24 September 2020

24 SEPT. NEWS: After raising questions over Rafale contract, CAG report says Israel Aerospace Industries got undue benefit from sale of UAV engines to IAF . Umar Khalid sent in judicial custody till Oct 22. Salman Khurshid, Brinda Karat named in Delhi riots chargesheet





After raising questions over Rafale contract, CAG report says Israel Aerospace Industries got undue benefit from sale of UAV engines to IAF

New Delhi: A Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report tabled in Parliament Wednesday pointed out irregularities in the purchase of aero engines for Unmanned Aero Vehicles (UAVs) by Indian Air Force from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).The report states that the IAI gained undue benefits of Rs 3.16 crore from the contract.It says that the IAF concluded a contract in March 2010 with IAI for five 914 F (certified) UAV Rotax engines for Rs 87.45 lakh per engine even as Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), a DRDO laboratory, had procured the same variant of the engine at Rs 24.30 lakh per engine in April 2012. The average price of the engine in the international market is between Rs 21-25 lakh, the report says. “As a result, the vendor gained an undue benefit of Rs 3.16 crore as it supplied the 5 contracted UAV engines at more than 3 times the market price or the price offered to DRDO unit,” reads the report.The auditor also accused the vendor for mislabelling and supplying uncertified engines to IAF which reportedly led to several accidents, including loss of one UAV in a crash. CAG report also noted that the upgradation of Medium Lift Mi-17 Helicopters, proposed in 2002 to overcome their “operational limitation”, could not be achieved even after 18 years. The CAG further said that due to poor planning by the Ministry of Defence and indecision at various stages of procurement, it took 15 years to enter into the upgradation contract of 90 Mi-17 helicopters with an Israeli company — in January 2017. theprint


Rafale deal: No technology transfer yet, obtaining technology has been a particular failure, says CAG

Even as the first batch of 5 Rafale jets were recently inducted in Indian Air Force, no technology has been transferred yet, said Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its report tabled in Parliament.Raising questions over the fulfilment of the ‘commitments’ of the contract, the national auditor said that the French manufacturer has not delivered on its promises regarding transfer of technology.“…It was found that foreign vendors made various offset commitments to qualify for the main supply contract but later, were not earnest about fulfilling these commitments,” said CAG report.“For instance, in the offset contract relating to 36 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA), the vendors M/s Dassault Aviation and M/s MBDA initially proposed (September 2015) to discharge 30 per cent of their offset obligation by offering high technology to DRDO,” it said.“DRDO wanted to obtain Technical Assistance for the indigenous development of engines (Kaveri) for the Light Combat Aircraft. Till date, the Vendor has not confirmed the transfer of this technology,” it added.Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Aug.22 said that “Money was stolen from the Indian exchequer in Rafale”. nationalheraldindia


Chidambaram on Rafale makers failing offset obligations: The opening of a can of worms?

New Delhi :Former union minister P Chidambaram Thursday took a swipe at the Government saying whether it would declare that Rafale manufacturer Dassault Aviation met their offset obligations even after the country’s auditor said that it has not delivered on its promises regarding transfer of technology. “Is the CAG report the opening of a can of worms?” he tweeted.In a series of tweets Chidambaram said the French manufacturer should have completed its first annual commitment of fulfilling offset obligations as of Wednesday. Indianexpress


After Make in France, now DRDO is dumped: Congress attacks Centre over CAG report on Dassault

Congress has launched another attack on Modi government over the CAG audit in which it has pulled up Dassault Aviation and MBDA for not fulfilling the technology transfer to DRDO.Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala has said, “Chronology of biggest Defense deal continues to unfold. The new CAG report admits that ‘technology transfer’ shelved in Rafale offsets. 1st, ‘Make in India’ became ‘Make in France’. Now, DRDO dumped for tech transfer.”


40% of toilets surveyed by CAG in govt schools non-existent, unused

NEW DELHI: Public sector units claimed to have constructed 1.4 lakh toilets in government schools as part of a Right to Education project, but almost 40% of those surveyed by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) were found to be non-existent, partially constructed, or unused. In an audit report presented in Parliament on Wednesday, CAG said over 70% did not have running water facilities in the toilets, while 75% were not being maintained hygienically. Swachh Vidyalaya Abhiyan was launched by the Ministry of HRD in Sept.2014 to meet the Right to Education Act’s mandate that all schools must have separate toilets for boys and girls. Lack of dedicated funds, poor maintenance and poor water availability in toilets were identified as major challenges, and central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) were roped in to bridge the gap over a one year period. There are 10.8 lakh government schools in the country. Overall, more than 1.4 lakh toilets were built by 53 CPSEs, with significant support coming from power, coal and oil companies. thehindu


Delhi riots case: Umar Khalid sent in judicial custody till Oct 22, parents allowed to meet

A Delhi court Thursday sent former JNU student Umar Khalid, arrested under UAPA charges in a case related to northeast Delhi riots, in judicial custody till October 22. Khalid was produced before Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat through video conferencing after his 10 day police custody expired.His lawyer Trideep Pais asked the court to pass an order to provide Khalid with security inside the jail since there was a threat that he may be attacked. Pais also asked the court to pass a direction to the jail authorities to allow him to carry his spectacles inside the jail.Khalid also spoke directly to ASJ, telling him that during his 10 day police custody he did not sign on any papers, he was reading a book that he wants to carry in jail and that he wants to meet his parents before going to Tihar jail. Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad told the court that since Khalid had to be medically examined and other formalities had to be completed, his parents will have to make it in time to visit him. The court has allowed Khalid’s parents to meet him, provided they reach on time. indianexpress


Delhi Riots: Congress leader Salman Khurshid, CPM Leader Brinda Karat Named In Chargesheet

Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Salman Khurshid, CPM leader Brinda Karat and Udit Raj were among politicians who gave provocative speeches during the protests against CAA, alleged Delhi police in the charge sheet filed in connection with the Feb.riots here. Police have referted to former Congress Councillor Ishrat Jahan and a protected witness in a case related to the north east Delhi riots and said that they told about the speeches in their disclosure statements given to the them. The charge sheet said that the protected witness have stated in the statement recorded, under section 161 (examination by police) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, that several big names like politician Udit Raj, Khurshid, Karat had come to the Khureji protest site and gave "provocative speech".PTI


AMU students seek re-investigation into anti-CAA protests

The students of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) have urged the state police to re-investigate Dec.15 anti-CAA protest violence and drop charges against those who are "innocent".A delegation of students, led by the varsity's registrar Abdul Hamid, met ADG, Agra zone, Ajay Anand and gave him a memorandum in this regard on Wednesday.ADG Anand has assured them that their demands will be looked into."Not all students should be named on the basis of recovery of motorcycles by the police from the spot after the incident as many of them are innocent. The charges should be framed only after the re-investigation," said the memorandum.It further said that the students, who do not have a criminal record, should not be punished for the "politically-motivated" incident.It was also mentioned in the memorandum that no action has been taken against the police personnel for using disproportionate force against students.IANS


Delhi Police trying to frame anyone critical of Modi govt:CPI

Reacting to the recent chargesheet filed against several political leaders and activists in connection with anti-CAA protests, CPI on Thursday said the Delhi Police was trying to frame anyone critical of the Modi government. In a statement, the party said that the peaceful and democratic protests against CAA were a legitimate, constitutional expression of people’s dissent against the law. “It was the effectiveness of the protests that shook BJP, which is now attempting to portray the protests as a conspiracy to cause riots in North-East Delhi. It is indeed shocking that the Delhi Police is trying to frame political leaders and activists who are critics of the anti-people policies and programmes of the current regime,” the party said.


Elgaar Parishad case: Sudha Bharadwaj’s Interim Bail Plea Withdrawn, SC Asks Her To File For Regular Bail

Sudha Bharadwaj’s Interim Bail Plea Withdrawn, SC Asks Her To File For Regular

Activist Sudha Bharadwaj on Thursday withdrew her interim bail plea which was filed against a Bombay High Court order. She is currently lodged at Byculla women’s prison.Bharadwaj, arrested in connection with the Elgar Parishad case, has been jail since October 2018. The Bombay High Court had last month dismissed the interim bail plea filed by Bharadwaj on medical grounds in view of the Covid-19 outbreak in prisons, according to Indian Express.Advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for Bharadwaj, said on Thursday that her client was suffering from diabetes and had other co-morbidities, Bar and Bench reported. Grover added Bharadwaj had developed arthritis and a heart condition while being in jail for the last two years.The Supreme Court said that she had a “good case for bail on merits”. “Why don’t you file a regular bail application?” the court asked Grover.


Arrested journalist Rajeev Sharma’s wife flags ‘evidence fabrication’ by Delhi police

The wife of freelance journalist Rajeev Sharma, who was recently arrested under Officials Secrets Act in an espionage case, has written a letter to the Special Cell of Delhi Police, claiming that the interrogation of her husband is illegal and that police has destroyed some material evidence and fabricated others. In a letter, Dr. Pratima Vyas wrote, "On the day of the arrest of my husband, police forced me to sign on a document, which both of us were not allowed to read. The police got signatures of our neighbour Mr. Joel Demello, on the seizure memo on the night of 14.9.2020, but yet again Mr. Demello was asked to sign some documents on 18.9.2020 at the office of Special Cell. It appears that police have destroyed some material evidence and at the same time fabricated some evidence."Dr. Vyas, in the letter dated Sept.23, brought to the notice of Joint Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of Special Cell that accused Rajeev Sharma's request for a lawyer to remain present during his interrogation was not allowed. "He was forced to sign and write as per the police dictation."Rajeev Sharma has also moved a bail plea in the court, which will come up for hearing on Sept.28. IANS


Arrests of Muslims by NIA Seen as Part of Assembly Poll Build-up in Bengal: Clarion India report

NEW DELHI; A 6-member fact-finding team of a human rights organisation was visiting Murshidabad district of West Bengal on Wednesday.The purpose of the visit was to know the truth behind arrest of nine Muslim villagers by NIA on Sept.19 on claims that they are Pakistan-linked Al-Qaeda operatives and they were planning terror attacks throughout the country.Democratic forces in the state believe that this arrest is politically motivated and BJP is going to exploit it in the state Assembly elections due in the next seven to eight months.This belief gets credence from the kind of statements that are coming from state-level BJP leaders as well as RSS. They are all attacking CM Mamta Banerjee for ‘patronising terrorists’ for the sake of ‘minority appeasement’ and ‘vote bank politics’, the usual plank of BJP to polarise Hindu votes.Abdus Samad, leader of the fact-finding team of APCR told Clarion India over the phone from Murshidabad that all the nine accused are labourers and most of them belong to ‘below poverty line.“We have visited their families in neighbouring villages of the district. The men arrested by the NIA are non-political people. They are more concerned about their livelihood than politics at national or international level,” said Samad.He said this was a preliminary visit. “It will be followed by another visit on Sept.27 by a team of 12 human rights organisations that include PUCL and APHR. We want the truth to come out. The NIA is making wild claims which vested interests in Kolkata and elsewhere are repeating and disturbing communal harmony,” Samad added.NIA also claimed to have recovered large quantities of ‘incriminating materials, including digital devices and documents’ from their possession. But the NIA has made all the claims through the media. “It has not informed the families of the arrested persons on what charges they have been arrested. However, the same NIA is telling the media all sorts of stories,” said Abdur Rafiq, head of the West Bengal unit of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind. He cited one ‘fictitious’ story doing the rounds in the state. Bengali newspapers published news that a ‘tunnel’ has been discovered in the house of one of the arrested persons. But on investigation by the public, it was found to be a septic tank attached to toilets of the house.Rafiq said NIA had lost all credibility. Ranjit Sur, vice-president of APHR, the state’s largest human rights organisation, echoed Rafiq’s allegation. He said he suspected NIA could be acting in the political interests of BJP.Meanwhile, Sur says he is expecting arrests of more persons from West Bengal with alleged terror links in the coming days. Given the build-up ahead of the Assembly elections, it won’t be surprising.


