Thursday, 7 May 2020

7 May News: Vizag Gas Leak: 11 dead, over 800 hospitalised, around 5,000 fall sick; tanks left unattended since March due to lockdown; AP CM orders probe. Indians evacuation LIVE : Air India flight from Abu Dhabi lands in Kochi. Make Aarogya Setu Source Data Public For Greater Transparency, Scrutiny: Experts. I’ve been booked for sedition because I took on Hindutva, says Delhi Minorities Commission chief Zafarul Islam

NEWS DIGEST EVENING

7 May 2020: 13 Ramazan 1441: Vol: 12, No: 201

*INDIA- CORONAVIRUS- LOCKDOWN*

Vizag Gas Leak: 11 dead, over 800 hospitalised, around 5,000 fall sick; tanks left unattended since March due to lockdown; AP CM Reddy orders probe

https://www.news18.com/news/india/visakhapatnam-gas-leak-live-updates-lg-polymers-vizag-andhra-pradesh-2608889.html

https://english.jagran.com/india/visakhapatnam-vizag-chemical-plan-gas-leak-live-news-updates-death-toll-hospitalised-pm-modi-jagan-reddy-10011552

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/vizag-gas-leak-cause-visakhapatnam-tanks-left-unattended-due-to-lockdown-1675457-2020-05-07

New Delhi: At least 11 people, including a child and two senior citizens, have been reportedly killed while over 800 people hospitalised after a gas leak at a chemical plant in Andhra Pradesh's Visakhapatnam in the wee hours today. According to media reports, around 5,000 people have been fallen sick due to the leak of what is believed to be styrene gas from an LG Polymers facility located near Visakhapatnam. Andhra Pradesh DGP Damodar Goutam Sawang said that the gas leak has been contained and the situation is under control. "Gas leak is an accident. They were strictly following all protocols. Investigation under way. Forensic teams are also being sent to the spot," he said. The exact cause of the gas leak, which started at around 3 am, is yet to be identified. But, reports suggest that it may have been from large tanks unattended because of the shutdown. Police officer Swaroop Rani in Visakhapatnam was quoted by AFP as saying gas leaked out of two 5,000-tonne tanks that had been unattended due to the lockdown in place since late March. The cause of the gas leak from a chemical plant in Andhra's Visakhapatnam has been revealed by police.It has been learnt that the major gas leak was from two tanks which were left unattended since March due to lockdown imposed to contain Covid-19 spread, said Swaroop rank ACP, West Zone, Visakhapatnam.This led to a chemical reaction inside one of the tanks leading production of heat inside it which then caused the deadly leak, the officer said.  However, preliminary investigations had suggested that “the valve controls for the gas were not handled properly and they burst, causing the leak.”The death toll from the accident could go up with at least 20 people on ventilator support. Besides, 246 people with health complications are undergoing treatment at Visakhapatnam’s King George Hospital, police said.CM Jagan Mohan Reddy held a high-level review meeting on the situation and ordered a probe into the matter. Meanwhile, NHRC has also issued notices to the Centre and Andhra government over deaths and suffering of people due to gas leakage from a chemical plant in Visakhapatnam district.The gas leak impacted villages within a 5 kilometer radius of the plant, according to officials. At least three surrounding villages are being evacuated and house-to-house checks are on. People lying on roadside and near ditches in unconscious state narrated the magnitude of the situation, as the government said arresting the leak was the first priority.jagran/ news18/ indiatoday

Questions in wake of Vizag gas leak: ‘What caused the leak, did people know they lived in vulnerable zone?’

 

No scientific studies report styrene gas causing deaths

https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/no-scientific-studies-report-styrene-gas-causing-deaths/article31525380.ece?homepage=true

Chennai:The gas leak from LG Polymers, which led to the deaths of several people in Visakhapatnam, is suspected to have been caused by styrene gas. The most common health problems when exposed to styrene involve the nervous system — both central and the peripheral nervous systems. According to Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), health effects due to inhalation of styrene gas include tiredness, feeling drunk, slowed reaction time, concentration problems, balance problems and changes in colour vision.The styrene concentrations that cause these effects are more than 1,000 times higher than levels normally found in environment.thehindu

 

Technical Glitch In Refrigeration Unit Caused Vizag Gas Leak Mishap: District Collector

https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/india-news-technical-glitch-in-refrigeration-unit-caused-vizag-gas-leak-mishap-district-collector/352282

Technical glitch in refrigeration unit caused gas leak mishap in Andhra Pradesh that killed 11 and affected over a 1,000 people, said Visakhapatnam District Collector on Thursday.At least 11 people, including a child, were killed following a chemical gas leakage at LG Polymers industry in RR Venkatapuram village, Visakhapatnam, early Thursday morning.Videos of many people, who were out for morning walk or to purchase goods amidst a lockdown, were affected by the gas leak.  Main thoroughfares of Visakhapatnam were seen with ambulances picking up those who had fainted after inhaling the poisonous gases.PTI

 

Chhattisgarh: 7 workers fall ill after inhaling poisonous gas at paper mill in Raigarh district

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/chhattisgarh-workers-fall-ill-poisonous-gas-raigarh-district-paper-mill-1675404-2020-05-07

Raipur:Seven workers fell ill after inhaling some poisonous gas at a paper mill in Chhattisgarh's Raigarh district, police said on Thursday.The incident occurred at Shakti Paper Mill in Tetla village, where the victims were cleaning an open tank on Wednesday evening, Raigarh superintendent of police Santosh Singh said.However, the factory owner did not inform the administration about the incident, which only came to light after the hospital authorities alerted the police, he said. The mill had remained shut ever since Covid-19 lockdown was enforced and cleaning work was underway to resume operations, the official said. Workers were admitted to a local hospital, from where three were shifted to Raipur in view of their critical condition, he said.PTI

 

Boiler explosion at coal mine unit in Tamil Nadu's Cuddalore, 7 injured

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/boiler-explosion-neyveli-lignite-corporation-cuddalore-tamil-nadu-1675424-2020-05-07

Aboiler explosion at a public-sector coal mining company in Tamil Nadu's Cuddalore has injured at least 7 people. The explosion took place Neyveli Lignite Corporation's plant. According to the initial reports, at least seven people have been injured in the boiler explosion, out of which 4 are critical.Five fire tenders are at the spot trying to douse the flames. Meanwhile, top authorities of the Neyveli Lignite Corporation or NLC are rushing to the spot.Other teams of Tamil Nadu Police and fire services are on spot and monitoring developments.NLC India Limited is a 'Navratna' government of India company in the fossil fuel mining sector in India and thermal power generation. indiatoday

 

Indians evacuation LIVE : Air India flight from Abu Dhabi lands in Kochi

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/live-evacuation-of-indians-stuck-abroad-to-begin-today-coronavirus-lockdown-6397734/

2 flights from UAE carrying 177 Indian nationals left for Kerala on Thursday,as India began its biggest ever repatriation exercise to bring back its citizens stranded abroad amidst the international travel lockdown over the coronavirus pandemic.The first Air India Express flight took off from Abu Dhabi to Kochi, which was followed by a Dubai-Kozhikode flight of the same airline.Meanwhile, Indian Navy’s INS Jalashwa, also reached the Maldives to bring back stranded Indian citizens.Nearly 15,000 Indians stranded overseas are expected to return on special Air India flights from 12 countries over a week, starting Thursday. The govt will operate 64 flights until May 13 and use three Navy ships, as part of Phase I of an evacuation plan, named “Vande Bharat Mission”. Of 64 flights, 15 would be to Kerala, 11 each to Delhi and Tamil Nadu, seven each to Maharashtra and Telangana, and the rest to Gujarat, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, and Uttar Pradesh. The Indian Embassy in Maldives has shared the bus pick-up points and locations for stranded Indians who will be brought to the country onboard the INS Jalashwa Friday.  Second Air India Express Flight from UAE also left for Kerala. The flight took off from Dubai for Kozhikode with 177 passengers on board. One passenger was added to attend final rites of her mother after one passenger dropped out due to immigration issue, the Consulate General of India, Dubai said in a tweet.indianexpress

 

Modi govt’s order making Aarogya Setu mandatory unconstitutional: Plea in Kerala HC

https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/india/modi-govts-order-making-aarogya-setu-mandatory-unconstitutional-plea-in-kerala-hc

A writ petition has been filed in High Court of Kerala challenging the directions issued by Central Govt to make the use of 'Aarogya Setu' app mandatory for public and private employees, reports LiveLaw. The petition filed by John Daniel, General Secretary of Thrissur District Congress Committee, contends that such directions violate the right to privacy and personal autonomy.On April 29, Centre had directed that "All officers, staff (including outsourced staff) working in Central Govt should download 'Aarogya setu' App on their mobile phones, immediately."nationalheraldindia

 

Make Aarogya Setu Source Data Public For Greater Transparency, Scrutiny: Experts

https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/make-aarogya-setu-source-data-public-for-greater-transparency-scrutiny-experts/352236

Central govt has been encouraging people to download Aarogya Setu application on their smartphones saying the app tracks the spread of Coronavirus and alerts others. However, it has also led to two major questions. First, can a government agency keep a watch on a person’s private details such as mobile data, movements etc.? Second, can a hacker enter into an individual’s mobile through this appl and gather all the personal details?Despite allegations about app's weak security features, making it vulnerable to hacking, NIC, which developed the application, has assured users of complete safety. Software experts, however, disagree, saying if the security features of WhatsApp can be compromised, Aarogya Setu is no exception.

