Tue, 27 July 2021
Rakesh Asthana to be Delhi Police Commissioner
23:53 Rakesh Asthana to be Delhi Police Commissioner
Rakesh Asthana, a senior Indian Police Service officer of Gujarat cadre, was appointed as the Commissioner of Delhi Police on Tuesday.
According to a Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) order, Asthana, currently serving as Director General of the Border Security Force (BSF), will join as the Delhi Police Commissioner with immediate effect.
The appointment of Asthana to the post came just days before his superannuate on July 31.
He will have a tenure of one year.
This is one of the very few instances when an IPS officer outside of the AGMUT cadre has been appointed as the Delhi Police chief.
Usually, an officer belonging to the Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre is appointed to the post.
Asthana, a 1984-batch IPS officer, had served as the Special Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
During his stint in the CBI, he was engaged in an unsavoury spat with the then CBI Director Alok Verma. -- PTI
22:52 Bommai to take oath as CM at 11 am tomorrow
Newly appointed leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party legislature party Basavaraj Bommai on Tuesday said Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot has invited him to form the government and he will take oath as Chief Minister at 11 am on July 28.
"I have informed the Governor about my election as the leader of the legislature party. He has invited me to form the government. We have discussed and decided that I will take oath tomorrow at 11 am," Bommai said.
According to the Governor's office, the oath taking ceremony will be at the Glass House in the Raj Bhavan.
The 61-year-old leader also said that he alone will take the oath of office on Wednesday.
Soon after his election as the leader of the BJP legislature party, Bommai, along with caretaker Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, drove to the Raj Bhavan to stake claim to form the government. -- PTI
22:50 People who participated in Covid vaccine trials will get CoWIN certificates
People who participated in Covid vaccine trials and were given vaccine and not placebo will be covered under CoWIN and certificates will be generated for them, the Union health ministry said on Tuesday.
Placebo is a substance or treatment which is designed to have no therapeutic value.
Responding to a question if people who participated in clinical trials of vaccine will be given certificate by CoWin, Joint Secretary in the ministry, Lav Agarwal, said people who participated in vaccine trials were given paper certificates but later questions were raised if they should be covered under CoWIN too.
Keeping that in view an order has been issued, he told a press conference.
"We have asked the ICMR to give us a list of people who participated in clinical trials and based on that list, certificates for them will be generated on CoWIN. In clinical trials, some people are given placebo while some are given the vaccine so certificates of only those who were given the vaccine will be generated," the official said.
CoWIN is a web portal for Covid vaccination registration and it generates a digital certificate once a person receives both doses of a vaccine.
Agarwal said those people will be given certificates who participated in completed trials and in those trials which were part of the emergency use authorisation.
"The ongoing trials will not be disturbed," he said. -- PTI
21:50 Covid, flood relief work Bommai's priority
Chief Minister-designate Basavaraj Bommai on Tuesday said he would strive to offer relief to people affected by COVID-19 and floods and improve the economic condition of Karnataka, hit hard by the pandemic.
"I will work day and night to offer relief to the people in distress due to COVID or the recent floods. I will initiate all steps to improve the economic condition of the state in the coming days," he told reporters.
Following torrential rains, parts of the state had witnessed floods in recent days.
Soon after he was elected as the new leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party Legislature Party, Bommai thanked the BJP leaders, especially Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and outgoing Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa who reposed faith in him to lead the state.
He said he would work hard to live up to the expectations of the prime minister and Yediyurppa on the development front.
"I will win everyone's trust with the help of my cabinet colleagues and my party workers," Bommai said.
He said the seniors in the party have blessed him and he would take everyone along.
Yediyurappa resigned on Monday, coinciding with his government completing two years in office.
Meanwhile, news of Bommai set to becoming the next chief minister triggered celebrations in Shiggaon town in the district headquarters of Haveri.
Shiggaon is from where Bommai got elected to the Karnataka assembly.
Bommai's supporters hit the roads, burst crackers and raised slogans in favour of their leader. -- PTI
21:12 Kundra earned Rs 1.17 cr from 'porn' app: Cops
Raj Kundra earned at least Rs 1.17 crore between August and December last year from his business of production and online distribution of porn films, Mumbai Police told a court on Tuesday, seeking another extension of his custody.
The magistrate's court, however, remanded Kundra, 45, who is married to Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty, in judicial custody for 14 days.
The Bombay high court, meanwhile, refused to give him any urgent temporary relief.
"Interrogation of Ryan Thorpe, another accused in the case, revealed that revenue from Hotshots (an online app or platform through which alleged porn content was made available) was Rs 1, 17, 64,886 ($1,58,057) between August and December 2020," the remand plea of the police said.
This revenue was earned from the app on Apple store and the police have sought information from Google too, it said.
The app had more users on Google Play than the Apple store before it was removed, so he must have earned much more revenue, the police claimed.
The investigators also wanted to scrutinise the documents recovered from nine files seized from Kundra's office during a search on July 24, the remand application said.
While the statement of a woman (who alleged that she was tricked into acting in a porn film) was recorded on July 26, more victims were likely to come forward, the police told the court.
But the court, which had granted one extension of the custody earlier, rejected the police's plea and sent Kundra in judicial custody for 14 days.
His lawyers Abad Ponda and Subhash Jadhav then filed a bail application, contending that he should be released as investigation was over.
The application will be heard in due course.
Kundra was arrested on July 19 by the Mumbai police's crime branch.
He had plans to sell 119 adult films to a person for $1.2 million, the police had claimed during an earlier remand hearing.
The Bombay high court on Tuesday refused to give urgent relief to Kundra.
Justice A S Gadkari directed the police to file their reply by July 29 in response to a petition filed by Kundra challenging his arrest.
His lawyers argued that the police failed to follow the procedure.
They should have first issued a notice to him, asking him to be present to record a statement, instead of arresting him directly, advocates Ponda and Jadhav said.
Prosecutor Aruna Kamat Pai said a notice was issued to him.
