Mon, 14 June 2021
Betrayal in name of Lord Ram is unrighteous: Rahul
23:49 Kangana Ranaut moves HC seeking renewal of passport
Actor Kangana Ranaut moved the Bombay high court on Monday seeking directions to the regional passport authority in Mumbai to renew her passport.
In her plea filed through advocate Rizwan Siddiquee, Ranaut said the renewal had been denied by the local passport authority in Mumbai on the ground that she had an FIR registered against her by the Bandra police on charges of sedition and for her alleged hateful tweets.
Ranaut said in her plea that the passport authority had raised an objection to renew or to reissue the travel document because of the said FIR.
The actor said she needs to travel to Budapest, Hungary, this month for the shooting of her upcoming film Dhakkad and thus, needs her passport renewed.
A division bench led by Justice Prasanna B Varale is likely to hear the plea on Tuesday.
The Bandra police had registered the FIR against Ranaut and her sister Rangoli Chandel on charges of promoting enmity between communities through their remarks on Twitter in October 2020. -- PTI
23:30 Betrayal in name of Lord Ram is unrighteous: Rahul
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday hit out at the BJP over the alleged scam in purchase of land in Ayodhya by the Ram temple trust and said betrayal in Lord Ram's name is unrighteous.
"Shri Ram himself is justice, truth, faith. Betrayal in his name is unrighteous," he said in a tweet in Hindi, alleging a scam in the land purchase.
The Congress has alleged that the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust had purchased a piece of land worth Rs 2 crore at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh at an inflated price of Rs 18.5 crore.
In another tweet, he hit out at the government over its pro-privatisation drive and said it would not help the people.
"GOI's 'Modi Mitr-centric' (friend-centric) privatisation drive won't help the public. NYAY will," he said, while pointing to the scheme he had proposed for providing direct cash in accounts of the poor and the oppressed sections of society. -- PTI
23:28 JNU issues show cause notice to Aishe Ghosh for 2018 protest
The Jawaharlal Nehru University has issued show cause notices to Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union president Aishe Ghosh and another student for a protest they held in 2018, calling it an act of "indiscipline and misconduct".
Reacting to the notice, Ghosh said despite the closure of several administrative offices owing to the Covid pandemic, the varsity's chief proctor's office "has been regularly functioning to intimidate and punish students".
The notice issued to Ghosh on June 11 said she had "been found involved in disruption" of the Board of Studies (BOS) meeting on December 5.
Professor Rajnish Kumar Mishra, chief proctor of the varsity, confirmed the development.
When asked why the notices were issued nearly three years after the protest, he said, "They (students) had blocked the university over the issue of fee hike for a long time and then there were intermittent disturbances. In 2020, the pandemic situation started. We have begun the process now".
The notice read, "This kind of activity dangerous in nature and falls under Item Category of the Statute 25 of the Statutes of the University which states -- All acts of violence and all forms of coercion such as gheraos, sit-ins or any variation of the same which disrupts the normal academic and administrative functioning of the university and or any act which incites or leads to violence".
Calling her protest "an act of indiscipline and misconduct", the notice sought an explanation on "why disciplinary action should not be initiated" against her.
Ghosh has been given time till June 21 to reply to the notice, "failing which it will be presumed that you have nothing to say in your defense and this office will be free to take appropriate action against you", it said.
In a Facebook post, the Jawaharlal Nehru University Student' Union president said, "In JNU, several administrative office are not functioning citing pandemic situation, scholarships are not getting disbursed, hostel allotment for first years are not happening, water crisis is going on in the campus, vaccination for students are not happening.
"But the chief proctor's office has been regularly functioning to intimidate and punish students."
Questioning the priority of the varsity administration, she said, "While thousands of students in our campus are suffering, a huge section everyday is being pushed out of university due to discrimination. The JNU administration is in glee to further fulfil its anti-student policies." -- PTI
23:24 Not joining AAP, says Hardik Patel
Gujarat Congress working president Hardik Patel on Monday asserted he would not join the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party after reports emerged on social media said that he could be the face of AAP for the 2022 assembly elections in the BJP-ruled state.
