News

  • France's counterterrorism prosecutor said authorities suspect a terrorist motive because of the place and timing of the stabbings: in front of the building where Charlie Hebdo was based until the Islamic extremist attack on its cartoonists and at a time when suspects in the 2015 attack are on trial across town.

    The suspects' identities have not been released, and it is unclear exactly what prompted the attack.

    An investigation was opened into “attempted murder in relation with a terrorist enterprise,” according to an official at the terrorism prosecutor's office.    

  • The Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) in a circular issued on Thursday said that the temporary measures relating to flight suspension announced on August 26 will now be in force till October 31.

    The DCA said that the measure has been taken to effectively control the spread of Covid-19 from external sources.

    Myanmar has stopped international commercial flights since March 30 immediately after the first case of Covid-19 was detected in the country.

    In the meanwhile, COVID 19 cases continued to surge in Myanmar. On Friday, the country reported 768 new cases of Coronavirus and 24 deaths.

    On Thursday also, Myanmar had reported 1052 fresh Corona positive cases in the country. On Friday, the total number of infections in Myanmar has gone up to 9112. The latest death toll stands at 174.

    In order to tackle COVID 19 patients, the Myanmar military Tatmadaw has started treating civilian patients at its medical facilities in Yangon’s Hmawabi township.

  • The senior officials also exchanged views on “Ongoing and proposed practical cooperation in the areas of connectivity and infrastructure development, and security matters, including counter-terrorism, cyber and maritime security, with the objective of promoting peace, security, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region,” stated a release issued by the Ministry of External Affairs.

    The consultation precedes the upcoming QUAD meeting slated to be held later this year. The last Ministerial engagement was held in September 2019.

    During a media briefing last week, DD News had asked the MEA whether India will be hosting a quad meeting. To which, the MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava had said, “We look forward to holding the quad meeting later this year and as of now details are being worked out.”

    Earlier this month US State Deputy secretary Stephen Biegun had remarked that intentions are to have an in-person, ministerial level meeting of Quad in Delhi this fall. He had also remarked that with Quad, India could become a part of the larger Indo-Pacific Theater.  “It’s also obviously indeed in our interest to have India as a partner in these issues,” Biegun had said.

     Senior officials from the Ministry of External Affairs of India, Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade of Australia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and Department of State of the United States of America were part of today’s discussion.

    In the context of the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, the officials underscored the importance of enhancing the resilience of supply chains and sharing best practices on how to combat the pandemic.

    The officials reiterated their firm support for ASEAN-Centrality and ASEAN-led mechanisms particularly the leaders-led East Asia Summit, in the regional architecture for the Indo-Pacific, and their readiness to work with ASEAN and all other countries towards realizing a common and promising vision for the Indo-Pacific.

    The officials also reaffirmed their commitment towards a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region based on shared values and principles and respect for international law. The last such official level discussions had happened in November 2019.

     

    Report by Abhishek Jha

  • India’s Third secretary at its mission in Geneva, Senthil Kumar while making the statement also said that in the Pakistan Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan has effected “demographic change by reducing and driving the real Kashmiris out.”

    Referring to the disappearances and forced detentions of democratic voices in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, India said, “Cases of enforced disappearances, murders, detentions, custodial deaths and torture of civil rights activists, representatives of local political parties and journalists are common and standard practice adopted to silence voices against the Government and deep state in Gilgit-Baltistan.”

    Pakistan government has also been accused of rampant media censorship and blocking channels of expression of popular resentment to ensures that the correct ground realities are never reported.

    Subjugation of Minorities in Pakistan is a well documented case. Expressing concern on the near annihilation of religious minorities in Pakistan, the Indian representative remarked that the population of religious minorities in Pakistan which was 23% in 1947 has now reduced to an insignificant number.

    The Indian statement attributed the declining population of minorities in Pakistan to “Systemic discrimination and persecution through killings, violence, forced conversions and forced displacement”. 

    Referring to the terrible situation of ethnic and religious minorities in Pakistan, Indian statement said “Pakistan’s deplorable human rights records and discriminatory treatment of its minorities has been a cause of persistent concern for international community.

    In Pakistan, Blasphemy laws are being used against religious minorities such as Christians, Hindus and Sikhs, to violate their human rights and dignity”.

    There are currently at least 80 people in prison in Pakistan for the crime of "blasphemy", with at least half of them facing life sentences or the death penalty. At least 42 cases pertaining to blasphemy were registered across Pakistan in a single month.

    The statement also highlighted the poor human rights condition especially in regions of Pakistan where ethnic population is facing the atrocities in the hands of government authorities “Enforced disappearances, state violence and forced mass displacements, harassment, extrajudicial killings, army operations, torture, kill-and-dumps, torture camps, detention centers, military camps are regular features in Baluchistan.

    Nobody knows the fate of missing 47,000 Baloch and 35,000 Pashtuns till date. Sectarian violence has claimed more than 500 Hazaras in Baluchistan and more than 100,000 Hazaras have fled Pakistan,” said the statement.

    Denouncing Pakistan’s propaganda at the world forum, India said that before preaching to others Pakistan must remember that terrorism is the worst form of human rights abuse and crime against humanity.  

    Referring to the disappearance of Baloch Rights activist of Rashid Hussain in December 2018, and the killing of journalist Sajid Hussain Baloch after he went missing in March 2020, India said “The case of the disappearance, only serves to demonstrate that the Baloch human rights defenders are being targeted and eliminated even after they quit Pakistan.”

    There has been reports where Pakistani state machinery as been exposed in perpetuating crime against Balochs. A recent report states that in Baluchistan, armed men move freely on the streets, despite the heavy presence of the security forces.

    These armed men are free to kill, abduct and steal with impunity. Recently a group of three such gunmen were caught in a house in Kech, where they killed a lady and injured a baby girl.

    Gunmen captured by the family, had identity cards of military intelligence and confessed that they work for country’s military. People of different walks of life took on to the streets and demanded dismantlement of so-called death squads. Protests continued for months with no result.

     

    Report by Abhishek Jha

     

     

     

     

  • This technology could provide a method of utilising bottom ash, more than a billion tons of which has so far been accumulated in ‘ash ponds’ in different parts of the country, requiring around 40,000 hectors of land, which pollutes the adjoining areas, including canals and rivers.

    Scientists from the Government College of Engineering & Ceramic Technology have developed abrasion resistant ceramics and insulating refractories primarily based on this waste material.

    With support from Waste Management Technologies (WMT) program of Technology Development and Transfer Division Department of Science & Technology, the team Led by Dr. Barun Kumar Sanfui mixed 45-60 % bottom ash together with a low grade and cheap variety of Indian bauxite (40-50%) sintered (compacted to form a solid mass of material without melting) it at a much lower temperature of 1500 o C compared to that used for high purity alumina (~1650 o C).

    They were fabricated in the form of thick slabs. The abrasion resistance of the product developed was tested and found to be slightly lower than that of liners currently made from pure aluminium oxide (alumina), which is costlier but much higher than that prepared from basalt rock, which forms the low-cost variety.

    The cost is expected to be much lower than both the existing products The abrasion-resistant ceramics would go back to the thermal power plants as liners for the steel pipes (to avoid accelerated erosion of the pipes) for transporting the pulverized coal to the boilers and also for the transportation of the bottom ash to the ash ponds.

    In addition, could also be used as the liners for the different kinds of hoppers used in metallurgical industries and mineral processing plants, coal pulverisers, sinter plants, rotary kilns, coke oven, coal washeries, slurry pipes, chutes & launders, air separators in cement plant, as well as in chemical Industries.

    For insulating refractories, the group has used bottom ash to the extent of 60-70% as the basic raw material with the addition of china clay and plastic clay to the extent of 30-40%. The pressed bricks are fired at a temperature of around 1300 0 C.