 

42 Migrant Workers Died in Road Accidents While Trying to Return Home during Lockdown: Report

https://www.news18.com/news/india/42-migrant-workers-died-in-road-accidents-while-trying-to-return-to-their-home-states-during-lockdown-report-2609841.html

NewDelhi:At least 42 migrant workers died in road accidents while attempting to return home during the coronavirus lockdown, shows a report released by the Save Life Foundation.The report details road crashes that took place since the lockdown was announced on March 24 till May 3. A total of 140 people died in road accidents across India during this period -- and 30% of these deaths were of migrant workers who were walking, or trying to reach their home states by hiding in buses and trucks. The report says eight of the migrant workers died after being hit by trucks and speeding cars.The report says as many as 600 road accidents were recorded across the country during the two phases of Lockdown.Apart from 42 migrant workers, 17 essential workers also died in road accidents.“These numbers should be treated as the minimum numbers since we did not get replies from several states and believe some single-fatality crashes may not have been written about,” Save Life Foundation CEO Piyush Tewari.news18

 

28% of patients have recovered; over 51,000 migrants return to UP

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/coronavirus-india-updates-may-7-lockdown-evacuation-6398262/

New Delhi :The first phase of Vande Bharat mission to evacuate nearly 15,000 Indians stranded abroad due to Covid-19 enforced lockdown kicked off on Thursday even as the number of cases back home breached the 50,000 mark, with 3500 fresh infections reported. The tally stands at 52,952, including 15,266 recoveries and as many as 1,783 deaths. “Thus, around 28.83 per cent of patients have recovered so far,” a health ministry official said.While it took India nearly a month and a half to discover the first 10,000 cases, the journey from 40,000 to 50,000 cases has taken just four days. Till Thursday, over 51,000 stranded migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh have reached the state in 43 special ‘Shramik’ trains since the service was launched on May 1 in view of the nationwide lockdown. Thirteen more trains carrying migrants are expected to arrive in different parts of the state by midnight, PTI reported.These 43 trains arrived at stations such as Agra, Kanpur, Lucknow, Jaunpur, Gorakhpur, Pratapgarh, Rae Bareli, Kannauj, Banda, Azamgarh, Barabanki, Sitapur and Unnao. There were 51,371 workers and labourers on these 43 trains, Additional Chief Secretary Awanish Awasthi said. As many as 43 more trains with about 53,000 people from other parts of the country will be arriving from Friday onwards, he said.indianexpress

 

Bengaluru: After state cancels trains, migrants begin walking to UP, Jharkhand

https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/bangalore/bengaluru-migrants-walking-home-coronavirus-trains-cancelled-6397238/?fbclid=IwAR1urejAEyrLP8m6cpQ1q5KIcrRPIc-FdjKUuuyq2GENyFhTzUl7g9nBHWI

Bengaluru :Hours after the Karnataka government cancelled the trains arranged for stranded migrant labourers to return to their home states in a bid to revive the economy, hundreds of people began walking home from Bengaluru. In a video posted by Byatarayanapura MLA Krishna Byre Gowda on social media, at least 300 people were seen walking on the stretch between Hebbal flyover and Devanhalli in the city.“State government cancels trains. Thousands of people, in groups of 10-20, are just WALKING TO UP. This is inhuman. They are so disturbed to walk home, please don’t force. Some may die. Govt cannot be the paid agent of real estate lobby. Send them well so they want to come back walking on Bellary road, 5.30 pm,” he tweeted to the Karnataka Chief Minister. The former state minister said, “This is a human tragedy. I started seeing these people at 4 pm on Bellary Road. As I spoke to them, I was astonished to know that they were walking back to their native places in Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand as they failed to get any other mode of transport.”indianexpress

 

COVID-19: ‘We have built so many houses. Can’t we just go back to our homes?’

https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/covid-19-we-have-built-so-many-houses-cant-we-just-go-back-to-our-homes/article31520095.ece?utm_campaign=socialflow&fbclid=IwAR3-qs6i9aphWRMff60-hTTQr3-llaOUQTURFocCKo3h4Xrzs1fbWAeF6nc

Karnataka govt’s decision to cancel trains to prevent migrant labourers from leaving Bengaluru has sown seeds of distrust and anger among those who want to go back to their native towns. Tension was brewing at a labour camp of over 700 construction workers at the site of an upcoming apartment complex in Konanakunte Cross on Wednesday.Hundreds of people had packed their bags and gathered at the gates waiting to return home, but were not allowed to leave by private security guards. The labourers wanted no part in the government’s attempt to kickstart economic activity. As their anger and frustration mounted,they started shouting slogans: “We won't work, let us go home”. Crowd eventually spilled out onto the streets, and the police had a tough time ‘pushing them in’, as a senior officer put it.“This is a ticking bomb. We do not know for how long we can manage them. Going home is an emotional issue, not just an economic one,” said a senior police official from one of the outer zones, which has a large concentration of labour camps.thehindu

 

Paid for train tickets with final savings, say migrant workers from Bihar

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/paid-for-train-tickets-with-final-savings-say-migrant-workers-from-bihar-1675197-2020-05-07?fbclid=IwAR0-CmpW9vKJb5kg1KM0IQ57d4C91MywDnlYnFyT84ZFKqkTwFL2Xs3W0v0

Mumbai:Around 1,200 workers set off from Kalyan in Maharashtra to Danapur in Bihar on Tuesday. Out of these, at least 650 migrant labourers were living in Mumbai's Shastri Nagar slum.Their return home was arranged after Centre's recent order allowing migrants' movement in a controlled manner amid the novel coronavirus outbreak. Indian Railways is running special trains to move these workers across states. "As per guidelines issued, the sending state will pay the consolidated fare to [the] Railways. The sending state may decide to bear this cost or take it from passengers or take it from the receiving state after mutual consultation or may charge it to any fund. It is purely their prerogative,"a Railway spokesperson said. According to Railway Ministry,it is responsibility of the state governments to arrange transport for stranded people to reach railway stations. Similarly, at the destination station, the local administration will have to arrange for medical check-ups of passengers and their onward travel.Migrant labourers from Shastri Nagar slum were taken to Kalyan in BEST buses and then they boarded a train bound for Bihar.indiatoday

 

Truckers Charging Rs 100 For 10 km, Say UP Workers Trying To Get Home

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/coronavirus-lockdown-truckers-charging-rs-100-for-10-km-say-up-workers-trying-to-get-home-2224882?pfrom=home-topstories

Firozabad: Hundreds of migrant workers trying to walk home to Uttar Pradesh from places like Delhi, Gurgaon and Rajasthan were stopped by the police in west UP's Firozabad earlier this morning , leading to chaos and confusion.The migrant workers and their families including small children and the elderly had already walked hundreds of kilometres before they were stopped.Eventually buses were arranged to take them to a nearby college where the UP government says they will be fed and then sent to their hometowns in buses.But many of the men, women and children walking hundreds of kilometres amid the severe heat alleged that any help on the highway also came at a steep price, unaffordable for many of those walking home.ndtv

 

Watch: With no help from administration, migrant workers begin 700-km walk from Lucknow to Bilaspur

https://scroll.in/video/961193/watch-with-no-help-from-administration-migrant-workers-begin-700-km-walk-from-lucknow-to-bilaspur?fbclid=IwAR3zZu6ilCSYbXWPh4EGCLQ4xiltJmy9uMf5iN9--8BJFb5g7QWYMDimI_M

There seems to be no end to the misery of migrant workers even as India grapples with third phase of the nationwide lockdown necessitated by coronavirus. Although the central and state governments have claimed that provisions have been made for stranded migrants to return to their homes, a group of workers started walking from Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow to Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh, almost 700 km apart, as no other means of transport were made available to them.“We spoke to the persons made in-charge by the local municipal corporation and also visited the police station here,” a worker named Gopal Prasad Patre told an NDTV journalist. “They said that no arrangement of food can be made for us. They also refused to arrange transport for us to go back home. It is better to begin walking towards home than dying of hunger here.”scroll

 

‘We Don’t Want to Die Here’: Kashmiri Students Stranded in Gujarat Request Early Evacuation

https://thewire.in/government/kashmir-students-gujarat-evacuation-covid-19

New Delhi: Over 22 PhD and postdoctoral students from Jammu and Kashmir are stranded at the Central University of Gujarat, Gandhinagar (CUG), awaiting a response from the union territory’s administration while watching other students from different states go back home.Among the 22, there are seven female and 15 male students. They have been constantly writing emails to the J&K authorities and dialling helpline numbers, but haven’t heard back from anyone. Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases have spiked in Gujarat over the past few days – so much so that the Centre has stepped in to stem the spread. On Wednesday, 382 new cases were reported, with 291 from Ahmedabad alone. With this, the total number of cases in the state has reached 6,669. The state has also announced a complete lockdown in Ahmedabad and Surat. Gandhinagar is only 37 minutes away from Ahmedabad. The college’s hostel is in the middle of the city and Gandhinagar comes under a red zone, where strict lockdown rules have further restricted mobility. Hence, in emergency cases, students won’t be able to go beyond certain areas if their stay is prolonged.thewire

 

"Namaste Trump" Event Spread Coronavirus In Gujarat: State Congress

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/namaste-trump-event-spread-coronavirus-in-gujarat-state-congress-2224387?fbclid=IwAR2Ivt2EBBdkqBlKfMEYPHAJOV33Peyw2wx19B8wU_RIdpe-_ovUB1ynbg4

Ahmedabad: Gujarat Congress on Wednesday alleged that the "Namaste Trump" event, organised by the state BJP govt in Gujarat, on Feb.24 was responsible for the spread of coronavirus in the state.State Congress President Amit Chavda said his party wants an independent probe by a SIT into this, and that they will approach Gujarat High Court soon against govt's "criminal negligence". However, the state BJP unit dismissed the allegation as baseless.On Feb.24, US President Donald Trump along with PM Narendra Modi took part in a road show in Ahmedabad which was attended by thousands of people.After the road show, the two leaders addressed a gathering of over one lakh people at Motera cricket stadium.PTI

 

Ensure migrants who enter Odisha test negative for coronavirus, High Court tells state government

https://scroll.in/latest/961311/ensure-migrants-who-enter-odisha-test-negative-for-coronavirus-high-court-tells-state-government

Orissa High Court on Thursday ordered that migrant workers stranded in other parts of the country due to the nationwide lockdown should test negative for coronavirus before entering the state. However, it is not yet clear who will pay for the tests.A bench comprising Justices S Panda and KR Mohapatra passed the order while hearing a petition filed by a man identified as Narayan Chandra Jena. “The state government should ensure that all migrants who are in queue to come to Odisha should be tested negative of Covid-19 before boarding conveyance,” the order read.