While discarding these reports as "baseless", Patel saw the BJP's hand behind the circulation of such "fake reports", a claim rejected by the ruling party.
The reports emerged in the backdrop of AAP chief Kejriwal's visit to Gujarat on Monday.
"I am surprised at the reports coming in from various media quarters that I am going to join the AAP and become their face for the next year's Assembly election in Gujarat. Such claims are baselss. Such fake reports are being planted in the media with a malicious intent at the behest of the BJP," Hardik Patel said in a statement.
"These are being circulated to create confusion among Congress supporters and the Patidar community. The BJP is circulating such baseless reports in order to hide its failure during the COVID-19 crisis in Gujarat" he added.
Patel said he is the youngest working president ever of the Gujarat Congress and he joined the party "with the sole aim of removing the anti-farmer, anti-worker and anti-Patidar BJP government."
Patel said he will try his best as the opposition party's state working president to see that the Congress forms a government in Gujarat in 2022.
Earlier in the day, former head of a Gujarati news channel, Isudan Gadhvi, joined the AAP in the presence of Kejriwal.
The BJP rejected Patel's allegations of planting fake news against him.
"The BJP fights elections on the agenda of development and that is why people elect us. Hardik Patel is having his own agenda and we are not concerned about it. His allegations are far from the truth," said Gujarat BJP spokesperson Yamal Vyas. -- PTI
22:55 Pashupati Paras recognised as LJP floor leader in LS
Pashupati Kumar Paras, brother of the late LJP founder Ram Vilas Paswan, was Monday recognised as the party's floor leader in Lok Sabha in place of Paswan's son Chirag.
Five of the LJP's six MPs had met Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Sunday and given him a written request for appointing Paras as their leader in place of Chirag.
The Lok Sabha Secretariat Monday issued a revised list of floor leaders of parties in a notification in which Paras has been listed as the lader of Lok Janshakti Party. -- PTI
22:44 Over 25.87 crore Covid vaccine doses administered in India
The total number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has gone past 25.87 crore, the Union health ministry said on Monday.
It said 20,99,621 beneficiaries in the 18-44 age group received the first dose, while 1,16,326 got the second dose of the vaccine on Monday.
Cumulatively, 4,34,35,032 people in the 18-44 age group have received the first dose while 8,33,808 have received the second dose across the country since the start of the third phase of the vaccination drive against the viral disease.
Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal have administered the first dose of the vaccine to more than 10 lakh beneficiaries in the 18-44 age group each, the ministry said.
The total number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has reached 25,87,13,321, according to a provisional report compiled at 7 pm.
The number includes 1,00,67,641 healthcare workers (HCWs) who have taken the first dose, 69,81,884 HCWs who have received the second dose, 1,68,38,400 frontline workers (FLWs) who have taken the first dose, 88,76,931 FLWs who have got the second dose, 4,34,35,032 and 8,33,808 individuals in the 18-44 age group who have received the first and the second dose respectively.
Besides, 7,65,48,740 and 1,20,81,922 beneficiaries in the 45-60 age group have been administered the first and the second dose of the vaccine respectively, while 6,29,78,733 and 2,00,70,230 beneficiaries above 60 years of age have taken the first and the second dose respectively.
As on the 150th day of the vaccination drive (June 14), a total of 35,96,462 vaccine doses were given -- 31,84,503 beneficiaries vaccinated for the first dose and 4,11,959 for the second dose -- according to the provisional report.
The final reports for the day would be compiled by late night.
The vaccination exercise as a tool to protect the most vulnerable population groups in the country from COVID-19 continues to be regularly reviewed and monitored at the highest level, the ministry underlined. -- PTI
22:16 Why no interrogation of suspects by CBI: Sushant's family lawyer
Senior advocate Vikas Singh, the family lawyer of late Bollywood star Sushant Singh Rajput, on Monday expressed surprise that there has been no custodial interrogation of suspects by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the sensational death case when there is mystery involved.
Responding to the statement of CBI officials that the probe is continuing and all angles are being looked into, Singh, said if they are looking into all the aspects then they should have done custodial interrogation of the named accused.
"I am a little surprised because if they are looking into all the aspects then they should have done custodial interrogation of the named accused and also of the people who were living at his residence.
