Thu, 03 June 2021
Govt wants to shift farmers' stir to Jind: Tikait

Timeline  Refresh

23:37   Govt wants to shift farmers' stir to Jind: Tikait
Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait on Thursday alleged that the government wants to shift the farmers' agitation centre point from near Delhi borders to Haryana's Jind, a "ploy" which will not be allowed to succeed.
He said farmers will not leave their protest sites on Delhi's borders "at any cost".
"The Central government wants that agitation should shift from Delhi borders to Haryana's Jind. But we will not allow their ploy to succeed," Tikait told reporters after addressing a farmers' gathering here.
"They want that the agitation centre point be shifted from Delhi borders to Haryana. But we will not leave Delhi borders at any cost," he added.
Tikait, however, said protests by farmers against three agri laws at various sites, including at toll plazas, in Haryana will continue as before.
Earlier, addressing the gathering of farmers, he said the agitation will continue till the demands of the farmers are met.
With several police cases registered against farmers during the course of their ongoing agitation, Tikait said, "During any agitation, such as this, one should be prepared to go to jail and not be afraid of that."
He said the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, which is spearheading the ongoing farmers' agitation, will continue to protest peacefully against the farm laws.
-- PTI
23:08   COVID-19: Milkha Singh admitted to ICU
Track legend Milkha Singh, who had tested positive for COVID-19 two weeks ago, was on Thursday admitted to the ICU in COVID hospital of Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh.

"He was admitted to the ICU due to dipping levels of oxygen. He has been kept under observation and is stable now," said Prof Ashok Kumar, spokesperson, PGIMER, Chandigarh. 

On May 24, Milkha Singh was admitted to Fortis Hospital in Mohali as a precautionary measure. He had tested positive for coronavirus two weeks ago and was in isolation at his home in Chandigarh.

His son, Jeev had also thanked everyone for the good wishes and said that his father was receiving wonderful care.
Milkha Singh is also known as The Flying Sikh. He still is the only Indian athlete to win gold in the 400m at the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games.

He also won gold medals in the 1958 and 1962 Asian Games. He represented India in the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, and the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

He was awarded the Padma Shri, India's fourth-highest civilian honour, in recognition of his sporting achievements. 

-- ANI
22:40   Punjab CM arrives in Delhi to meet 3-member AICC panel on Friday
Amid infighting within Punjab Congress, state Chief Minister Amarinder Singh will meet the three-member panel headed by Mallikarjun Kharge on Friday morning to resolve differences with MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu and take steps to strengthen the party at the grassroots level ahead of next year's assembly polls.
The panel constituted by Congress president Sonia Gandhi to resolve factionalism in the Punjab unit comprises Kharge, former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat and former MP J P Aggarwal.
Meanwhile, the Punjab CM arrived in the national capital on Thursday. Sources said Singh will meet the panel members at 11 am on Friday morning.
Congress leaders, including Anandpur Sahib MP Manish Tewari, met the panel on Thursday along with some MLAs and discussed possible ways to end the infighting and prepare for the upcoming polls in Punjab.
The panel also spoke to Rajya Sabha member from Punjab Ambika Soni and held deliberations with her. Of late, Soni has not been keeping well.
Lok Sabha MP Tewari said there is no factionalism within Punjab Congress and this exercise is being done to strengthen the party and evolve a strategy before next year's elections.
The MP added that it was normal for the Congress to hold such exercises to seek views of party leaders and he had given his suggestions to the panel.
-- PTI
22:14   17 pilots of Air India, IndiGo, Vistara died of Covid in May: Sources
A total of 17 pilots of Air India, IndiGo and Vistara died due to COVID-19 in May when the country saw the peak of the coronavirus pandemic's second wave, sources said on Thursday.

IndiGo lost 10 pilots and Vistara two, aviation industry sources stated. 

Air India officials said five senior pilots - captains Harsh Tiwary, G P S Gill,  Prasad Karmakar, Sandeep Rana and Amitesh Prasad - of the national carrier died of Covid.

-- PTI
21:41   Kamala Harris calls PM, talks about vaccine plan
US Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and informed him about the United States' global allocation plan of the first 25 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines. Apart from PM Modi, Harris spoke to Mexico President Andres Manuel Lpez Obrador, Guatemala President Alejandro Giammattei and Prime Minister Keith Rowley, Chairman of the Caribbean Community.

"In four separate calls, the Vice President notified each of the leaders that the Biden-Harris Administration will begin sharing the first 25 million doses of Covid vaccines to their respective countries and others, as part of the Biden-Harris Administrations framework for sharing at least 80 million vaccines globally by the end of June," the office of Kamala Harris said.

The Biden-Harris administration on Thursday released its vaccination sharing plan in which India features along with Canada, Mexico and the Republic of Korea, which together will get around six million doses. The US will share these doses with the countries directly, the statement released by the White House said.
21:15   US to give 80 million Covid-19 vaccine doses
US to give 80 million vaccine doses to prioritized nations, 75% via COVAX. 

75 per cent of vaccines to be shared through COVAX distribution scheme, including 6 million for Latin America and Caribbean, 7 million for south and southeast Asia and 5 million for Africa

Remaining 6 million doses to be shared with countries in need and other partners including Canada, Mexico, India, and South Korea, says Biden
20:57   VVIP chopper scam case: Christian Michel's family pleads for UK's intervention
The family of Christian Michel, based in the UK and France, on Thursday expressed concern for his well-being amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in India and urged the British government to intervene on behalf of the VVIP chopper scam accused being held in Tihar Jail in New Delhi.

Alaric and Alois Michel, the sons of the British middleman who was extradited to India from the UAE over a controversial helicopter deal, said they were increasingly concerned for their father's well-being amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the country's prisons and his medical condition involving kidney stones.

"It has been extremely hard on us, especially our 17-year-old sister. We are concerned for our father's well-being given the COVID-19 pandemic and his medical condition," 26-year-old Alaric said during an online press conference organised by Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers in London.

"India is somewhere our father considered home for many years," added 24-year-old Alois.