 

171 Shramik Special trains operated since 1 May ferrying over 1.70 lakh migrants: Railways

https://theprint.in/india/171-shramik-special-trains-operated-since-1-may-ferrying-over-1-70-lakh-migrants-railways/416613/

Indian Railways on Thursday said it has operated 171 Shramik Special trains since May 1 and ferried home over 1.70 lakh migrants stranded in various parts of the country due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown.While 22 such trains have already departed on Thursday, 26 more trains are scheduled to run by tonight, including the first train to originate from New Delhi carrying 1,200 migrant workers to Madhya Pradesh, it said.PTI

 

Military Should've Been Asked to Help Migrants, Not Just Shower Rose Petals:Ex Navy Chief  Arun Prakash

https://thewire.in/security/karan-thapar-interview-navy-chief-admiral-arun-prakash

In the first interview by a former service chief after COVID-19 crisis and lockdown began, ex Navy Chief Admiral Arun Prakash spoke out boldly on many pressing issues during his discussion with Karan Thapar for The Wire.In a 25-minute interview, he has answered questions about whether last Sunday’s flypasts and petal-showering were the best way of honouring ‘coronavirus warriors’, about Chief of Defence Staff’s press conference, about comments made by the GOC-in-C 15th Corps and DGP Jammu and Kashmir that Pakistan is pushing COVID-19 infected people into India and, most importantly, on how the armed services and Navy, in particular, must respond to the financial crisis facing India which is likely to lead to drastic cuts in the military’s capital expenditure budgets.Admiral Prakash also says India cannot afford enemies on two fronts and must follow Chanakya’s advice and make peace on one front. He says China is India’s main adversary and it would make sense to come to terms with China. Prakash said “there is much more the armed forces could have done” beyond flypasts and showering petals, in particular to help migrants.The Wire

 

Covid-19: Ensure healthcare to protect tribals, forest dwellers amid crisis, experts tell Centre

https://scroll.in/latest/961268/covid-19-ensure-healthcare-to-protect-tribals-forest-dwellers-amid-crisis-experts-tell-centre

Forest rights groups, researchers and experts on Wednesday urged the Ministry of Tribal Affairs to take urgent steps to support tribals and other traditional forest dwellers affected due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown. They said the Centre is yet to announce a comprehensive Covid-19 response plan to help these communities during the crisis.The lockdown, imposed first on March 25 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, was to end on May 3. However, it has been extended by another two weeks till May 17.An assessment report conducted by the civil society organisations, activists, researchers and experts was submitted to Ministry of Tribal Affairs on Monday. They said the government should immediately ensure adequate awareness and healthcare to protect the rights and livelihoods of the tribal communities.

 

UP ordinance: Life term if corona patient causes death by ‘intentional affliction’

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/up-ordinance-life-term-if-corona-patient-causes-death-by-intentional-affliction-6397399/

 Uttar Pradesh Public Health and Epidemic Disease Control Ordinance, 2020, cleared by the Cabinet on Wednesday, prescribes a maximum punishment of life term if “death be caused by intentional (COVID-19) affliction”.Section 24 of the ordinance on “punishment for intentional affliction” says any person who “intentionally” infects another person with a contagious disease shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for 2-5 years.Section 25 defines “mass affliction” as infecting five or more persons.Section 26 states that “whoever causes death by affliction under Sections 24 and 25, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than seven years but may extend to imprisonment for life”, and shall also be liable to pay a fine ranging from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 5 lakh.indianexpress

 

 

103 Test COVID-19 Positive in Mumbai's Arthur Road Jail, Authorities Say Worst Yet to Come

https://thewire.in/rights/mumbai-arthur-road-jail-80-covid-positive

Mumbai: The delay in process of decongesting Maharashtra’s prisons has already led to the first major outbreak of COVID-19 in Mumbai’s Arthur Road central prison.Of the 144 tested, 77 inmates and 26 staff members — including at least two jail officials — have tested positive. The numbers, officials say, are expected to rise dramatically in the coming days. A senior jail authority has said that all undertrial prisoners who tested positive will be shifted to GT Hospital & St George Hospital in guarded vehicles on May 8 morning. Members of jail staff will be shifted out separately. The first case of infection in Mumbai was reported after an undertrial prisoner was taken to JJ Hospital in Mumbai for treatment. The inmate, a 45-year-old man, had suffered paralysis attack in the prison on May 2 and was rushed to treatment, an official told The Wire.

 

2 BSF men die due to Covid-19, infections cross 400 mark in paramilitary forces

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/two-bsf-men-die-due-to-covid-19-infections-paramilitary-forces-6398899/

New Delhi :2 BSF personnel succumbed to Covid-19 on Thursday even as total infections in the force inched towards 200. Along with CRPF (161), ITBP (45) and SSB (13), the total infections in paramilitary forces have now crossed 400. Barring 30 cases in Tripura, all cases have been reported in Delhi.Moreover, 41 more personnel from the force tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday, taking the total infections in BSF to 193. Of 41 new infections, 12 belonged to the company that was deployed to maintain law and order in Jama Masjid and Chandani Mahal areas with Delhi police. This company of 94 personnel now has 73 positive cases. Among the 2 BSF personnel who died, one had kidney ailment and had been going through dialysis while the other had no co-morbidities. The latter was 45 years of age and died within two days of developing symptoms. His test results came three days after his death.Sources said the BSF man with kidney ailment was put up at the RK Puram-based hospital of the force and contracted the disease during a visit to a super specialty hospital for dialysis. Through him, several others in the BSF hospital have got infected, including two cancer patients as well.

 

200 Million Ration Card Holders Did Not Get Grain Under PM Garib Kalyan in April

https://thewire.in/rights/pm-garib-kalyan-200-million-ration-card-holders-food-grains

New Delhi: On March 26 when finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP) – so far, govt’s only relief measure to deal with the consequences of the almost 2-month lockdown – she made a key promise pertaining to food security. She said that 800 million beneficiaries under NFSA would receive 5 kilograms of grain (wheat or rice) in addition to usual allocation of 5 kilograms per person. This, she said, will be provided by govt free of charge for the next three months – April, May and June.For April, however, 200 million beneficiaries did not receive the additional quota of 5 kg of grain, according to data released by government on Wednesday. The data show that 603 million beneficiaries have been provided with the additional grain under PMGKP for April, while there are 803 million beneficiaries under NFSA.If all 803 million beneficiaries had been provided with the additional grain under PMGKP, 40.15 lakh metric tonnes of grain would have been distributed in April. But, according to the government data, 30.16 lakh tonnes were actually distributed in April. So, about 25% of beneficiaries did not receive their grain allocation under PMGKP for the month of April.The worst performing states have been Delhi and Punjab, which have only distributed 1% of grain that they were supposed to, according to data released on Twitter by Ram Vilas Paswan, Union minister for consumer affairs, food and public distribution.thewire

 

Covid-19 relief: Double food rations and cash transfers yet to reach the rural poor, survey shows

https://scroll.in/latest/961224/covid-19-double-food-rations-and-cash-transfers-yet-to-reach-the-rural-poor-survey-shows

A survey carried out to examine the impact of 2 major relief measures announced by the Centre on March 26, following the imposition of a nationwide lockdown to combat the coronavirus, has showed that the benefits have not reached many of targeted beneficiaries. “Jaccha-Baccha Survey” was conducted under guidance of development economists Reetika Khera and Jean Dreze.The survey was conducted via telephone at the end of April with 130 respondents from rural Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh. The results showed that most of the respondents (82%) had a ration card, and almost all of the cardholders (96%) had received PDS rations in April. However, almost half (46%) were yet to receive double rations. The survey also showed that distribution of dal was yet to begin in most states.