The HC asked Pai to file an affidavit but refused to give an interim relief to Kundra before hearing the police.
Kundra has also contended that the films made by him which the police claimed to be pornographic did not depict direct or explicit sexual acts. -- PTI
20:56 Bommai will work hard under PM's leadership: Yediyurappa
"We have unanimously elected Basavaraj S Bommai as leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party Legislative Party.
"I thank PM Modi for his support. Under PM's leadership, he (Bommai) will work hard," Karnataka's caretaker CM B S Yediyurappa said in Bengaluru.
20:37 Basavaraj S Bommai elected new Karnataka CM
Karnataka Bharatiya Janata Party Legislative Party elected Basavaraj S Bommai as the chief minister of the state.
"It is a big responsibility in the given situation. I will strive to work for the welfare of the poor. It will be pro-people and pro-poor people governance," CM-elect Bommai said.
Trajectory of Coronavirus infections in India. Situation up to July 27, 2021.
20:31 Hundreds died due to oxygen shortage: BJP MLA
A Bharatiya Janata Party MLA in Hardoi claimed that 'hundreds of people died' due to lack of oxygen during the second Covid wave, days after his party's Union government told Parliament that states did not report such deaths.
BJP's Gopamau MLA Shyam Prakash wrote this on the Facebook wall of journalist Anand Mishra, who had posted newspaper cuttings of letters of some MLAs, in which the issue was raised.
"You have told the truth, I agree with you, hundreds of people died in agony due to lack of oxygen. No one can see the pain of lakhs of families, including that of MLA Rajkumar Agarwal," the MLA said.
Agarwal, a BJP MLA from Sandila, had lost his son during the second coronavirus wave and had alleged negligence on the part of the hospital.
Shyam Prakash, however, on Monday told reporters that he had not written about Uttar Pradesh when he made the comment on the Facebook wall of the scribe.
The Union government had last week told the Rajya Sabha that no deaths due to lack of oxygen were reported by states and UTs during the second COVID-19 wave.
'All states and UTs report cases and deaths to the Union Health Ministry on a regular basis. However, no deaths due to lack of oxygen have been specifically reported by states and UTs,' Minister of State for Health Bharati Praveen Pawar had told Parliament in a written reply to a question.
Earlier too, several BJP leaders had complained of mismanagement during the second coronavirus wave, with even former Union minister Santosh Gangwar writing to CM Yogi Adityanath about the situation in his Bareilly constituency.
He said officials don't take calls and government health centres send back patients for 'referrals' from the district hospital.
He had also complained about the shortage of empty oxygen cylinders and high prices of medical equipment in Bareilly. -- PTI
20:06 US Secretary of State Antony Blinken lands in Delhi on 2-day visit
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday landed in New Delhi for a two-day visit in which he is set to discuss with Indian officials issues related to bilateral relations, the situation in Afghanistan, and other regional matters including, Pakistan sponsored terrorism and Indo-Pacific.
This is Blinken's first visit to India after assuming office.
In the defence domain, both sides are expected to explore ways and means to deepen their collaboration. This will cover policy exchanges, exercises, and defence transfers and technology.
These would be covered in greater detail during the fourth 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue due in the US later this year.
19:47 Centre calls meet of Assam, Mizoram officials
The Centre has called a meeting of the chief secretaries and directors general of police (DGPs) of Assam and Mizoram on Wednesday in the wake of violence along their shared border, where five Assam Police personnel were killed, officials said.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla will chair the meeting to discuss the sudden escalation of violence along the Assam-Mizoram border.
The meeting of the chief secretaries and DGPs is expected to work on a peace formula so that there is no repeat of the violence along the border of the two states, a home ministry official said.
The central government is in regular touch with the Assam and Mizoram governments and trying to calm down the situation, the officials said, adding the Central Reserve Police Force has been deployed in the violence-hit area.
Five Assam Police personnel, along with a civilian, were killed and more than 50 others, including a Superintendent of Police, were injured when Mizoram Police opened fire on a team of Assam officials on Monday.
Assam's Barak Valley districts of Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi share a 164 km long border with Mizoram's three districts of Aizawl, Kolasib and Mamit.
After allegations of encroachment of territory by both sides over the past few weeks and skirmishes that escalated tensions between the two states, violent clashes were reported along the inter-state border that ended in the death of five Assam policemen and a civilian.
The incidents came two days after Home Minister Amit Shah held talks with the chief ministers of eight northeastern states and underscored the need to resolve lingering border disputes. -- PTI
IMAGE: Injured police personnel at Lailapur Hospital for treatment after violence broke out at the disputed Assam-Mizoram border, in Cachar district on Monday. Photograph: ANI Photo
18:48 Assam-Mizoram border: 4 CRPF companies deployed
Four additional companies of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) have been deployed at the Assam-Mizoram border disputed site where five cops of Assam Police died in a fierce gun battle between the forces of the two states.
According to CRPF Director General Kuldiep Singh, the situation is under control and is peaceful.
"Yesterday, tension escalated on the Assam-Mizoram border when police forces of the two states entered into a clash over a disputed border area. It further escalated when they fired bullets at each other. The situation was brought under control with the intervention of CRPF," Singh told ANI.
"Four additional companies of CRPF have been sent to the disputed area as neutral forces, two companies already present there. Senior officials are also present. The current situation is peaceful," he said.
The CRPF DG said that Assam Police has retreated from the disputed area, however, Mizoram Police continues to stay at their temporary posts.
This comes days after tensions peaked at the two states and five Assam Police personnel died in an exchange of fire with their Mizoram counterparts.
Meanwhile, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on Wednesday will hold a meeting with Chief Secretaries of Assam and Mizoram, as well as senior officers of the two states, following violent interstate border clashes between police forces of the two states, sources said. -- ANI
IMAGE: Clash broke out between Police and people at the disputed Assam-Mizoram border, on Monday. Photograph: ANI Photo
18:12 Opposition leaders meet
A meeting of the Opposition leaders took place today in New Delhi. Congress MPs Rahul Gandhi, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Gaurav Gogoi, DMK MP TR Baalu, NCP MP Supriya Sule and other MPs of BSP, National Conference, Kerala Congress, CPI(M), RSP, IUML were present at the meet.