The Indian government maintains that all procedures were followed in the extradition case.

Michel's legal team, however, alleges that he was handed over to the Indian authorities as a "quid pro quo" for the return of Princess Latifa -- the daughter of Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum.

-- PTI
20:21   Alapan Bandyopadhyay responds to Centre's notice
West Bengals former chief secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay has responded to the Union home ministrys show-cause notice sent to him for missing Prime Minister Narendra Modis meeting on May 28.

Officials at Nabanna, the West Bengal governments secretariat in state capital Kolkata, said Bandyopadhyay sent his reply on Thursday afternoon. But they refused to divulge the contents of the letter.

The Centre sent the show cause notice to Alapan Bandyopadhyay on 31 May, insisting that his decision to miss the meeting convened by Prime Minister Modi during his visit to Bengal in the aftermath of Cyclone Yaas was a violation of the Disaster Management Act 2005.
19:52   Maha says no relaxation of curbs anywhere yet
The Maharashtra government on Thursday evening clarified that the existing restrictions on account of COVID-19 have not been lifted anywhere, contrary to the announcement made by minister Vijay Wadettiwar.

Relaxation of restrictions as per the situation in different areas is only under consideration and no decision has been taken, a statement from the Chief Minister's Office said.

Wadettiwar, minister for Disaster Management, later said only "in principle" approval to phasing out of restrictions was given, but no decision has been taken.

He had told reporters in the afternoon that restrictions would be lifted in 18 out of 36 districts in the state where the positivity rate is five per cent or less and the occupancy of oxygen beds in hospitals is less than 25 percent from Friday.

He had held a press conference after a meeting of the State Disaster Management Authority.

The CMO statement that followed said the government has not lifted lockdown-like curbs as COVID-19 has not been controlled completely yet.

-- PTI
19:33   Mylab rolls out 10 lakh indigenous self test kits for COVID-19
Mylab Discovery Solutions on Thursday said that it is rolling out 10 lakh self-test kits for COVID-19 and based on consumer demand, it will make 70 lakh units available per week.
The indigenous test kit will be available at over-the-counter at pharmacies and drugstores across India. Individuals can also order it online through Flipkart, Mylab Discovery Solutions said in a statement.
The product should be available in retail within 2-3 days. The company also plans to make the product available on the government e-marketplace, it added.
"Self-testing should slow down the spread of COVID-19 significantly. We aim to make CoviSelf available across the length and breadth of the country, especially for the people residing in rural areas who have limited options for testing," Mylab Discovery Solutions MD Hasmukh Rawal said.
Priced at Rs 250, CoviSelf has been designed as the mid-nasal swab test and can be self-administered at home.

-- PTI
18:53   3 accused in Elgar-Maoist links case contract COVID-19 in jail
Three out of 10 accused in the  Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case who are lodged at Taloja Central Prison near Mumbai have tested positive for coronavirus infection, an official said on Thursday.

RT-PCR tests of 57 inmates of the jail, located in Navi Mumbai, were conducted recently, he said.

Mahesh Raut, Sagar Gorkhe and Ramesh Gaichor, all accused in the Elgar case, tested positive, while other 54 were negative. The reports were received on Wednesday, the prison official said.

Those whose reports were negative included activists Gautam Navlakha, Anand Teltumbde, Rona Wilson, Vernon Gonsalves, Surendra Gadling, Sudhir Dhawle and Arun Farreira, all accused in the Elgar Parishad case.

Of total 13 accused in the case, Varavara Rao, Stan Swamy and Hany Babu are currently out of the prison.

Rao is on bail, whereas Swamy (84) and Babu are hospitalised. Swamy and Babu had tested positive for the virus at hospital.

Sudha Bharadwaj, another accused, is lodged in Byculla jail in Mumbai.

Taloja prison officials conducted RT-PCR tests of 556 inmates in April and May this year as a precautionary measure, and a total of 14 persons tested positive, the official said. The prison currently houses 2,972 inmates.

The Elgar case relates to the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017. Pune Police had claimed that it was backed by Maoists and the speeches made there triggered caste violence at Bhima-Koregaon war memorial in the district the next day.

-- PTI
18:30   India will ensure Mehul Choksi's brought back: MEA
India will continue to ensure that fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi is brought back to the country, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday.

"India remains steadfast in its efforts that fugitives are brought back to India. He is currently in the custody of Dominica with some legal proceedings underway. We will continue to ensure he is brought back to India," MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said during a briefing. 

Choksi had gone missing from Antigua on May 23 after going out for dinner and was soon caught in Dominica after Antigua police launched a manhunt for Mehul Choksi last month.

Choksi was charged with illegal entry by the police in Dominica after he allegedly escaped from Antigua and Barbuda in a possible attempt to evade extradition to India.

A Dominican court on Thursday denied bail to Mehul Choksi. During the hearing, Dominican Judge Bernie Stephenson said the fugitive businessman must answer the illegal entry charges into Dominica in Magistrates court.

Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are accused in the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank fraud case. Choksi fled the country. He was granted citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda in January 2018. He is involved in a legal battle to prevent his extradition to India.

Meanwhile, the fugitive diamantaire's lawyer Vijay Aggarwal said on Wednesday Choksi was kidnapped, he did not go to Dominica on his own free will and added that the only question in front of the Dominican court is whether he entered Dominica illegally or not and whether the local police has the right to keep him in custody.

-- ANI
18:00   In surprise move, PM joins CBSE session with students, parents
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today surprised a bunch of CBSE students and their parents by joining a session organised for them by the Union Education Ministry. The move came two days after the Centre, keeping in mind the prevailing Covid conditions, cancelled the board's Class 12 exams for the academic year 2021.

The PM interacted with parents during the meeting today and had a chat with them on their issues and concerns.

PM Modi on June 1 decided to cancel the exam following a meeting attended by Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, and Central Board of Secondary Education chief Manoj Ahuja.

The board will now gauge students' progress over the past year based on well-defined objective criteria, the Prime Minister's Office had said following the announcement. The move has been widely welcomed across the country.

