India en Fri Jun 19 10:15:03 IST 2020 malls-in-faridabad-gurgaon-resume-operations-witness-tepid-turnout <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>As part of 'Unlock 2.0', malls in NCR cities of Faridabad and Gurgaon opened to lukewarm response, after four months of shutdown owing to COVID-19 lockdown.</p> <p>Given the high number of coronavirus cases in both the districts, the malls were opened with stringent measures to maintain social distancing and ensure screening of people before they entered the malls. Faridabad and Gurgaon account for 60 per cent of Haryana's active cases.</p> <p>“Malls faced the worst financial setback during the COVID lockdown, and we have spent huge amounts to resume (operations) with standard operating procedures; but hardly anybody turned up. The stores plan attractive offers to get people back. If we get such a (poor) response we will have no option but to shut again," said owner of a mall on Gurgaon MG Road.</p> <p>Many mall owners in Faridabad did not open as they expected little to no footfall.</p> <p>“The infectivity rate of our district is high, so either people won't come, and if they do we will be at high COVID-19 transmission risk. Currently, the cost to get staff back, sanitisation and other measures are too high. Opening will lead to more losses”, said Sanjeev Yadav, a mall owner from Faridabad. One of the key reasons cited behind poor response is closure of cinema halls, gaming arcades, pubs and food courts.</p> <p>“We have made detailed standard operating procedures for risk-free opening of malls which requires stringent sanitization and social distancing. The arrangements are being reviewed," said Faridabad DC Yashpal Yadav.</p> <p>It may be noted that Gurgaon has banned entry of people above 65 years of age, children below 10 and pregnant women in malls. All the visitors will have to download the Aarogya Setu app and submit themselves to thermal screening. The Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) has formed a special task force to ensure compliance with standard operating procedures.</p> <p>“The malls have been guided with measures to effectively maintain physical distance and sanitization modules. The visitors are being screened for symptoms. We are making hourly inspections to ensure things are under control. People are apparently avoiding visit to malls as a precaution,” said Hari Om Attri, joint commissioner, MCG.</p> <p>Meanwhile, as part of 'Unlock 2.0', Gurgaon has also resumed its public transport system with GMCBL (Gurugram Metropolitan City Bus Limited) buses hitting the roads.</p> <p>The local administration has also issued guidelines through resident welfare associations to ensure there is no restriction or hindrance in compliance with MHA directives for the second phase of unlock. This includes permission to all workers like maids to resume work with sufficient precautions.</p> Wed Jul 01 19:55:54 IST 2020 covid-19-situation-in-delhi-brought-under-control-says-kejriwal <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday said the COVID-19 situation has been brought under control for now with the "combined efforts" of Delhi government, Centre and other organisations, but cautioned people against any lapse in social and personal behaviour that may again lead to a rise in cases.</p> <p>Addressing an online media briefing, the chief minister said the situation is not "terrible" as predicted one month ago, asserting that at present, the number of active coronavirus cases has been decreasing instead of increasing.</p> <p>He said the Central government's website had projected a total of one lakh COVID-19 cases and of these, 60,000 active cases by June 30, but the number of active cases is currently around 26,000.</p> <p>"After this projection, we did not sit idle and started approaching all those who could help us in dealing with the situation. We approached hotels, banquet halls, Centre, social and religious organisations for help,” he said.</p> <p>For the last few days, the Centre has been overseeing Delhi's preparations. Recently, Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced a numbers of steps, including house-to-house survey, ramping up testing and bed capacity, to arrest the spread of coronavirus.</p> <p>"In Delhi, the number of people recovering from coronavirus is also increasing. Similarly, the number of deaths is present, the COVID-19 situation is not terrible as much as it was earlier. This is the result of combined efforts of all," he said.</p> <p>He also said that one month back, the recovery rate was around 38 per cent, but it is now 67 per cent, adding that out of a total of 87,000 cases, 58,000 people have so far recovered from the dreaded virus.</p> <p>He said that the there were 8,500 beds in hospitals one month back, but the bed capacity has now reached around 15,000.</p> <p>"Earlier, when we conducted COVID-19 test on 100 people, 31 came positive. Now, only 13 cases are coming positive on testing of 100 people. All these things show that the situation is now under control, " the chief minister said.</p> <p>Kejriwal, however, asked people to not pay attention to experts' views on social media that the peak of COVID-19 has gone in Delhi, and requested citizens to wear masks, wash hands and maintain social-distancing norms instead.</p> <p>"There should not be any lapse. After much effort, we have come out of the situation that was a month ago. We will continue our team work. There is proverb - 'Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst'. We will continue our preparations to deal with any situation," he said.</p> <p>According to him, it is the result of hard work of all and the AAP government will make more efforts in the coming days.</p> <p>The coronavirus recovery rate in the national capital reached 66.03 per cent on June 29 as against the national rate of 58.67 per cent, according to official figures.</p> <p>In June, the national capital added over 64,000 fresh cases to its tally, while over 47,357 patients recovered, were discharged or migrated.</p> <p>Delhi's recovery rate breached the 50 per cent mark on June 20, after hovering below it for almost a month.</p> Wed Jul 01 17:50:31 IST 2020 haryana-parents-protest-against-decision-to-reopen-schools-from-july-27 <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Haryana's decision to re-open all schools from July 27 has led to widespread protests from the parents of the schoolchildren. An order has been issued by the additional chief secretary to all districts, declaring summer vacations from July 1 to July 26 in all schools of the state . “The schools will reopen on July 27 i.e Monday,” read the order.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“On one hand they issue advisories to keep children inside homes, [telling us] not to take them to shops, malls, and on the other, they want us to send them to schools. And all this is being done to allow schools to seek enhanced fees and additional charges as currently they are just getting tuition fees from us. We will not send our children to schools till Haryana is COVID-19 free. Moreover, even MHA orders of Unlock 2 mandate closure of schools till July 31,” said the Haryana Parents Association.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It may be noted that schools across the state have been alleging that parents are not paying them fees and this has led to delay or non-payment of salaries to teachers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Haryana Education Minister Kanwar Pal's announcement that the state would revive its schools in a phased manner, starting from July, had drawn flak. The parents have demanded reconsideration of the decision.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Meanwhile, the private schools in the state had moved the High Court against the state government’s order nullifying the importance of school leaving certificate (SLC). The government mandated issue of SLC within 15 days, after which the student shall be deemed eligible for admission with or without the SLC. This was done to aid students who lined up for admission in government schools citing economic woes due to the lockdown. The order has been challenged by Haryana Private School &amp; Children Welfare Trust through advocate Pankaj Maini.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The petitioner has argued that parents, who have not paid any fee since March 2020, have used the government order as a tool to not pay the outstanding dues. The private schools say that the order is an attempt to scuttle the rights of the private unaided schools.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The High Court bench of Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan issued a notice seeking response from the state government, but made it clear that the mere pendency of the matter will be no ground for the private schools for not issuing school leaving certificates to students.</p> Wed Jul 01 17:35:54 IST 2020 coronil-for-management-covid-19-not-treatment-ayush-ministry-tells-patanjali <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>After over a week of controversy around Patanjali’s claims of “curing” COVID-19 patients with the Ayurvedic cocktail ‘Coronil’, Baba Ramdev on Wednesday claimed that the AYUSH ministry had stated that the Patanjali Research Foundation has “appropriately worked” on COVID-19 management. The ministry has approved the word “management” as opposed to treatment, Ramdev said at a live press conference, insisting that the two were no different, and merely an example of wordplay.<br> <br> His statement came a day after the AYUSH ministry sent a letter to the drug licensing authority in Uttarakhand. It said that the proposed drug—'Divya Coronil tablet'—had been registered by the state licensing authority as an “immunity booster”, especially against respiratory tract involvement and all types of fever. This is against the claims of it being a cure that were made by Patanjali on June 23. “It is observed that M/s Divya Patanjali research Foundation has initiated necessary activities for the management of COVID-19 appropriately which is duly noted,” the letter stated.</p> <p>“Divya Coronil Tablet, Divya Shwasahari Vati 540 mg, and Divya Shwasahari Vati 350mg should be marketed in accordance with the scope of license issued by the State Licensing Authority, Ayurvedic and Unani services Uttarkahand, Dehradun,” it reads.</p> <p>The ministry also cautioned that the packaging or labelling of the product should not display any claims of a “cure”. It also advised appropriate advertising and asked Patajanli to follow the relevant provisions of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable advertisements), Act, 1954 and Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940. The letter also stated that the company is allowed to go-ahead with its clinical trials, as per the rules of the AYUSH ministry.</p> <p>At his press conference, Ramdev claimed that he had shared all clinical trial documents with the ministry. He, however, did not elaborate on details of the randomised placebo double-blind controlled trial conducted with Coronil. “Now there is no difference of opinion between Ayush Ministry and Patanjali,” he said.<br> </p> <p>The drug had helped control the “cytokine storm” in COVID-19 patients, he claimed. A cytokine storm refers to a situation when the immune system goes into an overdrive, and the patient's condition turns serious.<br> <br> On the controversy over Coronil licensing and clinical trials Ramdev maintained that these were two different things—Ayurvedic drug licences, and controlled clinical trials that belonged to modern medicine. All manufacturing and distribution licences for Ayurvedic medicines are granted on the basis of their reported traditional usages. Clinical studies are then conducted on those medicines, in some cases.</p> <p>“Patanjali’s Divya pharmacy had taken the licence approval for Divya Coronil Tablet and Divya Swasarivati on their traditional reported usages, and have now connected those with the modern research based clinical findings,” he said.</p> <p>While discussing sketchy details about the clinical trial, a visibly perturbed Ramdev lashed out at his critics, stating that they had been making personal attacks on him. He said that the Patanjali Research Institute, Haridwar and NIMS University, Jaipur had jointly conducted a randomised, placebo-controlled double-blinded clinical trials on COVID-19 positive patients. This trial had been approved by Institutional Ethics Committee (IEC) and duly registered at Clinical Trial Registry – India. “In this trial, 95 patients between 15-65 years, (male and female, asymptomatic, mild to moderate) participated by giving their written consent. 45 patients were treated with Patanjali medicines and rest 50 patients were given placebo formulations. The COVID-19 patient group that received Patanjali medicines showed 67 per cent recovery in three days, and 100 per cent recovery in seven days of treatments, that is, all 45 patients became COVID-19 negative. In addition, blood serum levels of C-reactive proteins (CRP), Interleukin-6 (IL-6) and TNF- alpha cytokines were also detected to be significantly lower in Patanjali medicine treated COVID-19 recovered patients, than the placebo group. This was the first and foremost clinically controlled trial of Ayurvedic medicines on COVID-19 positive patients,” he said.</p> <p>However, until the results were published in a peer-reviewed journal, experts say it would be hard to evaluate the results.</p> <p>Ramdev, however, went on to claim that they were now heading to hold multi-centric clinical trials for the same aetiology. Ramdev also claimed that Patanjali had completed in-vivo, pre-clinical research on hypertension, cardiac diseases, diabetes, arthritis, liver and skin ailments, dengue and chikungunya along with learning and memory enhancement, in various animal models.</p> <p>“We have embarked upon the detailed clinical trial based investigations of these diseases, as well,” he said.&nbsp;</p> Wed Jul 01 16:29:26 IST 2020 virus-is-not-in-the-air-goa-cm-retracts-community-transmission-claim <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Days after stating that <a title="Goa CM accepts community transmission of COVID-19 has begun in state" href="">community transmission of coronavirus</a> might have set in in Goa, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Wednesday retracted his statement.</p> <p>Sawant said the "virus is not in the air" in Goa and that health authorities can identify trajectory of infection.</p> <p>"I might have said in the past that it's a community transmission in Goa. But I enquired and was told that it was not so... the virus is not in the air," the CM said.</p> <p>Initially a green zone, the number of cases in Goa rose steadily since the first week of May. As of now, the number of cases has crossed the 1,000-mark with four deaths.</p> <p>Sawant said the infection passed on from one person to another.</p> <p>"We need to be alert. I have been time and again asking people to keep a safe distance from each other, and wear mask. We should not violate these guidelines," he said.</p> <p>Responding to a query, Sawant sought to allay concerns over a BJP MLA testing positive for coronavirus on Tuesday.</p> <p>The MLA had attended a meeting of BJP legislators called by Sawant last week.</p> <p>"Proper social distancing was maintained during the meeting," he said.</p> <p>When asked about the fourth death due to COVID-19, Sawant said the patient might have contracted the infection at the isolation ward of the Goa Medical College and Hospital, where he was admitted.</p> <p>The deceased was a 64-year-old man from Taleigao village near Panaji. He died at the ESI hospital after being tested positive for the viral infection. "Though we sanitise the isolation ward regularly, there could be a possibility that he got the infection from there," he said.&nbsp;</p> Wed Jul 01 15:37:45 IST 2020 about-46-crore-females-missing-in-india-due-to-son-preference-unfpa-report <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Nearly 4.6 crore (45.8 million) females are 'missing' in Indian demography in the year 2020, mainly due to pre and post-birth sex selection practices stemming from son preference and gender inequality, a recently released United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) report has said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>India accounts for almost one-third (32.1 per cent) of the total 142.6 million missing females in the world and is the second highest contributor. The biggest contributor is China at 72.3 million (7.2 crore) 'missing females' that is 50.7 per cent of all missing females in the world.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The UNFPA State of World Population Report, 2020, is themed 'Against My Will – Defying the practices that harm women and girls and undermine equality'.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The report has described 'missing females' as those whose numbers are reflected in sex-ratio imbalances at birth as result of gender-biased (pre-natal) sex selection, combined with excess female mortality stemming from post-natal sex-selection.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The main reasons for this situation are son preference and underlying gender inequality along with easy access to technology and global trend towards small family size, the report says.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Experts have blamed the shocking situation in India on deep-rooted patriarchy in the society coupled with a capitalist mindset that allows highly educated people including parents, doctors and technicians to engage in practices that kill girl children before or after birth.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Further the UNFPA report shows that between 2015 and 2020, India lost an average of about 3.6 lakh females to 'excess female deaths' and 5.9 lakh female children to pre-natal sex selection (missing females at birth) every year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The report also shows that as in 2012, India had the highest rate of excess female mortality at 13.5 per 1000 in the world. This excess was around 11.7 per cent of all deaths of females below five years of age indicating that one in nine such deaths was attributable to post-natal (after-birth) sex selection practices.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Social scientist and developmental feminist activist Kamla Bhasin says that the situation clearly arises out of patriarchal and capitalist mindset that is prevalent in the country. “It should be shocking but it isn't that; while 5 lakh COVID-19 deaths worldwide is causing such a furore, there is not a word from the streets to the parliaments on 460 lakh deaths of girls in the country, which is intentional,” Bhasin says.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>She says that when in 1990s a huge movement was launched on sex-selection practices and led to formulation of stringent law (Pre-conception &amp; Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1994), there was a feeling that with increase in education levels, things will change. “But look at the situation now. The more educated and more affluent are the ones who are engaging in this practice and it is simply because of the patriarchal mindset that property cannot go to the daughter and daughter is a burden. They will not think about killing their daughters, but they do not have the courage to oppose the dowry system and thus daughters continue to be a burden. In contrast, bride-price is to be paid in tribal areas and daughters are no burden at all, so the sex ratio is balanced,” she says.