15 May 2020

15 May News: Unfortunate COVID-19 related ‘rhetoric and harassment’ against Muslims in India: US official. Over 80% Of Indian Homes Dropped Income in Lockdown: Study. World Bank approves another $1 billion to support India’s fight against COVID-19 . In meeting with Bill Gates, PM Modi discusses post-Covid world, vaccine to cure pandemic


15 May 2020: 21 Ramazan 1441: Vol: 12, No: 209


Unfortunate COVID-19 related ‘rhetoric and harassment’ against Muslims in India: US official

US has seen unfortunate reports of COVID-19 related "rhetoric and harassment" against the Muslim community in India, a top American diplomat has said, asserting that it has been exacerbated by fake news and misinformation shared on social media. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback, however, also said that US was encouraged by the statements from senior Indian officials calling for unity amidst unprecedented spread of the pandemic. Brownback was briefing reporters on Thursday on impact of COVID-19 on religious minorities throughout the world."In India, we've seen reports of unfortunate COVID-related rhetoric and harassment, particularly against the Muslim community. This has been exacerbated by fake news reports, misinformation being shared via social media. There have also been instances of Muslims being attacked for allegedly spreading coronavirus," Brownback said during a conference call. "Now, I've been encouraged and we've been encouraged by statements from senior Indian officials really urging a unity, and noting the prime minister stated even that COVID-19 does not see religion, language, or borders, which is certainly true," said the US official on international religious freedom. India has rejected as "propaganda" some social media posts alleging harassment of Muslims in the country for spreading the coronavirus. "Much of what you see is propaganda by interested parties. Stray tweets cannot be used to characterise our bilateral ties with these countries," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said last month. His statement had come in the wake of angry reactions on Twitter by leading citizens and rights activists from various Arab countries alleging that Muslims were being blamed for spreading COVID-19 in India.PTI


Over 80% Of Indian Homes Dropped Income in Lockdown: Study

About 84% of Indian households saw their incomes fall last month under the world's strictest shelter-at-home rules, and many won't survive much longer without assistance, a study shows. Chicago Booth's Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation analyzed data from the Center for Monitoring Indian Economy Pvt., collected through surveys covering about 5,800 homes across 27 Indian states in April. The researchers found that rural areas were hit the hardest and the spread of the coronavirus had little to do with the economic misery. "Rather, income per-capita before the lockdown, lockdown severity, and the effectiveness of the delivery of aid are likely contributors," they wrote. The findings are in line with previous data from CMIE and others, which showed that more than 100 million Indians have lost their jobs since March 25.Proportion of households reporting income loss: About 84% of households with incomes of as much as 3,801 rupees ($50). About 92% earning between 3801 rupees to 5,914 rupees. About 93% earning between 5,914 rupees to 8,142 rupees. About 85% earning between 8,142 rupees and 12,374 rupees. About 66% earning between 12,374 rupees and 101,902 rupees. ndtv


Over 5.8 Lakh Surgeries In India May Be Affected Due To COVID-19: Study

London: More than 5,80,000 planned surgeries in India might be cancelled or delayed as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study conducted by an international consortium.The study, published in British Journal of Surgery, has projected that, based on a 12-week period of peak disruption to hospital services due to COVID-19, around 28.4 million elective surgeries worldwide will be cancelled or postponed in 2020.This will lead to patients facing a lengthy wait for their health issues to be resolved, according to the research conducted by the CovidSurg Collaborative, a research network of over 5,000 surgeons from 120 countries focused on the impact of COVID-19 on surgical care.