"Health and safety of our students is of utmost importance and there would be no compromise on this aspect," a PMO statement had said.

Yesterday, PM Modi elaborated on his decision on Twitter, in the process quoting a few thankful parents and teachers.

"This was the only option and is the best, considering the risk to life and tremendous mental pressure the kids were facing," he wrote in one of his tweets, for instance.
17:54   1st time in 4 months, Dharavi reports 1 Covid case
For the first time in four months, Mumbai's Dharavi area reported just one new coronavirus case on Thursday, a senior official of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said. 

 The slum-dominated area had not detected a single case on Wednesday, he said. The tally of infections in Dharavi stands at 6,829, of which 6,451 patients have recovered from the disease and 19 are undergoing treatment, the official said. Dharavi became a hotspot of coronavirus infection at the start of April, with 99 cases reported on April 8 alone. 

 Spread over 2.5 sq km, Dharavi is considered to be Asia's largest slum, with a population of over 6.5 lakh
17:19   Lockdown to be partially lifted in Mumbai
Update: Coronavirus-induced restrictions will be lifted from Friday in 18 out of 36 Maharashtra districts where the positivity rate and oxygen bed occupancy have dipped considerably, the state government said. 

 Disaster Management Minister Vijay Wadettiwar made the announcement after a meeting of the State Disaster Management Authority on Thursday.

 The lockdown-like restrictions, imposed in April this year when the second wave of the pandemic intensified, would be lifted in 18 districts where the positivity rate is 5 percent or less and the occupancy of oxygen beds in hospitals is less than 25 percent, he said. 

 These 18 districts are Aurangabad, Bhandara, Buldhana, Chandrapur, Dhule, Gadchiroli, Gondia, Jalgaon, Jalna, Latur, Nagpur, Nanded, Nashik, Yavatmal, Washim, Wardha, Parbhani and Thane.

 All restrictions would be lifted in these districts, he said. 

 Restrictions in Mumbai would be relaxed partially, but the travel by local trains, the state capital's lifeline, would not be open to the general public as of now, the minister said. PTI
17:16   Sensex, Nifty surge to record highs; RBI policy eyed
Market benchmarks ratcheted up to fresh lifetime highs on Thursday after two days of muted trade as banking, finance and infra stocks saw hectic buying ahead of RBI's monetary policy decision. 

 A rebounding rupee added to the momentum, with midcap and smallcap gauges outperforming the benchmarks.

 The 30-share BSE Sensex opened strong and carried the gains through the day to finish 382.95 points or 0.70 per cent higher at 52,232.43.

 The index surpassed its previous closing record of 52,154.13 hit on February 15 this year. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty soared 114.15 points or 0.73 per cent to end at its lifetime peak of 15,690.35. 

 Titan was the top performer in the Sensex pack, spurting 6.69 per cent, followed by ONGC, L&T, Axis Bank, Kotak Bank, Bajaj Finance and HDFC Bank. On the other hand, IndusInd Bank, PowerGrid, Bajaj Auto, M&M and Dr Reddy's were among the laggards, shedding up to 2.15 per cent. -- PTI
17:12   Maharashtra unveils 5-level lockdown strategy
Maharashtra has unveiled a 5-level unlock strategy as the Covid numbers in the state slowly recede. Lockdown-like restrictions will be lifted from tomorrow in 18 out of 36 Maharashtra districts. Mumbai's local trains, restricted for frontline workers, will remain off limits for the general public. 

Lockdown can be lifted completely in districts categorised as Level 1. There are 18 districts in the first level including Thane. India's financial capital Mumbai - which got the situation fast under control during the second wave of the virus - is on Level 2.

More details awaited.
17:04   99-yr-old recovers from Covid at home
A 99-year-old woman with comorbidities from Gurugram defeats COVID-19 by staying in home quarantine.  "We used natural air purifying plants to give her fresh air. We gave her fruits, vegetables. She recovered well. ASHA worker also supported us," says her grandchild.
17:01   AIIMS Delhi to start Covaxin trials on children
After All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Patna, now AIIMS Delhi is also planning to start the Paediatric clinical trials of the indigenous Bharat Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine "Covaxin" in few days, sources said on Thursday. 

The paediatric trials for Covaxin started in AIIMS Patna on Tuesday after Bharat Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine received the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) nod to conduct clinical trials on children on May 11."AIIMS Patna has started trials in the age of 12-18 years, we have started clinical trials of Covaxin after registration for this age only," said Dr Prabhat Kumar Singh, Director, AIIMS, Patna.

"After these trials, the age group will be 6-12 years and then 2-6 years but now we have started trails in the age group of 12-18 years," he added.

VK Paul, Member (Health), Niti Aayog had earlier said, "Covaxin has been approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), for Phase II/III clinical trials in the age group of 2 to 18 years."
16:57   Pre-monsoon showers likely in parts of Maha in next 48 hrs: IMD
Several parts of Maharashtra, including Mumbai, are expected to receive pre-monsoon showers of varied intensity in the next 48 hours, the India Meteorological Department said on Thursday. 

 According to the IMD's regional forecast, widespread rains will lash Mumbai and the entire coast of Maharashtra till Saturday. "The present weather conditions are likely to bring showers in various parts of the state, with varied intensity. The trough (a type of low-pressure area) from cyclonic circulation over east-central Arabian Sea and neighbourhood to north Konkan has become less marked," the IMD said.

 It could bring widespread showers to central Maharashtra, covering districts from Nandurbar to Solapur. Scattered and isolated showers are likely to hit the Marathwada and Vidarbha region as well in the next 48 hours, the IMD said. PTI 
16:47   Maharashtra cancels Class X, XII exams
Maharashtra Board class 10 and 12 examinations have been cancelled: Maharashtra Minister Vijay Wadettiwar.
16:45   Onus of ceasefire holding is with Pak: Army chief
Army Chief General M M Naravane on Thursday said the longevity of the ceasefire along the Line of Control with Pakistan depends on the actions of the neighbouring country but asserted that there would be "no slackening" of preparedness as terror infrastructure across the border was intact. 