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As for capitalist mindset, she says, sex-selection techniques were made easily and illegally available by highly educated doctors and technicians simply for the lure of big money. At present, mobile sex-determination labs operate blatantly in rural areas too.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The social scientist adds that the 'Beti Bachao' slogan and campaign of the central government is the most shameful because it suggests that daughters are to be 'saved' not from China or Pakistan but from their own parents.&nbsp;</p> Wed Jul 01 19:43:11 IST 2020 israeli-smart-bombs-french-stealth-cruise-missiles-to-boost-iaf-strike-prowess <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>As the standoff with China at the Ladakh border continues, the Indian government is making emergency purchases of weapon systems for the three armed services.</p> <p>On Tuesday, news agency <i>ANI</i> reported that the Indian Air Force was planning to acquire "more Spice-2000 bombs" from Israel for the purposes of destroying bunkers and buildings.</p> <p>The SPICE-2000 made headlines last February when it was revealed that Indian Air Force Mirage 2000 fighters had used these weapons to bomb the <a title="IAF air strikes: Did India take the Israeli 'SPICE bomb' route?" href="">terror camp in Balakot</a>.</p> <p>In the strictest sense, the SPICE-2000 is not a bomb in itself. The SPICE-2000 is from a family of munitions. SPICE, which stands for Smart, Precise Impact and Cost-Effective, is a guidance and manoeuvring kit manufactured by Israel's Rafael. The SPICE kit adds a sophisticated guidance system—consisting of inertial navigation, satellite guidance and electro-optical sensors for pinpoint accuracy—and control fins to a conventional unguided bomb. The SPICE turns a conventional 'gravity' bomb into a sophisticated, long-range guided weapon.</p> <p>The SPICE-1000 kit, which is available for 500kg bombs, has a glide range of nearly 100km, while the SPICE-2000 (meant for 1,000kg bombs) has a glide range of around 60km. While laser-guided bombs are less expensive than the SPICE and are as accurate, cloud cover and adverse weather tend to degrade their performance; furthermore, laser-guided bombs typically have a range of around 15km.</p> <p>Their long range makes the SPICE family of smart bombs suited for hitting targets in protected air space. China operates a variety of potent air defence systems, including the Russian S-300 and the newer S-400 as well as indigenous platforms.</p> <p>Soon after the Balakot attack last year, <i>PTI</i> reported that the Indian Air Force was "in the process of equipping the Su-30MKI with Israeli SPICE-2000 bombs, to make the fighter jets more potent". The Su-30MKI is numerically and technologically the most important fighter in Indian Air Force service, with around 250 aircraft in operation. With a maximum takeoff weight of over 35 tonnes, twice that of the Mirage-2000, a single Su-30MKI could carry at least three SPICE-2000 bombs, giving it massive operational flexibility.</p> <p><b>Scalp power</b></p> <p>More SPICE munitions are not the only weapons that will strengthen the Indian Air Force's ground-attack capability. Earlier this week, <i>The Print</i> had reported that France had shipped to India <a title="Why IAF is counting on 1 missile on the Rafale fighter to counter China" href="">Meteor air-to-air missiles</a> and Scalp cruise missiles, both of which will arm the Rafale fighter jets destined for the Indian Air Force. The Scalp is an air-launched cruise missile manufactured by European defence consortium MBDA. The Scalp, which is designed in France, weighs around 1,300kg. According to MBDA, the Scalp has a stated range of 250km, though media reports claim the weapon can go twice that distance.</p> <p>Like the SPICE-2000, the Scalp uses a range of guidance options—GPS, inertial navigation, infra-red seeker and terrain reference. The Scalp also has a design that emphasises 'low observability' (stealth) by reducing exposure of its air intakes and flies at very low level to avoid radar detection. The Scalp has been advertised as being capable of destroying "high-value" fixed targets such as air defence command-and-control centres and bunkers.</p> <p>The Scalp missile and its British derivative, the Storm Shadow, have been used in multiple conflicts in the past two decades, including the invasion of Iraq and air strikes over Libya and Syria. In addition to the air forces of France and the UK, the Scalp missile and Storm Shadow have been exported to Greece, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, among others.</p> <p>The Rafale can carry two Scalp missiles, along with three large fuel tanks, in a long-range attack configuration. Along with the air-launched Brahmos missile, the Scalp will be the first 'deep strike' missile of the Indian Air Force. However, in its current configuration, the Brahmos is too heavy and a single Su-30 MKI can only carry one missile.</p> <p>The addition of more SPICE munitions and arrival of the Scalp cruise missiles is crucial for the Indian Air Force, given the relentless growth of China's fighter fleet and also its development of air-launched cruise missiles. China's fleet of H-6 bombers are being equipped with missiles like the CJ-20, which is estimated to have a range of over 1,000km.</p> Wed Jul 01 13:36:19 IST 2020 indian-chinese-armies-identify-expeditious-and-phased-de-escalation-as-priority-sources <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Indian and Chinese armies have emphasised the need for an "expeditious, phased and step wise" de-escalation as a "priority" to end the seven-week bitter standoff in eastern Ladakh, during a nearly 12-hour corps commander-level meeting on Tuesday, government sources said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This, the sources said, is in sync with the agreement between External Affairs Ministers S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in their telephonic talks on June 17 that the overall situation would be handled in a responsible manner.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>They said the process of disengagement along the Line of Actual Control(LAC) is "complex", and in such a context, speculative and unsubstantiated reports need to be avoided.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The sources said the discussions reflected the commitment of the two sides to reduce tensions along the LAC and more meetings are expected, both at military and diplomatic levels, to arrive at a "mutually agreeable solution".</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>At Tuesday's dialogue, the two sides also resolved to sincerely implement the disengagement understanding reached in the first corps commander-level talks on June 6, they said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The talks took place on the Indian side of the LAC in Chushul sector in eastern Ladakh. The meeting began at 11 AM and continued for nearly 12 hours, the sources said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Indian delegation at the meeting was headed by 14 Corps Commander Lt Gen Harinder Singh while the Chinese side was led by the Commander of the Tibet Military District Major General Liu Lin.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"Both sides have emphasised the need for an expeditious, phased and step wise de-escalation as a priority," said a source.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It was the third senior military commander level engagement to discuss issues related to disengagement at the faceoff sites along the LAC and de-escalation from the border areas.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"The meeting on Tuesday was long and held in a businesslike manner keeping in view the COVID-19 protocols. The discussions reflected the commitment of both sides to reduce the tensions along the LAC," the source said.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It further said: "More meetings are expected both at the military and at the diplomatic level, in future, to arrive at mutually agreeable solution and to ensure peace and tranquility along the LAC as per bilateral agreements and protocols."&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the previous two rounds of talks, the Indian side demanded immediate withdrawal of Chinese troops from various areas in the region.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Indian and Chinese armies are locked in a bitter standoff in multiple locations in eastern Ladakh for the last seven weeks, and the tension escalated manifold after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a violent clash in Galwan Valley on June 15. The Chinese side also suffered casualties but it is yet to give out the details.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the talks on June 22, the two sides arrived at a "mutual consensus" to "disengage" from all the friction points in eastern Ladakh.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Following the Galwan Valley incident, the government has given the armed forces "full freedom" to give a "befitting" response to any Chinese misadventure along the LAC, the 3,500-km de-facto border.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Army has sent thousands of additional troops to forward locations along the border in the last two weeks. The IAF has also moved air defence systems as well as a sizeable number of its frontline combat jets and attack helicopters to several key air bases.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The first round of the Lt General talks were held on June 6 during which both sides finalised an agreement to disengage gradually from all the standoff points beginning with Galwan Valley.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However, the situation deteriorated following the Galwan Valley clashes as the two sides significantly bolstered their deployments in most areas along the LAC.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The situation in eastern Ladakh deteriorated after around 250 Chinese and Indian soldiers were engaged in a violent face-off on May 5 and 6. The incident in Pangong Tso was followed by a similar incident in north Sikkim on May 9.</p> Wed Jul 01 17:36:43 IST 2020 pil-for-display-of-country-of-origin-products-sold-e-commerce-sites-hc-seeks-centre-stand <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought response of the Centre on a plea seeking directions to it to ensure that the name of the manufacturing country is displayed on products being sold on e-commerce sites.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan issued notice to the Centre and e-commerce platforms Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal seeking their stand on the plea by July 22.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p> The Central government's standing counsel Ajay Digpaul accepted notice on behalf of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p> The plea by a lawyer has sought implementation of the Legal Metrology Act 2009 and the rules framed under it which mandate that country of origin has to be displayed on products being sold on e-commerce websites.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p> The petition has claimed that the mandate was not being enforced with respect to e-commerce entities.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p> It has contended that enforcement of the mandate was important in the current scenario when citizens intend to comply with the central government's appeal to promote and purchase Indian goods and not from some neighbouring countries.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p> Therefore, it was essential that the country of origin is displayed on products being sold on e-commerce platforms, the petition has said.&nbsp;</p> Wed Jul 01 12:52:04 IST 2020 rahul-gandhi-discusses-covid-19-with-indian-nurses-from-across-the-globe <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday hosted a conversation with Indian nurses from around the world on the Covid-19 crisis on account of National Doctors Day. The conversation revolved around the Covid-19 situation around the world and how the nurses’ experience can help in tackling the disease.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Four nurses—Anu Ragnat (New Zealand), Narendra Singh (Australia), Sherlylmol Puravady (the UK) and Vipin Krishnan (AIIMS, New Delhi)—shared their insights and experiences with the Congress leader. “When this Covid-19 started, we initially thought this is a simple flu. We thought this flu is killing more people than Covid. We didn’t take it seriously. When it started rolling over, and we saw news in Italy that the death toll was rising higher and higher, then we thought that this is not a flu, that this is serious,” said Singh, who belongs from Sikar in Rajasthan.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Another Indian-orign nurse, Ragnat, who works in New Zealand said the tough policies adopted by prime minister Jacinda Arden helped flattened the curve. “Going hard and going early was the motto by Prime Minister Jacinda Arden. That really flattened the curve in New Zealand,” said Ragnat.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Krishnan, the AIIMS nurse who belongs from Kerala, apprised Gandhi about the COVID situation in the country, especially in Delhi. &quot;On May 27, the infection rate in Delhi was 13.7 per cent and we were doing 7,000 tests per day. By June 12-13, our infection rate had crossed 30 per cent and we are doing under 5,000 tests per day. This is surprising given that our deaths and infection rates are increasing, but we have reduced testing,&quot; he told Gandhi.&nbsp;Both Krishnan and his wife are under quarantine after having contracted Covid-19.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He also brought to Gandhi's attention the skewed ratio of the medical community in the country. &quot;We have 1.2 million registered allopathic doctors in India. We have around 3.7 million registered nurses in India. When we are coming to the ratio, it is 1:1500 for doctors and 1.7:1000 nurses in India. The WHO recommended ratio is 1:1000 doctors and 3:1000 nurses. We're running short in the scenario of human resources, but still we are fighting hard,&quot; he told Gandhi. &quot;Private nurses are saying that their salaries are being cut. How will they care for their families during this pandemic? In such a situation, I think the government must help them and pay their entire salaries. In this condition, it is difficult for them to survive,&quot; he added.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Prior to Wednesday's chat, Gandhi's last conversation, as part of the series, was with former US diplomat Nicholas Burns on how the coronavirus crisis was reshaping world order. It was aired on June 12. As part of his dialogues with various experts, Gandhi has spoken to leading global economists Raghuram Rajan and Abhijit Banerjee; internationally renowned epidemiologist Johann Giesceke; global public health expert Ashish Jha and Indian industrialist Rajiv Bajaj.</p> <p><br> <br> </p> Wed Jul 01 13:50:28 IST 2020 pmgkay-move-aimed-at-bihar-polls-ban-on-chinese-apps-a-gimmick-cpim-leader <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>CPI(M) Politburo member Mohammad Salim on Tuesday alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement to <a title="Modi announces extension of PMGKAY; 80 crore people to get free ration till November" href="">extend the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna</a> Yojana (PMGKAY) till November is a politically-motivated move, aimed at the upcoming Bihar Assembly elections.</p> <p>He claimed that the country has a reserve of 10 lakh crore metric tonne of food grains, which is three times that of the required buffer stock.</p> <p>"But, since the Bihar elections are near, the prime minister has announced the free ration programme till Chatth Puja," Salim said, demanding that the Centre provide free food grains to all till December amid the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> <p>Under the scheme, five kg of wheat or rice and one kg of pulses per month will be given free of cost to the poor.</p> <p>The food programme announced by Modi is nothing new, but was introduced a year back, Salim said. "It is old wine in a new bottle."</p> <p>Salim also said the Central government is trying to shore up its financial reserves by continuously raising fuel prices, putting the masses in great distress owing to increasing cost of essential items.</p> <p>He added that the Centre's decision to ban 59 Chinese apps is a "gimmick".</p> <p>"When people are calling for safeguarding the map of the country, the government is engaged in banning apps," Salim said.</p> Wed Jul 01 10:34:50 IST 2020 appraisal-row-mamatas-move-to-bring-bdos-sdos-under-govt-control-draws-flak <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar expressed displeasure over the recent decision of Mamata Banerjee government to revise the annual confidential report (ACR) of West Bengal civil service executive officers—additional district magistrates, sub-divisional officers and block development officers—to bring them under the direct control of the chief minister instead of the chief secretary.</p> <p>In an exclusive interaction with THE WEEK, Dhankhar said the decision has led to politicisation of bureaucracy in the state. “On June 26, the chief minister took an unprecedented step to tighten political caging of lower bureaucracy. It has revised the format of the annual confidential report (ACR) of West Bengal civil service executive officers such as additional district magistrates, sub-divisional officers and block development officers to bring them under the direct control of the chief minister,” he said.</p> <p>He claimed that such a move is aimed at politicising the relief works (COVID-19 and cyclone) being carried out and making the officers subservient to the party.</p> <p>Dhankhar said appraisals of bureaucrats should not be done by the political representatives, even if it is the chief minister. Instead, the chief secretary and other senior-most officials in the state bureaucracy should be doing it, like other states.</p> <p>The governor claimed that with this move, politicisation of administration in the state is complete. He said during the last assembly election, the state witnessed a section of officers acting at the behest of the ruling party.</p> <p>It is to be noted that the politicisation of bureaucracy did not begin during the tenure of Mamata Banerjee. During the last leg of the left rule, the then government changed the ACR rules for the senior IAS officers and principal secretary. Former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee began doing their appraisals instead of the chief secretary.