08 December 2020

Amit Shah Calls Farmers For Talks, "Need Yes Or No From Him," They Say. Bharat Bandh: Most States See Protests, Closed Shops in Solidarity With Farmers. · Law Against ‘Love Jihad’: UP Police Biased Against Muslim Men · Centre Says Ready For 1st Lot Of Vaccines, Delhi, Hyderabad Airports Prep



08-12-2020, 19:45 IST


 ·        Amit Shah Calls Farmers For Talks, "Need Yes Or No From Him," They Say

·        Bharat Bandh: Most States See Protests, Closed Shops in Solidarity With Farmers

·        Muslim Farmers Offer “Namaz” at Singhu Border, Share “Zarda Pulao” With Protesting Farmers

·        Farmers Denied Rs 1,900 Crore Due to Sales Below MSP in Last Two Months: report

·        Law Against ‘Love Jihad’: UP Police Biased Against Muslim Men

·        Why press ‘attempt to murder charge’ for attending Tablighi meet, asks HC

·        Mobile technology to be used for COVID-19 vaccination drive: PM Modi

·        Centre Says Ready For 1st Lot Of Vaccines, Delhi, Hyderabad Airports Prep

·        UAE: 'We seek to connect region with Europe via Israel'




Amit Shah Calls Farmers For Talks, "Need Yes Or No From Him," They Say

New Delhi: Home Minister Amit Shah has called farmers for talks this evening, a day before the government's sixth round of negotiations to end massive protests against farm laws. Home Minister's invite, indicating that the government is engaging with the farmers at the highest level, came as a nationwide shutdown or Bharat Bandh called by protesting farmers hit road and rail traffic in parts of the country, blocked many highways and shut down markets, affecting supplies."I received a phone call. Amit Shah has called a meeting. We have been called at 7 pm," said farmer leader Rakesh Tikait.Tikait said various representatives of farmer groups protesting on the highways near Delhi would attend the meeting."There is no midway. We will demand just 'yes' or 'no' from the Home Minister at today's meeting," farmer leader Rudru Singh Mansa told reporters at the Singhu border between Delhi and Haryana.Opposition parties, including the Congress, NCP, Aam Aadmi Party, DMK and TRS, have backed today's protest.A meeting on Friday between the centre and farmers, which lasted seven hours, failed to end the deadlock.Farmer groups said they would not accept anything short of the scrapping of three new laws enacted in September, which they fear will reduce their earnings and leave them at the mercy of corporates.


Bharat Bandh: Most States See Protests, Closed Shops in Solidarity With Farmers

New Delhi: Shops and commercial establishments were closed, transport affected and traffic disrupted as protesters squatted on roads and train tracks in several parts of the country on Tuesday in response to a Bharat Bandh called by farmers demanding a repeal of the new agricultural laws.Emergency services were exempted and banks, too, continued operations as the pan-India shutdown, backed by most opposition parties and many trade unions, came into effect with the maximum impact expected in states such as Punjab, Haryana and Delhi, the epicentre of the snowballing protests.Security was stepped up across the country, noisy demonstrations were held in many places and the numbers swelled at Delhi’s border points where thousands of farmers have been camping for the last 11 days. Protesters blocked railway tracks at several places in West Bengal, Bihar and Odisha.From Jaipur, where mandis’ were closed but shops open, there were reports of clashes between workers of the state’s ruling Congress and the BJP.However, the protest was mostly peaceful in other parts of the country. In the national capital Delhi, where most main markets were open but app-based cabs off the roads, tension spiralled with the ruling AAP alleging that the Delhi Police had put Arvind Kejriwal under house arrest. Joining the Bharat Bandh call, some auto-rickshaw and taxi unions also took their vehicles off the roads in the city.All India Kisan Sabha general secretary Hannan Mollah described the shutdown as a show of strength by the farmers.Farmers from Punjab and also Haryana have been the drivers of the movement. In Punjab, shops and commercial establishments were closed as were 3,400 fuel pumps. From morning, farmer leaders appealed to shopkeepers and traders to keep their shutters down.All major parties in Punjab – the ruling Congress, AAP and the Shiromani Akali Dal – have also extended their support.Over 50,000 government employees have taken mass casual leave in support of farmers, said Punjab Civil Secretariat Staff Association president Sukhchain Khaira.In neighbouring BJP-JJP ruled Haryana, opposition parties Congress and Indian National Lok Dal extended their support. In West Bengal, where the ruling Trinamool Congress has joined the Congress and the Left in supporting the shutdown but has stayed away from enforcing it, the response was mixed.Life was hit in Bihar too with train tracks, highways and inner roads teeming with protesters as opposition parties extended their support.RJD supporters, and workers of Pappu Yadav’s Jan Adhikar Party fanned out to various parts of Patna, forcing shopkeepers to down their shutters and deflating tyres of vehicles plying on the roads.Train services were also affected in Odisha as activists of farmers’ organisations, trade unions and political parties held sit-ins on tracks in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Bhadrak and Balasore. Major cities in Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh, including its capital Raipur, wore a deserted look too with most business establishments closed and public transport keeping away.Neighbouring Madhya Pradesh saw sporadic demonstrations, particularly in Seoni-Malwa in Hoshangabad district where protesters under the banner of the Krantikari Kisan Mazdoor Sangthan (KKMS) raised slogans and demanded a rollback of the laws.In Maharashtra, where the ruling Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress combine has extended its support, wholesale markets in major cities like Pune, Nashik, Nagpur and Aurangabad were shut. Retail shops also downed shutters in many cities.In several parts of the country, including in Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh, life continued unimpeded. In BJP-ruled Goa as well, markets remained open and public transport was also normal.


