Thu, 10 June 2021
Govt dismisses reports on CoWIN being hacked
23:42 Govt dismisses reports on CoWIN being hacked
The Centre on Thursday debunked media reports about CoWIN being hacked, stating that prima facie, these reports appear to be fake and that the portal stores all the vaccination data in a safe and secure digital environment.
'There have been some unfounded media reports on the CoWIN platform being hacked. Prima facie, these reports appear to be fake,' a statement issued by the Union health ministry said.
However, the ministry and the Empowered Group on Vaccine Administration (EGVAC) are getting the matter investigated by the Computer Emergency Response Team of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MietY), the statement said.
Dr R S Sharma, Chairman of the Empowered Group on Vaccine Administration (CoWIN), clarified that 'our attention has been drawn towards the news circulating on social media about the alleged hacking of the CoWIN system.
'In this connection, we wish to state that CoWIN stores all the vaccination data in a safe and secure digital environment. No CoWIN data is shared with any entity outside the CoWIN environment.
'The data being claimed as having been leaked such as the geo-location of beneficiaries, is not even collected at CoWIN'. -- PTI
23:10 New airport to be named after Bal Thackeray
The Navi Mumbai International Airport will be named after Shiv Sena founder late Bal Thackeray, the father of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, it was announced on Thursday.
The airport, coming up in neighbouring Navi Mumbai, is expected to relieve the pressure on the Mumbai international airport.
Some local politicians had demanded that the new airport be named for farmer leader late D B Patil.
Urban Development Minister Eknath Shinde, who made the announcement, said the chief minister has assured the DB Patil Action Samiti, which is raising this demand, that some other project will be named after the farmer leader.
"We have a lot of respect for D B Patil. The chief minister has requested the action committee to recommend any other project (to be named after Patil)," said Shinde, a senior Shiv Sena leader.
"One meeting has taken place (with the committee) and one more will take place. A positive outcome is expected," he said.
CIDCO, the state-run planning agency which is executing the greenfield airport project, proposed that it be named after Bal Thackeray, he said. -- PTI
22:48 Dhawan to lead Indian squad in Lanka series
India's squad for ODI and T20I series against Sri Lanka announced; Shikhar Dhawan named Captain, Bhuvneshwar Kumar named Vice-captain.
Indian squad for ODI & T20I series against Sri Lanka: S Dhawan (C), P Shaw, D Padikkal, R Gaikwad, S Yadav, M Pandey, H Pandya, N Rana, I Kishan (WK), S Samson (WK), Y Chahal, R Chahar, K Gowtham, K Pandya, K Yadav, V Chakravarthy, B Kumar (VC), D Chahar, N Saini, C Sakariya.
Image only for representation. Photograph: PTI Photo
22:33 Covid doctor assaulted in Assam tea garden
A senior doctor at a tea garden in Biswanath district of Assam was allegedly assaulted by a group of people after garden management tried to implement COVID-19 protocols under its jurisdiction.
According to police officials, the incident took place at Majuligarh tea garden on Wednesday evening when its senior doctor Basanta Goswami was going for a walk within the compound.
Police said that the garden management on the previous day asked some shop owners within the campus to close their outlets after 12 noon, the time to pull down their shutters as per the restrictions imposed by the government.
"These shop owners were not following the SOP in earlier days. So, the district administration asked the garden to implement the guidelines. When they tried, the shop owners thought Dr Goswami is behind this as it is related to COVID- 19," a police officer said.
In the evening, some of them went to the garden office to enquire about the issue and saw Goswami taking an evening walk in the premises.
"They then started manhandling him. But, Dr Goswami's staff at his residence rushed to the spot and rescued him. He sustained minor injuries," police said.
A case has been registered at Biswanath police station and a probe has been launched to nab the culprits, an official said. -- PTI
21:21 China suspends seafood imports from 6 Indian cos
China on Thursday suspended the import of frozen seafood products from six Indian marine export companies for a week after Chinese customs claimed they found traces of coronavirus were detected on the packaging.
Since early last year, China has been testing imported frozen food products from all over the world. It has periodically suspended imports from companies after finding traces of the virus on the packaging.
The General Administration of Customs of China in a press release said the traces of the virus were found on the outer packages of the seafood products from the six Indian companies and imports would be suspended for a week.
China has largely controlled the spread of the coronavirus, which first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, with strict measures, though a handful of cases, largely attributed to those arriving from abroad, continued to be reported in the country.
21:09 One killed in Mumbai house collapse, 2nd in two days
Just In: One person was killed when three houses collapsed at Lokhandi Chawl in Shivaji Nagar, Dahisar east in Mumbai's western suburbs, on Thursday.
Mumbai has been having incessant rains since Wednesday with the onset of the north-west monsoon.
This was the second house crash in Mumbai in two days.
On Wednesday, two floors of a three-storey residential building collapsed in Malad west, killing 12, eight of them children.
