News

  • Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO, said at a press briefing that the world is now at a crucial moment facing the pandemic and that it would be tough for countries in the following months.

    "We are at a critical juncture in this pandemic, particularly in the northern hemisphere. The next few months are going to be very tough and some countries are on a dangerous track. Too many countries are seeing an exponential increase in cases and that is now leading to hospitals and ICU running close or above capacity and we're still only in October. We urge leaders to take immediate action, to prevent further unnecessary deaths, essential health services from collapsing and schools shutting again," said Tedros.

    Tedros also called on governments to take comprehensive measures. Countries which have brought the epidemic under control should not let down their guard and those which are still seeing surges in cases should make adjustments on their measures, Tedros said.

    He also said that it is necessary for countries to inform their people about the current outbreak situation in their countries and what they should do in response.

    Systems that will make it easier for citizens to follow containment measures should be established, which means if people need to be quarantined or if businesses must be temporarily closed, the government will do what it can to help individuals, families and businesses, he said.

    Last but not least, Tedros said, if the governments could improve their contact tracing systems and can isolate all cases and contacts, then the mandatory isolation could be avoided.

  • OCN said last week that thousands of dead seal pups had been found at Pelican Point peninsula, a tourist destination known for its colony of seals and school of dolphins.

    Naude Dreyer, a marine biologist at OCN, said investigations in the past week had revealed a spike in the number of dead female adults.

    He said investigations had mainly centred on the Pelican Point Beach, so the overall number of dead seals could be higher.

    The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources said last week it would send samples to South Africa to determine the cause of death. Dreyer said this had not yet been done because of the need to observe strict guidelines on shipping dangerous animal products.

    The ministry was not immediately available for comment.

    OCN said last week starvation was the most probable cause as fish, the seals' main source of food, have moved from Pelican Point, but other reasons could be toxins or disease and nothing could be ruled out without a full study.

  • The camp comprising 11 players (5 male, 6 female) and four support staff will be conducted by the Table Tennis Federation of India at the Delhi Public School, Sonepat. The camp has been sanctioned at a total cost of approximately Rs. 18 Lakhs (plus air travel and medical expenses).

    Campers will be staying in the residential facilities at DPS, Sonepat. The camp will abide by the Standard Operating Procedures set up by the Sports Authority of India for the resumption of sporting activities. This will be the first national camp for Table Tennis that will be held after the announcement of the nationwide lockdown due to coronavirus in March this year.

    Four-times Commonwealth Games gold medalist Achanta Sharath Kamal will be a part of the men’s training group where he will be joined by Manush Shah, Manav Thakkar, Sudhanshu Grover and Jubin Kumar. The women’s training group will comprise of Anusha Kutumbale, Diya Chitale, Suthirtha Mukherjee, Archana Kamath, Takeme Sarkar and Kaushani Nath. 

    Archana Kamath who is a part of the Target Olympic Podium scheme development group and a semifinalist at the 2018 Youth Olympics is happy to be returning to a camp environment and getting to see her teammates after a long time, “I had been training at home in Bengaluru but looking forward to return to a camp environment where I can get to see my compatriots in the Indian team after a long time and train with them.” Kamath added that while her ultimate goal is to qualify for the Olympics and play in them, for the moment she is just focusing on the present and thinking of one match at a time. 

    India have performed very well in Table Tennis in recent times winning 8 medals at the 2018 Commonwealth Games as well as winning medals for the first time ever at the Asian Games the same year.

  • "This is a new era. An era of true peace. A peace that is expanding with other Arab countries - three of them in recent weeks," he said in a televised statement.

    Netanyahu thanked U.S. President Donald Trump and his team for their role in brokering the deal, and said Israeli and Sudanese delegations would soon meet to discuss cooperation in areas "including agriculture, trade and other areas important to our citizens."

  • India is an important player in the global Oil and gas sector being the 3rd largest consumer of crude oil and the 4th largest LNG importer. Realizing the need for India to graduate from a passive consumer to an active and vocal stake-holder in the global Oil & Gas value chain, NITI Aayog initiated the first roundtable of global Oil & Gas CEOs with the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India in 2016. 

    The growth of the event was apparent as around 45-50 global CEOs and key stakeholders who shape the global Oil & Gas sector assembled every subsequent year to interact and discuss the issues and opportunities with the Hon’ble Prime Minister. The impact of the annual global CEO’s interaction can be seen in the gravity of discussion, quality of suggestions and the seriousness with which they are acted upon. 

    This the 5th such event organized by NITI Aayog and Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas. Around 45 CEOs of major Oil and Gas companies will attend the event this year.  

    The objective behind the meeting is to deliver a global platform to understand best-practices, discuss reforms, and inform strategies for accelerating investments into the Indian Oil and Gas value chain. The annual interaction has gradually become one of the most important gatherings of not only intellectual debate but also of executive action. The event also grows in stature with the rise of India, the world's third-largest energy consumer, which is likely to see over USD 300 billion investment by 2030 in the Oil & Gas sector to meet rising demand. 

    Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Minister of Steel will provide the opening remarks. The opening remarks will be followed by a comprehensive presentation giving an overview of the Oil & Gas Sector, and explaining the ambition and opportunities in the Indian Oil & Gas Sector.     

    This is to be followed by the interaction session with global CEOs and experts. Key global Oil and Gas stakeholders like H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber CEO, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, UAE, H.E. Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, Minister of State for Energy Affairs of Qatar, Deputy Chairman, President & CEO, Qatar Petroleum, H.E. Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, Secretary General, OPEC, Austria, will lead the session with their inputs on the Oil and Gas sector. 

    Dr. Igor Sechin, Chairman & CEO, Rosneft, Russia, Bernard Looney, CEO, BP Ltd., Patrick Pouyanne, Chairman & CEO, Total S.A., France, Anil Agarwal, Chairman of Vedanta Resources Limited, Mukesh Ambani, Chairman & Managing Director, RIL, Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director, International Energy Agency, France, Joseph Mc Monigle, Secretary General, International Energy Forum, Saudi Arabia, and Yury Sentyurin Secretary-General, GECF will also share their inputs to the Hon’ble Prime Minister. CEOs & Experts  of major oil & gas companies like Lyondell Basell, Tellurian, Schlumberger, Baker Hughes, JERA, Emerson and X-Coal, Indian Oil & Gas Companies will also present their perspective. 

    Prior to this the Prime Minister will inaugurate the India Energy Forum by CERAWeek, now in its fourth year.  It is hosted by IHS Markit, a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions.  The event will convene an international group of speakers and a community of overa a thousand delegates from India and over 30 countries, including from regional energy companies, energy-related industries, institutions and governments.

  • Foreign currency assets, a major part of the overall reserves, increased by 3.539 billion dollars to 512.322 billion dollars.

    Gold reserves went up by 86 million dollars in the reporting week to reach 36.685 billion dollars. The country’s special drawing rights with the International Monetary Fund remained unchanged at 1.480 billion dollars; while reserve position with the IMF declined by 11 million dollars to 4.634 billion dollars. 
     

  • The North's state-run television KRT said on Wednesday the yellow and fine dust may contain harmful substances, such as heavy metals and pathogenic microorganisms that may include viruses. North Korea's official party newspaper Rodong Sinmun said on Thursday that the new coronavirus infections continue to spread around the world, the need to deal with the yellow dust and take thorough measures has become more critical.

    The claim that the virus that causes COVID-19 could spread to North Korea from the Gobi desert, 1,900 km (1,200 miles) away, appears unsupported. Two meters (6 feet) is a common social-distancing metric, although the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says droplets containing the virus can sometimes linger in the air for hours.

    On Thursday, the Russian embassy in North Korea wrote on Facebook that North Korea's Foreign Ministry had ordered all visitors to the country and its staff to wait out the dust storm inside.