Muslim Farmers Offer “Namaz” at Singhu Border, Share “Zarda Pulao” With Protesting Farmers

Delhi—A large number of Muslims joined the protesting farmers at Singhu border and distributed food and water among those taking part in the Bharat bandh on Tuesday. Muslim farmers, who were mainly from Haryana, had come with “zarda pulao” (sweet rice) offered it to the farmers in lunch.When asked, many of the Muslims said that they had come in solidarity with the farmers from all over the country who have assembled at the Singhu border to demand withdrawal of the anti-farm laws. “As farmers, we are one on our demand for repeal of the three Farm Laws. No one can divide us though efforts were made by certain groups to delegitimize the farmers movement by propagating through TV channels and digital as also print media that Khalistani elements had creeped into the farmers agitation”, Muslims farmers said. They said that this was a propaganda to tarnish the image of farmers from Punjab. “Fortunately, such narrow-minded elements did not succeed in their conspiracy”, another Muslim farmer said.Muslim farmers had also come with prayers mats and offered afternoon ‘namaz’ (prayers at the protest site itself. The Muslim farmers prayed for the success of the farmers’ agitation as also growth and development of the nation.


Opposition parties to meet president to raise concerns over farm bills: Sharad Pawar

NEW DELHI: NCP president Sharad Pawar on Tuesday said leaders from different political parties will discuss and take a collective stand on the contentious farm laws before meeting President Ram Nath Kovind.Opposition parties are expected to meet Kovind on Wednesday evening to raise their concerns about the three farm laws.Pawar's NCP is among the parties that have backed Tuesday 'Bharat Bandh' called by farmers' unions.


Bharat Bandh: Bus movement affected in Telangana as TSRTC backs shutdown

Hyderabad: Buses of state-owned Road Transport Corporation in Telangana went off road on Tuesday amid growing support for farmers groups-called Bharat Bandh that received support from all parties in the state except BJP.With employee unions of TSRTC backing the shutdown call, buses were confined to depots.Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station and Jubilee Bus Station, 2 biggest and busiest bus stations in Hyderabad, wore a deserted look. Most of the cabs and auto-rickshaws also went off the roads as the unions of taxi and auto drivers backed the Bharat Bandh in support of the demand by farmers' groups asking for rollback of the new farm legislations by the central govt. Chief Minister and TRS president K. Chandrasekhar Rao has appealed to party cadres to make the bandh a total success. Welfare Party of India, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Student's Islamic Organization (SIO), Jamiatul Ulema and several other groups have also announced support to the shutdown.Osmania University and Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University-Hyderabad have postponed the examinations scheduled for Tuesday. IANS


AAP says CM Kejriwal under house arrest, Delhi Police denies claim

AAP on Tuesday alleged that Delhi Police has put CM Arvind Kejriwal under house arrest after he met protesting farmers at the Singhu border, a claim denied by the city police.Kejriwal had visited the Singhu border on Monday and reviewed facilities for farmers protesting against agri marketing laws. AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj claimed the Delhi Police has put Kejriwal under house arrest. "On the direction of the Home Ministry, Delhi Police has put Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal under house arrest ever since he visited farmers at Singhu Border. No one has been permitted to leave or enter his residence. Our MLAs were beaten. There is heavy barricading and even the house maid is not being allowed inside his house," he alleged. "We will all march towards CM's residence and ensure that the chief minister is released," he said.Refuting the charge, a senior Delhi Police officer said, "This is not true. CM can come and go anywhere. We have our security personnel deployed outside his residence. Even last evening, he had come out".PTI


Several US lawmakers voice support for farmers’ agitation, urge they be allowed to protest peacefully

Several US lawmakers have voiced their support for farmers agitating at Delhi’s borders against the new farm laws, urging that they be allowed to protest peacefully.“I stand in solidarity with the Punjabi farmers in India protesting for their livelihoods and protection from misguided, manipulative govt regulations”, Republican Congressman Doug LaMalfa, who represents Californian’s first Congressional district, said on Monday. “Punjabi farmers must be allowed to protest peacefully against their government without fear of violence,” he added.“India is the world’s largest Democracy – they owe it to their citizens to allow peaceful protest. I encourage these folks and PM Modi to have peaceful, productive discussions”, Democratic Congressman Josh Harder said. Congressman Andy Levin said, ‘Whether here at home or around the globe, we’ve got to help workers earn a better and more secure living. In India, many workers are farmers, and they are making it clear that they will not stand for Modi govt “reforms” that allow corporate interests to exploit them.’Congressman TJ Cox said, ‘India must uphold the right to peaceful demonstration and ensure their citizens’ safety. The rights of farmers protesting must be respected and meaningful dialogue is the way forward,’ the Democratic leader asserted.


