Wed, 01 July 2020
15 lakh people hit by floods in Assam

Timeline  Refresh

23:36   15 lakh people hit by floods in Assam
Seven more people were killed in floods and related incidents across Assam, where around 15 lakh people have been affected by the deluge with embankments, roads, bridges, and many other infrastructure damaged at various places, a government report said on Wednesday.
Thirty three people have lost their lives in the floods and 24 in landslides this season.
Three persons were killed in Barpeta district, while one person each died in Dhubri, Nagaon, Nalbari in flood related incidents, while a landslide claimed the life of a 50-year-old person in Cachar district, the Assam State Disaster Management Authority said in the report.
The water level of river Brahmaputra was above the danger level at Guwahati, Nimatighat in Jorhat, Tezpur in Sonitpur, Goalpara town in Goalpara and Dhubri town in Dhubri districts.
The number of affected people on Tuesday was around 14.94 lakh across 23 of the 33 districts in the state while the figure on Wednesday was more than 14.95 lakh in 21 districts.
Floodwaters receded from Majuli and West Karbi Anglong districts, but vast areas of Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Biswanath, Chirang, Darrang, Nalbari, Barpeta, Bongaigaon, Dhubri, South Salmara, Goalpara, Kamrup, Morigaon, Hojai, Nagaon, Golaghat, Jorhat, Sivasagar, Dibrugarh and Tinsukia are still submerged.
Barpeta is the worst hit with nearly 5.95 lakh people suffering, followed by 1.95 lakh in South Salmara and 94,000 in Goalpara, the ASDMA said.
District administrations and local people have evacuated 4,221 people since Wednesday in the three districts.
At present, 2,197 villages are under water and 87,018.17 hectares of crop areas have been damaged in the state, ASDMA said.
It said the authorities are running 254 relief camps and distribution centres across 15 districts, where 15,289 people have taken shelter.
The water levels of Brahmaputra river's tributaries Dhansiri at Numaligarh in Golaghat, Jia Bharali at NT Road Crossing in Sonitpur and Kopili at Kampur in Nagaon were above the danger marks.
Embankments, roads, bridges, culverts and many other infrastructure have been damaged at various places in Dibrugarh, Baksa, Nagaon, Barpeta, Darrang, Nalbari, Goalpara, Bongaigaon, Dhubri, Morigaon, Majuli, Sivasagar and Kokrajhar districts.
Apart from Cachar, massive erosions have been witnessed at different places of Baksa district, ASDMA said. -- PTI
22:54   14 new coronavirus cases in Dharavi, tally 2,282
Coronavirus cases in Dharavi area of Mumbai increased to 2,282 on Wednesday with 14 new patients coming to light, said a senior Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation official.
The civic body, however, did not disclose the number of COVID-19-related deaths in the area which is known as Asia's largest slum.
The BMC had not given any information about deaths in Dharavi in the last few days too. As of Sunday, the area's death toll due to the pandemic was 82.
The number of active coronavirus cases in the area is 535 as 1,618 patients have been discharged from hospitals after recovery, the BMC official said.
Spread over 2.5 square kilometres, Dharavi has a population of around 6.5 lakh.
In nearby Dadar and Mahim areas, which also fall in G-north ward, the same as Dharavi, 21 and 19 new coronavirus cases were found on Wednesday. -- PTI 
22:53   US designates Huawei, ZTE as 'security threats'
The United States Federal Communications Commission has designated Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE as national security threats, saying the major step was aimed at protecting American communications networks from security risks.
The decision, which came on Tuesday and got in effect immediately, would also cover the firms' parent body, affiliates and subsidiaries.
As a result of the action, money from the FCC's USD 8.3 billion a year Universal Service Fund may no longer be used to purchase, obtain, maintain, improve, modify, or otherwise support any equipment or services produced or provided by these suppliers. 
In the Orders issued on Tuesday, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau bases its final designations on the totality of evidence, including evidence supporting the Commission's initial designations and filings submitted in the record by Huawei, ZTE, and other interested parties. The final designations of Huawei and ZTE are effective immediately. 
"With today's Orders, and based on the overwhelming weight of evidence, the Bureau has designated Huawei and ZTE as national security risks to America's communications networks -- and to our 5G future," said FCC Chairman Indian-American Ajit Pai. 
"Both companies have close ties to the Chinese Communist Party and China's military apparatus, and both companies are broadly subject to Chinese law obligating them to cooperate with the country's intelligence services," Pai said. 
He said the bureau took into account the findings and actions of Congress, the Executive Branch, the intelligence community, US allies, and communications service providers in other countries.
"We cannot and will not allow the Chinese Communist Party to exploit network vulnerabilities and compromise our critical communications infrastructure. Today's action will also protect the FCC's Universal Service Fund -- money that comes from fees paid by American consumers and businesses on their phone bills -- from being used to underwrite these suppliers, which threaten our national security," Pai said. -- PTI
22:16   China 'welcomes' progress in Sino-India talks
China on Wednesday welcomed the progress made in Sino-India senior military commander-level talks to "disengage and deescalate the situation" at the Line of Actual Control and said the two sides are working towards implementing the consensus reached so far.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that Chinese and Indian military commanders held third round of talks on June 30.
He said the "two sides continue working towards implementing the consensus reached at the two earlier rounds of commander-level talks and made progress in effective measures by frontline troops to disengage and deescalate the situation."
"China welcomes that," Zhao said in a reply posted on the Foreign Ministry website to a query about the June 30 senior commander-level talks.
"We hope the Indian side will work with the Chinese side towards the same goal, keep up close communication through military and diplomatic channels, and ease the situation and reduce the temperature along the border," he said.
The Indian and Chinese armies are locked in a bitter standoff in multiple locations in eastern Ladakh for the last seven weeks, and the tension escalated manifold after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a violent clash in Galwan Valley on June 15. The Chinese side also suffered casualties but it is yet to give out the details.
In the talks on June 22, the two sides arrived at a "mutual consensus" to "disengage" from all the friction points in eastern Ladakh.
The first round of the Lt General-level talks were held on June 6 during which both sides finalised an agreement to disengage gradually from all the standoff points beginning with Galwan Valley.
However, the situation deteriorated following the Galwan Valley clashes as the two sides significantly bolstered their deployments in most areas along the Line of Actual Control. -- PTI 
21:57   Shah reviews COVID-19 situation in country
Union home minister Amit Shah on Wednesday reviewed the COVID-19 situation in the country with Union Health Minister Harsh Varadhan among others, officials said.
So far 5,85,493 people have been infected by coronavirus which so far has claimed 17,400 lives across the country.
Shah reviewed the COVID-19 situation in the country. It was a routine meeting, a home ministry official said.
Apart from Vardhan, others who attended the meeting included top officials of the health and home ministries.
India registered the highest single-day COVID-19 deaths at 507 on Wednesday with Maharashtra, Delhi and Tamil Nadu accounting for over 70 per cent of the fatalities, while 18,653 new infections were reported taking the total tally to 5,85,493, according to health ministry data.
This is the fifth consecutive day that coronavirus infections have increased by more than 18,000. The country has seen a surge of 3,94,958 infections from June 1 till date.  
The number of active cases stands at 2,20,114, while 3,47,978 people have recovered, and one patient has migrated, according to the updated data at 8 am.
"Thus, around 59.43 per cent of patients have recovered so far," an official said. -- PTI 
21:17   US welcomes India's decision to ban Chinese apps
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday welcomed New Delhi's decision to ban dozens of apps with Chinese links, saying it will "boost India's integrity and national security."
"We welcome India's ban on certain mobile apps that serves as an appendage of the CCP's (Chinese Communist Party) surveillance State," Pompeo told reporters at a news conference held at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department.
"India's clean app approach will boost India's sovereignty. It will also boost India's integrity and national security," he said.
India on Monday banned 59 apps with Chinese links, including the hugely popular TikTok and UC Browser, for engaging in "activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order".
The ban also comes in the backdrop of the current stand-off along the Line of Actual control in eastern Ladakh with Chinese troops.
The list of apps that have been banned by India also include Helo, Likee, Cam Scanner, Vigo Video, Mi Video Call - Xiaomi, Clash of Kings as well as e-commerce platforms Club Factory and Shein. --  PTI 
21:01   BSNL cancels 4G tender to keep Chinese firms out
State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd on Wednesday cancelled a multi-crore tender for 4G telecom network upgrade after the government asked the firm not to use any Chinese equipment.
The move comes against the backdrop of a growing clamour against Chinese goods and services after the violent clash at border with China.
BSNL on Wednesday issued a notice for cancellation of the 4G tender. 
A source privy to the development told PTI that a new tender will be floated which will have emphasis on preference to Make in India.
BSNL Chairman could not be reached for comments.
"Tender for planning, engineering, supply, installation, testing, commissioning and annual maintenance of 4G mobile network in north, east, west and south zones of BSNL and Delhi and Mumbai LSA of MTNL (Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd) on turnkey basis...issued on March 23, 2020 is hereby cancelled," BSNL notice said.
The notice for cancellation has been "issued with the approval of competent authority", it added.
Meanwhile sources said that government had earlier directed BSNL not to use Chinese equipment in 4G upgrade, and implementation of the direction meant that the company has to issue a new tender.
Keeping in view the developing Indian capacity and in-house technology, a new tender will be floated, the source said adding this will have emphasis on preference to Make in India. 
Nearly a fortnight ago, the telecom department had asked state-owned BSNL and MTNL to shun the use of Chinese telecom equipment in their 4G upgrade, underlining a hardening of stance in the backdrop of tensions at the India-China border.
On June 29, India banned 59 apps with Chinese links, including hugely popular TikTok and UC Browser, saying they were prejudicial to sovereignty, integrity and security of the country.
The ban, which came in the backdrop of current stand-off along the border in Ladakh with Chinese troops, is also applicable for WeChat and Bigo Live. The list of apps that have been banned also include Helo, Likee, CamScanner, Vigo Video, Mi Video Call Xiaomi, Clash of Kings as well as e-commerce platforms Club Factory and Shein.
This marks the largest sweep against the Chinese technology companies. -- PTI
20:37   Coronil drug: U'khand court issues notice to Patanjali
The Uttarakhand high court on Wednesday issued notices to yoga guru Ramdev's Patanjali, Union and state governments, seeking a reply within a week on the firm's Coronil drug.
Hearing a PIL challenging Ramdev's claims regarding the medicine, a division bench of Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and Justice R C Khulbe issued the notices.
It asked the Union and state governments; Patanjali; the director of the AYUSh department in Uttarakhand; ICMR and Rajasthan's NIMS University, which is said to have collaborated with the company in manufacturing the medicine, to file their replies within a week.
The PIL filed by advocate Mani Kumar has sought a ban on the drug, accusing the yoga guru of misleading people by launching Coronil as a medicine to cure coronavirus.
The drug neither has the certification of the Indian Council of Medical Research nor did Patanjali Ayurved has the licence to manufacture it, the PIL has contended.
While Patanjali claims that the drug has been tested by NIMS University, the Rajasthan institute denied it, the PIL said. -- PTI
20:23   Rlys seeks pvt investment to run passenger trains
The Railways on Wednesday formally kickstarted its plans to allow private entities to operate passenger trains on its network by inviting request for qualifications for participation on 109 pairs of routes through 151 modern trains, the national transporter said.
The project would entail a private sector investment of about Rs 30,000 crore, the national transporter said. 
This is the first initiative for private investment for running passenger trains on the Indian Railways network. It began last year with the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation introducing the Lucknow-Delhi Tejas Express.
"The objective of this initiative is to introduce modern technology rolling stock with reduced maintenance, reduced transit time, boost job creation, provide enhanced safety, provide world-class travel experience to passengers," the Railways said. 
The 109 origin-destination routes have been formed into 12 clusters across the Indian Railway network. Each train shall have a minimum of 16 coaches, it said.
The Railways also said that majority of these modern trains are to be manufactured in India as 'Make in India' and the private entity shall be responsible for financing, procuring, operating and maintaining the trains. -- PTI 
20:05   Govt asks Priyanka to vacate bungalow by Aug 1
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra asked to vacate government by the ministry of housing and urban affairs.
19:35   The little known Chinese role in India's aviation sector
'Chinese companies may have made significant inroads into several sectors in India. Relatively unknown, however, has been their growing role in the Indian aviation industry,' reports Prince Mathews Thomas in   