In meeting with Bill Gates, PM Modi discusses post-Covid world, vaccine to cure pandemic

New Delhi: PM Narendra Modi has interacted with philanthrophist and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates through video conference and spoke about the global response to the coronavirus pandemic. PM also discussed the importance of global coordination in research and development to combat the virus. In the meeting, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation co-chair Bill Gates and PM Modi agreed that it was important for New Delhi to be included in the global discussions regarding the pandemic, given India’s willingness and capacity to put efforts. PM Modi also underlined the conscious efforts put up by India in the fight against the virus. PM Modi also focused on how the govt’s development initiatives such as expanding financial inclusion, popularising hygiene through Swachh Bharat Mission, strenghtening last mile delivery of health services among others, had helped improve India’s response to coronavirus pandemic. While discussing post-coronavirus world, PM Modi suggested that Gates Foundation can take the lead in analysing “necessary changes in lifestyles, economic organisation, social behaviour, modes of disseminating education and healthcare, that would emerge in post-COVID world”.indianexpress


World Bank approves another $1 billion to support India’s fight against COVID-19

Government of India is getting another $1 billion loan from the World Bank to support its COVID-19 relief measures and financial assistance for the poorest and most vulnerable communities. The money will also be used for reforms in social security net, making it more integrated, portable and focussed on the urban poor.  The loan was approved by World Bank's Board of Executive Directors on Thursday, an official statement said. Last month, the bank approved a $1 billion loan to support the health sector. The new support will be funded in two phases. An allocation of $750 million — over ₹5,600 crore — will be made immediately to help fund Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, which the Centre announced in March to scale up cash transfers and free food grain distribution to vulnerable communities, pensioners and poor workers, and provide insurance support to health workers.The second phase will provide $250 million — almost ₹1,900 crore — post July, which will fund additional cash and in-kind benefits based on local needs through the State govts and portable social protection delivery systems. World Bank's India director Junaid Ahmad said, “COVID-19 pandemic has also put the spotlight on some of the gaps in the existing social protection systems. This programme will support the Govt of India’s efforts towards a more consolidated delivery platform – accessible to both rural and urban populations across state boundaries.”thehindu

Petition seeks public declaration of funds received by PM CARES, audit by CAG; Bombay HC asks Centre to reply



"Can't Stop People From Walking:" Supreme Court To Plea On Migrants

New Delhi: Dismissing a petition that asked that the centre be ordered to provide food and water to migrants on the move, the Supreme Court said today: "It is impossible for this court to monitor who is walking and not walking."The SC also said sternly: "Let the state decide. Why should the court hear or decide?"The petition filed by lawyer Alakh Alok Srivastava urged that the court ask the centre to identify migrants walking on the roads and provide them food and shelter.The lawyer had also referred to a recent incident in Maharastra, where 16 migrants sleeping on railway tracks were run over by a cargo train.NDTV


Assam Writes To Centre Urging Extension Of Lockdown By 2 More Weeks

Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal on Friday said the state has written to the Centre urging it to extend the ongoing lockdown by 2 more weeks from May 18.The third phase of coronavirus-induced nationwide lockdown, which got under way on March 25, is scheduled to end on May 17.PTI


Lockdown To Stay In Mumbai: Maharashtra Minister As COVID-19 Cases Spike

Mumbai, fighting a huge spurt in coronavirus cases, will extend the lockdown scheduled to end on May 17, a Maharashtra minister has confirmed. Mumbai has reported nearly 1,000 Covid19 cases on Thursday, taking its total to over 16,500 cases.Maharashtra's Industry Minister Subhash Desai told NDTV after a meeting with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday that the lockdown will be extended in Mumbai and other major cities.


Mobile Phones Could Be Carriers Of Coronavirus In Hospitals: AIIMS Doctors

New Delhi: A group of doctors from AIIMS, Raipur have recommended restrictions on the use of mobile phones in healthcare institutions amid COVID-19 pandemic, warning that such devices can be a potential carrier of virus and lead to infection among healthcare workers. In a commentary published in the BMJ Global Health journal, the doctors stated that mobile phone surfaces are a peculiar ''high-risk'' surface, which can directly come in contact with the face or mouth, even if hands are properly washed and one study indicates that some healthcare workers use phones every 15 minutes to 2 hours.Though there have been many significant guidelines from various health organisations like WHO and CDC focusing on prevention and control of disease, the commentary highlighted "there is no mention of or focus on mobile phones in these guidelines, including WHO infection control and prevention guidelines, which recommends use of handwashing".ndtv


No Action Against Companies For Non-Payment To Workers: Top Court Tells Centre

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday asked the government not to take any coercive action till next week against the companies and employers who are unable to pay full wages to their employees during the nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.There may be small companies which are not earning and therefore unable to pay, the SC observed.A bench of Justices L N Rao, SK Kaul and BR Gavai, hearing multiple petitions on the issue through the video conferencing, observed that MHA circular of March 29, directing companies to make payment of full wages to workers, was an omnibus order and there was a larger question involved which needs to be answered.