 "The ceasefire along the LoC is holding as of now. The onus of making sure that the ceasefire holds is squarely on Pakistan. We are willing to observe the ceasefire as long as they do so," he told a few select journalists at the end of his two-day visit to Kashmir. 

 The Army chief said other activities like terror infrastructure including terrorist camps and presence of terrorists on the other side of the LoC were continuing in Pakistan occupied Kashmir. "Therefore, there can be no slackening of our level of preparedness," he added. 

 Asked if Islamabad can be trusted as the ceasefire has been holding for 100 days now, Gen Naravane said, "There have been decades of mistrust between India and Pakistan. So, the situation on that score cannot change overnight." 

 He said if Pakistan observes ceasefire in letter and spirit, the small steps can lead to incremental gains. "If Pakistan continues to desist from fomenting trouble in India, then the small steps can lead to that level of trust that you are talking about," he added. PTI
16:10   India unveils uniforms for Olympics
Union Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju unveils India's Olympic uniform. There are two sets of uniforms, one in blue and the other in a white with orange embellishments. Prime Minister Narendra Modi today held a review meeting over the preparation of athletes for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. The PM has appealed to all to cheer for the athletes.
15:41   Covid: India tells WHO it will increase capacities
Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla on Thursday reiterated that India will participate in the process of creating global scale capacities that are needed to deal with pandemic challenges and vowed to participate fully in the international process of regeneration through building newer and more resilient supply chains.

Speaking at a World Health Organization's (WHO) forum, Shringla said: "We had to create, literally overnight, new capacities to try and cope with a Black Swan event. We have had to innovate, to repurpose and to re-engineer and create an entirely new vertical for pandemic diplomacy."

 "Going forward, we will participate in the process of creating global scale capacities that are needed to deal with pandemic scale challenges. A number of serious global conversations are underway on this in platforms such as the G7, the G20, QUAD, BRICS, the United Nations and the WHO itself," he added.

Highlighting initiatives taken by India to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, Shringla said the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had acted as the global arm of the Government of India's Empowered Group, to procure essential raw materials and medical supplies for COVID-19.

"We have, throughout the pandemic, identified and connected with potential suppliers of essential medicines, raw materials and medical equipment across the world... We were also part of the effort to source medical products, machinery, and components that were vital for enhancing our domestic manufacturing capabilities such as components for ventilators, testing inputs such as RNA Extraction Kits, Roche Cobas testing machines, etc," the Foreign Secretary said.

He also said India is a part of the discussions with major vaccine manufacturers like Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna about sourcing and possible local manufacturing of their vaccines in India.

"We have adapted rapidly to virtual diplomacy during the pandemic period. The Prime Minister has conducted over 12 virtual summits and more than 75 virtual bilaterals. External Affairs Minister and the Ministry have conducted literally hundreds of ministerials, joint commissions, multilateral engagements, Foreign Office Consultations, Senior Officials Meetings, etc," he further said.

Pointing out that India is working with several other countries in the World Trade Organization (WTO) on a targeted and temporary waiver under TRIPS to ensure timely and secure access to vaccines for all, Shringla also mentioned that the country is looking forward to the WHO's approval for India's indigenous Covaxin vaccine manufactured by Bharat Biotech.

"We will participate fully in the international process of regeneration through building newer and more resilient supply chains, by focusing on newer technologies and knowledge-driven opportunities and leveraging India's strengths and capacities," he said.
15:09   Sonowal will be given new responsibility by BJP: Assam CM
Former Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal will be given a new responsibility by the central leadership of the BJP, taking into account his past experience both in the state and at the Centre, his successor Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Thursday. 

 Sarma, however, said he is not aware of the party leadership's plans for Sonowal.

 "When Sonowal and I had our last meeting with Naddaji (BJP president J P Nadda), he told us that Himanta will be the chief minister for the next five years while Sonowal will be given a new responsibility. "I believe the central leadership will take a decision about Sonowal," he said at a press conference.

Sarma, who replaced Sonowal as the chief minister last month, said this in reply to a question on the speculation that the latter may be inducted into the cabinet of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre. 

He said Sonowal's experience as a former chief minister and a former Union minister will definitely be used by the party. Sonowal was the Union sports minister in the Modi government from 2014 to 2016, before taking charge as the chief minister of Assam, a post he held from 2016 till last month.
14:56   EVM, VVPAT tally data has 100% match in 5 polls
Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (VVPAT) show a 100 per cent tally with each other in the recent assembly polls. While speaking to ANI, an official of the Election Commission of India (ECI) said, "Data shows a 100 per cent match between EVMs and VVPATs, which proves its accuracy and authenticity. The result of these two machines in these last assembly elections reconfirms its genuineness as earlier."

Four states - Kerala, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam -- and one union territory Pondicherry, went to polls earlier this year.

The EVMs were developed in 1989 by the Election Commission of India. The VVPAT units were used across all constituencies in India in the 2019 general elections, however, in 2014, VVPATs were used in eight constituencies.

There were 1,492 VVPATs in West Bengal, 1,183 in Tamil Nadu, 728 in Kerela, 647 in Assam and 156 in Puducherry in the recently held assembly elections
14:48   Don't miss today: Harsh Mander to deliver 2nd JB D'Souza memorial lecture
As IAS officer JB D'Souza -- JB, or just Bain to all who knew him well -- held a number of fascinating jobs. 

He was in charge of rehabilitating East Pakistan refugees in Chandrapur; general manager of Bombay's BEST transport undertaking; the city's municipal commissioner; Maharashtra's chief secretary; and more. He retired in 1979, as secretary of the works and housing ministry, Government of India.  

Since he died in 2007, his family has kept JB's memory alive through a lecture series. And it is fitting that this year, former IAS office Dr Harsh Mander will deliver the Second JB D'Souza Memorial Lecture on June 3, JB's 100th birthday. 

Mander, a peace and human rights worker, writer, researcher and teacher, works with survivors of mass violence, hunger, homeless persons and street children. From late 2017, he has led the Karwan-e-Mohabbat to counter hate and fear with love and solidarity.  