'Nearly all Indian airlines, including IndiGo, SpiceJet, GoAir, Vistara and AirAsia India have leased planes from Chinese players. Only national carrier Air India is not on the list,' he writes, adding that 'Of the 480 aircraft that are operated by Indian carriers, 96 are leased from Chinese lessors. In total, about 650 aircraft are currently operational in India.'   

You can read the full report here.
19:03   Priyanka told to vacate govt bungalow in 1 month
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Wednesday was asked to vacate her government allocated Lodhi Estate house in Delhi as she no longer enjoys the SPG protection.

Upon withdrawal of SPG protection and grant of Z+ security cover my ministry of home affairs, which doe snot have provision for allotment/retention of government accommodation on security grounds to you, the allotment of Type 6B house No 35, Lodhi estate is cancelled, read a notice from Union ministry of housing and urban affairs.

18:43   Joining RJD? Are you crazy?: Shekhar Suman
According to reports in a section of the press, Shekhar Suman was in Patna earlier this week not only to meet Sushant Singh Rajput's family but also to join Lalu Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal.  

However, Shekhar completely denies these rumours.  

When I asked him if he has joined the RJD Shekhar retorted, "Are you crazy? These rumours are going around because the nexus I am speaking against in the film industry is becoming active."

He goes on to explain why he held a joint press conference with Lalu Yadav's son Tejaswi. 

"I was supposed to meet Nitish Kumar for the same reason, that is to support the Justice for Sushant Forum, which I tweeted even before I left for Patna. But because of Covid-19 he expressed his inability to meet me, that's why I met Tejaswi Yadav, and he supported the cause. Period. Where the **** does the political agenda come in here?

"Bloody morons. If he (Nitish Kumar) had met me would that mean I'm joining the Janata Dal-United?"

-- Subhash K Jha
18:33   Haryana schools set to reopen from July 27
Schools in Haryana are set to reopen from July 27 after summer vacations end on July 26 amid Covid-19 crisis, Haryana Directorate School Education issued an order on Wednesday. As per the order, universities and colleges in the state will remain shut till July 31.