20:59 Interest on crop loan up to Rs 3 lakh waived in Maharashra
The Maharashtra government on Thursday said farmers who repay crop loan up to Rs 3 lakh regularly will be charged zero per cent interest.
A decision to this effect was taken at a cabinet meeting chaired by chief minister Uddhav Thackeray here.
Earlier, there was 1 per cent concession in interest rate if crop loan between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 3 lakh was repaid on time. The concession has been now raised by by 2 per cent (total 3 per cent which has been waived), a statement from the chief minister's office (CMO) said.
The cabinet decision, which comes at the start of the kharif season, waives 3 per cent interest on crop loan up to Rs 3 lakh and makes it interest-free as the Centre, too, has done away with 3 per cent interest on such farm credits.
n the state budget this year, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, who holds the finance portfolio, had announced that crop loan up to Rs 3 lakh will be charged at zero per cent interest.
Under the Dr Punjabrao Deshmukh crop interest subsidy scheme, farmers who repay their interest of loan up to Rs 3 lakh get interest subsidy.
Earlier, there was 3 per cent interest subsidy on loan up to Rs 1 lakh, 1 per cent concession on interest for loan between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 3 lakh. Now, there will be additional 2 per cent concession if loan up to Rs 3 lakh is repaid on time, the CMO statement said.
The central government also gives 3 per cent concession on crop loan up to Rs 3 lakh if repaid on time. Hence, farmers will get 6 per cent concession and they will repay their short-term crop loan at zero per cent interest rate, it said.
20:20 Ramdev changes mind on Covid jab; praises docs
Yoga guru Ramdev, who had said he does not need the Covid vaccine as he has protection of yoga and ayurveda, on Thursday did a summersault, saying he will soon get the jab and described doctors as 'God's envoys on earth'.
Ramdev had earlier stirred a controversy with his comments on the efficacy of modern drugs against COVID-19, drawing the ire of the medical fraternity.
Now, welcoming Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement about free vaccine to all from June 21, Ramdev described it as a 'historic' step and appealed to all to get themselves vaccinated.
"Get both doses of the vaccine and the double protection of yoga and ayurveda. They will combine to give you such a robust shield of protection that not a single person will die from Covid," he told reporters in Haridwar.
Asked when he will get the vaccine shot, the yoga guru said, "Very soon."
Ramdev also heaped praise on good allopathic doctors, describing them as 'God's envoys on earth'.
On the ongoing confrontation with the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Ramdev said he cannot have any animosity with any organisation.
All he was against the exploitation of people in the name of medicines, he said.
Ramdev said Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Kendras had to be opened because of the tendency among many doctors to prescribe expensive medicines in place of generic drugs, which are much cheaper.
"I am not against any organisation. Good doctors are a real boon. They are God's envoys on earth. But individual doctors can do wrong things," he said.
He also said for emergency treatment and surgery, allopathy is the best.
"When it comes to emergency treatment and surgery, allopathy is the best. There cannot be two opinions about it," said the yoga guru who had caused so much anger among doctors by his recent remarks against allopathy. -- PTI
19:57 Dilip Kumar to be discharged from hospital tomorrow
Legendary actor Dilip Kumar, who was admitted to a hospital in Mumbai due to breathlessness, is stable and will continue to remain in the hospital today, the actor's family friend said.
The 98-year-old screen icon was admitted to suburban Khar-based Hinduja Hospital, a non-Covid-19 facility, on Sunday.
Kumar, who was diagnosed with bilateral pleural effusion -- a build-up of excess fluid between the layers of the pleura outside the lungs -- underwent a successful pleural aspiration procedure on Wednesday.
The veteran actor was initially set to be discharged on Thursday but family friend Faisal Farooqui said it has been decided to let Kumar rest for a day at the hospital.
"He is stable and he is resting at the hospital. There was an option to be discharged today but the family and the doctors decided that we should let him rest one more day in the hospital," he said.
The Hindi cinema veteran, whose career spans over five decades with hits like Mughal-e-Azam, Devdas, Naya Daur and Ram Aur Shyam, was admitted to the same hospital last month for a regular health check-up.
Kumar's last big screen appearance was the 1998 film Qila.
19:45 Keep mobile away from girls: UP WC member
In controversial remarks in Aligarh, a member of the Uttar Pradesh women's commission has suggested that girls should be kept off mobile phones by families who don't want them 'running away' with boys.
She also asked mothers to keep tabs on their daughters.
"Girls should not be given mobile phones and if given, families should keep tabs on them. Girls talk with boys over the phone and later run away with them," Meena Kumari told reporters when asked about the rise in crime against women.
"Society and family members, especially mothers have a major responsibility to ensure that young girls do not go astray," added the member of the UP State Women's Commission.
She further said mothers should take care of their daughters as such incidents occur due to their 'negligence'.
Citing an example, Meena Kumari said she had received a similar complaint that a boy and a girl from different castes ran away recently.