"Why have they not done custodial interrogation till date. Wherever there is mystery involved, custodial interrogation is required in such cases," Singh told PTI on the death anniversary of the actor.
The 34-year-old actor was found hanging from the ceiling of his apartment in Mumbai's Bandra on June 14, last year. Mumbai Police investigated the case till the probe was handed over to the CBI by the apex court.
The top court had last year invoked its extra-ordinary plenary power under Article 142 of the Construction while handing over the probe surrounding circumstances of Rajput's unnatural death and had said "When truth meets sunshine, justice will not prevail on the living alone but after Life's fitful fever, now the departed will also sleep well. Satyameva Jayate."
The probe agency has not yet filed the charge sheet or the closure report in the death case.
Singh, who is also the Supreme Court Bar Association President, said if the CBI is getting any leads it's really good but nothing concrete has happened till now even after one year.
"Custodial interrogation is required in cases where mystery is involved," the senior advocate stressed.
When asked about the delay in filing of the charge sheet in Rajput's case, Singh said, It's difficult for me to comment on the delay in the investigation and filing of the charge sheet. Maybe, they are wanting to break down the witnesses slowly so that they might get some leads somewhere." -- PTI
21:55 8,129 Covid cases in Maha, lowest since March 2
Maharashtra on Monday reported 8,129 new COVID-19 cases, the lowest single-day count since March 2, taking the state's tally to 59,17,121, while 200 more deaths pushed the toll to 1,12,696, the health department said.
The rise in fresh coronavirus cases was the lowest since March 2, when 7,863 infections were reported in the state.
Over the last few days, the daily spike has been around 10,000. The state had reported 9,927 cases on March 9.
A statement from the state health department said 14,732 patients were discharged from hospitals during the day, taking the count of recovered cases to 56,54,003.
The state's COVID-19 recovery rate is 95.55 per cent and the case fatality rate is 1.90 per cent, the statement said.
As many as 1,68,902 coronavirus tests were conducted during the last 24 hours, taking the number of samples examined so far to 3,82,15,492, it said.
The state currently has 1,47,354 active cases of coronavirus, the statement said.
Mumbai reported 530 new cases and 19 deaths, taking the tally to 7,16,190 and the toll to 15,202, the department said. -- PTI
21:44 PM meets ministers, Nadda amid Cabinet rejig buzz
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday met Union ministers, including Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari, along with Bharatiya Janata Party president JP Nadda, sources said.
For the past one week, Modi has been holding in-person meetings with Union ministers apparently to take stock of the work done by the government in the last two years and to discuss various issues, they said.
Both Union ministers and Union ministers of state are meeting the prime minister in different groups.
The meeting attended by Singh, Gadkari, Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda and Minister of State V Muraleedharan, besides others, is the fifth in the series and perhaps the last, a source said.
The sources said that BJP chief Nadda was present most of the meetings which were held at 7, Lok Kalyan Marg, the official residence of the prime minister.
Last week, Modi had met Union Home Minister Amit Shah along with Nadda and Union ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad and Jitender Singh.
Political observers and party insiders feel that this could be an exercise before an expected Cabinet expansion and reshuffle, but there has been no official word yet.
The sources said that all these meetings of the prime minister with Union ministers have lasted for nearly five hours.
Besides the work done by the ministries, Modi also discussed various important and relevant issues with them, they said, adding that the meetings were called after the second wave of Covid cases.
Cabinet ministers or ministers of state of agriculture, rural development, animal husbandry and fishing, tribal affairs, urban development, culture, statistics and programme implementation, civil aviation, railways, food and consumer affairs, jal shakti, petroleum, steel, external affairs and environment were among those who were called for the meetings, the sources said.
These meetings with the Union ministers were preceded by meetings between Modi and presidents of various wings of the BJP and party general secretaries.
Nadda and BJP general secretary (organisation) BL Santhosh were present at the meetings with the party office-bearers.
20:53 Delhi bans soaps, detergents to curb pollution in Yamuna
The Delhi government on Monday banned the sale, storage, transportation, and marketing of soaps and detergents not conforming to the latest BIS standards to curb pollution in the Yamuna river.