</p> <p>The chief secretary continued doing the appraisals of the lower ranking officers, as recommended by the district magistrates. In 2013, with a special order, Mamata Banerjee took away that power of the chief secretary and brought the appraisals of</p> <p>DM, SP and other IAS and IPS officers under her control. With the June 26 move, appraisals of all civil servants are now done directly by the chief minister.</p> <p>According to senior officials, when the left government took the decision, IAS officers began to cosy up to the political bosses and even CPI(M) leaders. Besides, the control of senior officials over their juniors began to loosen and corruption began to increasingly plague bureaucracy.</p> <p>With Banerjee’s decision, as the governor has rightly pointed out, political leaders will now begin to have more control over the bureaucracy as even the lower ranks officers, who implement government orders at the ground level, will become political tools for the ruling party.</p> <p>“This has ruined the Bengal, if you ask me. Bengal has become more violent and politically disturbed,” said a former IAS officer, who retired recently.</p> <p>“The chief minister has unleashed a mechanism where extra-constitutional authority is in the virtual seat of governance today,” Dhankhar said, and added that there have been rumors of a scam in the purchase of COVID-19 equipment with bureaucratic involvement.</p> <p>“Such a decision of politicisation of state bureaucracy has stunned me. It is unfortunate that the government takes decisions for party workers and not for the public,” the governor said, and added that such a move will give rise to authoritarianism.</p> <p>“This is not there in any other state. Such kind of authoritarianism is at its peak in Bengal,” said Dhankhar.</p> <p>No senior officers of Bengal wanted to comment on the issue when THE WEEK reached out to them.</p> Wed Jul 01 17:14:29 IST 2020 madhya-pradesh-5504-positive-cases-222-deaths-recorded-unlock-1 <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Madhya Pradesh has recorded 5,504 new COVID-19 positive cases during the month of June or the period of 'Unlock 1', which is 40 per cent of all the cases reported till now in the state.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>During the month, 222 deaths due to the infectious diseases have also been reported. These deaths are 38.8 per cent of all total deaths due to COVID-19 in the state. The positive tally in the state as on June 30 is at 13,593, while the death toll is at 572, the state health department has said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>During the 'Unlock 1' period, Madhya Pradesh allowed a restart to all economic activities and also opened up religious places and places of worship. Only large social, political, religious or any other gatherings and recreational and entertainment places are now closed.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This period therefore saw a significantly higher number of cases compared to the lockdown period, when in the duration of 71 days till May 31, the state had reported 8089 cases and 350 deaths.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Due to continuing higher figures of deaths, the fatality rate of the state continues to be around 4.2 per cent at present, compared to 4.3 per cent at the end of lockdown period, which is third highest in the country. However, the recovery rate has increased significantly over the last month and now stands at 76.4 per cent (second highest in the country) compared to 59.8 per cent at the end of lockdown period (on May 31).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Bhopal surpasses Indore in positive cases in June</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Commercial hub Indore continued to be the most affected with a total of 4,709 cases and 229 deaths till now while capital Bhopal has reported 2,789 cases and 97 deaths. However during the unlock period (month of June), Bhopal recorded more positive cases at 1,322 compared to Indore at 1,223. Indore however recorded a significantly higher number of deaths during the month at 97 compared to 40 in Bhopal, a quick analysis of the available data shows.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>'Kill Corona' campaign from July 1</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Meanwhile, the state government has decided to launch a 15-day “Kill Corona Campaign” from July 1 to undertake a door-to-door survey to identify COVID-19 cases and patients of other diseases and also to spread information and awareness on prevention and treatment. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has appealed to people to cooperate with the campaign. During the campaign consultation and treatment of diseases like cold and cough, dengue, malaria and diarrhea etc will be provided, a state government statement said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In all, 11, 458 survey teams will be deployed in the whole state for the door to door survey. Non-contact thermometers, pulse oxymeters and essential protective gears will be provided to each survey team. Besides identifying suspected patients of severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) and influenza like infections (ILI), the suspected patients of malaria, dengue, chikungunya will also be identified in the survey and their entry will be uploaded on ‘Sarthak App’.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The sampling of COVID-19 suspected patients, whose entries are uploaded on Sarthak App, will be done in the area concerned and later tests will be undertaken. There is a target to take more than 3 lakh samples of the identified suspected patients across the state after the SARI/ILI survey, the government statement said.&nbsp;</p> Wed Jul 01 10:30:33 IST 2020 section-144-imposed-in-mumbai-till-july-15-amid-spike-in-covid-cases <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>With the COVID situation in Maharashtra rising at an alarming rate, the Mumbai Deputy Commissioner of Police Pranaya Ashok on Wednesday imposed Section 144 in the entire city with immediate effect to contain the pandemic. The order prohibits any presence or movement of one or more persons in public places or gathering of any sort anywhere, including religious places subject to certain conditions, ANI reported. The prohibitory order will be effective till 15th July 2020, unless withdrawn earlier.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“There is a likelihood of spread of the Covid-19 virus through gathering of persons in public or private places and there is grave danger to human life, health or safety. There are sufficient reasons for passing prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to ensure that there is no danger to human life,” the order said. All movement of one or more persons in the areas designated as "containment zones" by the municipal authorities is prohibited, except for essential services and supplies.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Further details are awaited.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Maharashtra's coronavirus case tally rose to 1,74,761 on Tuesday with addition of 4,878 new patients, while the death toll mounted by 245, including 57 fatalities in Mumbai, to 7,855, state health department said.</p> <p><br> <br> </p> Wed Jul 01 14:47:04 IST 2020 6-killed-17-injured-in-boiler-blast-at-neyveli-themal-plant <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>At least six people have been killed and 17 injured in an explosion on Wednesday at the Neyveli Lignite Corporation thermal power plant in Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu.</p> <p>News agency <i>ANI</i> attributed the casualty figures to Sree Abhinav, the Cuddalore superintendent of Police.</p> <p>The blast at the Neyveli Lignite plant happened on Wednesday morning. The mishap occurred at the fifth unit of the thermal power station-II (210 MW x 7) when workers were in the process of resuming operations in the morning. R. Vikraman, a plant official, told <i>NDTV </i>that 10 of the injured were contractual employees of Neyveli Lignite Corporation.</p> <p>"Two men died on the spot. Some workers are feared trapped and 16 others have sustained injuries," an official told <i>PTI </i>soon after the incident.</p> <p>Union Home Minister Amit Shah expressed grief over the incident at Neyveli and promised all help to the Tamil Nadu government. Shah tweeted, "Anguished to learn about the loss of lives due to a blast at Neyveli power plant boiler in Tamil Nadu. Have spoken to @CMOTamilNadu and assured all possible help. @CISFHQrs is already on the spot to assist the relief work."</p> <p>This is the second boiler accident in Neyveli Lignite Corporation in two months. In May, eight workers were injured in a boiler blast at the plant.</p> Wed Jul 01 14:26:25 IST 2020 delhi-scales-up-covid-tests-situation-improving-as-positivity-rate-dips <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>More than 1.3 lakh COVID-19 tests have been conducted in the national capital over the last seven days, and a silver lining has emerged from the scaling up of tests, with the positivity rate, which was around 30 per cent in the beginning of June, dropping to around 13 per cent. A major ramping up of testing has been undertaken in Delhi since the middle of June, and in the week from June 24 to June 30 a total of 1,30,104 tests were conducted at an average of around 19,000 tests a day.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Even as the number of samples tested has gone up from around 5,000 in the beginning of June to around 19,000-20,000 per day now, the number of positive cases has shown a declining trend over the last one week. As a result, the positivity rate of the viral infection, which is the number of cases testing positive hundred samples tested, has gone down. On June 24, the positivity rate was 19.87 per cent. On June 23, when Delhi witnessed the highest ever single day rise in the number of cases at 3,947, the positivity rate was 23.28 per cent. On June 30, the positivity rate dipped to 12.80 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The number of samples testing positive has been on a decline over the past one week. On June 24, 3,788 people had tested positive, while the total number of tests conducted was 19,059. On June 29, the number of positive samples stood at 2084, while on June 30, 2199 samples tested positive at about 19,000 tests per day.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to the Delhi government's health department, a major proportion of the tests have been carried out using the rapid antigen technology, cheaper and provides test results within 15 minutes compared to the RT-PCR testing that is considered the gold standard for COVID-19 test, but which takes several hour hours to provide the result.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On June 30, while 9,585 tests were conducted using RT-PCR, 7,594 tests were carried out using rapid antigen testing kits. On June 29, the numbers were 9,619 and 6,538 respectively for the samples tested using the two testing methods.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Delhi government has ramped up testing using rapid antigen kits. Initially, 193 centres were put up to carry out rapid antigen tests, and they focused on people living in containment zones. Hospitals and laboratories have now been asked to scale up the number of tests by using the rapid antigen testing method. More rapid antigen testing centres are being set up at the district level.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However, according to a health department official, while the rapid antigen tests are reliable when it comes to samples that test positive using the method, for people who test negative, a re-test is required through the more rigorous RT-PCR testing method.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Close to a lakh people have been tested since June 18 using rapid antigen tests. With around 8,000 people testing positive, the positivity rate in the rapid antigen tests is 7.46 per cent.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Wed Jul 01 14:10:46 IST 2020 gujarat-eases-lockdown-rules-but-covid-19-cases-still-on-the-rise <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>From Wednesday, restaurants in Gujarat will remain open till 9 pm and shops and business establishments till 8 pm as per the 'Unlock 2' guidelines announced by the state government, even as the number of COVID-19 cases has risen to 32,643 and deaths to 1,848.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Taking the guidelines of 'Unlock 2' announced by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs as a base, the Gujarat government on Tuesday said that movie theaters, gymnasiums and swimming pools will continue to remain shut.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Stadiums will remain open. However, spectators won't be allowed. Albeit there will not be any restrictions to telecast the event. Religious and social gatherings won't be allowed. However, places of religious worship will remain open.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Only essential commodities will be allowed to be sold in containment and micro-containment zones.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While Gujarat opens up for more hours in 'Unlock 2', the rising number of cases does remain a challenge. In 24 hours ending at 5 pm on Tuesday, the state recorded 620 cases, taking the total number of cases to 32,643. In the time period, 20 persons lost lives to COVID-19.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Out of the 620 new cases, more than 180 are from Surat, the diamond capital of the state.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Though the diamond industries have been functioning with revised guidelines for about a week now, the number of cases have remained unabated.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Surat Municipal Commissioner Banchhanidhi Pani told THE WEEK that the authorities have closed down some of the units where cases have been detected. Containment and micro containment zones have been announced in Katargam and Varachha areas where there are more number of diamond industries.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He said that the authorities have stepped up imposing fine on people who do not wear masks.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Pani also said that they have been giving immunity boosters in form of “ukalas” to the people. More than 16 lakh people are believed to have taken the benefit.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Tue Jun 30 22:41:17 IST 2020 much-ado-about-nothing-congress-takes-a-dig-at-pm-modis-address <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of doing headline management, the Congress on Tuesday said his address to the nation was "much ado about nothing" as he belied expectations and skipped any mention of the border standoff with China.</p> <p>Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said Modi did not look the "enemy" in the eye, which was expected of him after a bloody standoff with China in Ladakh on June 15.</p> <p>"Our biggest expectation was that the PM will gather the courage and the will to look at China in the eye and reply to the enemy. Take the enemy head-on and make a very strong statement against what China is doing. But the PM once again shied away," she said.</p> <p>The Congress has been demanding the prime minister to name China as "aggressor" and send a strong message to it after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in clash with Chinese troops. On Monday, the government banned 59 mobile applications with Chinese links, including TikTok and UC Browser, saying they were prejudicial to sovereignty, integrity and security of the country.</p> <p>During his 16-minute televised address on Tuesday, Modi cautioned people against laxity in following government guidelines and taking precautions against the coronavirus. He said India was comparatively better positioned vis-a-vis many other countries because of "timely imposition" of a nationwide lockdown and other decisions of his government.</p> <p>He also announced extension of a central government scheme to provide free ration to over 80 crore people, hit by the pandemic, until November.</p> <p>Shrinate said many had hoped the prime minister would talk about substantive steps to contain the pandemic and putting the economy back on track, but he did not.</p> <p>She said the prime minister only talked about the extension of an existing scheme, which could have been done by issuing a simple notification.</p> <p>"Neither did the prime minister talk about job losses and wage cuts," she said, "nor did he announce the much needed relief to migrant labourers and the poor."</p> <p>Urging Modi to ensure a cash transfer of Rs 7,500 to the poor, the Congress spokesperson said he should keep "raj dharma" and national interest in mind in doing so.</p> <p>The prime minister said everything was well but the truth is "far from that" as India is among the top four nations as far as COVID-19 cases are concerned.</p> <p>India's COVID-19 tally climbed to 5,66,840 on Tuesday with nearly 66 per cent cases reported in June alone. For seven days, the country has been reporting more than 15,000 cases and experts say the pandemic has yet to reach its peak.</p> <p>"There was massive euphoria and build up. At the end of it, the prime minister's address was 'much ado about nothing. We had great expectations from the prime minister. once again he belied our expectations," she said at a virtual press conference.</p> <p>The congress leader said it seems the top priority of the PM is the Bihar elections.</p> <p>"The hype and build up was all aimed at headline management," she said.</p> Tue Jun 30 21:36:28 IST 2020 tn-minister-anbalagans-second-covid-19-test-comes-out-positive <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Twelve days after Tamil Nadu Higher Education Minister K.P. Anbalagan was admitted to a private hospital in Chennai for suspected novel coronavirus infection, his second sample has come out positive for COVID-19, a statement put out by the hospital on Tuesday said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Madras Institute of Orthopaedics and Traumatology (MIOT) International Hospital in Chennai said that the minister had mild symptoms and that his vital parameters are normal. “Initially he showed no symptoms and his CT scan was normal, but still as a precautionary measure he was kept under observation. Subsequently, his second sample tested positive for Covid-19. He developed mild cough yesterday and is being treated for the same. He is at present very stable and all vital parameters are normal,” the statement said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On June 17, Anbalagan went to MIOT hospital to get tested for SARS-C0V-2. According to highly placed sources in the state secretariat, he took a CT scan which came out clear, but he tested positive. He was categorised under mild infection, and treatment began, according to sources. Incidentally, Anbalagan is part of the ministerial COVID-19 control team, which oversees coordination and relief work in Chennai city corporation limits. He is one of the six ministers, who handles Adyar, Perungudi and Sholinganallur areas in Chennai. The minister had attended a review meeting on June 17, along with his cabinet colleagues and other officials at Rippon Building, the corporation headquarters in Chennai.