She stressed that the misuse of cellphones was frequently leading to such social ills. -- PTI
18:51 Modi to attend G7 summit virtually on June 12-13
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will participate virtually in the outreach sessions of the G7 summit on June 12 and 13, the ministry of external affairs said on Thursday.
Last month, the MEA said Modi will not travel to the UK to attend the summit of the G7 grouping in view of the prevailing coronavirus situation in the country.
The G7 comprises the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US.
As chair of G7, the UK has invited India, Australia, South Korea and South Africa to the summit.
Representative image only
18:12 Dalit killed over removal of Ambedkar's poster
A Dalit man was allegedly beaten to death by a group of youths after a tiff over a poster with Dr B R Ambedkar's photograph put up outside his house in Rajasthan's Hanumangarh district, police said on Thursday.
On May 24, Anil Sihag and Rakesh Sihag tore the poster put up outside the house of Vinod Bamnia, 22, a Bhim Army member, they said.
After Bamnia and his family raised objections, locals intervened and the family members of the accused tendered an apology on their behalf on the same day, they added.
On June 5, the accused sought revenge for this by assaulting Bamnia with the help of four others.
After the attack, the victim was admitted at a private hospital in Sri Ganganagar in a critical condition.
He succumbed to injuries on June 7, police said.The accused Anil Sihag and Rakesh Sihag were arrested along with their friends Saksham and Haidar Ali.
Two others, involved in the attack, were absconding, police said, adding efforts were on to nab them. -- PTI
A Covid patient on oxygen support in Telangana
17:41 Alpha, Delta Covid variants found in Sri Lanka
The highly contagious Alpha and Delta variants of the coronavirus have been detected in Sri Lanka, which is facing a third wave of the pandemic. Patients carrying the Delta variant, or the B1.617.2 variant first identified in India, and the Alpha strain, formerly called the B.1.1.7 strain, which was first detected in the UK, have been found at around nine locations of different districts in Sri Lanka, said Dr Chandima Jeewandara, the Director of the Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura.
According to the sequencing report issued on Wednesday, 80 people were infected with the Alpha variant in multiple locations while the Delta variant was found in one person from a quarantine facility.
The Alpha variant cases were also reported in healthcare workers who were fully vaccinated. Sri Lanka has witnessed an increase of positive cases and deaths since April, partly caused by celebrations and shopping during last month's traditional new year festival.
Sri Lanka has registered more than 210,000 cases and 1,843 confirmed deaths. In view of the pressure on the health sector with the raging third wave, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has issued instructions to reinstate retired health workers on contract basis to battle the pandemic.
Sri Lanka continues with its vaccination programme with the arrival of another million doses of China's Sinopharm vaccine out of a total 13 million which the country had ordered this year. The first batch of one million doses of Sinopharm arrived early this month.
17:36 Pak cleric threatens Nobel Laureate Malala, arrested
A Muslim cleric in northwest Pakistan has been arrested under the anti-terrorism act for threatening Malala Yousafzai and instigating people to attack the Nobel Laureate for her recent comments on marriage, police said. Mufti Sardar Ali Haqqani, a cleric in Marwat district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province was arrested on Wednesday after the police raided his house, Dawn newspaper reported on Thursday, quoting Lakki Marwat District Police Office.
An FIR under the Anti-Terrorism Act was registered against him on the complaint of SHO Wasim Sajjad, it said.
According to the FIR, a video went viral on social media showing Mufti Sardar instigating people at a gathering in Peshawar to take the law into their own hands and attack Malala. He was armed when the incident took place, the report said.
"When Malala comes to Pakistan, I will be the first to attempt a suicide attack on her," the FIR quoted him as saying The complaint further said that the speech had threatened peace and incited lawlessness, according to the news report.
In an interview to the Vogue magazine in its latest edition, 23-year-old Yousafzai, an Oxford graduate and a Pakistani activist for girls education who miraculously survived a bullet to the head from the militant Taliban in October 2012, revealed that she is not sure if she will ever marry. "I still don't understand why people have to get married. If you want to have a person in your life, why do you have to sign marriage papers, why can't it just be a partnership?" she told the magazine.
Yousafzai's interview with Vogue has been circulating on the mainstream and social media. -- PTI
17:05 Govt to auction 'major' oil, gas fields of ONGC, OIL
The government will auction unmonetised large oil and gas fields of state-owned ONGC and OIL to boost the country's hydrocarbon production, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Thursday.
Speaking on the launch of the third round of auction of small discovered fields, he said companies cannot indefinitely sit on resources they may have discovered. These resources actually belong to the nation and they will be monetised by bidding them out to interested entities, he said.
As many as 32 oil and gas blocks with 75 discoveries have been offered in the Discovered Small Field (DSF) round-III. These small and marginal fields were discovered by state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Oil India Ltd (OIL) but they were not economically viable to be developed due to the fiscal regime and their small size.