 

UP: Like Muslims, Dalit group to also give ‘zakat’ to help migrants this Ramzan

https://www.hindustantimes.com/lucknow/like-muslims-dalit-group-to-also-give-zakat-to-help-migrants-this-ramzan/story-wEKcoKTE33pIc2gwdq0lrN.html

Lucknow :A group of professionals from Dalit community have announced to adopt the Islamic way of earmarking ‘zakat’ (charity) from their earnings and using it for the welfare of the lesser fortunate members of their society. Under the ‘Dalit Zakat’ initiative, these professionals, bureaucrats and businessmen, mostly from Uttar Pradesh, will compulsorily donate a small percentage of the income and used the sum for assisting the economically weak members of the community during the nationwide lockdown.“Our group was launched way back in 2003 and we have been assisting talented youths from our community in pursuing higher education. With Ramzan underway, and lockdown in place, we have decided to mobilize the resources to assist the poor members of the community, particularly the migrants,” said J Ram, a retired bureaucrat and the brain behind Bhartiya Dalit Zakat Foundation.“Before the start of the holy month of Ramzan, Muslim religious organisations and clerics have called upon members of their community to assist the poor during the nationwide lockdown with giving a small percentage of their surplus wealth as ‘zakat’ to the needy. Taking a cue, we have also decided to assist people in raising money, running kitchen and providing medical assistance to the deprived members of our community,” he said while claiming that the members of the Dalit Zakat foundation are spread across the state.“Due to lockdown we cannot hold meetings as majority of the members are following Covid-19 guideline issued by the government by staying in their respective homes. We are using technology to raise the fund, transfer the money into account, contacting each other on mobile to locate the needy and to hand over the money,” he said.Majority of the migrants returning home are from Dalit and backward community.“With limited resources, we know that it is not possible to assist all but we are zeroing in on extremely poor, deprived and marginalized people in the rural and urban areas of the state. Large numbers of Dalit students are facing hardship after their parents’ lost job. Dalit Zakat Foundation has supported the talented students in pursuing the higher education. Several of them are employed they have also joined hand in donating a portion of their earning,” he said.A group of students staying in Ambedkar Hostel in Gorakhpur have also adopted principles of Zakat to run community kitchen for supplying food packets to the poor members of the community stuck in city in lockdown. HT

 

COVID-19: Mandatory 14 days institutionalised quarantine for those entering Kerala from red zones

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/covid-19-mandatory-14-days-institutionalised-quarantine-for-those-entering-kerala-from-red-zones/article31525338.ece?homepage=true

Kerala government today clarified that persons seeking to enter Kerala from red zone localities in other regions in the country would have to go into institutional quarantine for a mandatory period of 14 days.They would have to pay for their food and board. Those who attempted to dodge quarantine would face prosecution under the provisions of Kerala Epidemic Diseases Ordinance 2020. The government had earlier insisted that returnees from other States in the country, including red zones, need sequester themselves in a government facility only for seven days.thehindu

 

Police complaint filed against News18 anchor Amish Devgan in Mumbai for spreading fake news about Muslims offering namaz at mosque

https://newsd.in/police-complaint-filed-against-news18-india-anchor-amish-devgn-for-spreading-fake-news-on-his-show-aar-paar-in-mumbai/

 Mumbai: A Police complaint has been filed against News 18 anchor Amish Devgan for spreading false news on his show Aar Paar on May 1, 2020. The Police complaint has been registered over his false claims of Muslims offering of namaz in Kurla masjid, Devgn also showed a fake video claiming the gathering of people near Kurla Masjid. Police complaint was registered at Kurla police station in Mumbai. The founding member of Public Care Foundation Shahzad Khan and President of INTUC, Azim Khan filed a complaint against Amish Devgn for spreading fake news through his show Aar Paar on News 18 channel, Amish is accused of hurting the sentiments of the Muslim community.Shahzad Khan, the founding member of NGO Public Care Foundation, in conversation with Newsd said that the dispute took place in Kurla on April 29 but Amish aired the video of the same on May 1, claiming it was of the same day. He further told us that the location of the dispute between the localites and the police took place in the Wafati lane area which is not even near to Kurla Masjid.https://newsd.in/

 

Delhi court orders FIR against 2 women for communal slurs, lockdown violation

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/delhi-court-orders-fir-against-two-women-for-communal-slurs-lockdown-violation/story-kgXEhmePTxKQBdHYItoYkL.html

A Delhi court has directed the city police to register an FIR against two women who had allegedly violated the lockdown orders and passed communal slurs in the Rodgran, Lal Kuan on April 16, stating that this might lead to communal tension in the area which had witnessed tension due to a parking fight. Metropolitan Magistrate Rishabh Kapoor ordered that the case be registered against the two women. According to a complaint by a local resident, on April 16, two women—Mamta and Suraiya—had allegedly tried to disrupt communal harmony by passing communally disparaging remarks. The complainant Waiz Islam contended that these two women were carrying metal rods in their hands and caused public annoyance by smashing the doors of houses and shops, mostly populated by Muslims. He said video of the incident was taken and uploaded on the web. The complaint added that the area is communally sensitive and has already witnessed communal tension due to a parking issue. He said that even though the matter was reported to SHO and an email was also sent to DCP, no action has been taken so far.HT

 

Centre should allow States to devise their own economic strategies: Former Union Finance Secretary  Mayaram

https://www.thehindu.com/business/Economy/centre-should-allow-states-to-devise-their-own-economic-strategies-arvind-mayaram/article31528117.ece?homepage=true

Former Union Finance Secretary Arvind Mayaram, who is now Economic Advisor to the Rajasthan Chief Minister, heads a Task Force for suggesting appropriate measures on restarting the economy in the State to mitigate the coronavirus aftermath. In an interview to The Hindu, Dr. Mayaram says Centre should not issue detailed guidelines for the entire country but allow the State governments to devise and implement economic strategy which reflects the reality in the respective States. Mayaram said, "Lockdown  could have been planned better and with better consultation between the Centre and the States. Lockdown with a 4-hour notice heaped misery on the people, especially the poor. It has resulted in close to 65% of the economy grinding to a halt with manufacturing and the services sector severely hit. The economy would take a long while in recovering and in that sense the shock is even more severe than the one inflicted by demonetisation."thehindu

 

As Delhi families bury coronavirus victims, a gravedigger watches on

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/coronavirus-burying-victims-delhi-1675421-2020-05-07

Belonging to the third generation in a family of Indian cemetery workers, Mohammad Shameem had little other choice in life than to dig graves.But as the novel coronavirus makes his work too dangerous, he now watches on as families in India's capital bury victims themselves. Sometimes, though, there aren't enough mortuary workers and men to lift the body. Then Shameem has to help."I am always tense," the 38-year-old father of four said while waiting for the next corpse to be brought for burial."I wonder what will happen when the body comes. I hope that I won't have to touch it."Shameem remembers burying the victims of a plane crash at Jadid Qabristan, an Islamic graveyard by the ruins of Delhi's city walls.But the fear surrounding the coronavirus epidemic, and its scale, is beyond anything he has experienced since began working with his now-retired father two decades ago.He waits for bodies in a cleared patch of wasteland abutting the main cemetery, where more than seventy suspected and confirmed coronavirus victims have been buried since the first death in the capital a month ago.Broken bits of slate and twigs mark the graves. Others are unmarked altogether.Reuters

 

Shocking Video: Bodies Next To Coronavirus Patients In Mumbai Hospital

https://www.ndtv.com/mumbai-news/coronavirus-shocking-video-bodies-next-to-coronavirus-patients-in-mumbai-sion-hospital-2224778?pfrom=home-topscroll

Mumbai: A video shot on a phone shows coronavirus patients in a Mumbai hospital ward lying next to corpses wrapped in body bags. The horrifying clip, which is circulating on social media, is from Sion Hospital, which is run by the city's municipal corporation and is one of the major hospitals handling COVID-19 patients in Mumbai.At least 7 bodies are seen in the ward as patients are treated in adjoining beds; some patients have family members attending to them and they appear to be used to the sight of the bodies.ndtv

 

Gujarat: 71 arrested in Anand district after locals protest cremation of coronavirus patient

https://scroll.in/latest/961291/gujarat-71-arrested-in-anand-district-after-locals-protest-cremation-of-coronavirus-patient                      

71 people have been arrested in Gujarat’s Anand district for violence after they disrupted the cremation of a man who died of the coronavirus.According to a complaint filed by Jitendra Dabhi, chief officer of the Khambhat Nagarpalika, the incident occured in Vidyanagar town on Tuesday night. A mob of locals resorted to stone pelting and violence when authorities were about to perform the final rites of the 63-year-old man at the Hariom Nagar cremation ground. The deceased, who had comorbid conditions of hypertension, was admitted to the Shri Krishna hospital in Karamsad. He died on the night of May 2, officials said.

 

Universities, colleges in J&K reopen with 30% staff; no classes

https://indianexpress.com/article/education/universities-colleges-in-jk-reopen-with-30-pc-staff-no-classes-6398685/

Jammu :Universities, colleges and professional courses’ institutes in Jammu and Kashmir reopened for administrative works with 30 percent staff, a day after the Higher Education Department allowed them to reopen, but not run any classes till May 30.A govt order issued here said that offices of V-Cs, head of departments, and those of principals of government degree colleges, polytechnic colleges and ITI shall start functioning with minimum 30 percent staff on rotation basis “in the interest of administration”.PTI

 

Covid-19: Punjab’s officials ask gurdwaras to announce home delivery of alcohol, draw flak

https://scroll.in/latest/961270/covid-19-punjabs-officials-ask-gurdwaras-to-announce-home-delivery-of-alcohol-draw-flak

Local administration in Punjab’s Sri Muktsar Sahib district stirred a controversy on Wednesday when it asked temples and gurudwaras to publicise a state government order announcing home delivery of liquor, amid a nationwide lockdown imposed to combat the spread of the coronavirus, NDTV reported. Opposition Akali Dal termed the request “sacrilege”. Akali Dal Spokesperson Daljeet Singh Cheema said the government should immediately withdraw the order. “Muktsar Sahib is a revered site in Sikh history,” he said. “The administration’s order is a mark of the government’s desperation for revenue.”