Constitution of J&K still in force, says NC MP Hasnain Masoodi

National Conference (NC) MP and former judge Hasnain Masoodi on Wednesday said the J&K Official Languages Bill, 2020, was against the constitutional propriety because it was a consequence of J&K State Reorganization Bill, which is under the scrutiny of the Supreme Court.“Parliament is not competent to abrogate the constitution of the State by bifurcating it into UTs and that the Constitutions cannot be nullified and obliterated altogether even though amendments as per the prescribed law and valid constitutional procedures”, Masoodi observed. The Constitution of J&K was still in force and Urdu, official language under the Section 145, ‘is still the official language of the State’. “The constitutional propriety demands that J&K Official Languages Bill be taken back as a mark of respect for the country’s judiciary and principles of parliamentary democracy,” he stated. PDP and Peoples Conference (PC) have also expressed their displeasure over the introduction of the Bill. “Interestingly, Gojri, Pahari and Punjabi were kept away in the official language list. Gojri is a largely spoken language in J&K across its terrains”, PDP youth president Waheed-ur-Rehman Para said.Urdu was made the official language of the State of J&K by Maharaja Pratap Singh in 1899 and then again chosen to be official language by the J&K Constituent Assembly.


'Kashmiris Do Not Feel Indian, Today They'd Rather Have Chinese Rule Them': Farooq Abdullah

New Delhi: In a powerful and passionate interview with frequent flashes of anger and displays of emotion, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah has said that at this moment the Kashmiri people do not feel and do not want to be Indian. He even went so far as to say that they would rather be ruled by the Chinese, a point he reiterated when he was asked if he really meant this. Abdullah, who heads National Conference and had been the most prominent ‘pro-India’ face in Jammu and Kashmir for the past four decades, also described the Kashmiris as slaves who were being treated like second class citizens. In an interview to  The Wire, Abdullah said it was complete rubbish for BJP to claim that the people of Kashmir have accepted the August 2019 changes just because there have been no protests. He said if the soldiers on every street and Section 144 were to be lifted, people will come out in their tens of lakhs. Abdullah told The Wire that the new domicile law was intended to flood the Valley with Hindus and create a Hindu majority. He said this has further embittered the Kashmiri people.


PDP president Mehbooba Mufti incarcerated illegally, should be released with an apology: Saifuddin Soz

Former Union Minister Prof Saifuddin Soz on Thursday said that the J&K UT administration would be ‘well advised to release PDP president Mehbooba Mufti who has been incarcerated illegally’.“J&K UT administration cannot convince anybody in the system that there was any justification for jailing dozens of mainstream leaders for no fault of theirs,” he said in a press statement.“It is a shame on the administration that Ms Mehbooba Mufti happens to be in jail, unconstitutionally. The administration should think that the incarceration against the Kashmir mainstream leadership has earned it nothing except infamy and rebuke,” he added.

Around 2,000 posts re-allocated for Kashmiri Pandits under prime minister’s package

Jammu and Kashmir Administrative Council on Wednesday approved re-allocation of nearly 2,000 posts for Kashmiri Pandits who want to settle in the Valley, PTI reported. This was done under the prime minister’s package for the community “The administrative council, which met under the chairmanship of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha today, approved the re-allocation of 1,997 number of unfilled supernumerary posts for recruitment of registered Kashmiri migrants and non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits, who are willing to serve and settle down in Kashmir under the prime minister’s package,” a government spokesperson said.


‘Rail roko’ agitation starts in Punjab, train services suspended

CHANDIGARH:Several farmers in parts of Punjab on Thursday started a three-day ‘rail roko’ agitation under the banner of Kisan Mazdoor Sangarsh Samiti against the Union govt’s 3 agriculture sector Bills. Members of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan), who had extended support to the agitation, blocked railway track in Sangrur and Barnal, while members of the Samiti blocked the track in Amritsar and Ferozpur. “We have blocked railway track at Devidaspura in Amritsar and Basti Tanka wala in Ferozepur. The ‘rail roko’ agitation will continue till September 26 in the first phase. And if our demands are not met with, we will intensify the agitation. We will also support the ‘Bharat bandh’ call given by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC),” said Sarvan Singh Pandher, State president of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangarsh Samiti.


Chhattisgarh: 34 civilians killed in last 9 months by Maoists, say police

Raipur :At least 34 civilians have been killed by Maoists in Chhattisgarh in the first nine months of 2020, according to data released by the police. In 2019, 46 civilians had been killed. Police officials claim Maoists are acting out of desperation due to the Covid-19 pandemic.In the latest incident, the police Tuesday found the body of a 22-year-old man in Sukma district, allegedly killed by Maoists.


