Thursday, 23 July 2020

23 JULY NEWS: PM Modi to lay foundation stone of Ram Temple in Ayodhya on 5th Aug, 200 people to attend; all CMs to be invited. Israel to send top defence R&D team to develop 30-second coronavirus test in India. US Removes Focus from Trade Friction with India as It Aims to Counter Challenges Posed by China

NEWS DIGEST EVENING

23 JULY 2020. 01 ZU AL HIJJAH 1441. Vol-12, No-265


*INDIA- ISLAMOPHOBIA, HUMAN RIGHTS & OTHERS*

PM to lay foundation stone of Ram Temple in Ayodhya on Aug 5 , 200 people to attend; all CMs to be invited

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/pm-modi-to-lay-foundation-stone-of-ram-temple-on-august-5-200-people-to-attend-event/story-60pQo75XAYCq6uYE1KbNDK.html

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone of Ram Temple slated to be built in Ayodhya on August 5. Amid Covid-19 pandemic and to ensure maximum social distancing at the programme, the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Tirtha Kshetra has decided that there will not be more than 200 people, including 150 invitees at the foundation stone laying ceremony. “We have decided that there will not be more than 200 people including 150 invitees at the event,” Swami Govind Dev Giri, Treasurer of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Tirtha Kshetra said. Before laying the foundation stone for the construction of the temple, PM Modi will offer prayers to Ram at the temple and Hanuman at Hanuman Garhi Temple in Ayodhya. All CMs from different states will be invited to the programme, Swami Govind Dev Giri, Treasurer of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Tirtha Kshetra said.In Ayodhya, elaborate preparations are being planned for the three-day Vedic rituals at Ram Janmabhoomi site. The rituals will begin on August 3 and end with a ‘bhumi pujan’ on August 5 before the construction of the much awaited temple begins. Veteran BJP leader and LK Advani and other leaders of Ram Janmabhoomi agitation will also be invited to the ceremony, a Ram Mandir trust member said. An 11-member team of priests from Varanasi and Ayodhya will perform 3-day rituals.  HT

 

As Preparations Begin for Ayodhya Temple Ceremony, Shankracharya Says Time Chosen 'Inauspicious'

https://www.news18.com/news/india/as-preparations-begin-for-ayodhya-temple-ceremony-revered-seer-says-time-chosen-inauspicious-2729357.html

As preparations begin for Ram temple Bhumi Pujan ceremony in Ayodhya, a new controversy has arisen over the time and date selected for the occasion. Revered seer Shankracharya Swaroopanand Saraswati has claimed that the time fixed for Bhumi Pujan was an 'inauspicious moment'. The seer has said that the date August 5 falls in Dakshinayan Bhadrapada month and is the second day of Krishna Paksha. In Hindu scriptures, home and temple work is prohibited during Bhadrapada month. He cited Vishnu Dharma Shastra and Naivagna Ballabh Granth to support his claim. "We are Ram devotees, we will be happy if anyone builds the temple of Ram, but for that appropriate date and auspicious time should be chosen," he said. Shankaracharya also said that since the temple was being built with public's money, their opinion should be sought as well. However, Kashi Vidhyat Parishad termed Shankaracharya's claims as baseless and stated that Lord Rama is an universal hero and questions on his temple cannot be raised.  NEWS18

 

Indians Across World Should be Allowed to Contribute to Ayodhya Temple: Indian-American Bhandari

https://www.news18.com/news/india/indians-across-the-world-should-be-allowed-to-contribute-to-ayodhya-temple-us-based-activist-2727911.html

A prominent Indian-American in US has appealed to PM Narendra Modi to allow members of Indian diaspora to contribute to the development of Ram temple in Ayodhya. Prem Bhandari, a community activist and also head of Jaipur Foot USA, said that there are nearly 32 million NRIs and Persons of Indian Origin around the world and many of them would like to contribute to the development of the temple. Bhandari appealed to PM to ensure a system that enables those interested from Indian diaspora to contribute any amount they deem fit from USD 10 to USD 100. He added that all the money collected from diaspora should go directly to Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust. Bhandari, who is Chairman of the foundation's advisory board, said the Rs one crore was donated to PM CARES Fund within a day of the fund being created in March.PTI

 

Building Ram temple in Ayodhya will get rid of coronavirus, claims BJP leader & MP pro tem speaker

https://scroll.in/latest/968346/building-ram-temple-in-ayodhya-will-get-rid-of-coronavirus-claims-madhya-pradesh-pro-tem-speaker

Madhya Pradesh Assembly Pro tem Speaker Rameshwar Sharma has claimed that construction of Ram temple will destroy the coronavirus, ANI reported. “He [Ram] had reincarnated for the welfare of mankind and to kill demons,” Sharma told reporters in Gwalior. “As soon as the construction of Ram Temple begins, the destruction of Covid19 pandemic will begin too.” Sharma, a BJP leader, said that the coronavirus has affected not just India but the whole world. “We are not only observing social distancing but also remembering our holy figures,” he said.

 

Ayodhya Ram Mandir To Be 161-feet Tall; 'L&T Team Has Reached Spot To Start Construction'

https://www.republicworld.com/india-news/general-news/ayodhyas-ram-mandir-to-be-161-ft-tall-l-and-t-team-has-reached-spot.html

 According to Nikhil Sompura, architect and the son of C Sompura, chief architect of the temple, height of Ram temple would be 161-feet which is an increase by 20-feet from the previous design prepared in 1988."Once 'Bhoomi-pujan' is done in the presence of PM, the construction work will start. The team of L&T, along with machinery and materials, have reached the spot and the work on foundation will start right away. It will take 3 to 3.5 years for the completion of the work," he said.republicworld

Sand from Phalgu river in Bihar's Gaya to be used for bhoomi poojan' of Ram temple in Ayodhya

 

Shiv Sena Wants Ex-CJI Gogoi Invited To Ayodhya; Appends Ongoing Events To Ramayana

https://www.republicworld.com/india-news/politics/sena-wants-ranjan-gogoi-as-guest-in-ayodhya.html

As the date for the stone-laying ceremony of Ayodhya Ram Temple was finalised, a controversy broke out on chief guests who were invited for the event, and after NCP supremo said that 'some people' are not focussing on COVID. Commenting on the same, Shiv Sena via its mouthpiece Saamana said that former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi who is now a Rajya Sabha member should get a special invitation. It has also said that Shiv Sainiks played an important role in the Ram Temple Movement and they deserve an applause.republicworld

 

Invite All Babri Masjid Demolition Accused For Ram Mandir 'Bhumi Pujan': Hindutva Outfit Chief

https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/india-news-invite-all-babri-masjid-demolition-accused-for-ram-mandir-bhumi-pujan-hindutva-outfit-chief/357249

All 32 accused in the Babri mosque demolition case should be invited to the "bhumi pujan" ceremony for the construction of Ram temple here and honoured, a Hindutva outfit leader has said.Hindu Dharma Sena president Santosh Dubey is one of the main accused in the case.Dubey also insisted that Trust must also invite all the 4 Shankaracharyas to the ceremony planned on August 5.PTI

 

Babri demolition case: MM Joshi deposes before court via video link, Advani to record statement tomorrow

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/babri-demolition-case-murli-manohar-joshi-deposes-before-court-via-video-link/article32169391.ece?homepage=true

A special CBI court today recorded the statement of BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi in 1992 Babri mosque demolition case. The statement of 86-year-old leader was recorded in court of Special Judge S.K. Yadav through video conference. L.K. Advani (92) is likely to record his statement on Friday through video conference.PTI

 

Muslim, Rohingya refugees convert to Christianity to take benefit of CAA: economic times report

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/muslim-refugees-become-christians-to-take-caa-benefit/articleshow/77117484.cms

New Delhi: Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) has prompted many Afghan and Rohingya Muslim refugees to convert to Christianity so as to become eligible for Indian citizenship, central agencies have alerted the government, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Nearly 25 such cases of Afghan Muslims converting to Christianity have been flagged by agencies as part of an ongoing assessment, they said. CAA allows non-Muslim migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan to apply for Indian citizenship. Union home ministry has yet to notify the rules for it. Adib Ahmed Maxwell, who heads an Afghan church in south Delhi, told ET: “Post CAA, there has been a spurt in the number of Afghan Muslims wanting to convert to Christianity.” Ahmed Maxwell, 34, came to India at the age of 21. His parents follow Sunni Islam and live near Kabul. “Most Afghans apply for asylum under UNHCR,” he said. According to official data, there are 150,000-160,000 Afghan Muslims living in Delhi. The community recently helped Indian agencies locate Afghan Sikh Nidan Singh Sachdeva, who was kidnapped in Afghanistan. Besides, official estimates suggest there are nearly 40,000 Rohingya Muslims across India, with the highest number in J&K. A large number of these migrants have been residing in India prior to 2012 and are now claiming to be from Bangladesh while taking up Christianity. “We have been following the Protestant mission with support of several churches in India,” said Aziz Sultani, a member of the Afghan church.In the past 6 years, 4,000 people from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan have been granted Indian citizenship. About 14,864 Bangladeshi nationals were also granted Indian citizenship after India incorporated over 50 enclaves of Bangladesh into its territory following the boundary pact with Bangladesh in 2014, according to the home ministry. Officials said CAA can be exploited by those who are either rejected for asylum by UNHCR or are refugee Muslims who came to India before the cut-off date. “Applications of 20-25% of refugees from Afghanistan get rejected, after which they can file an appeal,” said a govt official, who did not wish to be identified.ET

 

MP: Muslim student arrested with charges of insulting Hindu beliefs for calling corona positive RSS men 'pigs' on Facebook

https://thewire.in/rights/muslim-student-in-madhya-pradesh-arrested-for-calling-rss-men-pigs-on-facebook

