*INDIA- CORONAVIRUS- LOCKDOWN*
Aurangabad train accident: 16 migrant workers run over, probe ordered
Pune :16 migrant workers were mowed down by an empty freight train in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad district in the early hours of Friday. While 14 of them died on the spot, two of them later succumbed to injuries.The workers, who were walking to Bhusawal from Jalna to board a “Shramik Special” train to return to Madhya Pradesh, were sleeping on the railway line when the mishap occurred between Badnapur and Karmad stations in Nanded Division.Inspector Satish Khetmalas of Aurangabad rural police said the migrant workers must have fallen asleep on the tracks due to exhaustion.“All the 20 workers were walking from Jalna to Bhusawal, which is about 150 kilometers. They stopped after walking for about 45 kilometers for some rest and fell asleep on the tracks. A goods train ran over them at around 5.15 am,” he said.The empty train was heading from Cherlapally Station near Hyderabad to Panewadi Station near Manmad in Nashik. The motormen tried to bring the train to a halt but failed to do so, an official said.Several migrant workers have hit the streets, in an attempt to return home, ever since the nationwide lockdown in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic has come into force.indianexpress
Rahul Gandhi slams govt after 15 migrants crushed to death in Maharashtra
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi attacked the Narendra Modi government over the death of 15 migrant labourers who were crushed under a goods train in Mahrashtra on their journry back to their home state."I am shocked at the news of the death of labourers and brothers after being run over by a goods train. We should be ashamed of the treatment being given to our nation builders. My condolences to the families of those killed and pray for the early recovery of the injured," the Congress leader tweeted.IANS
Vizag gas leak: Don’t have green nod, company told state last May: indianexpress
Visakhapatnam unit of LG Polymers India, where a gas leak killed at least 10 people and left several injured, did not have an environmental clearance for its petrochemical plant for a substantial period of its operations between 1997 and 2019, according to documents accessed by The Indian Express. In an affidavit submitted to the State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA), the company admitted that as of May 10, 2019, the unit did not have a “valid environmental clearance substantiating the produced quantity, issued by the competent authority for continuing operations”.
SC stays Orissa HC order that said returning migrants must test negative for Covid-19
New Delhi :The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the Orissa High Court order which directed that migrants who want to return to the state must test negative for COVID-19. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and Advocate Kanu Agrawal told the apex court that the Ministry of Home Affairs had allowed migrants who have no symptoms to return as long as they are quarantined in their native state.On Thursday, the High Court had said only those migrants who test negative for COVID-19 should be allowed into the state, forcing the state government to immediately cancel permission given to other states, including Gujarat, to transport stranded workers by train.A bench of Justices S Panda and K R Mohapatra, while hearing a petition on the return of migrants, said, “State government should ensure that all the migrants who are in queue to come to Odisha should be tested negative of COVID-19 before boarding the conveyance”.
J&K: Migrant workers ransack textile mill in Kathua over deduction of wages
Jammu and Kashmir Police Friday lobbed teargas shells and resorted to lathicharge to disperse over 5,000 workers of the Chenab Textile Mill, who first ransacked their administrative block in protest over the deduction of their wages by the management and then damaged a police gypsy along the Jammu-Pathankot national highway when police tried to intervene.Trouble started around 8.45 am when a mob of nearly 3,000-strong workers living in jhuggis outside the CTM, part of Birla Group of Industries, entered the administrative block and started ransacking the office furniture and records. They threw the furniture and office files out on the national highway passing outside the industrial unit.
Grains under Centre’s scheme yet to reach beneficiaries; Union, state ministers quarrel
After Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s tirade against the Punjab government, alleging it was not distributing food grains received from the Centre under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan and Punjab Food Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu locked horns over the issue.While Paswan tweeted his displeasure, claiming that Punjab had extended the benefit to only 1 per cent of beneficiaries, Ashu hit out at Centre alleging that the state had received pulses (dal) for April only on May 1, after which they had started distributing the ration. “I have a question to Paswan ji. Why was the dal mean for the month of April sent to the state on May 1?” he tweeted.Under the scheme, as many as 1.4 crore people in Punjab, almost half of its population, are to be given free ration for 3 months, in addition to their monthly PDS entitlement.