    North Korea has reported no confirmed cases of the coronavirus, a claim that health experts question. Pyongyang has imposed strict border controls and quarantine measures to prevent an outbreak. Analysts say an outbreak could be devastating for the economically and politically isolated country.

  • The decision was announced by the President of FATF Marcus Pleyer.

    The FATF strongly urged Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan by February 2021. It said, Pakistan needs to do more to check terror funding, adding that the 6 items which Pakistan is yet to address are serious deficiencies.

    The implementation plan to curb money laundering and terror financing was supposed to be put in place by the end of 2019. However, the deadline was extended in the wake of COVID pandemic.

    The FATF is an inter-governmental body set up in 1989 to combat money laundering, terror financing and other related threats to the international financial system. It currently has 39 members. These include two regional organizations - the European Commission and Gulf Cooperation Council.

  • The year 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the United Nations and its founding Charter. This anniversary comes in a time of great disruption for the world, compounded by an unprecedented global health crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with severe economic and social impacts. But it is also a reminder that times of struggle can become an opportunity for positive change and transformation.

     

  • Briefing media in New Delhi, Consumer Affairs Secretary Leela Nandan said, a stock limit has been imposed on the onions with effect from today which is 25 Metric Tonnes for Wholesalers and 2 Metric Tonnes for Retailers for a period up to 31st December 2020.  

    She added, in order to moderate the price rise, the government took a pre-emptive step by announcing a ban on onion export on the 14th of last month so as to ensure availability to domestic consumers at reasonable rates, before the expected arrival of Kharif onion.

    The Secretary said, the retail price rise has moderated to some extent, but recent reports of heavy rainfall in the onion growing districts of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have created concerns about damage to Kharif crop. She said, the developments on the weather front have contributed to the sharp increase in onion prices.

    Nandan said, to tide over the present situation, the government has stepped up disposal of onions through the built up buffer stock of one Lakh Metric Tonne from the Rabi onion-2020. The release of onion from the buffer stock is being carried out swiftly but in a calibrated manner from the second half of September to major Mandis as well as to retail suppliers in major cities and also through State Governments.

  • Mumbai will have Partly cloudy sky with one or two spells of rain or thundershowers. The minimum temperature was 25 degree Celsius and the maximum will be around 34 degrees.

    In Chennai, there will be Generally cloudy sky with Light rain. The temperature will hover between 26 and 34 degree Celsius.

    Kolkata will have Generally cloudy sky with Heavy rain. The minimum temperature in the city was 25 degree celsius while the maximum will be around 28 degrees.

    On to the North, in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir,  the minimum temperature was 16 degree Celsius in Jammu while the maximum will be around 32 degrees. The city will have a mainly clear sky.

    In Srinagar, the sky will be Mainly clear sky. The temperature in Srinagar will hover between three and 24 degree Celsius.

    Leh in Ladakh will have mainly clear sky. The minimum temperature was minus five degree Celsius and the maximum will be around 20 degree Celsius.

    Gilgit will have Mainly clear sky becoming partly cloudy towards afternoon or evening. The temperature will hover between four and 26 degree Celsius.

    Muzafarrabad will experience Mainly clear sky. The minimum temperature was 10 degree Celsius and the maximum will be around 30 degrees.

    Chandigarh will witness mainly clear sky, the minimum temperature was 14 degree Celsius while the maximum will be around 33 degree Celsius.

    In Ahmedabad, it will be Mainly Clear sky. The temperature will hover between 23 and 36 degree Celsius.

    Guwahati will have Generally cloudy sky with Light Rain or Drizzle. The minimum temperature in the city was 23 degree Celsius while the maximum will be around 30 degrees.

  • Prime Minister launches the ‘Kisan Suryodaya Yojana’ for the farmers of Gujarat. He inaugurated the Paediatric Heart Hospital attached with U.N Mehta Institute of Cardiology and Research Centre and a Mobile Application for tele-cardiology at the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad. He also inaugurated the Ropeway at Girnar on the occasion.

    To provide day-time power supply for irrigation, the Gujarat Government under Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had recently announced the ‘Kisan Suryodaya Yojana’. Under this scheme, farmers will be able to avail power supply from 5 AM to 9 PM. The state government has allocated a budget of Rs.3500 crore for installing transmission infrastructure under this scheme by 2023. 234 ‘66-Kilowatt’ transmission lines, with a total length of 3490 circuit kilometers (CKM) will be established under the project, in addition to 220 KV substations.

    Dahod, Patan, Mahisagar, Panchmahal, Chhota Udepur, Kheda, Tapi, Valsad, Anand and Gir-Somnath have been included under the Scheme for 2020-21. The remaining districts will be covered in a phase-wise manner by 2022-23.

    Prime Minister also inaugurated Paediatric Heart Hospital attached with the U.N Mehta Institute of Cardiology and Research Centre and a Mobile Application for tele-cardiology at the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad. U.N Mehta Institute will now become India’s biggest hospital for cardiology in addition to being one of the select few hospitals in the world with a world-class medical infrastructure and medical facilities.

    The U.N Mehta Institute of Cardiology is undergoing expansion at the cost of Rs. 470 crores. The number of beds will increase from 450 to 1251 after the completion of the expansion project. The Institute will also become the biggest single super speciality cardiac teaching institute in the country and one of the biggest single super speciality cardiac hospitals in the world.

    The building is equipped with safety precautions like earthquake proof construction, fire fighting hydrant system and fire mist system. The research centre will house India’s first Advanced Cardiac ICU on Wheels with O.T., which is equipped with ventilators, IABP, haemodialysis, ECMO etc. 14 operation centres and 7 cardiac catheterization labs will also be started at the institute.

     

  • They are Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir.

    Ministry of Finance in a statement said that the borrowing is at an interest rate of 5.19 percent.

    It is intended to make weekly releases of  six thousand crore rupees to the States.

    It said, tenor of borrowing is expected to be broadly in the range of 3 to 5 years.

    The Government  has evolved a special borrowing window to address the shortfall in the GST collection during the year 2020 - 2021.  

    21  States and two Union Territories opted for this special window involving back-to-back borrowing coordinated by the Ministry of Finance.

  • "We are at a critical juncture in the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in the Northern hemisphere," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference. "The next few months are going to be very tough and some countries are on a dangerous track."

    "We urge leaders to take immediate action, to prevent further unnecessary deaths, essential health services from collapsing and schools shutting again. As I said it in February and I'm repeating it today: This is not a drill."

    Tedros said too many countries were now seeing an exponential increase in infections, "and that is now leading to hospitals and intensive care units running close or above capacity -- and we're still only in October".

    He said countries should take action to limit the spread of the virus quickly. Improving testing, tracing of contacts of those infected and isolation of those at risk of spreading the virus would enable countries to avoid mandatory lockdowns.

    The WHO also said it is preparing guidelines on use of the drug remdesivir for COVID-19 and should be able to release them in three to four weeks.

    The United States has given full approval for remdesivir to treat infections, the first COVID-19 treatment to receive regulatory endorsement there.

    However, a large WHO study earlier this year on COVID-19 patients in hospital found that the drug probably had no effect on their survival rate.

  • Zverev, who won the bett1HULKS Indoors last week, was serving for the match at 5-3 in the second, before the Frenchman broke serve and went on to take a tight tiebreaker.

    The German world number seven regained his focus and claimed the only break in the decider at 3-3. He held his nerve to set up a semi-final encounter against Jannik Sinner with a 6-4 6-7 (5) 6-4 victory.

    In the last quarter-final, Canadian fifth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime beat Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka 6-3 6-4 and will next face Diego Schwartzman for a place in the final.