 

Liquor not a vaccine for COVID-19: Shiv Sena

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/liquor-not-a-vaccine-for-covid-19-shiv-sena-6398602/

Shiv Sena on Thursday took a dim view of large crowds outside liquor shops in Mumbai earlier this week, and said people should understand that liquor is “not a vaccine” for COVID-19.It is “not worth buying 65,000 COVID-19 infection cases” for earning a revenue of Rs 65 crore through liquor sale, a editorial in Shiv Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ said, noting that people defied physical distancing norms while gathering at wine shops.PTI

 

 

At 20.1 million, India expected to have highest births since COVID-19 declared as pandemic: UNICEF

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/at-20-1-million-india-expected-to-have-highest-births-since-covid-19-declared-as-pandemic-unicef-6397931/

India is projected to record the highest number of births in the 9 months since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March, with more than 20 million babies expected to be born in the country between March and December, according to a top UN body.UNICEF warned that pregnant mothers and babies born during the pandemic across the world were threatened by strained health systems and disruptions in services.An estimated 116 million babies will be born under the shadow of COVID-19 pandemic, UNICEF said on Wednesday, ahead of Mother’s Day, observed on May 10. These babies are projected to be born up to 40 weeks after COVID-19 was recognised as a pandemic on March 11.PTI

 

Madras HC directs govt to file report on bringing back stranded TN Tablighi attendees

https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/hc-directs-govt-to-file-report-on-bringing-back-stranded-tn-tablighi-attendees/1827148

Madras High Court on Thursday directed the Tamil Nadu government to submit a status report on the steps taken to bring back stranded people from the state, who had attended a religious conference in Delhi in March. A division bench of Justices Vineet Kothari and Pushpa Sathyanarayana directed the government to file the status report on a petition by Asa Umar Farooq and posted the matter for further hearing to May 12. Claiming that the central government had alerted its citizens on COVID-19 pandemiconly on March 14, the petitioner said there was no ban ordered against any gatherings, religious events or public meetings till then. He further submitted that Prime Minister had asked the public to observe ''Janta curfew'' for a day on March 22. Till then, no medical emergency was announced in the country by the health department. It was only when Centre realised the gravity of the situation arising out of the disease that it was declared as a national disaster and sec.144 was promulgated in the state, asking people to maintain social distancing. Both the governments, announced enforcement of the lockdown, without facilitating any transit for those who had been stuck in far off places and no alternative facilities were made available for them, the petitioner alleged. Referring to those who had gone to New Delhi to attend Tabhlighi Jamaat conference, he said over 1,500 people were stranded in the national capital in the wake of coronavirus-induced lockdown, of which around 600 were from the Tamil Nadu. PTI

 

Jamiat- Arshad Faction Giving Legal Help to Seek Release of Over 1700 Foreign Tablighis Quarantined, Jailed In India

http://www.indiatomorrow.net/eng/jamiat-ulema-e-hind-arshad-faction-giving-legal-help-to-seek-release-of-over-1700-foreign-tablighis-quarantined-jailed-in-india

NEW DELHI: Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind (JUH) is providing legal help to over 1700 Tablighi Jamaat activists hailing from 52 foreign countries who are lodged either in quarantine centres or in jails in different states in the country on charges varying from violating the provisions of the lockdown to provisions under the Foreigners’ Act. JUH (Arshad) president Maulana Arshad Madni said that his organisation was providing all kind of aid, particularly the legal aid, to all the overseas Tablighis to ensure that they are released and sent to their respective countries.Maulana Madni said that advocates on JUH panel are taking up cases of foreign Tablighis in the districts where they are currently quarantined or jailed.According to Maulana Madni, all other states like Bihar, Jharkhand, MP, Haryana, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, barring Uttar Pradesh, have invoked provisions of Indian Penal Code including Sections 188(violation of lockdown) and  269, 270 and 271 (acting negligently in spread of an infectious disease). He said that all these charges were bailable. But in UP, police had booked foreign Tablighis under violations of Section 14 (b and c) of the Foreigners’ Act which is non-bailable and a very serious offence.A total of 28 FIRs have been lodged. In Delhi, five FIRs have been lodged against 17 foreigners and four FIRs against 33 people in UP.India Tomorrowindiatomorrow

 

24 Tablighi members from Assam, Karnataka booked for 'spreading' COVID-19 in UP's Shamli

https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2020/may/07/24-tablighi-members-from-assam-karnataka-booked-for-spreading-covid-19-in-ups-shamli-2140451.html

Muzaffarnagar: A total of 24 Tablighi Jamaat members from Karnataka and Assam were booked for staying in a mosque without giving information to police in Kairana town in Shamli district, a police official said.According to SHO Yashpal Dhama, a case was registered on Wednesday against 24 people of the Jamaat under provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897. The accused were found residing in Patwari mosque in Kairana town in Shamli district since April 23.In another similar case, police registered a case against 10 Tablighi Jamaat members for residing in a mosque without giving prior information at Shernagar village under New Mandi police station in Muzaffarnagar district.newindianexpress

 

Amreli: 9 Tablighi members return from AP, quarantined

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/amreli-nine-tablighi-members-return-from-andhra-quarantined-6397948/

Ahmedabad :9 members of Tablighi Jamaat who had gone to Andhra Pradesh for a religious ceremony in December, returned to Amreli on Wednesday, after which they were sent to quarantine centres by the police.According to Amreli police, nine workers of Sura faction of Tablighi Jamat, all natives of Amreli district, who had gone to Andhra Pradesh last December and were stuck over there for the past 50 days due to lockdown, returned to Amreli city in their private vehicle. Police said that none of the workers had attended the markaz event in Nizamuddin of New Delhi earlier this March.indianexpress

 

2 miscarriages lay bare problems in Jharkhand’s health care, HC raps govt

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/two-miscarriages-lay-bare-problems-in-jharkhands-health-care-hc-raps-govt-6397804/

Ranchi :On Sunday, photojournalist Vinay Murmu made a frantic search for hospitals in Ranchi after his wife went into labour and began to bleed. A week earlier in April, another journalist Pravin Kumar ran pillar to post seeking emergency care for his wife after doctors indicated their baby might have died in the womb. Both the husbands accuse hospitals — state-run and private — of endangering lives as their wives struggled to get even basic services.“It hurts me. I believed in the services of the government hospital as my first child was born in Sadar Hospital Ranchi. Now I have lost faith and had to take refuge in a private hospital,” says Murmu standing outside Ranchi’s Guru Nanak Hospital, where his wife is currently admitted.Kumar says he can’t believe what happened to him: the private hospital to which he regularly went for his wife’s checkup refused to entertain him when it was found that the child would be still born. “I could not comprehend anything. They did not respond as it seems they did not have the required doctors, staffs. Why are they running the hospital,” he says.indianexpress

 

India records 3,561 new cases of coronavirus, 89 deaths in 24 hours; tally nears 53,000

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/india-new-cases-coronavirus-deaths-tally-numbers-toll-1675228-2020-05-07

New Delhi:Over 3,500 new cases of novel coronavirus and 89 fatalities took India’s Covid-19 tally over 52,000 on Thursday.In the last 24 hours, ending Thursday morning, India recorded 3,561 fresh cases of coronavirus and saw 89 deaths.According to Union Health Ministry’s data, the total number of coronavirus positive cases in India rose to 52,952 while death toll climbed to 1,783 on Thursday.The total cases included 35,902 active cases and 15,266 who were recovered and were discharged while one patient migrated. The total number includes 111 foreign nationals. Maharashtra continues to top the case tally in India with 16,758 cases. The state recorded 651 deaths as of Thursday morning. Gujarat has registered 6,625 cases and 396 deaths. Maharashtra and Gujarat are followed by Delhi at 5,532 cases and Tamil Nadu at 4,829, Rajasthan at 3,317, Madhya Pradesh at 3,138 and Uttar Pradesh at 2,998.

 

West Bengal: 91,515 Influenza Like Cases Found Through Door-To-Door Surveillance; 4 More Covid-19 Deaths

https://www.huffingtonpost.in/entry/west-bengal-influenzer-like-cases_in_5eb3abdcc5b652c564729ac4?ncid=other_trending_qeesnbnu0l8&utm_campaign=trending

The death toll in West Bengal from Covid-19 went up to 144 on Thursday, according to the Union health ministry website. It said that the total number of cases in Bengal was at 1,456. The state government, meanwhile, continued to say in the bulletin the deaths linked “directly” to Covid-19 was at 72, and there were 72 deaths from co-morbidities. On Wednesday said that in the last 24 hours there were 112 new cases, taking the number of active cases in the state to 1,047.  Chief minister Mamata Banerjee took to Facebook to share insights from door-to-door surveillance that the state carried out it had found over 95,000 cases of Influenza-like Illness that were found in the state. Huffingtonpost

 

*CORONAVIRUS – WORLD*

Mosques reopen in Bangladesh from today

http://www.ddinews.gov.in/international/mosques-reopen-bangladesh

The govt of Bangladesh has allowed the reopening of mosques for public prayers from Thursday.A statement issued by the Ministry of Religious Affairs on Wednesday said that considering the overall situation the mosques will be reopened from May 7 based on the recommendation of the Cabinet Division of the government of Bangladesh. The mosques have, however, been asked to follow the directives issued by the Health Ministry and observe other precautions. Ministry also issued a 12 point directive for strict compliance by the people coming to the mosques to offer prayers. According to the directives, the mosques must keep soap or hand sanitiser at the front and everyone must wear mask. The worshippers are also required to maintain a minimum distance of 3 feet from each other. It has made the mosque management committee responsible for ensuring that people adhere to the instructions. The mosques will not be allowed to hold Iftar or Sehri for more than 5 people.