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A day after he was admitted, Union Minister of State For Human Resource Development Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' tweeted saying, “just got to know that minister KP Anbalagan has tested positive for Covid 19! Sincerely wish and pray to the god almighty for his speedy recovery. Hoping he gets healthy and well soon.” However, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, during a press meet, denied that the minister was infected, saying, “he himself has denied it”.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Tuesday’s medical bulletin from the MIOT hospital, said that his second test returned positive, but does not confirm whether his first test was positive. According to sources in the secretariat, Anbalagan and four of his staff members tested positive for COVID-19 on June 19. Sources also say that the minister underwent a major surgery, a few years ago and has comorbidities.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam’s brother, O. Raja, has been tested positive and is being treated at a private hospital in Madurai. It is said Raja contracted the virus from his driver.</p> Tue Jun 30 22:33:25 IST 2020 cabinet-expansion-not-on-july-1-says-shivraj-as-ministerial-selection-hangs-fire <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Internal tussle seems to have got the better of the BJP as far as cabinet expansion in Madhya Pradesh is concerned with Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan returning to Bhopal from New Delhi on Tuesday morning without getting a nod on the proposed names of ministers, according to sources.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Later in the evening, Chouhan also ruled out an expansion plan for July 1, thus confirming that the process has been deferred as of now. In short replies to media queries, Chouhan said that the expansion wasn't proposed for July 1 and will happen after that.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There were strong speculations that the cabinet expansion would happen on June 30 when the CM left for New Delhi on June 28 evening for the first time since he assumed office in March.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The main point of contention that is holding up the cabinet expansion is said to be the fact that Chouhan wants his trusted lieutenants to be included in the cabinet, but the central leadership is intent on giving place to fresh faces. The number of berths available for BJP original cadre has been significantly curtailed as around 10-12 Scindia supporters and others who left the Congress with them are to be included in the cabinet. As of now, the cabinet is proposed to be of maximum 29 to 30 members and five ministers are already in place. This leaves only about 24-25 berths to be distributed among the numerous aspirants.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>After prolonged discussions at state level, Chouhan had left for Delhi on June 28 with state BJP president Vishnu Dutt Sharma and organising general secretary Suhas Bhagat with a list of proposed names of ministers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However, despite repeated consultations with Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP national president J.P. Nadda, Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar, BJP national organising general secretary B.L. Santosh, and meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Rajya Sabha member Jyotiraditya Scindia, approval to the list did not come, sources said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The central leadership is said to have made it clear to the CM that new faces should be inducted in the cabinet and those who have been ministers more than two times should preferably be left out, sources added. Consequently, objections have been raised on Shivraj's trusted aides like Bhupendra Singh, Rajendra Shukla, Rampal Singh, Vijay Shah, Gaurishankar Bisen and Karan Singh Verma.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The central leaders have alternatively suggested MLAs like Rameshwar Sharma or Vishnu Khatri from Bhopal, Ramesh Mendola, Usha Thakur or Malini Gaud from Indore, Arvind Bhadoria from Gwalior and so on.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Though some sources also indicated that Scindia also wanted a larger share in the pie, this is almost ruled out as already there are talks of ex-Congress MLAs getting about 10-12 berths including the two who are already ministers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>After returning to Bhopal on Tuesday, Chouhan held fresh discussions with state BJP president and organising general secretary with a view to reach consensus on the names. This, however, led to the deferment of the proposed expansion as of now.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Meanwhile, Anandi Ben Patel, who has been made in-charge governor of Madhya Pradesh, is scheduled to arrive in Bhopal on Wednesday afternoon and will be administered oath by the chief justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court at 4.30 pm, sources said.</p> Tue Jun 30 21:29:28 IST 2020 militants-attack-crpf-checkpoint-at-sopore-jawan-civilian-killed <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>One CRPF jawan was killed and two were injured after militants attacked a CRPF checkpoint at Sopore in Baramulla on Wednesday morning.</p> <p>The attack took place at Reban. Three militants fired indiscriminately at the CRPF men guarding the checkpoint.</p> <p>CRPF PRO Junaid Khan told THE WEEK that the attack took place when the CRPF was carrying out daily deployment of forces in the area.</p> <p>“One CRPF man has been martyred and two were injured in the attack,'' Khan said.</p> <p>Reports from Sopore said three CRPF men were critically injured. A civilian standing near the checkpoint was also killed in the attack.</p> <p>The area has been cordoned off and more troops have arrived on the scene.</p> <p>Militants, especially, <a title="Kashmir faces new threat in form of TRF: A new group or Lashkar in disguise" href="">The Resistance Front (TRF)</a>—which the security forces believe is Lashkar-e-Taiba in disguise—have been active in Baramulla and Kupwara districts.</p> <p>The group has carried out several fatal attacks on security forces in which 13 security personnel have died since April.</p> <p>Since January, the security forces have killed 128 militants, most of them in south Kashmir. The security forces are now planning to focus attention on militants in north Kashmir where many foreign militants are present.</p> Wed Jul 01 09:42:56 IST 2020 has-tamil-nadu-cm-palanisami-lost-control-over-his-own-home-department <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>In October 2012, as the then Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa addressed a gathering after laying the foundation stone for the construction of housing units for police personnel in Kancheepuram district, she was all praise for the home department. “The administration of law and order squarely depends on the leadership qualities of the person ruling the state. The ruler’s leadership qualities influence police performance,” she said. Eight years down the line, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami’s qualities, and his claims to rule the state “the Amma way” or in the “name of Amma”, seem to have failed to influence the police performance. The handling the Sathankulam father-son death case has clearly exposed the malady of the ruling dispensation under Palaniswami, who is also the minister for home department.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On June 24, as entire Sathankulam went on a protest mode, demanding justice for Jayaraj, 58, and his son Bennicks, 31, both killed in a brutal custodial torture, the chief minister was in Coimbatore, reviewing coronavirus relief work in the city. “The father died of respiratory illness and the son died of heart attack.” Three days later, on June 28, he said “the case will be transferred to the CBI”. Apparently, the chief minister was well informed that the case has been taken up suo moto by the Madurai Bench of Madras High court; Kovilpatti Judicial Magistrate Bharathidasan was appointed to investigate into the police excess on the night of June 19. From day one, even as he is in charge of the home portfolio which handles law and order in the state, Palaniswami seemed to have been groping in the dark. At the first instance, after Sathankulam went into a protest mode, the two police officers alleged to have been involved in the case were shifted to the Armed Reserves. Subsequently, two sub inspectors—Raghu Ganesh and Balakrishnan—were placed under suspension. The SHO-inspector of police was also suspended.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Incidentally, Thoothukudi ASP D. Kumar and DSP C. Prathapan have also been transferred. While Kumar has been transferred and posted as ASP, Enforcement and Prohibition wing in the Nilgiris, Prathapan has been posted as DSP, anti-land grabbing cell in Pudukkottai. This transfer has been made when the matter is before the Madurai Bench and the court has initiated contempt proceedings against the officers. Moreover, the court has made Strong observations against these two officers after Magistrate Bharathidasan had submitted a report against them for non co-operation during investigation. The state home department and the chief minister who should have taken into account the proceedings in the court. A senior officer in the police department says that &quot;this shows the height of arrogance of the ruling dispensation. I don't think the CM comprehended what he had done.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The court, for the first time in the history of the state, ordered revenue officials to take control over the Sathankulam police station and protect every bit of evidence. This came as a major embarrassment for the police department and its minister Palaniswami.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The entire batch of 24 officers in the Sathankulam police station was transferred in a single order after the court’s intervention. Thoothukudi Superintendent of Police Arun Balagopalan, who was shielded by the government till June 30, was shunted out. He was replaced by Villupuram SP S. Jeyakumar, while the South Zone IG post, which was held by Shanmuga Rajeswaran, was handed over to S. Murugan IPS. Incidentally, both the officers have antecedents of accusations against them.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The appointments of Jeyakumar and Murugan have been mired in controversy. While the former was named and probed by the CBI in the gutkha scam, the latter was embroiled in a sexual harassment case against a gazetted rank woman IPS officer. The woman IPS officer had launched a complaint against him and went to court, which is still under investigation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Despite these moves to save the police personnel and the image of the government, the Madras High Court had gone a step ahead and asked the CB-CID to investigate the case till the CBI takes over. Highly placed sources in the police department say that the system has completely collapsed. “During any such excess, the chief minister will get an internal report from the home secretary, the DGP and the intelligence. Based on the reports, after discussion with the home secretary and the DGP, the chief minister or the home minister takes his own decision. These days, there is no such coordination happening in the department. The police personnel, like in Thoothukudi case, seem to have taken law into their hands,” said a senior IG rank officer, who has worked under both Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Apparently, Palaniswami doesn’t seem to have learnt from former leader Jayalalithaa’s, or even his own, mistakes. In May 2018, when 13 people were fired upon by the police during the Thoothukudi Sterlite protests, he said that “I too saw it on TV and came to know about it.” The Sterlite protest killings case too was handed over to the CBI and a commission to probe into the killings was set up under retired judge Aruna Jagadeesan. The one-man committee under Jagadeesan is yet to make any breakthrough in the case.</p> Wed Jul 01 11:50:58 IST 2020 denied-admission-in-18-hospitals-bengaluru-man-dies-of-breathlessness <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>A 52-year-old man in Bengaluru, who was experiencing shortness of breath, died on Sunday night after being allegedly refused admission by 18 hospitals in the city, reports said. According to his family, they had also dialed up 30-32 other hospitals during the same period, but none of them agreed to accommodate him.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The patient, a resident of Nagarathpet, was experiencing high fever and breathlessness for around 36 hours, prior to his death at the doorsteps of a major hospital which had finally agreed to admit him.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The<i> Times of India</i> quoted the patient's nephew as saying that the hunt to admit his uncle went on throughout Saturday. “We fell at their feet to admit our uncle,” he told the paper, explaining how the Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital turned down their plea.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On Sunday night, the same hospital agreed to admit him after the family showed them the acknowledgment that his samples has been given for testing. However, he succumbed to his illness just before being admitted.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>His nephew said even the hospitals mentioned in the list of designated private hospitals for COVID-19 treatment had declined to admit the patient.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“You name all the reputed hospitals, we visited them. They didn’t allow us to enter the building and as soon as we said that there was a case of breathlessness. They said there is no ICU vacant or no vacant bed. We don’t want others to go through this ordeal. The government must find a solution for this,” he told <i>TOI</i>.</p> Tue Jun 30 20:13:26 IST 2020 thoothukudi-custodial-deaths-probe-team-submits-report-detailing-witness-account <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>On Sunday, as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami said the case of the custodial deaths of father-son duo in Sathakulam police station in Thoothukudi district will be transferred to the CBI, Kovilpatti judicial magistrate M.S. Bharathidasan, who was appointed by the Madurai bench of Madras High Court, was struggling to put together evidence in the case.</p> <p>The next day Tamil Nadu government issued the order to transfer the case to the CBI. On the same day, Kovilpatti judicial magistrate, in a three-page report submitted to the registrar of Madurai Bench of Madras High Court, revealed the shocking details of the deaths of Jayaraj and Bennix. His report also said how the cops at the police station were non-cooperative, except a woman constable, Revathi, who was willing to offer details of what went down on the night of June 19.</p> <p>The magistrate began the investigation on June 23, and on June 28, he visited the police station. The enquiry lasted for 15 hours. The report said the “policemen flexed their muscles” and added that his presence was not even acknowledged when he went to the police station with the court staff.</p> <p>“ADSP D. Kumar and DSP Prathapan, who were at the police station, failed to salute or acknowledge my presence. D. Kumar exhibited muscle flexing kind of body language and when asked for documents related to the case, he disrespectfully addressed the other cops and asked them to bring it,” the report said.</p> <p>The report said the woman constable, who was willing to offer information about the incidents of the night, was “was being intimidated” and was “afraid.” According to the magistrate, the woman constable was scared and asked him not to reveal her identity. “As she was giving her statement, the policemen outside the room, standing under the tree, were spying on her and intimidating her,” the magistrate said. The magistrate placed two court staff outside the room where her statement was being recorded so that she could reveal the details without being intimidated.</p> <p>Revathi revealed that Jayaraj and Bennix were beaten throughout the night and there were blood stains on the lathis of cops and on the tables in the station. She asked the magistrate to collect these evidence before her colleagues would destroy or tamper with them.</p> <p>The magistrate said the constable refused to sign when her statement was printed on paper. “Only after she was assured that she will be protected and kept safe, she agreed to sign in the paper,” he added.</p> <p>The magistrate said even after he placed the court employees outside the station to protect the eyewitness and the evidence, the police officers were vitiating the atmosphere by heckling the court officials. “They created a disruptive environment and made the process of recording statements very difficult.”</p> <p>After recording the statements, when the magistrate asked the cops to show him their lathis, they refused to do so. They initially behaved as if they did not hear his orders and handed them over only after repeated insistence. A policeman named Maharajan, passed on a disparaging comment: “you cant do anything.” He also said his lathi was in his hometown, and later claimed it was in the police quarters. “He walked around in all directions without any regard for the investigation and said he did not have a lathi at all,” the report stated.</p> <p>According to the report, another cop jumped over the wall and escaped when he was asked to produce his lathi. The magistrate said the CCTV footage of the events that unfolded in the night of June 19 has been erased. “Despite the hard disk having 1TB storage, the settings were done in such a manner that the daily files get auto-deleted. There was no data of any recording since June 19 and it was all erased.”</p> <p>Meanwhile, Justices P.N. Prakash and B. Pugalendi of the Madurai bench of Madras High Court, passed an order on June 30 saying the woman constable’s statement, where she spoke about the injuries on the father-son duo and the police lathis stained with blood, should be recorded under section 164 of CrPC by a judicial magistrate other than the Kovilaptti judicial magistrate and Sathankulam judicial magistrate.</p> <p>As she expressed fear when submitting her eyewitness account, the court said the Thoothukudi collector should ensure the safety of the head constable and her family. “She may even be granted leave from duty as we fear that there will be attempt to intimidate her and make her resile from her version given to the learned judicial magistrate no 1. Kovilpatti,” the court said in its order.&nbsp;</p> Tue Jun 30 23:02:54 IST 2020 another-terror-module-busted-in-punjab-three-klf-operatives-held <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Punjab Police nabbed three operatives of Khalistan Liberation Front (KLF) from Patiala on Sunday. This is the ninth terror module busted by the state police this year.