Bhim Army chief prevented from joining farmers’ protests, placed under house arrest

Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad was detained on Tuesday at his residence in Uttar Pradesh before he joined the nationwide farmers’ protest.“India has again gone into an era of emergency,” Azad tweeted in Hindi. “Our farmers need our support but the Uttar Pradesh Police have put me under house arrest since morning.”In a separate tweet, Azad also claimed that along with the use of batons, the Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government was capable of firing guns. He added: “Your police can break our bones but cannot break our spirit. We will always stand with the farmers.”


Farmers Denied Rs 1,900 Crore Due to Sales Below MSP in Last Two Months

New Delhi: If the government’s minium support price (MSP) programme helped in properly creating a minimum floor price, farmers across 11 major agricultural states would have, on average, earned almost Rs 1,900 crore more by selling their produce.According to The Wire’s analysis of data from Agmarknet – the government’s price information system, which sources price and quantity arrival data from around 3,000 wholesale mandis across the country – farmers on average were denied at least Rs 1,881 crore by having to sell their produce below the MSP in October and November.The most sizeable ‘losses’ were in the sale of maize. Prices were hovering between Rs 1,100 and Rs 1,550 a quintal – as against the MSP of Rs 1,850, and the total income denied to farmers in October and November was a staggering Rs 485 crore.For groundnut, due to sales below the MSP, farmers suffered notional losses to the tune of Rs 333 crore.


Bharat Bandh: All Apple Mandies Remain Shut In Kashmir, Growers Demand Farm Laws Rollback

Srinagar—Huge losses notwithstanding, Kashmir apple growers on Wednesday shut down all fruit mandies to express solidarity with the protesting farmers of the country.Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers Cum Dealers Association, an umbrella group of all fruit associations,  had called for the closure of all fruit mandis on December 8 in support of the framers protesting against the new farm laws. More than 12 mandies including Fruit Marketing Complex, Parimpora Srinagar, Sopore, Baramulla, Kupwara, Handwara, Shopian, Pulwama, Kulgam, Anantnag, Jablipora, Pachahar, Chari-e-Sharief, and Ganderbal remained closed. No loading, unloading, or trading took place in the fruit mandies on Wednesday.


Law Against ‘Love Jihad’: UP Police Biased Against Muslim Men

New Delhi: Ppolice action in two recent cases of interfaith marriages in Uttar Pradesh which has come up with an ordinance against such wedlocks clearly proves that the uniformed men are biased against Muslim men. Bareilly police, for example, has refused to proceed on the complaint filed under new ‘love jihad’ law by the father of a Muslim woman who has married a Hindu man after conversion, upholding the testimony of the woman who said she got married in September on her free will.But in Moradabad, the police arrested and jailed a Muslim man for marrying a Hindu woman even as she told the media that she consensually got married with him in July. A report in Indian Express said that in Moradabad, the woman had been placed in a protection home.In Bareilly, Shahid Mian, father of 22-year-old Alisha had filed an FIR against Sidharath Saxena, alias Aman, for kidnapping his daughter. FIR also names Anchal, Aman’s sister, and Manoj Kumar Saxena, owner of the firm where Alisha worked.According to the report, FIR says that on December 1, Alisha left her home to collect the pending dues from the firm but did not return. The father has claimed the trio used to pressure his daughter to marry Aman.The police, however, have said that the Bareilly woman testified before the district magistrate that she went with the man on her own and she was under no pressure.“The girl told us that she married Aman at an Arya Samaj temple on September 29 and that they hid this information from her family. The girl had the marriage documents with her,” Station House Officer Avaneesh Kumar told Indian Express. He added that Alisha told the police she was a major and had not been kidnapped.However, the Bareilly woman’s father, ‘Shahid Mian, said he had asked the police to use the new law but they did not listen to him.


Armed With New Law, UP Police Continue Drive Against Interfaith Couples

Moradabad police in Uttar Pradesh arrested a Muslim man after he and a Hindu woman visited a court for registering their marriage.Members of Hindu outfit snitched on the couple and waylaid them inside the court premises before they could proceed with the paperwork. The mob acted in vigilante fashion and took the couple and even the man’s brother to the police station in the Kanth area.A viral video filmed inside the police station shows the mob asking the couple to show the permission of the district magistrate. A man in the video asks them whether they have read the new law prohibiting marriages for conversion.However, the woman told the media that she was marrying the Muslim man out of her consent and that she was an adult. “I got married of my own free will on July 24. This is the fifth month that we have been married,” the woman said.At least four incidents of police actions under new ordinances have been reported so far in the media.