The National Green Tribunal had in January accepted recommendations of a two-member expert panel which had suggested directing the Delhi government to issue orders "prohibiting sale, storage and transportation and marketing of detergents which do not conform to the revised BIS standards".
The NGT had also directed to launch awareness campaigns about the harmful effect of using substandard soaps and detergents.
All the authorities concerned, including local bodies, civil supplies department and district administrations having control over shops and other establishments dealing with sale, storage, transportation and marketing facilities for soaps and detergents in Delhi should ensure the compliance of directions through strict vigil and surprise checks, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee said in an order issued on Monday.
The pollution body has asked the authorities concerned to submit monthly action taken reports of inspections conducted and subsequent action taken without fail.
Experts have cited soaps and detergents as one of the major reasons behind the pollution in the Yamuna river.
Many times, visuals of toxic froth floating on the surface of the river in Delhi also make their way to social media.
The primary reason behind the formation of the toxic foam in the Yamuna high phosphate content in the wastewater because of detergents used in dyeing industries, dhobi ghats and households, according to an official of the Central Pollution Control Board.
"A large number of unbranded detergents are also used in households and dyeing industries. The wastewater containing high phosphate content reach the river through untapped drains," he said.
These detergents and other organic matter gets deposited in the riverbed when the river is flowing normally.
When water falls from a height on reaching a barrage, it leads to turbulence and churning which causes froth. -- PTI
20:39 US assessing reported leak at Chinese nuclear power facility
The US government has spent the past week assessing a report of a leak at a Chinese nuclear power plant, after a French company that part owns and helps operate it warned of an "imminent radiological threat," according to US officials and documents reviewed by CNN.
The warning included an accusation that the Chinese safety authority was raising the acceptable limits for radiation detection outside the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant in Guangdong province in order to avoid having to shut it down, according to a letter from the French company to the US Department of Energy obtained by CNN.
Read the full report HERE
20:36 No prior sanction required to probe corruption charges against Deshmukh: CBI to HC
The Central Bureau of Investigation has urged the Bombay high court to dismiss a plea filed by former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh seeking that an FIR registered against him by the central agency on charges of corruption be quashed.
In an affidavit filed in the HC last week, the CBI said the FIR against Deshmukh had been registered in April this year on the basis of a preliminary inquiry which the high court had allowed following a batch of petitions seeking a probe into corruption allegations against the NCP leader.
The central agency said even the Maharashtra government had not raised any grievance on the issue of sanction.
The CBI said Deshmukh's plea was an abuse of the process of law.
The premier agency prayed that the HC dismiss Deshmukh's petition, for, granting any relief to the former minister would hamper its probe that was at a "preliminary but crucial stage."
In his plea in the HC seeking the FIR's quashing, Deshmukh has said the CBI had failed to seek prior sanction that was necessary under the law since he was a public servant at the time of the alleged offence.
The CBI, however, said in its affidavit, "No sanction is necessary in this case."
"Sanction is not required particularly in cases of illegal gratification or amassing wealth by illegal means as the same can never be considered to be in discharge of official duties," the affidavit reads.
The central agency said the letters written to the Maharashtra chief minister by former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh, alleging corruption and misconduct on Deshmukh's part, revealed a cognisable offence as per law.
In April this year, a Bombay HC bench led by Chief Justice Dipankar Datta had directed the CBI to conduct a preliminary inquiry against Deshmukh following the allegations of corruption levelled by Singh.
The inquiry was to be based on a complaint lodged at a Mumbai police station by lawyer Jaishri Patil. -- PTI
20:31 Single dose sufficient for Covid-recovered patients: Study
A single dose of COVID-19 vaccine is sufficient for an infected person as there was a greater antibody response when compared with those who have had no prior infection, according to a study released by AIG Hospitals on Monday.
The Hyderabad-based AIG Hospitals recently published a study conducted on 260 healthcare workers, who got vaccinated between January 16 and February 5, in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases (a peer-reviewed journal).
The study was designed to assess the immunological memory response in all those patients.
All patients were given the Covishield vaccine.