Bhopal: At the height of the media hysteria over the emergence of coronavirus infections at Nizamuddin centre of Tablighi Jamaat in Delhi, wrestler-turned-BJP politician Babita Phogat took to Twitter to call Jamaatis ‘ignorant pigs’ (jaahil suar). But when a young Muslim man in Jabalpur used the same term – suar – for dozen or so activists of RSS who had contracted COVID-19 at RSS office in the city, he ended up in jail with police slapping serious charges of promoting religious hatred on him.On July 20, Jabalpur police immediately arrested Ziya-ul-Haq –  a 23-year-old student of B. Pharm. Phogat’s tweet from April 2, now deleted said: ‘Bats may have spread it in your country. In India it is being spread by ignorant pigs. #NizamuddinIdiots”. Haq’s Facebook post of July 19 writes: “12 pigs have been tested corona positive in our city today. Close the offices of these pigs, they are spreading corona across the country.”Hours after the news of 12 RSS men testing positive for the coronavirus at the Jabalpur Sangh office broke on July 19, Ziya-ul-Haq took a dig at organisation on Facebook page of ‘NSUI Group Jabalpur VVV’. Interestingly, even though Rajput’s allegation is that “Muslim youth” has maligned the image of RSS and its members, police have registered a case under section 295 (a) of IPC – of deliberately insulting the religion or religious beliefs of a group.Confirming these sections, inspector of Jabalpur Cantonment Police Station Vijay Tiwari said, “He has been booked under sections 295 (A) and 505 of IPC for making derogatory remarks against RSS and sent to jail.”When asked why Ziya-ul-Haq has been booked for insulting religious beliefs when the allegation is that of defamation, Tiwari disconnected the call. Likewise, when the same question was put to SP, Jabalpur, Siddharth Bahuguna, he refused to make any comment and advised The Wire to speak to his subordinates. Justifying the police action, however, Sanjeev Uikey, ASP, Jabalpur said, “Indeed RSS is not a religious institution but if a Muslim youth calls RSS and its workers ‘suar‘ and it offends them and they demand action, police have to book the youth for insulting religious beliefs.” Judicial magistrate first class court denied his bail claiming the crime to be serious and sent him to police custody till July 24.

 

Custodial deathof Sheikh Nisar: 3 weeks after FIR, no trace of accused cops

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/2019-custodial-death-3-weeks-after-fir-no-trace-of-accused-cops-6519177/

Vadodara : Almost 3 weeks since the 6 accused police personnel were booked for allegedly killing a Telangana man while in custody at the Fatehgunj police station in December last year and disposing his body and destroying evidence, the Vadodara police are grappling for clues to ascertain their whereabouts. The police have launched a manhunt for the accused but investigators admit that the hopes of recovering the body of the victim are slim as the perpetrators are policemen themselves. Victim, Babu Sheikh Nisar (65), a native of Telangana, had reportedly gone missing on Dec.10, after he was apprehended by policemen on suspicion of theft from Fulwadi area of the city. Meanwhile, DCP, Crime Branch, Jaydeepsinh Jadeja said the teams have fanned out to different parts of the state to keep watch on the close associates and family members of 6 accused policemen.

 

‘I have spent last 4 years in mourning’: No justice in sight for Minhaj Ansari’s mother in his custodial case

http://twocircles.net/2020jul22/438247.html

Jharkhand: Nearly 4 years after the custodial death of 22-year-old Muslim youth Minhaj Ansari in Jamtara district of Jharkhand, the proceedings of the case are yet to begin.In Oct.2016, 22-year-old Minhaj Ansari from village Dighari in Jamtara district died in police custody in Narayanpur Thana, Jamtara.Minhaj was one of the admins of a WhatsApp group where a picture of beef was allegedly shared by someone. A Bajrang Dal member Sonu Singh made a complaint before the police accusing Minhaj of hurting his religious sentiments. Acting on the complaint filed by Singh, Sub Inspector Harish Pathak of Narayanpur Police Station, Jamtara picked up Ansari from his shop on Oct.3 and took him to a police station, where he was allegedly beaten resulting in his death. Police officer who allegedly killed Minhaj recently got posted in CM Hemant Soren’s constituency where he continues to harass minorities, TwoCircles has learnt. “It has been four years and I am not able to understand what’s going on. Till date, no justice has been served to me nor has the murderer been punished,” Ajhela Bibi, mother of Minhaj Ansar said. Another complaint filed by Ajhela Bibi through her lawyer against Harish Pathak stating custodial murder has also been halted. “Instead of running departmental inquiry on murder, the enquiry was done on being absent and delaying FIR. Thereafter, deducting one increment they revoked his suspension.”“From all this, it is clear that government officials are with the accused. The prosecution did not do anything. And now, he has been given a new posting which he is enjoying,” her lawyer said.TwoCircles

 

Andhra: Dalit youth detained for not wearing mask allegedly dies in police custody

https://scroll.in/latest/968365/andhra-pradesh-dalit-youth-detained-for-not-wearing-mask-allegedly-dies-in-police-custody

A Dalit youth allegedly died in police custody after he was detained for not wearing a mask and helmet in a Covid-19 hotspot in Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh, The Hindu reported. Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy initiated an inquiry into the incident and announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the his family. Prakasam SP Siddharth Kaushal said a case of custodial death was registered after the youth, identified as Yaricharla Kiran Kumar, succumbed to a head injury in a private hospital in Guntur on Tuesday, according to HT. Kiran Kumar’s father filed a complaint with the police against the sub-inspector stating that his son was beaten indiscriminately for not wearing a mask. TDP General Secretary Nara Lokesh criticised YSR Congress government and alleged the police beat up Dalit youth, which eventually led to his death, according to News Minute.“Don’t Dalits have a right to live under [CM] Jagan’s regime?” Lokesh asked

 

In riot case, Delhi HC says police taking system for a ride

https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/delhi-high-court-riots-police-6519060/

Delhi High Court Wednesday expressed displeasure at the Delhi Police for filing a separate petition seeking cancellation of bail given to Faisal Farooq, owner of Rajdhani Public School, in connection with a Delhi riots case. Justice Suresh Kumar Kait said Delhi Police is “misusing judicial system” and taking the “system for ride”, despite the fact that their petition seeking cancellation of Farooq’s bail is pending adjudication before it in another petition. Granting bail to Farooq, the trial court had in its June 20 order observed that police chargesheet “is bereft of material showing his links with PFI, Pinjra Tod group and Muslim clerics”. It had also said, “It is prima facie not established that the applicant was at the spot at the time of incident.”Delhi Police moved the HC, challenging the trial court’s order. Dismissing separate petition on Wednesday and terming it as “not maintainable”, the court specifically sought to know from Delhi Police’s counsel if they have been able to find out the owner of the mobile number from which the complainant’s son received the call. The appeal next will be heard on July 24. Delhi govt’s Standing Counsel Rahul Mehra objected to the second petition, saying: “Can 2 petitions on the same cause of action be filed…?” Farooq is currently in jail, as he was arrested in another case related to the riots.

 

Delhi Violence: Maruf’s Murder — A Saga of ‘Concocted’ Statements, Contradictory Police Diary

https://www.newsclick.in/North-East-Delhi-Riots-Police-Chargesheet-Kapil-Mishra-Mohd-Maruf-Murder

New Delhi: Hope for justice continues to remain elusive for Shamshad and Mohd Harun, both victims of the communal violence in North-East Delhi. Shamshad (25) and Harun’s younger brother, Mohd Maruf (32), were shot at by a mob chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ on Feb.25 evening at Subhash Mohalla (North Ghonda) in Bhajanpura. While Shamshad — who had received a gunshot injury in his abdomen — survived the attack, his neighbour, Maruf — who had gone to rescue the former — was not fortunate enough. Hit by a bullet on his head, he died at Lok Nayak Hospital where the duo was rushed for treatment.Being prime victims and eye-witnesses, Shamshad and Harun, who had identified those who had open fire, have alleged that the police did not name any of the assaulters. Both alleged a ‘cover-up’ that started from the filing of FIR. They claimed the police registered an FIR based on Harun’s complaint, but his narrative was allegedly distorted and names of the persons he had identified were not included in FIR. They said they later complained about the alleged distortion to superior police officers, L-G of Delhi, Home Minister and PM, but to no avail. In fact, both were also allegedly threatened by senior police officers at the Crime Branch office in Daryaganj.As a result of the ‘concocted’ FIR, the chargesheet filed in the case on June 8 has names of the persons about whom the 2 victims have no knowledge. They allege their case has in a way been sabotaged. The irony is that all those whom the victims identified have allegedly not been arrested so far. NewsClick

 

11 Mosques Destroyed By Mobs During Anti-Muslim Violence In Delhi: Delhi Minorities Commission report

http://www.indiatomorrow.net/eng/11-mosques-destroyed-by-mobs-during-anti-muslim-violence-in-northeast-delhi-delhi-minority-commission-report

Delhi Minorities commission, in its fact-finding report on Northeast Delhi riots submitted to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and CM Arvind Kejriwal has reported that as many as 18 Muslim religious places located in Hindu-dominated areas were targetted by the rioters. However, no harm occurred to Hindu temples in Muslim dominated areas.The report says that the temples and Hindu religious places were guarded and protected by the local Muslims. According to the report, 11 mosques, five madrasas, one graveyard and one ‘mazar’ were vandalised by the miscreants during the riots.India Tomorrow

 

Anti-CAA protests: ‘It was spontaneity that worked for Shaheen Bagh’

https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/national/anti-caa-protests-it-was-spontaneity-that-worked-for-shaheen-bagh

No leaders or political parties. No questions asked when people wanted to join. She says it was almost like visiting someone's home -- local women coming out with warmth and hospitality of a kind rarely seen in Delhi. In an interview senior journalist Seema Mustafa as she reconstructed the events that highlighted the mass movement for months in the capital."And this was on the streets, the smiles, reassurance of being together, the courage... I think the fact that it was not political, no politicians leading it, and the participation was voluntary and spontaneous, made it the centre of the protest. This and the determination and resolve of the women, not to move until their demand for citizenship was met," says Mustafa, who has edited the recently released Shaheen Bagh and Idea of India' (Speaking Tiger Books).IANS

 

Maharashtra govt sanctions Rs 1.81 crore grants for modernisation of 121 madrassas

https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/maharashtra-govt-sanctions-grant-for-modernisation-of-121-madrassas-6519113/

 Maharashtra govt has approved Rs 1.81 crore grants for 121 madrassas under Dr Zakir Hussain Madrassa Modernisation scheme. The amount will be used to pay for teacher salaries as an incentive for offering formal education in madrassas. As part of the scheme, introduced by erstwhile Congress-led state govt in 2013, registered madrassas with residential facilities for students can avail govt grants if they teach subjects such as science, mathematics, social sciences, Hindi, Marathi, English and Urdu, along with religious studies. Minority Development Minister Nawab Malik said “grants approved are for teachers’ salary component. An independent proposal will be formulated with infrastructure grants due to these institutions”. The decision to split up the grants in 2 packages was taken on account of curbs on expenditure in place owing to the lockdown. Of 121 shortlisted madrassas, 80 are in Aurangabad region, 13 are in Thane, 12 in Washim, 7 in Jalna, 3 each in Parbhani and Wardha, 2 in Buldhana and 1 in Hingoli. The state government also plans to review why the response to the scheme has been dwindling. As per records, 536 madrassas had availed benefits in 2014-15 with the govt disbursing over Rs 18 crore in all. The number of beneficiaries dipped sharply since then.