Why press ‘attempt to murder charge’ for attending Tablighi meet, asks HC

Allahabad high court has observed that filing a chargesheet for “attempt to murder” against a person for attending Tablighi Jamaat meet at New Delhi, even though that person tested negative for the novel coronavirus infection, prima facie reflects an abuse of the power of law.“The matter needs consideration,” Justice Ajay Bhanot said while directing the counsel for the applicant, Mohammd Saad of Mau district, to implead UP DGP, Mau SSP and Mau circle officer as respondents in the case.The court also stayed criminal proceedings registered against Mohammad Saad at police station Kotwali, Mau district, under IPC Sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) in the court of the Juvenile Justice Board, Mau, till further orders.The counsel for Mohammad Saad contended that the prosecution said in the chargesheet that the applicant had visited a religious congregation organised by Tablighi Jamaat in New Delhi but did not intimate the administration of his arrival after returning nor undergo voluntary quarantine. The counsel added that the applicant had tested negative and contended that even if evidence collected during investigation and in FIR were taken at face value (though denied as incorrect), no offence was disclosed against the applicant.


Delhi riots: High Court asks police to respond to plea seeking videos of protests against CAA

Delhi High Court Monday sought response from the police on a plea by JNU student and Pinjra Tod activist Devangana Kalita, accused in a case related to northeast Delhi riots , seeking copies of videos of protests against the CAA.Justice Suresh Kumar Kait issued notice and asked Delhi Police to file status report in the case and listed the matter for further hearing on January 7.Kalita, in her plea filed through advocates Adit S Pujari, Tusharika Mattoo and Kunal Negi, has sought copies of videos of protests against CAA and other electronic data available with the police in the matter that were filed along with the charge sheet in the case. While Kalita is in judicial custody in the case under the stringent anti-terror law UAPA, she was granted bail in the case related to the riots in Jaffarabad area.


Muslim groups, residents call for rebuilding mosques across Hyderabad

Hyderabad: Muslim groups and many Old City residents called on people to help rebuild mosques and spread brotherhood in the city.“We want to give a message to our youths to rehabilitate mosques by establishing prayers. Its time we took care of our historic structures,” said Asif Alam, a trader in Begum Bazaar.Many mosques in the Old City and across Hyderabad need attention and people said there was a need to care for them.“There are many mosques requiring attention and public representatives should take up the matter to construct all of them,” said Syed Iftekar Hussaini, member of Association of Save Waqf Properties (ASWP).“It hurts every Muslim in the city of Hyderabad. We demand that all mosques be protected by the present regime and Muslim scholars and intellectuals must be serious enough when it comes to this issue,’’ he said.A group of women said that though they would never forget Babri Masjid demolition, they will call on people to save the remaining ones.


Modi’s push for simultaneous polls will damage India’s federal structure, say 90 former bureaucrats

A group of former civil servants on Tuesday expressed their concern about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts to push for simultaneous elections – a proposal to conduct polls to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies at the same time. In a statement released by The Constitutional Conduct Group, 90 signatories said that the move would damage the federal structure of India.The signatories of the statement include human rights activist and former Indian Administrative Service officer Harsh Mander, ex CIC of India Wajahat Habibullah, former Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung, former Indian Police Service officer Julio Ribeiro, former IAS officer and activist Aruna Roy and other former high-ranking bureaucrats.They highlighted Modi’s November 26 comments on “one nation, one election”, where he said that it is not a subject of debate, but a necessity. Proponents of simultaneous elections, the signatories noted, cite huge expenditure in conducting frequent polls and the influence of black money, caste, religion and communal problems. But, they added, this argument lacks sincerity and is only being used to divert attention from the “many flaws” of India’s electoral laws and practices. The flaws that they referred to included the safeguards related to the use of electronic voting machines and post-election defections to come to power.


‘Humanity is most important’: Bombay HC on Gautam Navlakha not getting his spectacles in jail

Bombay High Court on Tuesday referred to the refusal of authorities at Mumbai’s Taloja Jail to accept a parcel containing activist Gautam Navlakha’s spectacles, and noted that “humanity is most important”, PTI reported. The court said there was a need to sensitise the prison staff to the needs of inmates. The 70-year-old is an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case.A bench comprising Justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik said that providing essential items like spectacles to prisoners were “humane considerations”.“Humanity is most important,” the bench said. “Everything else will follow. Today [Tuesday], we learnt about Navlakha’s spectacles. This is the high time to conduct a workshop for even jail authorities.”The court added: “Can all these small items be denied? These are all humane considerations.”Navlakha’s partner Sabha Hussain had on Monday said that his spectacles were stolen in jail on November 27 and he needed a new pair urgently. Hussain added that she sent new spectacles to Navlakha, but the jail authorities refused to accept the parcel upon delivery on December 5.