Surat police removes ban on loudspeakers for azaan during Ramzan
Surat :Hours after it asked trustees and maulvis of different mosques in the city to not use loudspeakers for azaan (call for prayer) amid the COVID-19 lockdown, the Surat police on Friday gave permission to recite azaan through loudspeakers during the holy month of Ramzan following representation by Muslim community leaders.Amid the lockdown, the Gujarat state home department had earlier issued a notification which stated that “religious congregations for activities such as puja/bandagi is banned and even the use of loud-speakers and other mediums for the same is also prohibited.”Taking this order as a reference, Surat police had started making calls to the trustees and maulana’s of different mosques, from Friday morning onwards, informing them about the government order.During the holy month of Ramzan, Muslims wake up for doing sehri namaaz at 4 am and the fast starts after announcement is made on the loud speakers from the mosques. The fast is also broken after the azaan call at 7 pm.indianexpress
States should consider home delivery of liquor during lockdown: Supreme Court
New Delhi :In what could be sweet music to tipplers, the Supreme Court Friday observed that states should consider online sales and home delivery of liquor to ensure that the social distancing norms are not violated in view of the Covid-19 situation.The observation came from a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, S K Kaul and B R Gavai while hearing a petition by Guruswamy Nataraj. The plea filed through Advocate Anindita Mitra sought a direction from the court declaring the new guidelines dated May 01, by the Centre as unconstitutional, null and void, “to the extent they permit the sale of alcoholic liquors for human consumption at liquor vends/shops through direct contact sales during the lockdown period”.Appearing for the petitioner, Advocate Sai Deepak said the number of liquor vends is less compared to the demand and as a result, there is crowding at the outlets with social distancing norms being flouted.
Coronavirus: Madras HC Orders Immediate Closure of State-owned Liquor Shops; TN to Move SC
The Madras High Court today ordered the immediate closure of state-owned alcohol shops across Tamil Nadu keeping in mind the growing number of coronavirus cases across the state. Tamil Nadu is expected to move the Supreme Court at the earliest against the lower court's direction.
Indore hospital’s license suspended after kin of four patients allege negligence
Bhopal : Indore district administration on Friday temporarily suspended the license of Gokuldas Hospital, a private hospital in the biggest city of Madhya Pradesh, after the death of four patients on Thursday followed by allegations by their relatives that the hospital was negligent.The administration was prodded into action after a video made by relatives of the deceased went viral. In the videos, the relatives alleged the hospital was in a hurry to move from the yellow category (suspects are treated) to green category (non-COVID facility) and paid no attention to the patients admitted there.A team of doctors, led by Indore chief medical and health officer Dr Praveen Jadia, visited the hospital and collected treatment papers of the dead patients. Dr Jadia said on Friday that while the hospital’s license has been cancelled, only a probe will establish whether it was guilty of negligence and appropriate action will follow. He said the first death took place around 11.30 on Thursday and the rest in the evening.When asked about allegations by relatives of other patients who had been turned away by hospital management, Dr Jadia said the team was looking into it. He said Collector of Mandsaur district had also written a letter to Indore administration based on a complaint that the hospital had refused to treat a Mandsaur patient who later died.indianexpress
Moody’s Investors Service sees India’s economic growth at zero’ in FY21
Moody's Investors Service on Friday said it estimates India's GDP growth to hit zero' in FY21 and pointed to a wide fiscal deficit, high government debt, weak social and physical infrastructure, and a fragile financial sector.The quality of India's economic growth has declined in recent years, demonstrated by financial stress among rural households, relatively low productivity and weak job creation, the agency said.In its forecast for FY21, the agency estimated India's gross domestic product (GDP) growth at zero, meaning the country's economic growth will remain flat this financial year, and the same is seen accelerating to 6.6 per cent in FY22.In its credit opinion which comes following the change in the forecast, Moody's warned that the COVID-19 "shock will exacerbate an already material slowdown in economic growth, which has significantly reduced prospects for durable fiscal consolidation".PTI
Praveen Pardeshi shunted out, Iqbal Chahal is new BMC chief as Covid-19 deaths cross 400
Mumbai :In a major development, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray Friday shunted Praveen Pardeshi from the Mumbai civic commissioner’s post. At the epicentre of the novel coronavirus pandemic in Maharashtra, Mumbai has so far reported 11394 cases and 437 deaths. Additional Chief Secretary (Urban Development) Iqbal Singh Chahal has replaced Pardeshi to the civic commissioner’s post. Pardeshi has been transferred as the new Additional Chief Secretary (Urban Development).Thackeray has also moved out Mumbai’s Additional Municipal Commissioner Abbasaheb Jarhad. Former Thane Municipal Commissioner Sanjeev Jaiswal, who was on compulsory waiting, will succeed Jarhad. Jarhad will take over as Secretary, Relief and Rehabilitation from Kishoreraje Nimbalkar, who has newly been appointed as the Public Works Department Secretary.indianexpress
Adityanath Govt in UP to Suspend Key Labour Laws, Workers' Rights for Three Years
Uttar Pradesh government has approved an ordinance exempting businesses from the purview of almost all labour laws for the next three years in a bid to provide a fillip to investments affected by the novel coronavirus in the state.The ordinance will become law only after it receives the president’s assent.“The horticultural and economical activities in the states have been severely affected and slowed down due to the outbreak of COVID-19. This is because businesses and economic activities came to a halt more or less due to the national lockdown,” a press statement issued by the state government said. The decision was taken in a meeting of the state cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Adityanath on Wednesday. The statement said that the government has cleared the ‘Uttar Pradesh Temporary Exemption from Certain Labour Laws Ordinance, 2020’ to exempt all establishments, factories and businesses from the purview of all, but four labour laws and one provision of another Act, for a a period of three years.
