Sun, 18 October 2020
Covid found on frozen food packaging in China
21:26 Covid found on frozen food packaging in China
China's health authority has confirmed the detection and isolation of living novel coronavirus on the outer packaging of imported frozen marine fish in the port city of Qingdao, in what it described as the first detection of its kind on the cold food chain in the world.
The authorities in Qingdao, where a new cluster of COVID-19 cases were reported recently, conducted tests on all of its about 11 million population. No new clusters of cases were found after the tests, the local authorities said.
In July, China suspended imports of frozen shrimp after the deadly virus was found on packages and the inner wall of a container.
The Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said it detected and isolated the living novel coronavirus on the outer packaging of imported frozen cod(large marine fish) in Qingdao.
The finding was made during an investigation to trace the source of recent infections reported in the city. It has proved that contact with packaging contaminated by living novel coronavirus could lead to infection, state-run Xinhua news agency reported, quoting the CDC statement.
The statement, however, did not mention the country from where the package was imported.
It is the first time in the world that living novel coronavirus has been isolated from the outer packaging of cold-chain food, the statement said.
The agency said the risk of cold-chain food circulating in China's market being contaminated by the novel coronavirus is very low, citing recent nucleic acid test results for samples taken from the business.
A total of 2.98 million samples had been tested across the country's 24 provincial-level regions by September 15, including 670,000 taken from cold-chain food or food packaging, 1.24 million from working staff and 1.07 million from the environment.
20:48 Soumitra's health condition improving gradually: Doctors
Veteran actor Soumitra Chatterjee's health condition is improving gradually and the octogenarian is speaking a few words, opening his eyes as well as responding to verbal commands, doctors said on Sunday.
The thespian's oxygen saturation has been consistent, his organs are functioning normally and all other parameters are fine, they said.
"Mr Chatterjee is doing fine and gradually improving. But we have some ways to go for his complete recovery and going back home. He doesn't have any corona-related lung issues.
"We have reduced the oxygen requirement as he is still holding on to his saturation which is above 96 per cent to 99 per cent," Dr Arindam Kar, leading the team of doctors to treat the veteran actor at the medical facility, said.
According to the doctor, Chatterjee being drowsy is their only concern at the moment.
"The only problem that we are facing is his consciousness. He is presently drowsy but completely arousable. He is responding to verbal commands. He is trying to recognise people, intent of speech but he is only speaking some words. We are also concerned about his age and the comorbidities he is having," Dr Kar said.
20:31 Maha: 9,060 new COVID-19 cases; 11,204 recover, 150 die
Maharashtra reported a single-day rise of 9,060 coronavirus positive cases on Sunday, taking the state's COVID 19 tally to 15,95,381, the health department said.
The death of 150 patients due to the pandemic pushed the toll further to 42,115, it said in a statement.
As many as 11,204 patients were discharged during the day. With this, the state's recovery count went up to 13,69,810.
There are 1,82,973 active casess in the state now.
So far 81,39,466 people have been tested, the department said.
20:07 Cong to conduct nationwide protest on Oct 26, 31
The Congress will hold a nationwide protest against the Hathras incident on October 26. The party will also protest against the farm laws at all party district headquarters on October 31, said Congress sources.
The decision was taken during AICC meeting chaired by Congress president Sonia Gandhi with the general secretaries and incharges. She has asked all the general secretaries and state incharges to reach out to people and farmers who are in distress.
"Atrocities on Dalits have reached a new zenith. Instead of honoring the law and granting adequate protection to India's daughters, BJP governments are siding with the criminals. The voice of oppressed families is being suppressed by the agencies of the State. Is this the new Raj Dharma?" said Sonia Gandhi during the meeting.
"To take on these challenges and stand with the people is what defines the Congress. I am confident that all of you would toil hard and stand up to the forces attacking India and its people. Let us join hands to defeat the anti-democracy and autocratic designs of the ruling BJP," she added.
Speaking about the new Farm Laws, Sonia Gandhi said that the current BJP government has attacked the foundation of our resilient agrarian economy by bringing in three anti-agriculture "black laws."
19:32 Disappointed with Republic's actions: BARC
In the ongoing TRP scam where three channels have been accused of manipulation their television rating point, the Broadcast Audience Research Council on Sunday expressed its disappointment with Republic Network for disclosing their private & confidential communication and misrepresenting the same.