Mehbooba Mufti prevented from visiting families evicted from forest land in Jammu & Kashmir’s Budgam

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said on Tuesday that authorities prevented her from leaving her residence in Srinagar as she wanted to meet the families evicted from forest land in Budgam district of J&K.Mehbooba took to Twitter to claim that she has been detained. Police did not comment on the alleged detention of the former Chief Minister so far.“Illegal detention has become GOIs favourite go to method for muzzling any form of Opposition. I’ve been detained once again because I wanted to visit Budgam where hundreds of families were evicted from their homes,” Mehbooba tweeted.PTI


This is what triggered J&K U-turn on high court scrapping Roshni Act

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir administration, which last week asked the high court to modify its 9 October order scrapping the Roshni Act, based its decision on negative feedback from local residents fearing loss of land and livelihood, ThePrint has learnt.Besides this, the high court’s decision to deem the Act unconstitutional and illegal had also raised concerns within the government, given that hundreds of its officials were involved in implementing the legislation that was legally passed by the state assembly in 2001, official sources said.Under Roshni Act, encroachments on state land had to be regularised or legally transferred to the occupants against payment at market rates. The Act had set 1990 as the cut-off year for encroachment. The idea was to raise Rs 25,000 crore to build infrastructure for electricity, or roshni. Subsequent governments under PDP and the Congress extended the cut-off date to 2007.On 9 October this year, J&K High Court declared the Roshni Act as “unconstitutional, contrary to law and unsustainable”. Following this, the J&K administration on 31 October cancelled all land transfers that took place through the legislation.



Low voter turn out in J&K polls an indicator of people losing faith in democratic institutions of India?

On Monday, in the streets of Shopian district's Kaprin village, a few canines were yapping spasmodically. The road leading to the polling station remained deserted almost throughout the day. After 10 am, a few voters showed up at the polling booth and cast their ballots. As people largely remained cooped up inside their homes, the voter turnout in the entire Kaprin block turned out to be significantly low.An official said that the poll percentage in an area where a women-only District Development Council (DDC) seat was up for grabs stood at 1.96 percent."We steered clear of polling stations for some reason and that is all I can tell you," said a middle aged man in Kaprin. The seat went to polls during the 4th leg of DDC polls. The by-elections for panchayat seats are also being conducted simultaneously.


Chinese started building military camps along LAC after 2017 Doklam crisis say sources: indiatoday

Hit hard by the Indian stance in the Doklam crisis in 2017, Chinese had started building military camps in the depth areas to enhance their preparedness during a conflict with India."Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) has developed over 20 of these military camps in their depth areas close to LAC and are using these bases for helping in operations on LAC," top government sources told Aajtak and India Today. The camps were built after the Doklam conflict with India and are equipped with military necessities and all kinds of supplies for troops deployed there, sources said. India and China have been engaged in a military standoff along LAC in eastern Ladakh since May of this year.


1st phase of Kerala local polls today: CPM tries to wrest secular position, says Welfare Party in Congress wing

Thiruvananthapuram :With an eye on winning back a section of Hindu voters who had drifted away from Left fold in the last Lok Sabha elections in the wake of the Sabarimala issue, CPI(M), the biggest constituent in the state’s ruling LDF, has brought to focus the Congress-led UDF’s electoral understanding with Welfare Party of India (WPI), in the local body polls, calling it “communal” politics.The first phase of elections to the three-tier local bodies in Kerala is slated for Tuesday.In its campaign pitch, CPI(M) tried to portray the poll understanding as the Congress’s ostensible overture to “communal elements”, while WPI has called it “hypocrisy” on part of the Communist party and pointed out that it was aligned with the LDF not long ago.Both CPI(M) and the Congress, meanwhile, accuse each other of helping the Sangh Parivar increase its footprint in the state.


Rajasthan Panchayat Election: BJP races ahead of Congress, wins 1,554 panchayat samiti wards

BJP has raced ahead of the ruling Congress in the election to 4,371 Panchayat Samiti constituencies in Rajasthan, with the saffron party winning 1,554 constituencies and the Congress trailing with 1,440 constituencies as of 5.30 pm. As per the Rajasthan State Election Commission website, Independent candidates won in 371 constituencies while NDA ally RLP bagged 55 constituencies.CPM registered a win in 16 constituencies, the BSP in three and the TMC in one. Other parties in the fray include the CPI, the NCP and the NPP. Results for 1,179 Panchayat Samiti constituencies was not available as per the latest updates on the Rajasthan SEC website


‘Death of BJP supporter at Siliguri due to shotgun injuries, we do not use shotgun’, says West Bengal police

The death of BJP supporter Ullen Roy at Siliguri on Monday was due to the effects of shotgun injuries and police did not use shotguns, West Bengal Police said on Tuesday. In a series of tweets on Tuesday morning the police said that “obvious that during yesterday’s protest in Siliguri, armed persons were brought and they fired from firearm”.West Bengal police added that Criminal Investigation Department of West Bengal police would investigate the death.