This comes a day after the Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday allowed private schools to collect tuition fee irrespective of offering online classes to students during the Covid-19 lockdown.

All schools irrespective of whether they offered online classes during the lockdown period or not, are entitled to collect the tuition fee, the court said adding that they will continue to endeavour and impart online/ distance learning.

As per the High Courts order, the schools have been restrained from increasing the fee for 2020-21 and directed to adopt the same fee structure as of 2019- 20.

Under the first phase of nationwide Covid-19 lockdown announced by PM Modi on March 25, all educational institutes across the country were shut to keep the virus from spreading. Last month, the Centre had said that a decision on reopening schools across the country will be taken in July based on the prevailing Covid-19 situation.

18:23   Nepal Prime Minister Oli hospitalised in Kathmandu
Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli was on Wednesday hospitalised in Sahid Gangalal National Heart Center in Kathmandu after he complained of chest pain.

His Press Advisor Surya Thapa tweeted on social media that the hospitalisation was a part of his regular health check-ups. 
18:08   Govt allows sale of Patanjali's Coronil
The Union AYUSH Ministry said Patanjali can sell Coronil but only as an immunity booster, days after yoga guru Ramdev's company launched it as a medicine for COVID-19 and is now calling it a product to 'manage' the disease.

Patanjali Ayurved Ltd said there is no disagreement now between it and the Union ministry, which had last week asked it not to sell the ayurvedic drug till the issue it examined.

At his press conference in Haridwar, Ramdev lashed out over the flak he received after the launch of the drug, saying some people are hurt by the 'rise of Indian culture'.
"I want to tell people who want to try these medicines that there is no restriction on their sale now and they will be available in a kit everywhere in the country from today," Ramdev said, referring to Coronil and the two other products Patanjali is promoting together.
The company claimed that the AYUSH Ministry has "categorically agreed" that Patanjali had "appropriately worked on COVID-19 management".
"Now there is no difference of opinion between AYUSH Ministry and Patanjali," it added in a statement.

The ministry confirmed that Patanjali can sell the product but not as a cure for the disease. "AYUSH Ministry has only given permission to sell this particular formulation as immunity booster and not as a medicinal cure for COVID-19," it said.

-- PTI
17:52   Defence min, army chief to visit Leh on Friday
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane to visit Leh on Friday to review the security situation in Eastern Ladakh in view of the Chinese aggression along the Line of Actual Control.
17:42   People will suffer: TMC's Nusrat Jahan on TikTok ban
Trinamool Congress Lok Sabha MP Nusrat Jahan termed the ban on TikTok by the Centre as "impulsive" decision and said that people will suffer like demonetisation as many will lose their jobs.

"TikTok is an entertainment app. It's an impulsive decision. What's the strategic plan? What about the people who will be unemployed? People will suffer like demonetisation. I don't have any problem with the ban as it is for national security but who will answer these questions," Jahan said. 

Amid border tensions with China in Eastern Ladakh, the government on Monday banned 59 mobile apps including Tik Tok, UC Browser and other Chinese apps "prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity and defence" of the country.

-- ANI
17:23   PM Modi quits Chinese app Weibo
As soon as the decision was taken to disallow 59 Chinese apps in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has now quit the Chinese social media app, Weibo, he had joined a few years ago, ANI reports.

For VIP accounts, Weibo has a more complex procedure to quit which is why the official process was initiated. For reasons best known to the Chinese, there was great delay in granting this basic permission, sources told ANI.

The PM had 115 posts on Weibo. As the Chinese government dithered on the deactivation request by the Indian government, it was decided to manually delete the posts.
Representational image
Representational image
17:15   Hong Kong police make first arrest under new security law
Hong Kong police on Wednesday made the first arrest under violation of the law, just a day after China's elite Standing Committee imposed the new national security legislation on the semi-autonomous region, CNN reported.

Thousands of Hong Kongers, who saw new dawn with the Chinese imposed restrictions over their autonomy and precious civil and social freedoms, turned out in protest in the busy shopping district of Causeway Bay but were met with a heavy security presence. Police fired pepper spray into the crowd, kettled and dispersed protesters and deployed water cannons. 

At least 70 people, including a man who was holding a black independence flag, and soon afterwards a woman with a sign reading "Hong Kong Independence" were arrested by the police.The new law came into effect in Hong Kong in the lead-up to July 1 -- the 23rd anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong from British rule to China -- and dramatically broadens the powers of local and mainland authorities to investigate, prosecute and punish dissenters. -- ANI
17:09   lndra Mani Pandey appointed India's permanent rep to UN
India Foreign Service officer lndra Mani Pandey has been appointed as the next Ambassador/Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Geneva: Ministry of External Affairs.
17:00   Covid controlled in Delhi with Centre's help: CM
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday said the COVID-19 situation has been brought under control for now with the "combined efforts" of Delhi government, Centre and other organisations, but cautioned people against any lapse in social and personal behaviour that may again lead to a rise in cases. 

Addressing an online media briefing, the chief minister said that the situation is not "terrible" as predicted one month ago, asserting that at present, the number of active coronavirus cases has been decreasing instead of increasing. He said the central government's website had projected a total of one lakh COVID-19 cases and of these, 60,000 active cases by June 30, but the number of active cases is currently around 26,000. 

"After this projection, we did not sit idle and started approaching all those who could help us in dealing with the situation. We approached hotels, banquet halls, Centre, social and religious organisations for help. 

"We pleaded before all to save Delhi, where we did not get help (Jahan madad nahi mili wahan unke per pakade)," he said. 

For the last few days, the Centre has been overseeing Delhi's preparations. Recently, Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced a numbers of steps, including house-to-house survey, ramping up testing and bed capacity, to arrest the spread of coronavirus. "In Delhi, the number of people recovering from coronavirus is also increasing. Similarly, the number of deaths is present, the COVID-19 situation is not terrible as much as it was earlier. This is the result of combined efforts of all," he said. He also said that one month back, the recovery rate was around 38 per cent, but it is now 67 per cent, adding that out of a total of 87,000 cases, 58,000 people have so far recovered from the dreaded virus. He said that the there were 8,500 beds in hospitals one month back, but the bed capacity has now reached around 15,000. 

"Earlier, when we conducted COVID-19 test on 100 people, 31 came positive. Now, only 13 cases are coming positive on testing of 100 people. All these things show that the situation is now under control, " the chief minister said. Kejriwal, however, asked people to not pay attention to experts' views on social media that the peak of COVID-19 has gone in Delhi, and requested citizens to wear masks, wash hands and maintain social-distancing norms instead.

Image: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal visits Commonwealth Games Village Sports Complex which has been converted into a COVID care centre. Pic:ANI
16:47   Why BCCI may not sever ties with China's Vivo for IPL
The BCCI is unlikely to sever ties with IPL title sponsors VIVO if the "exit clause" favours the Chinese mobile phone company, a senior BCCI official said on Wednesday but did not reveal when the event's much-hyped governing council meeting to review this will be held. After the violent June 15 clash in eastern Ladakh, the central government has banned 59 apps from China including the controversial Tik ToK. Soon after the June 15 incident, the BCCI had stated that there would be a review of the IPL sponsors. 