18:08 Centre asks states for 2nd wave O2 deaths data
The Central government has written to States/Union Territories seeking data on deaths due to oxygen shortage during the second wave of COVID-19, according to government sources.
This data is likely to be presented in the ongoing Monsoon Session of the Parliament, they added.
"The Centre has written to States for data on deaths related to Oxygen shortage. The data is likely to be presented in Parliament before the Monsoon Session ends on August 13," sources told ANI.
This comes after much backlash from the Opposition parties which hit out at the Central government over the claim that no deaths due to lack of oxygen had been specifically reported by states and Union Territories during the second COVID-19 wave.
The Centre, while responding to a question by Congress MP KC Venugopal, had on July 20 told the Rajya Sabha that no deaths due to lack of oxygen had been specifically reported by states and Union Territories during the second COVID wave.
In the written reply, Minister of State for Health Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar stated that health is a state subject and accordingly all states, UTs report cases and deaths to the Union Health Ministry on a regular basis.
The government's reply comes in the aftermath of the devastating second COVID-19 wave that overwhelmed the country's healthcare infrastructure and resulted in thousands of deaths daily. COVID-19 cases surged dangerously from April to June and peaked in May with over 4-lakh cases and 4,000 deaths.
Hospitals across the country reported severe oxygen shortages for several days and private hospitals in the national capital approached the High Court demanding a steady supply. Several hospital administrations in different states have alleged that the shortage of oxygen resulted in the death of several patients.
17:43 22 districts recorded increasing trend in COVID cases: Govt
The Health Ministry on Tuesday informed that 22 districts in the country have recorded the increase in the trends of the COVID-19 cases for the last four weeks and said that it is a cause of concern.
It also said that over 54 districts in the country have reported more than 10 per cent COVID-19 positivity. While addressing a press briefing, Union Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said, "There are 22 districts -- 7 from Kerala, 5 from Manipur, 3 in Meghalaya among others, where an increasing trend in cases has been reported, in the last 4 weeks. It is a cause of concern."
Agarwal said there are still 62 districts in the country where over 100 cases are reported every day, which are found in a localised and limited set of areas of these districts.
17:33 Rupee slips 5 paise to close at 74.47 against US dollar
The rupee slipped by 5 paise to close at 74.47 (provisional) against the US currency on Tuesday as the dollar strengthened in the overseas markets and the domestic equity indices closed wit losses. Forex traders said the rupee is trading in a narrow range as investors are awaiting cues from the US Fed's policy decision due on Wednesday and month-end rebalancing.
Mamata Banerjee holds her own umbrella while speaking to reporters
17:29 Just a courtesy visit: Mamata on meeting PM
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee says her meeting with PM Narendra Modi was a courtesy call. "During the meeting, I raised the issue of COVID and the need for more vaccines and medicines in the state. I also raised the pending issue of the change of name of the state. On this issue, he said, 'He will see'."
She said the PM should call an all-party meeting on the Pegasus issue. "There should be a Supreme Court-monitored probe in this matter," she said.
On the issue of Opposition unity against the BJP, Banerjee said it will take shape on its own.
16:58 Mamata meets Modi in Delhi
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi today. This is the West Bengal CM's first visit to New Delhi after she handed the BJP a humiliating defeat in the Bengal polls in May.
The WB CM also met senior Congress leaders Kamal Nath and Anand Sharma earlier today. This is the first of her series of meetings with senior political leaders in the national capital after her assembly poll victory in Bengal.
"We have not discussed any strategy. That will be discussed by the leader of our party. We just discussed the current situation and the issue of rising prices," Kamal Nath said.
Banerjee will also meet President Ram Nath Kovind.
16:42 Top losers in the markets today
The scrips which didn't do well today.
16:16 How states, UTs compare in Covid numbers
Kerala has the maximum number of Covid cases in the country.
Axis Bank was one of the losers today
16:14 Sensex drops 273 pts; Nifty slips below 15,750
Equity benchmark Sensex tumbled over 273 points on Tuesday, tracking losses in index majors Reliance Industries, Dr Reddy's and Axis Bank amid a massive selloff in Chinese markets.
Despite opening on a positive note, the 30-share BSE index turned red to end 273.51 points or 0.52 per cent lower at 52,578.76, while the broader NSE Nifty fell 78 points or 0.49 per cent to 15,746.45.
Dr Reddy's was the top loser in the Sensex pack, plunging over 10 per cent, after the company reported s 36 per cent decline in consolidated net profit at Rs 380.4 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2021, on account of higher expenses.
Axis Bank, Sun Pharma, Kotak Bank, HDFC and ITC fell up to 3.19 per cent. On the other hand, Tata Steel, Bajaj Finserv, SBI, Bajaj Finance and Tech Mahindra were among the gainers. -- PTI
Farmers have been protesting since Nov 2020
16:12 LS adjourned 8 times today over farm laws, Pegasus
The Lok Sabha proceedings were adjourned for the eighth time till 4 pm on Tuesday amid continuous protests by Opposition members over the Pegasus snooping row and farm laws.
After the House reassembled at 3.30 pm, Bhartruhari Mahtab, who was in the Chair, took up matters of urgent public importance. He asked the members to raise their issues in the House. A few members did speak amid the protests. Mahtab repeatedly requested the protesting members to go back to their seats. "I am requesting you all to go back to your seats," he said. With the Opposition not willing to relent, Mahtab adjourned the House till 4 pm.
When the House met in the morning, Speaker Om Birla led the members in paying tributes to Anerood Jugnauth, former president of Mauritius, and Kenneth David Buchizya Kaunda, the first president of Zambia. As the proceedings began at 11 am, the Opposition members trooped into the Well shouting slogans and carrying banners.
