26 March 2020

26 March MORN.NEWS : Coronavirus | Census-NPR postponed till further orders. Fear, Uncertainty Over Essential Supplies and Services Marks Day 1 of National Lockdown . MHA issues fresh guidelines, exempts RBI,CAG officers and forest staff from lockdown. As global toll touches 20,000, Spain overtakes China with 3,434 deaths

25 March 2020: 29 Rajjab 1441: Vol:12, No:164
*Coronavirus india*
Coronavirus | Census-NPR postponed till further orders
Amid COVID-19 outbreak, the first phase of Census 2021 and updating of the National Population Register (NPR) that was to begin on April 1 has been “postponed until further orders”, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said on Wednesday.“Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, high alert has been declared by the Government of India as well as the States/Union Territories.... Lockdown has also been declared by many State/UT governments,” the MHA said.On April 1, the Census and the NPR exercise was to be rolled out in Meghalaya, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshwadeep and the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) area. President Ram Nath Kovind was to be the first one to be enumerated for the Census, followed by Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi as all of them reside in the NDMC area that comprises Lutyens Delhi.The Hindu first reported on March 21 that Census-NPR exercise was all set to be postponed due to outbreak. Other States and UTs had notified different dates for the exercise that entailed door-to-door visit by enumerators and field representatives and was not possible under ongoing 21-day lockdown, said a senior govt official.As many as 13 States have opposed the updating of NPR. thehindu
Coronavirus lockdown: Centre postpones NPR, first phase of Census exercise
Fear, Uncertainty Over Essential Supplies and Services Marks Day 1 of National Lockdown
New Delhi: After Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India would go under a 21 day ‘lockdown’ – without mentioning how the supply of essentials would be ensured – panic took over the streets in most parts of India with people rushing to grocery stores and medical stores to stock up, with uncertainty clouding the weeks to come. The Ministry of Home Affairs later released an order which listed essential services such as grocery stores, vegetable vendors, medical stores, etc which were exempt from the lockdown. However, in several parts of the country – which have been on varying degrees of lockdown since last week – there have been reports of police personnel, residents’ groups and vigilantes harassing and beating up delivery persons, forcibly closing down grocery stores, and stopping trucks carrying essential commodities. Prices of vegetables and fruits have also seen a substantial increase due to the panic and uncertainty around the situation. Like in most parts of the country, Madhya Pradesh’s commercial capital Indore and state capital Bhopal saw panic buying of essentials immediately after Modi’s announcement with people crowding around grocery stores, vegetable vendors, fruit vendors and medical stores to stock up on supplies. In J&K, spools of concertina wires and barricades – a familiar sight – are back on the roads in the city and elsewhere, and contingents of police and paramilitary CRPF have taken over the Valley to enforce a complete lockdown.These restrictions began on March 19 – a day after the first case of COVID-19 was reported from Srinagar. Soon, J&K police and paramilitary forces swung into action and started arresting people for violating prohibitory orders.At least 49 persons were arrested from Srinagar and other parts of Kashmir on March 23 and 23 vehicles were also seized. The number of arrests has since gone up.The curbs, however, led to panic buying with people stocking up essentials and medicines in many parts of Kashmir. In Telangana and Andhra Pradesh , Modi’s lack of clarity also led to panic buying of essential commodities. Traders have resorted to hoarding of commodities leading to artificial scarcity and price rise. Serpentine queues have been witnessed in front of supermarkets in Hyderabad with customers eagerly waiting for their turn to purchase food items.  In Vijaywada, prices of vegetables have increased three and four times, which is turning out to be a double whammy for the daily wage earners engaged in informal sectors. They have lost their employment due to the lockdown and are now being required to pay twice the amount for essentials. Since Kerala  has been in a state of lockdown since Monday, the impact of Modi’s announcement was minimal.  However, life under lockdown has begun to streamline. Youth organisations have started a network of young volunteers for delivering essentials to the needy. Rajasthan government announced that the essential services will remain functional despite the national lockdown. However, on the ground, the services are available at the moment but the supply chain is gradually breaking. The grocery stores in Jaipur remain operational from 8:30 am to 12 noon every day. Most markets across West Bengal are functioning with curtailed timings. Vegetables markets across Kolkata are open with huge crowds gathering in them consistently. The police is not restricting movement of those out to buy essentials.In Guwahati police personnel beat up people who had ventured out to get their daily supply of essential commodities.In many places in Delhi, police personnel are forcing even grocery stores to remain shut. “The cops told us that we could open our shop only from 7 am to 11 am in the morning,” said Manoj Bisht, a grocery store owner at Lado Sarai, Delhi. He also said that it is being very difficult to source supplies for his job.The police also asked the meat and fish shop owners to remain closed. Meat and fish are among essential commodities. In Patna people in large numbers gathered outside grocery stores this morning as they feared that the supply of essentials could run short in the coming weeks. So far the supply of essentials is being maintained as in most parts of India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh  ,  shops of essentials are opened between 7 and 11 am. Vegetable and fruit vendors are also allowed to set up their carts and take their carts into colonies.  But prices have increased. For instance, potatoes are now selling at Rs 60 a kilogram up from Rs 20 just a week ago. Thewire
 MHA issues fresh guidelines, exempts RBI,CAG officers and forest staff from lock-down
New Delhi  :Ministry of Home Affairs Wednesday issued several additional guidelines for essential service providers after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown as part of measures to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.Here are some of the key additions:🔴All government offices — both state and Centre — shall remain closed during the lockdown period. Exemptions are: Defence, central armed police forces, treasury, public utilities (including petroleum, CNG, LPG, PNG), disaster management, power generation, post offices, etc.Addition: In the new guidelines, the ministry said that RBand RBI-regulated financial markets, pay and accounts officers and field officers of the CAG, petroleum products and supply chain and forest staff are exempted from the purview of lockdown.🔴Hospitals and all related medical establishments, including manufacturing and distributing units, both in public and private sector, such as dispensaries, chemists and medical equipment shops, clinics, ambulance etc will continue to remain functional. The transportation for all medical personnel, nurses, para-medical staff, other hospital support services shall be permitted.Addition: This will also include veterinary hospitals, pharmacies (including Jan Aushadhi Kendra) and Pharmaceutical research labs.🔴 The government had earlier announced that all commercial and private establishments will remain close. However, Bank, insurance offices and ATMs will remain open.Addition: IT vendors for banking operations, Banking Correspondents and ATM operation and cash management agencies will also remain exceptions.🔴 Barring manufacturing units of essential commodities, and production units that require continuous process, industrial establishments shall remain closed.Addition: Essential goods will also include drugs, pharmaceutical, medical devices and their raw material & intermediates.🔴 All transport services — rail, road, and air, remain suspended to civilians. Exemptions only for transportation of essential goods, and fire, law and order services.Addition: Those people handling cargo operations in airports and railway stations, coal mining activities, officers and staff of resident commissioners based in Delhi and customs clearance at ports, airports and land borders are also exempted.PTI