"We still don't know about fate of T20 World Cup, Asia Cup, so how can we just have a meeting? Yes, we need to discuss sponsorship but we never used the word cancel or terminate," a senior BCCI official, who also sits in IPL GC meetings, told PTI on conditions of anonymity. 

"We said we will review sponsorship. Review means that we need to check all the modalities of the contract. If the 'Exit Clause' favours VIVO more, why should we terminate a Rs 440 crore per year contract. We will only terminate if 'Exit Clause' favours us," he added.

It is learnt, some BCCI are officials are of the view that unless VIVO backs out on its own in prevailing circumstances, the board should honour the remainder of the contract, which ends in 2022. 

Sudden termination of contract could mean that BCCI may have to cough up substantial compensation. Also, there is no guarantee that BCCI will get a short-time matcher in such an economically hostile environment. -- PTI
16:39   India, China to hold more meetings on face-off
During the third senior military commander level meeting on Tuesday to discuss issues related to disengagement at the faceoff sites along the LAC and de-escalation from the border areas, India and China emphasised the need for an expeditious, phased and stepwise de-escalation as a priority, sources said.

More meetings are expected both at the military and at the diplomatic level, in future, to arrive at a mutually agreeable solution and to ensure peace and tranquillity along the LAC as per bilateral agreements and protocols, the sources added.

Tuesday's meeting was long and held in a business-like manner in view of the Covid-19 protocols. The discussions reflected the commitment of both sides to reduce tensions along the LAC. The process of dis-engagement is complex and in such a context, speculative and unsubstantiated reports need to be avoided, the sources said. --ANI
16:20   79 test COVID positive in Bihar's Paliganj, 72 attended wedding
A total of 79 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Paliganj on Wednesday, out of which 72 attended a wedding that took place on June 15 in Bihar's Dihpali village.

The groom, a software engineer from Delhi, died two days after the wedding. He had reached on June 6 and self quarantined at home for two weeks upon his arrival. 

Block Development Officer (BDO) Chiranjeevi Pandey told ANI, "The areas where the positive cases were found have been sealed. It is no longer possible to find out whether the groom had died of coronavirus or due to some other disease, as the groom has also been cremated."Ajit Kumar, the Paliganj government hospital doctor, told ANI that the cause of death is not yet known.

Bihar currently has a total of 10,043 positive COVID-19 cases, including 2,289 active cases, 7,687 recoveries. 67 people have lost their lives to the infectious virus. -- ANI
16:12   This is the Indian army... says Sambit Patra
BJP's Sambit Patra bats for the army amid allegations that the army killed a civilian in the midst of an encounter with terrorists in Sopore, J-K. Patra tweets, "This is Indian Army ...Fatherly ..Protective .. Yet we have a lobby the #KhanMarketGang or the #PultizerLovers whatever you wish to call ..who desist from posting these pictures and would continue to stand with those who blame this ARMY of ours ..Shame!! #HumanityOverPakTerror."
16:04   Goa opens to domestic tourists tomorrow
Goa Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar on Wednesday announced that the coastal state will be open to tourists starting July 2, as 250 hotels have been granted permission to resume operations. Goa, one of the country's most popular tourist destinations, has remained shut for travellers since the nationwide coronavirus-induced lockdown was imposed in March.

The decision to restart tourism activities was taken during a state cabinet meeting, the minister said. The tourism department has so far granted permission to 250 hotels, which can operate in keeping with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) put in place by the state government.

"We have decided to allow domestic travellers to enter Goa from July 2 onwards provided they comply with certain norms," the minister said.

It will be mandatory for tourists to pre-book their stay at hotels, which have received the tourism department's approval, he said. 

Hotels and homestays that have not registered with the department to reopen business will not be allowed to entertain guests or offer online bookings, Ajgaonkar said.

Moreover, tourists will either have to carry COVID-19 negative certificates to enter the state, or will have to get tested at the border and undergo quarantine at a state-run facility till their results arrive, he said.

"People who test positive will be given the option of returning to their respective states or staying back in Goa for treatment," the minister added. -- PTI 
16:04   Goa opens to domestic tourists tomorrow
Goa Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar on Wednesday announced that the coastal state will be open to tourists starting July 2, as 250 hotels have been granted permission to resume operations. Goa, one of the country's most popular tourist destinations, has remained shut for travellers since the nationwide coronavirus-induced lockdown was imposed in March.

The decision to restart tourism activities was taken during a state cabinet meeting, the minister said. The tourism department has so far granted permission to 250 hotels, which can operate in keeping with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) put in place by the state government.

"We have decided to allow domestic travellers to enter Goa from July 2 onwards provided they comply with certain norms," the minister said.

It will be mandatory for tourists to pre-book their stay at hotels, which have received the tourism department's approval, he said. 

Hotels and homestays that have not registered with the department to reopen business will not be allowed to entertain guests or offer online bookings, Ajgaonkar said.

Moreover, tourists will either have to carry COVID-19 negative certificates to enter the state, or will have to get tested at the border and undergo quarantine at a state-run facility till their results arrive, he said.

"People who test positive will be given the option of returning to their respective states or staying back in Goa for treatment," the minister added. -- PTI 
15:53   Priority was to evacuate child during terrorist attack, says SHO Sopore
It was the police's priority to evacuate the child during the terrorist attack and it was very challenging as terrorists were firing upon policemen, said Azim Khan, SHO Sopore on Wednesday.

"When we reached the site, what we saw was disturbing. Our priority was to evacuate the child. It was very challenging as terrorists were firing upon us. The child was going to Handwara with his grandfather," Khan said while speaking to media. The police rescued 3-year-old child during the attack.

Earlier in the day, a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawan and a civilian lost their lives after terrorists fired upon a CRPF patrolling party in Sopore.

Two of the injured CRPF jawans are known to be in critical condition. Three CRPF personnel were also injured in the attack, CRPF added.

According to the CRPF, at around 7:30 am today, 179 Battalion of CRPF reached Model Town Chowk Sopore for naka/patrolling duties.

As the troops were de-bussing from the vehicles to occupy their respective spots of deployment, terrorists hiding in the attic of a nearby mosque started firing indiscriminately on the troops, in which CRPF jawans constable Bhoya Rajesh, Head Constable Deep Chand Verma, Nilesh Chawde and Constable Deepak Patil got injured. Later Deep Chand succumbed to his injuries.

Image: Relatives of the deceased civilian weep as his body is taken for the funeral. Pic: Umar Ganie
15:27   India to ban Chinese cos from highway projects
India will not allow Chinese companies to participate in highway projects, including those through joint ventures, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Wednesday amid border standoff with China. Gadakri also said the government will ensure that Chinese investors are not entertained in various sectors like Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). 

The senior minister's assertions assume significance against the backdrop of border standoff between India and China in Ladakh that also saw the death of 20 Indian Army personnel last month. Amid escalating tensions, the government on Monday banned 59 apps, mostly having Chinese links, citing threats to national security. 

"We will not give permission to joint ventures that have Chinese partners for road construction. We have taken a firm stand that if they (Chinese companies) come via joint venture in our country, we will not allow it," Gadkari told PTI in an interview. The Road Transport, Highways and MSME minister said a policy will be out soon banning Chinese firms and relaxing norms for Indian companies to expand their eligibility criteria for participation in highway projects. Currently only a few projects which were undertaken much earlier involve some Chinese partners. When asked about this, the Minister said that the new decision will be implemented in current and future tenders. With respect to existing tenders and future bids, Gadkari said rebidding would be done if there are any Chinese joint ventures. 

