakistan and Iran for the breeding season this month. 

  • This means, people will have to wear masks, maintain social distancing and avoid large gatherings till July 2021. The District Collectors have been instructed to ensure due compliance of the regulations.

    Meanwhile, the week-long stringent lockdown in Thiruvananthapuram came into force from Monday morning. The shutdown comes after the capital city recorded 22 of the 38 Covid-19 patients who were infected through local transmission in the state on Sunday. The state has been seeing a surge in coronavirus cases through unknown sources of infections, especially in the capital.

    All roads, except for an entry and exit road, leading to the capital will be shut. Grocery stores, banks, medical stores, hospitals and other essential services, will be allowed. But all other non-essential services will be shut.

    All public transport will be shut in the city. The state's official headquarters, called Secretariat, will also be shut.

    The shutdown will be a triple lockdown. The Lock-I will restrict movement of all people in the district. The Lock-II will be enforced in hotspots of infection, where people will be mandatorily asked to stay-at-home. And the Lock-III will be enforced in the houses of primary and secondary contacts of covid-19 patients to be in compulsory room-quarantine.

  • In a statement, Air India said, tickets may be booked through Air India website only from 8 pm Monday.

    Under the fourth phase of the Vande Bharat Mission, Air India will operate 170 flights connecting India with Canada, the US, the UK, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Kyrgyzstan, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Thailand, South Africa, Russia, Australia, Myanmar, Japan, Ukraine, and Vietnam.

    India had resumed domestic passenger flight operations from May 25, 2020, after a gap of two months due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown across the country. But International Air travel is suspended as of now.

    India's aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has announced that International air travel to and from India will remain suspended till July 31.

  • Union Tourism Minister Prahlad Singh Patel has said, only those monuments and museums which are in the non-containment zones will be opened for visitors. He said, all Centrally protected monuments and sites will be bound by the protocols like sanitization, social distancing and other health protocols issued by the Health Ministry. Tourism Minister said, any specific orders of the State and District Administration shall also be strictly implemented. These monuments were closed in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
             
    A total of three thousand 691 Centrally protected monuments come under the Archaeological Survey of India. Out of which, 820 monuments which have places of worship were opened on 8th of last month. The entry tickets will be issued by e-mode only and no physical tickets will be issued. Only digital payment is allowed at parkings and cafeterias. All Sound and Light Shows and film shows at monuments will remain suspended. The visitors have to follow social distancing and use of face cover or mask is mandatory.

    Thermal scanning provisions and hand hygiene at the entrance is mandatory. Only asymptomatic persons will be allowed to enter the premises. No group photography, food and eatables will be allowed inside the premises. 

  • In the past 24 hours, 15 thousand 350 people  recovered from COVID-19 and with this, the recovery rate reached to 60.85 per cent.

    The Health and Family Welfare Ministry said, a total of 24 thousand 248 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the country during the last 24 hours taking the total number of cases to six lakh 97 thousand 413. In a single day, 425 deaths were reported taking the nationwide toll to 19 thousand 693. Presently, the total number of active Corona cases in the country is two lakh 53 thousand 287.
           
    Meanwhile, the Indian Council of Medical Research, ICMR said that a total of one lakh 80 thousand 596 tests of Corona virus samples were conducted by the various laboratories in the country in the last 24 hours. So far, 99 lakh 69 thousand 662 tests have been conducted.

    ICMR is continuously scaling up its testing facilities for COVID-19 by giving approval to government and private laboratories. As of now, total one thousand one hundred five laboratories across India have been given approval to conduct the test for COVID-19 including 788 government laboratories and 317 private laboratory chains.

  • People living in La Marina along Spain's northern coast in the province of Lugo will not be able to leave the area from midnight on Monday until Friday (July 10), two days before regional elections in Galicia on July 12.

    In the town of Foz in La Marina, an unidentified caravan driver said that the best part of the caravans parked by the sea left early in the morning when they read about the lockdown.

    Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, speaking at a local political rally in Bilbao on Sunday, urged people not to lower their guard, but called for calm as "the early detection of these outbreaks shows the health system is much better prepared" than in March.

    The regional government said people will be allowed to move around La Marina, but only those who need to travel for work will be allowed to leave or enter the area.

    Regional Health minister Jesus Vazquez Almuina told a news conference on Sunday that the biggest outbreaks were linked to several bars in the area. Regional health authorities said there were now 258 cases in Galicia, of which 117 were in Lugo.

    Capacity in bars and restaurants will be reduced to 50% and people will have to wear a face mask even if outdoors on beaches or at swimming pools, the authorities said.

    Spain's Health Minister Salvador Illa said on Sunday that the ministry was following the situations in Galicia and Catalonia very closely.

    "Social distancing and lockdown measures were the key to flattening the curve. Now they are needed again to stop the outbreaks," he said in tweet.

    Spain has registered 205,545 coronavirus cases and 28,385 deaths according to health ministry data, making it one of Europe's worst-affected countries.

  • The facility was built in a record time of 12 days by Defence Research and Development Organisation, DRDO along with Home Ministry, Health Ministry, the Armed Forces, Tata Sons and other industry players. The Ministers were also accompanied by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy.

    The Defence Minister expressed satisfaction after visiting the hospital. He appreciated the efforts of stakeholders in building this facility in such a short span of time. The national capital is currently experiencing a surge in number of COVID-19 infections with an increasing number of patients requiring medical care.

    An urgent need to augment the existing hospital beds capacity of Delhi for the COVID-19 patients was discussed between Home and Defence Ministries on the modalities of deploying a one thousand bed hospital in a span of less than 14 days. Talking to reporters, Defence Minister said, more than 250 Intensive Care Units are available in this centre. Mr Singh said, all the guidlines of World Health Organization are being followed in this hospital.
     
    The DRDO was asked to establish the hospital. It undertook the design, development and operationalisation of the facility on a war footing. With the permission from the Indian Air Force, land situated near the New Delhi Domestic Airport Terminal T1 was identified and construction work by DRDO commenced on the 23rd of June.

  • This meeting with the President - who is also the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces, comes on the heels of Prime Minister Modi's surprise visit to Ladakh.

  • Briefing media the Additional Director General (ADG) of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Dr. Nasima Sultana said that 2738 new Coronavirus cases and 1904 recoveries were reported during the last 24 hours. The total number of recovered patients has gone up to 72625. 

    The recovery rate in Bangladesh now stands at 44.72 percent. In view of the mounting deaths and infections, the local authorities continued with the strategy of putting highly affected areas called red zones under complete lockdown. 

    The Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) put the Wari locality of Dhaka under complete lockdown for three weeks starting Saturday. The Chittagong University also imposed complete lockdown for two weeks within the University area from Saturday. 

    In the meanwhile, Road Transport and Bridges Minister and Senior Awami League leader Obaudur Quader has called upon the people to avoid crowding at any cost during the forthcoming Eid-Ul-Azha festival. 
     

  • The vessel undertook the daunting rescue of six Sri Lankan fishermen in the morning of 05 Jul 20 amidst rough seas, in close coordination with the Indian Coast Guard Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCC), Mumbai and Chennai.

    The merchant vessel was on her way to Visakhapatnam when she sighted a capsized fishing boat with six survivors. The master transmitted the information to MRCC, Mumbai which was timely shared with MRCC, Chennai for further coordination.MRCC Chennai coordinated with the vessel for safe rescue of the survivors.

    The six survivors are identified as natives of Trincomalee, Sri Lanka. They were reportedly stranded and adrift at sea, braving the vagaries of rough weather for four days. MRCC, Chennai further, coordinated with MRCC Colombo to verify the credentials and arranging for their safe return home.