The members of Congress, CPI, CPI(M) and TMC were protesting over the Pegasus snooping row, while the BSP, SP and Shiromani Akali Dal were protesting against the Centre's three new farm laws.
16:10 Hubble finds first evidence of water vapour on Jupiter's moon Ganymede
Astronomers have uncovered the first evidence of water vapour in the atmosphere of Jupiter's moon Ganymede by using new and archival datasets from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.
According to the study published in the journal Nature Astronomy on Monday, the water vapour forms when ice from the moon's surface turns from solid to gas.
Previous studies have offered circumstantial evidence that Ganymede, the largest moon in the solar system, contains more water than all of Earth's oceans, NASA said.
However, temperatures there are so cold that water on the surface is frozen solid, according to the US space agency. Ganymede's ocean would reside roughly 160 kilometres below the crust, therefore, the water vapour would not represent the evaporation of this ocean. -- PTI
15:50 Harappan-era city Dholavira inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List
Dholavira, a Harappan-era metropolis, in Gujarat has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, the organisation said on Tuesday. "Dholavira: A Harappan City, in India, just inscribed on the @UNESCO #WorldHeritage List. Congratulations!" UNESCO tweeted.
The ongoing 44th session of the World Heritage Committee of the UNESCO has already given India a new world heritage site in the form of the Rudreswara/ Ramappa Temple in Telangana, which dates back to the 13th century. Gujarat so far has three world heritage sites Champaner near Pavagadh, Rani ki Vav in Patan and the historic city of Ahmedabad.
This session of the World Heritage Committee is being chaired from Fuzhou in China and is being held online. It started on July 16 and will end on July 31. The 44th session ombines current work, and issues left outstanding since last year, when the annual meeting was postponed due to COVID-19. -- PTI
The clashes at the Assam-Mizoram border yesterday
15:42 Assam to get commando battalions amid Mizo clash
The Assam Government will raise 3 commando battalions for Karimganj, Cachar and Hailakandi; 3000 personnel will be recruited, says Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma.
Assam's Barak Valley districts of Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi share a 164-km long border with Mizoram's three districts of Aizawl, Kolasib and Mamit. After allegations of encroachment of territory by both sides over the past few weeks and skirmishes that escalated tensions between the two states, violent clashes were reported along the inter-state border that ended in the death of at least five Assam policemen and one civilian.
15:12 Rajasthan: Ahead of Cabinet reshuffle Maken to meet Cong MLAs
Ahead of the Rajasthan Cabinet reshuffle, Congress general secretary Ajay Maken will hold meetings with party MLAs during his two-day visit to Jaipur. Maken, who is the incharge for Rajasthan affairs at the AICC, will be coming to the state capital on Wednesday.
He will hold discussions with the party MLAs and those supporting its state government during his two-day visit, said state Congress chief Govind Singh Dotasra in a tweet. Maken and K C Venugopal had held a meeting with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Saturday night over the Cabinet reshuffle.
14:55 Health of UP ex-CM Kalyan Singh critical: Hospital
Uttar Pradesh's former chief minister Kalyan Singh is in life support as his condition is critical, according to a medical bulletin by the Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences here on Tuesday.
The 89-year-old BJP veteran was admitted to the ICU of the hospital on the evening of July 4 due to an infection and reduced consciousness. "Kalyan Singh's health status is still critical. He is on life saving support system. He has been on continuous dialysis. His clinical parameters are being closely monitored by the expert consultants," the bulletin said. His condition is being closely monitored by senior doctors of the critical care medicine, cardiology, nephrology, neurology and endocrinology departments," a doctor said. -- PTI
14:52 Centre dismisses reports of missing 50-cr vax target
The Centre on Tuesday refuted media reports claiming that India will miss the end-July target of administering 50 crore COVID vaccine doses as "ill-informed and misrepresenting" and asserted that over 51.60 crore vaccine doses will be supplied from January to July 31.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued a statement referring to recent media reports alleging that the country will miss the target of administering half-a-billion (50 crore) doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by July-end, while pointing out that the government had stated in May that it would make 516 million (51.60 crore) vaccine shots available by the end of this month.
"These reports are ill-informed and have clearly misrepresented the facts," it said.
The ministry said that the figures of 516 million vaccine doses might have been picked up from various sources which informed about the likely availability of the vaccine doses from January 2021 to the end of July 2021 but the facts are that a total of more than 516 million vaccine doses will indeed be supplied from January 2021 to July 31, 2021.
It further said that the vaccine doses are supplied to the states and UTs as per advance allocation and information to them.
"Vaccines are supplied in various schedules throughout a month. Therefore, the availability of 516 million doses till the end of a particular month does not mean that every dose supplied till that month is going to be consumed or administered. There would be supplies in pipeline, which should be available for next few days till the next supplies of vaccine doses materialise in a particular State/District/Sub District to keep vaccination going on," it said. -- ANI
14:43 Mamata meets Kamal Nath in Delhi
Senior Congress leader Kamal Nath meets West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee in New Delhi. Banerjee arrived in Delhi yesterday on her first visit to the national capital since assuming office as the West Bengal CM for a third term and is expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind. She is also like to meet NCP chief Sharad Pawar.
The Trinamool Congress supremo, who apparently seeks to take up a larger role in national politics prior to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, is also scheduled to meet Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and a host of other leaders from opposition parties.
14:35 New K'taka CM: BJP legislature party meeting in evening
Initiating the formal process to replace B S Yediyurappa, who resigned as Chief Minister, the BJP central leadership has directed the state unit to convene a meeting of the legislature party in Bengaluru on Tuesday evening.
"There is a legislature party meeting today at 7 pm at a private hotel," Basavaraj S Bommai, who served as Home Minister in the dissolved B S Yediyurappa Cabinet, told reporters in Bengaluru.
After this, a meeting of the BJP Parliamentary Board will be held where a final decision (on the new Chief Minister) will be taken, he said.
Union Ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and G Kishan Reddy, along with BJP general secretary and Karnataka in-charge Arun Singh -- the observers from the BJP central leadership -- are expected to attend the legislature party meeting, a top party functionary told PTI.