Delhi top cop admits to misconduct by police during lockdown; harassment reported from across country
Delhi Police Commissioner S.N. Shrivastava on Wednesday admitted that he has received several complaints about misbehaviour by policemen during the lockdown. However, he issued guidelines through an audio statement and asked them to be more careful.He said: "Several complaints of misconduct by the police during the lockdown have been received. The police should not do this. They should, rather, assist people in dealing with the difficulties during the pandemic outbreak. Delhi Police should not only help the people but also the animals during this hour of crisis.""It is our duty to understand the needs of a common man and solve them in a convenient manner," he added.He asked the police not to unnecessarily stop those who are related with the healthcare services. nationalheraldindia
85-year-old woman dies of coronavirus in Ahmedabad. India's death toll now at 12
 Ahmedabad: Another patient died of coronavirus in India on Wednesday, taking the total casualties of the viral infections to 12 in the country. 85-year-old woman in Ahmedabad died of Covid-19 on Wednesday, Gujarat health department confirmed. The woman had travelled abroad and was admitted to the Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad on March 22 after developing coronavirus symptoms. Indiatoday
Coronavirus India LIVE : MP reports first COVID-19 death; cases in India cross 600
2 more deaths linked to the coronavirus were reported from Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu on Wednesday while the number of infections soared to 606 from 519 a day earlier as the country entered into a 21-day lockdown in a bid to break the chain of transmission of COVID-19. The Health Ministry, however, is yet to confirm the death of the 65-year-old Ujjain-based woman in Madhya Pradesh. Meanwhile, interacting with citizens of Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned of tough action against those misbehaving with healthcare professionals and airline crew. “People in whites in hospitals and clinics are our Gods now; they should be respected. They are saving us by risking their own lives,” PM Modi said.Anxious people made a beeline for grocery stores on Wednesday as the 21-day national lockdown kicked in from midnight shortly. As per latest Union Health ministry update, the number of coronavirus cases in India rose to 606 and 42 who have recovered. indianexpress
Cipla chairman Y K Hamied: Govt steps encouraging, but don’t ignore chronic ailments
A watershed moment in the AIDS epidemic was 20 years ago when Indian drug major Cipla started manufacturing and providing a triple cocktail medicine for AIDS at roughly $1 a day, a fraction of the existing treatment price at the time. The company was instrumental in helping control the epidemic, especially in Africa. When Swine Flu broke out, they immediately started manufacturing Antiflu (Oseltamivir) to combat it. Now, in the midst of the coronavirus storm, we caught up with Cipla chairman Y K Hamied to find out how they are preparing to meet this challenge. Hamied said, "The lockdown is absolutely essential, but essential services should not suffer. Isolation is the best thing we can do now. Let us look at it step-wise. First, we have to work on prevention. What are the maximum precautions a person can take? Other than isolation people talk of sanitisation. I accept that. If you are sanitising your hands why aren’t you sanitizing inside your nose and mouth and inside your lungs? In my personal opinion steam inhalation twice a day is advisable, it doesn’t cost anything, in addition to that gargling once a day with Listerine is also good since alcohol kills viruses."indianexpress
A Ludhiana village goes into self-quarantine to stop NRIs, visiting relatives
Ludhiana : Four roads from different directions can take you to Hawas, a small village in Ludhiana with a population of just around 1,200 and a few NRIs who are back home these days.But with the COVID-19 outbreak and curfew imposed in Punjab, it is nearly impossible to enter this village, if one is an outsider or even if one has a friend or a relative living there. While on the main road leading to the village, barricades have been put up with youths keeping a vigil, on two other roads iron angles have been put as barricades. On the fourth road, trolleys have been parked as barricades, restricting entry of outsiders.This is the villagers’ way of going into self-quarantine to protect themselves from novel coronavirus.The step, according to sarpanch’s husband, has been taken as the ‘last resort’ after people failed to abide by lockdown/curfew instructions and kept flocking village despite being told not to do so. indianexpress
5 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours, govt to issue e-passes to essential services staff: Kejriwal
Amid reports of medical staffers being forcibly evicted by landlords to vacate the premises over fear of infection, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Wednesday requested house owners not to harass doctors, nurses and other medical staff fighting the coronavirus outbreak. In a digital press conference, Kejriwal said the harassment of medical staff cannot be tolerated and warned that strict action will be taken against the landlords.On Tuesday, the Residents Doctors’ Association (RDA) of AIIMS alleged in a letter to the Home Minister that healthcare workers are being asked to “vacate their rented homes, and some have been forcefully evicted from their temporary residence by landlords due to fear that those healthcare professionals make them more susceptible to the coronavirus infection”. Following this, Home Minister Amit Shah called up the RDA and assured them that such instances of ostracisation will be taken seriously and action will be taken immediately. Shah also spoke to the Delhi Police Commissioner and asked him to take strict action against such landlords. During the digital press conference, the chief minister also said that five new coronavirus cases were reported in Delhi in past 24 hours, pushing the number of total cases to 35. Indian express
Coronavirus West Bengal Update: Mamata Visits Govt Hospitals, Over 1,000 Arrested
Amid a 21 day lockdown in India in light of the coronavirus outbreak, the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal is gearing up for the upcoming weeks with setting up hospitals and COVID-19 testing labs in the state. Banerjee on Tuesday did the rounds of all the government-run hospitals in the state This was after she announced a special package for workers in the unorganised sector in the state.Meanwhile, over a 1,000 people had reportedly been arrested by the Kolkata police for violating restrictions.Anandabazaar.com reported that Banerjee visited the state-run medical college hospitals in Kolkata, the quarantine centre in Rajarhat and also Kolkata’s Beliaghata Infectious Diseases hospital on Tuesday. huffingtonpost
Coronavirus lockdown: No system in place for home delivery of essentials in UP yet
UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has assured that essential commodities will be delivered at the doorstep and has asked people not to step out of their home.The government, however, has no plan in place for doorstep delivery yet and the police are in an extremely belligerent mood. Minutes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown in the country on Tuesday night, people in Lucknow, Agra, Meerut, Prayagraj and Kanpur rushed out of their homes to stock up on groceries.
"We don't trust the government. They did not ensure supply of essential commodities during the three-day lockdown and we have no reason to believe that they will do so now," said R.K. Mishra, a private bank employee who was out shopping for vegetables on Tuesday night. The Chief Minister has said that those who need any essential commodities or medicines can call the helpline 112.