  • U.S. President Donald Trump, seeking re-election on Nov. 3, sealed the agreement in a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Transitional Council Head Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, senior U.S. officials said.

    Trump's decision this week to remove Sudan from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism paved the way for the accord with Israel, marking a foreign policy achievement for the Republican president as he seeks a second term trailing in opinion polls behind Democratic rival Joe Biden.

    Netanyahu hailed it as a "new era" for the region, but the Palestinian leadership, watching as more of their Arab brethren appear to give their quest for statehood a lower priority, called it a "new stab in the back."

    Israel and Sudan plan to begin by opening economic and trade links, with an initial focus on agriculture, the joint statement said. A senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said such issues as formal establishment of diplomatic ties would be resolved later.

    In recent weeks the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain became the first Arab states in a quarter of a century to agree to formal links with Israel, forged largely through shared fears of Iran.

    The military and civilian leaders of Sudan's transitional government have been divided over how fast and how far to go in establishing ties with Israel. A sticking point in the negotiations was Sudan's insistence that any announcement of Khartoum's delisting from the terrorism designation not be explicitly linked to relations with Israel.

    The Sudanese premier wants approval from a yet-to-be formed parliament to proceed with broader, formal normalization, and that may not be a quick process given sensitivities and civilian-military differences. It is still unclear when the assembly will be created.

    "Agreement on normalization with Israel will be decided after completion of the constitutional institutions through the formation of the legislative council," Sudanese Foreign Minister Omar Gamareldin said on state television shortly after Friday's announcement.

    The new agreement was negotiated on the U.S. side by a team that included Trump son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, who called the normalization deals the start of a "paradigm shift" in the Middle East.

  • For the first time in the last seven years, the Steering Committee meeting of the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Program (GSLEP) – an inter-governmental alliance of the snow leopard range countries –  was held virtually.

    The meeting was presided over by the Minister of Forest and Environment from the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal Shakti Bahadur Basnet and Mirslav Amankulov, Director of State Agency for Environment Protection and Forestry, Kyrgyz Republic, who serve as the present Chair and co-chair of the GSLEP Steering Committee respectively.

    Also present were Environment ministers of the Kingdom of Bhutan and Pakistan, Vice Ministers from Mongolia and Uzbekistan, senior officials from all snow leopard range countries, and heads or senior representatives of international organizations such as the International Snow Leopard Trust, the GEF Small Grants Program, Global Tiger Initiative Council, Terrestrial Ecosystem Unit of UNEP and UNDP.
     
    While appreciating the conservation work done by the countries and the GSLEP Secretariat, the Steering Committee drew attention to the conservation challenges and significant impacts on available funding for field conservation efforts posed by the COVID-19 pandemic; calling upon multilateral and financial institutions for renewed emphasis and urgent measures to strengthen conservation efforts in Asia’s mountains.

    Recognizing the close links between human health and the health of wildlife and ecosystems, the delegates of the meeting appealed the global community to intensify their support for snow leopard conservation and the welfare of local communities who live in high mountains, and support community-based conservation efforts.

    They called for stronger measures for the disruption of illegal wildlife trade and reduction in wildlife consumption; and significant steps towards green development in high mountains. They also expressed the need for prioritizing stronger disease research, surveillance and monitoring in snow leopards and other high mountain wildlife, and for strengthening the public and animal health infrastructures in Asia’s High mountains. 
     
    The dignitaries at the meeting appreciated the request of nearly 5,000 citizens from across 80 countries drawing the attention of national leaders and officials to strengthen snow leopard conservation efforts and minimize the risk of disease transmission between wildlife and people. A policy brief on managing snow leopards in conflict situations, and a new conservation education and awareness strategy that is sensitive to the COVID-19 related lockdowns and challenges were released.

    The meeting was organized on a virtual venue (http://join.globalsnowleopard.org) where the work being done by snow leopard range countries, conservation organizations and specific projects and programs are on display for delegates and visitors.

  • The campaigning will end on Monday for this phase. Polling will be held on 28th October in 71 assembly segments spread over 16 districts.

    Senior BJP leader and Prime Minister Narendra Modi today alleged that the parties who are standing against the NDA are opposed to the growth of the country.

    Addressing an election meeting at Bhagalpur the Prime Minister criticized  the previous regime in Bihar, which he said supported the Maoists and wants to make the state sick and helpless, while the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) wants to work to help people.
     
    The Prime minister invoked the  reign of “crime and ‘loot” during the 15-year rule of the RJD, as he sought people’s vote for the NDA to ensure the state’s continuous journey towards development.  

    He accused the opposition parties of betraying the people of Bihar and their pride. PM sought votes for another term of the NDA government under Nitish Kumar.

    He said the people of Bihar know that it is important to make Nitish Kumar the Chief Minister again for faster development of the state.

    Appealing to the people of the state PM Modi said  each and every citizen of Bihar must cast their vote in the upcoming Assembly elections, following all COVID-19 guidelines  and social distancing norms.

    Earlier in the day Prime Minister addressed rallies at Dehri-on-Sone  in Sasaram and Gaya in the state.

    Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today started his poll campaign with election rallies  from Hisua and Kahalgaon. He alleged that NDA government both in Centre and state has failed to fulfill promises. He said in Kahalgaon, the BJP is promising 19 lakh jobs at the time of elections but they must give account of their performance in the last seven years.

    BSP chief Mayawati and RLSP president Upendra Kushwaha led Grand Democratic Secular Front (GDSF) today launched the poll campaign jointly from Kargahar in Rohtas districts.

  • Britain on Thursday said that it will start to process BNO visa applications for residents in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) from January 31, 2021. Britain had announced plans to extend the immigration rights of BNO passport holders on 1st July, the day after China imposed stringent national security law on Hong Kong.

    As per new visa rule, BNO Visa holders will have the right to work and study in the UK for a period of five years. They can apply for citizenship after the sixth year. Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Friday that it reserves the right to take further measures and demanding that United Kingdom immediately correct its mistake.

    By Anshuman Mishra

  • His family has come to take him back and he will be in home isolation. Ankit who is a part of the national camp which had commenced on October 5 at SAI Sonepat after submission of negative Covid RT-PCR reports, had his sample taken once again on October 12th as per the SOPs set up for the camp where it came to be positive.

  • PM Modi said, NDA government abrogated Article 370, but the opposition wants it back. He categorically said, the government is firm on this decision. He said, opposition is also misguiding people over new Farm Laws. PM Modi said, Mandi and MSP are excuses for the opposition as it wants to save the brokers and middlemen.

    PM Modi said, the people who once ruled Bihar are again looking at the developing state with their greedy eyes. But, Bihar must not forget who pushed them backward, that was the time when there was worsening law and order situation and corruption in the state. He exhorted people to vote for the National Democratic Alliance to speed up the ongoing development works in the state. PM Modi said, Nitish Kumar-led NDA Government in the state is essential for prosperity of the people of the state. He congratulated the people of Bihar for their strong fight against COVID-19.
     
    Addressing another election meeting at Gaya, Prime Minister and Senior BJP leader Narendra Modi slammed the Mahagathbandhan for supporting Naxals. PM Modi said, in the last few years, a lot of efforts and strict actions have been taken to limit the activities of Naxals in the country. Naxal presence has now been restricted to limited areas.

    PM Modi further said that the NDA is committed to empowering Bihar. He said, the opposition is rattled by development measures undertaken by NDA Government.

  •  It has crossed the landmark of 10 crore (10,01,13,085) total tests on Friday.

    In an another achievement, 14,42,722 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours. The country’s testing capacities have multiplied manifold with nearly 2000 labs across the country and with collaborative efforts of the Centre and State/UT governments. More than 15 lakh samples can be tested every day.