Issuing a statement, it said, BARC India has not commented on the ongoing investigation and it is providing necessary assistance to the law enforcement agency, BARC India is highly disappointed with the actions of the Republic Network by disclosing private and confidential communications and misrepresenting the same. BARC India reiterates that it has not commented on the ongoing investigation and without prejudice to BARC Indias rights, it expresses its dismay at the actions of the Republic Network."
The Mumbai Police had claimed three channels, including Republic Media Network, were allegedly influencing TRP numbers. The channel has strongly denied the allegations.
The complaint against TRP manipulation was filed by Hansa Services Private Limited, which is a contractor of BARC. Mumbai Police, which is investigating the case, arrested a former executive of Hansa Research as well.
The Republic Network meanwhile has revealed an email from BARC where BARC apparently did not allege any malpractice against Republic.
19:10 Nitish, Sushil Modi launch joint poll campaign
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi held joint election campaign on Sunday and launched a blistering attack on rival Lalu Prasad highlighting the crime situation and lack of development during his RJD rule in the past.
Reeling out comparative data during 15 years under the RJD and an equal period under the NDA now, the two leaders sought another chance from voters to speed up developent work in the state in the next five years.
The two started the day with a public meeting at Buxar, where BJP has fielded Parshuram Chaturvedi as its candidate. He is pitted against sitting MLA Sanjay Kumar Tiwari of the Congress.
After launching separate campaign since beginning of this week, Kumar and Sushil Modi moved together on Sunday and sought support for BJP as well as JD-U nominees on four seats of Buxar, Dumraon, Tarari and Jagdishpur.
18:30 Delhi reports 3,299 new COVID-19 cases
A total of 3,299 new COVID-19 cases and 28 deaths were reported in Delhi on Sunday, taking the total number of novel coronavirus cases to 3,31,017 in the national capital.
According to the data, there were 2,863 recoveries, discharges, migrations reported in Delhi today. The total number of cases includes, 3,01,716 recoveries, discharges, migrations and 6,009 deaths and 23,292 active cases.
With a spike of 61,871 new COVID-19 cases and 1,033 deaths, India's COVID-19 count reached 74,94,552 on Sunday, according to the ministry of health and family welfare.
As per the MoHFW, the COVID-19 count includes 7,83,311 active cases and 65,97,210 cured/discharged/migrated cases. With 1,033 deaths in the last 24 hours, the total death count due to the disease has reached 1,14,031.
18:02 Govt deliberating on making special card for trans members to link them to welfare schemes
The government is deliberating on making a special identity card for transgender community members that will help in liking them with various social welfare schemes, a member of the recently-constituted National Council for Transgender Persons said.
The Centre had in August constituted the National Council for Transgender Persons to formulate policies, programmes, draft legislation and projects regarding members of the community for achieving equality and full participation by them.
The first meeting of the NCTP was held through video conference on Thursday. It was chaired by Social Justice Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot.
Meera Parida, a member of the transgender community, representing the east region in the council, said discussions were held on various issues faced by the community in the hour-long meeting.
"Discussions were also held on introducing a transgender identity card that will link with them the social welfare schemes for the community. There will be a transgender identity card which will be linked to social welfare schemes. The plan has not been finalised yet but deliberations were held on the identity card," Parida said.
Parida, the BJD's Odisha state secretary, further said making such a card is one of the demands of the community and it will help in their upliftment.
"India is the first country which has taken such a step to form a department and a council for the community. The government is taking the transgender community forward and trying its best to remove the social stigma associated with the community members," Parida said.
17:42 Hope of COVID-19 vaccine in UK by New Year
One of the UK's senior-most medical chiefs has indicated that a vaccine against COVID-19 could be ready to be deployed by the start of the New Year, according to a media report on Sunday.
Jonathan Van-Tam, England's Deputy Chief Medical Officer and one of the government's advisers on the coronavirus pandemic, has reportedly told members of Parliament that the vaccine created at Oxford University and being manufactured by AstraZeneca could be ready for rollout soon after Christmas in December.
In India, the vaccine has a Serum Institute of India tie-up as it undergoes trials.