Won by CAA, betrayed by clause 6, Bengali Hindus wary of BJP's politics in Assam

Guwahati: With Assam Assembly polls in 2021 drawing closer, the longest running mandate of citizenship has once again taken centerstage in Assam’s politics. The most recent trigger is the clause 6 committee report leaked by two of its members, Samujjal Bhattacharya of the All Assam Students’ Union and senior advocate, Niloy Dutta, last month. AASU is a signatory of the Assam Accord, a tripartite agreement between them, the Union and State govt signed in 1985. Per the agreement, 24 March, 1971 was set as the cut off date for citizenship.The proposed cut off year to define who an Assamese is, however, has been recommended at 1951 – the year when the first Census in post Independent India and the first NRC exercise were carried out.Although it is still pending legislation, and the Assam government is yet to send its feedback to Centre, Bengali Hindu groups are alarmed by it. Even the mere recommendation of 1951 as the cut off date, said Shyamal Sarkar a member of the Bengali Hindu Federation, reveals BJP government’s ‘double standard’.


No Lessons on Nehru, 2002 Riots for Assam's Class 12 Students as Chapters Omitted to Reduce 'Exam Stress'

As a part of 30 percent reduction of syllabus due to the Covid-19 outbreak, lessons on Jawaharlal Nehru, the Mandal Commission report, Gujarat riots 2002, and writings on caste and marginalisation have been dropped from the Class 12 state board syllabus in Assam. The list of omitted syllabus was uploaded online on the Assam Higher Secondary Education Council (AHSEC) official website. Indian Express report states that the decision to omit the above-mentioned topics was made after due consultation with teachers and subject experts of the state. The removed sections from political science under ‘Politics in India since Independence’ included- ‘First three general elections; Nehru’s approach to nation-building; Famine and suspension of 5-year plans; Nehru’s foreign policy; Political succession after Nehru; Politics of Garibi Hatao; Navnirman movement in Gujarat; Punjab crisis and the anti-Sikh riots of 1984; Implementation of Mandal Commission report; UF and NDA govts; Elections 2004 and UPA government; Ayodhya dispute; and Gujarat riots’. The other topics also included the Congress party and its history; issues of Kashmir; wars with China and Pakistan in 1962, 1965, and 1971; the Emergency; and the rise of the Janata Dal and BJP.


FinCEN Files: 44 Indian banks, transactions of $1 billion, flagged to US regulator

New Delhi : AT least 44 Indian banks have been flagged in connection with transactions by Indian entities and individuals in a set of Suspicious Activity Reports filed by US banks with the watchdog agency, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), an investigation by Indian Express shows. As per one set of records where addresses linked to parties are in India, Indian banks figure in SARs linked to over 2,000 transactions valued at over $1billion between 2011 and 2017. Significantly, there are thousands of transactions linked to Indian entities and businessmen where the Indian senders or beneficiaries have addresses in foreign jurisdictions. Records investigated show that Indian banks mentioned in the SARs include: state-owned PNB(290 transactions); SBI(102); Bank of Baroda (93); Union Bank of India (99) and Canara Bank (190), among others.


Allahabad HC turns down plea to rename itself

Allahabad High Court has dismissed a plea to rename itself either as the Prayagraj High Court or the Uttar Pradesh High Court.A Lucknow bench of the high court dismissed the lawsuit, filed in the form a (PIL, terming it as a 'publicity stunt litigation'.The petition, filed by advocate Ashok Pandey, was dismissed by a bench comprising Justice PK Jaiswal and Justice DK Singh.


Trans-border cattle smuggling racket: CBI books BSF officer and three others

Kolkata:CBI has booked a BSF officer and three others in connection with cattle smuggling across the Bangladesh border even as it has raided 15 locations across India.The raids have been conducted in Delhi; West Bengal’s Kolkata, Siliguri and Murshidabad; Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad; Punjab’s Amritsar and Chhattisgarh’s Raipur. Anti-corruption Bureau of CBI on Monday booked BSF officer Satish Kumar, who was the former Commandant of 36 BSF Battalion, “prime accused” Mohammed Enamul Haque, Anarul Sheikh, Mohammed Gulam Mustafa, unidentified officials of the Customs Department and other unidentified officials. It is alleged that Kumar’s son Bhuvan Bhaskar was employed with Haque Industries Private Limited, a company promoted by Haque. It is alleged that during Kumar’s tenure, more than 20,000 heads of cattle were seized by the BSF before being smuggled into the Bangladesh border but no vehicle or person involved in the illegal trade was seized or arrested.


Beaten up in Police Custody, Mumbai’s Muslim Cabbie Dies

 NEW DELHI:A newly-married Muslim cab driver has died allegedly after being beaten up by the police at the RCF police station in Mumbai’s Chembur.Family members of 26-year-old Suhail Shaikh, married just six months ago, said that on 15 September, some police personnel came to his home from RCF police station and searched his house.After finding nothing illegal in the house, the policemen took Suhail and his uncle Tayyab Mansoor to the police station.Mansoor told Clarion India that after they reached the police station, they took them to the first floor and started beating Suhail with a waist belt even after Suhail started sweating due to the beating.“I told the police officer that Suhail was suffering from low blood pressure, and requested him to not thrash him but he scoffed at me and kept beating him up,” he said.Clarion India


Historian Rana Safvi bags Yamin Hazarika Woman of Substance Award 2020

Renowned historian and author Rana Safvi has won this year’s Yamin Hazarika Award. The prestigious award is given in the memory of Yamin Hazarika, the first woman police officer from Assam. Safvi was presented with the award on  September 22. The award was presented to her at a virtual ceremony in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. Well known journalist Suhasini Haider and Assam DGP Bhaskar Jyoti attended the ceremony and praised Safvi for her achievement.TwoCircles





Coronavirus: No proof to show foreigners attending Tablighi Jamaat spread infection, says Bombay HC