    Progressive countrywide expansion in testing infrastructure has played a crucial role in the steep rise of testing numbers. With 1989 testing labs in the country including 1122 Government laboratories and 867 Private laboratories, the daily testing capacity has got a substantial boost.

    High level of comprehensive testing on a sustained basis has also resulted in bringing down the national positivity rate. This indicates that the rate of spread of infection is being effectively contained. The cumulative rate continues to decline as total tests cross 10 crore.  The national positivity rate is 7.75% today.

    This is a result of successful TEST, TRACK, TRACE, TREAT and TECHNOLOGY strategy of the Central government effectively followed by States/UTs.

    Higher testing across wide regions has resulted in early identification of positive cases, prompt tracking through efficient surveillance and tracing, and timely & effective treatment in homes/facilities and in hospitals for the severe cases.

    These measures in tandem eventually lead to lower mortality rate.

    The last 1 crore tests were conducted in 9 days.

    15 States and UTs are exhibiting higher Positivity Rate compared to the national figure, indicting the need for higher levels of comprehensive testing in these regions.

  • Amber Dubey, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation said, “NTPC will use the drones to carry out terrain mapping, stockpile volumetric analysis, aerial inspections and other applications at the three NTPC sites.

    This will provide NTPC excellent data with high accuracy at a fraction of the cost. This is in line with Government of India’s attempts to promote use of industrial drones in infrastructure, mining, agriculture and disaster relief etc.”

    The conditional exemption is till 31st December 2020 or until the full operationalization of Digital Sky Platform, whichever is earlier. Conditions and limitations to National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd to carry out  research  and   inspection  activities  at  National  Thermal  Power  Corporation  (NTPC)   Sites   - Vindhyachal Super Thermal Power Station, Madhya Pradesh/Gadarwara Super Thermal Power Stat ion, Madhya Pradesh /Sipat Super Thermal Power Station , Chhattisgarh   using  Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems:

     

    1. This exemption to National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd from the relevant provisions of CAR Section 3, Series X, Part I, is subject to exemption from Rule 15A of the Aircraft Rules, 1937 by Ministry of Civil Aviation.
    2. The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd shall obtain necessary clearances from (a) Local Administration (b) Ministry of Defence (c) Ministry of Home Affairs (d) Air Defence clearance from Indian Air Force and (e) Airport Authority of India (AAI) prior to operation of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS).
    3. The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd shall only operate the RPAS which has been voluntarily disclosed to Government of India and issued with a valid Drone Acknowledgement Number (DAN) (i.e. D1DXOOS1T and D1DXOOS24 for NETRA PRO of M/s ldeaForge Technology Pvt Ltd).
    4. The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd shall submit a comprehensive brief on the scope of operations and the copy of SOP to Flight Standards Directorate (FSD), DGCA. Operation of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) shall be carried out only after the vetting/ approval of SOP.
    5. National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd shall take necessary permission regarding Aerial Photography, if applicable, from Directorate of Regulations & Information, DGCA.
    6. The photographs/video-graphs, if taken through RPAS shall be used by National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd only. National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd shall be responsible for security of RPAS and data collected through RPAS.
    7. The operation of RPAS shall be restricted to day operations (from sunrise to Sunset), within Visual Line Of Sight (VLOS).
    8. The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd shall indemnify DGCA from any legal cases or any other issues arising due to these operations.
    9. The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd shall ensure that the RPAS is in working condition and shall be responsible for any eventualities due to malfunction I disorientation of equipment.
    10. In case of any injury to any person due to physical contact with the equipment, National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd shall be responsible for medico-legal issues.
    11. The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd shall have adequate level of insurance to cover any damage to third party resulting from accident I incident occurred during the operation of RPAS.
    12. The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd shall ensure that hazardous material or variable payload are not carried in I using the RPA under any circumstances
    13. National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd shall ensure safety, security and privacy of public, property, operator etc. Further, in case of any eventuality, DGCA shall not be held responsible.
    14. National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd shall not operate the RPAS in no-fly zones specified in Para 13.1 of the CAR Section 3, Series X, Part I without the approval of concerned Ministries/ authorities.
    15. RPAS shall not be operated in the vicinity of airport as per the provisions of the CAR. If operated near the airport, approval from Airports Authority of India (AAI) shall be taken in advance regarding time and area of operations of RPAS.
    16. National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd shall ensure that only trained I experienced bonafide personnel operates the RPAS.
    17. This letter shall not override other restrictions I SOP on Remotely Piloted Aircraft System framed by other Government Agencies.
    18. In case of incident/accident during at any phase of the operations, reports to be submitted to Air Safety Directorate of DGCA.
  • Himachal Pradesh has also secured second position at the national level for construction of roads under PMGSY.

    Union Ministry of Rural Development has declared the list of top performing 30 districts in the country for implementing the PMGSY programme.
     
    Mandi district has received top position for constructing roads under PMGSY of maximum length in 2020-21. Six more districts of Himachal Pradesh have also secured position among top 30 best performing districts, which include Chamba, Shimla, Kangra, Una, Sirmour, Hamirpur and Solan.
     
    The state has also improved its performance under PMGSY programme by constructing 1104 Kilometres roads this year from April till date.

    PMGSY is a programme funded by the Union government to connect habitations having population of more than 250 in the state.
     
     

  • The active caseload of the country has fallen below 7 lakh for the first time after two months (63 days). The active caseload was below the 7 lakh mark (6,97,330) last on 22nd August.

    The total positive cases of the country today are 6,95,509. They comprise merely 8.96% of the total cases.

    With a high number of COVID patients recovering every day along with a steadily falling and sustained low mortality rate, India’s trend of registering decreasing active cases continues.

    India is also reporting a high number of recoveries. The total recovered cases are nearly 70  lakhs (69,48,497). The difference between active cases and recovered cases is also consistently increasing and stands at 62,52,988 today. The recovered cases are nearly 10 times more than the active cases.

    73,979 patients have recovered and discharged in the last 24 hours whereas the new confirmed cases are 54,366. The national Recovery Rate has further progressed to 89.53%.

    Enhanced countrywide medical infrastructure, implementation of the Centre’s Standard Treatment Protocol by the States/UTs, and total dedication & commitment of doctors, paramedics and frontline workers have led to a persistent increase in the number of total recoveries with commensurate dip in the fatality rate. Today it stands at 1.51%. These have together resulted in a consistent slide in the active cases.

    24 States/UTs have less than 20,000 Active Cases.

    81% of the new recovered cases are observed to be concentrated in 10 States/UTs .

    Maharashtra has contributed more than 16,000 to the single day recoveries followed by Karnataka with more than 13,000 recoveries.

    54,366 new confirmed cases were recorded in the last 24 hours.

    78% of these are from 10 States and UTs. Maharashtra and Kerala contribute maximum to the new cases with more than 7,000 cases followed by Karnataka with more than 5,000 cases.

    690 case fatalities have been reported in the past 24 hours. Of these, nearly 81% are concentrated in ten States/UTs.

    Maharashtra  has reported the maximum single day deaths (198 deaths).

  • The  'COVIRAP,' diagnostic machine evolved by the IIT Kharagpur researchers, for its efficacy in COVID-19 detection has been successfully validated by the Indian Council of Medical Research.

    The innovation has made "high-quality and accurate COVID testing at a level of RT=PCR testing affordable for the common people with a testing cost of around ₹ 500/- which can further be reduced through government intervention.

    We are dependent on RT-PCR for accurate testing of COVID-19 and whose results take time to come.This new testing method implements a highly reliable and accurate molecular diagnostic procedure that can be conducted in an ultra-low-cost portable device unit developed by the research team of IIT Kharagpur.