</p> <p>The police said the trio, identified as Sukhchain Singh, Amritpal Singh, and Jaspreet Singh, had entered the state with the intention of assassinating religious leaders to disrupt communal harmony. According to the police, the arrested terrorists have been acting at the behest of Pakistani elements based in England, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.</p> <p>They had met each other through social media and were 'recruited' by Pakistan-based handlers, the police said. Amritpal Singh was the brains of the group, and preliminary investigations revealed that they planned to visit Pakistan to get the support required. One of their handlers from Saudi Arabia promised to hide them after the executions.</p> <p>An FIR has been registered against them under sections various sections of UAPA and Arms Act.</p> <p>Prior to their arrest, one of their key associates, Lovepreet Singh, a resident of Haryana, was nabbed by the Delhi Police. "Investigations are on, and we have some major leads on their foreign handlers. More youngsters could be part of the module. The trio are being interrogated", DGP Gupta told THE WEEK.</p> <p>Meanwhile, there have been reports of Haryana residents receiving pre-recorded calls from the US numbers asking them to support pro-Khalistan 'Referendum 2020'. The telephonic messages attributed to New York based pro-Khalistan group SFJ (Sikhs For Justice) urged Haryanvis to merge with Punjab and support their demand for a free nation as the state draws water from their rivers. The message further asks the Haryana government to withdraw all its offices and officials from Punjab.</p> <p>Haryana DGP Manoj Yadava said they started investigations in the matter and stringent action would be taken against the accused.</p> Tue Jun 30 19:33:15 IST 2020 bjp-says-make-in-india-but-centre-buys-from-china-rahul-gandhi <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday took a swipe at the BJP saying, the party says 'Make in India', but its government at the Centre buys from China.</p> <p>"Facts don't lie. BJP says: Make in India. BJP does: Buy from China," he said in a tweet along with a graph showing comparative volumes of imports from China during the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance's tenure and the current BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government.</p> <p>The graph shows a rise in Chinese imports under the current dispensation.</p> <p>Continuing his offensive against the government on the LAC standoff, Gandhi also asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi when and how he will throw out the Chinese army from Indian territory.</p> <p>"The entire country knows that China has snatched India's sacred land. Everyone knows that China has transgressed into Indian territory at four places in Ladakh," the Congress leader said in a video message ahead of Modi's address to the nation.</p> <p>"Narendra Modi ji, please tell the country when will you throw out China's army from India's territory and how," he said in a video message.</p> <p>"Hope the prime minister will definitely agree to these suggestions in national interest. This is true national service and patriotism," he said in a tweet in Hindi, sharing his video message.</p> <p>Gandhi has been attacking Prime Minister Modi and his government over the India-China border standoff in eastern Ladakh, that led to the death of 20 Indian soldiers in a clash between the troops of the two countries on June 15.</p> <p>Targeting the prime minister over the Chinese incursions in Ladakh, he has accused the Modi government of "surrendering" Indian territory.</p> <p>Modi, in his address at the all-party meeting earlier this month, had said no one has intruded into Indian territory and no one has occupied it.</p> <p>he former Congress president has been attacking the government on the 'Make in India' initiative, alleging that it has "failed" to yield results.</p> <p>In the video, Gandhi said COVID-19 has destroyed India's economy over the last three months and the entire country knows this.</p> <p>The biggest blow has been dealt to the poor, labourers, middle class and salaried class, he said.</p> <p>"We have given some suggestions to the government. The first is to implement an income guarantee scheme for six months, and not a year, and directly put Rs 7,500 per month in the accounts of the poor. This will lead to creation of demand and revival of the economy," he said.</p> <p>The Congress leader said the government has not heeded to this proposal. Not once but three to four times, they have refused to implement it, he said, noting that the reason they give is that there is no money.</p> <p>"I want to remind the country that the government waived of lakhs of crores of tax liabilities of the 15 richest crony capitalists and in the past three months the government has consistently increased petrol and diesel prices on 22 occasions.</p> <p>"There is no shortage of money. The government has three lakh crore rupees, with which it can implement the Nyay scheme and directly put money into the accounts of the poor," he said.</p> <p>Gandhi shared his video message on social media minutes before the prime minister's address, in which Narendra Modi announced extension of the PMGKAY, a free ration scheme, for 80 crore people across the country till end of November.&nbsp;</p> Tue Jun 30 18:45:26 IST 2020 mamata-banerjee-warns-strict-action-against-bus-owners-for-refusing-to-ply-buses <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, on Tuesday, threatened to acquire 6,000 private buses in Kolkata through imposition of National Disaster Management Act if the owners continue to refuse to operate the buses.</p> <p>Commuters in Kolkata and suburbs have been having a tough time in reaching their destinations with several private buses going off the roads demanding a fare hike in view of high fuel costs and restrictions on the number of passengers to mitigate COVID-19 risks. The operators' associations of private buses, which carry the bulk of passengers in the state, had said it would not be possible for them to ply their vehicles owing to the mounting losses caused by high diesel price and lesser number of passengers than in pre-coronavirus times.</p> <p>The state cabinet, which met on Tuesday, decided to take tough action to regularise the transport system in the state.</p> <p>Speaking to reporters in Kolkata, Banerjee said she expects the bus owners to fall in line. “If they cannot, we will be left with no other option but to acquire the buses by imposing the Disaster Management Act,” she said, and added that the government has the power to take such an action. She, however, noted that this would be a hard decision to make.</p> <p>Although she declared July 1, which is Doctor's Day, as state holiday as a mark of respect for doctors, nurses and others, who are working as frontline warriors in the battle against COVID-19, the CM said she will watch if the private buses hit the roads.</p> <p>The chief minister also opposed the Centre’s decision to bring cooperative banks of the country under RBI. “This is the only thing that we have in our control. The Centre should not take away that control. Our government has decided to write to the NITI Aayog chief against the decision of the government,” said Banerjee.</p> <p>She further said India needs to give a befitting reply to Chinese aggression. “I support the government stand. However, merely banning mobile apps would not bring desired results. I want hard action to be taken by the government of India. Diplomacy should continue alongside,” said Banerjee.</p> <p>Reacting to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech in which he said free ration will be provided to the poor till November, the chief minister said the decision would have no effect in the state as only sixty per cent of the people out of the nine crore get the relief. She said her government will give free ration to the poor till June next year. “I don’t know why others should not get the relief,” she said.</p> <p>(<i>With PTI inputs</i>)</p> Tue Jun 30 19:23:49 IST 2020 why-iaf-is-counting-on-1-missile-on-rafale-fighter-to-counter-china <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Multiple media agencies have reported in recent days that France has agreed to send &quot;additional&quot; Rafale jets to India even as the first couple of aircraft ordered by the Indian Air Force touch down on July 27.<i> PTI </i>reported on Monday that at least six Rafale jets will arrive in July.</p> <p><i>The Print</i> on Monday reported that consignments of weaponry for the Rafale have already begun arriving in India following a request from the Indian Air Force. <i>The Print</i> noted that &quot;These missiles include the beyond-visual range (BVR) air-to-air missile, Meteor, which has the capability to hit targets over 120 km away...&quot;</p> <p>The Meteor is a radar-guided air-to-air missile like the US-made AIM-120 AMRAAM, which was fired by Pakistani F-16s in the aerial skirmish with India in February last year. At the time, it was reported the Indian Air Force lacked an air-to-air missile that could match the AMRAAM, which is believed to have a range of around 100km.</p> <p>The common perception is that the Meteor's capability is linked to its long range, which is estimated to be well over 120km. However, this is not the only reason why the Meteor is unique. The US Navy developed an air-to-air missile called the AIM-154 'Phoenix' in the 1960s, which had a range of close to 200km. The Phoenix would become the primary armament of the iconic F-14 Tomcat fighter, the aircraft that featured in the movie <i>Top Gun</i>. However, the Phoenix missile weighed nearly 500kg, which meant it never served on any other aircraft until its retirement at the turn of the century.</p> <p>The Soviet Union and Russia developed long-range, radar-guided air-to-air missiles like the R-33 and R-37, both of which were carried on the MiG-31 Foxhound interceptor and had ranges varying from 150km to 300km. These Russian weapons, like the Phoenix, were bulky and were not carried by smaller fighters. The Phoenix, R-33 and R-37 were primarily meant to shoot down bombers and surveillance aircraft.</p> <p>The Meteor missile was developed by a consortium of six European nations: UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Sweden. The project that resulted in the Meteor missile began in the 1990s and was primarily driven by the need to counter the then new generation of highly-agile Russian fighter jets like the MiG-29 and Sukhoi Su-27. The Sukhoi Su-27 is the design from which the Indian Air Force's Su-30MKI fighter is derived. The Su-27 and Su-30 fighters were purchased from Russia by China in the 1990s and the Su-27 has also been adapted into multiple local versions such as the J-11 and J-16. According to media reports, China operates at least 500 units of the Su-27 and its local derivatives.</p> <p>The Meteor missile's USP is not its range, but its unique propulsion system. The Phoenix, R-33 and AMRAAM all have rocket engines. In such air-to-air missiles, the rocket engine delivers a uniform amount of thrust over certain duration of flight after which the motor burns out. The missile then 'coasts', or glides at high speed, to its target, which it tracks through radar. US defence website <i><a href="">The Drive</a></i> explains the longer the distance a rocket-powered missile has to travel to its target, &quot;the less energy the missile will have for its critical terminal phase of flight, and that is not a good thing&quot;. As an air-to-air missile approaches, a target aircraft will engage in steep manoeuvring and deploy countermeasures to confuse the incoming missile.</p> <p>Interestingly, Su-30MKI fighters of the Indian Air Force were able to dodge the AMRAAM missiles fired by Pakistan’s F-16s last February.</p> <p>The Meteor missile has a miniature supersonic jet engine, called a ramjet. Explaining the aerodynamic advantage of the Meteor, <i>The Drive</i> notes, &quot;Instead of burning off all its fuel right after launch, it [Meteor] can throttle its engine back during cruise, thus saving fuel. As it approaches its target it can throttle up, eventually making its terminal attack while at its highest possible energy state, around mach 4.5, even when fired over long ranges.&quot; This helps the Meteor missile engage rapidly manoeuvring targets like China's Su-30 and J-11 jets.</p> <p>MBDA, the pan-European consortium that builds the Meteor, claims the weapon has the &quot;largest no-escape zone of any air-to-air missile&quot;. No-escape zone is the zone in which an aircraft cannot rely on mere agility to evade a incoming missile. <a title="Deal for 36 Rafale jets a masterstroke, says IAF's Kargil war architect" href="">Former Indian Air Force chief A.Y. Tipnis</a> estimates the NEZ of the Meteor &quot;is thrice that of the current AIM-120 AMRAAM missile&quot;. A major advantage of the Meteor is that its relatively low weight of 190kg means a single Rafale can carry four or more missiles at a time.</p> <p>The Meteor first entered service with the Swedish Air Force's fleet of Gripen fighters in 2016 and is being adopted by France for its Rafale fleet and by nations using the Eurofighter jets. The Meteor is also integrated on the US F-35 Lightning stealth fighter. Both Russia and China have been reported to be pursuing research into air-to-air missiles powered by ramjet engines. However, there is little evidence to suggest these countries have inducted such weapons yet.</p> <p>In 2019, Chinese state-run media reported the country's air force had begun deploying a new air-to-air missile on its fleet of J-11 fighters. The weapon, <a title="Worry for IAF? Chinese media reports deployment of long-range air-to-air missile" href="">called the PL-15</a>, is estimated to have a range over 200km. The PL-15 employs a rocket motor. Military experts in China and overseas have claimed the primary role of the PL-15 may be to destroy ‘high-value’ targets such as airborne early-warning aircraft and aerial refuelling aircraft.</p> <p>In a recent research paper, retired Indian Air Force air vice marshal Arjun Subramanian estimated China could have around 1,000 <a title="‘Deal for 114 fighters critical for IAF to retain edge against China’" href="">fourth-generation fighter aircraft by 2050</a>. The majority of these are expected to be derivatives of the Su-27 fighter. Hence, the Indian Air Force would be counting on the Meteor missile to retain its tenuous edge in the event of conflict with China.<br> </p> Tue Jun 30 17:04:44 IST 2020 karnataka-video-of-bodies-of-covid-19-victims-being-dumped-triggers-outrage <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="'s-body-hand-murder-shut.jpg" /> <p>A video purportedly showing health workers burying inappropriately some bodies of COVID-19 victims in a large pit allegedly in Ballari district in Karnataka has surfaced, triggering an outrage on social media.</p> <p>A top official in the district, the native of state Health Minister B. Sriramulu, said they were inquiring into it.</p> <p>In the video, the workers wearing personal protection equipment are seen bringing bodies in black sheets from a vehicle parked nearby and dropping one after another into the large pit, dug up with the help of an earthmover.</p> <p>A man who posted the video first on YouTube claimed it happened in Ballari.</p> <p>It went viral on social media drawing widespread condemnation over the manner in which the dead were handled and people demanded stringent action.</p> <p>"In all, eight bodies were dumped in this fashion in a single pit," an eye-witness claimed.</p> <p>Ballari Deputy Commissioner of S.S. Nakul said he too has noticed the viral video in the social media.</p> <p>"We have ordered an inquiry," he told reporters in Ballari on Tuesday.</p> <p>The district reported 12 COVID-19 deaths on Monday.</p> <p>Nakul said five more people succumbed to the coronavirus on Tuesday, taking the total fatalities in the district to 29 so far.</p> <p>In a similar incident, the body of a 44-year-old COVID-19 victim was thrown into a pit in Puducherry earlier this month, triggering public outrage and a few health workers were suspended.</p> Tue Jun 30 16:37:02 IST 2020 recovery-rate-of-covid-19-patients-nearing-60-per-cent <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The recovery rate of COVID-19 patients in the country is fast approaching 60 per cent, with the Union Health Ministry attributing it to&nbsp; &nbsp;collective and focussed efforts of the Centre and states for containment and management of the pandemic.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As on date, there are 1,19,696 more recovered patients than COVID-19 active cases.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The number of active COVID-19 cases stands at 2,15,125, while 3,34,821 patients have been cured/discharged.A total of 13,099 COVID-19 patients have recovered in the last 24 hours, the ministry said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"This has resulted in the recovery rate amongst COVID-19 patients further improving to 59.07 per cent," it said on Tuesday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The number of diagnostic labs is continuously increasing and India now has 1,049&nbsp; labs dedicated to COVID-19. These include 761 labs in the government sector and 288 private labs.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>According to the ICMR, a cumulative total of 86,08,654 samples have been tested up to June 29 with 2,10,292 samples tested on Monday.&nbsp;</p> Tue Jun 30 16:36:56 IST 2020 80-crore-people-to-get-free-ration-till-november-under-pmgkay <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>In a key measure, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced that free ration being distributed to about 80 crore people in the country would be extended by another five months—till the festive season gets over in November. The scheme was originally announced on March 26, within two days of nationwide lockdown, for three months and was about to end on June 30.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The extension of five months came after assessing the ground situation arising out of the spread of coronavirus pandemic and its likely impact on the livelihoods of the poor.&nbsp; The economic activity is picking up, yet the migrants, the workers and the poor continue to bear the brunt. Moreover, during the monsoon, there will be restricted economic activities.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As the scheme has been extended till November end, it covers all the major festivals till Chhath Puja, a key festival of the Biharis, which falls on November 20. PM Modi's message will reach the&nbsp; state which is going to polls in October-November. Bihar is also one of the most affected states by the return of the migrants. The government expects that barring a few, most migrants may not return to their places of work till Chhath Puja.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“There are many activities in agriculture during and after the rainy season. Other sectors do not have much activities. July also marks beginning of the festive season. Fifth July is Guru Purnima, then the month of Saawan is starting. Then 15th August is coming; Raksha Bandhan, Sri Krishna Janmashtami,Ganesh Chaturthi and Onam will follow. Further, Kati Bihu, Navratri, Durga Puja are coming, then Dussera, Diwali and Chhath. This festive season increases necessities as well as expenditure. Keeping all these things in mind, it has been decided to extend Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana up to Diwali and Chhath Puja, till November-end,” Modi said in his brief speech.