Yediyurappa on Monday resigned his post exactly on the day he completed his two years in office.
The landslide at Badseri village, Kinnaur
14:04 Himachal landslide: 60 tourists stranded
About 60 to 80 tourists have been stranded in two villages of Himachal Pradesh's Kinnaur district after multiple landslides on July 25 blocked roads, a senior official said on Tuesday.
"These tourists are stranded in Chhitkul and Rakshak, the last villages of the Bapsa valley, as the Sangla-Chhitkul road had been closed for traffic after the landslides," Kinnaur Deputy Commissioner Abid Hussain Sidiq said. The district administration is facing difficulty in clearing the heavy boulders from the road.
"The owners of apple orchards are objecting to the boulders being dumped near their orchards located down the road," he said.
Sidiq said he hoped the road would be opened for traffic by Tuesday evening.
Nine tourists were killed on Sunday after heavy boulders fell on their tempo traveller near Basteri in Kinnaur. Multiple landslides triggered by rains occurred near Basteri on the Sangla-Chitkul road, resulting in the collapse of a bridge and damage to some vehicles. PTI
13:47 No one can take an inch of Assam's land: CM
Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma on the clashes between his state and bordering Mizoram.
"This is not a political issue. This is a boundary dispute between two states. This is a long-standing border dispute. There was dispute even at the time when Congres government was there on both sides. This is a dispute between two states, not between two political parties.
"It is a reserve forest. Can reserve forest be utilised for settlement? The dispute is not regarding land, it's regarding forest. Assam wants to protect the forest. It's not organising any settlement in forest area, we don't want any settlement there.
"With the help of satellite imaging, you can see how the encroachment has taken place. Assam Govt has also decided to move Supreme Court with a (law) suit over this.
I called Mizoram CM six times when firing was taking place (at Assam-Mizoram border yesterday). He said 'sorry' and invited me for talks in Aizawl. No one can take even an inch of our land. We're committed to securing our territory. Police are on the border."
13:22 Pawar likely to meet Mamata in Delhi tomorrow
NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday said he is likely to meet West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday in New Delhi, where the TMC head will hold parleys with opposition leaders to explore ways to cobble together an alliance of anti-BJP parties ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
Banerjee arrived in Delhi on Monday on her first visit to the national capital since assuming office as the West Bengal CM for a third term and is expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind.
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo, who apparently seeks to take up a larger role in national politics prior to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, is also scheduled to meet Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and a host of other leaders from opposition parties.
Responding to a question in this context by reporters, Pawar, whose party shares power with the Shiv Sena and Congress in Maharashtra, said, "She called me last week and told me about her visit to New Delhi and her willingness to meet. I think we are likely to meet tomorrow in New Delhi."
The former Union minister, however, refused to comment on the Pegasus snooping controversy. "This is not the time and place to say anything about it. We will raise the issue at the right place-in Parliament. We will try to raise it there," he said.
Vaccination is the only remedy
13:13 Delta variant identified in Nanjing's COVID-19 clusters
The virus strain behind the latest clusters of COVID-19 cases in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, has been identified as the highly infectious Delta variant, local authorities said Tuesday.
The recent spike in infections in the city can be attributed to the special location of the outbreak and the highly contagious nature of the strain, said Ding Jie, vice director of the city's center for disease control and prevention, at a press conference.
Nanjing, a mega-city with a population of more than 9.3 million, has seen daily increases of locally transmitted COVID-19 cases since a few airport workers tested positive for coronavirus last week.
It has launched the second round of all-inclusive nucleic acid testing and urged residents not to leave the city unless necessary. -- PTI
12:56 Raj Kundra sent to jail for 14 days in porn case
A court in Mumbai sends actor Shilpa Shetty's husband Raj Kundra and Ryan Thorpe to judicial custody for 14 days in the pornography racket case.
Raj Kundra was arrested last week in connection with a porn racket and is currently in police custody. He is allegedly involved in the production and streaming of pornographic content through an app called Hotshots.
He has been booked under Sections 420 (cheating), 34 (common intention), 292 and 293 (related to obscene and indecent advertisements and displays) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) along with relevant sections of the IT Act and the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act.
12:50 Delhi govt to recommend names of doctors, health workers for Padma awards
The Delhi government has decided to recommend for the Padma awards this year names of doctors and health workers who fought against coronavirus and saved lives during the pandemic, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Tuesday.
The chief minister also asked Delhiites to recommend names of doctors and health workers whose work deserves to be recognised. People can send in their recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org by August 15, he said.
Kejriwal said a search and screening committee headed by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia will take the final call on these recommendations. "We want the doctors and health workers to be felicitated with the Padma awards this year in recognition of their work and as a gesture of gratitude towards them," the CM said.
Many doctors and health workers contracted COVID-19 and lost their lives while saving people from the virus. The whole country and humanity are indebted to them, he said.
The Padma awards are given for distinguished and exceptional achievements or service in all fields or disciplines, such as Art, Literature and Education, Sports, Medicine, Social Work, Science and Engineering, Public Affairs, Civil Service, Trade and Industry etc.
12:48 Dr Reddy's profit drops 36% to Rs 380.4 cr in June quarter
Dr Reddy's Laboratories on Tuesday reported 36 per cent decline in consolidated net profit at Rs 380.4 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2021, on account of higher expenses. The pharma major had posted a net profit of Rs 594.6 crore in the corresponding period a year ago.
Total income during June quarter of the current fiscal stood at Rs 5,053 crore, up 12 per cent as against Rs 4,513.6 crore in the year-ago period, Dr Reddy's Laboratories said in a filing to BSE.
Total expenses during the period under review were at Rs 4,513.8, up 24.7 per cent as against Rs 3,620.8 crore in first quarter of the previous fiscal. Shares of Dr Reddy's Laboratories were trading 4.15 per cent lower at Rs 5,184.40 apiece on BSE. PTI
12:35 Oppn not letting Parl run, expose them: PM to MPs
Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked Bharatiya Janata Party MPs to expose the opposition parties as they were not letting the Parliament conduct any business, sources said.