Elaborating on the decision, Gadkari said if a contractor can qualify for a small project, he can also qualify for a large project. "Construction norms are not good so I have asked to change it. We are changing it so that we can encourage Indian companies," he added. According to him, qualification norms for projects are being rationalised to ensure Indian companies do not require to enter into pacts with foreign partners to grab projects. -- PTI
Pic: Umar Ganie
Pic: Umar Ganie
15:16   Boy rescued in terror attack reunited with parents
Terrorists hiding in a mosque killed an "old man" during the attack on security forces in Sopore town of Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir, the CRPF said on Wednesday. A jawan of the force and the civilian were killed in the attack at Model Town Chowk in Sopore.

The paramilitary force, in a statement issued in Delhi, said the violent incident began when its troops started getting down from their bus at the location to "occupy their respective spots of deployment."

"Militants hiding in the attic of a nearby mosque started firing indiscriminately on the troops resulting in injuries to four CRPF personnel," it said.

"A civilian vehicle which was coming from Sopore and going towards Kupwara was caught in the firing range of terrorists. 

"An old man who was driving the vehicle stopped the car and got down from vehicle to move away for safe spot but got killed by terrorists firing," the force said.

Later, it said, a young boy was rescued by security forces personnel who had taken positions nearby. A photo of a young boy sitting on a man's body, his white shirt soaked with blood, was widely circulated on social media stating it to be from the attack spot in Sopore.

The Jammu-Kashmir Police later shared the picture of the boy being carried by a security personnel on its official Twitter handle, saying it"rescued a three-year-old boy from getting hit by bullets during terrorist attack in Sopore."

CRPF head constable Deep Chand Verma was killed in the gunbattle, while constables Bhoya Rajesh, Deepak Patil and Nilesh Chawde are injured and admitted to a hospital, the force said. The troops were from the G company of CRPF's 179th battalion. PTI
15:04   Malls open in Gurugram
People visit MGF Metropolitan mall in Haryana as the government has allowed reopening of malls in Gurugram from today. RS Phogat, security officer of the mall says,"We're ensuring social distancing in the mall. Those above 65 years of age and below 10 years of age are not allowed."
14:52   Sec 144 imposed in Mumbai till July 15
Mumbai police on Wednesday imposed section 144 of CrPC prohibiting movement of people in public places and gatherings, to prevent spread of COVID-19, an official said. The prohibitory order, issued by a senior police official, says restrictions on movement of residents for non- essential work will remain in force till July 15. The order prohibits "presence or movement of one or more persons in public places or gathering of any sort", the official said. PTI 
14:47   TMC MP Nusrat celebrates rath yatra
Trinamool Congress MP Nusrat Jahan takes part in the Ulta Rath Yatra celebration by ISKCON in Kolkata today. Nusrat tweeted, "Humanity above All" Honoured to be a part of Rath Yatra Celebrations today organised by @IskconKolkata with @NikhilJainOffcl #UltaRathyatra."
14:34   Aamir Khan's mother tests negative for COVID-19
Superstar Aamir Khan on Wednesday said his mother has tested negative for COVID-19, a day after some of his staff members were found to be coronavirus positive. The 55-year-old actor and his family members had tested negative for COVID-19 but his mother's test was awaited.

"Hello everyone, I am most relieved to inform everyone that Ammi is COVID-19 negative. Thank you everyone for your prayers and good wishes," Aamir tweeted. 

On Tuesday, the "Dangal" star released a statement and said after members of his staff tested positive, they were immediately quarantined. Aamir said the BMC officials were quick with their response and sterilised the entire society. The actor also thanked the doctors and nurses at Kokilaben Hospital for taking care of his family and staff during the testing process. --PTI
14:30   20,000 Chinese troops along LAC: Report
The People's Liberation Army has deployed more than 20,000 of its troops along the Line of Actual Control near the Eastern Ladakh sector even as India is closely watching the activities of another 10,000-12,000 Chinese troops deployed in Xinjiang with high mobility vehicles and weaponry in the rear positions with the capability to reach the Indian front in 48 hours time. 

"The Chinese Army has deployed around two divisions worth of troops (around 20,000) along the LAC in the Eastern Ladakh sector. There is another division (10,000 troops) which has been stationed by it in the Northern Xinjiang province almost a 1,000 kilometres from the front but they can be mobilised to reach our frontiers in maximum 48 hours time due to the flat terrain on the Chinese side," top government sources told ANI.

"We are keeping a close eye on the movement of these troops along with the ones which have been deployed close to the Indian territory," the sources said.

The sources said that even though India and China have been talking at the diplomatic and the military level for over six weeks now, there has been no thinning down in troop numbers or equipment by the Chinese side on this front, they said.

Sources said the Chinese normally also have two divisions deployed in the Tibet region but this time, they have brought in close to two divisions extra from locations as far as 2,000 kilometres from mainland China for deployment against the Indian positions. -- ANI
14:29   Thackeray prays for miracle to overcome coronavirus crisis
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday performed the 'mahapooja' of Lord Vitthal at Pandharpur on Ashadhi Ekadashi and said he prayed for a miracle to overcome the coronavirus crisis. Ashadhi Ekadashi, an important day in the Hindu calendar, is the 11th lunar day of Ashadha month.

"I prayed to Mauli. We want to see a miracle. Show us a miracle. Human beings have given up. We don't have medicine. There is nothing. How to go on with life by covering the mouth with a strip," Thackeray tweeted after the 'mahapooja' at 2 am along with wife Rashmi.

Lakhs of warkaris (devotees of Lord Vitthal) from across Maharashtra and several other states throng the temple town in Solapur district each year on Ashadhi Ekadashi. There were only a handful on Wednesday after the state authorities cancelled the annual 'wari' pilgrimage - characterised by people walking to Pandharpur with palanquins - due to spiraling coronavirus cases. Maharashtra's coronavirus case tally rose to 1,74,761 on Tuesday with addition of 4,878 new patients while the death toll mounted by 245, including 57 fatalities in Mumbai, to 7,855, state health department said. 

Thackeray and his wife performed the 'mahapooja' wearing face masks. Speaking after the 'mahapooja', Thackeray said he prayed to Lord Vitthal to make the country coronavirus-free. His son and state minister Aaditya Thackeray was also present at the 'mahapooja'. During the ritual, Aaditya apparently felt uneasy and returned to his car parked outside the temple for some time. -- PTI
13:46   No restriction on Patanjali's Coronil kit: Ramdev
Yog guru Ramdev on Wednesday claimed that there is no restriction on Patanjali Ayurved's Swasari Coronil kit for "COVID management" and now it will be available across the country.

Addressing a press conference, he said: "AYUSH Ministry said that Patanjali has done appropriate work for COVID management. It said that Patanjali has started working in the right direction. We have procured a license for these medicines from the state department which is connected with AYUSH Ministry... The AYUSH Ministry said that Patanjali worked for COVID management. The treatment word is not used. These medicines have no metallic items." 