"We aren't light years away from it. It isn't a totally unrealistic suggestion that we could deploy a vaccine soon after Christmas. That would have a significant impact on hospital admissions and deaths," The Sunday Times' quoted Van Tam as telling the MPs.
17:33 Chicago is 'rattiest city' in the US
Chicago in the United States has been awarded a title for sixth year in a row, that any city would not be proud of.
The title is the "Rattiest City in the United States' and is given by Orkin, a pest control service.
The annual award ranks cities in the country based on the number of new rodent treatments carried out in a year.
Chicago has retained the top spot for the sixth consecutive time.
It said that 2020 is an unprecedented year due to the coronavirus pandemic which has forced pests like rats to seek new grounds in search for food. The pandemic-driven closure of restaurants forced rodents to find new food sources. Without food waste to consume, these pests were seen scavenging new areas and exhibiting unusual or aggressive behaviour, the company said.
The other US cities facing the acute problem of rat infestation are Los Angeles, New York, Washington DC and San Francisco, said Orkin.
16:59 Govt admits to community transmission in India
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan for the first time on Sunday admitted that India is in the community transmission stage of Covid-19.
He, however, added that it is limited only to certain districts and states at present. Harsh Vardhans admission came in response to a query made during his weekly webinar, 'Sunday Samvaad', in which where he interacts with his social media audience.
"In different pockets across various states, including West Bengal, community transmission is expected to occur, especially in dense areas. However, this is not happening across the country. It is limited to certain districts," he said.
16:37 With whom BJP siding in Ballia murder case, asks Priyanka
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Sunday asked the BJP whom it is backing in the Ballia murder case where its local party leader allegedly shot a man dead in the presence of an SDM and police three days ago.
The incident had taken place on Thursday during a meeting over the allotment of ration shops at Durjanpur village in Ballia's Reoti area.
A local BJP leader, Dhirendra Pratap Singh, shot 46-year-old Jai Prakash Pal Gama dead during the meeting. The Uttar Pradesh government had suspended the SDM, circle officer and other policemen present at the spot.
Police arrested Dhirendra Pratap Singh and two others in connection with the case on Sunday. So far, eight people have been arrested in the case.
Slamming the BJP in a series of tweets, Priyanka Gandhi accused a ruling MLA of backing the accused.
"With whom the BJP government is siding in the Ballia incident," she asked, adding that the BJP MLA is openly supporting the accused.
In another tweet, she sought to know from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP national president JP Nadda as to whether they are with the BJP MLA.
"If not, then why he is still with the BJP," she asked.
16:10 Sena welcomes Shah's stand on Maha Guv-CM row
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Sunday welcomed Union Home Minister Amit Shahs remark that Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari could have chosen his words better while writing to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on reopening places of worship in the state.
Talking to a TV channel, Raut also said that with Shah's statement, the Shiv Sena has put the issue to rest.
Koshyari recently wrote to Thackeray on reopening places of worship in the state and asked if the Shiv Sena president had "suddenly turned secular," triggering a war of words between the governor and the chief minister.
Shah on Saturday told a news channel that "Koshyari could have chosen his words better".
Reacting to it, Raut said Shah is the country's home minister and speaks with responsibility and caution.
The Raj Bhavan and the office of governor is a constitutional institution and falls under the jurisdiction of the ministry of home affairs, he said.
"The governor's letter followed by the chief minister's replywas an unavoidable controversy and we haven't started it. But, we are satisfied with the Union home ministers stand and thank him for understanding the reason of our anger," said Raut.
With Shah's statement, the Shiv Sena has put the issue to rest, the party's chief spokesperson said.
15:41 Coronavirus survives on skin for 9 hours: Study
The coronavirus remains active on human skin for nine hours, Japanese researchers have found, in a discovery they said showed the need for frequent hand washing to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.
The pathogen that causes the flu survives on human skin for about 1.8 hours by comparison, said the study published this month in the Clinical Infectious Diseases journal.
"The nine-hour survival of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus strain that causes Covid-19) on human skin may increase the risk of contact transmission in comparison with IAV (influenza A virus), thus accelerating the pandemic," it said.
The research team tested skin collected from autopsy specimens, about one day after death.
Both the coronavirus and the flu virus are inactivated within 15 seconds by applying ethanol, which is used in hand sanitisers.