    What is special about this affordable, portable and user-friendly testing machine is that with only just machine, testing of samples of several people can be done together. And there is no need for trained personnel to operate this machine. The test results are rendered via a custom-made mobile application for dissemination without requiring manual interpretation.

    COVIRAP technique is also special as this technique is capable of detecting extremely low levels of viral loads. In practice, this means that very early stages of infection can be detected, thereby isolating the patient and arresting the uncontrolled spread of infection in the community via asymptomatic patients. Through COVIRAP, testing of other diseases like influenza, malaria, dengue, TB and several other diseases can be done apart from COVID-19.

     

    Nishant Saurabh's Report

  • It has been listed under Appendix I of the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals, and in 2002 its status was elevated to 'requiring Concerted Action'. 

    Living at extreme altitudes in the steep mountains of the Himalayas, and in a bitterly cold climate, snow leopards are among the most difficult of the world's top predators to study.

    Himalayas act as the water-tower of the Indian sub-continent, with all the major rivers of northern India originating from the Himalaya Mountains. Snow leopard is the apex predator in the Indian Himalayas, and is considered as the 'flagship' for conservation of the high-altitude landscape. To safeguard the specie, International Snow Leopard Day will be celebrated on Friday. A number of factors have contributed to the decline in the Snow leopard populations globally.

    These include a reduction in prey populations, illegal poaching and increased human population infiltration into the species habitat. There are increasing occurrences of human wildlife conflict owing to the increasing interface between humans and wildlife. Illegal trade of wildlife parts and products and other natural resources is also a key concern in the efforts towards conservation.

    Potential snow leopard habitat in India is about 1,30,000 sq.kms, which generally comprises of areas above 3,000m altitude. Recent studies indicate that the Indian snow leopard habitat provides ecosystem services worth 4.20 billion US dollar every year to human communities residing in snow leopard landscapes as well as people living in downstream areas.

    Owing to the importance of this landscape, the Government of India has considered Snow Leopard as the flagship species for the Himalayas. In an act of cooperation for the goal of conservation of the species and its habitat, Governments of the Snow Leopard range countries have joined hands pledging to secure a better future for the species.

    Tapas Bhattacharya's report

     

  • Covaxin's third phase trials will start in the first week of November.

    Under the Phase 3 trial, vaccine will be administered to 22 thousand people across 19 places.

    The government aims to vaccinate 20 to 25 crore people between January and July next year.

    The government has also sought a list of all those who will be given the vaccine. Initially vaccine will be given on priority basis.

    It is to be noted that India manufacturers around 60% of vaccine supplies worldwide.

  • In its special weather bulletin released at 9.00 a.m. on Friday, the BMD said that the deep depression over Northwest Bay and adjoining areas has moved northeastwards. It was now centred about 445 kilometres from Chattogram and Cox’s Bazar ports, 240 kilometres from Mongla port and 280 kilometre from Payra port. 

    The BMD predicted sustained wind speed of about 50 kilometres per hour (kmph) within 48 kilometre of the deep depression centre rising to 60 kmph in gusts/squalls. The bulletin warned that the low lying areas of the coastal districts of Bangladesh and their offshore islands ‘chars’ are likely to be inundated by the wind driven surge of 3-5 feet above normal tide. 

    The bulletin advised fishing boats and trawlers over north bay and deep sea not to venture in deep sea.

    In the meanwhile, large parts of Bangladesh continued to receive rain and thundershowers under the impact of the depression over the Bay of Bengal.

    Drizzling has continued in the capital city Dhaka for more than 24 hours till Friday morning.

     

     

    Rajesh Jha/Dhaka

  • During the debate, Trump insisted that Covid-19 would soon go away through medical breakthroughs and pointed to his own recovery. He defended his push to reopen the United States as soon as possible. He said, US has a vaccine that's coming, it's ready, it's going to be announced within weeks.
     
    Biden assailed President Trump as having no plan to stop a dark winter of coronavirus deaths. Biden said, anyone who's responsible for that many deaths should not remain as president of the United States.
     
    This was their second and final presidential debate before November 3 elections. Taking queue from the first meeting, the event organisers have muted both Trump and Biden while the other delivers responses to each of the six debate topics. Their first debate was punctuated by frequent interruptions, leaving the two men talking over each other.
     
    Americans are set to elect a new president on November 3. At least 35 million people have already cast their ballots, more than a fourth of the total 2016 vote.

  • This computer application matches human face from a digital image already stored in the database.

    The computer and the human interact to map the facial features. In a Similar way, a live image of the student will be matched with the photograph on the CBSE admit card already stored in repository, and once successful, the certificate will be emailed to the student.
     
    This application is now available on “Parniaam Manjusha” and Digi Locker at https://digilocker.gov.in/cbse-certificate.html for all 2020 records.

    CBSE has already pushed 12 crores digital academic documents in Digi locker which can be opened by a student to access Mark sheets, Pass and Migration Certificates. The latest facility of Face Matching will immensely help foreign students and those who are unable to open Digi locker account for any reason such as Adhaar Card or wrong mobile numbers.

  • French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced a curfew imposed last week on Paris and eight other cities would be extended to 38 more departments, confining 46 million out of the country’s 67 million population to their homes from 9 pm to 6 am. “A second wave of the coronavirus epidemic is now under way in France and Europe. The situation is very serious,” Castex said at a news conference.

    Shortly after the measures were announced, French health authorities reported a record 41,622 new confirmed cases, bringing the cumulative total to 999,043.

    In Spain, which this week became the first European country to pass 1 million cases, Health Minister Salvador Illa said the epidemic was now “out of control” in many areas. Regional authorities debated a curfew but stopped short of taking a decision.

    After Europe appeared to have gained a measure of control over the epidemic following the dramatic lockdowns of March and April, a surge in cases over recent weeks has put the continent back at the heart of the crisis.

    While hospitalisations and deaths have not so far overwhelmed health systems as they did during the initial wave early this year, authorities in many countries worry the situation is rapidly reaching a tipping point. Germany, which reported more than 10,000 daily cases for the first time, extended travel warnings for Switzerland, Ireland, Poland, most of Austria and Italian regions including Rome.

    “We still have a chance to slow a further spread of the virus,” Lothar Wieler, of the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s infectious diseases agency, said in Berlin. More than 5.3 million people across Europe have contracted the disease and over 204,000 have died, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. That compares with 8.3 million cases in the United States and 7.7 million in India.

    Belgian Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmes went into intensive care on Thursday, just a day after German Health Minister Jens Spahn tested positive.

    The resurgence over recent weeks stands in contrast to several countries in Asia, from China to South Korea or New Zealand, where draconian lockdowns and rigorous contact tracing have helped contain the disease.

    Grappling with the enormous costs of the coronavirus, Europe’s leaders are desperate to avoid a repeat of the blanket lockdowns that shut down their economies in the spring.

    As cases have surged and health services have come under increasing pressure, they have been forced to impose and expand local restrictions aimed at reducing public gatherings to ever wider areas.

    Italy’s three most populous regions -- Lombardy around Milan, Lazio, around Rome and Campania around Naples -- have already imposed overnight curfews. Britain also tightened restrictions on three more areas on Thursday.

    Amid the growing public alarm, Germany’s statistics office noted that sales of toilet paper rose almost 90% last week from pre-crisis levels with almost equally sharp jumps in sales of disinfectants and soap.

    Only Sweden, a European outlier which has relied largely on voluntary measures to promote social distancing, was an exception, declaring senior citizens no longer need to isolate themselves given lower COVID infection rates than in spring.

    As the crisis has intensified, much of the public goodwill seen in the first phase of lockdowns has evaporated and central governments have engaged in angry spats with local authorities from Manchester to Madrid over issues ranging from health and welfare to transport and schools.

    With winter coming, health services are looking ahead with apprehension as the wave of COVID patients coincides with the usual seasonal respiratory illnesses.