    The developed products satisfy the required properties of Grade-B and Grade-C standard insulation bricks.

    For obvious reasons, the products are expected to be much cheaper than the currently available products and are suitable in different metallurgical furnaces in steel plants as well as in different kilns, incinerators, chimneys, etc. Lab scale trial & investigation of these two products are nearly completed.

    The Institute plans to carry out Pilot plant production followed by an industrial trial.

     

     

    Report by: Tapas Bhattacharya

  • India’s first multi-wavelength satellite, AstroSat, has detected extreme-UV (EUV) light from a galaxy, called AUDFs01, 9.3 billion light-years away from Earth.

    At the time, our universe was forming stars at its peak rate. Such EUV radiation has enough energy to ionize a hydrogen atom by liberating its electron from the nucleus’s influence.

    The EUV photons emitted by galaxies like AUDFs01 could play a crucial role in reionizing the early universe soon after the Cosmic Dark Age and emitting the first light.

    A collaboration of researchers from different countries under the project CEFIPRA funded by Indo French Centre for the Promotion of Advanced Research (CEFIPRA) a bilateral organization set up by the Department of Science & Technology and the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Government of France delved into how galaxies like AUDFs01 grow their stellar mass when the first stars and galaxies became visible.

    The team consisting of Prof. Combes from Observatoire de Paris, Laboratory for Studies of Radiation and Matter in Astrophysics and Atmospheres (LERMA), France, and Prof. Kanak Saha from Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), India connected by CEFIPRA estimated the recent star-formation rate and mass of the gas reservoir in the galaxy.

    Star formation rate provides a quantitative measure of the stellar mass growth in galaxies.

    The typical star formation rate (or gas consumption rate) in those first galaxies is not known. By studying galaxies like AUDFs01 and many more, we could get an idea of how star formation rate, gas consumption rate, and growth of stellar mass in those primitive galaxies.

    Their work has been published in the journal ‘Nature Astronomy’.  The multi-wavelength satellite AstroSat, which was launched on September 28, 2015, by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has five unique X-ray and ultraviolet telescopes working in tandem and has onboard the UltraViolet Imaging Telescope (UVIT).

    According to Prof. Saha, the redshift gap from 0.4 to 2.5 remained barren until the wide-field UltraViolet Imaging Telescope (UVIT) onboard AstroSat made its first discovery of AUDFs01 at redshift 1.42.

    The galaxy is not only bridging the gap between the low and high redshift regime at present, but it is also the beginning of a whole new exploration of star-forming galaxies at EUV wavelength.

    This extreme UV wavelength regime is crucial to understand models of the stellar population, especially the massive, hot stars in early galaxies.

    AUDFs01 is the first example of a leaking galaxy with clumpy morphology. This galaxy has four clumps and, perhaps, typical of star-forming galaxies in this redshift range.

    The current version of the AUDF-south (AUDFs) can be used to detect a number of such EUV galaxies from redshift 1 and 2, when the cosmic star-formation rate had its peak, and thus, AstroSat may allow further to refine the scenario of cosmic reionization.

     

    Report by: Tapas Bhattacharya

  • Under Faceless Appeals, all Income Tax appeals will be finalised in a faceless manner under the faceless ecosystem with the exception of appeals relating to serious frauds, major tax evasion, sensitive & search matters, International tax and Black Money Act.

    Necessary gazette notification has also been issued today.

    It may be noted that Hon'ble PM on 13thAugust, 2020 while launching the Faceless Assessment and Taxpayers' Charter as part of "Transparent Taxation - Honoring the Honest" platform, had announced launching of Faceless Appeals on 25thSeptember, on the birth anniversary of Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhayay.

    Also, in recent years the Income Tax department has carried out several reforms in Direct Taxes for the simplification of tax processes and for ease of compliance for the taxpayers.

  • The Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code (IBC) was suspended for a period of six months with effect from March 25, 2020, by the government earlier, to protect those experiencing financial distress on account of the pandemic.

    This means that no insolvency proceedings can be initiated against any borrower for defaults arising on or after March 25, 2020, until such time that the IBC remains suspended.

    The government has now decided to further extend the suspension for another three months until the last week of December under the newly inserted Section 10A of the IBC.

    While suspending the IBC in June, the government had said it was "difficult to find an adequate number of resolution applicants to rescue a corporate person who may default in the discharge of their obligation".

    Therefore, it decided to suspend Section 7, 9 and 10 of the IBC to prevent the initiation of insolvency proceedings for COVID-related defaults.

  • India has scaled a historic peak in the fight against COVID-19. With 14,92,409 tests conducted in the last 24 hours, the cumulative tests have touched nearly 7 crore (6,89,28,440).

    This exponential surge in the daily testing capacities strongly demonstrates the determined escalation of the testing infrastructure in the country.

    The last one crore tests were conducted in merely 9 days. The Tests Per Million (TPM) stand at 49,948 as of today. 

    Evidence has revealed that higher numbers of testing subsequently leads to lowered positivity rate.

    States that are testing the highest numbers are also reporting a gradual decline in the positivity rate.

    The national cumulative positivity rate stands at 8.44% today.

    With the expansion of testing infrastructure, the daily testing by States/UTs has also increased.

    23 States/UTs have better tests per million than the national average 49,948.

  • India fighting a decisive battle against Covid 19 as recovery rate reaches 81.74%.

    With its focused strategies and effective, coordinated and proactive measures, India is reporting steep increase in recoveries.

    The number of active cases stands at 9, 70,116.

    81,177 recovered in the last 24 hours.

    With this, the total number of recoveries are 47,56, 164. The Recovery Rate is 81.74 % today.

     

  • BIHAR ELECTION SCHEDULE

    PHASE I                        OCT 28, 2020
     

    PHASE II                       NOV 03, 2020
     

    PHASE III                      NOV 07, 2020
     

    RESULT                        NOV 10, 2020

    The first phase of polling involves 16 districts with 71 seats will be up for grabs on the 28th of October. Notification will be issued on the 1st of October. The last date for filing nomination papers is on the 8th of October and the last date for withdrawal of nomination is on the 12th of October.
     

    BIHAR ELECTIONS PHASE I

    DISTRICTS                                         16
     

    SEATS                                                 71
     

    DATE OF POLLING                           OCT 28, 2020
     

    NOTIFICATION                                  OCT 01, 2020
     

    LAST DATE FOR NOMINATION      OCT 08, 2020
     

    LAST DATE FOR WITHDRAWAL    OCT 12, 2020

    The second phase of voting is being held in 17 district on the 3rd of November for 94 seats. Notification will be issued on the 9th of October. Last date for nomination filing is on the 16th of October and the last for withdrawal of nomination is the 19th of October.
     

    BIHAR ELECTIONS PHASE II

    DISTRICTS                                                  17

    SEATS                                                          94

    DATE OF POLLING                                    NOV 03, 2020

    NOTIFICATION                                           OCT 09, 2020

    LAST DATE FOR NOMINATION                OCT 16, 2020

    LAST DATE FOR WITHDRAWAL              OCT 19, 2020

    The 3rd phase of voting will see 15 districts going to the hustings on the 7th of November involving 78 seats. Notification for the this phase will be issued on the 13th of October. The last date for filing of nomination is the 20th of October while the last date for withdrawal of nomination is the 23rd.

    BIHAR ELECTIONS PHASE III

    DISTRICTS                                                15
     

    SEATS                                                        78
     

    DATE OF POLLING                                    NOV 7, 2020
     

    NOTIFICATION                                           OCT 13, 2020
     

    LAST DATE FOR NOMINATION                OCT 20, 2020
     

    LAST DATE FOR WITHDRAWAL              OCT 23, 2020

    The poll battle for Bihar will be faught in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Election Commission has issued stern instructions to all to strictly adhere to the covid porotocol. The number of voters assigned to a polling booth queuing up to cast votes will be brought down to the level of 1,000 voters.