Under DSF, liberal terms including pricing and marketing freedom are offered, making them viable. "There will be no DSF next time. Next time, it will be a 'major' round (auction of large fields)," Pradhan said. He said the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH), the oil ministry's technical arm, has the "full mandate" to identify unmonetised major fields that could be offered for bidding.
17:03 People in Delhi travel 200 km to get Covaxin dose
As people are struggling to book slots for COVID-19 vaccination in their cities, many of them who are in less than 45 years age group from Delhi-NCR are travelling a long distance to get their first and even second dose of Covaxin. These people are even travelling distance of 224 km from Delhi and 232 km from Meerut to Agra.
"We came from Noida to get our vaccination done. We came from a long distance to get Covaxin but satisfied after getting the vaccine," said a beneficiary who travelled from Noida to Agra for vaccination.
Moolchand Medcity, Agra has started vaccination for people in the 18-44 age group days ago and almost 450 people have been inoculated so far, amongst these beneficiaries most of them are from places like Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Meerut, Etawah and Mathura.
"With respect to our Moolchand Medcity Agra facility, largely we were getting people from places like Mainpuri, Aligarh, Etawah, Mathura, Ferozabad, Delhi, Meerut, Noida, Gurugram to get vaccinated," Vibhu Talwar, medical director, Moolchand Medcity, Agra told to ANI.
"Largely people 80-85 per cent people are coming for their first dose," he added.
"In this high temperature, I have travelled from Delhi on the bike to get a vaccination for my second dose. I think it's much needed at this time when so many people are losing their life," said a beneficiary who travelled on a bike to get his second dose from Delhi.
16:21 Sensex in the green, rebounds 359 points
The BSE benchmark Sensex surged nearly 359 points to close above the 52,300-level on Thursday, with financial, pharma and IT shares gaining the most amid positive global cues.
The 30-share Sensex finished 358.83 points or 0.69 per cent higher at 52,300.47. Intra-day, the index swung between a high of 52,346.35 and a low of 51,957.92.
Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty climbed 102.40 points or 0.65 per cent to end at 15,737.75. On the Sensex chart, Bajaj Finance, Bajaj FinServ, SBI, IndusInd Bank, Dr Reddy's, Tech Mahindra, ITC and Kotak Bank were the prominent gainers rising up to 7.29 per cent.
On the other hand, Bajaj Auto, Maruti, HCL Tech, Ultratech Cement, PowerGrid, ONGC and Nestle suffered losses. Of the 30 shares in the Sensex pack, 23 ended with gains. -- PTI
16:16 A little munchkin joins Pranab Mukherjee's home
Former President Pranab Mukherjee's daughter Sharmistha tweets: "Haiku- new addition to the family." The button-nosed doggo has already won hearts on social media.
Sharmistha Mukherjee is a Congress leader as is her brother Abhijit. Pranab Mukherjee passed away on August 31, 2020, due to Covid-related complications.
15:46 Cong panel recommends Sidhu made Punjab Dy CM
A three-member AICC panel set up to end factionalism in the Punjab Congress submitted its report to party chief Sonia Gandhi on Thursday, sources said. The panel chaired by Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and comprising AICC general secretary in-charge of Punjab affairs Harish Rawat and former MP JP Aggarwal has suggested accommodating all sections, castes and regions in the revamped party unit.
Though no major changes have been recommended at the top level, sources said the panel has said that Navjot Singh Sidhu should be "suitably accommodated" in the revamp.
Sources said his name is doing the rounds for elevation as deputy chief minister of Punjab. The decision will be taken by Gandhi.
15:44 I trust Sena, MVA will complete full term: Pawar
NCP president Sharad Pawar on Thursday said the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra will complete its full term and praised ally Shiv Sena, saying it is party which one can trust.
The remarks came against the backdrop of the one-on-one meeting between Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi on Tuesday and Pawar's meeting with BJP leader and former CM Devendra Fadnavis last week.
Speaking on the 22nd foundation day of the NCP, Pawar also said the MVA (comprising the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress) will do well in the next Assembly and Lok Sabha elections, indicating the three parties may contest the 2024 polls together. He said doubts are being raised as to how long the state government will last.
"But, the Shiv Sena is a party which can be trusted. The government will last its full term and also perform well in the next Lok Sabha and Assembly polls," the NCP chief said. "The Shiv Sena is a party you can trust. (Sena founder) Balasaheb Thackeray honoured his commitment to Indira Gandhi," he said.
The Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress came together to form government in Maharashtra following the Assembly polls in 2019, after the Uddhav Thackeray-led party had a fallout with the BJP over the issue of sharing the chief ministerial post.