    “We are already swamped,” said Bruno Megarbane, head of intensive care at the Lariboisiere hospital in Paris. “So, indeed, there is the fear that we will face a very difficult situation.”

     

  • Snowden, 37, fled United States and was given asylum in Russia after leaking secret files in 2013 that revealed vast domestic and international surveillance operations carried out by the U.S. National Security Agency where he was a contractor.

    U.S. authorities have for years wanted Snowden returned to the United States to face a criminal trial on espionage charges brought in 2013.

    “His (Russian) residency permit was expiring and we asked to extend it,” Anatoly Kucherena, his Russian lawyer, told Reuters. Kucherena said the coronavirus pandemic had made the process longer than usual.

    “We submitted the documents in April and we got the permanent residency rights (on Thursday),” he said.

    Separately, Kucherena told the TASS news agency that Snowden was not considering applying for a Russian passport at this stage.

    U.S. President Donald Trump said in August he was considering a pardon for Snowden.

    Snowden keeps a low profile in Russia. He has praised the country’s natural beauty and the warmth of its people, while using social media to criticise government policy from time to time.

  • India will be hosting the Dialogue in New Delhi.

    Briefing media in New Delhi Thursday evening, External Affairs  Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said both sides will also exchange views on regional and international issues.

    He said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper will have bilateral meetings with their counterparts, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar.

    They will also be meeting NSA Ajit Doval and there will be a joint call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    The spokesperson said India and the US have comprehensive global strategic partnership which includes political, security, defence, economic, commercial, technology and people to people contact.

    The first two 22 Ministerial dialogues were held in New Delhi in September 2018 and in Washington DC in December 2019.

    The agenda for the third dialogue will cover all bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest.
     

  • A rapid estimate of the economic value of some prominent services generated from snow leopard habitats in India is nearly $4 billion a year, the bulk of which comes from hydropower and generated electricity (US$3 billion), followed by livestock and agriculture (US$0.5 billion), and tourism (US$0.4 billion). Owing to the importance of this landscape, the Government of India has considered Snow Leopard as the flagship species for the Himalayas. In an act of cooperation for the goal of conservation of the species and its habitat, Governments of the Snow Leopard range countries have joined hands pledging to secure a better future for the species. Conservation efforts and initiatives are being undertaken through the various programmes such as the Global Snow Leopard Ecosystem Protection Program (GSLEP). Technical and financial support has been provided from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through projects in 9 of these 12 countries. 

    The Snow Leopard acts as an INDICATOR of the health of the entire ecosystem in which they live, due to their position as the top (apex) predator in the food web. It has been listed under Appendix I (species that are the most endangered) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). It has also been listed under Appendix I of the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), and in 2002 its status was elevated to ‘requiring Concerted Action’. The Snow Leopard is also listed as Endangered in the IUCN Red List. India has listed the Snow Leopard in Schedule I of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, according highest degree of protection. 

    The SECURE Himalaya project is a part of “Global Partnership on Wildlife Conservation and Crime Prevention for Sustainable Development” (Global Wildlife Program) funded by the GEF and is being implemented in Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, the Republic of Congo, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe in Africa. The SECURE Himalaya project has a budget of USD 11,544,192 and is expected to leverage USD 60,820,000 as co-financing from the range states. The Himalayan region is the center of the globally endangered Snow Leopard’s (Uncia uncia) range. The total habitat of the Snow Leopard in India is around 75,000 square km. The Western and Eastern Himalaya (including Nepal) forms an important link between the Central Asian and East Asian populations of snow leopards, and serves as a vital corridor for the genetic interchange between these populations.While an exact population count is unavailable, the Snow Leopard numbers have been estimated been 300 to 700 in India. The distribution of Snow Leopard in India includes five states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand in the Western Himalayas and Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh in the Eastern Himalayas. 

    Threats

    A number of factors have contributed to the decline in the Snow leopard populations globally. These include a reduction in prey populations (which includes the Blue sheep, Tibetan Aragali and Himalayan Tahr), illegal poaching and increased human population infiltration into the species habitat. There are increasing occurrences of human wildlife conflict owing to the increasing interface between humans and wildlife. There has been severe habitat degradation of the snow leopard and the habitat of its prey due to unsustainable infrastructure development and land use practices, over-exploitation of bio-resources especially high value medicinal and aromatic plants and over grazing in high altitude pastures. Illegal trade of wildlife parts and products and other natural resources is also a key concern in the efforts towards conservation. Limited options for alternative livelihoods and inadequate knowledge about the fragile Himalayan ecosystem pose severe threats to the snow leopard habitats.

    - Tapas Bhattacharya

  • Prime Minister will launch the ‘Kisan Suryodaya Yojana’ for the farmers of Gujarat. He will inaugurate the Paediatric Heart Hospital attached with U.N Mehta Institute of Cardiology and Research Centre and a Mobile Application for tele-cardiology at the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad. He will also inaugurate the Ropeway at Girnar on the occasion.

    Kisan Suryodaya Yojana

    To provide day-time power supply for irrigation, the Gujarat Government under Chief Minister Shri Vijay Rupani had recently announced the ‘Kisan Suryodaya Yojana’. Under this scheme, farmers will be able to avail power supply from 5 AM to 9 PM. The state government has allocated a budget of Rs.3500 crore for installing transmission infrastructure under this scheme by 2023. 234 ‘66-Kilowatt’ transmission lines, with a total length of 3490 circuit kilometers (CKM) will be established under the project, in addition to 220 KV substations.

    Dahod, Patan, Mahisagar, Panchmahal, Chhota Udepur, Kheda, Tapi, Valsad, Anand and Gir-Somnath have been included under the Scheme for 2020-21. The remaining districts will be covered in a phase-wise manner by 2022-23.

    Paediatric Heart Hospital attached with the U.N Mehta Institute of Cardiology and Research

    Prime Minister will also inaugurate Paediatric Heart Hospital attached with the U.N Mehta Institute of Cardiology and Research Centre and a Mobile Application for tele-cardiology at the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad. U.N Mehta Institute will now become India’s biggest hospital for cardiology in addition to being one of the select few hospitals in the world with a world-class medical infrastructure and medical facilities.

    The U.N Mehta Institute of Cardiology is undergoing expansion at the cost of Rs. 470 crores. The number of beds will increase from 450 to 1251 after the completion of the expansion project. The Institute will also become the biggest single super speciality cardiac teaching institute in the country and one of the biggest single super speciality cardiac hospitals in the world.

    The building is equipped with safety precautions like earthquake proof construction, fire fighting hydrant system and fire mist system. The research centre will house India’s first Advanced Cardiac ICU on Wheels with O.T., which is equipped with ventilators, IABP, haemodialysis, ECMO etc. 14 operation centres and 7 cardiac catheterization labs will also be started at the institute.

    Girnar Ropeway

    Gujarat will once again be highlighted on the global tourism map as the Prime Minister will inaugurate the Ropeway at Girnar on 24th October, 2020. Initially, there will be 25-30 cabins, with a capacity of 8 people per cabin. A distance of 2.3 kms will now be covered in just 7.5 minutes through the ropeway. In addition to this, the ropeway will also provide a scenic view of the lush green beauty surrounding the Girnar mountain.

  • Modi is committed to the policy of zero tolerance against corruption and unaccounted money. In pursuance of this, he said, a range of initiatives have been taken by the Modi government over the last 6 years.

    Dr Jitendra Singh referred to the India’s Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, which the Modi government amended after 30 years in 2018 to introduce a number of new provisions including criminalizing the act of giving bribe also in addition to taking bribe and at the same time putting in place an effective deterrence for such actions by individuals as well as corporate entities.