The study also said Memory T-cell responses elicited by a single dose of vaccine were significantly higher in the previously infected group compared with those who had no prior infection.
Commenting on the impact that this study can have on the overall vaccine administration strategy, Dr. D Nageshwar Reddy, Chairman, AIG Hospitals, and one of the co-authors of the study, said the results show that people
who got infected with COVID-19 need not take two doses of vaccine as a single dose can develop robust antibody and memory cell response at par with two-doses for those who didnt get the infection.
This will significantly help at a time when theres a shortage of vaccine in the country and more people can be covered using the saved doses, Dr Reddy said.
Once the requisite number of people are vaccinated for achieving herd immunity, these patients who got infected and received only one dose can take the second dose of the vaccine, he further said.
At this point, all our strategies should be directed at the widespread distribution of available vaccines and to include the maximum number of people at least with a single dose, Dr Reddy added. -- PTI
19:30 Panneerselvam elected deputy legislative party leader of AIADMK
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) Coordinator O Panneerselvam has been elected as Deputy Leader of the legislature party of the AIADMK in the Tamil Nadu Assembly.
Also, former Minister SP Velumani has been elected as the party's whip in the Tamil Nadu Assembly.
This development comes over one month after AIADMK's defeat to Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in the Assembly polls.
The decisions to this effect were taken at the AIADMK legislature party meeting held at party headquarters in Chennai Royapet.
Panneerselvam, Deputy Coordinator Edapadi Palani Sami and party MLAs participated in the meeting.
The party also expelled sixteen of its party functionaries who interacted with V K Sasikala.
This comes after the Legislature Party meeting had passed a resolution calling for actions against those who spoke to Sasikala, close-aide of late chief minister J Jayalalithaa.
The party also expelled party spokesperson V Pugazhendi, stating the the leader was against the party.
The AIADMK, in its statement today, termed Sasikala's telephonic conversations with its cadre as 'drama' and stated: 'The party will never destroy itself for the desires of one family.' -- ANI
19:28 Cong seeks SC probe in 'scam' by Ayodhya trust
The Congress on Monday alleged corruption in purchase of land in Ayodhya by the Ram temple trust and demanded a Supreme Court-monitored probe into the charge.
The party also alleged that it was a 'big scam' committed using funds collected from devotees and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should answer whether those behind it had his protection.
Congress general secretary and chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala alleged at a press conference that the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust had purchased '12,080 square metres of land' at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh at an inflated price of Rs 18.5 crore.
The land was purchased by the temple's trust at Rs 18.5 crore on March 18, and according to land deeds, only a few minutes earlier on the same day Kusum Phatak had sold it for Rs 2 crore to Ravi Tiwari and Sultan Ansari from whom the trust bought the land, he claimed.
Citing the land deeds, Surejwala claimed that trust members Anil Mishra, who is a Bharatiya Janata Party leader, and Hrishikesh Upadhyay, a former mayor of Ayodhya, are signatories to the Rs 18.5 crore land deal.
The land was in the name of Pathak and was sold to Tiwari and Ansari, who in turn sold it to the trust, the Congress spokesperson claimed.
Surjewala said the trust formed for the construction of the temple for Lord Ram, who is considered a symbol of faith by crores of people, was set up on February 5 last year on the directions of the Supreme Court.
He said the facts that have come to light point to a 'big scam' in funds collected from devotees and this amounts to committing a big sin and wrongdoing.
But Prime Minister Modi, who formed the trust on the directions of the Supreme Court, is totally silent, Surjewala said.
"Will the prime minister answer if those sinners, who have traded the faith of Lord Ram's devotees, have his protection," he said.
"How could BJP leaders commit such a big malpractice in the name of Lord Ram whose words, values and ethical conduct are sworn as ideals. How much more land has been purchased in such a manner at throwaway rates out of funds received for the temple's construction," Surjewala asked.
He said that 'with such a scam and facts coming to light', the Congress demands that the prime minister answer to the nation.
The chief justice and the Supreme Court must take cognisance of the matter and order a court-monitored probe into the charges, Surjewala said.
The Congress leader said the Supreme Court should also get under its aegis an audit done for all the donations and funds received and spent by the trust for the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya.