 

Pakistan to ease coronavirus lockdown from Saturday

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/05/brazil-minister-floats-idea-coronavirus-lockdown-live-updates-200506233629569.html

Prime Minister Imran Khan said Pakistan will ease lockdown in phases from Saturday despite an increase in number of coronavirus cases in the country.The decision is due to the country's large number of poor people and labourers who cannot afford to live under lockdown any more, he said."We know that we're doing it at a time when our curve is going up... but it is not edging up as we were expecting," Khan said in a televised address.Markets will be allowed to reopen five days a week, but all shops must close by 5pm every evening. Public transportation remains suspended, as well as intercity travel.

 

Egypt extends nationwide nighttime curfew until end of Ramadan

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/05/brazil-minister-floats-idea-coronavirus-lockdown-live-updates-200506233629569.html

Egypt extended a nationwide nighttime curfew until end of the holy month of Ramadan to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said.

 

Saudi Arabia opens advanced self-sterilization gates at Grand Mosque entrances

https://saudigazette.com.sa/article/592788?fbclid=IwAR3FQ5KVGHJgIf67PyPlT6Do0W7YglMOeRr6NoIzoliavnSOAbGRqXfhX_k

Makkah:General Presidency for the Affairs of Grand Mosque and Prophet’s Mosque has inaugurated Thursday advanced self-sterilization gates in the entrances to Grand Mosque. These gates are equipped with the latest technologies and are installed as part of the precautionary measures that have been carried out since the outbreak of Coronavirus. These advanced gates are used for sterilizing people with sanitizer spray and equipped with thermal cameras to test temperatures from 6 meters and a smart screen for speed-reading of temperatures of several people at the same time.These advanced gates have been set up within the preventive and precautionary measures that were taken by the presidency to confront coronavirus pandemic. saudigazette

 

Black, Indian and Pakistani people more likely to die: UK stats

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/05/brazil-minister-floats-idea-coronavirus-lockdown-live-updates-200506233629569.html

Black people and those of Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnicity have a significantly higher chance of dying from COVID-19 than white people, British statistics office said."The risk of death involving coronavirus among some ethnic groups is significantly higher than that of those of White ethnicity," the Office for National Statistics said."Black males are 4.2 times more likely to die from a COVID-19-related death and Black females are 4.3 times more likely than White ethnicity males and females," the ONS said."People of Bangladeshi and Pakistani, Indian, and Mixed ethnicities also had statistically significant raised risk of death involving COVID-19 compared with those of White ethnicity."aljazeera

 

Trump claims coronavirus 'attack' worse than Pearl Harbor, 9/11

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/05/trump-claims-coronavirus-attack-worse-pearl-harbor-911-200507032907276.html

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday called the coronavirus pandemic the worst "attack" the country had ever experienced and blamed China for not stopping it, amid a deepening war of words between the United States and China over the virus."This is worse than Pearl Harbor. This is worse than the World Trade Center," Trump said at a White House event, referring to the Japanese bombing of the US airbase that brought the Americans into the second world war and the September 11 attacks. "It should have never happened," Trump continued. "It could have been stopped at the source. It could have been stopped in China. It should have been stopped right at the source, and it wasn't."Trump's administration has become increasingly critical of China as the death toll in the US has risen, blaming it for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and demanding the country be more transparent about its handling of the disease, which first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.More than 255,000 people around the world have now died from COVID-19, disease caused by the coronavirus, including at least 70,000 in US.

 

*INDIA- ISLAMOPHOBIA, HUMAN RIGHTS & OTHERS*

I’ve been booked for sedition because I took on Hindutva, says Delhi Minorities Commission chief Zafarul Islam

https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/india/i-have-been-booked-for-sedition-because-i-took-on-hindutva-says-zafarul-islam-khan

Delhi Minorities Commission Chairman Dr Zafarul Islam Khan was booked for sedition after he tweeted a post while thanking the Kuwaiti government for taking note of persecution of Muslims in India on April 30. On May 6, Delhi police had gone to his house but left after a while.Cyber Cell of Delhi Police conducted raids on Zafarul Islam Khan on May 7 over complaint registered against him over his remarks on social media. In an exclusive interview with The Quint, Zafarul Islam Khan said, “I must tell you that a lot of people did not like my work because we were taking note of Hindutva politics, of what happened in the north east district of Delhi, of trishool yatras, of attack on madrasas or mosques. They did not like that. I may also add here, that the real purpose of all this propaganda against me was to deny me a second term and I must tell you also that they have succeeded in this.”When he was asked on his stand on the tweet for which he was booked for sedition, Khan said, “See Tweet was about the Kuwaiti government’s decision to take note of the persecution of Muslims in India. They sent a letter to their foreign minister, to take note of this decision and to talk to the world community about the issue. I thought I should thank them for taking note of what is going on here and then I said that what is the reason for them taking note... that Indian Muslims enjoy a lot of goodwill in the Arab world. The last paragraph of my statement was that if Indian Muslims choose to complain to the Arab world or Muslim world there will be an avalanche for Hindutva, that is the word I used, for Hindutva bigots. Not for Indians, not for Hindus.”nationalheraldindia

Delhi Police team returns after facing protest at DMC chairman Zafarul Islam Khan's residence

 

More trouble for Arnab as powerful demand grows to ban ‘preachers of hate, including Republic TV, Zee News, India TV, Aaj Tak, ABP and Times Now’ in UAE

http://www.jantakareporter.com/entertainment/more-trouble-for-arnab-goswami-as-powerful-demand-grows-to-ban-preachers-of-hate-including-republic-tv-zee-news-india-tv-aaj-tak-abp-and-times-now/289827/?fbclid=IwAR32q0FVnTCHuiJ2NvJ-4V5L_u2IwmmLdpILVHejOv0Bsf_a8djgUNl6UK4#.XrN_Y8mvud8.whatsapp

Trouble for Arnab Goswami has increased manifold as a powerful demand grew to ban ‘preachers of hate, including Republic TV, Zee News, India TV, Aaj Tak, ABP and Times Now.’ This was after UAE-based newspaper Gulf News formally sought the banning of Indian TV channels, known for exporting hate through Islamophobia, in Gulf region.Gulf News, which is owned by powerful Al Nisr Publishing group in UAE, wrote a scathing editorial on 6 May outlining how Indian TV channels had immensely caused religious disharmony even in Gulf countries through their hateful broadcast in the garb of journalism. It wrote, “Gulf News has been publishing incidents involving expats who were terminated by employers after they posted abusive content on social media. Many Indian expats who were called out for hatred and religious discrimination were long term residents of the UAE.“Prominent Arab personalities based in the UAE and other Gulf countries have also raised concerns about growing Islamophobia among the expats. Indian embassies in the UAE, Oman and Qatar have issued warnings on social media conduct, reminding Indians about tough anti-discrimination laws.”Gulf News editorial asked why long-term residents who are familiar with local laws and sensitivities were also posting such abusive content on social media in UAE.“The culprit is Indian media,” it said singling out some ‘news channels’ which are exporting the narrative of hate against Muslims from India to the Gulf countries.jantakareporter

 

 

Zee News’ Sudhir Chaudhary Booked for ‘Jihad Chart’ Episode

https://www.thequint.com/news/india/zee-news-sudhir-chaudhary-booked-by-kerala-police-for-jihad-chart-episode?fbclid=IwAR3lGcCnl3gG7pAaA2NLDqSvX9yalFBoIOSinLJExcAirv_SylNX3RXTr-s

An FIR has been filed against editor-in-chief of Zee News and prime-time show host of Daily News And Analysis (DNA) on Zee News Sudhir Chaudhary in Kerala under non-bailable sections on Thursday, 7 May.FIR reads, “On 11 March, Zee News broadcast DNA programme. The accused presented a programme that is offending the Muslim religion.”“The highlight of the show on 11 March was the “jihad chart.” In his show, he explained to his viewers what the chart detailed: “types of jihad,” FIR stated.On his flagship show, DNA, on 11 March, Chaudhary schooled his viewers about the different “types of jihad”, complete with a flowchart that was not only criticised for being plagiarised but also for being downright derogatory towards the minority community.“The highlight of the show on 11 March was the “jihad chart.” In his show, he explained to his viewers what the chart detailed: “types of jihad,” FIR stated.The Quint

 

Muslim leaders have complimented RSS relief work says joint general secretary Hosabale, rejects it is anti-Muslims

https://www.theweek.in/wire-updates/national/2020/05/06/del114-rss-muslims--corr.html