PM CARES Fund must be audited, take idea of NYAY to revive the economy: Rahul Gandhi
Amid deepening financial woes and mishandling of migrants’ crisis, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi has suggested that Narendra Modi government should consider implementing the idea of NYAY– a direct cash transfer scheme, envisaged by the Congress – to revive the economy.Addressing a press meet via video-conferencing, Rahul suggested that the government should immediately put cash in 50% households of the country.“Take the idea of NYAY and start putting money directly into the hands of 50% of India’s poor households. It’s not going to cost too much. The Centre must immediately transfer ₹65,000 crore into the bank accounts of poor and migrant population to give them financial support in these difficult times,” said Rahul.
Pending Class 10, 12 CBSE exams to be held from July 1 to 15, says HRD Ministry
Pending CBSE class 10, 12 board exams, which were postponed due to the COVID-19-induced lockdown, will now be conducted from July 1 to 15, Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ announced on Friday.“The students have been impatiently waiting for the schedule for pending exams. It has been decided today that the exams will be conducted from July 1 to 15,” he said.PTI
*CORONAVIRUS – WORLD*
Tanzania says 'faulty' WHO test kits report goat, papaya Covid-19 positive, presidential probe ordered
Coronavirus test kits used in Tanzania were dismissed as faulty by President John Magufuli on Sunday because he said they had returned positive results on samples taken from a goat and pawpaw (papaya).Magufuli, whose government has already drawn criticism for being secretive about the coronavirus outbreak and has previously asked Tanzanians to pray the coronavirus away, said the kits had “technical errors”.The Covid-19 testing kits had been imported from abroad, Magufuli said during an event in Chato in the north-west of Tanzania, although he did not give further details.The president said he had instructed Tanzanian security forces to check the quality of the kits. They had randomly obtained several non-human samples, including from pawpaw, a goat and a sheep, but had assigned them human names and ages.These samples were then submitted to Tanzania’s laboratory to test for the coronavirus, with the lab technicians left deliberately unaware of their origins.Samples from the pawpaw and the goat tested positive for Covid-19, the president said, adding this meant it was likely that some people were being tested positive when in fact they were not infected by the coronavirus.“There is something happening. I said before we should not accept that every aid is meant to be good for this nation,” Magufuli said, adding kits should be investigated. Tanzania, where places of worship remain open, has at least 480 confirmed cases and 18 deaths, the fourth highest case load in Eastern Africa. But the data is from Sunday, the most recent day the government released figures. Magufuli also said that he was sending a plane to collect a cure being promoted by Madagascar’s president. “I’m communicating with Madagascar,” he said during a speech, adding: “They have got a medicine. We will send a flight there and the medicine will be brought in the country so that Tanzanians too can benefit.”indiatoday? Reuters
WHO rejects Tanzania claim tests faulty as same test that is using everyone
World Health Organisation has rejected claims by Tanzanian President John Magufuli that coronavirus tests in his country have been faulty."We are convinced that the tests... are not contaminated with the virus," WHO Africa director Matshidiso Moeti said in a media briefing. "We are not in agreement with (Magufuli's) point of view," Moeti added. Dr John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control (CDC), said Tanzania was using test kits supplied by the Africa CDC in collaboration with the Chinese Jack Ma Foundation, which met international standards."Tanzania is using the same test that everyone is using," Nkengasong said, noting that it was improbable the tests were faulty.AP
Africa Disease Centre Rejects Tanzania's Allegation That Its Coronavirus Tests Faulty
Wuhan lab ‘conspiracy’: How US, China are at loggerheads over origin of coronavirus
As coronavirus continues to exact a huge toll on the economy and human lives across the world, the war of words between the US and China over the origin of coronavirus shows no sign of de-escalation. The latest row threatens to turn the US-China relationship, already frayed due to the trade war, from bad to worse.Over the last few weeks, the US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have repeatedly claimed that the coronavirus originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Hubei province’s capital city of Wuhan. The outbreak was first detected last December here. The two leaders have maintained that Beijing has refused to provide access to international scientists to learn what actually happened.China, on the other hand, has fiercely rebutted all the accusations saying it’s a ‘smear’ campaign whose primary purpose is to give a boost to President Trump’s re-election chances in November this year. The Chinese government has faced significant criticism at home and abroad over its handling of the pandemic, especially during the early days of the outbreak. However, it has constantly denied any wrongdoing.