India may see 13 lakh cases by mid-May, claims scientists group
While India seems to have done well in controlling the number of confirmed cases compared to other countries in the early phase of pandemic, country may see up to 13 lakh cases by mid-May if the numbers keep growing like this,a group of scientists has warned.According to researchers with the COVID-19 Study Group, an interdisciplinary group of scholars and data scientists, the frequency of testing has been very low in India only 11,500 subjects have been tested as of March 18."When there is no approved vaccine or drug for treating COVID-19, entering phase 2 or phase 3 of escalation will have devastating consequences on the already overstretched healthcare system of India," scientists wrote in a post on Medium. IANS
India Lockdown: Panic buying across country, cops step in
NOTWITHSTANDING PM Narendra Modi’s appeal for calm and that there were adequate supplies of essential items, his call for a 21-day lockdown triggered panic buying across states.In Mumbai, soon after his speech ended, residents rushed out in droves to grocers and vegetable vendors to stock up on foodgrains, snacks, milk, eggs, bread and cleaning material. Policemen used batons to enforce the ban on gatherings. “I had to return home empty-handed because some policemen were beating people ahead of us,” said Pooja Gala, a working professional who went with her father to a grocery store near the Bhayander police station. In Juhu, a vegetable cart was chased by people, in turn with police in hot pursuit.A policewoman in Lokhandwala Township, Kandivali, said crowds grew even before the PM’s speech ended. “They just ran down as soon as the PM said lockdown,” she said.In Kolkata, New Alipore Market saw people coming in cars to lift sack-full of items. Shops selling chicken were forced open by panic-stricken customers. “We want to buy as many things as possible as I have too many mouths to feed at home,” said a man in his 40s, shopping with his wife and driver. Soon, Kolkata Municipal Corporation officials arrived to close the shops, and when that did not work, switched off the power supply to the market. indianexpress
Several parts of Punjab go milk-less as lockdown hits supply chain, lakhs of litres wasted
The supply-chain management of milk in several parts of Punjab has gone awry due to district administrations not cooperating with the milk producers, supplying agency Verka and distributers leading to lakhs of litres of milk going waste and costing several crores to the dairy farmers.Sources in Cooperatives Department of Punjab government say that despite instructions being given by the Chief Minister Amarinder Singh as well as the Centre not to obstruct the delivery of essential items, administrations in several districts have persisted in stopping the movement of milk products. indianexpress
Food, money running out, Delhi’s daily wagers start heading to villages— on foot
Antresh Kumar started walking at 3 am on Wednesday. After thinking about what a 21-day lockdown would mean for him and his fellow daily-wagers, the 21-year-old decided that heading home to Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh would be his best option. Even if it means walking 175 kilometres, a journey likely to take at least two days and convincing police to let them keep walking.Since Delhi announced a lockdown on Monday, followed by a nationwide lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, hundreds of migrant labourers have— in the absence of public transport and with borders sealed— decided to walk home to escape hunger, insecurity and, in Antresh’s case, his landlord.“We have no income anymore. We would earn Rs 200-250 daily. Since the gradual shutting down of the city, work has come to a standstill. I was not earning but the landlord kept asking for rent,” he said. With no food, water or money, the group left. At Anand Vihar, they drank from a canal. “All shops are closed. We can’t even buy water if we want,” he said.Like pilgrims, the men bundled up their clothes and walked through deserted roads to their villages in Uttar Pradesh. With clothes in his small bag and a few rotis with salt as sustenance, 25-year-old Aram Singh, a labourer, started from Preet Vihar in East Delhi for Badaun in Uttar Pradesh. He, along with a few others who live in Preet Vihar as well, said they had no option but to cover the 215-kilometre distance on foot. indianexpress
Coronavirus: Kerala suspends sale of liquor at state-run stores amid nationwide lockdown
Kerala government on Wednesday closed all outlets of its state-run liquor corporation as a 21-day coronavirus lockdown began across the country, The Indian Express reported. Despite the lockdown in the state and police presence, people had continued to line up outside the outlets, sparking fears about the spread of Covid-19 infection. Kerala has 109 coronavirus cases so far, of whom four have recovered.While announcing a lockdown in Kerala on Monday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had refused to shut down the liquor outlets, saying that the decision would lead to the flow of illicit liquor into the state and have “social repercussions”. The government has now shut down more than 300 outlets of the state-run Kerala State Beverages Corporation. latest
India has 8,432 ventilators and 9,512 ICU beds to fight Covid-19, ‘rapid upgrade’ needed: Report
Indian health ministry’s internal data showed that the country has a capacity of 37,618 isolation beds, 9,512 intensive care unit beds and 8,432 ventilators as of Tuesday to tackle the crisis brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, reported The Hindu BusinessLine.On Wednesday morning, the Union health ministry confirmed that 562 people have been infected with Covid-19 in the country. Of these, 512 are active cases. Nine patients have died due to the virus, according to the ministry’s latest update. The death of a 10th person, in Tamil Nadu, has not yet been confirmed by the Centre.
Covid-19: India bans export of malaria drug, sanitisers, ventilators and masks
 Indian government on March 25 banned export of anti-malarial drug hydroxycloroquine to ensure that enough stock is available in the domestic market. Hydroxycloroquine has been recommended for treating healthcare workers handling coronavirus cases and the asymptomatic household contacts of laboratory-confirmed cases.“The export of hydroxycloroquine and formulations made from hydroxycloroquine is prohibited with immediate effect,” read the Directorate General of Foreign Trade notification. It, however, said the government will allow export of the medicine on humanitarian grounds on case-to-case basis on the Ministry of External Affairs’ recommendation. scroll
Coronavirus outbreak | CJI urged to order release of detained declared foreigners
A representation has been made to Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde to order the immediate release of declared foreigners detained at the six detention centres in Assam in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.The representation made by the NGO, Justice and Liberty and Initiative, also urged the CJI to order that there should not be any fresh detention of declared foreigners till the health situation returns to normalcy.The NGO appealed on humanitarian grounds, saying there are many old and ailing among the detainees who have been in these centres for over a decade.“Being human beings, they [detainees] also have at least the basic right to live and to not die of COVID-19 in the precincts of a prison which has despicable living conditions,” the representation said.The representation said the detainees were neither criminals nor a threat to the society. Their detention is akin to civil imprisonment. thehindu
Islamic bodies ask people to offer ‘namaz’ at home
PATNA: In view of the Covid-19 pandemic, several Islamic religious organizations on Tuesday urged the Muslim community not to gather at mosques for prayer services. They also advised people to offer ‘namaz’ at home.Only the ‘imam’ (one who leads the prayers), ‘muezzin’ (one who proclaims the call to prayer) and the mosque administrators will offer prayers at mosques five times a day.The Imarat-e-Shariah, a leading Islamic body which has jurisdiction over Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha stated that the ‘azan’ (prayer calls) would continue to be intoned from mosques and community prayer held five times a day.According to a statement signed by Imarat-e-Shariah head Maulana Wali Rahmani arrangements should be made at mosques for enough space between two people and handshakes avoided.Meanwhile, the Bihar State Shia Waqf Board has ordered that ‘jummah’ (Friday prayers) in all Shia mosques across the state will remain suspended. Board chairman Irshad Ali Azad regations at mosques had also been banned with immediate effect. Jamaat-e-Islami Hind Bihar president Maulana Rizwan Ahmed Islahi told this newspaper that an advisory had been issued asking Muslims to offer prayers at home, instead of going to a nearby mosque. “We have asked people to follow the advisory of the health department to maintain hygiene. The Friday prayer have also been called off,” he said, adding, “Only the ‘imam’, ‘muezzin’ and administrations will offer prayers at mosques. Prayer calls will be made by the ‘imam’ five times a day.” Islamic bodies have also instructed all ‘imams’ to ensure that the sanitization of mosques is carried out daily. In many areas of Patna, the ‘imams’ are using loudspeakers to ask people to offer prayer services in their houses.toi Offer Namaz at Home in View of Coronavirus Pandemic: Shariah Council of Jamaat, Renowned Clerics Ask Muslims