"We have formed a government comprising parties of different ideologies. We never thought we will one day form government with the Shiv Sena because we had never worked together. But, the experience is good as all the three parties are working well together during the COVID-19 pandemic," Pawar said. PTI
The tigers of Sunderbans are maneaters
15:41 Finally, colonial Fraserganj bows to Cyclone Yaas
A more than a century-old seaside retreat on the southern edge of the tiger-infested Sunderbans, where India's colonial rulers once wined and dined to the sound of orchestra music has been swallowed by the hungry waves which lashed onto the beaches and forests when cyclone Yaas hit last month.
A few broken portions of brick walls defended by Mangrove roots which desperately cling to it are all that remain of the Fraserganj residence- a spacious bungalow built by Sir Andrew Fraser, lieutenant governor of Bengal between 1903 and 1908- where India's high society including the likes of Viceroy, Lord George Curzon once danced away their nights to the sound of laughter of their ladies and tinkling of wine glasses, as live orchestras shipped down from Kolkata played in attendance.
The historical bungalow which served as a retreat where the rulers of Bengal entertained the high and mighty, could not withstand the might of the storm surge the cyclone brought on May 26, Namkhana Block Development Officer (BDO) Santanu Singha Thakur said.
Sir Andrew Fraser, had finished part of his planned retreat which boasted of a ballroom and a bar for the entertainment of the then capital of India's high society, said Debisankar Middya, an archaeologist specialising in coastal Bengal.
Fraser, born in the then Bombay Presidency in 1848 had joined the Indian Civil Service in 1871. He spotted the beach at Narayantala, and decided it was the ideal location for his retreat and probably started building the bungalow before he became the lieutenant governor, the top job in Bengal province, which then included Bihar, Odisha, modern Bangladesh, Assam and Meghalaya, besides West Bengal. Middya told PTI that a golf course had also been laid out by Fraser close to the bungalow.
"I had seen a remnant of the golf course during a visit," he said. The sea and the weather over the years, had already started eroding parts of the historical residence probably built in 1901-02 on the highest dune in the area. The twin blows from Cyclone Amphan which hit the state last year and Yaas which hit the area last month, dealt the final blow to Fraser's bungalow.
"Only a bathroom is still standing," Thakur said. Bricks that had been dislodged from the broken walls were strewn on the ground. The bungalow once also had a museum in which stuffed carcasses of hunted animals were probably on display, Middya said.
The archeologist said that Fraser had a larger plan to develop the area, referred to as Mecklenberg Island in contemporary Admiralty charts, and had cleared jungles in most parts of it, constructed roads and embankments, besides trying to set up a post-office and a school there. There was also a plan to develop the area as a health resort for the English elite who ruled India.
However, the administration had to abandon the idea due to the huge cost involved in the project, failure to get farmers to settle in the locality and resistance by a small community of local fishermen. The area later came to be known as Fraserganj after the lieutenant governor, but with the sea and high tides lapping hungrily at it, it is difficult to predict for how long even the remains of Fraser's dream retreat will stand. -- PTI
15:30 'China is our enemy'
"Galwan was a turning point. The Indian response took the Chinese by surprise. They realised that our soldiers were more than a match for them. The Chinese realised they were vulnerable," says Lieutenant General Sanjay Kulkarni (retd), PVSM, AVSM, SC, SM, VSM.
The General commanded a brigade and a division on the Line of Actual Control and was decorated with the Shaurya Chakra for leading his platoon to unfurl the Tricolour in Bilafondla on the Siachen Glacier.
"The Chinese only understand strength. We should hold our ground and not give in," General Kulkarni says in the concluding part of his interview with Rediff.com's Archana Masih. Read it here
Read the first part of the interview here.
15:11 Amid Prasada's entry, Yogi to meet PM, Shah today
Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath will visit Delhi today for meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief JP Nadda and Union Home Minister Amit Shah amid reports of dissent in the state.
This is his first meeting with the Delhi leadership since turmoil started in UP for the BJP.
The Chief Minister will be in Delhi for two days. He is likely to meet with Amit Shah today and PM Modi and Nadda tomorrow.
The visit comes a day after the BJP scored a high-profile recruit from the Congress, Jitin Prasada, a top Brahmin face in UP.
14:20 Assam CM asks minorities to adopt family planning
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday urged the minority community to adopt a "decent family planning policy" for population control to reduce poverty.
All stakeholders in the community must come forward and support the government in helping reduce poverty in the community which is primarily due to an unabated increase in population, the chief minister said on the occasion of completion of 30 days of his government.
"The government is the guardian of all poor people but it needs the support of the minority community in tackling the issue of population growth which is the root cause of poverty, illiteracy and consequent lack of proper family planning," he said.
Sarma said that his government will work towards educating the women of the community so that the problem can be tackled effectively. -- PTI
13:54 Maha rains: Red alert in Raigad, thousands shifted
A red alert has been sounded in Raigad district of Maharashtra, warning of heavy to extremely rainfall till Friday, prompting the district administration to shift over 1,000 people from 20 villages to safer places.
The district received an average rainfall of 58 mm in the last 24 hours, Collector Nidhi Choudhary said in a release.