 

Descendants Of Hyderabad's Nizam Back In UK Court Over Historic Funds

https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/india-news-descendants-of-hyderabads-nizam-back-in-uk-court-over-historic-funds/357240

The descendants of Nizam of Hyderabad on Wednesday returned to the High Court in London to challenge a court order related to over 35 million pounds lying in a UK bank account. In a judgment handed down at Royal Courts of Justice in London last year, Justice Marcus Smith had ruled in favour of India and the titular eighth Nizam of Hyderabad and his brother, who had reached a confidential agreement in a decades-old legal dispute with Pakistan over funds belonging to the seventh Nizam of Hyderabad at the time of Partition in 1947. However, other descendants of Nizam, Najaf Ali Khan on behalf of 116 heirs of the late seventh Nizam, sought to challenge that ruling this week by accusing the administrator of seventh Nizam’s estate of “breach of trust”.Khan, appearing remotely from India, told the court that the funds were released improperly to India and the 2 princes – Prince Mukarram Jah and his younger brother Muffakham Jah – and also claimed "chronic financial hardship".PTI

 

Police use UAPA to block Greta Thunberg-linked website campaigning against draft environment rules

https://scroll.in/latest/968367/police-use-uapa-to-block-greta-thunberg-linked-website-campaigning-against-draft-environment-rules

 Delhi Police have issued a notice to the domain hosts of the India arm of Fridays For Future, the international movement led by climate change activist Greta Thunberg, to take action against the website for allegedly sending multiple emails about Environmental Impact Assessment, 2020, to Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar. Cyber Crime cell of the Delhi Police used the UAPA to justify its order. The notice to the domain hosts of fridaysforfuture.in claimed that the website “depicts objectionable contents and unlawful activities or terrorist act, which are dangerous for the peace, tranquility and sovereignty of the India”. They claimed that the Fridays For Future website being accessed through ISP contains material that spreads religious hatred, which can be charged under IT Act, 2000, in addition to UAPA. Fridays For Future International issued a statement on its Facebook page, condemning the blocking of its India website.

 

Govt Issues Order For Permanent Commission Of Women Officers In Army

https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/india-news-govt-issues-order-for-permanent-commission-of-women-officers-in-army/357263

Army on Thursday said the government has issued an order for grant of permanent commission of women officers in the force. Army Spokesperson Col Aman Anand said the government order paved the way for empowering of women officers to shoulder larger roles in the Army.PTI

 

Pay Cuts Can Trigger "Desperate, Extreme Acts", Say Air India Pilots

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/air-india-pilots-say-pay-cuts-can-trigger-desperate-extreme-acts-amid-coronavirus-pandemic-2267726?pfrom=home-bigstory

Some 60 Air India pilots operating repatriation flights to bring back Indians stranded abroad have tested positive for coronavirus, the airline has said in a letter to the government. Vande Bharat mission to repatriate Indians came "with a heavy price to pay for those on the frontline. As of date, at least 60 plus Pilots have been tested Covid positive," senior-most pilots of the national carrier have written in the letter addressed to Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri.The government decision to reduce the salary of pilots by up to 75% is "discriminatory, disproportionate and arbitrary and could have a disastrous psychological impact which could trigger 'desperate and extreme acts,' as has been repeatedly proven many times in the past," warned the senior pilots.Air India has a debt of around Rs 70,000 crore. The govt has been trying to sell off the airline but no deal has been closed so far.

 

*SOUTH ASIA, INDO-PAK & J&K*

US Removes Focus from Trade Friction with India as It Aims to Counter Challenges Posed by China: news18

https://www.news18.com/news/india/us-removes-focus-from-trade-friction-with-india-as-it-aims-to-counter-challenges-posed-by-china-2730177.html

India-US ties that were dominated by trade friction in 2018 and 2019 appear to be getting a China-related reset this year. While differences over trade are being ironed out by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, they do not seem to be in prominent focus of the public discourse any more from the American side as it shifts its attention to countering China.Speaking at the India Ideas Summit on Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke about working “together especially at the time when we see the true scope of challenges posed by Chinese Communist Party”. Significantly, he mentioned, “We’ve revived the Quad comprising US, Japan, India and Australia.”Minutes later, while speaking on how to take the India–US relationship to the next level, US Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster said an important aspect will be how to implement the vision for the Indo-Pacific region, a beginning for which has been made through the engagement in the Quad.Earlier this week, a US Navy carrier strike group led by USS Nimitz carried out a maritime drill with the Indian Navy in the Indian Ocean. USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan had conducted a major military exercise in the South China Sea just ahead of the drill in the Indian Ocean. These two events took place just as US State Department spelled out its position on maritime claims in South China Sea. It has also backed India on the aggressive move of Chinese PLA on LAC.Pompeo at the India Ideas Summit said the recent clashes initiated by PLA were just the latest examples of CCP’s unacceptable behaviour.Compare this to what had transpired in the previous two years. The US first increased trade tariffs on import of aluminum and steel in 2018. It withdrew India's GSP status in June 2019. The GSP allowed duty-free imports for some products from designated beneficiary countries, including India. The Trump administration accused India of not giving equitable market access to some US products like medical equipment and also piled pressure on doing away with mandatory certification on dairy products, following which GSP was withdrawn.

India, US should work together to face Chinese challenge: Pompeo

 

India asks China to ‘sincerely work’ on Ladakh disengagement amid hints it is ‘slowing down’

https://theprint.in/defence/india-asks-china-to-sincerely-work-on-ladakh-disengagement-amid-hints-it-is-slowing-down/466984/

India asked China Thursday to “sincerely” work with it for a “complete disengagement and de-escalation” process in Ladakh to enable the “full restoration” of peace and tranquillity in border areas as decided during bilateral talks between National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.“Respecting and strictly abiding” by LAC is the basis of peace and tranquillity in the border areas, something that was also agreed upon during Doval-Wang talks on 5 July, the Ministry of External Affairs said at its briefing Thursday.  “As we have stated earlier, the maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the border areas is the basis of our bilateral relationship. Therefore, it is our expectation that the Chinese side will sincerely work with us for complete disengagement and de-escalation and full restoration of peace and tranquillity in the border areas at the earliest as agreed to by the special representatives,” MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.theprint

 

China refuses to budge from Pangong Tso, Gogra Post; pulls back from Hot Springs

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/india-china-ladakh-crisis-pangong-tsolake-gogra-post-hot-springs-chinese-pullback-1703621-2020-07-23

Days after Indian and Chinese military leaders agreed on a mutual phased de-escalation along LAC in eastern Ladakh, China has refused to pull back from the strategically significant Pangong Tso lake area and the Gogra Post. Sources privy to development have told India Today TV that China is not budging from two key flashpoints: Pangong Tso and Gogra Post. Sources said there is a total stalemate at heights in the Pangong Tso area and that Chinese pullback has also been stalled at Gogra Post. It is learnt that China has now revived its claims over these areas.Meanwhile, China has signalled a pullback in the Hot Springs area. The pullback will resume today.India Today TV

 

India to boost Rafale capabilities with HAMMER missiles under emergency order: Report

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/india-to-boost-rafale-capabilities-with-hammer-missiles-under-emergency-order-report/story-Xf0SGVcipUgXvL2qRU3FZM.html

With Rafales arriving in the country in the middle of a dispute with China, the Indian Air Force is further boosting the capabilities of the combat aircraft by equipping it with HAMMER missiles from France.The order for the HAMMER standoff missiles with the capability to take out any type of targets at the range of around 60-70 kms is being processed under the emergency powers for acquisition given to the armed forces by the Narendra Modi government.

 

Increasing LAC Deployment This Winter Will Be an Expensive Affair for Indian Army: thewire

https://thewire.in/security/indian-army-lac-china-deployment-expensive

Chandigarh: Indian Army’s impending winter deployment along the disputed LAC in eastern Ladakh promises to be a precipitous Himalayan replay of 10-month-long Operation Parakaram against Pakistan that ended in Oct.2002. The only difference, however, between the two deployments is that the Indian Army will not, for the foreseeable future, be able to pull back from LAC like it did in Operation Parakaram, launched in Dec.2001 in response to the attack on India’s parliament by 5 Pakistan-backed gunmen.Perforce, the army will need to remain deployed for long in large numbers at heights above 14,000 feet, even during the unforgiving winter, to deter China’s PLA that is refusing to pull back from Indian territory it invaded in May. “It’s almost certain at this point that LAC in Ladakh will mirror 747km-long long LoC with Pakistan with regard to army deployment,” said former army deputy chief of staff Lieutenant General J.P. Singh. But LAC deployment, he warned, will financially bleed India as it entails creating vast infrastructure, where none presently exist, for 25,000-30,000 additional troops. This will impose a recurring expense that will result in an exponential rise in army’s revenue expenditure, severely impacting its long-delayed modernisation, he added.