Not an economic package, but an empty package wrapped by speeches since last 3 days: Ahmed Patel

Reacting to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s speech regarding financial stimulus announced by PM Narendra Modi on Tuesday, senior Congress leader and Member of Parliament Ahmed Patel has said that it once again re-emphasised that MNREGA is one of the biggest safety nets for the vulnerable.“Hope the government now stops mocking at this landmark policy of the UPA government,” he said.“This wasn’t an economic package, It’s an empty package wrapped by speeches since last 3 days,” he added.“The migrants & the poor were having great expectations after the PM’s speech. Sadly, the govt has turned a blind eye to their problems and is back to headline management,” Patel said.


Supreme Court Allows Liquor Shops To Reopen In Tamil Nadu

New Delhi: Liquor shops can reopen in Tamil Nadu after the Supreme Court today stayed an order by the Madras High Court that allowed only online sales of liquor amid coronavirus pandemic. Other conditions for buying liquor such as showing Aadhaar card and limiting the number of bottles have been eased.The Supreme Court also issued notice to the petitioners on whose plea the Madras HC had banned sale of liquor at shops.


Nirmala Sitharaman Announces 1 Lakh Crore For Agriculture Infrastructure

New Delhi: The government today announced one lakh crore for strengthening the farm-gate infrastructure for farmers, in the third tranche of measures that are part of a mega stimulus to tackle the impact of coronavirus crisis and weeks of lockdown. In her third press conference to share details of an economic package announced by PM Narendra Modi, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also announced a cluster-based approach to promote the mantra of "vocal for local with global outreach"."Financing facility of Rs 1 lakh crore will be provided for funding agriculture infrastructure projects and aggregators like Farmers Producer Organisation, agricultural entrepreneurs, primary agriculture cooperative societies etc," said the Finance Minister. This fund will be used for setting up cold chains and post-harvest management infrastructure.


Coronavirus: Rs 20,000 Crore Allocated For Fisheries In Centre's Coronavirus Package

New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday allocated Rs 20,000 crore to the welfare of fishermen under Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana, announcing the third tranche of the centre's stimulus package to cushion the adverse economic impact of coronavirus pandemic. She said the amount will address critical gaps in the fisheries value chain and will help provide employment to 55 lakh people."Under the Prime Minister Matsya Sampada Yojana (announced in Budget), Rs 20,000 crore fund has been allocated so that fishermen get financial support for increasing their produce and improve infrastructure. This will lead to an increase of 70 lakh tons in production in the next 5 years. It will also double the amount of exports," she said.Out of the amount, Rs 11,000 crore will be used for the development of marine, inland fisheries and aquaculture, and Rs 9,000 will go into creating infrastructure like fishing harbours, cold chain and markets. This will double the exports to Rs 1,00,000 crore, she said.


Please Don't Come To Goa "To Enjoy", Says Chief Minister Pramod Sawant

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has suggested that Railways cancel the halt at Madgaon station for special trains being operated by it as the state records new cases of coronavirus after a gap of more than a month.He has also said people travelling to the state in special trains or flights will have to undergo home quarantine for 14 days even if they are non-Goans.PTI


COVID-19 | Community-based sero-surveillance begins in Telangana’s Jangaon, Kamareddy and Nalgonda districts