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The scheme gives free ration to 80 crore people for another five months. Every member of the family will get five kilogram of wheat or rice. Also, every family will get one kilogram whole chana per month, free of cost. Modi said over Rs 90,000 crore will be spent on the extension of PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana. “If we add expenditure of the last three months on this scheme, then it comes to around 1.5 lakh crore rupees.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Modi's address to the nation usually comes with a lot of anticipation about the message he would give. There were speculations on whether he would talk about China or COVID-19.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He started his speech reminding people that negligence was also on the rise since the lockdown was lifted as people were not following social distancing or properly wearing masks.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“We have seen that since 'Unlock-1', there has been increasing negligence in personal and social behaviour. Earlier, we were very careful with respect to wearing of masks, social distancing and washing of hands for 20 seconds. But today, when we need to be more careful, increasing negligence is a cause of worry,”&nbsp; Modi said, asking the states to strictly enforce the social distancing and mask protocol.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Those not following the rules will need to be stopped and cautioned. You must have seen in the news, the prime minister of a country was fined Rs 13,000 for not wearing a mask in public place. In India too, the local administration should work with the same enthusiasm. This is a drive to protect the lives of 130 crore countrymen. Be it a village pradhan or the prime minister, no one is above the law in India,” Modi said.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With the PM's message, the authorities are expected to step up penal provisions against those who do not use masks.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The second half of his speech was dedicated to talking about his government's pro-poor measures including free ration. “In the last three months, 20 crore poor households have received direct benefit transfers worth Rs. 31,000 crore. During this period, Rs. 18,000 crore have been deposited in bank accounts of over nine crore farmers. Simultaneously, the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan was quickly launched for employment of Shramiks in rural areas. The government is spending Rs 50,000 crore on this,” the PM said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He said that as over 80 crore people were given free ration for three months, it meant that over 2.5 times the population of the United States, 12 times the population of the United Kingdom and double the population of the European Union was given free ration by the government.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Modi credited the farmers and the honest tax payers for running of this scheme.</p> Tue Jun 30 18:12:06 IST 2020 haryana-two-cops-on-night-patrol-shot-dead-in-sonipat <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>In a shocking incident, two personnel of the Haryana Police were found shot dead in the wee hours of Tuesday in Gohana in Sonipat district. The duo was on night curfew patrol and their dead bodies were discovered lying in a pool of blood a stone’s throw from the local police post. ADGP-Rohtak Range Sandeep Khirwar and SP Jashandeep Singh Randhawa reached the spot along with a police team and investigations have started.</p> <p>According to police, the deceased have been identified as special police officer (SPO) Kaptan Singh and constable Ravinder, both hailing from Jind district. They had reportedly left on their official bike for patrolling around midnight and were found dead around 5.30am. A senior investigator revealed that the local residents heard around 15 shots being fired and the duo seemed to have been shot four to five times. Both bodies have been sent for postmortem and CCTV footage around the area is being examined.</p> <p>“We are investigating the double murder. It's a sensitive issue and we cannot divulge much detail at this point. We will nab the accused soon,” said Jashandeep Singh.</p> Tue Jun 30 11:21:18 IST 2020 modi-pledges-to-feed-the-poor-till-november-end <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The Gareeb Kalyan Anna Yojana will be extended till the end of November keeping in mind the festival season, with over Rs 90,000 crore to be allocated to feed the poor, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his address to the nation at 4pm on Tuesday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Under the Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY), 20 crore accounts have received 31,000 crore in their Jan Dhan Accounts, PM Modi said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The prime minister also said the government was working on a “one nation, one ration card” initiative. Under the scheme, five kilograms of wheat or rice and one kg of pulses per month will be given free of cost to the poor till the end of November.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>India is doing better than other countries in the fight against COVID-19 thanks to timely lockdown and other regulations, the PM added. However, since the relaxation of restrictions in ‘Unlock 1’, people have become less vigilant and cases are rising.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He said special focus should be on containment zones. He further asked people not to flout norms imposed during the lockdown.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While cautioning citizens to follow safety protocols, he reiterated the work done by the government during the pandemic.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The PM asked citizens to continue using masks and maintaining social distancing.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>India will enter ‘Unlock 2’ from July 1. The home ministry has issued guidelines, further easing the restrictions imposed during the lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A spike of over 18,500 cases has taken the COVID-19 tally in the country past 5.68 lakh, with almost 17,000 deaths reported. However, the recovery rate has further improved to 59.06 per cent. Health ministry figures reported nearly 20,000 cases in the last two days. The number of active coronavirus cases stands at 2,15,125 whereas 3,34,821 patients have recovered.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>India is currently placed fourth in the global tally behind the United States, Brazil and Russia.&nbsp;</p> Tue Jun 30 17:29:15 IST 2020 raise-tibet-issue-with-china-in-bilateral-talks-tibetan-leader-tells-india <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>India should raise the Tibet issue in bilateral talks with China and make it one of its core issues, Lobsang Sangay, the head of the Tibetan government in exile, on Monday said, amid the Sino-India standoff in eastern Ladakh. Tibet is one of the factors that there is tension between China and India, Sangay said during a webinar organised by the Foreign Correspondents Club.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Tibet always acted as a buffer zone between two of the most populous countries of the world—China and India—but after Tibet's occupation that ended, he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He said it was with the Panchsheel Treaty that China sowed the seeds of betrayal, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) president said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>India has paid a huge price after the occupation of Tibet, Sangay said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"China says Tibet is the core issue, India should say the same," he said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>"Tibet is very important for China and Tibet is equally important for India. They (China and India) have so many bilateral talks, during those talks, given all these tensions, Indian government should raise the issue of Tibet as well," Sangay said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>India should take leadership in solving the issue of Tibet, he added.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Dharamshala is home to the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama as well as the CTA, often called the Tibetan government-in-exile.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959 amid an abortive uprising against the Chinese rule in his Himalayan homeland.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Indian and Chinese armies are locked in a bitter standoff in multiple locations in eastern Ladakh for the last seven weeks, and the tension escalated manifold after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a violent clash in Galwan Valley on June 15.&nbsp;</p> Tue Jun 30 10:49:51 IST 2020 taj-hotel-in-mumbai-gets-threat-call-from-karachi-reports <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The Mumbai Police have increased security outside the iconic <a title="Taj Mahal Palace: History’s playground" href="">Taj Mahal Palace Hotel</a> after it received a threat call from Pakistan, media reports said on Tuesday morning.</p> <p>The Taj Mahal Palace was one of the four main sites of the Mumbai terror attacks of 2008, with Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists from Pakistan storming the hotel.</p> <p>According to reports, the Taj Mahal Palace received a threat call from Karachi late on Monday. The caller, reportedly, identified himself as a member of the Lashkar. The caller threatened to blow up the hotel. <i>The Mumbai Mirror</i> reported that "Police have increased the presence of its personnel around the hotel and nearby areas". <i>ANI</i> quoted the Mumbai Police as saying, "Security tightened outside Taj Hotel and nearby areas after a threat call was received yesterday from Karachi, Pakistan, to blow up the hotel with bombs."</p> <p>Some media reports also claimed that a similar call was made to another hotel of the Taj group, the Taj Land's End at Bandra.</p> <p>Both hotels are currently closed for normal operations on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> Tue Jun 30 10:46:05 IST 2020 congress-welcomes-ban-on-chinese-apps-but-flags-donations-to-pm-cares <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The Congress on Monday said the Centre should take more substantive and effective measures as it welcomed the ban on 59 Chinese applications.</p> <p>India earlier on Monday <a title="India bans 59 Chinese apps including TikTok, UC Browser" href="">banned 59 apps with Chinese links</a>, including the hugely popular TikTok and UC Browser, saying they were prejudicial to sovereignty, integrity and security of the country.</p> <p>The ban, which comes in the backdrop of the standoff along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, is also applicable for WeChat and Bigo Live.</p> <p>The list of applications that have been banned includes Helo, Likee, CamScanner, Vigo Video, Mi Video Call-Xiaomi and Clash of Kings as well as e-commerce platforms Club Factory and Shein.</p> <p>This marks the largest sweep against the Chinese technology companies in India. Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel said in the wake of an unprovoked attack by China's PLA on the Indian Army, this is a welcome decision.</p> <p>"We welcome the decision to ban Chinese apps. In light of the grave intrusion of our territory and the unprovoked attack on our armed forces by the Chinese army, we expect our government to take more substantial and effective measures," Patel said on Twitter.</p> <p>Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said, "Banning Chinese Apps is a good idea. What about receiving money in <a title="Modi govt should return all Chinese donations to PM CARES: Amarinder" href="">PM CARES</a> from Chinese Telcos and other Chinese companies? Good idea or bad."</p> <p>"In China everything eventually is owned or at least controlled by CCP+ PLA + Intel Organisations. Together, they are called DEEP STATE SIRE," he said in a tweet.</p> Tue Jun 30 10:06:33 IST 2020 bjp-talking-to-tmc-mlas-to-desert-mamata-shah-to-get-poll-office <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The West Bengal BJP unit is eyeing many Trinamool Congress leaders to switch sides. Talks are being held at different levels by senior leaders of the party, with involvement of even central leaders.</p> <p>The buzz in the political circles in Kolkata is that the list of possible ‘defectors’ includes Trinamool Congress strongman Suvendu Adhikary, presently the transport minister of the Mamata Banerjee government. Though Adhikary’s family has refuted the charge many times, his perceived inactivity—when the transport system in Kolkata is on the brink of collapse after opening up following the lockdown—was noticeable. Adhikary has been missing in action even as bus owners refused to ply buses on the streets maintaining social distance. The bus owners had demanded a steep hike in the bus fares, which Mamata Banerjee had refused to accept.</p> <p>When asked about the outreach to Trinamool leaders, Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh said he has no idea about Adhikary but added talks are going on with many TMC leaders.</p> <p>There have been a number of TMC leaders in the past that joined the BJP and received plum posts in the party. The BJP is now talking to a good number of MLAs to pave way for their coming to the saffron party.</p> <p>With about 10 months to go for the Assembly election, why is the BJP out to break the Trinamool Congress? Ghosh said it was not BJP luring politicians, but the TMC leaders who are eager to join the saffron party.</p> <p>“They are perturbed over the disrespect meted out to them by the party. We have a close watch on them. We will take clean leaders only. Not all will find easy going in the BJP,” said Ghosh.</p> <p>Sources in the BJP said that <a title="'Mamata hatching conspiracy to frame me,' says Mukul Roy after CBI grilling" href="">Mukul Roy</a> has been given charge to oversee the political ‘coup’. Roy is all set to get an office in New Town or Salt Lake in Kolkata. A state-of-the-art office for former BJP national president and Union Home Minister Amit Shah is being set up in New Town as well, as Shah would spend a good deal of time in West Bengal in the run-up to the Assembly election, for campaigning.</p> <p>“Roy has been given the total charge of the TMC leaders coming to BJP. Many leaders have put some conditions even. All are being monitored by the central leadership,” said a party source.</p> <p>What is surprising is that BJP is eyeing a couple of ministers of the ruling party.</p> <p>A party in-charge of West Bengal said, “They are helpless as they are insulted by the TMC core group who commands. They themselves established a bridge with us. We have got nothing to do with it.”</p> Tue Jun 30 16:25:31 IST 2020 thoothukudi-case-sp-24-cops-transferred-10-days-after-custodial-deaths <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>In a major development in the Thoothukudi <a title="Thoothukudi: How the police, doctors and lower judiciary failed the father-son duo" href="">custodial deaths case</a>, Murugan IPS has been posted as IG, South Zone, replacing Shanmuga Rajeswaran who retires on Tuesday. The Villupuram SP, Jayakumar, has been posted as SP, Thoothukudi, with incumbent, Arun Balagopalan, shifted out of Thoothukudi and kept on compulsory wait. However, both Murugan and Jayakumar have faced accusations in the past.</p> <p>Meanwhile, 24 police personnel of Sathankulam Police Station have been transferred to various places. The move was made in view of the observations made by the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court in the suo motu criminal contempt petition that a fair investigation is not possible till these policemen are transferred.</p> <p>P. Jeyaraj (58) and his son Bennicks (31) died as a result of injuries sustained in police custody in Sathankulam in Thoothukudi on June 19. The case has triggered political and public uproar. The state government had handed over investigation of the Thoothukudi case to the CBI.</p> <p>The transfer of the 24 personnel came after the Madras High Court took cognisance against three police officials on Monday. The Thoothukudi SP placed Additional Superintendent of Police D. Kumar and DSP C. Prathapan on compulsory wait list and Constable Maharajan was suspended for his remarks against the judicial magistrate investigating the custodial deaths.</p> <p>The court had taken cognisance of criminal contempt under section 15(1) r/w section 2(c) of Contempt of Courts Act, 1971. The action was initiated based on a report from the Kovilpatti Judicial Magistrate on Monday.</p> <p>Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court observed there was prima facie evidence to register a case against Sathankulam police. The Madras High Court also asked whether the IG or Tirunelveli CB-CID police can take up the case until CBI starts its investigation.</p> <p>Additional Advocate General Chellapandian submitted in the Madras High Court that the accused police officers intimidated the judicial magistrate, when the two victims were produced after arrest, due to stress. He informed the Madras High Court that the constable was suspended and ADSP and DSP are kept in waiting list. The Madras High Court bench told the additional advocate general to furnish copies of judicial magistrate's report to the three policemen to give them fair chance to defend themselves. It adjourned the contempt case for four weeks to grant time to the policemen to give response.</p> <p>The posting of IG South Zone and SP Thoothukudi on Tuesday clearly shows how the administration has totally collapsed under Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami. Murugan IPS is posted as IG, South Zone, and Villupuram SP Jayakumar is posted as SP, Thoothukudi. Murugan is still facing sexual harassment charges for harassing a SP-level officer and the matter is pending in Supreme Court.</p> <p>Jayakumar as DC, Central Crime Branch, was in the thick of things when Gutkha scam happened. He was intensively interrogated by CBI in the Gutkha case and charge-sheet is yet to be filed by the CBI.</p> <p>Given that dozens of officers are available in both IG and SP ranks, Palaniswami is bound to face questions for choosing these two officials amid turmoil over the Thoothukudi deaths.</p> Tue Jun 30 13:34:06 IST 2020 tamil-nadu-extends-lockdown-till-july-31 <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Tamil Nadu government has, on Monday, extended the state-wide lockdown till July 31 even as the number of COVID-19 cases in the state crossed 82,000-mark.