COVID-19: Social organisations provide food to needy
Mumbai:Various social organisations and NGOs have come forward to provide food to daily wagers, homeless and other people affected by the curfew imposed in Maharashtra in view of the coronavirus pandemic.Some Sikh community members have been organising ''langar'' (free kitchen) at a gurudwara in suburban Mumbai since last two days.Besides, some NGOs distributed food packets to homeless people at Kalyan and Dombivali in neighbouring Thanre district on Monday.The Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Students'' Islamic Organisation of India and some other organisations also distributed around 1,000 food packets to people in the last two days in Madanpura, Jogeshwari, Andheri, Oshiwara, Kurla and Vikhroli areas of Mumbai and Mumbra and Kalyan in Thane.Volunteers reached out to people affected by the lockdown, especially daily wagers, and provided them food.On Monday afternoon, food packets were provided in Anna Nagar to truck drivers who were working in the city and did not have lunch.Some volunteers of Jamaat-e-Islami, Alliance Against CAA-NRC-NPR and Memon community members provided lunch in the last two days to daily wagers who were stranded at the Kurla terminus while waiting for trains to return to their home towns.A similar help was extended by the Jamaat-e-Islami to the needy in various parts of Vikhroli as well as slum localities near Hiranandani, Powai.In Kalyan, nearly 10 social organisations have joined these Mumbai-based NGOs, who plan to provide around 600 ration kits to the needy families.The volunteers have been taking necessary hygiene precautions by wearing gloves and face masks and using hand sanitisers during food distribution."We feel that as human beings, it''s our responsibility to help the most vulnerable amongst us in their time of need. We appeal to all citizens of Mumbai and Thane to join in our efforts. We also request the state government to put in place a safety net for those who have lost work during the lockdown," Jamaat-e-Islami''s Mumbai head Haseeb Bhatkar said. PTI
Amid the lockdown to curb the outbreak of Covid-19, citizens are doing their
COVID-19: Islamic scholar urges Muslims to refrain from attending congregational prayers
Aligarh (UP) :  Noted Islamic scholar and leading theologian, Maulana Shaikh Khalil-ur-Rahman Sajjad Nomani on Tuesday urged the Muslim community to refrain from attending congregational prayers in mosques till the (COVID-19) pandemic recedes.The scholar's appeal is the first categorical announcement by a top Muslim cleric to the faithful to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Nomani, considered the tallest cleric of the Naqshbandi Sufi order, is also an official spokesman of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board.He said that he was issuing this appeal only after conferring with leading Islamic jurists and theologians.PTI
‘Sarcasm and reality’: Omar Abdullah’s response to Covid-19 lockdown leaves netizens in splits
New Delhi :Released after almost eight months in detention, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah quickly updated his Twitter bio to “Former PSA Political detinue”. However, soon after his release, a 21-day nationwide lockdown was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to combat the spread of Covid-19.Tweeting about the lockdown in a humourous way, Abdullah shared a meme with a caption, “These are serious & scary times so a little humour doesn’t hurt.” In the meme was a picture of the politician himself along with a tagline that read, “When you spend 236 days in lockdown, and on the day you get out, the govt imposes 21-day national lockdown.”Earlier too, following his release, Abdullah had tweeted if anyone wanted “tips on surviving quarantine or a lockdown” as he had “months of experience” at his disposal.Since being shared online, the tweet has garnered over 6,500 retweets and has been flooded with netizens praising the politician’s humour.indianexpress
Bengal Imams' body restricts entry of people into mosques
With the coronavirus outbreak triggering lockdown across the country, an organisation of Imams of West Bengal on Tuesday asked authorities of mosques to restrict entry of people to prevent large gatherings and conducting prayers with very few devotees. While regular namaz and other religious practices should continue with 4-5 people, entry of others into mosques will have to be restricted, Chairman of Bengal Imams Association Mohammed Yahia said in a statement."Others will conduct their namaz prayers at their houses," he said adding that it is only an emergency measure in view of the present situation. As of now, arrangements will be in force to hold the Shab e barat festival on April 9 and the decision will be reviewed afterwards, Yahia said.
Imam of Nakhoda Masjid here, one of the prominent mosques in the state, Shafique Qasmi said, "We have already restricted entry of people inside the mosque even during prayers to prevent large gatherings and while the Imam will conduct the namaz prayers within the premises on a microphone, others will do the same at their houses." He said this practice will continue till the situation improves as "our country is faced with a grave danger." PTI
*Coronavirus World*
Coronavirus : As global toll touches 20,000, Spain overtakes China with 3,434 deaths
More than 20,000 people across the world have died due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with over 4.5 lakh confirmed cases globally, say reports.Spain reported 3,434 deaths over taking China’s toll. Meanwhile, Prince Charles tested positive for coronavirus Wednesday, according to a statement released by Clarence House this morning.The total number of positive cases spiked to 436,159 across the world on Wednesday. While Italy has reported the maximum number of deaths at 6,820, Spain took over China’s toll with 3,434 deaths as against the latter’s 3,160. In Iran, 1,934 have died, 1,100 in France and 422 in the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, Netherlands has seen 276 deaths and 192 people have died in New York, according to a report John Hopkins University report.IMF and World Bank on Wednesday called for governments to put a hold on debt payments from the world’s poorest nations so they can battle the coronavirus pandemic. “The World Bank Group and IMF believe it is imperative at this moment to provide a global sense of relief for developing countries as well as a strong signal to financial markets,” Washington-based development lenders said in a joint statement. indianexpress
Spain sees steep rise in single-day toll, reports 738 deaths
Italy reports 683 more coronavirus deaths
Italy has reported 683 new deaths in the coronavirus pandemic, bringing the total to 7,503 as the confirmed cases rose to 74,386, appearing to level off but not dropping dramatically from previous days. The hardest-hit northern region of Lombardy reported a sharp fall in the number of deaths compared with the day before, but remained in a critical situation, with a total of 4,474 deaths and 32,346 cases. aljazeera
As Russia postpones vote on changes, it allows Putin to stay in power until 2036
Russian President Vladimir Putin delayed a public vote on constitutional amendments which allows him to stay in power until 2036, AP reported. Putin’s move comes amid the coronavirus outbreak in Russia. “I believe the voting must be postponed to a later date,” Putin said of the April 22 plebiscite in a rare televised address in which he called on Russians to show solidarity.The reforms, proposed by the President and approved by lawmakers over the previous months, would reset presidential term limits, which potentially allow him to stay in power for 20 years. He also declared next week as a ‘non-working week’.
US Federal officials reach deal on $2 trillion aid package
The White House and Senate leaders of both parties have struck an agreement on a sweeping USD 2 trillion measure to aid workers, businesses and a health care system strained by the rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak. The agreement came on late Tuesday after days of often intense haggling and mounting pressure and still needed to be finalised in detailed legislative language.