"The longer survival of SARS-CoV-2 on the skin increases contact-transmission risk; however, hand hygiene can reduce this risk," the study said.
The study backs World Health Organization guidance for regular and thorough hand washing to limit transmission of the virus, which has infected nearly 40 million people around the world since it first emerged in China late last year.
15:27 China's Covid-19 vaccine candidate elicits antibody response, early-stage findings show
China's Covid-19 vaccine candidate elicits an antibody response against coronavirus, findings published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal said. These findings were the result of a small early-phase randomized clinical trial of the Chinese Covid-19 vaccine candidate which is based on the inactivated whole SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Trials for this vaccine candidate were carried out in China between April 29 and July 30 this year. It involved researchers from multiple institutions, including the Beijing Institute of Biological Products.
According to a report by news agency Reuters, the findings of this early-stage trial point out that the vaccine candidate prompted antibody responses in all recipients within 42 days. The report cites findings published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal to affirm that the vaccine candidate is safe since no serious adverse reaction occurred in the case of any of the participants during the trials.
More than 600 healthy volunteers aged between 18 and 80 years old participated in these early-stage trials for China's Covid-19 vaccine candidate.
The research team reiterated that the objective of early-stage trials is to assess the safety of the vaccine and the immune response it induces. This, researchers reiterated, is not enough to confirm whether this vaccine candidate is enough to protect recipients from Covid-19.
Researchers did, however, state that the findings of these early-stage clinical trials will prove useful during phase-3 clinical trials of China's Covid-19 vaccine candidate.
China has four Covid-19 vaccines in the final stage of clinical trials, at least three of which have already been made available to essential workers under an emergency programme initiated in July.
14:56 Mumbai Metro reopens tomorrow after lockdown
Metro services in Mumbai -- shut for more than six months because of the coronavirus lockdown - will reopen on Monday with the Ghatkopar-Versova Metro One line -- which was the only functional line before the nationwide lockdown in March - resuming operations.
SOPs for passengers, who will be subjected to thermal screening on entry to stations, will include social distancing - visuals from inside the coaches show stickers that highlight where you can sit or stand - and the use of face masks at all times - whether in trains or on the platform.
Other SOPs will include limiting passengers on each four-coach train to 300 (against a maximum of 1,500), an emphasis on cashless transactions when purchasing tickets and maintaining a constant temperature (between 25 and 27 degrees Celsius) inside the coaches.
In addition, only 200 trains will be run between 8 am and 8.30 every day; pre-Covid as many as 450 trains were run every day.
"We have allowed only 300 people to travel at one time to take care of social distancing. As crowds increase, things will change. Also, instead of giving tokens, people will get paper tickets so risk of infection is limited. We also have many facilities for online payment and people will be encouraged to use this," Abhay Kumar Mishra, CEO of Mumbai Metro, said.
The decision to restart metro services in the city was taken earlier this week, with the Uddhav Thackeray government hoping that this will ease pressure on conventional public transport mediums - like local buses - as Mumbai tries to return to normal amid the Covid pandemic.
Maharashtra remains the state worst affected by the Covid pandemic. The state reported over 10,000 new cases in the past 24 hours, according to health ministry data this morning.
13:58 Modi congratulates New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern on re-election
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday congratulated Jacinda Ardern for getting re-elected as the Prime Minister of New Zealand and said that he is looking forward to working on elevating the bilateral relations between the two countries.
"My heartiest congratulations to the PM of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern on her resounding victory. Recall our last meet a year ago and look forward to working together for taking India-NZ relationship to a higher level," Prime Minister Modi tweeted.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Ardren had secured a landslide victory in New Zealand's general election and is now set to serve a second term.
"With 87 per cent of the votes counted, Ardern's center-left Labour Party has won 48.9 per cent of the vote, meaning her party looks likely to score the highest result that any party has achieved since the current political system was introduced in 1996," CNN reported.
Arden gave a powerful victory speech where she said, "Tonight, New Zealand has shown the Labour Party its greatest support in at least 50 years."
13:34 Is Rahul trying to contest polls in Pak? Sambit
Soon after Congress leader Shashi Tharoor's criticism of the Union government on its handling of COVID-19, condition of Muslims and treatment meted to Indian citizens from the Northeast on a Pakistan-based platform, Bharatiya Janata Party has rechristened Rahul Gandhi as Rahul Lahori.