 

Endgame for Huawei? India likely to exclude Chinese firm from 5G roll-out, say govt sources

https://www.indiatoday.in/business/story/huawei-5g-ban-in-india-likely-govt-sources-1703692-2020-07-23

The chances of Chinese giant Huawei participating in the roll-out of the high-speed 5G network in India have gone down substantially with the government veering towards a tough stand on security and strategy related issues.In a strong indication of the same, a government source has said that "regardless of the cost factors involved in Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE not getting an entry in the Indian market, the opaque ownership pattern, lack of clarity on who controls the companies and failure of these companies to provide satisfactory assurances on security of data and its use have become major stumbling blocks".Sources said that a decision has not been taken but a blueprint that may keep Huawei and ZTE, another Chinese company, out is work in progress.

 

 

 

A million Indians fear for their future as Kuwaiti parliament works to cap immigration:Reuters

https://scroll.in/article/968155/a-million-indians-fear-for-their-future-as-kuwaiti-parliament-works-to-cap-immigration

With no job or savings, Indian electrician Shibhu Clemance had hoped to return to work in Kuwait – until he learned of a proposal to drastically cut back on migrants in the country. 38-year-old, who lost his job in Feb.due to the coronavirus pandemic, is among more than a million Indians in Kuwait, largest expat group in the Gulf country of 4.4 million. But after the coronavirus hit oil prices and local jobs, the country is considering new limits that could force about 800,000 to leave and slash their remittances – a crucial lifeline for families back home. The proposal is in a new bill that would cut the total number of migrant workers in the country by 40% and require that the number of Indians should not exceed 15% of the Kuwaiti population.“I came to Gulf and toiled hard to provide a better life for my children. Covid19 crisis and now the new Kuwait law have shattered my dreams,” Clemance told Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from the coastal city of Mangaf.The government has yet to approve the bill, but PM said last month he wants to cut the expat population of about 3 million. Indians working in Kuwait sent home almost $4.6 billion in 2017, about 6.7% of country’s total incoming remittances that year, according to World Bank data.

 

In Kashmir, Pakistan, India accuse each other for increased shelling: Reuters

https://in.reuters.com/article/pakistan-india-loc/in-disputed-kashmir-pakistan-accuses-india-of-increased-shelling-idINKCN24O1K2

Pakistan’s military this week said there had been an escalation in firing and shelling across the de facto border in Kashmir, at a time of heightened diplomatic tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours.Major General Amer Ahsan Nawaz, the commander of Pakistani troops in Kashmir, accused the Indian military of trying to distract attention from unrest in its part of Kashmir.Pakistan’s military said that in 2019, when ceasefire violations hit a more than decade-high peak, there were just over 3,500 incidents. Already in 2020 there have been almost 1,800 violations, Pakistan military said, adding that surge during the more volatile summer season since June had been more pronounced than in previous years. Indian army spokesman Colonel Aman Anand rejected Pakistan’s allegations, saying Pakistan’s military had violated the ceasefire on more than 2,500 occasions this year.

 

India distances itself from Pak move to get Kulbhushan a lawyer

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-distances-itself-from-pakistan-move-to-get-kulbhushan-jadhav-a-lawyer/articleshow/77117437.cms

India has distanced itself from a move by Pakistan on Wednesday to approach the Islamabad high court for appointment of a lawyer for a review of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav’s sentencing by a military court. Pakistan approached the court, as official sources said, without the consent of the Indian mission in Islamabad.India sees the move by Pakistan as another attempt to grandstand and create a smokescreen of review and reconsideration of the death sentence to Jadhav.While Pakistan is learned to have “extended” the deadline for India to file a review petition in the case, it has not agreed to India’s demand that a lawyer from outside Pakistan represent Jadhav.TOI

 

Report Flags Human Rights Violations During J&K Lockdown, Seeks End to Curbs

https://thewire.in/rights/jammu-and-kashmir-lockdown-human-rights-violations

New Delhi: 11 months of lockdown in J&K has not only resulted in an “across-the-board violation of human rights”, it also led to the “denial of the right to bail and fair and speedy trial, coupled with misuse of draconian legislation, such as PSA and UAPA, to stifle dissent”.Moreover, this period saw “frequent closures, harassment at barricades and checkpoints, and restrictions on mobile telephony and internet connectivity,” which enormously impacted public health, and caused trauma and stress amongst the people, a report titled ‘The Impact of the Lockdowns on Human Rights in Jammu and Kashmir, August 2019-July 2020’ has revealed. Brought out by the Forum for Human Rights in J&K, which was formed in May 2020 by an informal group of jurists, former civil servants, former military officers, academics and human rights experts, report highlights the trauma people in the state have undergone since August 4, 2019 – the day the state was put under a lockdown. The Forum, which is co-chaired by former Supreme Court judge Justice Madan Lokur and ex member of the Group of Interlocutors for J&K Radha Kumar, has in the report also delved into impact of some recent developments on the state.

J&K Suffered $5.3 Billion Economic Loss Since August Last Year: Civil Society Group

 

Some Bollywood celebrities have 'verifiable links to ISI and Pak Army', claims BJP leader Baijayant Jay Panda

https://zeenews.india.com/india/some-bollywood-celebrities-have-verifiable-links-to-isi-and-pakistan-army-claims-bjp-leader-baijayant-jay-panda-2297644.html

In a shocking claim, BJP leader and former Lok Sabha MP Baijayant Jay Panda said that he has seen some documents which prove that some Bollywood celebrities have 'verifiable links to Pakistani spy agency ISI and Pak Army'. Panda, who is also BJP vice president, did not name any Bollywood celebrity, but he urged 'patriotic Bollywoodies' to stop working with these celebrities.  Panda also claimed that certain Pakistanis, who have business and personal links with some Bollywood stars, have proven track record of encouraging violence in J&K. One comment on his tweet read, "Let there be a detailed investigation by our premier agencies and let the dirt be washed once for all. The leeway given to film world was taken for granted & the alleged seedy links needs to be thoroughly probed", while another said, "Why legal action is not taken and left for boycott? (sic)"

 

No evidence to confirm Easter attacker's wife fled to India: Lanka police

https://www.newindianexpress.com/world/2020/jul/23/no-evidence-to-confirm-easter-attackers-wife-fled-to-india-lanka-police-2173815.html

 Sri Lankan police on Thursday said that they have not received any "evidence" to confirm the media reports that the wife of one of the Easter suicide bombers may have fled to India to avoid arrest. Police spokesman Jaliya Senaratne made the comments while responding to questions on the media reports that the Presidential Commission of Inquiry on the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings was told that Pulasthini Rajendran alias Sarah, wife of Achchi Mohammdu Mohammadu Hasthun, had fled to India by sea in Sept last. Sri Lankan police have arrested over 200 suspects in connection with the bombings.PTI

 

*INDIAN POLITICS*

Day after it pulled up Bhushan, same SC bench says dissent cannot be shut down when refusing to stop Rajasthan HC verdict on MLAs disqualification

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/rajasthan-crisis-supreme-court-prashant-bhushan-tweets-contempt-6519877/

“Voice of dissent in a democracy cannot be shut down”, the Supreme Court said on Thursday as it sought reasons from Rajasthan Assembly Speaker CP Joshi for initiating disqualification proceedings against 19 rebel Congress MLAs, including sacked deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot.The SC’s observation came when senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Joshi, said MLAs skipped party meetings and conspired to destabilise their own government. A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said: “This is not a simple matter and these MLAs are elected representatives.” “Voice of dissent in democracy cannot be shut down, the bench observed. “We are trying to find out whether this process (disqualification) was permissible or not.”The same bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, B R Gavai, and Krishna Murari is also hearing a suo moto criminal contempt case against advocate Prashant Bhushan over 2 of his tweets, which the court says had “brought the administration of justice in disrepute”. In Rajasthan case, meanwhile, the SC refused to stop Rajasthan HC verdict on a petition by Sachin Pilot and 18 other rebel Congress MLAs challenging disqualification notices. Rajasthan Assembly Speaker CP Joshi in his plea alleged that the high court cannot interdict the disqualification proceedings undertaken by him under 10th schedule of the Constitution. The HC verdict will come out tomorrow. “We are not restraining the HC from passing the order but it will be subject to the outcome of the petition (of Speaker) before the SC,” the bench said, while fixing the plea for hearing on July 27.

 

Rajasthan CM Gehlot Says Audio Clips on Toppling Congress Govt are Genuine, Can Be Sent Abroad for Tests

https://www.news18.com/news/politics/rajasthan-political-crisis-live-updates-sachin-pilot-ashok-gehlot-supreme-court-congress-mla-disqualification-bjp-2729129.html

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot today said he had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as it is a democracy and to provide him all the information about the goings-on in the state. "I wrote it so that he doesn't say that he didn't have information or his people gave him incomplete information. I wrote it so that if I meet him, he doesn't say that he didn't know about it," said Gehlot. In his letter to Modi, Gehlot accused senior BJP leaders, including Union Minister Gajendra Shekhawat, of trying to topple a legitimately elected government that is busy fighting Covid-19 crisis."If they think they don't trust the Rajasthan government, they can send the audio-tapes to FSL agency in US for a voice test.They should step forward and undergo voice test. Union Ministers/ MLAs/ MPs give speeches, so everyone knows it is their voice," said Gehlot. "Still, the first reaction always is 'it wasn't my voice'. They are also threatening people. Nothing is going to work."