Join the Second JB D'Souza Memorial Lecture on June 3 at 6.30 pm IST on Youtube, by clicking on this link.
14:39   Privacy of users is highest priority: WhatsApp
Messaging app WhatsApp on Thursday responded to the Centre's claim over the alleged 'trick consent' from users for its updated privacy policy saying it accords the highest priority to the privacy of users.

"We reiterate that we have already responded to the Government of India and assured them that the privacy of users remains our highest priority," WhatsApp spokesperson said in a statement soon after the Delhi High Court adjourned the hearing of pleas challenging the messaging app's revised privacy policy. WhatsApp's statement comes against the backdrop of an affidavit filed by the Centre in the court earlier in the day. The government has alleged that WhatsApp is indulging in 'anti-users practices' by obtaining 'trick consent' for its updated privacy policy.

"As a reminder, the recent update does not change the privacy of people's personal messages. Its purpose is to provide additional information about how people can interact with businesses if they choose to do so," it said.

The Centre also submitted that the current notification, as being pushed by WhatsApp on its users, whether existing or new, is 'against the very grain of prima facie opinion of the Competition Commission of India's order dated 24/03/2021'.

On Centre's contention against multiple notifications to users about the update, WhatsApp said, "We will not limit the functionality of how WhatsApp works in the coming weeks. Instead, we will continue to remind users from time to time about the update as well as when people choose to use relevant optional features, like communicating with a business that is receiving support from Facebook," the spokesperson added.
14:07   Mumbai may get 87K Covishield doses tomorrow
Mumbai is expected to get a supply of 87,000 doses of Covishield vaccine against COVID-19 on Friday and the inoculation drive would resume in the city the next day, Mayor Kishori Pednekar said on Thursday.

 Due to the unavailability of enough number of vaccine doses, the COVID-19 vaccination drive in Mumbai was suspended on Thursday at centres run by the city civic body and the Maharashtra government, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) earlier said. 

 Of the total 342 active COVID-19 vaccination centres in Mumbai, 243 are managed by the BMC and 20 by the state government. 

Pednekar said they are expecting a supply of 87,000 doses of the Covishield vaccine on Friday, following which the vaccination drive would resume the next day. She also said they will try to administer both the doses of vaccine to students who are set to go abroad for higher studies by August. The BMC is not going to purchase COVID-19 vaccines from any agents, she said.
The Gambhir foundation's free ambulances
The Gambhir foundation's free ambulances
13:40   Gambhir's foundation guilty of stocking Covid meds
The Gautam Gambhir Foundation has been found guilty of unauthorisedly stocking, procuring and distributing Fabiflu medicine to COVID-19 patients, the Delhi High Court was informed by the Delhi government's drug controller on Thursday. 

 The drug controller submitted that action will be taken without delay against the foundation, drug dealers as also in other such cases which would be brought to its notice. MLA Praveen Kumar has also been found guilty for similar offences under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, the court was informed. 

 The court asked the drug controller to file status reports on further progress in these cases within six weeks and listed the matter for hearing on July 29. PTI
BJP councillor Rakesh Pandita was killed by terrorists
BJP councillor Rakesh Pandita was killed by terrorists
13:28   J-K Police advises protectees leave home with security guards
Police on Thursday said the protected persons in Kashmir should not move around without the personal security guards allotted to them. "No #protectee should go anywhere without PSOs. Visits are allowed only after ground assessment of local #threat is done," Inspector General of Police, Kashmir zone, Vijay Kumar said in a tweet. 

The police advisory came after BJP councillor Rakesh Pandita was killed by terrorists in Tral area of Pulwama district on Wednesday. Pandita, who was provided secure accommodation in Srinagar, had gone to visit a friend in Tral when a group of three terrorists shot at him. 

 The IGP requested the protected persons to follow the advisories in order to avoid unnecessary risks. "Request is to all protectees not to #violate SOPs and risk their lives unnecessarily," Kumar said. PTI
13:07   HC summons to Ramdev on false info on Coronil
The Delhi High Court Thursday issued summons to yoga guru Ramdev on a suit by Delhi Medical Association (DMA) seeking to restrain him from disseminating false information about Patanjali's Coronil kit that it is a cure for COVID-19. 

 The high court orally asked the counsel for Ramdev to tell him not to make any provocative statement till the next date of hearing on July 13 and respond to the suit. DMA, on behalf of its doctor members, said Ramdev's statement affects as that medicine does not cure coronavirus and it is misleading.
Mukul Roy does the aarti at an Iskcon temple in April
Mukul Roy does the aarti at an Iskcon temple in April
13:01   Modi speaks to Mukul Roy on wife's health
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to BJP national vice president Mukul Roy on Thursday to enquire about the health of his ailing wife. Roy's wife Krishna is undergoing treatment for COVID-19 at a private hospital in Kolkata. 

"The prime minister spoke to my father over the phone at 10.30 am and enquired about my mother's health," Roy's son Subhrangshu told PTI.

 Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Abhishek Banerjee paid a visit to Roy's wife at the hospital on Wednesday evening, while West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh also went there a few hours later. 

 Even as Roy is recovering from COVID-19 at home, Subhrangshu was present at the hospital when Banerjee visited.

 The visit by Banerjee, the youth wing president of the TMC, came amid speculation over Roy's next political move. Significantly, Subhrangshu, a former TMC MLA who joined the BJP following his father's footsteps, recently said in a social media post that one should do self-introspection before criticising the government, which has come to power with people's support. 

 The post was believed to be directed at the state BJP leadership. Mukul Roy, the former lieutenant of Mamata Banerjee, left the TMC over alleged disagreements with the party's top leadership on certain issues, including differences with Abhishek, the nephew of the chief minister. PTI
12:46   Nadda to hold gen secys meet on 6-state polls
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national President JP Nadda will hold a two-day meeting of national General Secretaries on June 5 and June 6 in the national capital to review and formulate the party's strategy regarding the forthcoming Assembly polls, including the crucial state of Uttar Pradesh.