    Dr Jitendra Singh said the present Act brought on the direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi aims at checking corruption in big places and striking hard against corporate bribery. It seeks to establish a vicarious liability so that the actual bribe giver is also exposed.

    The commitment of the present government, said Dr Jitendra Singh is to bring in more transparency, more citizen centricity and more accountability in governance and is indicated by its decisive initiatives to operationalize the institution of the Lokpal in the country to check corruption at high places.

    Reminding the G20 Meeting Delegation that the world is presently combating serious emerging challenges of Fugitive Economic Offenders and Assets which flee across national jurisdiction. He said, India’s Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 empowers authorities for non-conviction based attachments and confiscation of proceeds of crime and properties as well as assets of a Fugitive Economic Offender.

    We have also ceased the issue of the accused taking shelter in the foreign country and concealing the proceeds of crime, said Dr Jitendra Singh and conveyed India's appreciation that the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group together with the help of international organizations is taking this fight ahead in the right direction.

    Lauding the efforts of G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group to organize the event under the shadow of Corona, Dr. Jitendra Singh said that even the COVID cannot deter our fight and crusade to eradicate corruption.

    Dr Jitendra Singh congratulated the Presidency Saudi Arabia for organizing the G20 Ministerial Meeting on its 10th Anniversary year and wished that the world will come together for a steadfast and a strong movement to combat the menace of corruption.

     

  • A day before, on Tuesday, Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello had confirmed that Brazil would buy the vaccine developed by Sinovac to include it in the immunization program, in addition to one developed by the UK-based AstraZeneca and Oxford University.

    Bolsonaro said on social media, “For sure, we will not buy the Chinese vaccine,” because it is unjustifiable to pay billions for a vaccine that has not been through its testing phase. He also said, that it would be a betrayal to buy Chinese vaccine.

    The President also said that he would not allow the Brazilan people to be anyone’s ‘guinea pig’. Both Brazil President and Health Minister have been infected by novel coronavirus.

    In a calibrated response, China said that businesses and institutions of both the countries have been cooperating on phase 3 clinical trials of vaccine and such cooperation will contribute to the final victory over the virus.

    Brazil has been among the world’s hardest-hit nations by the pandemic, with more than 5 million infections and more than 150,000 COVID-19 deaths. Inclusion of the Sinovac vaccine, called CoronaVac, in the national vaccination program of a country like Brazil, with 230 million people would have been a major success for the Chinese pharmaceutical company.

    Earlier, Bangladesh had rejected co-financing of the phase 3 trial of the Sinovac made Corona vaccine.

    ANSHUMAN MISHRA/ /BEIJING // 22-10-2020

  • CNS accompanied by Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Naval Command, Vice Admiral Ajit Kumar, arrived at Karwar Naval Base where he interacted with personnel and emphasised key issues of repairs, maintenance, spares support and op-logistics for afloat units to sharpen their war-fighting capabilities.  He also reiterated aspects of cyber-security, force protection against terrorist attacks, asymmetric warfare and exhorted all personnel to maintain highest-level of alertness.
     
    Admiral Karambir Singh thereafter departed by helicopter to embark the Carrier Battle Group, comprising Vikramaditya, destroyers, frigates, corvettes, fleet support ships and integral swing-role fighters and helicopters.

    On embarking indigenous guided-missile destroyer Chennai, he was given an operational readiness briefing by the Fleet Commander, after which weapon firings, air-to-air combat operations, anti-submarine drills and fleet manoeuvres were demonstrated under realistic conditions. CNS thereafter embarked Fleet Support Ship Deepak to interact with the ship's crew, followed by embarkation on aircraft carrier Vikramaditya, where he witnessed the Carrier Battle Group’s capabilities for integral fleet air defence and strike.
     
    Addressing the combatants of the Carrier Battle Group over broadcast from Vikramaditya, CNS complimented them for continuously maintaining peak combat-readiness and high tempo of operations over the past months, in spite of COVID-19 related challenges.  The Indian Navy has remained mission-deployed and combat-ready across the IOR, even through rough seas during the monsoon period, towards maintaining the maritime security of the nation.

    He highlighted the nation’s appreciation for the Navy’s contributions in ‘Op Samudra Setu’ towards for repatriation of our distressed citizens from IOR countries and towards providing medical and logistics assistance to our friendly neighbours in the IOR, as part of ‘Mission SAGAR’.  He expressed satisfaction at the high levels of motivation and reiterated that the Indian Navy has the best human capital manning our platforms.

  • The designations restrict the operations of Yicai Global, Jiefang Daily, Xinmin Evening News, Social Sciences in China Press, Beijing Review, and Economic Daily in the United States but don’t affect what they can publish in US.

    The Department of State in a statement said the outlets are “substantially owned or effectively controlled” by the Chinese regime. The designations follows the February 18th designation of Xinhua News Agency, China Global Television Network, China Radio International, China Daily Distribution Corporation, and Hai Tian Development Corporation and the June 22nd designation of China Central Television, China News Service, the People’s Daily, and the Global Times, in recognition that they are China-controlled propaganda outlets. The designation means they’ll be treated as foreign embassies or other diplomatic missions, and thus be required to register their employees and U.S. properties with the State Department.

    Chinese Foreign Ministry has opposed this US move. Foreign Ministry spokesperson on Thursday said that China will make necessary and legitimate response and urges the US to immediately correct the course.

    The measure is among a range of Trump administration actions aimed at combating Chinese influence in the United States. In August, the State Department designated a Washington-based center that supports Beijing-backed Confucius Institutes as a foreign mission. Confucius Institutes, which project themselves as language and culture programs, have drawn intensified scrutiny in recent months over their role in spreading propaganda.

    US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo has also expressed hope that all Confucius Institutes in the United States can be closed down by the end of the year.

    There are currently about 67 Confucius Institutes on American college campuses, according to the National Association of Scholars.

     

    ANSHUMAN MISHRA // BEIJING/ /22-10-2020

  • This computer application matches human face from a digital image already stored in the database .The computer and the human interact to map the facial features.

    In a Similar way, a live image of the student will be matched with the photograph on the CBSE admit card already stored in repository, and once successful, the certificate will be emailed to the student.

    This application is now available on “Parniaam Manjusha” and Digi Locker at https://digilocker.gov.in/cbse-certificate.html for all 2020 records.

    CBSE has already pushed 12 crores digital academic documents in Digi locker which can be opened by a student to access Mark sheets, Pass and Migration Certificates.

    The latest facility of Face Matching will immensely help foreign students and those who are unable to open Digi locker account for any reason such as Adhaar Card or wrong mobile numbers.

  • According to the weather report issued by the Met Department of Bangladesh on Thursday, the depression is likely to intensify further.

    The Met department has forecast heavy to very heavy  rainfall at places over Rajshahi, Dhaka, Khulna, Barisal, Chattogram, Mymensingh and Sylhet divisions in the country in the next 48 years. 

    The Met department also forecast light to moderate rain and thunder-shower accompanied by gusty or squally in most places in these divisions. 

    Most of these places including Dhaka have been experiencing rain since morning on Thursday. 

    The Met department also issued a warning on Wednesday asking the maritime ports of Chattogram, Cox’s Bazar, Mongal and Pyra to hoist the cautionary signal number 3 in view of the low pressure area forming over west-central bay and adjoining areas. All fishing boats and trawlers over the north bay and deep seas were advised to come close to the coast and proceed with caution.

  • The camp had commenced on September 1 and the wrestlers had to complete a 14 day quarantine before starting their training. Wrestling is one of the most successful sports in India’s Olympic history having contributed five medals to India’s Olympic medal haul.

    Prior to all training in National Centres of Excellence and SAI training centres being suspended due to the coronavirus lockdown, India were performing very well in the sport with their best ever medal haul at the 2019 World Wrestling Championships where they won a total of five medals.