Telangana State government along with National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) in association with the initiated a house-to-house survey in 30 villages across three districts —Jangaon, Kamareddy and Nalgonda as part of the community based sero-surveillance, according to NIN Director R. Hemalatha.She said that coronoavirus disease has emerged as a pandemic, and the infection due to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has now spread to more than 200 countries. It has been observed that SARS-CoV-2 causes asymptomatic infection for which sero- surveillance is strongly recommended for active case finding, testing, and contact tracing. Also, surveillance of antibody based sero-positivity indicates the extent of spread of infection in the given population and forms the basis for strengthening public health mitigation measures. Household based studies can generate evidence on role of asymptomatic and mild infections in transmission, she explained in a press release.thehindu


Plea in Supreme Court seeks immediate stay on dilution of labour laws by Gujarat, MP, and UP

A PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the decision of three states - Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh - to relax and dilute labour laws in the wake of the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, reports legal news website petitioner has moved the Supreme Court seeking quashing of the notifications by the states through which the provisions of the Factories Act of 1948 have come to be relaxed on the premise of "facilitating economic activities in various parts of the Country".By exercising the power conferred on the states under Section 5 of the Factories Act, the states have relaxed the provisions of the Act to the detriment of the poor workman, the petition claims.Section 5 of the Act deals with the ‘Power to exempt during public emergency’ and the same has been exercised by the state governments in question amid the COVID-19 health crisis.


India may grant online consular access to foreign Tablighi Jamaat activists

India has received requests from a number of countries seeking consular access to their citizens who were held for attending a congregation of Tablighi Jamaat in the national capital flouting visa rules, official sources said.The government is looking at granting consular access to the foreign Tablighi activists through online platform, they said.Earlier, government sources said foreign nationals, who attended the congregation will face punitive action if they are found to have participated in the gathering violating visa rules.Asked about the extradition of Zakir Naik from Malaysia, sources said India continues to pursue the matter with Kuala Lumpur. Asked about the US pushing for India to talk to Taliban, the sources said New Delhi has its own thinking and policy on the issue.PTI


Slovenia Becomes 1st European Country To Call An End To COVID-19 Epidemic

Ljubljana: Slovenia opened its borders on Friday after declaring an end to its coronavirus epidemic, despite new infections still being reported."Today Slovenia has the best epidemic situation in Europe, which enables us to call off the general epidemic,"PM Janez Jansa said, 2 months after the epidemic was declared.The mountainous nation of two million people, which borders Italy, had reported some 1,500 coronavirus cases and 103 deaths as of Thursday.But with the rate of new infections trailing off, the govt ordered borders open for all EU citizens, while non-EU citizens will have to stay in quarantine.Earlier this week, the govt said some shopping centres and hotels would be allowed to reopen next week. It also announced football and all other team competitions could resume from May 23.AFP


Trump Could "Cut Off" China Ties, Says Doesn't Want To Speak To Xi Jinping

Washington: US President Donald Trump signaled a further deterioration of his relationship with China over the novel coronavirus, saying he has no interest in speaking to President Xi Jinping right now and going so far as to suggest he could even cut ties with the world's second largest economy. In an interview with Fox Business Network broadcast on Thursday, Trump said he was very disappointed with China's failure to contain the disease and that the pandemic had cast a pall over his January trade deal with Beijing, which he has previously hailed as a major achievement."They should have never let this happen," Trump said. "So I make a great trade deal and now I say this doesn't feel the same to me. The ink was barely dry and the plague came over. And it doesn't feel the same to me."


China Asks US To "Meet Halfway" After Donald Trump Threatens To Cut Ties

Beijing: China on Friday urged US to meet it halfway and strengthen cooperation in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic after President Donald Trump threatened to sever bilateral ties.Relations between the world's two largest economies have deteriorated in recent weeks, with both sides trading barbs over the origins of the virus that has killed more than 300,000 people."To maintain the steady development of China-US relations is in the fundamental interests of the people in both countries, and is conducive to world peace and stability," said foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian at a press briefing.AFP