BJP Spokesperson Sambit Patra today said that the way Congress leaders are demeaning the country on international platforms, especially in Pakistan, it seems Rahul Gandhi is vying to contest elections in Pakistan. "Are you trying to contest elections from Pakistan? Please respond," Patra asked.
"We in BJP will start calling him Rahul Lahori and henceforth I too will address Rahul Gandhi as Rahul Lahori. A debut rally for him has already been done in Pakistan by Tharoor," the BJP leader added.
The reaction of the BJP leader came after Tharoor's reported comments at a virtual Lahore literary event.
Patra said that Indian National Congress will soon become Pakistan National Congress.
"They give a ticket to Jinnah's supporter. I want to ask why is it necessary? Why would you cry about India in Lahore. We have no doubt that Rahul Gandhi hates India. This I am stating with full responsibility," said Patra while briefing the media.
Calling Tharoor, the closest friend of Gandhi's, Patra accused him of portraying the country in a bad light and demeaned India on Pakistani platform on various issues including handling of COVID-19.
"The whole world saw how the country operated under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, we saw the highest recovery and lowest mortality rate amongst coronavirus patients," said Patra.
Shashi Tharoor, according to media reports, said that India sees the same problem with the people of the Northeast region because they look different. "Do you think these issues to be discussed in Pakistan," asked Patra.
13:20 New Zealand's Ardern credits virus response for election win
A day after winning a second term in a landside victory, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she sees the election result as an endorsement of her government's efforts to stamp out the coronavirus and reboot the economy.
Speaking at a cafe near her Auckland home, Ardern said she expects to form a new government within three weeks and to prioritise work on the virus response.
"We're cracking on very quickly with the work we need to do as a new team," Ardern said.
Ardern's liberal Labour Party got 49 per cent of the vote, crushing the conservative National Party, which got 27 per cent. Ardern said the margin of the victory exceeded their expectations.
Asked what she would say to those Americans who may draw inspiration from her win ahead of the US elections, Ardern said she hoped people globally could move past the partisan divisions that elections often accentuate.
"That can be damaging for democracy, regardless of the side of the House that you sit on," she said.
Ardern's popularity soared earlier this year after she led a successful effort to halt the spread of the virus by implementing a strict lockdown in late March.
Ardern, 40, won the top job at the 2017 election. The following year, she became only the second world leader to give birth while in office. In 2019, she was praised for her empathetic response to a massacre at two Christchurch mosques in which a gunman killed 51 Muslim worshippers.
Arden said she'd been congratulated on her win by a number of world leaders, including those from Britain, Denmark, Canada and Spain. Asked if she planned to run again at the next election, Ardern laughed.
12:43 Terrorists hurl grenade at security forces in Tral
Terrorists on Sunday hurled a grenade at security forces in the main town Tral area of Pulwama district in Jammu and Kashmir.
One jawan has been injured.
12:21 India-China to have 8th round of talks next week
The eighth round of India-China military and diplomatic level talks is expected to take place next week to discuss disengagement in Ladakh even as armies of the two countries prepare for snow and winter deployment along the 1,597km Line of Actual Control.
According to senior officials, both sides are not impatient over a resolution on the friction points but have decided to keep the dialogue channels open at both military commander and diplomatic levels. The talks are also aimed at preventing any vertical escalation on the friction points either due to an accident or aggressiveness of an individual commander.
While the Peoples Liberation Army has proposed that both sides withdraw armoured and artillery units as part of de-escalation first and then go for dis-engagement of infantry, the Indian side is very clear that armoured units cannot be withdrawn as it will give advantage to the adversary due to terrain and capability.
11:41 New proposal to army: Cut ceremonies, canteen
A slew of measures proposed to streamline utilisation of manpower as well as financial and material resources has been received well, but is creating ripples in Army circles. Because the proposals include doing away with Army Day and Territorial Army Day parades in New Delhi, cutting down on ceremonial practices such as brass bands and quarter guards, individual officers mess and CSD canteen for units in peace stations.
These proposed measures are part of a report circulated after an internal review of existing practices. Titled Optimisation of Manpower and Resources: Review of Practices and Facilities in Indian Army, the exercise was conducted earlier this year. Several suggestions were circulated among major establishments, command headquarters and major directorates of the Army -- and received broad concurrence.