New Zealand mosque shooter travelled to India before carrying out attack: Report

Brenton Tarrant, Australian-born attacker who killed 51 Muslim worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, travelled extensively around the world, including India where he spent nearly three months, before moving to New Zealand to carry out the country's worst massacre in 2019, according to a detailed report into the shootings released on Tuesday.Five Indians were among those killed in the terror attack on March 15 last year that also left dozens of others wounded and had shaken New Zealand, regarded as one of the most peaceful countries in the world. 792-page Royal Commission of Inquiry report notes that after leaving school, the 30-year-old attacker worked as a personal trainer at a local gym until 2012 when he suffered an injury."He never again worked in paid employment. Instead, he lived off the money that he had received from his father and income from investments made with it With the money from his father, the individual travelled extensively. First, in 2013, he explored New Zealand and Australia and then between 2014 and 2017 he travelled extensively around the world," it said.PTI


Prez Macron dials PM Modi, gets support on action against terror and radicalisation

French President Emmanuel Macron dialled PM Narendra Modi on Monday evening to discuss a wide range of issues including the digital and strategic autonomy, deepening defence cooperation, Indo-Pacific, and the security environment in Asia and the West Asia. PM Modi conveyed to President Macron his condolences for the attacks in France, and reiterated India’s full support to France in the fight against terrorism, extremism and radicalism, PMO said. People familiar with the matter said the two leaders are learnt to have decided to set up a hotline between two leaders. The move comes against the backdrop of France’s greater focus on the Indian Ocean and China’s aggressive posture across the region that had prompted President Macron to appoint one of France’s most senior diplomats, Christophe Penot, as the country’s first special envoy for the Indo-Pacific in October this year.


PM Modi speaks to Qatar Emir; task force to be set up to boost Qatari investments into India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani on Tuesday vowed to boost bilateral cooperation in the fields of investment flows and energy security, and decided to create a special task-force to further facilitate investments by Gulf country into India.In a telephonic conversation, Modi conveyed his felicitations to the Qatar Emir for the forthcoming National Day of Qatar, PMO said.PTI


Doctors’ protest intensifies as Modi govt allows Ayurvedic doctors to perform surgery

IMA along with Indian Dental Association, National Medicos Organisation (NMO), and with AIIMS support has been protesting ever since the Centre allowed PG students of Ayurveda to perform a variety of general surgery, including orthopedic, ophthalmology, ENT and dental.


Maharashtra panel of OBC ministers seeks caste-based survey for budgetary allocations: Report

A sub-committee in Maharashtra, comprised of ministers from Other Backward Classes, on Monday sought a caste-based survey in the state to determine budgetary allocations, Indian Express reported.A delegation of committee members, headed by NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal, visited Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s official residence in Mumbai with a list of 22 demands.


Govt suggests no homework upto Class 2, school bag should weigh 10% of body weight

New Delhi: Children upto Class 2 should not be given any homework as they are too young to sit for long hours and they should carry a bag weighing not more than 2 kg, according to the new School Bag Policy 2020 released by the Ministry of Education. The document of the policy, a copy of which has been accessed by ThePrint, is in line with the new National Education Policy (NEP) released in July. It gives guidelines on homework and weight of school bags for classes 1 to 12.


Chinese company knew its products were being used to bypass honey test:CSE

Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) on Tuesday rebutted the Chinese company Wuhu Deli Foods’s statement which denied having knowledge that their transaction had anything to do with adulterating honey with sugar syrup.In a statement, China-based Wuhu Deli has categorically denied that it knew the said syrups being solicited by the CSE investigators were to bypass the tests to prove the authenticity of honey in India. Its statement also mentions that the company believed the transaction had only to do with syrup, and nothing to do with honey. The CSE, in a statement, rebutted the claim, and said it is a fact that Wuhu Deli sent it a shipment of samples that contained syrup with the intention of helping it to bypass the honey testing protocols in India.PTI





Mobile technology to be used for COVID-19 vaccination drive: PM Modi

New Delhi :Amid the global race for COVID-19 vaccine, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said the mobile technology will be used for mass inoculation against the pandemic.Speaking at the India Mobile Congress, he said mobile technology has enabled benefits worth billions of dollars to reach the deserving and also helped the poor and vulnerable during the pandemic. “It is also with the help of mobile technology that we will embark on one of the world’s largest COVID-19 vaccination drive,” he said. 3 leading coronavirus vaccine developers — Pfizer Inc and AstraZeneca Plc and Bharat Biotech — have applied for emergency use authorization in India.While Pfizer India has applied to drug regulator for permission to import its experimental mRNA vaccine for sale and distribution without the requirement for local clinical trials, Serum Institute of India Ltd, AstraZeneca’s India vaccine partner, has applied for emergency use authorisation using data from Phase-III trials that were conducted locally, as well as in Brazil and the UK. Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech has sought nod Covaxin which is being indigenously developed in collaboration with ICMR.