US Church Sues Zoom After Hacker Streams Porn During Bible Study

A church in California is suing video chat company Zoom after a hacker infiltrated an online Bible study class to stream porn. According to CNN, Saint Paulus Lutheran Church, one of the oldest churches in San Francisco, held a bible study class on May 6 which was 'zoombombed' by the hacker. The hacker played "sick and disturbing videos" while disabling control buttons for the class participants, most of whom were senior citizens."The footages were sick and sickening -- portraying adults engaging in sexual acts with each other and performing sexual acts on infants and children, in addition to physically abusing them," a lawsuit filed by the church said. The suit added that Zoom admitted the hacker was a "known offender" who had been reported "multiple times to the authorities."ndtv


WTO head quits amid crisis of global commerce due to COVID-19

Roberto Azevedo has suddenly announced that he was quitting as the head of the WTO at a time when global commerce is facing a crisis because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the organisation has come under intense criticism.Azevedo told a virtual meeting of WTO members on Thursday that he was stepping down as director-general on August 31, a year ahead of the end to his second term.In a statement issued in Geneva, he said that he was leaving office early to give his successor ample time to prepare for 12th Ministerial Conference of the WTO next year.The meeting is expected to be crucial to the future of the organisation during a time when the global trade system is showing signs of fraying.A former Brazilian diplomat and vice-minister for economics and technology, Azevedo became WTO director-general in 2013 and assumed a second four-year term in 2017.IANS


US unemployment claims surged by nearly 3 million last week

The number of initial unemployment claims in the US surged to nearly 3 million last week as COVID-19 pandemic continued to sweep the nation, the Labor Department reported.In the week ending on May 9, the number of Americans filing for US unemployment benefits decreased by 195,000 from the prior week to 2,981,000, the sixth weekly decline in a row but higher than economists' expectation for 2.5 million, reports Xinhua.IANS


Emergency teams race to contain virus spread in Rohingya camps

Emergency teams were moving swiftly on Friday to prevent a coronavirus "nightmare" in the world's largest refugee settlement after the first confirmed cases in a camp housing nearly a million Rohingya in Bangladesh.Local government official Mahfuzar Rahman said on Friday an entire block in one camp, housing approximately 5,000 people, was shut off."We have locked down the block, barring anyone from entering or leaving their homes," he said.Rahman added that they were also trying to "contact-trace" people the infected person had met and they would all be brought to isolation centres set up in the camps.A senior advocate for Refugees International, Daniel Sullivan, said the first COVID-19 case was the "realisation of a nightmare scenario".



Nepal may have raised border issue on someone else’s behest: Army Chief hints at China’s role

In a sharp statement, hinting at a nexus between Nepal and China amidst the diplomatic row between India and Nepal, Army Chief General MM Naravane Friday said Nepal may have protested about the Indian road via Lipulekh pass at “someone else’s behest”.Even though he did not directly name China, the Army chief’s response to a question at a think-tank in Delhi left little to the imagination. There have been reports of face-offs between Indian and Chinese soldiers in eastern Ladakh and Sikkim in the past few days. General Naravane delivered a talk “COVID and Indian Army: Responses and Beyond” at Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) on Friday through a webinar, and was responding to questions from the participants.“In fact, Nepalese Ambassador has mentioned that the area east of the Kali river belongs to them. There is no dispute in that whatsoever. The road which we made is in fact to the west of the river. So, I don’t know what they are agitating about,” General Naravane said in response to a question on the reasons for Nepal’s protest on the road, wherein it had established a border post at the spot. The participant had also asked if he saw a link “between Lipulekh and the recent clashes between the Indian and Chinese troops in Ladakh and Sikkim”.The Army Chief said there was no contradiction in Lipulekh and there had never been any problems earlier. “There is reason to believe that they might have raised the issue at the behest of someone else and that is very much a possibility.” He, however, stressed there was no connection between the recent face-offs and this event. Nepal has been protesting after India opened a road on May 8 till Lipulekh pass in Uttrakahand for connecting India with Kailash Mansarover in Tibet, China.indian express

New Kailash-Mansarovar road: Nepal may have raised issue at someone else’s behest, says Army Chief