 

Jaipur court directs SOG to probe Union Minister role in Rs 884-cr scam amid allegations of bid to topple Gehlot Govt

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/jaipur-court-gajendra-singh-shekhawat-role-sanjivvani-scam-6519560/

Jaipur :A local court in Jaipur has directed Rajasthan’s SOG to investigate role of Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat in connection with Rs 884-crore Sanjivani Credit Cooperative Society scam. The matter is being investigated by SOG since last year. Petitioners in the case claimed SOG found that some money was allegedly transferred to companies owned by Shekhawat, his wife, and others, but their role was never investigated. The credit society opened in 2008 offering high interest rates on deposits. However, it allegedly duped depositors by siphoning the money under fake loans. SOG has already sent a notice to the minister in connection with a probe into audio clips which purportedly indicate efforts to lure MLAs away from the Congress. indian express, PTI

 

"Rajasthan Assembly Session Soon, Have Majority," Says Ashok Gehlot

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/rajasthan-assembly-session-soon-have-majority-says-ashok-gehlot-ahead-of-high-court-order-on-rebels-disqualification-2267781?pfrom=home-topscroll

Jaipur: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said today the assembly session would be called "soon" and expressed confidence that he has a majority, a day before a crucial verdict on a petition by Sachin Pilot and other Congress rebels who are threatening his government."We will call the assembly session soon. We have a majority. All Congress MLAs are united," the Chief Minister told reporters.

 

In Another Shocker for Congress in Madhya Pradesh, MLA Narayan Patel Resigns from Assembly

https://www.news18.com/news/politics/in-another-shocker-for-congress-madhya-pradesh-mla-narayan-patel-resigns-from-post-2730109.html

Madhya Pradesh Congress MLA from Mandhata, Narayan Patel, resigned from Legislative Assembly. His resignation was later accepted by Protem Speaker Rameshwar Sharma.Patel is expected to join BJP later in the day. With his departure, the number of Congress MLAs who have so far resigned from the assembly has risen to 25. A total of 22 MLAs had quit the party under Jyotiraditya Scindia in March.

 

‘PM is 100% focused on building his own image’: Rahul Gandhi sharpens attack over China

https://scroll.in/latest/968341/pm-is-100-focused-on-building-his-own-image-rahul-gandhi-sharpens-attack-over-china

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday again targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the border standoff with China that led to a violent clash last month, alleging that he was “100% focused on building his own image” and did not have a vision for the country.“India’s captured institutions are all busy doing this task,” Gandhi tweeted along with a 2-minute video. “One man’s image is not a substitute for a national vision.”He suggested that New Delhi needs to change its approach in dealing with Beijing. “Psychologically, you have to deal with the Chinese from a position of strength,” Gandhi said in the video. “If you deal with them from a position of strength, you can work with them, you can get what you need and it can be actually done. But if they sense weakness then you had it.”

 

*CORONAVIRUS- LOCKDOWN*

Israel to send top defence R&D team to develop 30-second coronavirus test in India

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/israel-to-send-top-defence-r-d-team-to-develop-30-second-coronavirus-test-in-india-1703683-2020-07-23

As part of a special joint-initiative, India and Israel are developing a novel coronavirus rapid testing apparatus that will be able to produce results in a mere 30 seconds. In a series of tweets, Israeli mission in India announced that a special planned flight will carry a high-ranking Ministry of Defence R&D team from Tel Aviv to Delhi in the coming days. This team has been working alongside India's chief scientist K Vijay Raghavan to develop a rapid testing kit for Covid-19. Israeli embassy added that mechanical ventilators will also be delivered to India by means of the same special flight. These ventilators are being exported to India owing to special permissions issued in this regard by Government of Israel.According to the embassy, Israeli companies chosen by Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defence and Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) have been granted access to India to provide technology that would allow medical professionals to monitor and treat Covid-19 patients with minimum contact. "These Israeli technologies can be mass produced at a lower cost and could in future be jointly exported to third countries," Israeli mission in India added.

 

Unique ID for all, identifier for doctors soon as Modi govt works on digital health mission

https://theprint.in/health/unique-id-for-all-identifier-for-doctors-soon-as-modi-govt-works-on-digital-health-mission/466807/

New Delhi: For the last six months, National Health Authority (NHA), which is implementing agency for Modi govt’s Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, has also been working on creating a digital health ecosystem, complete with a personal health ID for every Indian, identifiers for doctors and health facilities and personal health records.All of this will be accessible through an app or a website, but “ownership” of these health records will remain with the individual. Only when a person grants access, will a doctor or any other individual be able to see these records, that too for a limited period.The database is part of the new facilities being brought in under National Digital Health Mission (NDHM), taking off from the National Digital Health Blueprint that Ministry of Health and Family Welfare released in January this year.With Covid-19 happening soon afterwards, everything else became a blur, but work has been on in full swing for the last few weeks with almost daily meetings between NHA and the health ministry to review the status.

 

US leading world in COVID testing with 50 million, India 2nd with 12 million: Trump

https://zeenews.india.com/world/us-leading-the-world-in-covid-19-testing-with-50-million-india-second-with-12-million-says-president-donald-trump-2297649.html

US President Donald Trump has said that his country is leading the world in terms of coronavirus COVID-19 testing with 50 million tests so far, while India is at second position with 12 million tests. Trump said," Today, we surpassed — first time — we surpassed 50 million tests. That’s far more than any country in the world.  India is second, we believe.  We think - 1.4 billion people; that’s about 12 million tests. We have 50 million tests." Trump once again slammed China for spreading coronavirus across the world and said that the "China virus" is a vicious and dangerous illness. US president also said that his government is developing a powerful strategy to tackle COVID-19.

 

45,720 new cases in 24 hrs, 13% positivity, single-day toll 1,129 after Tamil Nadu update

https://theprint.in/health/45720-new-cases-in-24-hrs-13-positivity-single-day-toll-1129-after-tamil-nadu-update/466882/

New Delhi: Backlog in updation of Covid death numbers in Tamil Nadu, a state that has consistently registered low mortality, caused a second sharp single-day spike in the toll, recording 1,129 fatalities in the last 24 hours.The earlier spike was on June 16 when backlog in Maharashtra and West Bengal pushed the daily number to 2,003, the highest so far.The testing numbers are now beginning to look small as the cases pile up. The positivity rate stood at 13% Thursday even as the country reported yet another ‘highest’ daily tally of cases.On a day when the country reported the highest number of positive cases — once again — at 45,720, the total number of active cases stood at 4,26,167. This is about a third of the total cases in the country.

 

Bihar’s low testing may affect case fatality rate, warns central team

https://scroll.in/latest/968347/coronavirus-bihars-low-testing-may-affect-case-fatality-rate-warns-central-team

A 3-member central team, which visited Bihar to assess coronavirus situation, on Wednesday warned that the state’s low testing rate may affect its case fatality rate – the number of deaths among the cases detected, HT reported. The team asked health authorities to keep a weekly tab of the case fatality rate to improve the state govt’s preparedness.Bihar has reported 30,369 positive cases with 217 deaths so far. However, experts suspect the real figures could be much higher. The state has tested among the fewest people per million population in the entire country. Its positivity rate – the proportion of people who test positive among those tested – is fairly high, indicating its numbers could sharply shoot up if testing were to be ramped up.

 

Antigen tests at 2 civic labs in Mumbai: 60/65% false negatives

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/antigen-tests-at-two-civic-labs-in-mumbai-60/65-false-negatives/articleshow/77117923.cms

 More than half symptomatic patients who tested negative for Covid-19 in an antigen test later came positive with realtime PCR method, reveal findings from 2 major civic laboratories. This underscores the high rate of false negatives in rapid antigen testing, which started this month under BMC’s ‘Mission Universal Testing’ plan. For instance, 60% of 538 symptomatic who tested negative in antigen tests at Nair Hospital, came out positive when retested under RTPCR. At Kasturba, the finding was reversed for 65% (28) of 43 patients. Since the beginning of this month BMC has conducted around 8,872 antigen tests cumulatively and found 1,152 of them have tested positive. Of these, 2 BMC hospitals have subsequently recorded 60-65% positivity in RT-PCR tests on the antigen negative samples. Dr.Jayanthi Shastri, head of Kasturba Hospital’s Molecular Diagnostic Lab, said the reason for high percentage of false negatives in symptomatic patients is because the sensitivity of antigen test as per kit literature is 50% but specificity is 100%. Doctors said the samples tested by the 2 hospitals were of walk-in patients visiting their OPDs with Covid-19-like symptoms or patients from their wards.

 

Delhi to hold sero-survey every month,next one from Aug1

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-coronavirus-lockdown-july-23-2020-live-updates/article32168127.ece?homepage=true

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain has said the government will conduct a serological survey every month to know the percentage of people in the city who have developed antibodies against COVID-19. The next survey will be conducted between August 1 and 5. In a serological survey, blood samples of random people across different age groups and areas of the city are collected from their houses and later tested in labs using antibody testing kits. A positive result means that the person has developed antibodies against the novel coronavirus. Jain said more samples than the previous survey will be collected for the next one. He also said that the city is yet to attain herd immunity. He also reiterated that it is up to the Central government to declare if there is community transmission of the virus in the city.

 

400 Tablighi Jamaat members all set to leave India after completing court formalities

https://www.timesnownews.com/delhi/article/400-tablighi-jamaat-members-all-set-to-leave-india-after-completing-court-formalities/625942

On directions of the court, Crime Branch has returned around 400 passports of foreign Jamatis who entered into a plea bargain. So far 585 foreign Tablighi Jamatis have entered plea bargaining. With their passports returned, they are expected to leave India soon. Sources in the Crime Branch said court order has said once all formalities are over, the passport of overseas Jamatis should be returned. Foreign Jamatis' passports were confiscated and they were booked under Foreigners Act, Pandemic Act, Delhi Disaster Management Act and violating lockdown guidelines.Data available with Times Now show that various courts in Delhi have released 585 foreign Jamatis who confessed to their crime and submitted personal bond. After spending months in quarantine facilities, foreign Jamatis were shifted to different locations in Delhi.Some of them then approached the high court for their release and filed a plea against their prolonged confinement.Crime branch then filed 48 chargesheets and 11 supplementary chargesheets against them. Courts gave an option to foreign nationals to enter into plea bargaining. On Monday, a total 132 overseas Jamatis appeared before a Delhi court. Of the 132, 121 confessed to the crime. Jamatis who entered in a plea bargain paid a fine of Rs 5,000 each. The fine deposited by foreigners will be given to PM Cares fund. And those who refused to plead guilty and claimed trial.