UN Council meets by videoconference— with a few hiccups
The UN Security Council met for the first time in its history via videoconference on Tuesday due to the coronavirus crisis — but diplomats said the meeting was not without technical difficulties. The ambassadors and deputies all logged in from home, and the media had no access.
Trump hopes to reopen economy by Easter
The number of coronavirus cases in the United States jumped by nearly 10,000 while about 150 Americans died in a day even as President Donald Trump hoped to reopen the country’s economy by Easter, April 12. With millions of Americans under a lockdown, the National Guard as well as the armed forces were pressed into service in several states such as New York which saw at least 53 deaths and about 5,000 new cases on Tuesday. New York has so far reported more than 25,000 COVID-19 cases and 210 fatalities.
Malaysia’s key medical glove factories cutting staff 50% amid virus
Malaysia’s medical glove factories, which make most of the world’s critical hand protection, are operating at half capacity just when they’re most needed, AP reported. Health care workers snap gloves on as the first line of protection against catching COVID-19 from patients, and they’re crucial to protecting patients as well. But medical-grade glove supplies are running low globally, even as more feverish, sweating and coughing patients arrive in hospitals by the day. Malaysia is by far the world’s largest medical glove supplier, producing as many as three out of four gloves on market.
Italy new virus infections drop to lowest point in crisis
Italy on Tuesday received more reassuring evidence that its coronavirus infection rate was slowing thanks to a painful lockdown that other nations are starting to apply at great economic cost. Health officials across the ravaged Mediterranean country are poring over every new piece of data to see whether two weeks of bans and closures have made a dent in the crisis. The harshest restrictions are theoretically due to expire on Wednesday evening — although the government is all but certain to extend them in some form for weeks or even months. Italy’s 743 new deaths broke two days of successive declines that had taken the number down to 601 on Monday. It set a world record of 793 fatalities on Saturday.
Blessing or Curse: Olympians now have another year to prepare for Tokyo
Steele Johnson, a diver who won a silver medal for the United States at the 2016 Rio Games, woke up Tuesday morning to texts from friends saying they were so sorry that the Summer Olympics had been postponed. They knew how hard it had been for Johnson, 23, and his wife, Hilary, to make ends meet as he pursued a gold medal in Tokyo. When he read the news, Johnson said, he felt a pit in his stomach.
Pakistan to suspend domestic flights as coronavirus cases near 1,000
Pakistani authorities have decided to suspend all domestic flight operations from Thursday until April 2 as part of efforts aimed at curbing the spread of the new coronavirus. Last weekend, Pakistan banned all international flights. According to civil aviation spokesman Abdul Sattar Khokhar, the ban will not apply to cargo and special flights. Usually the president, prime minister and other top government officials travel in special planes. The measure comes as overall cases of the new virus in Pakistan jumped to 990, with seven deaths reported. The crisis has prompted the government to enforce a nationwide lockdown for two to three weeks.
Caught in US-China Diplomatic Spat on 'Labelling' Coronavirus, India Chooses Silence
New Delhi: As India along with the rest of the world struggles to combat the COVID-19 threat, Chinese State Councillor Wang Yi on Wednesday called External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.The call came at a time when China and the United States are engaged in a raging diplomatic tussle over who is responsible for the coronavirus pandemic. China asked India to oppose America’s move to push for accountability of the Chinese regime over the outbreak.Amid the biggest global health crisis, Wang asked India to “oppose the narrow mindset” to “label the virus and stigmatise China”. US President Donald Trump has been referring to the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus” and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calls it “Wuhan virus”.While Jaishankar tweeted to say he and Wang discussed working together to combat COVID-19 and also that the global challenge requires global cooperation, he said nothing about agreeing or disagreeing with China on opposing the term “Chinese virus”. However, the Chinese media press release said, “The Indian side does not agree with the practice of labelling the virus…” Ministry of External Affairs refused to add anything more to the minister’s tweet when asked specifically to respond to this statement.Continuing its denial of the virus originating in Wuhan, Councellor Ji Rong, spokesperson of the Indian Embassy in Beijing, said the origin of the novel coronavirus is a matter of science requiring professional and scientific assessment.In an interview to a US media outlet, Mike Pompeo said, “The virus began in Wuhan, China. There’s no doubt about where it began. Indeed, the Chinese Communist Party itself acknowledged that that’s where the virus began. And unfortunately, the Chinese Communist Party covered it up and delayed its response in a way that has truly put thousands of lives at risk.Meanwhile, Russia reacted sharply to Pompeo. Russian first deputy Permanent Representative to UN tweeted, “Make America sane again, blaming others is mean tactics…” This was specifically in response to Pompeo calling CCP, Russia, Iran “ bad actors around the world” spreading misinformation and lies about coronavirus. news18
China Didn't Create or Transmit Coronavirus Intentionally, Terms like 'Wuhan Virus' Wrong, Says Spokesperson
China on Wednesday said it has neither created the coronavirus nor intentionally transmitted it and that usage of terms like "Chinese virus" or "Wuhan virus" is wrong.Ji Rong, spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy here, said the international community should focus on China's "swift response" to pandemic rather than "stereotyping the Chinese people".Elaborating on the cooperation between India and China in efforts to fight the disease, Ji said both countries have maintained communication and have lent support to each other in coping with the pandemic through difficult times.He said the Indian side has provided medical supplies to China and supported its fight against the contagion in various ways. "We express appreciation and thanks for that," Ji said.Pointing out that the WHO has stressed that linking China and Wuhan with the virus must be corrected, the spokesperson said, "Those people who are trying to stigmatise China's efforts have ignored the huge sacrifices the Chinese people made in safeguarding the health and safety of all mankind".Ji added that although Wuhan city in China first reported the outbreak, there is no evidence that China is the source of the virus that caused COVID-19.He stressed that the origin of the novel coronavirus is a matter of science that requires professional and scientific assessment.On Tuesday, China's National Health Commission reported 78 new confirmed cases of coronavirus, including 74 imported infections, while the death toll from the novel coronavirus increased to 3,277 after seven more fatalities.The overall confirmed cases on the Chinese mainland reached 81,171 on Monday. This included 3,277 people who died of the disease, 4,735 patients who were still being treated and 73,159 patients discharged after recovery.PTI
U.S. CDC reports 54,453 coronavirus cases, 737 deaths
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday reported 54,453 coronavirus cases, an increase of 10,270 cases from its previous count, and said the death toll had risen by 193 to 737. The CDC reported its tally of cases of the respiratory illness, COVID-19, caused by a new coronavirus, as of 4 p.m. ET on March 24 compared to its tally a day earlier. Reuters
Coronavirus: Herat emerges as Afghanistan's epicentre