India formally requests Malaysia to extradite Islamic preacher Zakir Naik

New Delhi: Indian government has now sent a formal request to Malaysia to extradite Islamic preacher Zakir Naik. News agency ANI quoted sources as saying that the Indian government is pursuing the matter with the Malaysian government. The anti-terror NIA has been pursuing the case of Zakir Naik. Naik has been residing in Malaysia, a Muslim-majority nation in Southeast Asia.Indian agencies have been pursuing Naik on charges of alleged money laundering and delivering hate speeches that incited extremism.According to an NIA official, Naik has been residing in Malaysia now for nearly 3 years. Malaysia had granted Naik permanent residency after his request for visa were rejected by Britain and Canada.timesnownews


SC stays Gujarat HC order nullifying BJP minsiter Chudasama’s 2017 election for malpractice, manipulation

The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the Gujarat High Court order nullifying state minister and BJP leader Bhupendrasinh Chudasama's 2017 election on the ground of malpractice and manipulation. A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and BR Gavai issued notice on Chudasama's plea and sought response from his rival Congress candidate Ashwin Rathod, among others. Chudasama is currently the minister for law and justice, legislative and parliamentary affairs, education and some other departments in the Vijay Rupani government. The High Court had on May 12, nullified 2017 election of Chudasama on the ground of malpractice and manipulation and have also refused to stay of the operation of the order till the disposal of his appeal. The high court had held that Returning Officer "illegally rejected" 429 postal ballots during the counting of votes, while the victory margin was only 327.PTI



"Azan Integral Part of Islam": Allahabad HC Allows Azan during Lockdown without Microphones

LUCKNOW:Allahabad High Court on Friday allowed recitation of Azan from mosques describing it “integral part of Islam” and rejected administrative restrictions imposed on Azan in Ghazipur, Farrukhabad and other districts citing Coronavirus-driven lockdown. The High Court, however, did not allow use of microphones for Azan.A division bench of Justices Shashi Kant Gupta and Ajit Kumar passed the order on the Public Interest Litigations separately filed by Lok Sabha MP from Ghazipur Afzal Ansari and former MP and former Union Minister from Farrukhabad Salman Khurshid. The court had heard the petitions on May 5 through video-conferencing and had reserved its order.In its 27-page order today, the bench noted: “A letter dated 26.04.2020 was written by Mr. Afzal Ansari, Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha), Ghazipur with a prayer that fundamental right to religion of the people at Ghazipur may be protected and the State Administration may be directed to permit recite the Azan by only one person “Muezzin” from the respective mosques of the District Ghazipur, since it does not violate any of the directives issued for controlling the threat of the spread of the Covid­19 pandemic."Salman Khurshid had also written a letter to the HC with similar plea on April 28. Senior Congress leader and former union minister Khurshid had sought that “Muslims at Farrukhabad and other districts such as Hathras and Ghazipur, in Uttar Pradesh, be permitted to recite Azan which, according to him, is an integral part of Islam and in no way undermines the society's collective response to the pandemic.”India Tomorrow

Allahabad HC Allows Recital OF Azan By Muezzin From Minarets Of Mosques Amid Lockdown Without Microphones




Siddharth Varadarajan, editor of The Wire, secures anticipatory bail from Allahabad High Court

Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court has allowed the anticipatory bail application filed by Siddharth Varadarajan, founding editor of The Wire, legal news website has reported.The Bench of Justice Chandra Dhari Singh refused to accept the argument that the applicant may flee and has allowed his pre-arrest bail plea on his executing a personal bond to the tune of Rs.2,00,000 with two sureties each in the like amount to the satisfaction of the learned trial court concerned.Varadarajan was booked under Sections 188, 505(2) of the IPC and Section 66D of IT Act for allegedly making "objectionable" remarks against Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath.Two FIRs were registered against him on April 1, at City Kotwali and Ayodhya Kotwali Police Station, for making "false claims" on Twitter that Adityanath had attended a religious event on March 25 in Ayodhya on the occasion of Ram Navmi, when a national lockdown was in force.