Bombay High Court has quashed a first information report and chargesheet filed against eight Myanmar nationals who attended a Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Nizamuddin area of Delhi during the coronavirus-induced lockdown in March, Live Law reported on Thursday. The court said there was no evidence to show they indulged in any act, which was likely to spread the infection.Some sections of the media had linked the congregation to a rise in the spread of the coronavirus cases. The court’s order was passed on Monday, the same day Centre informed the Rajya Sabha that the gathering led to a spurt in cases. A bench of Justices VM Deshpande and Justice Amit B Borkar said prosecuting the eight Myanmar nationals would be nothing but an “abuse of the process of the court” due to lack of evidence to support the charges levelled against the foreigners.The judges, citing witness statements, said that eight Myanmar nationals only read the Quran and offered prayers at a local mosque.  There are no restrictions on foreigners from attending religious gatherings in India under the conditions of Tourist Visa and therefore they did not violate Section 14 of the Foreigners Act, the court said.


Rethink short lockdowns, tracing is key: PM Modi to states

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday asked CMs of 7 states worst hit by the Covid-19 crisis to make a critical assessment of 1-2-day lockdowns that several states have been imposing, and the adverse impact these have on economic activity. Prime Minister stressed on the need for states to strengthen their tracing- tracking strategy to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus infection.“The lockdown brought benefits. Globally too, it has been appreciated. However, now we have to focus on micro containment zones, which will ensure that the spread is contained… States have to make an assessment on how effective are the lockdowns that are being imposed for 1-2 days. Because of this, economic activity should not face problems. My suggestion to the states is to take up this issue very seriously. We have to increase our focus on effective testing, treating and surveillance, and clear messaging,” he said. His s video conference was attended by CMs of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, UP, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, and Punjab. More than 63 per cent of the country’s active Covid-19 cases are in these states, which also account for 65.5% of the total confirmed cases, and 77% of deaths.


Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi, succumbs to Covid

Minister of State for Railways and Suresh Angadi, who passed away on Wednesday evening due to COVID-19, was a 4-time BJP MP from Belagavi. Angadi tested positive for COVID-19 last week, and had been admitted at the AIIMS Trauma Centre in New Delhi. He was elected to the Lok Sabha in 2004, 2009, 2014 and 2019. His political journey started with joining the Bharatiya Janata Party in the year 1996. A law graduate, Angadi was active in politics in the Belagavi region and went on to become a vice-president of the party in the district. After the Modi govt-led BJP won the General Election in 2019, he was inducted as the Minister of State Railway to the cabinet.


I never wear a face mask, says MP home minister Narottam Mishra

Amid rising COVID-19 cases in Madhya Pradesh, state home minister and BJP leader Narottam Mishra on Wednesday caused a flutter saying he doesn't wear a face mask in any programme.However, as the Congress attacked him, the minister later tempered his remarks, saying he cannot continue to wear a face mask for a long time due to a medical condition."I don't wear a mask in any programmes. 'Isme kya hota hai?' (so what)," the home minister told reporters when they asked him why he was not wearing a mask at a function here.PTI


Karnataka MLA Narayan Rao succumbs to COVID-19

Bengaluru: Basavakalyan MLA and Congress leader Narayan Rao succumbed to COVID-19 on September 24.The MLA was infected by COVID-19 and had suffered multi-organ failures leading to death. 58-year-old MLA was admitted to Manipal Hospital in Bengaluru on September 1 after testing positive for COVID-19.


Manish Sisodia’s condition stable, will undergo another Covid-19 test in couple of days

Officials on Thursday said that Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, who is undergoing treatment for the novel coronavirus disease at a hospital in the national capital, is stable and he will go another test in a couple of days.Sisodia had tested positive for Covid-19 on September 14 and was under home isolation since.The 48-year-old was admitted to the state-run LNJP hospital on Wednesday, which is a dedicated Covid-19 facility.A senior official on Wednesday said that Sisodia was hospitalized as a precautionary measure since he was continuously having a little higher body temperature and his oxygen levels dropped slightly.


Covid patient dies by suicide at Shimla hospital; magisterial probe ordered

Shimla :A 54-year-old Covid-19 positive woman patient allegedly died by suicide at a government hospital during the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday in Shimla, police said. Her family members alleged that negligence by the hospital’s medical staff drove her to suicide.The victim was admitted to Deen Dyal Upadhyay Hospital here on September 18, a few days ago after testing positive for the coronavirus, an official said. Her son told the police that she was also suffering from hypertension.


COVID-19 cases in India breach 57-lakh mark, recovery rate at 81.55 per cent

India's COVID-19 caseload raced past 57 lakh, while over 46 lakh people have recovered from the disease pushing the national recovery rate to 81.55 per cent, according to the Union Health Ministry data on Thursday.The total coronavirus cases mounted to 57,32,518 with 86,508 people testing positive in a day while the death toll climbed to 91,149 with 1,129 people succumbing to the disease in a span of 24 hours, the data updated at 8 am showed.The total recoveries surged to 46,74,987 in the country so far. COVID-19 case fatality rate due to the coronavirus infection was recorded at 1.59 per cent.There are 9,66,382 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country which comprises 16.86 per cent of the total caseload, the data stated. PTI


Company With No Ventilator Model Got Rs 373 Cr PM CARES Order To Make 10,000 Ventilators

NEW DELHI: In early April, Trivitron Healthcare, a 23-year old Chennai-based medical technology company, got government orders to build 7,000 “basic” and 3,000 “advanced” ventilators, paid for from PM CARES fund. But when Trivitron got the order, neither of their basic nor advanced ventilator models existed—not even working prototypes.The total value of Trivitron’s order works out to Rs 373 crore, based on a simple cost-per-unit calculation including Goods and Services Tax.The “advanced” model was priced at Rs 8,56,800, five times the “basic” model which was priced at Rs 1,66,376, information accessed through RTI requests filed by transparency activist Venkatesh Nayak have revealed. These prices for Trivitron models – which were yet to be developed at the time — were based on the costs submitted by its competitors: the cost of the basic model is exactly the same as a competitor product by AgVa; while the advanced model was Rs 8,56,800, just Rs 5,600 cheaper than the bid submitted by Allied Medical Limited. But the tender documents contained only one set of qualifying technical specifications, and no stated provisions for procuring two different types of ventilators at such vastly different prices.