The party's strategy to deal with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and 'Sewa hi Sangathan' movement launched by the party are also expected to be on the agenda, sources said. Sources stated that the BJP's performance in the recently concluded polls too is likely to be discussed.

It is learnt that the national General Secretaries have been instructed to come prepared, especially those who are state in-charges, regarding their respective states which are scheduled to go for Assembly polls.

Apart from UP, other crucial states like Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh are also likely scheduled for Assembly polls in early 2022.The BJP chief will also take stock of the party's activities on the wider social and political front as well.

Social welfare programs run by the party during the COVID-19 pandemic will also be reviewed during the meeting.

Sources stated that the meeting is crucial as it is expected to give an initial outline to the party's strategy for the forthcoming Assembly polls.

Apart from this, the BJP President with have a detailed review of the 'Sewa hi Sangathan' scheme.

"Party's focus is on social welfare measures and services provided to people during COVID. The BJP has helped people of various strata, economically and otherwise. More needs to be done and how to do it will be deliberated upon," added a senior BJP leader. 
12:40   Southwest monsoon makes onset over Kerala: IMD
The Southwest Monsoon made an onset over Kerala on Thursday after a delay of two days, the India Meteorological Department said. The monsoon onset over Kerala marks the commencement of the four-month rainfall season in the country. The Southwest Monsoon has made an onset over southern parts of Kerala, said IMD Director General Mrutunjay Mohapatra. The normal onset date for Southwest Monsoon over Kerala is June 1. PTI
12:39   SII seeks nod to manufacture Sputnik V vaccine
The Serum Institute of India (SII) has applied to the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) seeking permission for a test licence to manufacture COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V in the country, sources said on Thursday. The Pune-based firm has also sought a test license for analysis and examination. Russia's Sputnik V vaccine is currently being manufactured in India by Dr Reddy's Laboratories. 

 "The Serum Institute of India (SII) put up an application to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) on Wednesday seeking permission for a test licence to manufacture the COVID-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, in India," a source said. 

 The SII has already told the government that it will be able to manufacture and supply 10 crore Covishield doses in June, while it is also manufacturing the Novavax vaccine, the regulatory clearance for which is awaited from the United States. The vaccine was given emergency use authorisation (EUA) by the DCGI in April. A consignment of 30 lakh doses of Sputnik V landed in Hyderabad on Tuesday. PTI
12:01   WhatsApp obtaining trick consent: Centre tells HC
The Centre in a fresh affidavit on Thursday, told the Delhi High Court that the messaging app WhatsApp is indulging in 'anti-users practices' by obtaining 'trick consent' for its updated privacy policy.

The Centre submitted before Delhi HC that WhatsApp has 'unleashed its digital prowess' to unsuspecting users and wanted to force them to accept the updated 2021 privacy policy by flashing the notification at regular intervals. The game plan is very clear, the Centre said, adding that Whatsapp intended to transfer its entire existing user base committed to the updated privacy policy before the Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill becomes the law.

The Centre also submitted that the current notification, as being pushed by WhatsApp on its users, whether existing or new, is 'against the very grain of prima facie opinion of the Competition Commission of India's order dated 24/03/2021'.

The Centre has urged the Delhi High Court to issue interim direction to WhatsApp to desist from any action of 'pushing notifications' onto existing users related to the updated privacy policy and to place on record the number of times such notifications, as on date, are being pushed on an everyday basis.

It has also asked Whatsapp to place on record the conversion rate, i.e. notification to acceptance of the privacy policy.The response of the Centre came after several petitions were filed against WhatsApp's updated privacy policy. 

One of was filed by Dr Seema Singh, Meghan and Vikram Singh seeking directions to the Union of India to order Whatsapp Inc to either roll back their policy or provide an option to opt out of the January 4 privacy policy.

In its reply, WhatsApp said that the messaging app was not forcing anyone to accept the update and its privacy policy is not mandatory.In a fresh affidavit, WhatsApp said that the 2021 update is a contract between private parties that users are free to accept or reject. 

Accordingly, WhatsApp submitted that the petitioner's attempt to invoke writ jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India to challenge the 2021 Update - a private contract - is impermissible and abuse of writ jurisdiction. WhatsApp has urged the Delhi High Court to dismiss the petition challenging its updated privacy policy.

The concerned bench did not assemble on Thursday and the matter was adjourned for July 22 for further hearing. 
11:56   SC quashes FIR against journalist Vinod Dua for sedition
In a major relief to senior veteran journalist, Vinod Dua, the Supreme Court today in its verdict, quashed the proceedings and FIR on his petition in a sedition case registered against him in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh for his alleged accusatory comments on his YouTube channel against PM Narendra Modi .

The Supreme Court in its judgement, while quashing the FIR and proceedings, said that "every journalist shall be protected as per its Kedar Nath Singh's judgment."

 A Bench of the Apex Court, headed by Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, and also comprising Justice Vineet Saran, which had reserved its judgement on October 6, today pronounced the verdict.

Dua had moved to the Apex Court last year, seeking quashing of the sedition FIR registered against him in Shimla for his alleged accusatory comments on his YouTube channel against PM Modi.
11:21   10,000 out of 80,000 Tokyo Olympics volunteers quit
10,000 of 80,000 volunteers scheduled to help at the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics have quit. "I think there's no doubt that one of reasons is concern over coronavirus infections," say local media reports quoting Toshiro Muto, CEO of organizing committee. 

Japan extended a state of emergency in Tokyo and other areas by about three weeks to June 20 as the COVID-19 pandemic shows no signs of easing less than two months before the Summer Olympics open.

The state of emergency in the capital and eight other prefectures had been scheduled to end on May 31, but strains on the medical system remain severe.

Japan has seen a record number of COVID-19 patients in critical condition in recent days, even as the number of new infections has slowed.