Press Council of India asks for report from Delhi Police chief over questioning of scribe

Press Council of India on Friday expressed concern over the alleged threat of criminal prosecution and questioning of an English daily journalist by Delhi police and asked its commissioner to submit a report on the matter.In a statement, the Press Council of India said it expresses its concern over alleged threat of criminal prosecution and questioning of a Special Correspondent of the Indian Express, by Delhi police in connection with a news report published in the paper on May 9, 2020. PTI



Sedition Charges, Hate Campaign against Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan Condemned

NEW DELHI:Around 60 civil rights activists from across the country have condemned the sedition charges against Delhi Minorities Commission chairman Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan for a tweet and subsequent police raid at his residence for interrogation. They have also condemned the targeting of Dr. Khan on social media. “We, the undersigned condemn in the strongest possible words, the targeting of Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan by the Islamophobes over his posts on social media. We also condemn the action of govt against him by booking cases under sections 124A (sedition) and 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth) and raiding his house on 7th May 2020,” the activists said in a joint statement and expressed their solidarity with Dr. Khan who is author, journalist, renowned Islamic scholar and intellectual having international fame.India Tomorrow


Another businessman friend of PM Modi faces charges of fraud in Abu Dhabi

Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya and Mehul Choksi fled from India but BR Shetty has fled to India from UAE. Inquiries are on to see if he had siphoned part of the funds to India and how the funds were used. His personal wealth was valued at over Rs 36,000 crore. 2 of his companies were listed in the London Stock Exchange. A self-made man who arrived in Abu Dhabi with just eight Dollars in 1972, he today owns two floors in Burj Khalifa, world’s tallest and among the most expensive residential towers in Dubai. His company operates 200 hospitals in 19 countries including Spain, India and UAE, and has diversified into pharmaceuticals, catering and finance. But while Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty from Udupi, hailed as one of the richest Kannadigas, has had a dream run, the empire collapsed in the last four months. Abu Dhabi has frozen his accounts. London Stock Exchange has delisted his companies. While the hospitals continue to run, there is uncertainty about the future even as 4 criminal cases for fraud and money laundering have been lodged against Shetty, who flew back to India in Feb, and his executives. In a statement released late in April, Shetty claimed to be innocent. A group of executives in his company, he alleged, had conspired to defraud him and NMC, his flagship company in healthcare. Bank accounts were opened in his name for fraudulent money transfers that he claimed he did not know about. Companies were set up in his name without his knowledge and loans, cheques, personal guarantees were issued and bank transfers made using his forged signature, he now says. While the investigation is on, he stands accused of hiding and misrepresenting a staggering debt of Rs 50,000 crore. He says he is determined to clear his name. Significantly, the statement refers to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the royal family of Abu Dhabi for ‘forging a friendship’ and making him a part of it. Clearly, he expects Modi and the Abu Dhabi royal family to come to his rescue. nationalheraldindia


Vizag espionage racket: NIA arrests ‘conduit’ who routed money from Pakistan to Navy officials

 New Delhi :NIA on Friday arrested a key accused in the Vizag espionage case, aka the ‘Dolphin Nose’ operation, in which Indian Navy personnel are alleged to have passed on sensitive information to a Pakistani handler.Haji Abdul Rehman Lakdawala, the key accused, is a resident of Mumbai and was a conduit via whom Pakistan spies allegedly routed the money to Navy officials.Last year, on Dec.0, the Andhra Pradesh Intelligence Department had busted an espionage racket in the Indian Navy and arrested 7 ailors – 3 from Visakhapatnam, 2 rom Karwar naval base, and two from Mumbai naval base after they allegedly passed on sensitive information, like locations of naval ships and submarines, to a Pakistani handler.All seven sailors were recruited in 2017 and they fell into a honey trap in September 2018, sources had claimed.indianexpress





Afghan: Ashraf Ghani Govt defends offensive ops against Taliban after Russia’s caution