    Bajrang Punia is one of India’s premier Olympic medal hopefuls, having won a gold medal at the 2018 Asian Games and Commonwealth Games as well as a silver medal at the 2018 World Championships and bronze at the 2019 World Championships.

    The 26 year-old 65 kg freestyle wrestler is very happy to be back at the national camp and training again, “It is very good that we are back at training, it isn’t that we were out of rhythm because we were training at our homes during the lockdown but that cannot be compared to what one can do at the camp and when we train on mats. The arrangements that have been made at SAI Sonepat are very good and safe, proper zoning of the campus has been done and no outsider can come in contact. All wrestlers feel very safe here.”

    India have so far won four Olympic quotas and three in men’s freestyle wrestling, Bajrang is one of them and the others are Deepak Punia and Ravi Dahiya. National Chief Coach, Men’s Freestyle Wrestling Jagmander Singh is happy to see the progress of the wrestlers since the camp resumed but reiterated that competition will give a better idea of their level.

    He said, “From the time training restarted to now, the wrestlers have improved considerably. We started slow but now our training is in full momentum but eventually we need to tune our training as per the competitions that lie ahead. The true test of where the wrestlers stand will only come when they participate in competitions.”

    The World Wrestling Championships are scheduled for December this year and both Bajrang Punia and Jagmander Singh are hopeful that the tournament goes ahead as well as other wrestling events being able to resume. Bajrang said, “We were in good rhythm before the lockdown was announced. Even now our training is going well but we will only know our level and where we stand when we compete. A player needs to play otherwise they will never know where they stand.”

    India have the opportunity to win their remaining Olympic quotas in men’s wrestling (6 in Greco-Roman and 3 in Freestyle) at the Asian and World Qualification tournaments scheduled for next year.

  • The Government has now decided to make a graded relaxation in visa and travel restrictions for more categories of foreign nationals and Indian nationals who wish to enter or leave India. 

    Therefore, it has been decided to permit all OCI and PIO card holders and all other foreign nationals intending to visit India for any purpose, except on a Tourist Visa to enter by air or water routes through authorized airports and seaport immigration check posts.

    This includes flights operated under Vande Bharat Mission, Air Transport Bubble arrangements or by any non scheduled commercial flights as allowed by the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

    All such travelers will, however have to strictly adhere to the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare regarding quarantine and other health/COVID-19 matters.

    Under this graded relaxation, Government of India has also decided to restore with immediate effect all existing visas (except electronic visa, Tourist Visa and Medical Visa).

    If the validity of such visas has expired, fresh visas of appropriate categories can be obtained from Indian Mission/Posts concerned. 

    Foreign nationals intending to visit India for medical treatment can apply for a Medical Visa including for their medical attendants.

    Therefore, this decision will enable foreign nationals to come to India for various purposes such as business, conferences, employment, studies, research, medical purposes etc.

  • To promote the demand of the ships built in India, priority in chartering of vessels is given to vessels built in India, flagged in India and owned by Indians under the amendments in the guidelines of ROFR(Right of First Refusal).

    Now it has been decided that for any kind of charter of a vessel undertaken through a tender process, the Right of First Refusal (RoFR) would be exerted in the following manner:

    1. Indian built, Indian flagged and Indian owned
    2. Foreign built, Indian flagged and Indian owned
    3. Indian built, foreign flagged and foreign owned

    Provided that:

    1. All vessels flying the flag of India (i.e. registered in India) up to the date of issue of new circular by the Director General of Shipping shall be deemed to be Indian built vessels and will fall in category (i) above and
    1. The foreign flagged vessels permitted by DG (Shipping) under Section 406 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 for chartering by an Indian citizen/company/society, who is building a ship in an Indian shipyard for registration under the Indian flag, as a temporary substitute for the Indian ship under construction, meeting the following two conditions shall be deemed to fall under Category (i) above.
    1. 25% of the contract money has been paid to the Indian shipyard
    2. 50% of the hull fabrication has been completed, as certified by Recognised Organisation.

     

    The duration of licence to such chartered vessel shall be limited to the period of building of the ship, as mentioned in the shipbuilding contract.

    It is to be noted that Ministry of Shipping has made provision for long-term subsidy for shipbuilding activities under shipbuilding financial assistance policy (2016-2026).

    The Ministry has already disbursed an amount of Rs 61.05 crores till date under this policy. It is an endeavour of the Government to further incentivise shipbuilding by providing additional market access and business support to ships built in India.

    The revised guidelines will give a boost to the domestic shipbuilding and shipping industries. It will encourage the domestic shipping industry to support the domestic shipping industry.

    Minister of State for Shipping (I/C) Mansukh Mandaviya said, “Ministry of Shipping is working with a focused approach to promote shipbuilding in India as per AatmaNirbhar Bharat vision of our Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    The revision of RoFR licensing conditions is a giant step towards AatmaNirbhar Shipping. It will promote ‘Make in India’ initiatives through self-reliance and will give a strategic boost to domestic Ship building industries, contributing towards long-term economic growth of India”.

  • She is elected as fellow of Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi.Her research group’s interest in the malaria parasite is driven by the desire to understand (a) the molecular workings and functions of the relict plastid (apicoplast) of Plasmodium, (b) mechanisms of protein translation employed by Plasmodium organelles and (c) human genetic factors and susceptibility to severe P. falciparum malaria in endemic and non-endemic regions of India. 

    The Indian National Science Academy was established in January 1935 with the object of promoting science in India and harnessing scientific knowledge for the cause of humanity and national welfare.

    Promotion of scientific knowledge in India including its practical application to problems of national welfare. The major objectives of Indian National Science Academy are:

    1. Coordination among Scientific Academies, Societies, Institutions, Government
    Scientific Departments and Services.

    2. To act as a body of scientists of eminence for the promotion and safeguarding of the interests of scientists in India and to present internationally the scientific work done in the country.

    3. To act through properly constituted National Committees, in which other learned academies and societies may be associated, for undertaking scientific work of national and international importance which the Academy may be called upon to perform by the public and by the Government.

  • It is very likely to intensify further into a Deep Depression during next 24 hours.

    It is very likely to move north-northeastwards and cross West Bengal & adjoining Bangladesh coasts, as a Deep Depression between Sagar islands (West Bengal) & Khepupara (Bangladesh) over Sundarbans by 23rd October afternoon.

  • Durga Puja pandal was organized at Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre (EZCC) on the initiative of BJP Mahila Morcha. He said, whatever the situation, the whole country becomes Bengali during Durga Puja.

    PM Modi wished everyone a happy Durga Puja and the upcoming Diwali. He said this time Durga Puja is being performed amid Corona pandemic, so special emphasis should be on following the Covid appropriate behaviour.

    The Prime Minister appealed to everyone to keep social distance and wear masks.

    He said, everyone has shown immense control and commitment to the entire arrangements while also ensuring that the flavour of Durga Puja remains the same

  • The test was carried out today morning at the Pokhran field firing ranges in Rajasthan. The trial of Nag anti-tank guided missile comes after the DRDO tested the helicopter launched Stand-off Anti-Tank Missile (SANT) with a range beyond 10 km from Balasore testing range in Odisha on 19th October.

    The Nag anti-tank missile is ready for induction in the Indian Army. It has completed 10 successful user trial as it finds the target and then hit it.

  • Senior BJP leader and Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman along with other senior leaders released the poll manifesto in Patna.

    She said the party believes in fulfilling poll promises and the reflections have been made in the manifesto.
     
    Sitharaman said as soon as the COVID-19 vaccine will be available for production at a mass scale, every person in Bihar will get free vaccination.

    She said 19 lakh job opportunities will be created in the health, education, agriculture , education and other sector.