She said in view of the prediction of heavy downpour, a red alert has been issued in the district for Thursday and Friday and an orange alert for June 12 and 13. Since there is a risk of landslides due to heavy rains, 1,139 people from 20 villages have been shifted to safer places, she said.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) had on Saturday confirmed the arrival of the south-west monsoon in Maharashtra at Harnai in the coastal Ratnagiri district. PTI
13:43 Wasn't an easy decision: Prasada on quitting Cong
Former Congress leader Jitin Prasada reacts to criticism from the party.
Yesterday, the Madhya Pradesh Congress unit tweeted, saying, "Jitin Prasada ke jane se Congress khush hai. He is a piece of garbage and it is natural to put him in the garbage bin." The tweet was later deleted.
Prasada said, "I won't make a comment, everyone is free to criticise. Those who have a small mindset, remain small. I'll receive everyone's criticism as 'prasad'. I believe that my decision is right and in country's interest.
"I have a three-generation long connection with Congress. So, this was not an easy decision. With a lot of thinking, conversations with people and listening to the voice of my conscience, I did this.
"I reached the conclusion that in today's perspective BJP and PM Modi's leadership is the most capable. For the future generation too, this party will prove to be useful," Prasad who joined the BJP yesterday, said.
Congress MP Mallikarjun Kharge remarked: "Jitin Prasada was a traditional Congressman, we gave him respect, he wasn't ignored. He was general secy, Bengal in charge... was allowed to contest every time. Despite this, if he blames Congress and ideology for which he and his father worked, it's sad."
Prasada responded saying, "What can I say? He is such a senior leader but I know the situation in UP and the connection between people and Congress. I decided this after thinking everything."
13:00 Had states demanded decentralized vaccine procurement as claimed by PM?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation on June 7, days after the Supreme Court termed the centre's vaccine policy "arbitrary and irrational'. He reversed the vaccine decentralisation strategy and said that the centre will provide free vaccines to states from June 21.
Jitin Prasada joined the BJP yesterday
12:57 On Jitin exit Moily says Cong needs major surgery
A day after Jitin Prasada switched to the BJP, senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily on Thursday said the Congress needs to undergo a "major surgery" and not depend just on legacy, asserting that the top leadership must give primacy to ideological commitment while giving responsibility to leaders.
Alleging that Prasada had placed "personal ambition" over everything else, Moily said the Uttar Pradesh leader's ideological commitment was suspect from the beginning and the party winning zero seats in West Bengal under his charge showed that he was incompetent.
In an interview with PTI, Moily also said the top leadership should make a proper assessment of leaders in the party, asserting that "one cannot make people leaders when they do not deserve it".
The Congress has to rethink and re-strategise some of these things and then only the party can come up, the former Union minister said.
"Properly reorganise the party with proper people in positions and not put incompetent people (in positions of responsibility) who cannot deliver. This is a lesson, the Congress needs to make an introspection in the face of the developments," Moily said, making suggestions for the party's high command.
Asked if Prasada's exit from the Congress has a message for the party top brass, he said they must give importance to leaders' antecedents, ideology and their approach to the common people, while appointing them to positions of importance.
12:36 Give jabs to those without smart phones: Rahul
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday demanded that every person walking into a COVID-19 vaccination centre should get the jab, saying those who do not have access to internet also have the right to life.
The Congress has been batting for vaccines for the poor, especially those living in far-flung and rural areas, who do not have digital access or smart phones. The opposition party has also been demanding that COWIN registration should not be mandatory for getting the Covid vaccine.
"Online registration is not enough for the vaccine. Every person walking in at a vaccination centre should get the vaccine. Those who do not have access to internet also have the right to life," he said in a tweet in Hindi. The Congress has been critical of the government's vaccination policy and its handling of the Covid situation in the country. PTI
12:10 Let BJP bark: Mumbai mayor
Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar holds a press conference. Highlights...
-- On Covid deaths data fudging: Data of Covid deaths are not being hidden. No data is being hidden in Mumbai. There is no river in Mumbai where bodies of people succumbing to Corona are being dumped. All Coid deaths in Mumbai are recorded at 3 places, so the data can't be hidden.
-- On building collapse: Culprits behind what happened in Malad (building collapse incident) should take responsibility for it. More than looking into whose administration was there, it should be seen that who was responsible for it. Had everyone been responsible, it wouldn't have happened. Let BJP bark if they want to. They think that everything is the fault of Shiv Sena and they themselves are clean.
11:55 US to donate 50 cr Pfizer vax to low-income nations
President Joe Biden plans to announce on Thursday that the US will purchase and donate half a billion (50 crore) doses of Pfizer vaccines to 92 low- and lower-middle-income countries and the African Union in a historic action that will help supercharge the global fight against the pandemic, according to the White House.