The Sunday Express has learnt that the proposed measures include discontinuing the Army Day parade on January 15 and Territorial Army Day parade on October 9.
For own health, Army looks to cut ceremonies, canteens, mess and pipes and drums ensembles that participate in the Republic Day parade and Beating Retreat ceremony are proposed to be brought down from 30 (15 bands and 15 pipes and drums) to 18 (10 bands and 8 pipes and drums). The rationale: while in the past the number of marching contingents in the Republic Day parade had been brought down from 12 to 6, there had not been any corresponding decrease in the number of bands.
Read the full report in the Sunday Express HERE
11:22 Chidambaram cites Biden's unity over division remark, urges voters in Bihar, MP to take similar vow
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Sunday cited Democratic candidate in the US elections Joe Biden's remarks about choosing hope over fear and unity over division, to urge people going to vote in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and elsewhere in India to take a similar vow.
Besides the assembly polls in Bihar in three phases starting October 28, bypolls to one Lok Sabha and 56 assembly seats including 28 in Madhya Pradesh, spread across 12 states, will be held on November 3 and 7.
"Mr Joe Biden, Democratic candidate in the US elections said yesterday 'We choose hope over fear, unity over division, science over fiction and yes, truth over lies'," Chidambaram said.
"That's a good vow that the people of Bihar, MP and elsewhere should take when they go to the polling booths this month," he said in a series of tweets.
The election of Jacinda Ardern as the Prime Minister of New Zealand gives us hope that decency and progressive values can win elections in a democracy, the former Union Minister said.
New Zealand Prime Minister Ardern has been re-elected in a landslide victory in the country's general election.
11:05 Look at UP first: TMC hits back at Shah
The Trinamool Congress on Saturday came down heavily on Union home minister Amit Shah for his comments on the law and order situation in West Bengal and asked him to first look at BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh, where the rule of law has "ceased to exist".
Taking a dig at Shah over his comments on killings of opposition party workers in West Bengal, the TMC leadership said, "Political killings is a subject that he knows well."
"During Cyclone Amphan, the entire relief went into wrong hands. There were complaints of corruption over the distribution of foodgrains. The entire relief went into corruption. They (West Bengal administration) lacked in taking adequate measures while handling the pandemic," Shah said in an interview to 'News18' news channel.
"Corruption is at its peak. The law and order situation has gone for a toss. There are bomb-making factories in every district. The situation is not good. And what is more worrisome about democracy is the way opposition workers are being framed in false cases and killed. Such things don't happen in other states. Once upon a time, such things used to happen in Kerala, but now there have been improvements," Shah said.
He exuded confidence that the BJP will form the next government in West Bengal after the assembly polls in April- May next year as "change is inevitable" in the state.
When asked about his views on BJP leaders' demands for implementation of the President's rule in West Bengal, Shah said, "A leader of a political party is well within his right to make such a statement. As far as the Government of India is concerned, we have to work as per the constitutional norms, the ground situation and the governor's report."
Shah's comment comes in the backdrop of several BJP leaders, including party national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya and Union minister Babul Supriyo, demanding the President's rule in West Bengal, following the killing of BJP workers in the state.
The comments on political killings drew sharp reactions from the TMC, which asked him to direct his attention to Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh.
"Firstly, rumours are rife over Amit Shah Ji's health. Here is wishing he gets well soon. Now to his views on political killings, in their desperation to increase the death count, the BJP is now trying to pass off even TB or a cancer death as a "political killing".
"Why doesn't he first address the huge infighting in his Bengal unit? He should study the history of Bengal under CPI(M) to understand how far the state has come," TMC Rajya Sabha party leader and spokesperson Derek 'Brien said in a statement.
He said the TMC is committed to peace and harmony.
"May be Amit Shah Ji should direct his attention to Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat. After all, 'political killings' is a subject Amit Shah Ji knows well!" the TMC MP added.
Senior TMC leader Saugato Roy said Shah's views are "misplaced" as he is not well aware of the situation in West Bengal.