Indian Mobile Congress | We need to work together to ensure timely roll out of 5G, says PM Modi


Reliance Jio to roll out 5G in second half of 2021, announces Mukesh Ambani

Reliance Industries Chairperson and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani said on Tuesday that his company’s subsidiary, Jio Platforms, will roll out 5G services in the second half of 2021.“I assure you that Jio will pioneer the 5G revolution in India in the second half of 2021,” he said during his keynote address at the India Mobile Congress 2020. “It will be powered by indigenous-developed network, hardware and technology components.”


Centre Says Ready For 1st Lot Of Vaccines, Delhi, Hyderabad Airports Prep

New Delhi: The existing cold chain facilities in India are capable of storing the first shipment of nearly three crore novel coronavirus vaccines that have been earmarked for frontline healthcare and medical workers, Health Ministry said Tuesday evening. The govt had earlier also indicated that old people suffering from serious medical conditions, will be given priority too.Delhi and Hyderabad airports have already begun prepping temperature-controlled containers and zones to store millions of doses expected to be made available over the next few weeks and months.



Bill Gates calls India’s digital finance approach a global model

Tech pioneer Bill Gates praised India’s policies for financial innovation and inclusion, saying his philanthropic foundation is working with other countries to roll out open-source technologies modeled on the country’s implementation.India has built ambitious platforms for universal identification and digital payments, including the world’s largest biometric database and a system for sending rupees between any bank or smartphone app. Gates said those policies have drastically reduced the cost and friction of distributing aid to the poor, especially during the pandemic.“If people are going to study one country right now, other than China, I’d say they should look at India,” Gates said at the Singapore Fintech Festival on Tuesday. “Things are really exploding there and innovation around that system is phenomenal.”Bloomberg


UK’s initial AstraZeneca shots will come from Europe, task force says

UK’s initial doses of the COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University will come from Europe rather than a domestic supply chain, the country’s Vaccine Taskforce said.The “vast, vast, vast majority” – more than 80 percent – of the 100 million doses AstraZeneca will produce for the UK will be made there, Ian McCubbin, manufacturing lead for the Vaccine Taskforce, said, but this year’s first batches will not.


Morocco to kick off mass vaccination plan with Chinese drug

Morocco is gearing up for an ambitious COVID-19 vaccination programme aiming to vaccinate 80 percent of its adults in an operation starting this month that’s relying initially on a Chinese vaccine that has not yet completed advanced trials to prove it is safe and effective.The first injections could come within days, a health ministry official said. Facing a public sceptical about the vaccines’ safety and effectiveness, medical experts and health officials have appeared on television in recent weeks to promote the COVID-19 vaccines and encourage Moroccans to get immunized.



WHO says immune barrier from vaccines ‘still far off’

A World Health Organization official warned only public health measures – not vaccines – can prevent a new surge of COVID-19 cases as the first vaccines are administered in the United Kingdom.UK started rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, the first Western country to begin vaccinating its population against infection from the new coronavirus.


Israel to get initial Pfizer coronavirus vaccine shipment on Thursday: Minister

Israel will receive one of the first shipments of Pfizer Inc coronavirus vaccines and will administer them to the elderly and other high-risk groups, a cabinet minister said.Pfizer and its partner BioNTech last month agreed to provide Israel with eight million doses of the vaccine, which the UK became the first country to administer.Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen confirmed media reports that a first batch would be flown to Tel Aviv from Chicago on Thursday.





UAE: 'We seek to connect region with Europe via Israel'

Dubai Ports World Chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem said that Europe and the Middle East could be linked via Israel."Israel is a logical and strategic linking point, as Israeli ports allow the operations of Dubai Ports World between Europe and the Middle East," Sulayem added, during a conference on the future of digital economy in the Emirates and Israel on the sidelines of the GITEX exhibition held in Dubai.Dubai Ports World operates Dubai's largest transhipment port in the Middle East, and has shipment activities in Europe, including in the UK and the Netherlands.Sulayem expects the initial volume of bilateral trade between the UAE and Israel to reach $5 billion.


New Israeli ambassador in Britain describes Nakba as 'Arab lie'

Israel's new Ambassador to the United Kingdom, 42-year-old Tzipi Hotovely has used her first speech during an event organised by the Board of Deputies of British Jews to describe the Nakba as "a very strong and very popular Arab lie." She added that the displacement  of Palestinians since 1948, when Israel was created in their land, is "a made up story".The far-right politician has a track record of making remarks about the Palestinians which are perceived to be racist and inflammatory. Her latest comments can be viewed on Twitter in a short video clip of the recent online meeting. It was uploaded by British Jews Against Occupation.


Top PLO official Hanan Ashrawi resigns: Reports

Hanan Ashrawi, a leading member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), has resigned, a PLO source told Anadolu Agency.Ashrawi, a member of the executive committee of PLO, submitted her resignation to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in his capacity as the committee’s chairman, said the source, requesting anonymity.


PA seeks Arab support for international peace conference

Palestinian Authority has called on Arab countries to support its planned international peace conference, the New Khaleej news website reported on Monday."In light of recent international developments after the US election, there will be a new page in international relations," said Social Affairs Minister Ahmed Majdalani. "It will have an impact on the region and the Palestinian-Israeli peace process."The minister noted that the recent visit by PA President Mahmoud Abbas to Jordan and Egypt was successful and aimed to revive tripartite dialogue in which they would be involved.