"We have no disagreement with AYUSH Ministry. Now, there is no restriction on Coronil, Swashhari, Giloy, Tulsi, Ashwagandha. From today, these medicines (Swasari Coronil Kit) will be available in the country without any legal restrictions. There is no restriction on it. I thank the AYUSH Ministry and the Narendra Modi government," he said.

Last week, Patanjali Ayurved launched 'Coronil and Swasari' claiming it to be Ayurvedic cure for treating COVID-19 and said clinical trials have shown favourable results.

Later, the AYUSH Ministry said that it has taken cognizance of news in the media about Ayurvedic medicines developed for the treatment of COVID-19 by Patanjali Ayurved Ltd, Haridwar and said the company has been asked to "stop advertising/publicising such claims till the issue is duly examined". -- ANI
13:17   World Bank to fund 15 cr MSMEs with $750 mn
The World Bank on Wednesday said it will give a USD 750 million-budget support to 15 crore MSMEs to increase liquidity access for viable small businesses impacted by COVID-19. During the 2020 fiscal (July 2019-June 2020), World Bank has extended USD 5.13 billion loans to India-- which is the highest in a decade. This includes USD 2.75 billion given in three months in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

World Bank Country Director in India Junaid Ahmad said this funding is under the multilateral lender's Development Policy Law, which is a direct budget support. The funding would support the government's initiative to protect the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector by unlocking liquidity, strengthening non-banking financial companies and small finance banks and enable inclusive access to financing. 

 Ahmad said in the next stage of the World Bank's assistance programme for MSMEs, the multilateral lender would engage with the MSME Ministry and the states to ensure capacity development at cluster level. 

"World Bank's board of executive directors has approved a USD 750 million MSME Emergency Response program to support increased flow of finance into the hands of MSMEs, severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis," World Bank said in a statement. - PTI
Update: 6 dead & 17 injured in an explosion at a boiler of Neyveli lignite plant: M. Sree Abhinav, Cuddalore Superintendent of Police
12:53   Warning: 'Google Chrome extensions can be hacked'
Internet users should exercise caution while installing Google Chrome extensions as the company has removed over 100 malicious links after they were found collecting "sensitive" user data, country's cyber security agency said on Wednesday.

The Computer Emergency Response Team of India (CERT-In), the national technology arm to combat cyber attacks and guard the Indian cyber space, said it has also been found that these extensions contained code to bypass Google Chrome's web store security scans.

The malicious extensions had the ability to take screenshots, read the clipboard, harvest authentication cookies or grab user keystrokes to read passwords and other confidential information, it said.

"It has been reported that Google has removed 106 extensions of the Google Chrome browser from the chrome web store which were found collecting sensitive user data," the agency said in the advisory. 

"These extensions, reportedly posed as tools to improve web searches, convert files between different formats as security scanners and more," it added. The federal cyber security agency suggested users to uninstall Google Chrome extensions with IDs given in the IOCs (organisational chart) section. Users can visit the chrome extensions page and subsequently enable developer mode to see if they have installed any of the malicious extensions and then remove them from their browsers, it said. The agency advised Internet users to only install extensions which are absolutely needed and refer user reviews before doing so. -- PTI
12:39   GST collections in June at Rs 90,917 cr
GST revenue collection in June stood at Rs 90,917 crore, up from Rs 62,009 crore mopped up in May and Rs 32,294 crore in April. "The gross GST revenue collected in the month of June, 2020 is Rs 90,917 crore of which CGST is Rs 18,980 crore, SGST is Rs 23,970 crore, IGST is Rs 40,302 crore (including Rs 15,709 crore collected on import of goods) and Cess is Rs 7,665 crore," an official statement said. The government had allowed a relaxed time schedule for filing of Goods and Services Tax (GST) returns. Returns of the month of April, March as well as February got filed during June 2020. PTI
12:35   Two killed in boiler explosion in TN
Two men were killed, a number of workers feared trapped and 16 others injured here on Wednesday, when a boiler exploded at the NLC India's thermal plant, an official said. The mishap occured at the fifth unit of the thermal power station-II (210 MW x 7) when workers were in the process of resuming operations this morning. "Two men died on the spot. Some workers are feared trapped and 16 others have sustained injuries," the official told PTI adding the injured have been rushed to a hospital in Chennai. 
12:31   Disinvestment in LIC goes against Atmanirbhar Bharat: Staff
The All-India LIC Employees Federation on June 25 wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to stop the proposed disinvestment of the Life Insurance Corporation of India, stating the move would be against his stated mission of an Atma Nirbhar Bharat.

In the letter, Binoy Viswam, the federation's president and Rajya Sabha MP stated that the employees were concerned about news reports on the Centre's decision to invite bids from consulting firms, investment bankers and financial institutions to advise the government on the proposed IPO process. 

"We wish to draw your attention and at the same time seek your intervention to immediately stop the disinvestment in LIC, one of the jewels in the crown of India, as it is against your much emphasised mission and rightly so of Atmanirbhar Bharat. Disinvestment in LIC will be a stepping stone for privatisation in future which will be against the national interest," the letter stated. -- PTI
12:27   ONGC shares tank 4% after first-ever quarterly loss
Shares of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp declined nearly 4 per cent on Wednesday after the company reported its first-ever quarterly loss. On the BSE, the stock dipped 3.93 per cent to Rs 78.20. It declined 3.74 per cent to Rs 78.30 on the NSE.

India's top oil and gas producer ONGC on Tuesday reported a Rs 3,098 crore loss in the January-March quarter as compared to a profit of Rs 4,240 crore in the same period a year back. Revenue in the fourth quarter fell to Rs 21,456 crore from Rs 26,759 crore a year ago. -- PTI 
12:23   News updates
-- Mukul Rohatgi, former Attorney General of India, refuses to appear for Tik Tok, says he won't appear for the Chinese app against the Government of India.

-- 79 people have tested positive for COVID19 in Paliganj. Most of the cases are related to a wedding ceremony held on 15th June: Paliganj govt hospital doctor, Ajit Kumar. The groom had died two days after his wedding, however, cause of his death is not known.
12:07   Plasma therapy saved my life: Del health minister
Delhi health minister Satyendra Jain is home after recovering from Covid-19. "With good wishes of everyone I am recovering at home now. Plasma bank announcement by Hon'ble CM @ArvindKejriwal is a revolutionary step. Plasma therapy saved my life from Corona virus and I pledge to donate my plasma as soon as medical protocols will allow," Jain tweeted.

In order to capitalise on the success that the Delhi government has observed in treating COVID-19 patients, especially among those showing moderate symptoms, Arvind Kejriwal on Monday announced the creation of a plasma bank at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences Hospital. The government will encourage people who have been cured of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to come forward and donate plasma, which is in short supply, to help treat other patients.

The development comes just days after Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain recovered from COVID-19 after undergoing plasma therapy at a South Delhi hospital. Jain had developed patches on his lung when he was shifted to the hospital and given the therapy.
12:01   Lucknow admin starts attaching properties of anti-CAA protesters
With easing of the coronavirus lockdown, the district administration here has started attaching properties of those accused of vandalising public property during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in December. On Tuesday, a garment and a junk store in Hasanganj area were attached. 