The comments were made by the Prime Minister at the BJP's parliamentary party meeting held on Tuesday. The comments of the Prime Minister on the opposition come as both Houses of Parliament have been facing multiple adjournments due to ruckus created by opposition parties repeatedly.
PM Modi also asked the ministers and MPs to have a good relationship with Opposition MPs, said sources.
12:10 China increases naval might
China is involved in various disputes with neighbors - including India, Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam - but none approach the degree of danger faced by the democratic nation of Taiwan.
China militarily threatens Taiwan through means such as ballistic missiles or amphibious invasion, but would it have sufficient shipping to achieve an amphibious lodgment? The likes of a D-Day landing are unlikely ever to be repeated, when nearly 7,000 Allied vessels (including 1,213 combat ships, 4,126 landing ships, 736 ancillary ships and 864 merchant vessels) supported landings in Normandy beginning 6 June 1944. Indeed, conducting an amphibious assault in this day and age is surrounded by heavy risk, considering the advancement in weapons such as anti-ship missiles.
The topic of whether China is readying to invade Taiwan has been generating significant heat and light over the past year or so. Of course, for the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to invade and conquer Taiwan would involve major loss of ships, equipment and lives.
Nonetheless, China under Chairman Xi Jinping has been ramping up its ability to project power by sea, including its amphibious assault capability. Thus, the PLA Navy (PLAN) has already inducted the first of multiple 40,000-ton Type 075 landing helicopter dock (LHD) ships, with a second due to enter service imminently. The Type 075 is a flat-top vessel able to carry numerous helicopters, as well as possessing a well deck that can be flooded to allow landing craft, hovercraft and amphibious assault vehicles to disembark.
A fleet of Type 075 LHDs will complement existing Type 071 landing platform dock (LPD) ships, which have a well deck but reduced capacity to carry helicopters compared to an LHD. China has eight LPDs in service. -- ANI
11:53 75th I-Day: PM mandates 75 hours in 75 villages
Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked the BJP MPs on Tuesday to mark the 75 years of independence by organising programmes in each village of their constituencies, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal said. Sources said the prime minister also asked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs to expose the opposition parties as the government is ready for a discussion but they are not.
Addressing the BJP parliamentary party meeting, Modi said the 75th anniversary celebrations of independence should not merely be a government programme, but it should be a people's movement with people's participation, Meghwal told reporters after the meeting. He asked the BJP MPs to form a team of two party workers in each Assembly segment, which will organise the programmes and seek suggestions and ideas from people on how they envisage India in 2047, when the country will complete 100 years of independence.
The prime minister told the MPs that these teams of two BJP workers will visit 75 villages in each Assembly constituency and spend 75 hours in each constituency, Meghwal said.
The 75 years of independence can also be celebrated by organising local sports events and cleanliness drives, Modi said. He also emphasised on the digital literacy of people in rural India so that they can avail maximum benefits of the government welfare schemes, the minister said. PTI
11:31 India reports less than 30,000 daily COVID cases after 132 days
India reported 29,689 fresh COVID cases and 416 deaths in the last 24 hours, informed the Union Health Ministry.
The country today has reported less than 30,000 daily cases after 132 days.
As per the Ministry of Health, the active caseload of India is 3,98,100, and the daily positivity rate is 1.73 per cent.42,363 recoveries were also reported in the last 24 hours. With this, the cumulative recoveries are now 3,06,21,469 with a 97.39 per cent recovery rate.
Total deaths recorded in India are 4,21,382.The ministry also informed that 44.19 crore Covid vaccine doses have been administered under the Nationwide Vaccination Drive so far, and 45.91 crore Covid tests have also been conducted. -- ANI
11:26 Pegasus din continues in Parl, RS adjourned
Rajya Sabha adjourned till noon amid sloganeering by Opposition MPs for a discussion on the 'Pegasus Project' report.
Union Ministers Pralhad Joshi and V Muraleedharan briefed BJP Parliamentary Party meeting on what happened in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in the past week.
PM Modi asked party MPs to expose the as it is not coming to the meetings or letting the House conduct any business.
The Assam-Mizoram border at Vairengte
11:08 Cong committee to visit Assam-Mizoram border
The Congress party has constituted a 7-member committee 'to visit Cachar and any other area to assess the Assam-Mizoram border dispute on the ground and the ensuing violence'.
Assam Congress chief Bhupen Bora to lead the committee.
Deputy Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, Gaurav Gogoi said some media reports say LMG was used (during the Assam-Mizoram border clash yesterday). "Are we in our country or on the borders of the country? We demand an enquiry into this incident," Gogoi said.
Paying his condolences to those who lost their lives in the recent Assam-Mizoram clashes, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday accused the Centre of sowing hatred and distrust into the lives of people, terming the clashes its 'dreadful consequences.'
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today laid wreaths and paid tribute to the policemen who lost their lives in the Assam-Mizoram border clash yesterday, in Silchar.
The Assam-Mizoram inter-state border clash that has claimed the lives of at least five policemen and injured 60 others,
10:59 Monstrous nations
"When politically mobilized majorities (or politicians acting in their name) single out minorities for oppression, writers reach for historically loaded comparisons. Marine Le Pen, Viktor Orbn, Vladimir Putin, Jair Bolsonaro, Recep Erdogan, Aung San Suu Kyi, Xi Jinping, Mahinda Rajapaksa, Bashar al-Assad, Narendra Modi, Benjamin Netanyahu have all been called fascist and this is not an exhaustive list.
"The appropriateness of this label is complicated by two considerations. One, can a political tendency so closely associated with the histories of Germany, Italy and Japan between the World Wars be usefully generalized to describe other polities removed in both time and space? Two, is it accurate to describe right-wing governments in internally democratic and externally peaceful countries as fascist when the signature trait of historic fascisms like Germany's and Japan's was genocidal, warmongering violence?"