     

     

  • Thanks AIIMS New Delhi for its contribution in the Nation’s fight against COVID-19 on its 65th Foundation Day

    “In these unprecedented and difficult times, contribution of AIIMS is monumental in ensuring smooth delivery of medical services through tele-medicine and tele-consultations” Exhibition themed “AIIMS in COVID Times” inaugurated.

  • The BCA submitted a memorandum to the Pakistan embassy in Dhaka on Wednesday demanding to end persecution and harassment of Christians and other minorities.

    In the memorandum addressed to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, the BCA said that it is aggrieved and concerned at incidents of persecution of Christians in Pakistan under its draconian anti-blasphemy law.

    It pointed out that a Pakistani Christian named Asif Parvez was given the death sentence by the sessions court Lahore in September for misusing his phone to send a derogatory message.

    The BCA called upon the Pakistani authorities to treat minorities with dignity and drop all fabricated blasphemy charges against them. It also demanded clemency for those already sentenced to death under the blasphemy law.

    It said that blasphemy law has forced hundreds of minorities to flee Pakistan to save their lives. It has also led to extra-judicial killings, mob lynchings and violent protests targeting minority community members.

    The BCA pointed out the cases of people like Shahbaz Bhatti and  Salman Taseer who were assassinated for opposing the blasphemy law in Pakistan.

    The Christian association said that blasphemy law was against the fundamental rights of Pakistani citizens guaranteed in the constitution.

    It demanded the repeal of the blasphemy law which is vague, arbitrary and leaves ample scope for misuse.

     

    Report by: Rajesh Jha

  • According to Forest department, three persons were detained by Bokakhat police on Thursday in connection with rhino horn trading in 2016 and handed them over to Forest department. 

    A case is registered against them.

    On the other hand, in another case, four more persons were apprehended today morning by Forest department in connection with trading of a broken piece of Rhino horn. Investigation is on.

     

  • Prime Minister Modi congratulated Prime Minister Suga on his appointment as Prime Minister of Japan and wished him success in achieving his goals.

    The two leaders agreed that the India-Japan Special Strategic & Global Partnership has made great advances over the last few years and expressed their intention to further strengthen this relationship based upon mutual trust and shared values.

    The two leaders concurred that the partnership between the two countries is even more relevant in today’s times given the global challenges, including that of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    They emphasized that the economic architecture of a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region must be premised on resilient supply chains, and in this context, welcomed cooperation between India, Japan and other like-minded countries.

    The two leaders appreciated the progress made in the economic partnership between the two countries, and in this context, welcomed the finalization of the text of the agreement pertaining to specialized skilled workers.

    The Prime Minister extended an invitation to Prime Minister Suga to visit India for the Annual Bilateral Summit, after improvement of the situation caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

  • This five minute protocol is intended to introduce people at the work place to Yoga, and also to help them to take a break from the work schedule and to refresh and re-focus. 

    Yoga is an ancient Indian discipline intended to bring balance and well being of individuals to the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual dimensions.

    Due to change in working habits, particularly on computer and continuously sitting for long hours majority of work force is feeling work stress. Such stress may decrease the focus at work which may further hamper their efficiency and effectiveness.

  •  A press release put out last evening by the private hospital in Chennai where he has been admitted said that SPB as he is called, was extremely critical. His condition in the last 24 hours had deteriorated further warranting maximal life support. A team of experts was closely monitoring his health.

    On September 7, his son Charan had announced that SPB had tested negative for the novel coronavirus.

    The veteran singer got himself admitted to hospital on August 5 after he developed symptoms of Covid-19.

    Noted singer and actor SP Balasubrahmanyam or SPB as he is fondly known was born on 4 June 1946 in Nellore in then undivided Andhra Pradesh. He was one of eight children born to  S. P. Sambamurthy, a Harikatha artist who also acted in plays and Sakunthalamma.  He has two brothers and five sisters, including singer S. P. Sailaja.

    Balasubrahmanyam developed an interest towards music at an early age, studied notations and learned music. He made his debut as a playback singer on 15 December 1966 with Sri Sri Sri Maryada Ramanna, a Telugu film scored by his mentor, S. P. Kodandapani. The first Non-Telugu song that he recorded  was in Kannada in 1966 for the film Nakkare Ade Swarga. He recorded his first Tamil song "Athaanodu Ippadi Irundhu Eththanai Naalaachu", under M. S. Viswanathan for the film Hotel Ramba, which never got released.

    He has the rare distinction of rendering the most songs on a single day by any singer- 21 songs in Kannada on 8 February 1981 and 19 songs in Tamil and 16 songs in Hindi in a day which is a record.

     In a prolific career, he also worked in Tamil movies for actors such as M. G. Ramachandran, Sivaji Ganesan and Gemini Ganesan and recorded duets with P. Susheela, S. Janaki, Vani Jayaram and L. R. Eswari. 

    Balasubrahmanyam came to international prominence with the 1980 film Sankarabharanam, directed by K. Vishwanath, Not a classically trained singer, he used a "film music" aesthetic in recording the songs. Balasubrahmanyam received his first National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer for his work.

     Balasubrahmanyam recorded songs in Tamil especially for Ilaiyaraaja and A R Rahman and the trio were highly successful through the 1970s and 80s. The songs in Saagara Sangamam (1983),  Swathi Muthyam (1986) and Rudraveena (1988) won National Awards for Ilaiyaraaja and Balasubrahmanyam.

    He also received National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer in his first Hindi film Ek Duuje Ke Liye (1981). Balasubrahmanyam won a Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer for the song Dil Deewana for Bollywood actor Salman Khan in the blockbuster Maine Pyar Kiya in 1989. For much of the next decade, Balasubrahmanyam continued as the "romantic singing voice" for Khan's films including Hum Aapke Hain Koun which became the all time hit highest-grossing Bollywood film of the time .This solidified Balasubrahmanyam as one of the biggest playback singers in Indian cinema.

    Besides acting in some films, he has also provided voice-overs for various artists, including Kamal Haasan, Rajinikanth, Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor, and Gemini Ganesan in various languages.

    He has recorded over 40,000 songs in 16 Indian languages and holds the Guinness World Record in this regard. He has garnered six National Film Awards for Best Male Playback Singer for his works in four different languages; Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, and Hindi; 25 Andhra Pradesh state Nandi Awards for his works in Telugu cinema and numerous state awards from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

    In 2012, he received the state NTR National Award for his contributions to Indian cinema. In 2016, he was honored with the Indian Film Personality of the Year award. He is a recipient of civilian awards such as Padma Shri (2001) and Padma Bhushan (2011) from the Government of India.

     

    Report by: Philip Mathews

  • Recalling Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay, on the occasion Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that among us today, there are very few people who have lived, seen, heard or worked with Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya. The contribution he has made to make India better as a nation, as a society, is going to inspire generations. 

    Prime Minister further added, that the previous governments had kept the farmers entangled in such laws, due to which they suffered allot and could not even sell their own produce crops. The Prime Minister said that the NDA government under the leadership of BJP has continuously worked to change this situation.

     

  • Police sources said that based on specific intelligence input about the presence of terrorists in the area, security forces launched a Cordon and Search Operation in Sirhama village last evening. The search operation turned into an encounter after the terrorists fired upon the security forces, who  retaliated.

    A tight cordon was maintained throughout the night to stop the terrorists escaping from the spot. In the exchange of fire this morning, two terrorists belonging to LeT outfit were killed. Incriminating material, including arms and ammunition was also recovered from the encounter site. The search operation underway.