</p> <p>The decision comes despite the recommendation by the expert committee set up to advise the state government on tackling COVID-19 that it is in favour of restrictions based on the scenario in specific regions instead of an extension on the state-wide lockdown.</p> <p>The government has withdrawn from Thursday inter-district public transport bus services, earlier allowed in most parts of the state, under the 'Unlock 1.0'. Public transport bus services had not been allowed in Chennai and three neighbouring districts.</p> <p>According to sources, complete lockdown will be in place across the state on all Sundays in the month of July.</p> <p>The state government had on May 31 announced further extension of the COVID-19 lockdown till June 30 but with more relaxations including partially opening up public transport and allowing more employees at workplace.</p> <p>Meanwhile, a single-day spike of 19,459 COVID-19 cases took India's tally to 5,48,318 on Monday, while the death toll climbed to 16,475 with 380 new fatalities. This is the sixth consecutive day that coronavirus infections have increased by more than 15,000. The country has seen a surge of 3,57,783 infections from June 1 till date.</p> <p>(<i>With PTI inputs</i>)</p> Mon Jun 29 20:44:40 IST 2020 govt-announces-guidelines-for-unlock-2-schools-colleges-to-remain-closed <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Monday issued new guidelines for 'Unlock 2' which will&nbsp; come into effect from July 1. The new guidelines are based on feedback received from states and Union territories, and extensive consultations held with related Central ministries and departments, the MHA said in a statement.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The guidelines said lockdown will continue to be implemented strictly in the containment zones till July 31. States and UT governments have been directed to demarcate these zones&nbsp; after taking into consideration the guidelines issued by the health ministry.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Outside the containment zones, all activities except metro rail, cinemas, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars, auditoriums and assembly halls will be allowed to function. Social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural and religious functions and other large congregations will not be allowed.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Schools, colleges and coaching institutions will remain closed till July 31.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The MHA said operations of domestic flights and passenger trains will be further expanded in a calibrated manner.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Relaxations in night curfew have been given for seamless operation of industrial units in multiple shifts, movement of persons and goods on national and state highways, loading and unloading of cargo and movement of persons to their destinations after disembarking from buses, trains and airplanes.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Shops depending upon their area, can have more than 5 persons at a time. However, they have to maintain adequate physical distance.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Training institutions of the Central and state governments will be allowed to function from July 15.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;International air travel of passengers has been permitted in a limited manner under the Vande Bharat mission.&nbsp; Further opening up will take place in a calibrated manner,&quot; the MHA said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon Jun 29 23:04:12 IST 2020 mp-bjp-files-complaint-against-digvijaya-singh-for-misleading-tweets <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>As the by-polls loom in Madhya Pradesh, hectic political activities are on and a lot of it is happening on or related to the social media.</p> <p>On Monday evening, the Madhya Pradesh BJP once again approached the police against former chief minister and Rajya Sabha member Digvijaya Singh, this time seeking a case to be registered against him for posting a “misleading” tweet about the MP BJP’s IT cell coordinator Shivraj Singh Dabi.</p> <p>This is the third time within a fortnight that the state unit of the saffron party approached police against Singh. In the earlier cases, FIR had been registered against Singh, but this time police is yet to register a case.</p> <p>A delegation of the MP BJP, led by vice-president Vijesh Lunawat, handed over the complaint to the Bhopal crime branch on Monday evening. A copy of the tweets by Singh has already been attached with the complaint. The complaint said FIR should be registered against the former chief minister for posting misleading tweets on Dabi that hurt their sentiments.</p> <p>In a series of tweets earlier in the day, Digvijaya Singh had posted a link of a March 2015 story by news agency <i>IANS</i> that the US investigative agency FBI had declared an Indian national called Shivraj Singh Dabi as cyber fugitive. Tweeting the news report and a photo of the BJP IT cell coordinator, Singh asked they were the same person.</p> <p>“Is he the same Shivraj Dabi who is a fugitive and on the most wanted list of FBI. Shivraj Chouhan and B.D. Sharma (state BJP president V.D. Sharma) must clarify. I believe he is extremely close to B.D. Sharma, state BJP president.” Singh tweeted.</p> <p>In another tweet, Singh said “If he is the same person, would Modi ji inform and hand over Shivraj Dabi to his bum chum in US? Modi ji will definitely score a lot of brownie points with his friend.”</p> <p>Superintendent of police of Bhopal crime branch Nishchal Jharia confirmed to THE WEEK that a complaint was received and added that the matter was being looked into and an FIR is yet to be registered.</p> <p>Earlier, on June 14, Bhopal crime branch had registered an FIR against Digvijaya Singh and 12 others for sharing a morphed video of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Twitter. Two days later, on June 17, Singh approached the crime branch seeking an FIR against Chouhan for sharing an edited video of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi last year. He had threatened to go to court if the police did not register FIR against the chief minister.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Later, on June 25, another FIR was registered against Singh and others at the MP Nagar police station for violating COVID-19 lockdown restrictions by holding a protest in Bhopal against fuel price hike.</p> Mon Jun 29 21:53:40 IST 2020 hectic-parleys-on-suspense-continues-over-madhya-pradesh-cabinet-expansion <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Suspense over expansion of the Shivraj Singh Chouhan cabinet in Madhya Pradesh continued till late Monday evening. Despite meeting all senior central leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, Chief Minister Chouhan has deferred his scheduled return to Bhopal in the night.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There were strong speculations that the five-member cabinet of Chouhan will be expanded on June 30 after discussions with central leaders. The CM was to return to Bhopal on Monday night. There were also rumours that Rajya Sabha member Jyotiraditya Scindia might accompany him back or arrive separately in Bhopal on June 30 to attend the likely oath taking ceremony as a number of his supporters are to be inducted in the cabinet.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However, things took turn differently on Monday evening in Delhi. The chief minister met the PM around 4.30 pm for half an hour at the PM House. He was expected to talk to the media after this meeting, but did not do so.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Sources said Chouhan was to hold another round of discussions with senior central leaders like Home Minister Amit Shah and national BJP president J.P. Nadda on Monday night and might come back to Bhopal on Tuesday morning.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Since Sunday evening, when he reached Delhi with state BJP president Vishnu Dutt Sharma and organizing general secretary Suhas Bhagat, the CM met Shah twice, Nadda thrice and Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar twice.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Chouhan also met Rajya Sabha member Jyotiraditya Scindia earlier in the afternoon, where Scindia handed over a cheque worth Rs 30 lakh to Chouhan as contribution to CM Relief Fund.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There were indications that the complexities regarding selection of ministerial faces had been resolved at state level and central approval stamp was likely during CM’s Delhi visit. Things, however, seemed to remain unresolved till Monday evening.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Home minister Mishra reaches Delhi</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In a sudden development, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra—a powerful leader of Gwalior-Chambal region where 16 Assembly seats are up for by-polls—reached New Delhi from Gwalior on Monday afternoon. This sudden visit fuelled speculations that some issues had cropped up about the selection of ministers. Mishra, however, did not accompany Chouhan on any of his visits.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There had also been reports that Anandi Ben Patel, the governor of Uttar Pradesh who has been given additional charge of Madhya Pradesh as MP Governor Lalji Tandon is ailing, might reach Bhopal on Monday afternoon. However this did not happen and there was no official confirmation on her proposed visit or its deferment.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Expansion hanging fire</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Cabinet expansion in Madhya Pradesh that witnessed massive political turmoil three months ago has been hanging fire ever since Shivraj Singh Chouhan took over as chief minister of the state on March 23, just ahead of the nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic. Though he inducted five ministers after almost a month on April 21, more inductions have remained pending—an issue raised time and again by the opposition Congress.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There have been constant talks about the issues surrounding the cabinet expansion and that the BJP is finding it very tough to balance between the new entrants to the party and its own leaders who are ministerial aspirants. As the number of slots available to the BJP old guard will be curtailed significantly due to inclusion of 10-12 Scindia supporters in the cabinet, the saffron party is finding it tough to find a balance, sources say. A maximum of 29 to 30 ministers are expected to be inducted at present in the cabinet, though the maximum limit is 35.</p> Mon Jun 29 20:23:17 IST 2020 two-dead-after-gas-leak-at-pharma-unit-visakhapatnam <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>In a second gas leak in Andhra Pradesh's Visakhapatnam in a matter of months, two workers were killed and four were hospitalised after an incident at a pharmaceutical unit in Parwada area, reports claimed. <i>NDTV</i> reported that the leakage of benzimidazole gas was reported at around 11:30pm. Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy is looking into the incident, and the factory has been shut as a precautionary measure.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;The situation is under control now. Two persons who died were workers and were present at the leakage site [at the time of the incident]. Gas has not spread anywhere else,&quot; ANI quoted senior police officer Uday Kumar.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The story will be updated with more details.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In May, at least six people, including a child, were killed after a major gas leak at LG Polymers in Gopalpatnam under Visakhapatnam district. <a href="">Toxic gas leaked from the multinational LG Polymers Plant at R R Venkatapuram village</a> in Andhra Pradesh's Visakhapatnam in the early hours of Thursday and quickly spread to villages in a five-kilometre radius, impacting about 1,000.<br> <br> </p> Tue Jun 30 08:55:42 IST 2020 punjab-bans-late-night-shifting-of-covid-19-ve-patients-to-isolation-centres <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Following rampant complaints of alleged misbehavior and infringement of privacy while shifting COVID-19 positive patients to isolation centres or hospitals, Punjab has barred late-night shifting of the positive patients. In a letter sent to all civil surgeons and deputy commissioners, the state director health services has ordered that no positive patient shall be shifted to an isolation facility after 8pm.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“It has been noticed once a person is declared positive for Covid19, the district teams reach the house of the patient (late night) and transfer him to an isolation facility with complete insensitivity to his rights and privacy. It is requested that all teams be sensitised not just about privacy but also dealing with empathy. Please ensure respectful transfer of eligible patients to isolation facilities to minimize hardships faced by them,” the order said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It may be noted that several patients had highlighted how they were virtually dragged out of their homes even at midnight, causing them mental and social trauma.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The district health authorities, however, claim that immediate transfer of a COVID-19 positive patient is one of the important measures to stall the further transmission of the disease. “We have no mechanism to communicate the positive status of reports coming late evening and asking the patient to isolate himself. In case we inform the patient, there is always a risk of the patient fleeing from his address and if we don't, he might infect many in just one night. Nobody is misbehaved with. It's just the patients who refuse to get isolated who make these allegations when they are made to follow the protocols,” said one of the civil surgeons, requesting anonymity.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There is already a staff shortage in several districts in the state. The new order will burden the existing staff even more, they say, as all the patients will have to be shifted in that roughly 12-hour window, thus increasing the risk of transmission.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Punjab reported 202 cases in the last 24 hours, taking the total count in the state to 5,418. Five new deaths were also reported today. Sangrur district continued to report the maximum number of cases in Punjab, with 60 fresh cases today, followed by Patiala with 45.</p> Mon Jun 29 20:11:09 IST 2020 should-you-uninstall-tiktok-what-similar-apps-to-use-the-chinese-app-ban-explained <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>India on Monday banned 59 apps with Chinese links, including the hugely popular TikTok and UC Browser, saying they were prejudicial to sovereignty, integrity and security of the country. The ban, which comes in the backdrop of the current stand-off along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh with Chinese troops, is also applicable for WeChat and Bigo Live.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Information and Technology Ministry in a statement said it has <a href="">received many complaints from various sources, including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps</a> available on Android and iOS platforms for &quot;stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users' data in an unauthorised manner to servers which have locations outside India&quot;.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“There have been raging concerns on aspects relating to data security and safeguarding the privacy of 130 crore Indians. It has been noted recently that such concerns also pose a threat to sovereignty and security of our country,” the statement said, adding that the ministry had received many complaints from various sources.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures,&quot; the statement said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Which are the apps banned?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>TikTok (which has over 200 million users in India), Likee and Vigo Video are popular short video creation platforms, while Club Factory and Shein are e-commerce platforms that were looking at expanding their presence to compete with larger rivals like Myntra.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>WeChat is a Chinese multi-purpose messaging and social media app that rivals WhatsApp.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>CamScanner, with the same functionalities as Adobe scanner, is a popular app that allows users to scan images and share them.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>SHAREit app allows users to share files between devices, while Helo is a social media platform owned by ByteDance, the parent firm of TikTok.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Alibaba's UC Browser is a mobile Internet browser that has been available in India since 2009. It claimed to have registered 1.1 billion user downloads worldwide (excluding China) in September 2019, with half of its global installs from India. It also claimed to have 130 million monthly active users in the country at that time.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The government has also banned a clutch of apps of Chinese handset maker Xiaomi, including Mi Community and Mi Video Call. Xiaomi is India's largest handset brand.<br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>What are the data security concerns mentioned above?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Intelligence reports had earlier rang the alarm bell over 53 apps &quot;extracting data to entities outside the country&quot;.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Take the case of TikTok. It has been facing scrutiny in the European Union over data concerns. <i>Bloomberg</i> reported that EU authorities were, in May, investigating the app after the data-protection commission in the Netherlands opened a probe into the company’s policies to protect children’s data, saying the app is “clearly loved” by Dutch kids. The Beijing-based company had rejected claims it is being controlled by the Chinese government, or that data privacy was an issue.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A recent report by <i>Telegraph </i>had claimed that several apps, including TikTok, were caught accessing data on the clipboard of iOS14. &quot;A security patch from Apple has suddenly exposed just how many smartphone apps are reading users' clipboards every time they are on screen,&quot; according to the publication. TikTok had responded to the report saying an updated version was already in place.&nbsp;&quot;For TikTok, this was triggered by a feature designed to identify repetitive, spammy behaviour. We have already submitted an updated version of the app to the&nbsp;App Store&nbsp;removing the anti-spam feature to eliminate any potential confusion,&quot;&nbsp;TikTok&nbsp;stated.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b style="font-size: 0.8125rem;">How did the government ban the applications?