 

6 ex-bureaucrats move SC seeking judicial probe into Modi Govt’s ‘gross mismanagement’ of COVID, lockdown

https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/india/6-ex-bureaucrats-move-sc-seeking-judicial-probe-into-modi-govts-gross-mismanagement-of-covid-19-lockdown

6 retired bureaucrats have moved the Supreme Court seeking an independent inquiry by a Commission appointed under Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952, into Central Govt's "gross mismanagement" of COVID-19 pandemic in India, LiveLaw.in reported."It is submitted that the response of the Respondent to the pandemic and the deleterious impact of the same on the lives and livelihoods of citizens of the country is a definite matter of public importance and warrants appointment of a Commission under Section 3 of the said Act," the plea states. Further, it is submitted that the importance of inquiry resides in the fact that Respondent has stalled an inquiry by Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee  into Respondent's response to pandemic. Filed by retired bureaucrats KP Fabian, MG Devasahayam, Meena Gupta, Somasundar Burra, Amit Bhaduri, and Madhu Bhaduri, the plea conveys that Petitioners have "come together to file the present petition owing to the anxiety and concern over the Respondent's mismanagement and misgovernance of COVID-19 pandemic and the deleterious impact it has had on fundamental rights of Indian citizens". It is further submitted that Respondent has also failed to consult National Task Force appointed by it on 18th March, which consisted of experts in the fields of epidemiology and public health, prior to imposition of the nationwide and its subsequent extensions.

 

Bakrid Celebrations to be Held at Home, Up to 5 People in Mosques, No Animal Slaughter in Public: UP's Yogi Govt

https://www.india.com/news/india/bakrid-celebrations-to-be-held-at-home-up-to-5-people-in-mosques-no-animal-slaughter-in-public-up-govt-4091798/

Uttar Pradesh govt has released a detailed list of guidelines to be followed for Bakrid celebrations and requested devotees to celebrate the festival at home in view of coronavirus pandemic. The guidelines issued by Yogi Adityanath govt requested Muslim clerics to ensure that people don’t collect in groups on the streets or at mosques, Eidgahs or public places, but celebrate the festival at their homes. “Religious leaders should encourage people to celebrate the festival in their homes,” notice read. The government has banned the transportation of goat meat and animal slaughter in the open. Apart from that, all existing guidelines in view of coronavirus pandemic will remain in place including Section 144 at mosques and other religious places.Malls and shopping complexes will also remain shut in view of the weekly lockdown imposed in the state. Police officials in all districts have been asked to remain on vigil and take note of the smallest of incidents in their respective areas.UP government has also appointed intelligence agencies have to remain on high alert and pre-empt any untoward incidents.

 

Ask people to celebrate Bakrid at home, UP DGP urges clerics as drone, CCTV cameras, morning party of policemen to be used for vigilance

https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/ask-people-to-celebrate-bakrid-at-home-up-dgp-urges-clerics/1900758

Uttar Pradesh police has urged Muslim clerics to motivate people to celebrate Bakrid at their homes and refrain from offering collective ‘namaaz’. UP''s DGP HC Awasthy made the request to clerics while pointing out the provisions of the guidelines of Union Ministry of Home Affairs and the state govt on celebrating festivals."Clerics in all districts have been asked to motivate people to celebrate the festival in their homes and abstain from offering collective ''namaaz''. Police should also make announcements through loudspeakers to adhere to the social distancing norms, ” DGP said.“Strict vigil has to be maintained on different social media platforms," DGP statement said. Drone cameras also should be used to monitor areas of mixed population, DGP instructed. “A morning party of policemen should be constituted in all police station areas to undertake morning checks and act on objectionable banners, posters and other material,” he added. CCTVs should be arranged for sensitive places and crossings and videography teams should also be constituted. PTI

 

‘Qurbani’ can be foregone in pandemic: Shia cleric Kalbe Sadiq

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/qurbani-can-be-foregonein-pandemic-shia-cleric/articleshow/77116927.cms

Lucknow: Prominent Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Sadiq has said that in his view when animals are not easily available in extraordinary circumstances, like in the time of coronavirus, then Muslims can forego the ritual of ‘qurbani’ (animal sacrifice) on Bakrid. Maulana Sadiq, who is also vice-president of All India Muslim Personal Law Board, said that in these times if the govt and doctors opine that Bakrid celebrations should be limited, people should adhere to the appeal.TOI

 

Bhopal: Mosque committees seek clarity over animal sacrifice as Bhopal to enter 10-day lockdown from Friday

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhopal/masjids-seek-clarity-over-animal-sacrifice/articleshow/77116617.cms

Bhopal: Eid-ul-Adha (Bakra Eid), too would be a low-key affair this time. Bhopal will enter a 10-day lockdown from Friday.Also known as ‘feast of sacrifice’, this festival will be celebrated on August 1.No mandis for sale of animals would be functional across the state. While, transaction for the same can be convened through phone call or online medium. However, the masjid committees seek more clarity over animal sacrifice as meat shops and slaughterhouses will remain shut due to lockdown.“We support measures to contain the infection. However, there needs to be clarity over the animal sacrifice or ‘qurbani’, as we understand the govt has not permitted use of slaughterhouse. A delegation is expected to meet the state government in this regard. This time, it will be a low-key affair and the prayers will be offered at homes instead of mosques,” said a member of masjid-committee. The district administration has not permitted any mandis. It would further be trimmed down with lockdown 10-day lockdown. TOI

 

Jharkhand’s ‘no mask’ penalty – up to Rs 1 lakh; here’s how other states are dealing with Covid rule violators

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/jharkhands-no-mask-penalty-up-to-rs-1-lakh-heres-how-other-states-are-dealing-with-covid-rule-violators-6520089/

Amid a surge in coronavirus cases, the Jharkhand Cabinet Wednesday approved the Jharkhand Contagious Disease Ordinance under which penalty up to Rs 1 lakh and a jail term up to two years can be imposed against violators of preventive measures of COVID-19 like not wearing masks in public places and spitting in public. Jharkhand on Wednesday reported 439 new cases of COVID-19, while three more people died due to the disease, as per the bulletin issued by the state government. The state’s death toll stands at 64.  There are 3,570 active cases in the state, with the infection tally rising to 6,682. While the overall tally in India rose to 1,238,635 after over 45,000 fresh cases were registered within a span of 24 hours. The death toll also increased from 28,732 to 29,861.

 

Madhya Pradesh Cooperatives Minister tests positive

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/covid-19-madhya-pradesh-cooperatives-minister-tests-positive/article32169100.ece

BHOPAL: Madhya Pradesh Cooperatives Minister Arvind Singh Bhadoria tested positive for COVID-19 and was admitted to a private hospital here early on Thursday, Bhopal district administration said.BJP MLA from Ater in Bhind district took part in a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday. So far, 4 BJP MLAs have contracted the illness in the State. Meanwhile, Home Minister Narottam Mishra on Wednesday night announced Bhopal would be placed under lockdown for 10 days from 8 p.m. on July 24.

 

HP CM Jai Thakur, 40 staff members home quarantined after officer, visitors test positive for COVID

https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/india/hp-cm-jai-ram-thakur-40-staff-members-home-quarantined-after-officer-visitors-test-positive-for-covid-19

Not only the general public but even lawmakers including Chief Minister and other bureaucrats of Himachal Pradesh are not immune to the deadly coronavirus with the number of cases increasing manifold in the past one month.Nearly one-and-a-half month after the state Police Headquarter was sealed for two days and the DGP along with over 30 police personnel were placed under home quarantine, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur along with wife Dr. Sadhna Thakur and other family members were advised home quarantine on Wednesday. CM and his family were placed under home quarantine after a Deputy Secretary in CMO and 2 persons in Seraj, CM's assembly constituency in Mandi district, tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday.

 

After recovering from Covid, Surat-based businessman Kader Shaikh sets up hospital for poor

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/after-recovering-from-covid-surat-based-businessman-sets-up-hospital-for-the-poor-6517415/?fbclid=IwAR3OiiLmdlFLXMgvy1qA4zOBW7IbEV78TisDBvjYAYafrlcdF52sYqqj_08

Surat : Kader Shaikh, 63, tested positive for Covid-19 a month ago. The treatment at a private hospital that cost lakhs of rupees, made the real estate businessman think of those who cannot afford such treatment.Soon after he was discharged, Shaikh started work to convert his 30,000 square feet office space at Shreyam complex into an 85 beds Covid-19 facility with oxygen facilities to provide free treatment for the poor.Shaikh signed an agreement with Surat Municipal Corporation(SMC) to supply medical staff and equipment at the facility with 15 ICU beds in Surat’s Adajan area. On Tuesday, after the infrastructure was ready, SMC health authorities visited Hiba Hospital, named after Shaikh’s granddaughter, on Tuesday and inspected the arrangements.

 

Family of Delhi Dr.Javed Ali Who Died of Covid on Frontline to Get Rs 1-Crore Compensation

https://clarionindia.net/family-of-delhi-doc-javed-ali-who-died-of-covid-on-frontline-to-get-rs-1-crore-compensation/

NEW DLEHI: The family of Dr Javed Ali, who fell victim to coronavirus disease in line of duty on July 20, will be given Rs 1-crore compensation by Delhi govt. Delhi Health Minister Stayandra Jain has made this announcement from his twitter account.In April, AAP-ruled state government had announced that the families of health workers, who die of Covid-19 while fighting the pandemic, will be given Rs 1 crore as compensation.The minister’s announcement came after Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra demanded that the government help the family of corona warriors like Dr Ali in all possible ways. Ali (42), who was employed at Delhi’s National Health Mission, had been on duty since March. Clarion India

 

Decision on Kerala-wide lockdown likely on July 27

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/decision-on-kerala-wide-lockdown-likely-on-july-27/article32171250.ece?homepage=true

A special meeting of the cabinet scheduled for July 27 will decide whether to impose a total State-wide lockdown in Kerala given the worrying spike in COVID-19 infections. The cabinet, which met here on Thursday, also decided to defer the convening of Legislative Assembly to pass the Finance Bill scheduled for Monday.