  • Among 166 countries for which the SDG index was prepared, Bangladesh stands at the 109th position compared to the 116th position in the year 2019.

    Sweden is placed at the top of the index with an overall score of 84.7 while Bangladesh has a score of 63.5. 

    The report shows that among 17 SDG parameters, Bangladesh has remained on track in achieving goals relating to poverty alleviation, quality education, decent work and economic growth and climate action. 

    However, significant challenges remain on 7 parameters including the goal of zero hunger, good health, clean water and sanitation, innovation and peace, justice and strong institutions. 

    According to the report, Bangladesh reported a decline in some indicators within the goals of Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. It points out that the number of unsentenced detainees as a percentage of the prison population has gone up and the Press Freedom Index in the country has declined marking a setback in achieving these SDGs.  Government spending on health and education as a percentage of GDP has also shown a decline.

    The SDG index frames the implementation of 17 SDG goals among UN member states in terms of six broad transformations- education and skills, health and well-being, clean energy and industry, sustainable land use,  sustainable cities, and digital technologies.

     

    Rajesh Jha/ Dhaka

     

  • Bundesliga champions Bayern dominated at Berlin's Olympic Stadium as David Alaba smashed home an early free-kick before Serge Gnabry added the second goal in the first-half.

    Lewandowski has 51 goals in total this season after scoring twice in the second-half either side of a Sven Bender header for Leverkusen. Kai Havertz converted a penalty deep into added time for Leverkusen.

    "In the second half we showed that we are the better team and wanted to be cup winners," said man-of-the-match Lewandowski.

    Bayern, crowned Bundesliga champions for the eighth straight year last Saturday, have won all of their 11 games since the season resumed in mid-May after a two-months hiatus due to the coronavirus.

    They could finish the season winning the treble as they are among the favourites for the Champions League finals in Lisbon next month. This was the 13th time in the club's history they have won the double.

    Lewandowski, crowned Bundesliga top-scorer for the fifth time last weekend, netted six times in the cup, has 34 league goals and 11 more in the Champions League this season.

    Leverkusen completed a hat-trick of defeats after also losing the 2002 and 2009 cup finals in Berlin.

    When Lewandowski was clattered by defender Edmond Tapsoba on 16 minutes, it was Alaba who swung the resulting free kick inside the post to give Bayern the opening goal.

    They doubled their lead after Joshua Kimmich won the ball in midfield eight minutes later.

    His pass split the defence, Gnabry sprinted onto the ball and fired past Leverkusen goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky to make it 2-0 at the break.

    "We are so happy that we got the double. In the first half we had the game completely under control," said Gnabry.

    With players' calls echoing around the near-empty terraces of the cavernous stadium, where Germany head coach Joachim Loew was one of a handful of guests, the game was played in an eerie atmosphere.

    "It's a bit of a sad moment," admitted Bayern forward Thomas Mueller, who lamented the lack of fans, after winning the German Cup for the sixth time in his career.

    "If the fans are missing at such a cup final, it's not the same. We've done well this season over long stretches, but it also hurts a bit."

    Having skied a shot at goal moments earlier, Lewandowski made it 3-0 when he controlled a clearance kick by goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and tried a long-range speculative shot at Hradecky.

    The Leverkusen keeper parried the shot, but watched in horror as it rolled behind him and over the goal line on 59 minutes.

    "I noticed that the goalkeeper was a bit off his line, so I thought I'd just give it a try," revealed Lewandowski.

    "It was a little surprise it went in, but you always have to try."

    It fired life into Leverkusen, whose centre-back Sven Bender slipped his marker Leon Goretzka and headed home on 64 minutes.

    Leverkusen nearly got a second moments later when Kevin Volland and Havertz both failed to connect with a cross.

    Lewandowski claimed his second when he fired home Ivan Perisic's pass on 89 minutes.

    Bayern defender Alphonso Davies conceded the penalty in the fourth minute of added time which Havertz converted just before the whistle.