Mukul Kesavan in search of actually existing fascism. Read the column here.
Senior journalist N Ram
10:44 Sr journalists move SC seeking probe into Pegasus
Veteran journalists N Ram (former Chief Editor The Hindu) and Sashi Kumar (founder Asianet, Director ACJ) move the Supreme Court seeking an inquiry headed by a sitting or retired judge of the SC into the reports of surveillance using Pegasus spyware.
The writ petition also sought a direction to the Union of India to disclose if it or any of its agencies have used the spyware in question either directly or indirectly to conduct any such surveillance.
10:30 BJP meeting underway on Parliament logjam
BJP Parliamentary Party meeting is underway at Parliament on the Opposition's attempts to stall business during the monsoon session. PM Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP chief JP Nadda, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi and other BJP leaders present at the meeting.
10:18 Brazil scraps Covaxin's EUA application
After suspending the proposed clinical trials of Bharat Bioetch's COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin, Brazil has now scrapped the Emergency Use Authorisation request made by the Indian company for the jab.
The Brazilian health regulator's decision comes after the vaccine maker informed the South American country about the termination of its pact with its partners in that country.
According to a statement issued by the National Health Surveillance Agency of Brazil, Anvisa, its Collegiate Board on Saturday unanimously decided "to close the process that dealt with the temporary authorization of emergency use, on an experimental basis, of the Covaxin vaccine".
Earlier Anvisa had suspended the clinical studies of Bharat Biotechs COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin in Brazil following the termination of the company's agreement with its partners there.
"The decision was taken after Anvisa was informed by the Indian company Bharat Biotech International Limited that the company Necessidade no longer has authorization to represent Bharat Biotech, manufacturer of the Covaxin vaccine, in Brazil," Anvisa said.
Anvisa's decision refers to the request for emergency use of Covaxin that had been filed by the Brazilian company Necessidade with Anvisa.
Bharat Biotech on July 23 said it terminated the MoU it entered with Precisa Medicamentos and Envixia Pharmaceuticals LL.C for its COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin for Brazilian market.
The termination of the MoU came after the deal with the Brazilian Government for supply of 20 million doses of the Covaxin landed in controversy and attracted investigation by authorities in that country.
Following the graft allegations and subsequent inquiry by the authorities, the Brazilian government had earlier suspended Covaxin's order temporarily.
Bharat Biotech will continue to work diligently with Anvisa, to complete the regulatory approval process for Covaxin, Bharat Biotech had said while announcing the termination of its pact with its Brazilian partners. -- PTI
09:56 North, South Korea agree to restore severed communication links
North and South Korea have agreed to restore their cross-border communication lines that had been severed for over a year, the South Korean presidential office said on Tuesday.
An official statement said that the two Koreas decided to resume their direct communication hotlines as of 10:00 am local time.
This comes 13 months after North Korea cut off all communication lines with South Korea in protest over Seoul's supposed failure to stop activists from sending anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets into the communist nation, Yonhap reported.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and DPRK leader Kim Jong Un have exchanged personal letters several times since April to communicate about issues on the restored inter-Korean relations, the statement said.
Moon and Kim agreed first to restore the severed inter-Korean communication lines, the statement read. The two leaders also agreed to restore mutual trust and enhance inter-Korean ties at the earliest.
Seoul said the resumed inter-Korean communication lines would play a positive role in the improvement and the development of inter-Korean relations. -- ANI
09:36 HM has 'failed' country: Rahul on Assam-Mizoram row
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday attacked Union Home Minister Amit Shah over the violence at the Assam-Mizoram border, alleging that he has "failed" the country by "sowing hatred and distrust" into the lives of people and India is now reaping its "dreadful consequences".
According to officials, at least five Assam Police personnel were killed while defending the "constitutional boundary" of the state with Mizoram and more than 60 people injured, including an SP, as the festering border dispute between the two northeastern states erupted into a bloody conflict on Monday.
"Heartfelt condolences to the families of those who've been killed. I hope the injured recover soon," Gandhi tweeted, tagging a purported video of the violence.
"HM has failed the country yet again by sowing hatred and distrust into the lives of people. India is now reaping its dreadful consequences," the former Congress chief said.
In a statement on Monday, the Assam government alleged that the Mizoram Police opened fire on its officials and civilians from two dominating high features with automatic weapons, including light machine guns.
However, Mizoram Home Minister Lalchamliana claimed that the state police responded "spontaneously by firing back" at Assam Police after its 200 personnel forcibly crossed a duty post manned by CRPF personnel and indulged in arson and firing and assaulted unarmed people.
Later, Shah spoke to Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Mizoram counterpart Zoramthanga and urged them to ensure peace along the disputed border and find an amicable settlement.
Assam's Barak Valley districts of Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi share a 164-km border with Mizoram's three districts of Aizawl, Kolasib and Mamit.
Following a territorial dispute, there were clashes along the inter-state border in August 2020 and February this year. -- PTI
09:17 Rain lashes Delhi, waterlogging in several areas
In a relief to Delhiites from sultry weather conditions, several parts of the national capital received incessant rainfall on Tuesday morning.
However, the heavy downpour has caused water-logging in several parts of Delhi.
According to the India Meteorological Department's prediction on Tuesday morning, a thunderstorm with light to moderate intensity rain is likely in many parts of Delhi and Haryana and Rajasthan.
"Thunderstorms with light to moderate intensity rain would occur over many places of North-west Delhi, Central Delhi, South-Delhi, Southwest-Delhi, Gurugram, Manesar, Sohna, Bhiwadi, Bawal, Narnaul, Kosli, Rewari, Nuh, Manesar (Haryana), Tizara, Alwar, Rajgarh, Deeeg, Nagar, Khairthal, Mehndipur, Mahwa, Lachmanngarh, Nadbai (Rajasthan) and adjoining areas during the next 2 2 hours," tweeted IMD at 5.26 am.