Hamas hails Saudi criticism of Israel

Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement has hailed remarks by the former head of Saudi Arabia's Intelligence Services as he criticised Israel during a security conference in Bahrain, Quds Press has reported.Prince Turki Al-Faisal pointed out that Israel occupies Palestinian land and claims that it believes in peace. "Such remarks reflect the Arab and national conscience of the Saudi people who still look at the Israeli occupation as an alien entity planted in the region," said Hamas spokesman Hazim Qasem.


Israel 'whitewashing' crime after soldier cleared of shooting 9-year-old Palestinian boy

Israeli authorities have said that the case of nine-year-old Palestinian boy, Malik Eissa, who was shot in the eye was "sad" but there was insufficient evidence to prosecute anyone even though eyewitnesses claim that occupation soldiers had opened fire as Malik got of the school bus.Malik was struck on the face by what appeared to be a sponge-tipped munition last February and lost vision in his left eye. According to Haaretz, at the time, an Israeli soldier admitted to having used his weapon but he claimed that he had fired the bullet against a wall. Israeli officer apparently did not notice that Malik had been hit on the face and claimed that he may have been hit by a stone thrown by other Palestinians. His father, Wael Eissa, disputed the claim and insisted that no stones were thrown at the time the Israeli officers opened fire.


Ex-adviser to UAE crown prince: Reconciliation with Qatar 'is absurd'

UAE academic Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a former aide of Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Zayed, has angered Saudi activists by tweeting about the potential reconciliation among Gulf States, Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported.On Sunday, Abdulla wrote on Twitter: "The train of reconciliation among the Gulf States will not move one millimetre without the prior knowledge and blessings of the UAE."In a previous tweet, he wrote: "Speaking about a reconciliation among the Gulf States is absurd," adding that these states would not give a gift to US President Donald Trump in his last days."


Afghan civilian deaths from US air raids rose by more than 300 percent

Deaths of Afghan civilians in air raids carried out by the United States and its allies “increased dramatically” since 2017 when Washington loosened its criteria and escalated attacks on the Taliban, according to a report released on Monday.The number of civilians killed annually in US and coalition air attacks soared by 330 percent to some 700 civilians in 2019, said Neta C Crawford, co-director of the Costs of War Project at Brown University. More civilians died in 2019 than any other year since the beginning of war in 2001, according to the report.While total deaths from air attacks has fallen, attacks are now coming from Kabul’s forces and have accelerated in recent months.She said that in the first six months of 2020, 86 Afghan civilians were killed and 103 injured in AAF air raids.In the three subsequent months, as Afghan-Taliban talks continued in Doha, the toll intensified, with 70 civilians killed and 90 injured.


Bangladesh shifting Rohingyas to Bhasan Char island that lacks basic facilities, reveal satellite images:indiatoday

Amid concerns being raised about safety and consent of refugees, Bangladesh has begun moving Rohingya families from refugee camps near Ukhia in Cox's Bazar district of Bangladesh to Bhasan Char - an island formed from a build-up of silt in the Bay of Bengal only 20 years ago. Opposing Bangladesh's move to relocate thousands of Rohingya refugees to Bhasan Char, humanitarian and human rights groups said the island is flood-prone and vulnerable to frequent cyclones. They also repeatedly raised concerns over the habitability of the island and whether refugees living there would have access to food, water, medical care, and education.Bangladesh said transporting refugees to Bhasan Char will ease chronic overcrowding in its camps at Cox's Bazar, which are home to more than one million Rohingya, members of a Muslim minority who have fled neighbouring Myanmar in 2017 following a military-led crackdown.


Sheikh Sabah reappointed Kuwait PM

Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah has reappointed Sheikh Sabah al-Khalid al-Sabah as prime minister following parliamentary polls in the Gulf Arab state, which is facing its worst economic crisis in decades.Sheikh Nawaf asked Sheikh Sabah to nominate members of a new cabinet for approval, state media said on Tuesday.


Joe Biden picks ex-General Lloyd Austin as defence secretary

US President-elect Joe Biden has chosen Lloyd Austin, who helped spearhead the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 and rose to head the US Central Command, as the first Black defence secretary, US media reported.A veteran of conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the retired four-star army general, 67, beat out the favourite for the job, former under-secretary of defence Michele Flournoy, amid pressure on Biden to nominate more minorities for positions in his cabinet.



China, Nepal say Everest a bit higher than past measurements

China and Nepal have jointly announced a new height for Mount Everest, ending a discrepancy between the two nations. The new official height is 8,848.86 meters (29,032 feet), slightly more than Nepal’s previous measurement and about four meters higher than China’s. Nepal government aimed to measure the exact height of the mountain amid debates that there might have been a change in its height due to various reasons, including the devastating earthquake of 2015.AP





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