 

Gujarat: About 15,000 pvt schools stop online classes after govt’s ‘no fee’ order

https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/national/gujarat-about-15000-pvt-schools-stop-online-classes-after-govts-no-fee-order

Private schools in Gujarat have suspended online classes for an indefinite period from Thursday, after a state govt order said they should not collect fees from students until the schools reopen.In a notification issued last week, the Gujarat government directed self-financed schools in the state not to collect tuition fees from students as long as they remain shut in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.It also asked these schools not to hike fees for the academic year 2020-21.PTI

 

China refutes US claim of coronavirus originating in Wuhan lab

https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/international/china-refutes-us-claim-of-coronavirus-originating-in-wuhan-lab

Chinese Foreign Ministry refuted the claim by some US politicians that the novel coronavirus originated in a laboratory in Wuhan. Spokesperson Wang Wenbin made the remarks when asked for comments about the so-called latest evidence of the origin of the virus as recently revealed by an internal cable of the US State Dept, Xinhua reported. IANS

 

Trump says he is comfortable having his son and grandchildren back in schools

https://indianexpress.com/article/coronavirus/coronavirus-global-updates-23-july-6519344/

US President Donald Trump has said he is comfortable with his son, Barron, and grandchildren going back to school, arguing that schools should be open despite concerns from many that it could lead to more coronavirus infections. Trump’s push for schools to reopen comes even as cases of the deadly disease skyrocket across the country, including in states critical to his re-election in November such as Florida and Texas. The president, a Republican, has threatened to withhold federal funding if schools do not reopen. He said he was fine with the children in his family returning to school buildings. “I am comfortable with that,” he said.

 

Makkah Grand Mosque to remain closed during Eid Al-Adha to stop virus

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1708256/saudi-arabia

MAKKAH: The safety of pilgrims had been the top priority in preparing for this year’s Hajj, Saudi security officials said. Announcing the completion of the first stage of planning for the annual religious gathering, the commander of the forces responsible for security at the Grand Mosque in Makkah stressed that protecting worshippers was paramount. “The remaining stages will be implemented in the coming days,” said Maj. Gen. Muhammad Al-Ahmadi. Due to the virus outbreak, the Grand Mosque will be closed to worshippers for Arafa day and Eid Al-Adha. “The decision to suspend prayers in Grand Mosque including its outdoor arenas will continue. We invite people of Makkah to break their fast on the day of Arafat in their homes,” added Al-Ahmadi.arabnews

 

Don’t expect first COVID vaccinations until early 2021: WHO

https://indianexpress.com/article/coronavirus/coronavirus-global-updates-23-july-6519344/

Researchers are making “good progress” in developing vaccines against COVID-19, with a handful in late-stage trials, but their first use cannot be expected until early 2021, a WHO expert said. WHO is working to ensure fair vaccine distribution, but in the meantime it is key to suppress the virus’s spread, said Mike Ryan, head of WHO’s emergencies programme, as daily new cases around the globe are at near-record levels. “Realistically it is going to be the first part of next year before we start seeing people getting vaccinated,” he told a public event on social media.

 

India will have to deliver vaccine on a scale never seen before: Oxford scientist Andrew Pollard

https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/coronavirus-india-will-have-to-deliver-vaccine-on-scale-never-seen-before-oxford-scientist/article32163865.ece?homepage=true

Andrew Pollard, Director of Oxford Vaccine Group and Chief Investigator on its COVID-19 trials, have been at forefront of research, most significantly regarding vaccine development. When asked how strong was the immune response that you observed in the vaccine trials, Professor Pollard replied, "we do not know how strong an immune response is needed for protection. All we can say is that we are seeing immune responses that are better after a second dose. They are also not so bad after a first dose. We do not know if those are enough for protection, which is why we have to do these trials." Professor Pollard, "first of all, you have got to manufacture it at an enormous scale, for a country like India, to be able to vaccinate a large proportion of the population. Then you actually have to get out and deliver the vaccine on a scale that has never been seen before. That is also a big hurdle. Even if you have a vaccine and you have enough doses, the logistics of preventing infection is everyone is going to be a huge, mass vaccination programme."

 

COVID vaccine likely to work with multiple doses: Bill Gates

https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/international/covid-vaccine-likely-to-work-with-multiple-doses-bill-gates

People might have to take multiple doses of a potential COVID-19 vaccine to protect themselves from the disease, said Microsoft Co-founder Bill Gates. The billionaire told CBS News on Wednesday that "none of the vaccines at this point appear like they'll work with a single dose." Over 150 COVID-19 vaccines are currently at different stages of development, with a few now advancing to the late stage clinical trial.  Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated $300 million towards the global effort to beat COVID-19.IANS

 

Microsoft weathers pandemic, revenue up 13% in June quarter

https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/international/microsoft-weathers-pandemic-revenue-up-13-in-june-quarter

Microsoft weathered the pandemic-hit quarter that ended on June 30, with posting $38 billion in revenue which was up 13% (year-on-year) and registered $11.2 billion in net income as the tech giant closed several retail stores owing to the COVID-19 fears. Microsoft's Azure Cloud growth, however, slowed to 47% from 59% from the previous quarter.IANS

 

UN General Assembly: For 1st time in 75 years, world leaders won’t travel as session goes virtual due to coronavirus

https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/un-general-assembly-for-the-1st-time-in-75-years-world-leaders-wont-travel-as-session-goes-virtual/article32169014.ece?homepage=true

World leaders will submit pre-recorded video statements for UN General Assembly session in Sept., 193-member body has decided, as heads of state and government will not be physically attending the annual gathering due to coronavirus and the high-level session goes virtual for the first time in UN’s 75-year history. The landmark 75th session of UNGA will begin on Sept.15. PTI

 

*WORLD*

Closure Of More Chinese Embassies 'Possible', Says Trump As US Shuts Down Consulate In Houston

https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/world-news-closure-of-more-chinese-embassies-possible-says-trump-as-us-shuts-down-consulate-in-houston/357246

US does not rule out the possibility of closing more Chinese diplomatic missions in the country, President Donald Trump has said, hours after Washington ordered the closure of Beijing's consulate in Houston to "protect American intellectual property and private information".US move came amid a growing number of disputes between the two countries over Beijing's increasingly aggressive actions that have led Washington to take strong actions, including closing the consulate in Houston, according to senior Trump administration officials.The consulate in Houston, Texas, is one of 5 Chinese diplomatic missions in US, not counting the embassy in Washington DC."As far as closing additional embassies, it's always possible," Trump told reporters.The move to shutdown Chinese consulate in Houston was welcomed by top American lawmakers.Reacting strongly to US move, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin termed it as an "unprecedented escalation” and warned retaliatory measures.PTI

 

China forces Christians to replace images of Jesus with communist leaders: US-based news site

https://www.newindianexpress.com/world/2020/jul/22/china-forces-christians-to-replace-images-of-jesus-with-communist-leaders-2173203.html

 Continuing with its repression of religious minorities, Chinese officials have now ordered Christians to smash crosses and remove images of Jesus from their homes and instead put up pictures of Communist leaders. Authorities have recently destroyed religious symbols by force in churches in multiple provinces, including Anhui, Jiangsu, Hebei and Zhejiang, according to US-based news site Radio Free Asia, reported Daily Mail. Daily Mail citing independent outlet Bitter Winter, reported that officials of Shanxi demanded that religious images be taken down and replaced with pictures of Communist leaders.China has already been facing criticism for massive human rights abuses that it is carrying out against religious minorities in Xinjiang. The ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has locked up lakhs of people.ANI

 

China launches Mars exploration mission in race with US

https://scroll.in/latest/968333/china-launches-mars-exploration-mission-in-race-with-us

China on Thursday launched an unmanned probe to Mars, aiming to demonstrate its technological prowess as US will undertake a similar mission on July 30, AFP reported. Both probes are expected to reach the red planet in Feb.2021 and take advantage of a period when Earth and Mars are favourably aligned for a short journey. The Mars mission, named Tianwen-1 after “Tianwen”, or “Questions to Heaven”, blasted off from Hainan Island in the country’s south. It comprises of an orbiter, lander and rover to be delivered by the powerful Long March 5 rocket to study the planet’s soil. If successful, it will make China the first country to orbit, land and deploy a rover in its first mission.

 

Joe Biden calls Trump the first racist US president, accuses him of using ‘China as a wedge’

https://scroll.in/latest/968313/joe-biden-calls-donald-trump-the-first-racist-us-president-accuses-him-of-using-china-as-a-wedge

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has launched a sharp attack on US President Donald Trump, calling him the first racist to be elected to the top post, Washington Post reported. Biden’s comment came in response to a healthcare worker expressing concern over how US president has continuously blamed Asians for the spread of the coronavirus. “The way he [Trump] deals with people based on the colour of their skin, their national origin, where they’re from, is absolutely sickening,” Biden said during a virtual town hall.

 

Israeli army reinforces Lebanon border after Hezbollah warnings

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/07/israeli-army-reinforces-lebanon-border-hezbollah-warnings-200723094358204.html

Israel has said it is sending military reinforcements to its northern frontier after the Lebanon-based Hezbollah group threatened retaliation over the killing of one of its members in an attack in Syria earlier this week.Israeli army said on its Twitter account on Thursday that move was "in accordance with a situational assessment". Hezbollah-run broadcaster al-Manar identified the man killed in Monday's air raid near Damascus International Airport as Ali Kamel Mohsen. The attack also killed four other foreign fighters and was widely attributed to Israel, which has carried out dozens of aerial assaults against what it says are Iranian-aligned fighters inside Syria.