"In Osaka and Tokyo, the flow of people is starting to creep up, and there are concerns that infections will rise," Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who also heads the country's coronavirus countermeasures, said at the start of a meeting with experts.
11:00   Govt reserves 30-cr Covid vax from Hyderabad firm
The Union Health Ministry has finalised arrangements with Hyderabad-based vaccine manufacturer Biological-E to reserve 30 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses for which it will be making an advance payment of Rs 1500 crore. These vaccine doses will be manufactured and stockpiled by Biological-E from August to December this year, a ministry statement said on Thursday. 

 The COVID-19 vaccine of Biological-E is currently undergoing phase-3 clinical trial after showing promising results in phase 1 and 2 trials. The vaccine being developed by Biological-E is a RBD protein sub-unit vaccine and is likely to be available in the next few months. 

 The proposal of Biological-E was examined and recommended for approval after due diligence by the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC), the statement said. 

 The arrangement with Biological-E is part of the wider endeavour of the Centre to encourage indigenous vaccine manufacturers by providing them support in research and development and also financial support, it said. 

 The Biological-E COVID vaccine candidate has been supported by the Centre from preclinical stage to phase-3 studies.

 The Department of Biotechnology has not only provided financial assistance in terms of grant-in-aid of over Rs 100 crore but has also partnered with Biological-E to conduct all animal challenge and assay studies through its Research Institute Translational Health Science Technology Institute (THSTI), Faridabad. 

 This has been undertaken as part of the government's 'Mission COVID Suraksha, the Indian COVID-19 Vaccine Development Mission,' which was launched to reinforce and accelerate COVID-19 vaccine development efforts as part of the third stimulus package, Atmanirbhar 3.0, the statement said.
10:25   Case against Tiger, Disha for Covid 'Heropanti'
A case has been filed against actors Tiger Shroff, Disha Patani and others on Wednesday for allegedly violating the pandemic norms, the Mumbai police said. According to the police, the actors were found roaming at Bandstand Promenade and could not give a valid reason to the police for being out of their homes after 2 pm. 

 "The case was registered under section 188 (Disobeying the order of public servant) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). No arrest was made because it is a bailable section," the police added. 

 According to an order issued by the Maharashtra government, all essential shops are allowed to operate between 7 am to 2 pm. The state is under lockdown till June 15.

The Mumbai police tweeted, "In  the ongoing  'War' against the virus, going 'Malang' on the streets of Bandra cost dearly to two actors who have been booked under sections 188, 34 IPC by Bandra PStn . We request all Mumbaikars to avoid unnecessary 'Heropanti' which can compromise on safety against #COVID19."
10:19   Same rules for all, SII seeks indemnity
Covishield-maker Serum Institute of India (SII) has asked for indemnity from liability, reports ANI. All vaccine makers, whether Indian or foreign, should be granted the same protection, the Adar Poonawalla-led company has reportedly told the government.

"Not just Serum Institute of India (SII), all the vaccine companies should get indemnity protection against liabilities if foreign companies are granted it," SII said today.

This comes after Covid vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna were offered indemnity by the government of India. 

The Serum Institute produces Covishield - the Indian name for Oxford-AstraZeneca's shot - and is involved in trials for three new anti-Covid vaccines.

Advanced trials are on for Covovax being developed in collaboration with the pharma company Novovax. 

Codagenix, a single-dose nasal vaccine, is in phase 1/2 trials in the UK. The third, SpyBiotech, is a novel virus-like particle vaccine, which is also in trials.
Titan was the top gainer
Titan was the top gainer
10:02   Sensex jumps over 350 points in early trade
Equity benchmark Sensex surged over 350 points in early trade on Thursday, tracking gains in index-heavyweights Reliance Industries, HDFC and Infosys amid a largely positive trend in global markets.

The 30-share BSE index was trading 361.24 points or 0.70 per cent higher at 52,210.72 in initial deals, and the broader NSE Nifty jumped 100.25 points or 0.64 per cent to 15,676.45. 

 Titan was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, rising over 4 per cent, followed by Reliance Industries, PowerGrid, Kotak Bank, HDFC, ONGC and Infosys. On the other hand, NTPC, Bajaj Auto, IndusInd Bank, Nestle India, Dr Reddy's, SBI and Sun Pharma were among the laggards.
09:48   India reports 1,34,154 new COVID-19 cases
India reports 1,34,154 new COVID-19 cases and 2,887 deaths in last 24 hours, according to the Union health ministry data.

Total cases: 2,84,41,986
Total discharges: 2,63,90,584
Death toll: 3,37,989
Active cases: 17,13,413

Total vaccination: 22,10,43,693
09:41   Dominican court denies bail to Mehul Choksi
A magisterial court in Dominica has rejected the bail application of fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi in connection with his illegal entry into the country, said his lawyer Vijay Aggarwal on Thursday.

Choksi had gone missing from Antigua on May 23 after going out for dinner and was soon caught in Dominica after Antigua police launched a manhunt for Mehul Choksi last month.

Mehul was charged with illegal entry by the police in Dominica after he allegedly escaped from Antigua and Barbuda in a possible attempt to evade extradition to India.

The matter was brought before the court on Monday and after deliberations for just over three hours, the judge ruled that the application of habeas corpus be adjourned until 9 am Thursday. During the hearing, Dominican Judge Bernie Stephenson said that the fugitive businessman must answer the illegal entry charges into Dominica in Magistrates court.

The India-born fugitive is currently at the China Friendship Hospital. He came to the court in a wheelchair.