Punjab reports 64 more deaths, toll nears 3K-mark

Chandigarh :The Covid death count in Punjab neared 3,000-mark with 64 more deaths driving up the total count to 2,990 in the state.There were 2,123 new cases, taking the total tally of people infected with the contagion in the state to 1,03,464.


Delhi Has Already Peaked In Covid 2nd Wave, Experts Say: Kejriwal

New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today said the national capital witnessed the second wave of COVID-19 and has now turned the corner. The sudden daily spike in cases crossing 4,000, which took place earlier this month, was the second wave of the disease, Mr Kejriwal indicated.This is the first time any state in the country claimed to have reached the second wave of the virus, which surfaced in Kerala in December. The total number of cases in Maharashtra, the epicenter of the disease, is 12,63,799 cases. Delhi stands at the fifth spot with 2,56,789 cases.



Global labour income estimated to have declined by 3.5 trillion USD in first 3 quarters of 2020: ILO

Global labour income is estimated to have declined by 10.7 per cent or USD 3.5 trillion in the first three quarters of 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) said."The devastating losses in working hours caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have brought a 'massive' drop in labour income for workers around the world," ILO said in its latest assessment of the effects of the pandemic on the world of work.Global labour income is estimated to have declined by 10.7 per cent or USD 3.5 trillion in the first three quarters of 2020, compared to the same period in 2019. This figure excludes the income support provided through government measures.PTI


Work from home hurting back and neck; people seek medical help

With work from home becoming the new normal amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have started complaining of neck pain and backache while working for long hours and are seeking help from physiotherapists.Health experts say this is due to improper sitting postures and people need to follow good ergonomics and working habits at home.Employees of several corporate firms and industrial bodies have been working from home for nearly six months now since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country.PTI


India’s banking sector recovery to pre-COVID levels may take years: S&P Global Ratings

The path to recovery will be more painful for emerging markets such as India and the banks' recovery to long-term averages for key asset quality and profitability ratios will take years, S&P Global Ratings said.India, Mexico, and South Africa are among the banking systems that will be slower to recover to 2019 levels--likely beyond 2023, according to S&P Global Ratings.Covid-19 and the oil price shock of 2020 are taking a heavy toll on global banks. "S&P Global Ratings has taken 335 negative rating actions globally since the outbreak began, and we anticipate it will be difficult for the financial strength ratings on financial institutions to return to pre-crisis levels. We don't expect the world's largest banking sectors, including more than half of G20's, to recover to pre-Covid-19 levels until 2023, or beyond," the agency said.IANS


Saudi Arabia to gradually resume Umrah pilgrimage

Saudi Arabia will allow pilgrims living inside the country to undertake Umrah pilgrimage, beginning on Oct.4, after a 7-month pause due to the coronavirus pandemic, state news agency Saudi Press Agency reported.Saudi will now allow 6,000 citizens and residents inside the kingdom to perform Umrah daily, representing 30 percent of a revised capacity of 20,000 that takes into account precautionary health measures, SPA said.That will expand to 75 percent of capacity on Oct.18. Beginning on November 1, the kingdom will allow visitors from specific countries deemed safe to perform Umrah at 100 percent of the revised capacity, until the end of the pandemic, SPA added.Ministry of Hajj and Umrah is developing a mobile application that will be available a week before the Umrah resumes, so that pilgrims can register and book on it. They will also need to follow the health guidelines provided in the app.



Saudi endeavours to expand ties with Israel and its “billion-dollar ransoms from its own people’s pockets: Iran hits back after King Salman’s UN speech,

Iran has slammed Saudi Arabia’s “delirious talk” as it hit back at a damning speech by the kingdom’s ruler during an annual meeting of world leaders at UN. During a video statement on Wednesday, King Salman bin Abdulaziz called on 193-member UN General Assembly for a comprehensive solution to Riyadh’s archenemy and to stop it from obtaining weapons of mass destruction. In his address, 84-year-old Saudi monarch alleged that Iran has exploited its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers to “intensify its expansionist activities, create its terrorist networks and use terrorism” which has “produced nothing but chaos, extremism, and sectarianism”.“Our experience with the Iranian regime has taught us that partial solutions and appeasement did not stop its threats to international peace and security,” he said. In response, Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry, said that Saudi Arabia’s cheering of the “maximum pressure” campaign of sanctions imposed by US on Iran, the endeavours to expand ties with Israel and its “billion-dollar ransoms from its own people’s pockets” have been fruitless, turning it into a “puny” nation among Arab countries.In his speech, King Salman refrained from criticising the recent Washington-brokered “normalisation” deals struck in recent weeks between UAE and Bahrain to establish ties with Israel. aljazeera


US envoy claims another Arab state will recognise Israel in 2 days

US Ambassador to UN has claimed that another Arab state will recognise Israel within the next couple of days, following the recent normalisation agreements made by UAE and Bahrain.“Well, it could be today,” Kelly Craft told Al-Arabiya. “There will be one in the next day or two.”Although Craft did not explicitly name the next Arab country, she did say, “We will certainly welcome the fact that Saudi Arabia will be next, but what is important is that we focus on the agreements and do not allow the Iranian regime to exploit the good intentions of Bahrain, the Emirates or Israel.” The interview was aired following King Salman Bin Abdulaziz’s debut address at UN General Assembly, the first Saudi monarch to speak at the UN in over 20 years.