Kabul, Afghanistan - As the number of coronavirus cases in Afghanistan steadily climbs,­ the western province of Herat has emerged as the epicentre of the country's outbreak with at least 54 of the 75 total cases reported in the country.Thousands of Afghans have returned to Herat from neighbouring Iran, where at least 1,800 people have died due to the pandemic.But most of them do not seem to have been quarantined in order to check the spread of the virus.Government efforts to persuade people to maintain social distancing have proven futile amid the rush of returnees from Iran and a general lack of adherence to safety guidelines. aljazeera
Shaheen Bagh protestors urge SC to order probe into 'forcible removal and destruction' of protest site
New Delhi: A day after Delhi Police removed anti-CAA protestors from Shaheen Bagh, the agitators have written a letter to the Supreme Court seeking an investigation into the alleged forcible removal and destruction of the protest site.Amid Delhi government’s announcement of imposing a lockdown across the national capital to contain the spread of coronavirus, police personnel ended the 101-day long Shaheen Bagh protest early Tuesday (March 24). For more than three months the protesters had occupied a critical road connecting Noida and south Delhi.In their letter, the Shaheen Bagh protestors sought a direction from the apex court for citizens' rights.Delhi Police on Tuesday also cleared the anti-CAA protest site in Hauz Rani, Turkman Gate and Jaffarabad. A few protestors were detained as they refused to vacate the place. Senior advocate Sanjay Hedge and advocate Sadhana Ramachandran, interlocutors appointed by the apex court to hold talks with the Shaheen Bagh protesters, appealed to the agitators not to escalate the matter following the police action.timesnownews
Asked to move due to  lockdown, Shaheen Bagh protestors say 'will be back to fight CAA'
NEW DELHI: Hours after the Delhi Police cleared the sit-in site at Shaheen Bagh on Tuesday, anti- CAA protesters pledged to resume their “fight” against the contentious citizenship law after the COVID-19 crisis is over.Expressing their annoyance, volunteers associated with the Shaheen Bagh protest said the police intervention was inevitable.“Our protest was an idea. The police have just removed  people physically from the location. The tents and posters and all the symbolic protest material that we had kept were removed. At a time when we were obeying and cooperating amid such a pandemic, the police took advant age and cl e a red everything,” said a woman protester, requesting anonymity. Another volunteer Asif Mujtaba pledged to continue the stir later.“We will plan accordingly. The road blockade is just a part of the protest. We have not called off the protest yet,” he said.A Twitter handle, being managed by a group of volunteers, declared that the movement would continue but its physical manifestation will evolve. “Although the sit-in by the women of Shaheen Bagh was the fundamental form of the protest, its essence, however, transcends its physical form. Shaheen Bagh is no longer just a sentiment space, but an idea, a warm sentiment, a symbol of indefatigable spirits and democratic force. The movement will go and only its physical manifestation will evolve,” read the statement posted on social media platform.After clearing protest sites at Shaheen Bagh and Jamia Millia Islamia, the police dismantled all art installations placed at two locations. Later, workers were seen painting the walls that had full of slogans and messages in the about three-month agitation. A senior police officer said all paraphernalia at protest sites near Okhla and Shaheen Bagh were removed but denied giving order to whitewash artwork on the walls. newindianexpress
'Shaheen Bagh Was Not an Event or a Tent, it Made Indian Muslim Women Partners in National Affairs'
New Delhi: The women of Delhi's Shaheen Bagh locality are aware of the threat of novel coronavirus. So they modified their mode of protest to ensure social distancing as they were wary of withdrawing completely with their demands remaining unmet. The Delhi police on Tuesday evicted the protesters, and removed every art installation put up by the demonstrators over the period of three months.Gone are the tall map of India rejecting the CAA, NRC and NPR, the library at the bus stop, the detention centre model, the India Gate image, portraits of freedom fighters and makers of modern India, and the stage from where the women spoke and resisted the controversial changes by the Centre in the country's citizenship rules.“We didn’t know that the government considers us also as some kind of a virus. Every piece of art and installation has been removed but they don’t realise the attack has been made on the symbols of idea of India,” said Shaista Bano, who has seen the visuals of police evicting the protesters and packing away or whitewashing every article of protest. She has participated in most of the demonstrations in the past three months."The government thinks we are too naive to understand the underlying intentions behind the eviction and vandalism at the protest site in the name of the coronavirus… inke liye toh shayad hum virus hain (for them, perhaps we are like virus too),” she added.The women have left the spot, for now – and some have been detained. “But at this moment, it is expected of us to ensure safety for all … we will not go back on our demands and see how to continue the struggle,” Shaista said. COVID-19 pandemic is closing down the world. Syeda Saiyidain Hameed, ex planning commission member and women's rights activist, is aware about the eviction following the outbreak, and invested faith in the movement saying is “not just an event”."It was a vibrant movement, something unseen in the history of Muslim women. We were hoping for it to not become an event and it did not. With this the Muslim women became the partners in the development paradigm. They were not an instrument in anyone’s hands. They are in the mainstream upholding the Constitution. They are not relegated to a the corner of an Urdu daily column.”The eviction has also brought the destruction of the site. But the gain is, Syeda said, “The Muslim women have achieved their identity and participation in the affairs of the country. They must not go back in the ghetto no matter how much other people try to get them.” news18
Jamia students claim policemen defaced anti-CAA graffiti on walls of university
New Delhi:The Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC) on Tuesday alleged that policemen defaced their anti-CAA graffiti on the walls of the university, a charge denied by police.The graffiti had been painted while the protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was underway outside the gate of Jamia Millia Islamia.The students claimed that their protest-related graffiti and verses of Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Manto were specifically targeted. JCC, a group comprising Jamia Millia Islamia students and alumni of the university, had called off its sit-in protest against the new citizenship law last week in the wake of coronavirus outbreak. JCC members claimed that policemen came along with painters on Tuesday morning and defaced the graffiti."Are paintings also violating lockdown? Susceptible to Coronavirus infections? So why are these at Jamia being painted over? Such vindictivenes in the garb of locking down. Shame! @DelhiPolice ..An absolute shame. #WeWillRiseAgain #jamia #Inquilabliveson #inquilabzindabad," JCC tweeted.JCC members also alleged that essential supplies, which were to be sent to riot-hit northeast Delhi, kept in the tents were stolen.PTI
Kolkata’s anti-CAA protesters leave placards, shoes