  • The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's session on October 22 is convened with an aim to protect and promote education at a time when education financing is at considerable risk of being left behind in the governments' domestic budgets, stimulus packages and international aid, the UN agency said.

    "By convening this extraordinary session of the GEM next month, our aim is to secure commitments from political leaders to position education at the centre of national and international efforts to recover swiftly, inclusively and sustainably from the COVID-19 pandemic," said Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director of Education at UNESCO. Giannini said the overarching concern is to at least maintain, if not increase, education financing to avoid a "generational catastrophe". "To be fit for purpose and respond to a radically new reality, we need a more integrated, influential and accountable coordination system for education, entirely geared to building back better through stronger links between policy steering and finance.

    It is precisely in this spirit that the 2020 GEM will also launch an inclusive consultation on a roadmap for the improvement of the global SDG 4 - Education 2030 coordination mechanism," he said. Among the themes outlined for the session are protecting domestic and international financing of education, reopening schools safely, focusing on inclusion, equity and gender equality, reimagining teaching and learning, harnessing equitable connectivity and technologies for learning.

    "Behind the 2020 GEM is the resolve to speak with one voice, against the backdrop of unprecedented disruption that requires us, as a global community, to be disruptive in how we act. The GEM is driven by this sense of urgency – it pulls the alarm on the dramatic consequence that any decline in aid and national budgets will have on an already deep education crisis," Giannini said.

     According to UNESCO estimates, over 154 crore students are severely impacted by the closure of educational institutions across the world amid the COVID-19 outbreak. UN agencies UNESCO and UNICEF along with World Bank and the World Food Programme had recently come up with guidelines on how to safely reopen schools in the wake of COVID-19 and also warned that widespread closures of educational facilities present an unprecedented risk to children's education and wellbeing.

    Globally, over 3.2 crore people have been infected with COVID-19, and the total number of deaths from the deadly virus now stands at over 9.82 lakh.

  • Earlier it was scheduled to be held from 20th November to 28th November, this year.
     
    The postponement follows discussion between Information and Broadcasting  Minister Prakash Javadekar and Goa Chief Minister Dr. Pramod Sawant.
     
    It has also been jointly decided to hold the festival on new dates as per the International Film Festival guidelines and protocols.
     
    The festival will be conducted in a Virtual and Physical format.
     
    All COVID related protocols will be strictly enforced as per the festivals convened recently in the International Film Festival circuit.
     

  • With a cumulative testing figure of around 6 crore 89 lakh 28 thousand 440, India continues to be one of the countries across the world conducting the highest number of daily tests.

    Starting from just one testing lab at National Institute of Virology, Pune in January this year, the country today has one thousand 818 labs for testing Covid samples which includes one thousand 84 government and 734 private labs.

    Average daily tests have increased by nearly 4 times in a span of two months. It stands at around 12 lakh tests in the recent weeks. Tests done per million of the population have also risen manifold in a span of 2 months and currently stand at over 48 thousand per million of the population.

    Despite increase in testing the positivity rate remains low and currently hovers around 8.5 per cent. Bihar, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Jharkhand and Telangana are among the states recording a positivity rate even lower than 5 per cent.

    The country is registering a continuous increase in the number of patients recovered from COVID-19. With recovery of over 81 thousand people in the last 24 hours the total recovery tally has crossed over 47 lakh 56 thousand . The overall recovery rate has now reached  81.74 per cent.

    The Health Ministry has said that the gap between recovered cases and active cases is progressively growing wide. Actual caseload of the country currently comprises only 16.67 per cent of the total positive cases. The number of recovered patients has overtaken the active cases by nearly 5 times. Unprecedented surge in COVID recoveries with more than 100 per cent increase in patients recovered and discharged in the last one month has also been reported.

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

    The ministry has informed that aggressive measures for early identification, prompt and effective treatment and enhanced clinical skills of ICU doctors have  led to progressive enhancement of  India's total recoveries.

    Early identification through wide scale testing, prompt and effective treatment in hospitals and supervised home as well as facility isolations, have actively led to a high recovery rate in the country. Currently, India’s Case Fatality Rate stands at 1.59 per cent. India has progressively maintained a low Case Fatality Rate compared to the global average.

    In the last 24 hours, 86 thousand 52 new cases have been reported taking the total number of positive cases to 58 lakh 18 thousand 571. Presently, the total number of active corona cases in the country is 9 lakh 70 thousand and 116. In the last 24 hours,  one thousand 141 deaths have  been reported taking the toll to 92 thousand 290.

  • The Cornell researchers' team led by Saurabh Mehta was awarded the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Technology Accelerator Challenge prize that encourages the development of new, non-invasive diagnostic technologies important for global health.

    According to Mehta, technologies using salivary biomarkers could revolutionise how conditions such as malaria and iron deficiency are identified and addressed, especially in settings where access to primary health care and traditional, laboratory-based tests is limited.

    "This concept provides noninvasive, rapid and accurate results anywhere in the world. A breakthrough in such mobile diagnostics could provide untold health benefits for vulnerable populations globally," Mehta said. For the group's saliva-based test, a small 3D-printed adapter is clipped to a mobile phone and synced with a mobile app. The app uses the phone's camera to image test strips to detect malaria, iron deficiency and inflammation, with results in under 15 minutes.

    The proposal builds on the FeverPhone and NutriPhone platforms developed by the team at Cornell's Institute for Nutritional Sciences, Global Health and Technology (INSiGHT). The technologies, funded by the NIH and the National Science Foundation, evaluate infections and nutritional status using blood.

    "These types of potentially world-changing innovations are only possible when you foster strong multidisciplinary research and a culture of innovation, such as we do here at Cornell," said David Erickson, another team member.

    The team was led by Mehta, associate professor of global health, epidemiology and nutrition in the Division of Nutritional Sciences, in the College of Human Ecology (CHE), and the Department of Global Development in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS).

  • In a tweet, he also announced sanctioning of  241 Charging Stations in Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Gujarat and Port Blair under it. He said, this is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's  vision to push for eco-friendly public transportation.

    Javadekar said, Maharashtra has been sanctioned 240 E-buses of which 100 E-buses each are for MSRTC’s Intercity and Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport and 40 E- buses are  for BEST-Mumbai. He said, 100 electric buses have been sanctioned for Goa’s Kadamba Transport Corporation.

    He said,  these environment friendly e-buses for the intercity services of Goa would help protect the environment as well as improve mobility.  The Minister said, 250 electric buses have been sanctioned for Gujarat of which 150 e-buses are for Surat Municipal Corporation and 100 e-buses for Rajkot Rajpath Limited.

    Besides, the Narendra Modi government has also sanctioned 50 Charging Stations in Surat.

  • A report from the high-level panel on International Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity published Thursday said governments can't agree on the problem or the solution. But they're also losing an estimated $500 billion due to corporate tax avoidance from profit-sharing enterprises.

    In addition, the panel estimated that $7 trillion in private wealth is hidden in tax haven countries, with 10% of world GDP held offshore, and that money laundering amounts to around $1.6 trillion per year, or 2.7% of global GDP.

    “Corruption and tax avoidance are rampant,” said former Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaite, a panel co-chair. “Too many banks are in cahoots and too many governments are stuck in the past. We're all being robbed, especially the world's poor.”

    She said trust in the finance system is essential to tackle global challenges including poverty, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. “Instead we get dithering and delay bordering on complicity,” Grybauskaite said. The report said criminals exploited the COVID-19 pandemic as governments relaxed controls to speed up health care and social protection.