Sultry weather troubled the national capital with maximum temperature recorded at 33.1 degrees Celsius on Monday and 37.3 degrees Celsius on Sunday. -- ANI
09:08 Railways minister announces Rs 2 crore reward, promotion for Mirabai Chanu
Minister for Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw on Monday felicitated weightlifter Mirabai Chanu who won a silver medal in the Tokyo Olympics, and announced a reward of Rs 2 crore and a promotion in her job in the Northeast Frontier Railway.
The minister said she has inspired billions around the world with her talent, handwork and grit.
"It was great to meet and congratulate the pride of India and honour of Indian Rly, @mirabai_chanu. Also felicitated her & announced Rs. 2 Cr , a promotion and more. She has inspired billions around the world with her talent, handwork and grit. Keep winning for India!" Vaishnaw tweeted.
Chanu, who returned to the country on Monday evening, lifted a total of 202kg (87kg+115kg) in the 49kg category to better Karnam Malleswari's bronze in the 2000 Sydney Olympics on Saturday.
Chanu, hailing from Manipur, was promoted as an Officer on Special Duty (Sports) in the Northeast Frontier Railway in April, 2018. -- PTI
08:55 Xi visiting Tibet is a threat to India: US Congressman
Chinese President Xi Jinping visiting Tibet last week is a threat to India, an influential United States lawmaker has said, accusing the Joe Biden-led administration of not doing enough to stop the Chinese "march".
Xi on Wednesday last made an unannounced three-day trip to Nyingchi in Tibet, close to the border with Arunachal Pradesh.
Xi, who is also General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, met top officials of the Tibet Military Command and reviewed development projects in the region.
In an interview to Fox News, Republican Congressman Devin Nunes said: "Just last week, you had Xi Jinping, the Chinese dictator, on the border with India, in Tibet, claiming victory. This was the first time in 30 years, I believe, that a Chinese dictator had been to Tibet, and also threatening India, over a billion people also a nuclear power; threatening India that he's going to build a big water project, possibly cut off water to India."
During his visit to Nyingchi, Xi visited the Nyang River Bridge to inspect the ecological preservation in the basin of the Brahmaputra river, which is called Yarlung Zangbo in Tibetan language.
China this year approved plans to build a huge dam over the Brahmaputra river during the current 14th Five-Year Plan, which raised concerns in the riparian states of India and Bangladesh.
"So, no matter what you plug into the propaganda machine, you can build all the narratives you want here in Washington, D.C., but then there's reality. The reality is that the Chinese are on the march, and the (President Joe) Biden administration is letting them do whatever they want," Nunes said.
A senior Republican in the House of Representatives representing the 42nd Congressional district of California, Nunes was the chairman of the powerful House Intelligence Committee from 2015 to 2019.
Xi's visit to Tibet took place amidst the current India-China military tensions in eastern Ladakh.
India and China have been locked in a military standoff at multiple friction points in eastern Ladakh since early May last year.
China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of South Tibet, which is firmly rejected by India. The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488-km Line of Actual Control (LAC).
China is accused of suppressing cultural and religious freedom in Tibet. China has rejected the accusations.
Since becoming President in 2013, Xi has pursued a firm policy of stepping up security control of Tibet. Beijing has been cracking down on Buddhist monks and followers of the Dalai Lama, who despite his exile remains a widely admired spiritual leader in the remote Himalayan region. -- PTI
08:17 4 new Covid cases in Olympic Games village
Four residents of the Olympic Games village, including two athletes, are among the seven new COVID-19 cases that the event organisers announced on Tuesday.
With this, the total Games-related COVID cases shot up to 155, 20 of them in the Games village.
The four fresh cases in the village include two Games-concerned personnel.
On Monday, Dutch tennis player Jean-Julien Rojer was forced to withdraw from after testing positive for the virus.
Rojer and his doubles partner Wesley Koolhof, who were scheduled to play Marcus Daniell and Michael Venus of New Zealand, pulled out of their second-round match on Monday following Rojer's positive test result.
The contingents that have been hit by COVID-19 after landing in Tokyo include Czech republic, the USA, Chile, South Africa and the Netherlands among others.
Of these, the Czech Republic is inquiring into possible health safety protocol violations by its contingent after four athletes tested positive for the virus, forcing withdrawals from beach volleyball and road cycling events. -- PTI
01:21 Verdict in Sunanda death case likely today
Delhi's Rouse Avenue Court is likely to pronounce its order on framing of charges in the death case of Sunanda Pushkar on Tuesday.
Pushkar was found dead in a suite of a luxury hotel in the city on the night of January 17, 2014.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, husband of Sunanda Pushkar is the main accused in the matter according to the Delhi Police.
Tharoor, a former Union minister, who is currently on bail in the case, was charge-sheeted by Delhi Police under Sections 498-A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) and 306 (abetment of suicide) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Earlier, the pronouncement of the order got deferred in the matter.
Special Judge Geetanjali Goel recently had kept the order reserved after prosecution and defence counsel concluded their arguments on the issue of framing of charges.
Earlier, Public Prosecutor Atul Srivastava stressed that Pushkar has undergone mental cruelty which leads to her bad health.
The Public Prosecutor also argued that it was not an accidental death and relied on the post mortem report which suggests that the cause of death is poisoning which could be oral or injected.
Srivastava had also said that due to the mental cruelty caused to Pushkar, her health became worse.
He further added that Pushkar was not facing any health issues earlier but problems begun due to 'stress and betrayal'.
Tharoor's Defence counsel and Senior Advocate Vikas Pahwa said that prosecutors are not able to establish evidence against the leader and the theory of injecting poison is in the air and can not be admissible.
Tharoor's lawyer also read the statement by Sunanda's son recorded under section 161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, in which he had said, "In the Mortuary of AIIMS, I asked the doctor who conducted the post mortem about the case of death, he (doctor) responded that there is no foul play or poinsiong but the same doctor later went into the media and said that death is due to poisioning. Shashi can't harm even a fly." -- ANI