 “Imran, I am here only”, “I am Nuzhat, I am present here 24X7”, “Saad Abdullah, No NRC, No CAA no NPR” — these are among the placards left at the Park Circus Maidan in Kolkata, which has been central to the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) protests in West Bengal since January 7, 2020. Shaheen Bagh protest site cleared by Delhi Police. 9 held | Lucknow protest against CAA suspended as city comes under lockdown | Muslim outfits vow to come back stronger against citizenship law . Besides placards, there are dozens of pairs of shoes, scarves and dupattas kept at the ground, with the names of the people who have left them behind. On Wednesday afternoon, there were only five to six people left at the ground, including two elderly women on the stage with face masks, sitting a few meters apart. “About five to seven people are at the ground every hour, including during the night. The police has allowed only this kind of crowd here,” Abid Rana Karim, one of the protesters, told The Hindu. The youth, who was taking a selfie, explained that the protest at the ground was now “symbolic”.A chair next to the stage has the name of Asmat Jamil, a driving force behind the anti-CAA movement since it began here. Ms. Jamil said that it was a conscious decision on the part of organisers to keep placards, shoes and clothes. thehindu
Coronavirus Fears Are a Double Whammy for Displaced Victims of Delhi Riots
New Delhi: “They killed my brother and broke both my hands, my house is burnt. I have no money and nowhere to go if they throw me out of here” said Nizamuddin, whose address for the last one month has been Tent-11, Idgah Relief camp – but maybe not for too long.Delhi witnessed its worst communal conflict in decades between February 23 and February 27, 2020. Fifty-three people were killed, hundreds were injured and numerous houses and cars were burnt. The riots broke out in North East Delhi.After the riots, hundreds of people who had been affected by the violence fled what they called their homes for decades in the fear of violence from the brethren of Delhi. Some of them left Delhi, moving to different cities to their relatives. People who were unable to go elsewhere were forced to live in the relief camps built by the Delhi government and the Delhi Waqf Board.For the last month, about 870 people have been calling this relief camp their home. Amidst the coronavirus pandemic in India, the future of the residents of the camp is in darkness. Delhi Waqf board and the state government has ordered that the camp be vacated on an immediate basis to keep the virus from spreading.“The coronavirus pandemic is a serious issue and we don’t want to endanger the health and lives of the people in the camp,” said Mohammed Imran, media coordinator and nodal officer of Delhi Waqf Board. “We also don’t want these people to take the relief services for granted.” thewire
Coronavirus | No shelter for riot victims as Delhi clears Eidgah relief camp: Report
Following the outbreak of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, in India, the governments – both at the Centre and the states – are trying to ensure citizens abide by advisories on basic hygiene and social distancing to curb its spread. As a result, mass gatherings of any nature have been banned for the coming weeks, typically until the deadly disease has been eradicated.In an effort to ensure that, Delhi’s Eidgah relief camp, located in Old Mustafabad, had to abruptly drive out riot victims too. More than 600 riot victims had been residing there since their homes were ravaged by the communal violence that killed more than 50 persons in North East Delhi in February.Now, they have nowhere to go. Authorities have begun clearing the camp and the inmates have about 24 hours to look for an alternate accommodation, Indian Express reported.Shabana is one such riot victim who had sought refuge in the Eidgah relief camp. A mother to five daughters, she has no house to return to, no spare clothes to wear, no food or medicine either and is worried about how she would sustain herself in coming days.On March 24, the riot victims were offered cash assistance of Rs 3,000 each to help them pay rent and buy ration for a few days. While some don’t have a home to go back to, others are still worried about being attacked by their neighbours. Meanwhile, some families have claimed they haven’t received the rent amount either, the report said.Some volunteers helping out at the camp told the paper that several riot victims have already vacated the camp and only 30 to 40 families remain. They too have been planning on leaving the place as it has got difficult to arrange for food and healthcare. moneycontrol
After riots, now virus: N-E Delhi residents struggle to put life back together
On February 25, 75-year-old Sanjay Kaushik’s three-storey home in north-east Delhi’s Brijpuri was gutted in the worst-ever communal clashes that Capital had seen in decades.Last week, he had restarted his business of supplying cooking oil and other essentials to nearby grocery stores. But then the Covid-19 pandemic demanded the government take stern measures.Delhi government responded with the announcement of a lockdown that sealed the city’s borders and requested citizens to avoid non-essential travel. The Union government stopped the Railways as many started to leave for their homes in other states.Kaushik had to stop work.“There is no labour available due to the lockdown. I don’t know where to start from,” he said.
After staying at his relative’s place for over two weeks, the family recently shifted to a small flat in Ganga Vihar. With no business, Kaushki finds it difficult to support his staff of 10 people. The ₹2.5-lakh compensation he got from the Delhi government is almost spent.“After the riots, I gave them money so that they can support their families. But now due to coronavirus scare, I’m not able to restart my business. I don’t know how to pay my staff,” he said.Five-kilometers away in Shiv Vihar, one of the worst affected areas in the riots, 42-year-old Shehzad Ahmed, who supplied waste paper for recycling to mills, is struggling to start afresh too.His godown that also served as his office, and the trucks parked outside were gutted along with several shops, schools, houses in the lower-income group locality. hindustantime
Anti-CAA protests ‘take a break’ in western UP, to resume after Covid-19 is defeated
Meerut/Agra/Bareilly: After Delhi and Lucknow, women protesters staging round-the-clock sit-in against CAA and NRC withdrew their stir in all cities of western UP, but with a rider that they will resume it once the novel coronavirus is wiped out. The “conditional break” was achieved after a lot of persuasion by police, authorities and religious leaders who termed large-scale gathering as unsafe amid the threat posed by novel coronavirus.In Deoband, a town in UP’s Saharanpur district housing one of the world’s largest Islamic seminaries, a protest was going on for the last 57 days. On Tuesday, it was discontinued. However, the protesting women left their bangles and ‘burqas’ at the protest site, Eidgah ground, under the “guard of CCTV cameras”.“We will resume the stir from April 5. Until then, no one will touch these burqas and bangles or else we would resume our agitation, then and there,” one of the protesters said. Over 500 women were at the sit-in site at any given time for the last almost two months in Deoband’s Eidgah, making it the largest protest site in UP.According to Vidyasagar Mishra, Saharanpur superintendent of police (rural), “We had been talking to the representatives of this agitation for some time. On the day of janata curfew, the attendance became thin. And on late Monday night, they finally agreed with some conditions.”Fozia Usmani, a member of Mutahida Khawatin Committee (MKC), the organising committee of the ‘dharna’, said, “We are leaving our bangles and burqas behind as our symbolic presence. We are only leaving the place for time being to mitigate chances of community spread of novel coronavirus.”In Aligarh’s Shahjamal area, another major protest site in the state, the agitation was called off on Tuesday. The protesters were staging the sit-in for the last 57 days. They vacated the protest site after getting a “written” assurance from police that their tents and other items will not be removed from ‘dharna’ site, as they will resume the sit-in after spread of the virus is controlled.  In Moradabad also, Eidgah was cleared of protesters. Additional superintendent of police (city) said that tents and other things have been removed from the sit-in site. Similarly, superintendent of police in Sambhal said that all protesting women have gone back to their homes calling off the protest there.