New Delhi;Muslims are part and parcel of India and Sangh volunteers helped them during lockdown without any discrimination, which was complimented by various Muslim community leaders, RSS joint general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale said on Wednesday. Hosabale, who was interacting online with foreign media, rejected as "baseless and far from reality" the perception about RSS being "anti-Muslim". He said Sangh was in touch with Muslim leaders and “helped the people from the community across the country including at Shaheen Bagh in New Delhi” during the coronavirus-induced lockdown.Hosabale also echoed RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's remarks made in an apparent reference to the Tablighi Jamaat row that an entire community cannot be held responsible for the mistake of few. “Many Muslim community leaders have written to Bhagwatji welcoming his stand and thanking him,” Hosabale claimed.  "RSS as an organisation has been in touch wit Muslim community leaders. They are part and parcel of this nation. The service done by RSS workers during the lockdown is a testimony of Hindu society, which looks at all communities including Muslims as their brothers,” Hosabale said.  As a result, Muslim community leaders have also complimented the Sangh's relief work, he said. PTI

 

Delhi riots: Police reply on Shahrukh Pathan’s bail plea citing COVID-19 scare sought

https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/delhi/2020/may/07/delhi-riots-police-reply-on-shahrukh-pathans-bail-plea-citing-covid-19-scare-sought-2140220.html

NEW DELHI: A Delhi court Wednesday sought the police response on a plea by Shahrukh Pathan, who allegedly pointed a gun at a head constable during the communal violence in northeast Delhi, seeking bail on the ground that jails are overcrowded and pose a higher risk of catching coronavirus. Additional Sessions Judge Sanjeev Kumar Malhotra issued notice to the investigating officer in the case and sought response on the bail application by May 8. Advocate Asghar Khan, representing Pathan, sought bail for the accused contending that there was a delay of two days in lodging of FIR.He said that due to COVID-19 pandemic, it is unsafe to remain in jail as it is not possible to maintain social distancing due to overcrowding.    The accused sought bail saying he has been languishing in jail for over a month now. newindianexpress

 

JNU violence: Komal Sharma was questioned by police in March

https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/jnu-violence-komal-sharma-questioned-by-police-6397569/?fbclid=IwAR1eboUclAZpYSRdmxQGVpGZzgFjuyyNBgj2JrMaQVQake4LpbJGRNAgIOE

Delhi University student Komal Sharma, who had been summoned by Delhi Police in connection with January 5 JNU violence, is learnt to have told investigators that she was not present on campus during that time.According to sources, Sharma was questioned by a special investigation team of Delhi Police Crime Branch in the second week of March.Around 100 masked persons had gone on a rampage inside the university for around 4 hours on Jan.5, leaving 36 students, teachers and staff injured. Police have been probing allegations that a masked woman seen in one of the videos is Sharma.Sources said that SIT tried to summon her by serving a notice over the phone and asking her to join the probe. However, her phone was switched off. Police then sent a notice to her rented accommodation, but she was not present there either.“SIT has so far questioned 80 people, including 10 suspects whose pictures were released by SIT chief DCP Joy Tirkey. Since then, no briefing has been called,” said a senior police officer.indianexpress

 

Jharkhand: Muslim youth breaks fast to donate blood to ailing Hindu boy

https://www.newindianexpress.com/good-news/2020/may/06/jharkhand-muslim-youth-breaks-fast-to-donate-blood-to-ailing-hindu-boy-2139965.html

RANCHI: Amid hate messages on social media, a Muslim youth set an example for humanity by breaking his ‘Roza’ (fasting) to donate blood for an 8-year-old Hindu child who is suffering from Pneumonia in Hazaribagh on Tuesday. Salim Ansari travelled over 50 km to donate blood after he got to know that the boy of his village needed blood to save his life.The child Nikhil Kumar, suffering from pneumonia, is undergoing treatment at a nursing home in Hazaribagh and needed blood for his treatment.When Ansari reached the hospital, doctors advised him to break his fast and eat something to be able to donate blood. Ansari immediately agreed to the doctor’s suggestion and donated blood.newindianexpress

 

Laws, legal system totally geared in favour of rich and powerful: Retiring Justice Deepak Gupta

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/supreme-court-justice-deepak-gupta-virtual-farewell-6397441/?fbclid=IwAR3VrQGpARqUjLOKOXVexfr9Luw9Cbl7Ruijx5RH3uWa237t48bBpl86EUE

New Delhi :Supreme Court judge Justice Deepak Gupta on Wednesday rued that the country’s “laws and… legal system are totally geared in favour of the rich and powerful”, and said that “in the present day and age judges cannot live in ivory towers but must be aware of what is happening in the world around them”. Speaking at a virtual farewell hosted by the Supreme Court Bar Association on his last working day, Justice Gupta said, “If somebody who is rich and powerful is behind bars, then time and again he will approach the higher courts during the pendency of the trial till some day he obtains an order that his trial should be expedited.” This, he said, happens at the cost of the poor litigant whose trial gets further delayed as he cannot approach the higher court.

 

Not first time IMD is showing weather bulletin for areas under PoK, says weather agency

https://theprint.in/india/not-first-time-imd-is-showing-weather-bulletin-for-areas-under-pok-says-weather-agency/416626/

New Delhi: India Meteorological Department (IMD) has made light of reports about its decision to include Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) in its weather forecasts, saying it wasn’t the first time this was being done.Speaking to ThePrint Thursday, IMD director general Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said the practice will now become part of the readings issued by their regional centre for the Jammu & Kashmir subdivision. It was reported this week that the IMD’s forecasts for the J&K subdivision now include Gilgit-Baltistan and Muzaffarabad, areas of Kashmir that India believes to be under Pakistani occupation. Muzaffarabad is the capital of PoK. This change came just a day after India took exception to a Pakistan Supreme Court order regarding elections in Gilgit-Baltistan, and asked Islamabad to vacate the area.theprint

 

Indian troops kill militants, triggering clashes across Kashmir:Reuters

https://in.reuters.com/article/india-kashmir/indian-troops-kill-militants-triggering-clashes-across-kashmir-idINKBN22I1JD

Indian troops killed four militants in gun battles in Kashmir on Wednesday, including the commander of the biggest separatist group fighting New Delhi, a police official said, triggering clashes across the disputed region that left dozens injured.Hundreds of Indian soldiers launched an operation late on Tuesday after receiving intelligence that Hizbul Mujahideen commander Riyaz Naikoo was hiding in a village in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.Authorities disabled mobile internet across Kashmir region early on Wednesday to forestall large crowds from gathering in the streets to mourn his killing.Still, locals came out and pelted soldiers with stones in an attempt to disrupt the operation in which Naikoo was killed, Kashmir’s IGP, Vijay Kumar, said, adding that demonstrators had to be beaten back by troops.“Several protesters have received pellet injures and three of them have bullet wounds. They have been hospitalized,” he said.In all, at least 30 people were injured as protesters clashed with security forces in around a dozen spots across Kashmir, including in the main city of Srinagar, another police official said.Protesters set fire to two police vehicles in Pulwama, the official said, declining to be named since he was not authorised to speak to media.

 

Pulwama encounter: 16 civilians injured in clashes in Beighpora village

https://scroll.in/latest/961269/pulwama-encounter-16-civilians-injured-in-clashes-in-beighpora-village

At least 16 civilians were injured in clashes that broke out in Beighpora village of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Wednesday. Clashes and stone-pelting were reported hours after the security forces killed Hizbul Mujahideen commander Riyaz Naikoo and one of his associates.“We received 14 patients with pellet injuries and referred them to Srinagar,” Jameel Ahmad, medical superintendent of Pulwama district hospital, said. “No injured patient is admitted in our hospital.” Of the 16 people, 12 have pellet injuries and four suffered bullet injuries. All of them are stable now, said Nazir Choudhary, the medical superintendent of Shri Maharaja Hari Singh hospital in Srinagar. Minor clashes broke out in other parts of the Valley too. Officials told Scroll.in that mobile internet services have been suspended across Kashmir after the gunfight. All prepaid mobile phone services have been temporarily disabled too. Only postpaid BSNL connections and landline phones are working.

 

PDP leader seeks FIR against social media users calling for ‘carpet bombing’ of Kashmir

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/pdp-leader-seeks-fir-against-social-media-users-calling-for-carpet-bombing-of-kashmir-6398882/

Srinagar :A PDP leader Thursday filed complaint against two social media users who called for “carpet bombing” of Kashmir. Police stated that they have forwarded complaint to Cyber Police.Engineer Nazir Ahmad Yatoo, a youth leader of PDP, on Thursday approached a court at Chadoora in central Kashmir’s Budgam seeking registration of FIR against the social media users.“I approached the court and it directed the police to take necessary action,” Yatoo said. “After the court direction, I approached the police station Chadoora with my complaint,” he added.indianexpress

 

Punjab & Haryana HC dismisses accused IPS officer Zaidi’s bail plea

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/punjab-and-haryana-hc-dismisses-accused-ips-officer-zaidis-bail-plea-6397686/

Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday dismissed the bail plea of suspended Himachal Pradesh IPS officer Zahur Haider Zaidi, who is an accused in the Kotkhai custodial death case. Zaidi had filed an application for interim bail for 60 days in wake of the pandemic and complained about the lack of physical distancing inside the Burail jail in Chandigarh, while also citing his history of hypertension and heart ailments. CBI, through its counsel Sumeet Goel, opposed the bail plea and said that sufficient medical facilities are available in jail. It added that medical documents attached by Zaidi pertained to Sept 2017.indianexpress

 

No point singing paeans to press freedom if one can’t rescue it when threatened: Madras HC

https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/india/no-point-singing-paeans-to-press-freedom-if-one-cant-rescue-it-when-threatened-madras-hc

Madras High Court has made pertinent observations regarding the role of the higher judiciary in safeguarding the freedom of press, while quashing defamation proceedings initiated against journalist Sandhya Ravishankar for articles published by The Economic Times on illegal beach sand mining in Tamil Nadu back in 2015. The court was dealing with a plea to set aside criminal defamation proceedings after a Tirunelveli Court issued summons against Ravishankar, her husband, “The Editor” and “Grievances Redressal Officer” of the Economic Times. Allowing the plea on merits, Justice GR Swaminathan emphasised, “I am clearly of the view that there is no point in merely singing paeans to freedom of press, if one cannot go to its rescue when the said right is faced with a serious threat,” reports legal news website BarandBech.com.