"He is not aware of the ground situation in the state. In Uttar Pradesh, the rule of law has ceased to exist, but he has nothing to say about it. He is making statements that are not only misplaced and baseless but also politically motivated," Roy said. -- PTI
10:29 India reports 61,871 new Covid cases; 1,033 deaths
India's COVID-19 caseload mounted to 74,94,551 with 61,871 new infections being reported in a day, while the recoveries surged to 65,97,209 pushing the recovery rate to 88.03 per cent, according to the health ministry data updated on Sunday.
The coronavirus death toll climbed to 1,14,031 with the virus claiming 1,033 lives in a span of 24 hours, the data updated at 8 am showed.
The number of active cases of coronavirus infection remained below 8 lakh for the second consecutive day.
There are 7,83,311 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country which comprise 10.45 per cent of the total caseload, the data stated.
The COVID-19 case fatality rate stands at 1.52 per cent.
India's COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 30 lakh on August 23 and 40 lakh on September 5.
It went past 50 lakh on September 16, 60 lakh on September 28 and crossed 70 lakh on October 11.
According to ICMR, a cumulative total of 9,42,24,190 samples have been tested up to October 17 with 9,70,173 samples being tested on Saturday. --PTI
10:08 Upset over birth of girl child, woman kills elder daughter
Upset over giving birth to a second girl child, a 30-year-old woman in Ludhiana on Saturday allegedly killed her elder daughter, 4, by banging her against the wall in her bathroom, police said.
They said the woman is wife of a migrant labourer from Bihar.
"She thrashed her 4-year-old daughter to death by hitting her against the wall and the floor of her bathroom in her house at Navneet Nagar in Salem Tabri locality," Inspector Gopal Krishan said.
He said Priyanka, wife of Tinku Yadav, had given birth to a girl child, her second daughter, two months ago.
"She was upset because she did not have a male child, Krishan said.
He said she took her elder daughter in her arms for giving her a bath, but then suddenly started hitting the child against the wall and the floor causing head injury which proved fatal.
Darpan died on the spot, he said.
Joint Commissioner of Police Bhagirath Meena said the woman was arrested and charged with murder.
The family hails from Bihar, he said. -- PTI
09:44 Trump promises free Covid antibody treatments
United States President Donald Trump told his supporters in Wisconsin that all Americans will get the coronavirus treatment he received for free.
"We're gonna make, what I had, available to everybody, free. The antibodies, I think the antibodies are the best thing. We're gonna make it free," Trump said at his campaign rally in Janesville, Wisconsin on Saturday.
"This election is a choice between a Trump super recovery and a Biden depression," Trump added.
Earlier in the day, speaking at another rally in Muskegon, Michigan, Trump warned that a Democratic victory in the November elections could make the coronavirus situation worse in Michigan, as well as the US as a whole.
"Democrats would terminate our recovery with a draconian unscientific lockdown like your governor is doing right now," Trump said, stressing that "Biden will shut down the country, delay the vaccine and prolong the pandemic."
Trump resumed his campaign trail earlier this month, holding his first rally (since his positive COVID19 diagnosis) in Sanford, Florida.
Trump told his supporters in Florida that "whatever the hell they gave me" was going to be distributed around US hospitals.
Trump was hospitalised with COVID-19 at the Walter Reed Military Medical Center on October 2 after announcing on Twitter that he and his wife Melania had tested positive for the coronavirus.
While at Walter Reed, Trump was treated with an experimental antibody cocktail that targets the coronavirus spike protein. -- ANI
09:38 Fake TRP case: Republic TV moves Bombay HC for quashing of FIR
ARG Outlier Media Pvt Ltd, which owns Republic TV, and its chief Arnab Goswami have moved the Bombay high court seeking to quash the FIR lodged against the channel in the alleged fake TRP (television rating
The petition has also sought a direction to transfer the case to the CBI to ensure a fair and transparent probe and also on the ground that the case will have pan-India repercussions.
The channel filed the petition in the HC on October 16, a day after the Supreme Court refused to hear a plea of one of its senior officials challenging the summons issued by the Mumbai police, and asked him to approach the Bombay HC instead.
The Mumbai Crime Branch had registered an FIR under various sections of Indian Penal Code for cheating, criminal breach of trust and criminal conspiracy against Republic TV and its senior officials, and also against two other local regional channels.
It has alleged that these channels were rigging TRPs.
It has so far arrested six persons in the case.