UP CM Leads Ram Temple Rituals at Ayodhya Day after PM Announced Nationwide
 LUCKNOW, : Ayodhya: Ram Lalla idol here was shifted to a temporary new location on early Wednesday morning in the presence of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, clearing the site to allow construction of a Ram temple.The idol of Ram Lalla was placed on a 9.5-kg silver throne in the new structure where the idol would remain till the construction of the Ram temple is completed on the site, allotted for it by the Supreme Court in a landmark verdict in November..After the idol was placed, the chief minister offered special prayers in the presence of Ram Mandir Trust Secretary Champat Rai. Even after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced complete nationwide lockdown from Tuesday midnight in view of the Coronavirus endemic and Union Home Ministry announced closure of all religious places for public and banned all religious congregations “without any exception”, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath led Ram Temple rituals in Ayodhya early Wednesday morning. He went to Twitter and himself announced about the event. He also shared photos.“Ayodhya has made a call…The first phase of construction of grand Ram Temple concluded today, Lord Ram has moved from tirpal to new place…Shifted the idol of ‘Ram Lalla’ to a temporary structure near Manas Bhawan. Donated Rs 11 lakh for construction of grand temple,” tweeted UP CM at 6:45 AM today along with three pictures of the event wherein he is seen leading the rituals. A few senior leaders of RSS and VHP were present on the occasion.The event was earlier scheduled but reports had come that in view of the lockdown due to the Coronavirus, this could be deferred. However, according to NDTV, Yogi reached Ayodhya late Tuesday night after the PM announced nationwide lockdown. Along with Yogi, at least 20 people attended the ritual Wednesday morning, TV channel said. Besides CM Yogi, many prominent saints from the town, senior government officials including Ayodhya's DM and SP were in attendance.Soon after PM’s Tuesday 8 PM address, Union Ministry of Home Affairs had issued three-page guidelines regarding the lockdown. The ministry announced shops, markets, offices and institutions except those engaged in essential services. Indiatomorrow/ PTI
 Ayodhya: Ram Lalla idol shifted to temporary structure to allow temple construction
Cruel to continue to detain Mehbooba Mufti: Omar Abdullah
A day after he was released from jail, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah appealed to the Centre to release PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti who continues to be under detention ever since the government abrogated special status to the erstwhile state and imposed a lockdown and restrictions on communications in the Vlaley.Taking to Twitter, the National Conference leader said, “It’s callous and cruel to continue to detain Mehbooba Mufti and others at a time like this.There was never much justification to detain everyone in the first place and none at all to keep them detained as the country enters a 3-week lockdown.” indianexpress 
Kabul Sikh temple siege: Dozens killed in gunmen attack
Afghan forces have killed gunmen who attacked a Sikh religious complex in the capital, Kabul, ending an hours-long siege that killed 25 people, the Ministry of Interior has said.The attack on Wednesday was claimed by the ISIL (ISIS) armed group. Earlier, the Taliban armed group denied it was behind the siege that left at least eight others wounded. Witness Raju Singh Sonny told AFP that a man dressed in a police uniform burst into the temple in central Kabul, shot a guard and started attacking worshippers in the main hall."Several other attackers also entered the building and they were going from room to room shooting people," Sonny said.Later in the day, interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said in a message to journalists the operation by the security forces had concluded and all attackers were killed.Security forces cordoned off the area, located in old Kabul, after gunmen stormed the complex, the government said.Narindra Singh Khalsa, a parliamentarian from the minority Sikh community, told AP news agency he had been near the Gurdwara - the Sikh place of worship - when the attack happened and ran to the site. aljazeera
Netanyahu ally resigns, deepening Israeli political turmoil
Israel's parliament speaker has abruptly resigned, dealing a blow to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and deepening the country's political turmoil as the embattled leader tries to cling to power amid a fast-spreading outbreak of the coronavirus and a looming corruption trial.The resignation of Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein on Wednesday clears the way for the opposition to move forward with efforts in parliament to topple Netanyahu.But by resigning, Edelstein, a member of Netanyahu's Likud party, also defied a Supreme Court order to hold a vote for his successor, throwing down a new obstacle that could delay the opposition from proceeding with its agenda for several days. aljazeera
Bangladesh releases jailed opposition leader Khaleda Zia
Bangladesh's ailing former prime minister and opposition leader Khaleda Zia has been released from prison on humanitarian grounds, her party said.74-year-old was freed on Wednesday for six months to allow her to undergo urgent medical treatment.Zia's release was granted on the condition that she will stay in the capital, Dhaka, for treatment of her diabetes and arthritis.Her family had appealed for her to be allowed to go to the United Kingdom for treatment."She will now be treated by top Bangladeshi doctors," Zahid Hossain, vice chairman of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), told AFP news agency.Hundreds of Zia's supporters greeted her in Dhaka - defying a government ban on public gatherings to contain the coronavirus pandemic - as she emerged in a wheelchair from a hospital where she had been kept in a special cell. aljazeera
Sudan Defence Minister dies at Juba peace talks
Sudanese Defence Minister Lieutenant General Jamal al-Din Omar died of an unspecified illness on Wednesday while in neighbouring South Sudan for peace talks with his country’s main rebel groups, the military announced.Mr. Omar had “suffered from a number of chronic illnesses,” armed forces spokesman Amer Mohamed al-Hassan said without elaborating.The government delegation in the South Sudanese capital Juba said Omar died at 2:30 a.m. (2330 GMT ) “after a sudden heart attack during the performance of his sacred duty”. AFP
More than 60 people found dead in cargo container in Mozambique
More than 60 people believed to be migrants from Ethiopia have been found dead in a cargo container in Mozambique's northwest Tete province, according to officials.Police and immigration authorities stopped the truck en route from Malawi in the early hours of Tuesday morning in the province of Tete, bordered by Malawi on one side and Zimbabwe on the other. aljazeera
Istanbul prosecutor indicts Saudi suspects for Khashoggi killing
The Istanbul prosecutor's office said it had prepared an indictment against 20 suspects over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, including the former deputy head of Saudi Arabia's general intelligence and a former royal adviser.Khashoggi's killing in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018 caused a global uproar, tarnishing the image of Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS).Five sentenced to death over Jamal Khashoggi's murderSome Western governments, as well as the CIA, said they believed MBS ordered the killing - an accusation Saudi officials have denied.The prosecutor's office said the indictment accuses the former deputy head of Saudi Arabia's general intelligence, Ahmed al-Asiri, and the former royal court adviser, Saud al-Qahtani, of having "instigated premeditated murder with monstrous intent". aljazeera
92 Chad soldiers killed in 'deadliest' Boko Haram attack
At least 92 soldiers from Chad have been killed in the deadliest-ever attack by the Boko Haram armed group on the country's military forces, President Idriss Deby said on Tuesday."We lost 92 of our soldiers, non-commissioned officers and officers," the president said of the attack overnight on Sunday in Boma."It’s the first time we have lost so many men," he added, after visiting the site of the incident in Lac province, which borders Niger and Nigeria. The attack on soldiers on the Boma peninsula lasted at least seven hours and reinforcements sent to help out were also hit, one soldier told AFP news agency.He said 24 army vehicles were destroyed, including armoured vehicles and Boko Haram carried off weapons stolen from the military in speedboats."The enemy has hit at our defences hard in this zone," a senior officer said. aljazeera
*views, Articles, FEATURES*
We need to build more bridges, as in Northeast Delhi’s relief camps:Apoorvanand
The view that corona crisis marks a turning point for globalisation is historically ill-informed, self-defeating:Sanjaya Baru
Floor test has become a farce, as we witness constitutional anarchy:Kapil Sibal
The Revolving Door for Ranjan Gogoi Does the Supreme Court and Parliament No Credit:by Rajeev Dhavan
India's Coronavirus Testing Controversy Points At US Start-Up With No Track Record:By Aman Sethi

 Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 8:22 PM).


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