 

*WORLD*

Iraq forms new govt as former Spy Chief Mustafa al-Kadhimi, takes office as new PM

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/05/mustafa-al-kadhimi-iraq-prime-minister-200507062954351.html

Iraq's new Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi took office after the country's parliament approved a new government on Wednesday following nearly six months of political wrangling. The parliament approved 15 ministers out of a prospective 22-seat cabinet in a vote of confidence. Five candidates were rejected while voting on two ministers was postponed, leaving seven ministries still empty, including the key oil and foreign affairs positions.Two previous nominees for the role of prime minister - Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi and Adnan al-Zurfi - failed to secure enough support among cabinet ministers.This led to President Barham Salih appointing al-Kadhimi as prime minister-designate last month as the third candidate to form a cabinet, amidst a backdrop of anti-govt protests.Born Mustafa Abdellatif Mshatat in 1967 in the capital Baghdad, he left Iraq in 1985 to Iran, before moving to Germany and the United Kingdom, which he later became a citizen of. He was known to oppose the rule of the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. After the United States invasion of Iraq in 2003, al-Kadhimi returned to Iraq and cofounded the Iraqi Media Network, running in parallel with his work as executive director of the Iraq Memory Foundation, an organisation founded for the purpose of documenting the crimes under Hussein's Baath regime.In June 2016, al-Khadhimi took over the role of director of the Iraqi National Intelligence Service, in light of the intensification of the battles against ISIL.aljazeera

 

Israeli MPs approve formation of Netanyahu-Gantz govt after top court approves deal

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/05/israeli-mps-approve-formation-netanyahu-gantz-government-200507101306592.html

Israeli MPs have approved the formation of a unity government between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and rival Benny Gantz, paving the way to an end to more than a year of deadlock.Parliament voted by 71 votes to 37 to back the coalition deal that will see Netanyahu and Gantz, a centrist former military leader, share power.The two leaders have said they will swear in their new administration on May 13, with Netanyahu remaining leader for 18 months, before handing over to Gantz who will be prime minister for the next 18 months.The proposed government was challenged in the Supreme Court, with opponents arguing Netanyahu was ineligible to rule due to a series of corruption indictments. They also complained that certain provisions in the coalition deal broke the law. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's indictment on corruption charges does not disqualify him from forming a government, Israel's top court has said, paving the way for the veteran leader to remain in power. In its ruling against opposition petitioners on Wednesday, the Supreme Court also found that Netanyahu's unity government deal with his election rival Benny Gantz does not violate the law, dismissing arguments that it unlawfully shields him in a corruption trial.

 

Facebook deactivates dozens of accounts of Palestinian journalists and activists

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/facebook-deactivates-accounts-dozens-palestinian-journalists-and-activists?fbclid=IwAR24ZcyyY49QF85k429wxCAz855i_69RVVE-sVkbwJ9e0cvhCc6u5xfHvas

Dozens of Palestinians logged into their Facebook accounts on 4 May, only to find out their pages were no longer active. In the space of one day, more than 50 Palestinian journalists and activists had their profile pages deleted by Facebook, alongside a notification saying their pages had been deactivated for "not following our Community Standards." "We have already reviewed this decision and it can't be reversed," the message continued, prompting users to read more about Facebook's Community Standards. 'Anything I posted was at risk of being taken down. If I posted videos of settler attacks on farmers, or of clashes with Israeli soldiers, it would be taken down'. "They didn't provide any specific reason, like a post or a photo for example, that violated their guidelines," Imad Jibreen, 40, a freelance journalist from the occupied West Bank village of Tuqu told Middle East Eye."They just deleted our pages and said there's nothing we can do to change it."Middle East Eye

 

Germany apologises after deleting Israel off the map

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200507-germany-apologises-after-deleting-israel-off-the-map/

Germany has been forced to apologise after erasing Israel off a map published as a part of a military report.The head of the Military Counterintelligence Service, known by its German acronym MAD, has apologised claiming that the initial draft of its 2019 annual report displayed Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories in the same colour as neighbouring Jordan.MAD spokesperson Peter Weier explained: “In the first version of the ‘MAD Report,’ a mistake was made on the map ‘Bundeswehr operational areas with MAD participation.’ When graphically editing the Jordan area of operation, Israel was also accidentally coloured and subsequently covered.”

 

Netanyahu’s son is the face of a German far-right campaign poster

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200507-netanyahus-son-is-the-face-of-a-german-far-right-campaign-poster/

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son Yair is the face of a far-right campaign poster in Germany following his online rant about a joint Israeli-Palestinian ceremony held for Memorial Day in the occupation state.Joachim Kuhs, a senior Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, yesterday tweeted a poster of the young Netanyahu, echoing his calls for “a free, democratic and Christian” Europe.The poster text says, “Schengen is dead. Hopefully, the globalist EU will be too. Then, Europe will again be free, democratic and Christian.” Kuhs has tweeted the poster, with Yair Netanyahu’s photograph and quote on it, with his own comment that, “#Christianity is the #cure for the evils of the globalist #EU, wrote Yair Netanyahu.”

 

EU must impose sanctions on Israel, rights groups say

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200507-eu-must-impose-sanctions-on-israel-rights-groups-say/

A network of European groups have called on EU to impose sanctions on Israel in a letter addressed to EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell. Sent by the European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine (ECCP), the letter expressed concerns over Israel’s planned annexation of the West Bank, saying it was part  of the ongoing ethnic cleansing, apartheid and colonisation, before urging the EU to take action against Israel’s clear violation of European and international law.“This is not the first time that Israel has tried to illegally annex parts of territories it occupies,” said ECCP, “Israel already annexed occupied East Jerusalem in 1967 and Syria’s Golan Heights in 1981, in gross violation of international law.”

 

US Afghan envoy to meet Taliban in Qatar in new efforts for peace

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/05/afghan-envoy-meet-taliban-qatar-efforts-peace-200507044349083.html

The US special envoy to Afghanistan is on a mission to press Taliban negotiators in Doha and officials in India and Pakistan to support a reduction in violence, acceleration of intra-Afghan peace talks and cooperation on handling the coronavirus pandemic, the US Department of State said on Wednesday.Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad's trip comes amid concerns that surging Taliban attacks and the coronavirus pandemic could deal potentially fatal blows to his stalled efforts to end decades of strife in Afghanistan.At each stop, Khalilzad "will urge support for an immediate reduction in violence, accelerated timeline for the start of intra-Afghan negotiations, and cooperation among all sides in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic in Afghanistan," the State Department said.The statement did not disclose the exact schedule of Khalilzad's trip, which began on Tuesday.It is the second trip he has made since April 12 in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic to salvage a February 29 accord that he and the Taliban's second in command, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, signed for a phased withdrawal of US troops from the US's longest war.

 

Russian group's 1,200 mercenaries fighting in Libya: UN report

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/05/russian-military-group-deployed-1200-people-libya-report-200507113646940.html

Russian private military contractor Wagner Group has deployed about 1,200 mercenaries to Libya to strengthen the forces of renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar, according to a leaked UN report.The report by independent sanctions monitors, submitted to the UNSC Libya sanctions committee, said Wagner deployed the mercenaries in specialised military tasks, including sniper teams.

 

Saudi withdraws its troops from Yemen’s Socotra

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200507-saudi-withdraws-its-troops-from-yemens-socotra/

Saudi Arabia has abruptly withdrawn its forces from the Yemeni island of Socotra just two days after taking control of the local authority’s headquarters in capital Hadibu, which had itself been under attack from UAE-backed militia aligned with the separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC). Clashes had intensified in recent days, including reports of Saudi air strikes against military bases used by the STC. There were also reports of Saudi reinforcements arriving on the island to provide support to militias associated with the Islah Party who fight on behalf of the Saudi-based Yemeni government.However, according to the Yemen Press Agency, Islah and STC militia have reached an agreement which prompted the Saudi forces to abandon their positions on the island.

 

*views, Articles, FEATURES*

Coronavirus Pandemic Will Foster Horizontal Untouchability As Opposed To Vertical One Of Caste:Badri Narayan

https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/opinion-coronavirus-pandemic-will-foster-horizontal-untouchability-as-opposed-to-vertical-one-of-caste/352234

Vizag gas leak very similar to Bhopal tragedy. India must probe before blaming workers:NITYANAND JAYARAMAN

https://theprint.in/opinion/vizag-gas-leak-similar-bhopal-tragedy-india-probe-workers/416610/

Sedition charges on Zafarul Islam: Is it just one tweet or his constant fight against hate politics?Humra Quraishi

https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/opinion/sedition-charges-on-zafarul-islam-is-it-just-one-tweet-or-his-constant-fight-against-hate-politics

 Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 9:32 PM)*

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