Afghanistan Govt has said its decision to resume offensive operations against the Taliban and other terrorist groups following 2 attacks on Tuesday that killed scores of Afghans, including newborns, was a “legitimate defensive position”. Tuesday’s attack on the maternity hospital in Dasht-e-Barchi area of Kabul prompted Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to switch from an “active defensive” mode to an “offensive” mode and to resume attacks on Taliban.Taliban has distanced itself from the attack on the maternity hospital, which was carried out by four suicide attackers clad in military uniforms, according to reports in the Afghan media. All the attackers were also killed. “In order to keep its people secure and thwart such terrorist attacks, the Afghan govt declared its legitimate defensive position against those who claim the responsibilities for such incidents,” Afghan ministry of foreign affairs said. The statement came after Russia’s presidential envoy Zamir Kabulov told TASS that Ghani’s order to launch an offensive against the Taliban and the suspension of the release of Taliban prisoners will halt the peace process in the war-ravaged nation.“This is regrettable because by his actions the head of the Kabul administration actually stalls the process of moving towards the launch of intra-Afghan negotiations. Such actions clearly indicate that Kabul is not much interested in the early launch of intra-Afghan talks,” Zamir Kabulov was quoted as saying by TASS.HT





US says ISIL was responsible for Kabul hospital attack

United States has blamed ISIL  - not the Taliban - for an attack on a maternity ward in Afghanistan this week in which 24 people died, including two newborn babies and urged the government to embrace a troubled peace effort with the Taliban. It was unclear whether the declaration would be enough to reverse a decision by the Kabul government to resume offensive operations against the group.US Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad blamed ISIL for both attacks in a statement issued on Twitter, saying the group opposed any Taliban peace agreement and sought to trigger an Iraq-style sectarian war in Afghanistan."Rather than falling into ISIS trap and delay peace or create obstacles, Afghans must come together to crush this menace and pursue a historic peace opportunity," Khalilzad said. "No more excuses. Afghans, and the world, deserve better."A group affiliated to ISIL claimed responsibility for the Nangarhar bombing, according to SITE Intelligence Group. No one has claimed responsibility for the hospital attack.aljazeera


Right-wing UK minister under fire for 'Islamophobic fake news'

Nadine Dorries is unlikely to be fired from her role as the United Kingdom's health minister after once again using social media to promote "fake news" that appears to hold an Islamophobic agenda, say analysts.Dorries retweeted a video of opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer that had been doctored to make it appear that in his previous role as director of public prosecutions he was reluctant to prosecute "grooming gangs". The edited video made it seem as though he were blaming the young victims, saying many had consumed alcohol and hadn't reported the abuse straight away.


Tunisia’s Ennahda denounces efforts to create rifts within parliamentary blocs

Tunisia’s Ennahda movement condemned what it described as efforts to create rifts in some parliamentary blocs in order to form a new bloc.The movement announced in a statement that there have been talks in the corridors of the People’s Assembly about ongoing efforts to form a new parliamentary bloc, and encourage divides within some parliamentary blocs.The statement suggests that some parties are attempting to fuel more political tension and division between the different parties, while the country is in dire need of consensus and unity, to succeed in its victory in the war on the coronavirus pandemic and poverty.The statement stressed that the government’s victory in this war depends on its success in building trust relations and boosting the tendency towards establishing a comprehensive governmental and parliamentary consensus on an inclusive national program.


Church leaders warn against Israel plans to annex West Bank

Moving forwards with an Israeli plan to unilaterally annex West Bank land will destroy any chance for peace, warned church leaders in Jerusalem.In a letter addressed to the Israeli government, church leaders highlighted: “Serious and catastrophic questions about the feasibility of any peaceful agreement to end the decades’ long conflict.”The Anglican archbishop in Jerusalem, Suheil Dawani, is one of 13 senior church leaders to put their names to the statement calling on Israel not to unilaterally annex land in the occupied West Bank.These proposed annexations, promised by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his election campaign, have been heavily criticised by humanitarian organisations and the international community.middleeastmonitor


*views, Articles, FEATURES*

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 Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 8:21 PM)*


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