 

Kuwait calls on UNSC to stop Israel crimes against Palestinians

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200723-kuwait-calls-on-unsc-to-stop-israel-crimes-against-palestinians/

Kuwait has called on the UN Security Council to act immediately to stop Israeli crimes and violence against Palestinians before it is too late, Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) reported.The remarks came in a written speech, presented by Kuwait’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi, during the Security Council session on the situation in the Middle East.Kuwait and other Arab countries have boosted their efforts to stand in the face of the Israeli escalation in the past few months, as the world was trying to fight the spread of COVID-19, said Al-Otaibi.

 

Archaeologists condemn Israel’s theft of Byzantine baptismal font

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200723-archaeologists-condemn-israels-theft-of-byzantine-baptismal-font/

General Union of Arab Archaeologists has condemned Israel’s theft of a Byzantine-era baptismal font in Bethlehem, Quds Net reported. The union described the theft as a “war crime” which must not go unpunished. “The theft of this ancient font is part of Israel’s policy of terrorism, piracy and looting,” said the union’s coordinator in Palestine, Azmi Al-Shoyookhi. “The Israeli occupation state carries out systematic measures to hide the Arab and Palestinian identity of every inch of Palestine, including the removal and theft of archaeological and historic artefacts.”Such crimes, he added, have been carried out since the start of Israel’s occupation of the Arab land of Palestine.

 

Prominent Palestinian husband and wife released after brief detention by Israel

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200723-prominent-palestinian-husband-and-wife-released-after-brief-detention-by-israel/

2 prominent Palestinians have been released by Israeli police after being detained briefly on suspicion that they were involved in funding terrorism, AFP has reported. Suhail Khoury and Rania Elias were reportedly arrested at home in East Jerusalem.Both are prominent in Palestinian cultural life. Khoury directs the Edward Said National Conservatory based in Birzeit, north of Ramallah, while Elias heads Yabous Cultural Centre in East Jerusalem. According to a tweet posted by Palestinian Liberation Organisation Department of Public Diplomacy and Policy, Israeli police raided both centres yesterday and confiscated documents and equipment.

 

Israeli forces  kidnaps several Palestinians from their homes in W. Bank

https://english.palinfo.com/news/2020/7/23/IOF-kidnaps-several-Palestinians-from-their-homes-in-W-Bank

WEST BANK, (PIC)Israeli occupation forces (IOF) last night and at dawn Thursday carried out raids on homes and made arrests in different West Bank areas. According to local sources, IOF kidnaped Palestinian lawmaker Nizar Ramadan and his son Ahmed, former minister Issa al-Ja’bari and a young man called Alaa Mujahed from their homes in al-Khalil city.In Bethlehem, the IOF kidnaped two young men from their homes identified as Omar Manna, from al-Deheisha refugee camp, and Ahmed Daraghmeh, from Jabel al-Mawaleh area.

 

Scores of settlers defile Aqsa under police protection

https://english.palinfo.com/news/2020/7/23/Scores-of-settlers-defile-Aqsa-under-police-protection

JERUSALEM, (PIC)Dozens of Jewish settlers on Wednesday morning entered the Aqsa Mosque in Occupied Jerusalem and desecrated its courtyards under police guard.According to local sources, 59 settlers stormed the Aqsa Mosque through al-Maghariba Gate and toured its courtyards, especially in the eastern area. 21 of those settlers were students of religious institutesThe Aqsa Mosque is exposed to daily desecration by Jewish settlers and police forces in the morning and the afternoon except on Fridays and Saturdays.

 

'Hagia Sophia ready for Muslims' Friday worship'

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/turkey/hagia-sophia-ready-for-muslims-friday-worship/1919914

Hagia Sophia Mosque is ready to reopen on July 24 for worship for the first time in 86 years with inaugural Friday prayer, according to the governor of Istanbul, Turkey’s metropolitan province.In a Thursday press conference at the iconic marvel, Ali Yerlikaya said everyone is looking forward to attending special prayers with great enthusiasm.Stressing the measures being taken against the coronavirus, he said five different open spaces were reserved for worshipers to prevent overcrowding.Entrance to the areas reserved for prayer will start at 10.00 am on Friday, Yerlikaya added.

 

Saudi places restrictions on Yemen officials over fears of ties with Turkey

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200722-saudi-places-restrictions-on-yemen-officials-over-fears-of-ties-with-turkey/

Saudi-led coalition has reportedly imposed restrictions on the movements of Yemeni officials in internationally recognised government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, according to a report by Yemen Press Agency. According to the news agency, aviation sources at Aden airport disclosed that the coalition is tightening travel procedures to and from Yemen. The measures are reportedly aimed at tracking the flights of officials in Hadi’s government traveling between Aden, Turkey and Qatar, amid concerns that some of Hadi’s officials are secretly forging alliances with Turkey.The restrictions follow speculation that Ankara is seeking greater involvement in Yemen with several Hadi officials having travelled between Aden, Cairo, Doha and Istanbul. UAE-funded media has increasingly reported on allegations that Turkey is intervening in Yemen, through supporting the Islah-party, widely viewed as an offshoot of Muslim Brotherhood, although such links have been denied by the group. However, Turkey recently announced it will lead the anti-piracy Joint Task Force CTF-151 in Gulf of Aden.

 

 

Witnesses say Afghan govt airstrike kills at least 14 people; Khalilzad condemns,   Taliban warns it will undermine the peace deal

https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/witnesses-afghan-government-airstrike-kills-at-least-14/article32171020.ece?homepage=true

Kabul:A govt airstrike killed at least 14 people in Afghanistan’s western Herat province, many of them women and children, witnesses said on Thursday. Hundreds of people had gathered in Herat’s Adraskan district to welcome home a former Taliban fighter freed from jail when aircraft pounded the gathering, said Noor Rahmati, a witness who lost 3 members of his family in the airstrike. Govt officials today said airstrike a day earlier was being investigated. Ghulam Nabi had been released as part of a prisoner exchange aimed at moving negotiations between the govt and Taliban forward, a second and critical phase of a peace deal between US and Taliban.District elders and well wishers had arrived to welcome Nabi when the attack began, witnesses said. Nabi’s 9-year-old son was apparently wounded in the attack. US Peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad tweeted a condemnation of the violence. UN has been critical of the increasing death toll among civilians in Afghanistan, caused by both sides in the protracted conflict.In Herat, photos and eyewitness accounts suggest many civilians including children are among the victims of an Afghan airstrike. We condemn the attack and support an investigation, Khalilzad tweeted. Taliban issued a statement denouncing attacks on Taliban prisoners freed as part of the peace deal. The deal calls for the govt to release 5,000 Taliban in jails throughout the country and the insurgent movement to free 1,000 govt personnel, including Afghan security forces. The statement warned that violence against freed prisoners will undermine the deal signed in February and make job of keeping freed prisoners from returning to the battlefield that much more difficult.Such actions can force prisoners who are recently released and wish for a normal life to take up weapon against the enemy again, said the statement.Witness Abdul Khaliq, whose brother Abdullah was in a hospital in Herat with injuries from the attack, said these victims are not Taliban. They just wanted to meet a relative returning home.” They saw women wearing scarves and running for safety and still they hit them too, Rahmati said. He called for an international investigation into the airstrike.AP

 

New study shows worldwide decrease in unintended pregnancies

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/new-study-shows-worldwide-decrease-in-unintended-pregnancies-6519217/

Pune: Since 1990, as access to contraceptives has increased, the rate of unintended pregnancy has fallen across the world. In 2015–2019, there were 121 million unintended pregnancies annually, corresponding to a global rate of 64 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 49. This is a decline from 79 per 1,000 women in 1990–1994. But the progress is not uniform.Women in the poorest countries were nearly 3 times as likely to face unintended pregnancies as those in the wealthiest countries, revealing major and persistent inequities in access to sexual and reproductive health care, researchers said at a media telebriefing webinar on Wednesday. 61 per cent of unintended pregnancies (73.3 million) ended in abortion between 2015 and 2019, corresponding to a global rate of 39 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 49. Abortion rates and trends varied across regions.

 

Saudi's King Salman has successful gallbladder surgery

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/07/saudi-arabia-king-salman-successful-gallbladder-surgery-200723132129155.html

Saudi Arabia's 84-year-old ruler, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, is recovering after a successful operation to remove his gallbladder, state SPA has reported, after he was admitted to hospital this week.The king, who has ruled the world's largest oil exporter and close United States ally since 2015, will stay in hospital for some time to receive treatment, SPA reported.

*views, Articles, FEATURES*

China May be Drawing Up Plan to Hit India Around Winters as Floods, Pandemic Make 'Situation Ideal':Lt Gen (Retd) PC Katoch

https://www.news18.com/news/opinion/china-may-be-drawing-up-plan-to-hit-india-around-winters-as-floods-pandemic-make-situation-ideal-2729703.html

India should monitor relations between China and Iran, but it must guard against hasty conclusions:Shyam Saran, Indian Express

https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/india-china-iran-chabahar-port-6518857/

How Rajnath Singh Spilled Beans on PLA in Ladakh After Sustained Misinformation: Ashok K. Mehta, The Wire

https://thewire.in/security/china-ladakh-rajnath-singh-narendra-modi-galwan-depsang

'I Was Sexually Harassed By a Senior Advisor to the Maldives President. This is My Story:' Rae Munavvar Editor of The Edition in Male; The Wire

https://thewire.in/south-asia/i-was-sexually-harassed-by-a-senior-advisor-to-the-maldives-president-this-is-my-story

UK Begins a Selective Cold War With Russia, China While Staying Warm to Their Money:Sanjay Suri, news18

https://www.news18.com/news/world/uk-begins-a-selective-cold-war-with-russia-china-while-staying-warm-to-their-money-2729241.html

‘There Was No Grand Plan To Start A Movement From Shaheen Bagh’: SEEMI PASHA BOOK

https://www.thequint.com/lifestyle/books/book-excerpt-shaheen-bagh-and-idea-of-india-historic-movement-muslim-women-anti-citizenship-act

Must ‘secularists’ even now oppose the building of Ram Temple?Pavan K Varma| Diplomat, Author

https://www.timesnownews.com/columns/article/must-secularists-even-now-oppose-the-building-of-ram-temple/625298

Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 8:40 PM)

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