    “Our weakness in tackling corruption and financial crime has been further exposed by ... COVID-19,” said former Niger prime minister Ibrahim Mayaki, a panel co-chair. “Resources to stop the spread, keep people alive and put food on tables are instead lost to corruption and abuse.

    The panel's goal is to help achieve U.N. goals for 2030 that include ending extreme poverty, preserving the environment and achieving gender equality. 

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched this scheme on the 25th of September, 2017 to ensure electrification of all willing households in the country in rural as well as urban areas.

    The scheme was launched with  an  aim to achieve universal household electrification by providing last mile connectivity and electricity connections to all households in rural areas  and all poor households in urban areas across the country.

    The scheme was started with an outlay of 16,320 crore rupees. Out of the total amount, the outlay for the rural households is over 14 thousand  crore rupees while for the urban households the outlay is 2,295 crore rupees. As many as over 2 crore 62 lakh households have been provided electricity connection so far under the Saubhagya scheme. 

  • India has called upon SAARC member states to collectively resolve to defeat the scourge of terrorism, including the forces that nurture, support and encourage an environment of terror and conflict, which impede the objective of SAARC to realize its full potential for collective collaboration and prosperity across South Asia.

    External Affairs Minister Jaishankar while participating in the Informal Meeting of the SAARC Council of Ministers on Thursday emphasized that cross-border terrorism, blocking connectivity and obstructing trade as the three key challenges that SAARC must overcome. “Only then will we see enduring peace, prosperity and security in our South Asia region,” said Jaishanakar
     
    EAM Jaishankar, in his statement, reiterated India’s steadfast commitment to SAARC in building a connected, integrated, secure and prosperous South Asia. He highlighted a slew of measures taken by India in the follow-up to the SAARC Leaders video conference, including virtually convening health professionals and trade officials meetings, creating a ‘COVID-19 Information Exchange Platform (COINEX), foreign currency swap support and activation of SAARC Food Bank mechanism.
     
     The meeting, chaired by Nepal, was held in virtual mode and saw participation of all eight SAARC member states. Chairing the meeting Nepalese Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali emphasized the need to reinvigorate the SAARC process to make it more focused and result-oriented in meeting the hopes and aspirations of the people of South Asia. The informal meeting of SAARC is held annually since 1997 on the sidelines of United Nations General Assembly meetings. However this time since UNGA meetings are being held virtually in the backdrop of Corona pandemic, SAARC Foreign ministers also met through video conference to exchange views on SAARC issues.

    The meeting received a report from the Secretary-General on the status of regional cooperation since the last informal meeting of the SAARC Council of Ministers was held in New York on in September 2019. Esala Ruwan Weerakoon, Secretary General of SAARC during his address, stated that SAARC holds the potential to promote effective regional cooperation in every sphere of development, including for addressing the challenges posed by the pandemic.
     
    EAM Jaishakar also underlined India’s effort in mitigating the impact of the pandemic  in the region. Furthering “Neighnourhood First” policy, India has supplied essential drugs, medical consumables, COVID protection and testing kits, and other equipment, amounting USD 2.3 million to countries in the SAARC region. EAM Jaishankar reiterated India’s continued commitment to assisting countries in the SAARC region in combating COVID-19 pandemic.

    Moreover, India is also extending financial support to SAARC neighbours to support their developmental programme. While USD 150 million foreign currency swap support has been extended to Maldives, India has committed currency swap support of USD 200 million to Bhutan and USD 400 million to Sri Lanka during the course of this year.

    The ministers reviewed regional efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. Participant countries appreciated the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in convening a video conference of SAARC Leaders on 15th March 2020 to take collaborative measures towards combating the pandemic across the region. The meeting paved the way for creation of SAARC COVID-19 Emergency Fund where all countries have pledged voluntary contributions. India has Committed USD 10 million to the emergency fund.

    One of the agenda items in the SAARC Ministerial meeting was 19th SAARC Summit, which is to be hosted by Pakistan. However a common ground could not be reached upon as most Countries felt that it was not an opportunate time for the event considering that member states are preoccupied in dealing with COVID 19 situation. Sources said that the proposal fell through due to lack of consensus. 
     
    SAARC has been in sort of limbo ever since the 18th summit which was held in Kathmandu in 2014.  Pakistan was supposed to host the next summit level meeting in 2016, but New Delhi decided to withdraw from the summit following the terrorist attack in Uri, Kashmir in 2016. The situation, in a unique way, has kept Nepal as the chair of the group since 2014, the longest any country has held the position in the history of SAARC.

    - Report By Abhishek Jha

  • Javadekar represented India at the virtual Ministerial Roundtable Dialogue on Biodiversity Beyond 2020: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth. 

    The ministerial was hosted by China, one week ahead of the upcoming United Nation Summit on Biodiversity, to exchange views on biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.   Around 15 ministerial representatives from countries with adequate regional representation, as well as the heads from relevant international organizations participatedin the event.

    Addressing on the occasion, Prakash Javadekar stated that COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the fact that un-regulated exploitation of natural resources coupled with un-sustainable food habits and consumption patterns lead to destruction of systems that support human life.

    He further stated that India has already been taking leadership role in biodiversity conservation by hosting two Conference of Parties (COPs) within a span of less than a year, UNCCD COP in Sept 2019 and CMS COP in February 2020 and informed that with just 2.4% of the land area, India accounts for nearly 8% of the recorded species even while supporting almost 18% of human population as well as cattle population and has also enhanced forest cover to nearly 25%. In addition, India aims to restore 26 million hectares of degraded land, and achieve land-degradation neutrality by 2030.

    He also informed the roundtable that India being a megadiverse country, has a robust legal and institutional set up for biodiversity governance and an established system for access and benefit-sharing provisions of the CBD, with a network of 250 thousand Biodiversity Management Committees across the country involving local people and 170 thousand Peoples Biodiversity Registers for documentation of biodiversity.

    Javadekar stated that in view of the Global Biodiversity Outlook report presented recently by CBD, we have no option left except to join hands and to conserve and protect nature and said that India believes that the 15th Conference of Parties to the CBD scheduled in 2021 at Kunming, China for adoption of post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework provides a unique opportunity.

  • The minimum temperature was recorded at 26 degree Celsius and maximum is expected to be around 38 degrees. In Mumbai, there will be generally cloudy sky with moderate rain. The minimum temperature was 25 degree Celsius and the maximum will be around 28 degrees.

    Chennai will have generally cloudy sky with light rain. The temperature is likely to hover between 26 and 36 degree Celsius. Kolkata will witness generally cloudy sky with one or two spells of rain or thundershowers. The minimum temperature in the metropolis was 28 degree celsius while the maximum is expected to be around 31 degrees.

    In the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the minimum temperature was 24 degree Celsius in Jammu while the maximum will be around 37 degrees. The city is likely to have mainly clear sky. In Srinagar, the minimum temperature was around 9 degree Celsius while the maximum will be 29 degrees. The city will have mainly clear sky. Ladakh will have mainly clear sky becoming partly cloudy towards afternoon or evening. The temperature is likely to hover between 11 and 24 degree Celsius.

    In Gilgit, the temperature is likely to hover between 12 and 34 degree Celsius. It will have mainly clear sky becoming partly cloudy towards afternoon or evening. In Muzzafarabad, there will be mainly clear sky. The temperature is likely to hover between 16 and 34 degree Celsius.

    In Dehradun, the temperature will hover between 22 and 31 degree Celsius. The city will witness partly cloudy sky with one or two spells of rain or thundershowers. In Chandigarh, there will be thunderstorm with rain. The minimum temperature was 21 degree Celsius and the maximum will be around 32 degrees.