United Nations chief says pandemic is unleashing a ‘’tsunami of hate’’
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Friday the coronavirus pandemic keeps unleashing a tsunami of hate and xenophobia, scapegoating and scare-mongering.UN chief said anti-foreigner sentiment has surged online and in the streets, anti-Semitic conspiracy theories have spread, and COVID-19-related anti-Muslim attacks have occurred.Guterres said migrants and refugees have been vilified as a source of the virus -- and then denied access to medical treatment.With older persons among the most vulnerable, contemptible memes have emerged suggesting they are also the most expendable, he said.PTI
US economy loses a record 20.5 million jobs in April
US has never seen anything like this before.The depth and breadth of the damage inflicted on the economy by coronavirus lockdown measures came into sharp, painful focus on Friday with government figures showing a record 20.5 million Americans lost their jobs in April. Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also showed the unemployment rate skyrocketed to 14.7 percent last month - the highest since the Great Depression. Behind all of these numbers are real people whose livelihoods have been brutally and tragically disrupted by the pandemic. The data further confirms the overwhelming consensus that the US economy is in the throes of a sharp recession. But in a sobering reality check, the headline numbers likely understate the true scale of the carnage."Although the unemployment rate only climbed to 14.7 percent, slightly below expectations, that was principally because the BLS is still having problems with misclassifying absent workers who should have been recorded as on temporary layoff," Capital Economics chief US economist Paul Ashworth wrote in a note to clients. "Without that distortion, unemployment rate would have been close to 20 percent last month."
Bangladesh quarantines hundreds of Rohingya rescued from sea
The Bangladesh navy has rescued about 280 Muslim-majority Rohingya from the Bay of Bengal, towing their stranded boat to an island where they will be quarantined as a precaution against the coronavirus, coastguard and naval officials said on Friday.Rights groups and aid agencies have raised their voice against the transfer of Rohingya to the flood-prone Bhasan Char island in the Bay of Bengal.
*INDIA- ISLAMOPHOBIA, HUMAN RIGHTS & OTHERS*
Babri Masjid demolition case: Deliver verdict by August 31, SC tells CBI court
New Delhi :The Supreme Court Friday extended the deadline for a special CBI court in Lucknow till August 31, 2020 to deliver the verdict in the Babri Masjid demolition case, in which senior leaders of the BJP and VHP are accused.A bench comprising Justices R F Nariman and Surya Kant observed that the trial court judge should use video conferencing facilities to complete the proceedings. The apex court said that the trial judge should ensure that the present deadline is “no longer breached”, Live Law reported.Among the 32 people facing trial in the case are veteran BJP leaders Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Kalyan Singh and former Union minister Uma Bharti, and sitting MPs Brij Bhushan Singh and Sakshi Maharaj.After the demolition of Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, two cases were filed in Ayodhya — one related to the conspiracy of demolishing of Babri Masjid and another for instigating the crowd to demolish the structure. Around 47 more cases were lodged then that were merged with the case of demolition.