No deal with Israel, but Saudi pushes outreach to Jews: AFP

From scrubbing hate-filled school textbooks to a taboo-defying religious sermon, Saudi Arabia is pushing for another kind of normalisation after declining to establish formal relations with Israel -- co-existence with Jews. Saudi has said it will not follow its allies Bahrain and UAE in establishing diplomatic relations without a resolution to the Palestinian issue, even as it cultivates clandestine ties with the Jewish state.Having Saudi, an Arab powerhouse and epicentre of Islam, forge a similar deal would be the ultimate diplomatic prize for Israel, but the kingdom is wary that its citizens -- sympathetic to the Palestinian cause -- may not be ready for a full embrace.Saudi, however, is pushing to change public perceptions about Jews with a risky outreach to a community that has long been vilified by the kingdom’s clerical establishment and media, laying the groundwork for an eventual recognition.School textbooks, once well-known for denigrating Jews and other non-Muslims as “swines” and “apes”, are undergoing revision as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s campaign to combat extremism in education, officials say.“Saudi govt has also decided to prohibit the disparagement of Jews and Christians in mosques,”said Saudi analyst Najah al-Otaibi.“Anti-Jewish rhetoric was common at Friday prayers of the imams in mosques used to address Muslims around the world.”Arab News, the kingdom’s main English daily, whipped up a social media storm at the weekend when it briefly changed its social media banner on Twitter and Facebook with a greeting in Hebrew for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.The paper recently published a lengthy series on the Jews of Lebanon, and plans a similar instalment on an ancient Jewish community that lived in what is today Saudi.Saudi media outlets have previously branded the Jewish state as the “Zionist” enemy, but largely hailed the recent deals struck with UAE and Bahrain. AFP


Sudan discusses Arab-Israeli peace with US officials

Sudan and US have discussed how Khartoum could advance Arab-Israeli peace, authorities said on Wednesday.Meeting in UAE, a Sudanese delegation and American officials held talks on how peace could stabilise the region and secure a 2-state solution to Israeli-Palestinian question, the ruling sovereign council said.A Sudanese team led by General Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan, head of the council, flew to the UAE on Sunday to hold talks with US officials on several issues, including the removal of Sudan from a US list of “state sponsors of terrorism”.Sudanese officials held “serious and frank talks” on the future of Arab-Israeli peace, which would lead to “stability in the region and preserve the right of the Palestinian people to establish their state according to the vision of a two-state solution”, a council statement said after the return of the delegation.The two sides also discussed “the role that Sudan is expected to play in achieving this peace”, it said, without giving any details.


Algeria president: Palestinian cause remains sacred

The right of the Palestinian people to have a state with Jerusalem as its capital is not subject to bargain, Algerian president said , Anadolu reports.Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s remarks came at a speech he delivered at 75th UN General Assembly via video link.“ Palestinian cause remains a sacred cause for Algeria and its people,” Tebboune said.He went on to express firm support for the Palestinian people and their “inalienable” right to establish their independent, sovereign state with Jerusalem as its capital.


UAE signs contracts with Israel firms on UN blacklist

Emirati companies have signed contracts with Israeli firms and banks blacklisted by UN for supporting illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, an investigation by Anadolu Agency revealed.In February, UN released a database of 112 companies on its blacklist for doing business inside Israeli settlements in the West Bank. middleeastmonitor


Hamas, Fatah agree on practical measures for national dialogue

Hamas and Fatah agreed on Thursday to implement practical measures for national dialogue to begin before 1 October, the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement has announced.The two main Palestinian factions agreed to lay down the guidelines for a national agreement based on the outcomes of a very senior level meeting between all of the factions in Beirut earlier this month. This latest meeting took place between senior Hamas and Fatah officials in the Palestine consulate in Istanbul.According to a statement issued by Hamas, the leaders of the two factions said that they agreed to announce the official vision of the national agreement in a meeting for the secretaries general of the Palestinian factions under the patronage of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The meeting will be held before 1 October. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum explained that all the Palestinian factions have agreed to take part in the national dialogue. He added that they reiterated the importance of popular resistance and agreed to activate such resistance in the face of US “deal of the century”, Israel’s annexation plans and other attempts to damage the Palestinian cause. middleeastmonitor


‘Sisi is the enemy of God,’ chants on Egypt’s fourth day of protests against his rule

Egyptian citizens demonstrated for the fourth day in a row yesterday evening, in response to Mohamed Ali’s calls to take to the streets and unite against the ruling regime.Throughout his rule, Al-Sisi’s government has been accused of human rights abuse, including the systematic torture of political prisoners, extrajudicial killings, and the demolition of homes across the country.He has also been criticised for his handling of Libya and the Renaissance Dam crisis.Residents in Atfih district in Giza set fire to a security vehicle, reports Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.Demonstrators chanted, “Get out Sisi.”Security forces shot at crowds in the Kafr Qandil area and used tear gas against them.In the village of Al-Atf in Giza Governorate, south of Cairo, demonstrators chanted, “Leave and let our country see the light.”In Minya Al-Hayit, Fayoum Governorate, they said: “There is no God but God… Sisi is the enemy of God.”