    In Hyderabad, the minimum temperature was 23 degree Celsius while the maximum will be around 32 degrees. The city will have generally cloudy sky with one or two spells of rain or thundershowers. The minimum temperature recorded in Ahmedabad was 25 degree Celsius and the maximum will be around 34 degrees. The city is expected to have rain or thundershowers would occur towards evening or night.

    Guwahati will have generally cloudy sky with one or two spells of rain or thundershowers. The minimum temperature in the city was 25 degree celsius while the maximum will be around 31 degrees.

  • Addressing media this evening, Tomar said through these bills, farmers will get more freedom and fair price for their produce, which will help them financially. He alleged that Congress workers are trying to mislead farmers in the entire country.

    The Minister stressed that MSP is an administrative decision which is presently there and will remain in the future as well. He pointed out that Centre announced MSPs even before the Ravi crops were sowed. The Minister said there is no provision to end APMCs. He added that the new bills just allow the farmer to sell their produce outside APMCs, giving them a wide range of buyers.

    Tomar said farmers were forced to sell their produce in mandis so far. He said through these bills, farmers will now be able to sell the produce even outside the ambit of the mandi, even outside their  state at any price they choose. The Minister also stressed that there will be no deals related to the land of the farmer under these bills.

    The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill were recently passed by both the houses of Parliament.

  • Prominent among these sectors are information technology, cyber security, advanced manufacturing, transportation, wherein the H-1B One Workforce grant programme would be used to upskill the present workforce and train a new generation of workers to grow the future workforce, the Department of Labor said.

    The coronavirus pandemic has not only caused disruptions in the labour market, but also forced many education and training providers and employers to rethink how to deliver training, the department said in a statement. In this grant programme, the department's Employment and Training Administration has set out to streamline funding and resources to encourage a more integrated workforce system that will push the applicants to provide an innovative mix of training strategies, leveraging innovative modes of training delivery, including online, distance and other technology-enabled learning.

    Through local public-private partnerships, the grantees will deploy training to provide individuals in their communities with skills necessary to advance career pathways to employment in middle-to-high-skilled H-1B occupations within key industry sectors.

    The training models will include a broad range of classroom and on-the-job training, customised training, incumbent worker training, registered apprenticeship programmes and industry-recognised apprenticeship programmes. "The US Department of Labor is challenging communities to think as 'One Workforce'," Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training John Pallasch said. "In the current job environment, it is critical that local organisations work as one, instead of independent parts of a process. Our goal is to create seamless community partnerships to build career pathways for local jobseekers to enter middle-to-high-skilled occupations in the cyber security, advanced manufacturing and transportation sectors," he said.

    Public-private partnerships will leverage resources across federal, state and local funding streams as well as from the private sector to support training, employment services and supportive services to maximise access to employment opportunities, the official statement said.

    These partnerships will work toward a coordinated approach to preparing a skilled workforce within an economic region. All applicants must demonstrate that they are leveraging at least 25 per cent of the grant funds requested, it added

  • The Spaniard will take on Bulgaria's Egor Gerasimov in the first round and faces a potential last-eight clash with U.S. Open runner-up Alexander Zverev, who has never made it past the quarter-finals at the claycourt tournament.

    Nadal then faces a possible semi-final clash against last year's runner-up and U.S. Open winner Dominic Thiem.

    Top seed Novak Djokovic of Serbia will face Swede Mikael Ymer in the first round, where Swiss 16th seed and former champion Stan Wawrinka will take on Briton Andy Murray in the hottest opener.

    Djokovic, who was ejected from the U.S. Open after he inadvertently hit a line judge in the throat with a ball after a point, has an easier route to the final than Nadal after being drawn in the same half as Russian fourth seed Daniil Medvedev.

    Canadian Milos Raonic, the world number 20, pulled out, organisers said.

    Serena Williams, hoping to win a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title, will start her campaign against fellow American Kristie Ahn.

    The sixth seed, who was drawn in the same half as top seed Simona Halep, faces a potential fourth-round clash with U.S. Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka.

    World number one and 2019 champion Ashleigh Barty has pulled out of the tournament citing the coronavirus pandemic and a troubled preparation.

    With Switzerland's Belinda Bencic a last-gasp withdrawal, only six of the top 10 in the WTA rankings will start the tournament.

    The tournament was rescheduled from May 24-June 7 to Sept. 27-Oct. 11 amid the COVID-19 pandemic

    It will be the first year with a retractable roof at the French Open which some of the players, including Nadal, practising with the roof closed on Thursday 

  • The Chief Minister said that the portal is an innovative concept which will provide all information related to admission, institute, fee, tuition, training, experimentation, examination and provides information on employment.
     

  • The Virtual Bilateral Summit will give an opportunity to the two leaders to comprehensively review the broad framework of the bilateral relationship soon after the Parliamentary elections in Sri Lanka and in the context of the time-tested friendly ties between the two countries.

  • The BMC officer had signed the demolition notice served to Ranaut on September 7.

    On Tuesday, Ranaut's lawyer had submitted in the court a DVD containing a speech in which Raut allegedly made a comment threatening the actress.

    The court said it will begin final hearing in the case on Friday.

    On September 9, BMC undertook a drive to demolish alleged illegal portions of Ranaut's office. Soon thereafter, the court had directed the BMC to stay the process of demolition.

     

  • The Narcotics Control Bureau has sought time before the Bombay High Court to file reply to bail pleas of Rhea Chakraborty and her brother Showik in connection to a drug case after the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.

    Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh representing NCB told the court that he has not received a copy of the bail applications and that he needs time to file a reply.

  • In a tweet Prime Minister Modi said:

    Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Ji's ideals inspire us to serve the poor and ensure a positive difference in their lives. On his Jayanti tomorrow, 25th September at 11 AM, I would be addressing @BJP4India Karyakartas from all over India. Do watch.

  • Indian statement, while calling Pakistan the “global epicenterof terrorism” said that it continues to be the source of terrorist activitiesin India. “We advise Pakistan to cease its sponsorship and overt and covertsupport to terrorism against India. This will enable the two countries toengage and address issues bilaterally rather than distract this important forumfrom its agenda,” said the statement

    “The Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh havebeen and will remain an integral part of India. Pakistan has no locus standi tocomment on India’s internal affairs,” said India.  Denouncing Pakistan for raking up internalissues of India at global platforms the statement said “Unfortunately, Pakistanhas misused another forum by continuing its spurious narrative about India”.

    “Pakistan’s remarks today constitute gross interference in India’s internalaffairs, sovereignty and territorial integrity which is inconsistent with theCICA Declaration on the Principles Guiding Relations between the CICA MemberStates of September 1999” added the statement.

    External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had also participated in the CICAmeeting of the Foreign Ministers held virtually on Thursday. During his addresshe underlined India’s commitment to a pluralistic cooperative security order inAsia through CICA. “This is needed more than ever before,” he said.  EAM also highlighted India’s traditional tieswith Central Asia, shared perspectives on counter-terrorism, and Afghanistan.He reaffirmed India’s support for CICA’s initiatives on peace, security andprosperity in Asia. EAM also shared India’s efforts in response to the COVID-19pandemic and India’s contribution to partner countries in CICA and beyond.

    The meeting witnessed the transfer of the Chairmanship of CICA from Tajikistanto Kazakhstan; appointment of new Executive Director and exchange of views onthe future endeavours of CICA, including cooperation in mitigating the effectsof COVID-19 pandemic. EAM Jaishankar also congratulated Kazakhstan on assumingthe Chair of CICA and

    India is a member of CICA since its inception in 1999 and late Prime MinisterShri Atal Bihari Vajpayee had participated in the first CICA Summit held in2002 in Almaty. India has been actively participating in various activitiesconducted under the aegis of CICA. India also co-chairs two CICA Confidence BuildingMeasures (CBMs) on ‘Development of Secure and Effective Systems ofTransportation Corridors,’ and ‘Energy Security’.