This is the largest-ever purchase and donation of vaccines by a single country and a commitment by the American people to help protect people around the world from COVID-19, the White House said ahead of the announcement by Biden at the G-7 Summit in the UK.
Biden has arrived in the UK on his maiden official overseas trip to Europe. Biden will also call on the world's democracies to do their parts in contributing to the global supply of safe and effective vaccines.
The goal of today's donation is to save lives and end the pandemic and will provide the foundation for additional actions to be announced in the coming days, the White House said.
The vaccines will start shipping in August 2021. A total of 200 million doses will be delivered by the end of this year and the remaining 300 million will be delivered in the first half of 2022.
The US will allocate these doses to low- and lower-middle-income nations around the world, working through COVAX to deliver them, the White House said. COVAX is a worldwide initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines directed by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and the World Health Organization.
The historic announcement by Biden comes on the heels of his donation of at least 80 million vaccines from the United States' supply by the end of June.
Additionally, the United States has contributed USD two billion to COVAX, more than any other nationand is supporting local production capacity abroad for safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, including through the Quad initiative, said the White House.
Biden has been clear that borders cannot keep this pandemic at bay and has vowed that our nation will be the arsenal of vaccines. The historic step the President will announce today, therefore, protects the health of the American people and the people throughout the world who will benefit from these life-saving vaccines, it said.
The White House said the announcement will provide mRNA vaccines that have proven to be highly effective against COVID-19, including against all known variants. Tens of millions of Americans have benefited from these safe and effective vaccines and this historic donation will bring the life-saving benefits these vaccines provide to some of the most vulnerable populations around the world.
Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal welcomed the announcement. "I applaud President Biden's momentous decision to provide 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to dozens of nations in need including India, Brazil, and other places where COVID-19 is surging," she said in a statement.
11:36 The Swamys 55th today
It's BJP senior leader Subramanian Swamy's anniversary and the witty professor tweets his thanks, "Thank you all for your good wishes on our 55th year completion of my wedding with Roxna. As she wrote a book that it was for her a roller coaster ride-- but she survived it."
11:32 HC refuses to stay release of Sushant Singh bio
The Delhi High Court on Thursday refused to stay the release of the movie, 'Nyay: The Justice', which is purportedly based on the life of late Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput. The movie is scheduled to be released on Friday. Justice Sanjeev Narula dismissed an application by Rajput's father Krishna Kishore Singh, seeking to restrain anyone from using his son's name or likeness in movies. PTI
11:21 Bihar's covid toll mounts to 9,429 after govt audit
The total number of Covid-19 fatalities in Bihar took a drastic upward leap of 3,951 in a day after the figures were revised by the state health department on Wednesday.
According to the official data provided by the state health department, the total number of COVID-19 deaths in the state was 5,458 till Tuesday, However, the revised data on Wednesday showed the death toll has mounted to 9,429.
The move came after the Patna high court flagged irregularities in death figures in Buxar district following which the state government did an audit of COVID-19 deaths at private hospitals and homes not recorded earlier.
The government has however not specified when these deaths took place, but it has provided the breakup of deaths in all 38 districts in the state.
10:56 Floating bodies: Ganga water samples tested
Days after bodies were found floating in Ganga in the state, samples collected from the river have been sent for testing to check for COVID-19 contamination in the water, informed Bihar State Pollution Control Board Scientist, Navin Kumar.
"The sampling of Ganga river is a routine thing which we carry out on a regular basis. The pollution board keeps on investigating the quality of water of the Ganga river. But as you know that there were reports of bodies of COVID-19 victims disposed of in the river, so, we are conducting tests to check whether the river has been contaminated with coronavirus or not," Kumar told ANI.
He mentioned that the initiative of conducting such an investigation of the river water was taken through the National Mission for Ganga under the Jal Shakti Ministry, in collaboration with the Indian Institute for Toxicological Research (IITR), Lucknow, which is a laboratory of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), state pollution control board, and the district administration.
Kumar said that the team collected samples from river Ganga on June 1 in Buxar and on June 5 in Patna, Bhojpur and Saran, adding that the samples have been sent to Lucknow for testing the reports of which are awaited.
10:46 India to get share of of 8cr vaccines from US
India will be receiving a share of the 80 million (8 crores) unused COVID-19 vaccines through the UN-backed COVAX global vaccine sharing programme that President Joe Biden has announced, according to a senior State Department official.
On June 2, President Biden announced that the US will allocate 75 per cent - nearly 1.9 crores of the first tranche of 2.5 crore doses - of unused COVID-19 vaccines from its stockpile through the UN-backed COVAX global vaccine sharing programme to countries in South and Southeast Asia as well as Africa.
The move is part of his administration's framework for sharing 80 million (8 crores) vaccines globally by the end of June.
According to a White House fact sheet, nearly 19 million vaccines will be shared through COVAX. I don't have the specific details on when the shipment of vaccines will be arriving in India. Of course, India will be in receipt of a share of those 80 million vaccines and through COVAX, I believe there were some six million vaccines destined for the region, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday.