The petition is likely to to be taken up for hearing next week. -- PTI
08:57 No one can take away our land: Shah on LAC row
Amidst the continuing standoff with China in Ladakh, Union home minister Amit Shah on Saturday said the Modi government is fully alert towards securing each inch of the country's land and no one can take it away.
Shah also said the government is taking all possible military and diplomatic steps to resolve the standoff in Ladakh with China.
"We are vigilant for every inch of our land, no one can take it away...Our defence forces and leadership are capable of defending the country's sovereignty and border," he told CNN News18 when asked whether China has entered into Indian territory.
The home minister also said that the government is committed to protecting the sovereignty and security of the country.
08:52 Assam to shut govt madrassas, Sanskrit schools
All government-run madrassas and Sanskrit tols (schools) will be closed down by the Assam government and the notification to this effect will be issued in November, state education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said
The State Madrassa Education Board, Assam will be dissolved and all the government-run madrassas will be converted into high schools, he said.
New admissions will be held for the existing students as regular ones, he said.
"The final-year students will be allowed to pass out but those taking admission in these schools in January next year will have to study as regular students," he said.
The Sanskrit tols will be handed over to Kumar Bhaskarvarma Sanskrit University and these will be converted into centres of learning and research where Indian culture, civilisation and nationalism will be studied, Sarma said.
The step has been taken by the government to ensure that students get a regular education under the Secondary Education Board of Assam, he said.
The examinations conducted by the madrassas and the Sanskrit tols are different and their students do not appear for the matriculation examination conducted by the SEBA.
"They are, however, given equivalency with those appearing in the board examinations, which is unfair on the regular students," Sarma said.
The equal weightage for students passing out from madrassas, Sanskrit tols and the regular schools was introduced by the then Congress government in the state in the 1990s and has continued since then.
Sarma said the examination system of madrassas is very different with an emphasis on religious studies and not on general subjects required for further higher professional education, he said.
Asked if the step was taken with an eye on the Assam assembly elections due next year, Sarma, who is a senior BJP leader of the northeastern state, said, "How can this be an election issue when we are only closing the government madrassas and not the private ones."
He claimed that most of the students enrolled in the government madrasas want to become doctors and engineers and are not aware of the fact that these are not regular schools.
Sarma cited a survey conducted by a Gauhati University professor who found that the parents of most of the students of the madrassas are not aware of the fact that their children are not taught the regular subjects but are imparted lessons mostly in theology. -- PTI
08:50 18 Mumbai DCPs shifted, including TRP case probe team member
Eighteen deputy commissioners of Mumbai police were transferred within the metropolis, including an official who is part of the team probing the fake TRP racket involving television news channels.
The orders were issued on Friday, an official said.
DCP (detection) Nandkumar Thakur, part of the probe into the TRP case, has been transferred as DCP (traffic), though an official clarified the shift was on a request from the former, made much before the scam came to light, due to personal reasons.
Thakur has been replaced in the Crime Branch by Prakash Jadhav, while Shashikumar Meena has been transferred as DCP Zone I, Datta Nalawade as DCP Anti-Narcotics Cell, Vijay Patil as DCP Zone IV, Krishnakant Upadhyay to Zone VI and M C V Mahesh Reddy to Zone X.
The order said S Chaitanya will be DCP Operations, Raju Bhujbal will take charge as DCP Enforcement, Yogeshkumar Gupta will be DCP traffic, Sanjay Patil DCP HQ-II and S T Rathod will be DCP of SB-1. -- PTI
08:09 Nitish to be next CM of Bihar, asserts Amit Shah
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday asserted that Nitish Kumar will be the next chief minister of Bihar after the coming assembly elections in the state.
Shah also said that the National Democratic Alliance will get a two-third majority in the polls.
"There is no if or but. Nitish Kumar will be the next chief minister of Bihar. We have made a public announcement and we are committed to it," he told CNN News18 when asked whether the BJP will stake claim for the chief ministership in Bihar if the saffron party gets more seats than the ally Janata Dal-United headed by Nitish Kumar.
Shah said people of Bihar will get a "double engine" government -- one at Bihar headed by Nitish Kumar and another at the Centre headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Talking about the Lok Janshakti Party breaking away from the ruling alliance in Bihar, Shah said the party was offered adequate seats but still walked away from the alliance.
"It was their (LJP) decision, not ours," he said. -- PTI