    - Report by Abhishek Jha

  • Late MoS Railways Suresh Angadi was consigned to flames at a crematorium in Dwaraka in keeping with COVID protocols. 

    The Union Cabinet condoled the sad demise of Suresh C. Angadi, Union Minister of State for Railways.  Cabinet also observed silence for two minutes in his memory.

    The Cabinet also passed this resolution:

    "The Cabinet expresses profound sorrow at the sad demise of Shri Suresh C. Angadi, Union Minister of State for Railways on 23rd September, 2020 at New Delhi. In his passing away, the nation has lost an eminent leader, an educationist, a distinguished parliamentarian and an able administrator. The Cabinet extends its heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family on behalf of the Government and the entire nation.

    Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu met the family and expressed his condolences. Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla also paid his tributes as did Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh.

    Union I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar recalled his association with Suresh Angadi and paid his heartfelt condolences.

    Apart from this, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Arjun Ram Meghwal and other leaders went to the late Union Minister's South Avenue residence and bid last adieu....paying their tributes.

    Born on 1st June, 1955 at KK Koppa village in Belagavi District of Karnataka, Suresh Angadi completed his graduation from S.S.S. Samithi College, Belagavi and thereafter obtained a degree in Law from Raja Lakhamgouda law College, Belagavi.

    A member of Bhartiya Janata Party, he became Vice- President of a Party's Belagavi District unit in 1996. He was nominated as President of the Belagavi District Unit in 2001 and continued to hold that post until he was nominated as Party's candidate for the Belagavi Lok Sabha Constituency in 2004. He won by a large margin and became a member of the 14th Lok Sabha.

    He was re-elected to the Lok Sabha from Belagavi in 2009, 2014 and 2019. In May, 2019, Angadi became Minister of State for Railways.
     

    He was involved in many social and cultural activities with special interest in Industry, Agriculture and Education of the poor. He was also Chairman, Suresh Angadi Education Foundation, Belgaum since 2009.

    In the passing away of Suresh Angadi, the nation has lost an able administrator, minister and leader, committed to the well being of the people, being with them in their joys and sorrows.

  • India has called upon SAARC member states to collectively resolve to defeat the scourge of terrorism, including the forces that nurture, support and encourage an environment of terror and conflict, which impede the objective of SAARC to realize its full potential for collective collaboration and prosperity across South Asia.

    External Affairs Minister Jaishankar while participating in the Informal Meeting of the SAARC Council of Ministers on Thursday emphasized that cross-border terrorism, blocking connectivity and obstructing trade as the three key challenges that SAARC must overcome. “Only then will we see enduring peace, prosperity and security in our South Asia region,” said Jaishanakar
     
    EAM Jaishankar, in his statement, reiterated India’s steadfast commitment to SAARC in building a connected, integrated, secure and prosperous South Asia. He highlighted a slew of measures taken by India in the follow-up to the SAARC Leaders video conference, including virtually convening health professionals and trade officials meetings, creating a ‘COVID-19 Information Exchange Platform (COINEX), foreign currency swap support and activation of SAARC Food Bank mechanism.
     
     The meeting, chaired by Nepal, was held in virtual mode and saw participation of all eight SAARC member states. Chairing the meeting Nepalese Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali emphasized the need to reinvigorate the SAARC process to make it more focused and result-oriented in meeting the hopes and aspirations of the people of South Asia. The informal meeting of SAARC is held annually since 1997 on the sidelines of United Nations General Assembly meetings. However this time since UNGA meetings are being held virtually in the backdrop of Corona pandemic, SAARC Foreign ministers also met through video conference to exchange views on SAARC issues.

    The meeting received a report from the Secretary-General on the status of regional cooperation since the last informal meeting of the SAARC Council of Ministers was held in New York on in September 2019. Esala Ruwan Weerakoon, Secretary General of SAARC during his address, stated that SAARC holds the potential to promote effective regional cooperation in every sphere of development, including for addressing the challenges posed by the pandemic.
     
    EAM Jaishakar also underlined India’s effort in mitigating the impact of the pandemic  in the region. Furthering “Neighnourhood First” policy, India has supplied essential drugs, medical consumables, COVID protection and testing kits, and other equipment, amounting USD 2.3 million to countries in the SAARC region. EAM Jaishankar reiterated India’s continued commitment to assisting countries in the SAARC region in combating COVID-19 pandemic.

    Moreover, India is also extending financial support to SAARC neighbours to support their developmental programme. While USD 150 million foreign currency swap support has been extended to Maldives, India has committed currency swap support of USD 200 million to Bhutan and USD 400 million to Sri Lanka during the course of this year.

    The ministers reviewed regional efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. Participant countries appreciated the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in convening a video conference of SAARC Leaders on 15th March 2020 to take collaborative measures towards combating the pandemic across the region. The meeting paved the way for creation of SAARC COVID-19 Emergency Fund where all countries have pledged voluntary contributions. India has Committed USD 10 million to the emergency fund.

    One of the agenda items in the SAARC Ministerial meeting was 19th SAARC Summit, which is to be hosted by Pakistan. However a common ground could not be reached upon as most Countries felt that it was not an opportunate time for the event considering that member states are preoccupied in dealing with COVID 19 situation. Sources said that the proposal fell through due to lack of consensus. 
     
    SAARC has been in sort of limbo ever since the 18th summit which was held in Kathmandu in 2014.  Pakistan was supposed to host the next summit level meeting in 2016, but New Delhi decided to withdraw from the summit following the terrorist attack in Uri, Kashmir in 2016. The situation, in a unique way, has kept Nepal as the chair of the group since 2014, the longest any country has held the position in the history of SAARC.

    - Report By Abhishek Jha

  • During the interaction Rajnath Singh said that the role of teachers in society is like that of an artist, adding no one can be a better architect of society than a teacher.

    During the interaction Rajnath Singh said the new National Education Policy 2020 corresponds to the needs of the changing India of the 21st century. It has been prepared as per the aspirations of new India. It is the most holistic education policy.

    The NEP 2020 has been designed in such a way that improves the learning process of the students in new India thereby making a better future for the country.

    On the occasion, the Defence Minister highlighted the steps taken by the Bihar government for the betterment of teachers in the state.

    He said around 3 to 4 lakh teachers were recruited in government schools of Bihar since 2005.

    15 percent increase in the basic salary of school teachers and librarians appointed since 2006 through Panchayati Raj institutions and urban civic bodies.

    The maternity leave of teachers has been increased from the present 135 days to 180 days. Also a new provision for 15 days paternity leave is being made.

     

  • Prime Minister Modi's call for reformed multilateralism assumes special significance as it comes on the eve of India taking a seat at the powerful UN Security Council as an elected non-permanent member for a two year term beginning January 1, 2021.

    On 22nd of September, in a high-level meeting to commemorate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations, world leaders in the General Assembly gathered in a virtual format and adopted a declaration honouring the multilateral framework put in place by its founders in 1945.

    This forward-looking document gives a clarion call for strengthening mechanisms to combat terrorism, reformed multilateralism, inclusive development and better preparedness to deal with challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Titled "Declaration on the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations," the text lays out 12 commitments to reanimate global resolve:  leave no one behind, protect the planet, promote peace, abide by international law, place women and girls at the centre, build trust, improve digital cooperation, upgrade the United Nations, ensure sustainable financing, boost partnerships, work with youth, and, finally, be prepared.

    The declaration states that

    Our challenges are interconnected and can only be addressed through reinvigorated multilateralism.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us in the most powerful way that we are closely interconnected and only as strong as our weakest link.

    Only by working together and in solidarity can we end the pandemic and effectively tackle its consequences.