"FIRs were registered in four police stations and notices were served to 54 persons for recovery of damages. Of them, two properties in Hasanganj locality were attached on Tuesday. The process will continue," Tehsildar, Sadar, Shambhu Sharan Singh told PTI on Wednesday. Maahenoor Choudhary, who owns the junk shop, and the garment store's assistant manager Dharamveer Singh are accused of damaging properties during the anti-CAA protests. 

The attachments were done under the Uttar Pradesh Recovery of Damages to Public and Private property ordinance-2020 on orders passed by the additional district magistrate (Tans Gomti) Vishwa Bhushan Mishra. The protests against the CAA and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) witnessed a violence in the city on December 19. The district administration assessed loss of crores to public property in the arsoning and brick batting.

The administration had sent recovery notices worth about Rs 1.55crores to over 50 people for the damages allegedly done by them during the protests. -- PTI
11:57   In Kashmir everything is a propaganda tool: Omar
Former J-K CM Omar Abdullah tweets: "Everything becomes a propaganda tool in the bloody violence in Kashmir. A three year old toddler has to have his misery broadcast to the whole world to drive home the "we good they bad' message. We would have got the point without his misery being filmed & shared so please don't."
11:48   Vodafone Idea posts highest loss by Indian firm
Vodafone Idea, the country's third largest telecom operator, on Wednesday reported a staggering Rs 73,878 crore of net loss in fiscal ended March 2020 - the highest ever by any Indian firm - after it provisioned for Supreme Court mandated statutory dues. The firm, which has to pay Rs 51,400 crore dues after the apex court ordered the non-telecom revenues to be included in calculating statutory dues, said the liability has "cast significant doubt on the company's ability to continue as a going concern".

In a regulatory filing, Vodafone Idea (VIL) reported widening of March quarter net loss to Rs 11,643.5 crore. Its losses stood at Rs 4,881.9 crore in the same period a year ago and Rs 6,438.8 crore in previous October-December quarter. 

The Department of Telecom (DoT) estimates the firm's adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues at Rs 58,254 crore for period up to FY 2016-17, but the company put the dues at Rs 46,000 crore "after adjustment of certain computational errors and payments made in the past not considered in the DoT demand." 

Of the total dues, it has made a payment of Rs 6,854.4 crore. The company took a hit of Rs 1,783.6 crore on account of AGR-related liabilities, and Rs 3,887 crore on account of one-time spectrum charges both of which were recognised as exceptional items during the quarter ended March 2019. Revenue from operations for the just-ended quarter came in at Rs 11,754.2 crore. -- PTI
11:44   Mask mandate not lockdown can save 5% GDP in US
As the United States is reeling from the financial impact of coronavirus pandemic leading to uncertainty, economists have suggested that a more painful shutdown could be averted if the country implements a nationwide mask mandate and could save the five per cent of GDP.

A team of economists at Goldman Sachs has published an analysis suggesting that a face mask mandate could potentially substitute for lockdown, The Washington Post reported. 

"A face mask mandate could potentially substitute for lockdowns that would otherwise subtract nearly 5 per cent from GDP," the team, led by the investment bank's chief economist, Jan Hatzius, wrote.

The Post has warned that authors of the report are economists and not public health experts. Their primary motivation is to protect the economic interests of Goldman Sachs's investors, which is why they are interested in the effects of federal policy on the GDP.

The Goldman Sachs report stated that the US is a global outlier with respect to face mask use, which is widespread in Asia and currently mandated in many European countries. Using state-level survey data, the authors demonstrated that such mandates increased usage in their respective states.

"We estimate that statewide mask mandates gradually raise the percentage of people who 'always' or 'frequently' wear masks by around 25 (percentage points) in the 30+ days after signing." -- PTI
File pic
File pic
11:22   HC permits minor rape victim to terminate 25-week pregnancy
The Bombay High Court has permitted a 17-year-old rape victim to terminate her 25-week pregnancy despite a report submitted by the civic-run KEM Hospital here advising against the abortion. A division bench of Justices K K Tated and Milind Jadhav gave the order on Tuesday while hearing the girl's petition filed through her father, seeking permission to undergo medical termination of her 25-week pregnancy. As per the plea, the girl is a victim of rape and a case against the perpetrator is lodged at the Vakola police station in Mumbai. 

Provisions of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act do not permit a woman to terminate pregnancy, if it has crossed 20 weeks and she will have to seek the high courts permission to do so. The victim, in her plea seeking permission to undergo medical termination of pregnancy, said her mental and physical health is at risk. --PTI
11:15   Coronavirus may infect heart cells of patients
Researchers, including those of Indian-origin, have shown that the novel coronavirus can infect lab-grown cardiac muscle cells, indicating it may be possible for the virus to directly cause heart infection in COVID-19 patients. The study, published in the journal Cell Reports Medicine, was based on experiments conducted in lab-grown heart muscle cells which were produced from unspecialised human stem cells.

"We not only uncovered that these stem cell-derived heart cells are susceptible to infection by novel coronavirus, but that the virus can also quickly divide within the heart muscle cells," said study co-author Arun Sharma from the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute in the US.

"Even more significant, the infected heart cells showed changes in their ability to beat after 72 hours of infection," Sharma said. Although many COVID-19 patients experience heart problems, the scientists said the reasons for these symptoms are not entirely clear. They said pre-existing cardiac conditions, or inflammation and oxygen deprivation that result from the infection have all been implicated. 

According to the scientists, there is only limited evidence available that the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, directly infects individual muscle cells of the heart. The current study showed that SARS-CoV-2 can infect heart cells derived from human stem-cells and change how the genes in these cells helped make proteins. -- PTI
10:32   Former union minister Beni Prasad Verma's son succumbs to COVID-19
Dinesh, the son of late former union minister Beni Prasad Verma succumbed to COVID-19 at a private hospital in Delhi on Tuesday. Dinesh (40) had tested positive for the infection a few days back in Lucknow. Thereafter, he was shifted to Delhi for treatment.

Beni Prasad Verma died on March 27 this year. He was a Rajya Sabha MP from Samajwadi Party and served as the union steel minister in the UPA-2 government. 
10:31   Maharashtra directs officials to use Marathi in official communication
The Government of Maharashtra issued a government resolution (GR) directing officials to use Marathi as the language for official communication.The government resolution also states that the officers need to make an entry of their usage of the Marathi language in their annual confidential report. 

"If officers are found not using the Marathi language in their confidential reports, then their annual increment will not be given to them," stated the order.

This government resolution was issued by Marathi Bhasha Vibhag based on 1986 government resolution of General Administration Department. -- ANI
10:26   Nearly 50% of 507 Covid deaths in a day from Maha
With 507 people succumbing to coronavirus in a day, the highest so far, India's COVID-19 death toll rose to 17,400 while the total tally climbed to 5,85,493 after 18,653 new cases were reported on Wednesday, according to the Union Health Ministry data. The number of active cases stands at 2,20,114 ,while 3,47,978 people have recovered, and one patient has migrated, according to the updated data at 8 am.

"Thus, around 59.43 per cent of patients have recovered so far," an official said. The total number of confirmed cases include foreigners.

Of the 507 deaths reported in the last 24 hours, 245 are from Maharashtra, 62 from Delhi, 60 from Tamil Nadu, 25 from Uttar Pradesh, 20 from Karnataka, 19 from Gujarat, 15 from West Bengal, eight each from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, seven each from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, six each from Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab, five from Bihar, four from Haryana, two each from Kerala, Odisha, Puducherry and Uttarakhand and one each in Assam and Himachal Pradesh.