</b><br> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Ministry of Information Technology blocked these apps by invoking section 69A of the Information Technology Act, and the relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The clause allows the government to issue directions to block for public access of any information through any computer resource: &quot;Where the Central Government or any of its officer specially authorised by it in this behalf is satisfied that it is necessary or expedient so to do, in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence relating to above, it may subject to the provisions of sub-section (2) for reasons to be recorded in writing, by order, direct any agency of the Government or intermediary to block for access by the public or cause to be blocked for access by the public any information generated, transmitted, received, stored or hosted in any computer resource.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>What happens next? Should you uninstall TikTok and other Chinese apps mentioned?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>What happens next remains to be seen. However, a likely scenario:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Under section 69A, the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will be asked to block all of these apps. Google and Apple will be served notices to remove them from their online app stores. This invalidates the use of apps like TikTok which need an internet connection to operate; their use will be blocked.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For apps and functionalities that can work offline, the situation is a little more tricky. It is highly likely that further downloads will be blocked, and existing users could be served an advisory to refrain from using the applications further.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>What are some similar apps that can be used?</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There are numerous home-grown alternatives that can provide an option to the Indian audience. Take the case of 'Chingari', a TikTok alternative that has crossed more than 2.5 million downloads. The short video-sharing app reached the milestone from 5,50,000 downloads in just ten days, the free social platform said in a statement last week. Biswatma Nayak, co-founder of the Chingari App, said, &quot;In the last few days, we have witnessed a 400 per cent growth in the subscribers of the app.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Chingari said it allows a user to download and upload videos, chat with friends, interact with new people, share content and browse through feed. &quot;Chingari pays a content creator on the basis of how viral the video becomes. For every video that one uploads on the Chingari app, you get points [per view] which can be redeemed for money,&quot; the statement added. The app is available in multiple languages including English, Hindi, Bangla, Gujarati, Marathi, Kannada, Punjabi, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>ShareChat is an Indian vernacular social media platform, that has garnered huge popularity.&nbsp;ShareChat Director of Public Policy Berges Malu welcomed the move to ban Chinese apps. &quot;This is a welcome move from the government against platforms that have had serious privacy, cyber security and national security risks. We expect the government to continue their support for the Indian startup ecosystem,&quot; he said.<br> </p> Tue Jun 30 08:07:42 IST 2020 probe-into-aligarh-mortuary-finds-no-truth-in-priyanka-gandhis-claims <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>An official probe has found nothing wrong at the mortuary in Aligarh, a day after Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra cited media reports alleging harassment of relatives by the staff.</p> <p>A news report had said the body of a 45-year-old man was kept in the open for four days, with the staff allegedly demanding Rs 500 per day for ice slabs.</p> <p>The staff members allegedly claimed the money for coronavirus-related formalities before they could hand over the body for the last rites.</p> <p>There were also reports that the freezer at morgue had not worked for a fortnight.</p> <p>However, district magistrate Chandra Bhushan Singh said an inquiry conducted by two additional district magistrates and the chief medical officer found nothing to prove the charges.</p> <p>No such facts came to the fore in the probe, he said, adding that that mortuary was functioning in a satisfactory manner.</p> <p>In a tweet on Sunday, Priyanka Gandhi had attacked the Uttar Pradesh government over a media report claiming mismanagement at the Aligarh morgue.</p> <p>She said despite government claims news reports of terrible suffering are surfacing during the coronavirus pandemic.</p> <p>After her tweet, Youth Congress workers staged a protest at the mortuary.</p> Mon Jun 29 16:24:13 IST 2020 indian-bans-59-chinese-apps-including-tiktok-us-browser <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Amid mounting tension at the border, India on Monday banned 59 mobile applications with Chinese links, including popular apps like TikTok and UC Browser, accusing them of being prejudicial to sovereignty, integrity and security of the country.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Ministry of Information Technology blocked these apps by invoking its power under section 69A of the Information Technology Act and the relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“The ministry has decided to block 59 apps since, in view of information available, they are engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order,” said an official statement.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“There have been raging concerns on aspects relating to data security and safeguarding the privacy of 130 crore Indians. It has been noted recently that such concerns also pose a threat to sovereignty and security of our country,” the statement said, adding that the ministry had&nbsp; received many complaints from various sources.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There were also reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures,” the ministry said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The IT ministry said the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre of the Ministry of Home Affairs had sent an exhaustive recommendation for blocking these “malicious” apps. The Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) has also received many representations from citizens regarding security of data and breach of privacy impacting upon public order issues, it said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“There have been similar bipartisan concerns, flagged by various public representatives, both outside and inside the Parliament of India. There has been a strong chorus in the public space to take strict action against Apps that harm India’s sovereignty as well as the privacy of our citizens,” the ministry further said in its statement.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><b>The banned apps are:</b></p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; TikTok</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; Shareit</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; Kwai</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; UC Browser</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; Baidu map</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; Shein</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; Clash of Kings</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; DU battery saver</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; Helo</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; Likee</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; YouCam makeup</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; Mi Community</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; CM Browers</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; Virus Cleaner</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; APUS Browser</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; ROMWE</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; Club Factory</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; Newsdog</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; Beutry Plus</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; WeChat</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; UC News</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; QQ Mail</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; Weibo</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; Xender</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; QQ Music</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; QQ Newsfeed</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; Bigo Live</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; SelfieCity</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; Mail Master</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; Parallel Space</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; Mi Video Call – Xiaomi</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; WeSync</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; ES File Explorer</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; Viva Video – QU Video Inc</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; Meitu</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; Vigo Video</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; New Video Status</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; DU Recorder</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; Vault- Hide</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; Cache Cleaner DU App studio</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; DU Cleaner</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; DU Browser</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; Hago Play With New Friends</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; Cam Scanner</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; Clean Master – Cheetah Mobile</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; Wonder Camera</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; Photo Wonder</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; QQ Player</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; We Meet</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; Sweet Selfie</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; Baidu Translate</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; Vmate</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; QQ International</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; QQ Security Center</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; QQ Launcher</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; U Video</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; V fly Status Video</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; Mobile Legends</p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; DU Privacy</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon Jun 29 22:03:01 IST 2020 cong-leaders-who-protested-fuel-price-hike-draw-flak-for-flouting-covid-19-norms <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>The Centre must immediately roll back the fuel price hike as people are already facing a huge health and economic crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, demanded KPCC chief D.K. Shivakumar, who led a bicycle rally in Bengaluru on Monday to protest the price hike.</p> <p>Shivakumar, who was joined by senior Congress leaders Rajya Sabha member Mallikarjun Kharge and leader of the opposition Siddaramaiah, cycled from his residence to the Congress office in Queens Road, which resulted in a traffic jam as thousands of party workers turned up for the protest.</p> <p>They submitted a memorandum to Governor Vajubhai Vala, urging him to direct the Centre to roll back the hike in prices and export duty on petrol and diesel imposed since March 2020.</p> <p>"The hike is unprecedented and unjust. In the last six years, the BJP government has hiked the export duty on diesel by 820 per cent and petrol by 258 per cent and earned Rs 18 lakh crore. The profiteering of the Modi government by repeated hike in fuel prices has surpassed all forms of exploitation. The price increase in the last three-and-a-half months for diesel is Rs 26.40 and for petrol is Rs 21.50 per litre," stated the memorandum.</p> <p>Further, the Congress party observed that the crude oil prices had reduced to Rs 3,288.71 per barrel (159 litres) on June 24, 2020, which translates to Rs 20.68 per litre. But the price of petrol and diesel has touched Rs 80 per litre. "This fuel price hike is sheer profiteering by the Modi government, which is fleecing the common man. We are ready to be booked for standing with the people," said Shivakumar.</p> <p>However, the Congress leaders who until recently dubbed the lockdown imposed on March 24 “ill-timed” but demanded a second lockdown in the wake of the spurt in COVID-19 cases in Bengaluru, earned the wrath of people and the government for flouting lockdown norms.</p> <p>The BJP leaders criticised the "irresponsible behaviour" of the opposition party.</p> <p>Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai warned of filing a case against the Congress leaders for violating the Disaster Management guidelines. "The Congress party was not granted the permission to hold a rally as the lockdown norms bar political rallies and protests till June 30. We will initiate action against the leaders for violating the social distancing norms and for not wearing masks," the minister said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Mon Jun 29 19:54:47 IST 2020 armed-or-unarmed-indian-army-ghatak-commandos-will-be-ready-for-china <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Chinese state media reported over the weekend that the People's Liberation Army had sent martial arts experts to Ladakh before the clash with the <a title="Army works overtime to maintain supply chain to forward posts on China border" href="">Indian Army at Galwan</a> on June 15.</p> <p>News agency <i>AFP</i> reported that members of a mixed martial arts club "presented themselves for inspection at Lhasa on June 15". <i>AFP</i> also reported that a Chinese military commander had claimed the martial arts experts would "greatly raise the organisation and mobilisation strength" of troops and their “rapid response and support ability".</p> <p>Before the deadly clash at Galwan on June 15, the Indian and Chinese armies had engaged in unarmed clashes and stone-pelting on two occasions in May, resulting in injuries on both sides. The announcement by Chinese media over the weekend on the deployment of the martial arts experts was interpreted as a message that the PLA would not shy away from more localised clashes.</p> <p>The Indian Army has, reportedly, responded to the claims of martial arts training for the PLA by stating that it had deployed its Ghatak commandos. The Ghatak commandos are a specialised platoon that every infantry battalion of the Indian Army has. Members of the Ghatak force receiving a higher level of training in armed and unarmed combat compared with regular infantry personnel.</p> <p>The Ghatak commandos are considered to be the 'tip' of the spear of an infantry battalion and lead assaults on protected enemy positions and strategic facilities like airfields and artillery sites.</p> <p>The fittest personnel from an infantry unit are selected for training to become Ghatak commandos. These personnel undergo an intensive 43-day course at the Indian Army’s commando school in Belgaum, Karnataka. The strenuous physical exercises in the course include running tens of kilometres with 35kg of weapons and supplies as well as a focus on unarmed combat.</p> <p>It must be noted that the Ghatak commandos are not classified as ‘special forces’ personnel, who are qualified for parachute jumps and receive specialised training in a variety of domains. However, the Ghatak commandos have played key roles in a number of Army operations in recent years.</p> <p>In December 2017, Ghatak commandos of Poonch Brigade <a title="Indian Army conducts cross-border raid, inflicts heavy casualties on Pak side" href="">crossed the Line of Control</a> and inflicted casualties on Pakistani Army personnel to retaliate against the killing of four Indian personnel.</p> <p>The Ghatak commandos also played a part in the surgical strike across the Line of Control in 2016 to avenge the attack on an Army base in Uri that year. Ghatak commandos of the 6 Bihar and 10 Dogra units participated in the surgical strike along with the Parachute regiment personnel.</p> <p>In fact, Gurtej Singh, one of the 20 Indian soldiers who died in the Galwan clash, was a Ghatak commando. Gurtej, who belonged to 3 Punjab unit, was credited with killing several Chinese soldiers in the clash before breathing his last.</p> Mon Jun 29 14:53:31 IST 2020 jilted-lover-kills-haryana-tiktok-star-but-keeps-her-virtually-alive <a href=""><img border="0" hspace="10" align="left" style="margin-top:3px;margin-right:5px;" src="" /> <p>Apparently taking inspiration from TV shows on crime, a Sonipat resident allegedly murdered a popular Haryana TikTok star but kept her ‘virtually alive’ for two days by posting messages and videos from her phone.</p> <p>Shivani Khubiyan, who ran a beauty parlour in Sonipat and had over 1 lakh followers on TikTok, was allegedly murdered by her neighbour, Arif, for refusing his advances. Though she was reportedly killed on June 26, it was only late on Sunday that her body was found stuffed in a cabinet in her beauty parlour. The victim's family called police who took the body for postmortem and registered a case.</p> <p>According to Shivani’s sister, Shweta, Arif had come to meet Shivani on June 26 and her sister had told her this in their last conversation. “She did not return home that night and I made frantic calls and messages to her telling that our mother was ill. I got a message from her phone, saying she was fine and in Haridwar and would be back by Tuesday,” Shweta told police.</p> <p>It was late on Sunday evening that a friend, Neeraj, went to the beauty parlour after a neighbour informed about a foul stench coming from inside the parlour and discovered the body. According to Shivani's father, Arif had been stalking her since last three years. The family had even shifted their home but he found her and followed her around. “We had moved the police that took action and he had even apologised. But he never left my daughter and took revenge,” said her father, Vinod Khubiyan.</p> <p>With Arif still absconding, the police have started searching his possible hideouts. A senior investigator revealed that a video was posted on TikTok from the deceased person’s account seven hours before the discovery of her body. “We are awaiting the postmortem report to ascertain the time of death. The state of the body hints at death two-three days ago. The accused, who is still absconding, had been using her mobile to make her family and entire world believe that she is still alive. We have some major leads about his hideout,” revealed a senior investigator on condition of anonymity.</p> Mon Jun 29 13:09:16 IST 2020