    Only together can we build resilience against future pandemics and other global challenges.

    Multilateralism is not an option but a necessity as we build for a more equal, more resilient and more sustainable world.

    The United Nations must be at the centre of our efforts.
     
    While the world is in agreement that reform of multilateral bodies to meet new challenges is a necessity, what form this takes is still being debated.

    India's pitch is for concrete action on UNSC reforms and overall reforms in the world body with PM Modi leading the way.
     

  • After announcing the increase in support price of six Rabi crops, the ruling BJP fielded Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar to invite the farmers, who are agitating in Punjab and Haryana against the just-cleared agri Bills in Parliament, for a frank decision on the bills, even at midnight".... Govt Reaching out to agitating farmers . Here is more

    Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Narendra Singh Tomar batted on front foot on Thursday against the Opposition's charges related to the farm bills calling them a bid to mislead farmers.

    He countered saying the Congress had made similar promises of legislative changes in its election manifestos.

    The Minister said that the govt has empowered farmers through these revolutionary bills while curbing its own writ as it allows them to sell their produce at mandis or even outside in the market.

    He made it crystal clear that purchases at MSP will go on at mandis.

    Referring to provisions of contract farming, the Minister said it will benefit those small & marginalised farmers who are unable to get better yield due to lack of resources.

    It will guarantee income on produce even before the crop is sown if the crop is lost for certain reasons like natural calamity..the contracting party will compensate the farmer.

    He explained that strict provisions have been included into legislation to ensure that cultivators going for contract farming are not at any disadvantage..

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised to double  farmers' income by 2024.

    The Minister said these bills are keys to fulfilling that promise.
     

  • During hearing a matter related to a construction in Kalyan Dombivali, chief justice Dipankar Dutta remarked, the incident in Bhiwandi was very serious.

    The 43 year old Jilani building in the powerloom town Bhiwandi is around 10 kilometres from Thane. The three storey building had 40 flats and 150 people were living there.

    The court said, “A building has collapsed in Bhiwandi, several lives have been lost. We are told the situation is quite serious in Mumbai too.”

    Taking suo moto cognizance of the same, the court made the State of Maharashtra, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, and civic bodies of Bhiwandi-Nizampur, Kalyan-Dombivali, Thane and Navi Mumbai as respondents in the case.

    The court issued notices to the State and all municipal corporations and directed the Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni to ensure that all the parties file their reply in two weeks.

    Kumbhakoni said, “We will file our replies detailing what has been done so far across the state for such buildings and measures taken, as well as the steps we propose to take in future.”

    The NDFR called off their search and rescue operations on Thursday morning. Among the 41 dead are three toddlers and 18 children from the age of two to 15. The building was not in the list of dilapidated structures of Bhiwandi Nizampur Municipal Corporation.

  • Addressing the ‘Muhurat’ of the film in Dhaka on Thursday, Information Minister Dr. Hasan Mahmud said that the film ‘Bhalobasha Pritilata’ will be based on the first woman Bengali revolutionary nationalist of the Indian subcontinent against the British regime. The film is based on the novel by Selina Hossain.

    Dr. Hasan expressed hope that the film will be screened in India and other countries also.

    Pritilata was born in Dhalghat village of Chittagong in Bangladesh on 5 May 1911.

    She had her education in Chattogram, Dhaka and then at Bethune College, Kolkata for graduation.

    She joined the freedom movement and worked with revolutionaries like Surya Sen and Nirmal Sen.

    She was involved in several revolutionary acts like the famous Chittagong armoury raid and attack on the Pahartali European club at Chittagong in 1932 where she received bullet injury.

    However, she consumed cyanide before the British police could capture her.

  • The inauguration will be done through a digital event.  Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha, Secretary Ministry of AYUSH will also participate in the program.

    During current year, in Jammu and Kashmir, work on establishing 194 AYUSH HWCs is going on and the Ministry of AYUSH has provided Rs 12.81 crore Central grant for this purpose.

    There is a target of establishing 319 AYUSH Health and Wellness Centres in next 3 years in the UT.

    Among them, the Ministry of AYUSH is launching 21 AYUSH Health and Wellness Centres in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday.

  • Addressing on the occasion, Prakash Javadekar stated that COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the fact that un-regulated exploitation of natural resources coupled with un-sustainable food habits and consumption patterns lead to destruction of systems that support human life.

    He stated that India aims to restore 26 million hectares of degraded land, and achieve land-degradation neutrality by 2030.

    Javadekar also informed the roundtable that in the course of last decade, India has enhanced the combined forest and tree cover to nearly 25 percent of the total geographical area of the country.

    He also said that we have the highest number of tigers and have doubled its number ahead of the deadline of 2022.

  • At a press conference in Beijing, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson chose to remain non-committal on reforms at the Security Council sought by the G-4 countries.

    He stated that there is enormous division and lack of a widespread consensus on the arrangement for reforms at UNSC.

    However, he stated that Beijing is willing to work with other UN members to seek a package solution which can accommodate all parties' interests and concerns through dialogue and negotiation.

    India and other G4 countries have called for the start of text-based negotiations without delay at a virtual meeting yesterday on the side-lines of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly.

    In a statement, they have lamented that there is no meaningful progress in the Intergovernmental negotiations.

    It may be recalled that China has been supporting the intergovernmental negotiations which are more in the form of a general discussion and lack transparent working methods.

    However, G4 countries comprising India, Japan, Brazil and Germany have been demanding the expansion of UN Security Council through substantive negotiations based on a single comprehensive text, which is formal in nature.

    It is also worthwhile to note that except China, all other four permanent members of security council support India's candidature for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council.

  • Without replying clearly on India and other G4 countries' call for start of text based negotiations, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson at a press briefing today said that there is enormous division and lack of a widespread consensus on the arrangement for reform.

    In a virtual meeting yesterday on the sidelines of 75th session of UN General Assembly,  India along with other G4 countries called for start of text based negotiations without delay.

    They said that there is no meaningful progress in the Intergovernmental negotiations.

    China has been supporting the inter governmental negotiations which is more in the form of a general discussion and lacks transparent working method but G4 countries comprising India, Japan, Brazil and Germany have been demanding the expansion of UN Security Council through substantive negotiations based on a single comprehensive text.

    China said that it believes, reform should increase the representation and voice of developing countries but it has not yet supported India's candidature for permanent seat at UNSC.

    Except China, all other four permanent members of security council support India's candidature for a permanent seat.

     

     

    Report by: Anshuman Mishra

  • Cabinet also observed silence for two minutes in the memory of Suresh C. Angadi.

    In its resolution, the cabinet said that "The Cabinet expresses profound sorrow at the sad demise of Shri Suresh C. Angadi, Union Minister of State for Railways on 23rd September, 2020 at New Delhi.

    In his passing away, the nation has lost an eminent leader, an educationist, a distinguished parliamentarian and an able administrator.

    The Cabinet Resolution also said that "He was involved in many social and cultural activities with special interest in Industry, Agriculture and Education of the poor.

    He was also Chairman, Suresh Angadi Education Foundation, Belgaum since 2009. He was fond of reading and travelling.

    The Cabinet extends its heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family on behalf of the Government and the entire nation."

    In his passing away, the nation has lost an eminent leader, an educationist, a distinguished parliamentarian and an able administrator.

    Suresh C. Angadi was a distinguished parliamentarian and an able administrator.

    He was involved in many social and cultural activities with special interest in Industry, Agriculture and Education of the poor.

    He was also Chairman, Suresh Angadi Education Foundation, Belgaum since 2009. He was fond of reading and travelling.

    Cabinet extends its heartfelt condolences to bereaved family on behalf of govt & entire nation.