On Wednesday, Aggarwal said that Mehul was kidnapped and he didn't go to Dominica of his own free will, adding that the only question in front of the Dominican court is where he entered Dominica illegally or not and whether the local police has the right to keep him in custody.
09:37   US-India Chambers of Commerce Foundation raises $1.2mn for Covid work
United States-India Chambers of Commerce Foundation has raised more than USD1.2 million for coronavirus-related efforts in India.
With a record-breaking fundraising, US-India Chambers of Commerce Foundation has shipped or en route nearly 120 ventilators and over 1,000 oxygen concentrators, a release said on Wednesday.
United Airlines is one of the logistics providers who has been partnering with the foundation to help get this needed medical equipment in country as quickly as possible. 
Some of the equipment has already reached hospitals in India and already being used, the release said.  
Recipients have been Indian Red Cross, along with no-governmental and government hospitals in Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Jharkhand, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Punjab and Tamil Nadu. 
"The situation in India is catastrophic, however, India and the people of India are resilient and will see better days with the support of all of us. The international community is joining hands with health care workers in India by sending needed medical equipment to control this pandemic," said Ashok Mago, an eminent Indian-American community leader. 
Raj Malik, CEO of Bioworld Merchandising, who donated over 100 oxygen concentrators said the pandemic has touched their families in a very personal way.
"Many of us know people who have been personally affected or died from COVID-19 and we want to do everything we can to help in every way that we can," he said. 
US-India Chamber of Commerce (USICOC) president Neel Gonuguntla in a statement said the Texas-based Indian American community is offering its prayers and good wishes for India to heal quickly through these contributions.  
"We have been trying to honour our donors' sincere wishes by getting needed medical equipment into the country as quickly as possible.  We know that the sooner India gets the equipment, the more lives healthcare workers can save," Gonuguntla said. 
"We are grateful to all of donors and community organisations who are partnering with us in this effort. We couldn't do any of this without all of their support," said Sanjeev Khanna, past chairman of the USICOC. -- PTI 
09:05   Choksi produced in Dominica court on wheelchair
Diamantaire Mehul Choksi was produced before a magistrate in Dominica to answer charges of his illegal entry into the Caribbean island nation following a high court order on Wednesday, local media reported.
He appeared before the magistrate on a wheelchair in a blue T-shirt and black shorts.
Earlier in the day, Dominica High Court Judge Bernie Stephenson issued the order for his production before a magistrate after nearly three hours of hearing on a habeas corpus petition filed on behalf of the businessman who had claimed that he was abducted from neighbouring Antigua and Barbuda and forcefully brought to the Caribbean Island nation.
She adjourned the habeas corpus matter till Thursday, Dominica News Online reported.
Rejecting the submission of Choksi who is wanted in India in an alleged Rs 13,500 crore loan fraud case in Punjab National Bank and has an Interpol Red Notice against him,, the prosecution said the habeas corpus petition does not stand as he had illegally entered the country and was subsequently detained.
His lawyers, however, alleged that he was kidnapped from Jolly Harbour in Antigua and brought to Dominica on a boat, about 100 nautical miles away.
"Our stand that Mr Mehul Choksi is in illegal detention as he was required to be produced within 72 hours before the magistrate and was not so produced has been vindicated. In order to remedy this, he has been asked to be produced before the magistrate. This establishes illegal detention of Mr Mehul Choksi as pleaded by the defence," Choksi's lawyer Vijay Aggarwal said.
"The matter being heard is of habeas corpus petition...and not of his repatriation to India. His citizenship is not in question before the court....  Contrary to numerous media reports, there was no discussion regarding Government of India," Aggarwal said.
The diamantaire, who mysteriously went missing on May 23 from Antigua and Barbuda where he had been staying since 2018 as a citizen, was detained in neighbouring Dominica for illegal entry after a possible romantic escapade with his rumoured girlfriend.
Choksi's wife Preeti told reporters that the woman in question was not his girlfriend.
She said the woman was known to him and used to go on walks with him.
She said Choksi was abducted by people looking like Indian and Antiguan when he had gone to meet the woman.
During Wednesday's trial, Choksi was present through video-conferencing from Dominica China Friendship Hospital while his lawyers were present physically in court.
The judge asked authorities to share court documents with Choksi who is admitted at the Hospital.
His lawyers said that he does not feel safe in police custody and that he should be sent back to Antigua and Barbuda, local media reported.
00:25   More states cancel board exams in view of Covid
Following the Centre's decision to cancel class 12 CBSE board exams in view of the Covid pandemic, several states including Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Goa called off their board exams on Wednesday, while a few others said they will take a call soon.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday asserted that the decision to cancel the exams has been taken in the interest of students and the anxiety among students, parents and teachers must be put to an end.

Soon after, Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) and the Haryana government also announced cancellation of their respective board exams.

Maharashtra, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh are among the states which said they are soon going to announce a final decision in this regard.

"The state government decided to scrap the exams for class 12 of the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Board (GSHSB) after taking into consideration the Centre's decision to cancel the exams for class 12 students of the CBSE given the coronavirus pandemic," Gujarat Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama said.

The Rajasthan government on Wednesday night decided to cancel classes 10 and 12 examinations conducted by the state board, according to an official statement.

Maharashtra School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad, who has been advocating the 'non examination route', said a proposal has been sent to the disaster management authority regarding the state board exams for Class 12 students and a decision on the issue will be taken in a couple of days.

In West Bengal, the authorities cancelled a press conference to announce the schedule of class 10 and 12 board examinations in the state amid the Covid-19 pandemic. No reason was given for the cancellation.

An official of the School Education Department said a committee of experts has been formed to check how to conduct the exams and evaluate papers during the present situation.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said in a video statement posted on Twitter, "The class 12 board exams (organised by the MP Board of Secondary Education) for the year 2020-21 will not be held this year. The life of students is precious for us. We can take care of their career later."

According to Tamil Nadu School Education Minister Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozh, the government will make known its decision on holding the plus two board exam in the state in two days' time, after conferring with experts.

Karnataka Primary and Secondary Education Minister Suresh Kumar said an appropriate decision will be taken soon on holding board exams in the state.

"Regarding holding SSLC (class 10) and second year Pre-University (class 12) exams, an appropriate decision will be taken at the earliest," the minister said in a statement.

Uttarakhand intermediate board examinations were also cancelled on Wednesday in view of the prevailing Covid situation in the state. State Education Minister Arvind Pandey said the decision has been taken in the interest of students, teachers and guardians after consulting the chief minister.

The Goa government announced that the Class 12 examination of the Goa Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education has been cancelled in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

'After extensive consultations, it has been decided that the Class 12 Exams shall be cancelled as the health and safety of our students is of utmost priority,' Chief Minister Pramod Sawant tweeted.  -- PTI