Delhi Minorities Commission chairman Zafarul Islam Khan moves Delhi HC for anticipatory bail
The chairman of the Delhi Minorities Commission Zafarul Islam Khan has moved the Delhi High Court for anticipatory bail through his lawyers Vrinda Grover, Ratna Appnender and Soutik Banerjee. The case has been listed for May 12.In the petition, he has sought to invoke Section 438 and Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure as Khan believes that his arrest is motivated and untenable in an absolutely frivolous case registered at the Lodi Colony special cell police station. He has requested the court to ensure that his laptop, mobile phone are not seized and that no coercive action would be taken against him. Delhi police landed at Khan’s residence on Wednesday, May 6, a week after a sedition case was booked against himfor a post on social media expressing his thanks to Kuwait for highlighting the issues of Muslims in the country. The case filed by a Vasant Kunj resident invoked 124A (sedition) and 153A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, and doing acts to promote disharmony) of the Indian Penal Code.His lawyer Vrinda Grover had stated that since Khan was 72-years-old, as per Section 160 of CrPC, the police cannot compel attendance of a person above 65 years age at any place other than their residence for the purpose of investigation and interrogation.
Civilian Killed in Protests as Kashmiris Try to Make Their Way to Riyaz Naikoo's Village
Srinagar: For the second consecutive day, protests marked by stone-pelting continued in Pulwama, where slain Hizbul Mujahideen commander Riyaz Naikoo was from. The authorities tightened restrictions to prevent people from visiting the militant’s home in Baighpora village in south Kashmir.At least one person was killed and more than two dozen were wounded after the Jammu and Kashmir police and other forces opened fire and used pellet guns and teargas shells to quell protests in Baighpora and adjoining villages.A doctor at a health facility in Pulwama identified the killed civilian as 32-year-old Jehangir Yusuf Wani, a resident of Uthmula village in Pulwama.“He was brought dead to the hospital with multiple firearms injuries on his body,” said a doctor at the primary health centre in Tahab, Pulwama. Apprehensive that the police might take possession of the body, locals said the killing was kept a “secret” to ensure the body is buried at the family graveyard.the wire
Anti-CAA Activist Sabu Ansari, Arrested With Khalid Saifi and Ishrat Jehan, Granted Bail
New Delhi: 23-year-old Sabu Ansari, who was arrested along with Khalid Saifi and Ishrat Jehan from the anti-CAA protest site at Khureji Khas on February 26, was granted bail by the Karkadooma court on Friday.The court observed that his role was on a ‘higher footing’ than Jehan, who was granted bail on March 21, but different from that of Saifi, whose bail application was dismissed on the same date. Ansari was granted bail against a surety of Rs 50,000 and on the assurance that he will not leave the country, not change his address and present himself for questioning whenever needed.Relieved to be back home after 63 days, Ansari said that he was grateful to be reunited with his family during Ramzan. A tailor employed in a Pune factory that stitches car seats, Ansari shoulders the responsibility of his old mother and two younger siblings.“I was not even a regular at the protest site at Khureji Khas. I had been there a couple of times. On February 25, I was visiting my uncle who lives close by. It got late so I decided to sleep in the store room behind the protest site with a few workers. I was still sleeping when the police stormed in and picked me up. I was completely taken by surprise.”
90 UK Scholars Condemn 'Crackdown on Dissent' During India's COVID-19 Lockdown
New Delhi: A group of 90 scholars based in the United Kingdom have issued a statement condemning the “brutal crackdown” on dissent and protests during the COVID-19 lockdown. The Narendra Modi government, they have said, has launched a “witch-hunt” against students and activists.In particular, the group has referred to charges filed against Umar Khalid, Meeran Haider and Safoora Zargar, who were involved in the anti-CAA protests, and now face charges under draconian UAPA. The signatories include scholars from London School of Economics, Oxford University, Cambridge University and other well-known UK varsities.thewire
*views, Articles, FEATURES*
75 Years After Fascism's Defeat, Trump and Others Have Thrown Its Main Lesson to the Wind:Inderjeet Parmar
SC: Centre Refuses to Disclose Details of Train Fares Charged From Migrant Workers
How India Ignored Its Own Code for Use of Experimental Drugs in an Outbreak:Priyanka Pulla
At 'Government Request', Twitter Blocks Tweet by BJP MP Tejasvi Surya:Anuj Srivas
We Cannot Have a Lockdown Exit Strategy Which Ignores Women:Jashodhara Dasgupta and Sona Mitra
Vizag Gas Leak: LG Polymers Operated Without Appropriate Environment Clearance
Learning on the job, epidemiologists are now much sought after
Lockdown Impact: ‘Ludhiana pushed back by 30 years’:Amreek Singh
* Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 8:01 PM)*