Dasgupta's acclaimed film, Bagh Bahadur
10:40 National award-winning film director Buddhadeb Dasgupta dies at 77
Eminent film director Buddhadeb Dasgupta died at his residence in Kolkata early on Thursday due to old-age related ailments, family members said. He was 77. Dasgupta is survived by his wife and two daughters from his previous marriage.
The national award-winning director was having kidney ailments for a long time and undergoing dialysis twice a week regularly, family members said. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee condoled his death.
10:34 Top Chinese university under fire for using sex to sell school
Nanjing University published photos online of beautiful women holding signs with sexually suggestive text. The school removed the photos after an immediate backlash online. Read the report here.
10:18 Sensex rises over 150 points in early trade
Equity benchmark Sensex jumped over 150 points in early trade on Thursday, tracking gains in index-heavyweights Reliance Industries, Infosys and HDFC Bank amid a positive trend in global equities. The 30-share BSE index was trading 160.07 points or 0.31 per cent higher at 52,101.71 in initial deals.
Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty advanced 58.75 points or 0.38 per cent to 15,694.10. PowerGrid was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, rising around 2 per cent, followed by ITC, Tech Mahindra, IndusInd Bank, NTPC, Sun Pharma and Dr Reddy's.
On the other hand, Bajaj Auto, Asian Paints, Maruti and Nestle India were among the laggards. In the previous session, Sensex ended 333.93 points or 0.64 per cent lower at 51,941.64, and Nifty slumped 104.75 points or 0.67 per cent to 15,635.35.
09:50 India sees record 6,148 new COVID-19 deaths
India reported less than 1 lakh new COVID-19 cases for a third straight day, as 94,052 infections were detected across the country in the last 24 hours, the Union health ministry's data showed on Thursday .
With this latest single-day rise, India's cumulative COVID-19 infection tally has risen to 29,183,121, the data showed.
The country also witnessed highest one-day fatalities with 6,148 deaths reported in last 24 hours.
09:13 Jaishankar in Kuwait on bilateral visit
External Affairs Minister of India S Jaishankar arrived in Kuwait on a bilateral visit early on Thursday.
According to diplomatic sources, the aim of the visit is to deepen India's ties with the oil-rich Gulf nation.
It comes nearly three months after the two countries decided to establish a joint ministerial commission to formulate a framework to strengthen ties in sectors like energy, trade, investment, manpower and labour and information technology.
Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah visited India in March during which both sides decided to set up the joint commission.
"Hon'ble External Affairs Minister of India His Excellency Dr S Jaishankar arrives in Kuwait on a bilateral visit and was received by the Ambassador," the Indian Embassy there tweeted on Thursday with the hashtag 'India Kuwait Friendship'.
Kuwait has been supporting India in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic by supplying relief material as well as medical oxygen.
Indian Navy ships have brought a large quantity of medical oxygen from Kuwait in the last few weeks. -- PTI
08:54 US to donate 500mn Pfizer vaccines to world: Report
The Biden administration plans to donate 500 million Pfizer coronavirus vaccine doses to nearly 100 countries over the next two years, Reuters reported quoting sources.
United States President Joe Biden is set to make announce the deal at the G7 meet in Britain.
Last week, Biden had announced his plans to allocate 75 per cent -- nearly 19 million of the first tranche of 25 million doses -- of unused COVID-19 vaccines through the UN-backed COVAX global vaccine sharing programme to countries in South and Southeast Asia as well as Africa.
08:18 11 dead as building collapses in Mumbai's Malad
Eleven people were killed and at least seven injured when a double-storey residential building collapsed on another structure at a slum in Mumbai's Malad on Wednesday night.
"It's an unfortunate incident. It was a G+2 building that fell on another building. 18 people have been rescued, of whom 11 died. Police will carry out a proper investigation and take further action," Dilip Sawant, Additional CP, said.
Many are still feared trapped under the debris and evacuation operations are underway, officials said.
01:22 Rain warning: Maha urges NDRF to deploy 12 teams
In view of the India Meteorological Department's warning about heavy to extremely heavy rainfall in the Konkan region of Maharashtra between June 11 and 15, the state government on Wednesday requested the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to send 12 teams to five coastal districts.
The State Disaster Management Authority of the state government requested the Commandant of the NDRF to depute the teams in Thane, Raigad, Palghar, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts by June 10 afternoon.
The authority sought four NDRF teams in Ratnagiri district and two teams each in other districts, the official communication to the NDRF, which was shared to media by Palghar district collector Manik Gursal, said.
"Collectors of these districts are requested to make all logistical arrangements for the NDRF teams in consonance with the regulations of social distancing and sanitation as issued by the central and the state government," the request letter issued by K Suryakrishnamurty, Under Secretary of the Disaster Management Unit of the state government said. -- PTI