Exiled Saudi dissidents launch opposition party

A group of Saudi dissidents exiled in countries including the UK and US have announced the launch of an opposition party, the first organised political resistance under King Salman’s rule.Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy that does not tolerate any political opposition, but the formation of the National Assembly Party on the anniversary of the kingdom’s founding came amid a growing state crackdown on dissent and freedom of expression.Past attempts to organise politically in the Gulf state in 2007 and 2011 were suppressed and members arrested.“We hereby announce the establishment of National Assembly Party, which aims to institute democracy as a form of govt in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the group said in a statement on Wednesday. The development is unlikely to seriously undermine the authority of the Arab world’s most powerful ruling family. But it poses a fresh challenge to Saudi Arabia’s rulers as they grapple with low crude oil prices and gear up to host a G20 summit in November amid the coronavirus pandemic.


Emir of Qatar: ‘We will continue to support efforts to hold war criminals in Syria accountable’

Emir of Qatar Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani affirmed that his country will continue to support efforts to achieve justice and hold the perpetrators of atrocities, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria accountable.“We will continue to provide all aspects of support and assistance to the brotherly Syrian people,” he vowed during a speech at the opening of the 75th session of UN General Assembly.


‘Enormous divisions’: China cautious on G4 calling for UNSC reforms

China on Thursday said there were “enormous divisions” and a lack of consensus on taking forward the stalled reforms of UNSC, a day after G4 group - India, Brazil, Japan and Germany - called for an early push for text-based negotiations. The foreign ministers of the four countries that are seeking UNSC reforms and permanent membership of the body met virtually on Wednesday, expressing their frustration at the repeated attempts to stall and derail the reforms process. External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said the meeting had “called for a decisive push” and was unanimous in backing “text-based negotiations in a fixed time frame.”


Muslims win call to prayer court battle in German town

A German court on Wednesday rejected an application to silence the muezzin’s call from a mosque in a small town after a legal dispute lasting five years. Turkish Islamic community (Ditib) may now once again use a loudspeaker to call the faithful to prayer in the town of Oer-Erkenschwick in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Local residents lodged a complaint in 2015 against the relevant permit, which allowed the Muslim community to use the loudspeaker for at most 15 minutes between noon and 2pm on a Friday. The call to prayer fell silent for five years on account of the complaint, lodged by a couple living about 900 metres (984 yards) from the mosque, who said their freedom of religion was impinged upon by the sound. The court, which sits in Muenster, rejected their argument.


Taliban kills 28 police officials as Doha peace talks continue

Taliban launched a wave of attacks on security checkpoints in southern Afghanistan overnight, killing a total of 28 Afghan policemen, officials said.Zelgai Ebadi, a spokesman for the Uruzgan governor, said Taliban fighters offered 28 local and national police officials a chance to go home if they surrendered on Tuesday night, “but after taking their guns, the Taliban killed them all”.A Taliban spokesman, Qari Mohammad Yousuf Ahmadi, claimed responsibility for the attacks and said the armed group carried them out after the police in the area refused to surrender to the fighters. The violence comes as Taliban leaders and Afghan government-appointed negotiators started the long-delayed peace talks in Qatar earlier this month. Wednesday’s killings come after at least 14 Afghan police and soldiers were killed overnight on Sunday.


China running 380 detention centres in Xinjiang: researchers

China's network of detention centres in the northwest Xinjiang region is much bigger than previously thought and has been expanded in recent years, according to research presented by an Australian think tank Thursday.Australian Strategic Policy Institute said it had identified more than 380 “suspected detention facilities” in the region — where China is believed to have detained more than one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim Turkic-speaking residents.The number of facilities is around 40 percent greater than previous estimates and, according to Australian researchers, has been growing despite China's claims that many Uighurs have been released.Using satellite imagery, eyewitness accounts, media reports and official construction tender documents, the institute said “at least 61 detention sites have seen new construction and expansion work between July 2019 and July 2020.”China has defended the so-called training centres as necessary to stamp out extremism. AFP


Pak Sufi organisation transfers Sikh manuscripts to gurdwara

After 90 years of safekeeping, a Pakistani Sufi organisation has transferred 110-year old copies of rare manuscripts of the Guru Granth Sahib to a gurdwara in Sialkot, the media reported on Thursday.According to the Mitr Sanjh Punjab organisation's head Iftikhar Warraich Kalravi, the two manuscripts had long been in the safekeeping of Pir Syed Munir Naqshbandi, a revered Sufi elder from Kalra Dewan Singhwala in Gujrat district, reports Express Tribune.Known to be an advocate for interfaith harmony, Naqshbandi had offered asylum at his residence to a few Sikh families trying to escape ethnic violence before partition.IANS




·        Why my party withdrew its minister from NDA govt on the farmers’ issue:Sukhbir Singh Badal, indianexpress


·        Delhi riots: Glaring loopholes in the chargesheet filed by the police ;Ashlin Mathew, nationalheraldindia


·        Delhi riots chargesheet: Khurshid, Kavita Krishnan named by accused for ‘provocative speeches’: indianexpress


·        How will China’s offensive play out in Ladakh? IAF war games have an answer:Shishir Gupta, Hindustan Times


·        India, China must shift focus to maintenance of status quo along each other’s perception of LAC:Sujan R Chinoy , indian express


·        Latest India-China joint statement suggests New Delhi is misreading Beijing's gameplan, playing into its hands:Sreemoy Talukdar ,firstpost


·        The Taste with Vir | Supreme Court vs Sudarshan TV: Free speech isn’t setting fire to a communally complex nation:Vir Sanghvi, HT


·        Bengaluru Riots: Is NIA Working On A Set Narrative?Syed Sujeel Ahmed | India Tomorrow


·        As LAC Standoff Forces Deployment of More Troops, Winter Presents a Daunting Challenge:Rahul Bedi


·        Net worth wiped out, withdrawal restrictions, no resolution — PMC Bank’s worse off 1 year on:MANOJIT SAHA

 Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq  


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