The country had recorded a massive spike of 2,003 deaths on June 17 following a data reconciliation exercise carried out by states and UTs which brought to the fore large number of fatalities previously reported in Maharashtra and Delhi which were not attributed to COVID-19. -- PTI
File pic
File pic
10:11   Pak terrorist killed as Army foils infiltration bid in Rajouri
A Pakistani terrorist was killed on Wednesday as the Army foiled an infiltration bid by a group of militants along the Line of Control (LoC) in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir, an Army officer said. 

Troops intercepted the group when it entered 400 metres into this side from across the LoC in Kerisector of Rajouri around 0555 hours, triggering a gunfight, the officer said.

He said one terrorist was killed and an AK 47 rifle along with two magazines was recovered from his possession. The search operation to track down other members of the group was on when last reports came in, the officer said, adding further details are awaited. -- PTI
10:07   Sensex surges over 200 pts in early trade; Nifty tests 10,350
Equity benchmark Sensex surged over 200 points in early trade on Wednesday tracking gains in index-heavyweights Reliance Industries, HDFC and ITC amid positive cues from global markets. The 30-share index was trading 205.60 points, or 0.59 per cent, higher at 35,121.40, while the NSE Nifty rose 51.90 points, or 0.50 per cent, to 10,354. 

ITC was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, surging around 2 per cent, followed by Axis Bank, HDFC, IndusInd Bank, Bajaj Finance, SBI and Reliance Industries. On the other hand, NTPC, Kotak Bank, L&T, ONGC and Nestle India were among the laggards. In the previous session, the BSE barometer closed 45.72 points, or 0.13 per cent, down at 34,915.80; while the NSE Nifty slipped 10.30 points, or 0.10 per cent, to 10,302.10. Foreign institutional investors were net sellers on Tuesday, offloading equities worth Rs 2,000.08 crore, provisional exchange data showed. 

According to traders, local indices followed gains in global benchmarks which rallied on positive macroeconomic numbers indicating recovery in world economies. Auto sales data will also be closely watched by the participants to access the pace of recovery in the domestic economy, they said. -- PTI
The boy was rescued by police from the site of the terror attack
The boy was rescued by police from the site of the terror attack
10:04   Boy (3) rescued from terror attack in Sopore
Police rescued a 3-year-old boy from getting hit by bullets during the terrorist attack in Sopore, the Jammu & Kashmir Police said. A Central Reserve Police Force jawan and a civilian lost their lives, and 3 CRPF personnel were injured after terrorists fired upon a CRPF patrolling party in Sopore, today. According to CRPF, 2 of the injured CRPF jawans are critical. 
09:43   Uddhav, wife perform 'mahapooja' at Vitthal temple
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday performed the 'mahapooja' of Lord Vitthal and Goddess Rukmini at the temple town of Pandharpur in Solapur district on the occasion of 'Ashadhi Ekadashi'.

As per the convention, the chief minister performed the pooja with his wife Rashmi Thackeray at the temple of Lord Vitthal at 2.30 am, and prayed to God to make Maharashtra and the country free of coronavirus and to grant peace and prosperity to farmers in the state. His son and state minister Aaditya Thackeray was also present at the religious ceremony. 

'Warkari' (devotee of Lord Vitthal) couple Vitthal Badhe and Anusuya Badhe got the opportunity to perform the rituals alongside the chief minister. In normal times, lakhs of warkaris from Maharashtra and other states used to throng the temple in Pandharpur on 'Ashadhi Ekadashi'. 

However, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Maharashtra government cancelled this year's annual wari pilgrimage, which is characterised by people walking from far with palanquins to Pandharpur. Curfew is in force in Pandharpur since Tuesday to prevent any gathering of people in the temple town, located around 350 km from Mumbai. PTI
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File pic
09:34   Return of Puri's Jagannath raths today
Odisha: Preparations underway for Bahuda Rath Yatra or the 'Return Car Festival' from Gundicha Temple to Jagannath Temple in Puri, on the 9th day of Jagannath Rath Yatra. 500 people who have tested negative for COVID-19 will pull the chariot at 12 pm, today.
09:27   18,653 Covid cases, 507 deaths reported in 1 day
JUST IN: 507 deaths and 18,653 new COVID-19 cases reported in the last 24 hours, says the ministry of health and family welfare.

Positive cases in India stand at 5,85,493 including 2,20,114 active cases, 3,47,979 cured/discharged/migrated and 17,400 deaths, it said.   -- ANI
Image only for representation
Image only for representation
08:55   2 CRPF personnel, 1 other injured in terror attack in Baramulla
At least three people including two Central Reserve Police Force personnel were injured in a terrorist attack on a security forces party in Sopore town of Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday, officials said in Srinagar.

The terrorists opened firing on a naka party of security forces in Sopore, resulting in injuries to two CRPF jawans and a civilian, the officials said.

They said the injured have been shifted to hospital while the area has been cordoned off to track down the assailants.

Further details are awaited, they added.   -- PTI
08:47   Covid effect: No Lalbaughcha Raja this year
JUST IN: Mumbai's Lalbaughcha Raja Ganeshotsav Mandal has decided not to hold Ganeshotsav this time in wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

A blood and plasma donation camp will be set up in its place, the Mandal said.  -- ANI
08:20   US will soon see 1 lakh Covid cases/day: Fauci
The United States is likely to witness 1,00,000 new cases of coronavirus per day if people do not adhere to the safety norms, warned coronavirus task force member Dr Anthony Fauci on Tuesday (local time).

"We are now having 40-plus thousand new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to 1,00,000 a day if this does not turn around and so I am very concerned," Fauci was quoted as saying by CNN.

He was speaking to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee during a hearing on the pandemic.

Speaking on if the pandemic is under control, he said, "I am not satisfied with what's going on because we are going in the wrong direction if you look at the curves of the new cases, so we've really got to do something about that and we need to do it quickly...Clearly we are not in total control right now.

"It's going to be very disturbing, I will guarantee you that."

He said that despite the continuous surge in new cases of COVID-19, people are congregating in crowds and not wearing masks and not giving proper attention to guidelines on reopening.

"We're going to continue to be in a lot of trouble, and there's going to be a lot of hurt if that does not stop," he said.

As per the latest update by the Johns Hopkins University, the US has reported a total of 2,628,091 cases and 127,286 deaths till now. -- ANI
00:16   Imran says he approached UN on JK domicile issue
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Tuesday that he has approached the UN over the issue of the grant of domicile certificates by India to the people not originally from Jammu and Kashmir.
As per the new domicile law, non-permanent residents who have residency proof of at least 15 years in Jammu and Kashmir are entitled to get domicile certificates.
"I have approached UN Secretary General and am reaching out to other world leaders...," Khan tweeted.
Pakistan has been unsuccessfully trying to drum up international support against India for withdrawing Jammu and Kashmir's special status on August 5 last year and bifurcating it into two Union territories.
India has categorically told the international community that the scrapping of Article 370 of the Constitution was its internal matter. It also advised Pakistan to accept the reality and stop all anti-India propaganda. -- PTI