It should also carry out a probe on the assessment value of all land purchased by the trust from donations and make it public in the traditions of idealism of Lord Ram, he demanded.
Asked if the Congress will seek stopping of the construction work of the Ram temple, Surjewala said the work which is being carried out on full swing should continue and not be stopped. -- PTI
18:46 Protests greet Praful Khoda Patel in Lakshadweep
Lakshadweep administrator Praful Khoda Patel arrived to a 'Black Day' protest on the island on Monday.
The protest by political parties and organisations was to oppose his reforms measures on the isle.
Also the administrator of Dadra-Nagar Haveli and Daman- Diu, he arrived at Agatti in the afternoon commencing his week-long visit, sources said.
Soon after reaching Agatti, Patel met top officials in the administration and reviewed the progress of various development projects.
'Reached Agatti at Lakshadweep today and met with the officials. Inspected and reviewed the status of various ongoing development projects,' the administrator tweeted tagging @PMOIndia.
Earlier in the day, anticipating that the administrator would be travelling via Kochi to Lakshadweep, two Congress MPs from Kerala T N Prathapan and Hibi Eden had gone to the Kochi international airport to meet Patel to convey their protest against what they called as anti-people reforms measures on the islands.
It did not materialise as Patel reportedly opted for the Goa route to go to islands.
Meanwhile, activists of Save Lakshadweep Forum (SLF), a platform of various political parties and organisations opposing Patel's reforms, observed a black day by wearing black masks and raising black flags atop their houses.
In a Facebook post, Lakshadweep MP P P Mohammed Faizal said, "Democratic values are the highest tenets of our Constitution and any attack on the same will be fought against by the SLF."
"Witnessing a furore for over a month now, people of the archipelago have been protesting against decisions by the administrator that will affect the unique culture and tradition of our islands," he said.
He said the islanders would wear black masks and badges and protest at their residences.
"As a protest against Patels reform measures on the islands, we will also raise black flags at houses during the administrators visit. Repeal of anti-social and anti-people regulations are our prime demands. Save Lakshadweep Forum also seeks reinstatement of hundreds of people who were allegedly removed by the administration from government- related contractual jobs during Covid pandemic times," Faizal said.
The SLF raised slogans like 'Roll back all weird anti-social and anti-public reforms' and 'Praful Khoda Patel Go Back'.
Faizal said it is for the first time, Lakshadweep receives an administrator in the shades of 'black' and this day will be marked in the history of Lakshadweep in black letters.
The Lok Sabha member said no government could survive even if a small per cent of the population rose up against it.
"We hope the central government will open their eyes to our protest and will take remedial steps to ensure that Lakshadweep goes back to its normal life," he said.
Lakshadweep filmmaker Aisha Sulthana, who is in the forefront of the agitation against Patel's policies, said, "No longer will we, the people of Lakshadweep, tolerate fascism."
Sulthana, who is facing sedition charges for her alleged remarks regarding COVID-19 situation, said, "We will stand against totalitarian policies, and we will survive this siege on Lakshadweep."
The BJP had earlier alleged that false propaganda was unleashed against Patel by certain fundamental groups in Kerala as he was a former ministerial colleague of Narendra Modi when he was the chief minister of Gujarat.
Justifying the reform measures, the administration has said Maldives with the same natural beauty and similar geographical location as Lakshadweep has emerged as a great tourism location in the world map.
According to officials, three eco-friendly tourism water villa projects are being developed for tourism development by the Lakshadweep administration in collaboration with NITI Aayog on the lines of Maldives in Minicoy, Kadmat and Suheli.
The administration says with the implementation of this project, tourism would get a new dimension and tourists would get facilities for accommodation, entertainment and local people would get new opportunities for employment and business.
During his visit concluding on June 20, Patel would visit the proposed site for the sea-facing hospital in Kavaratti and review the smart city project there.
The administration has planned sea-facing hospitals in Agatti, Minicoy, Andrott and Kavaratti to boost the health infrastructure on the islands, which is about 500 km away from the mainland. -- PTI
18:04 New entrants in BJP should feel welcome: Dasgupta on Trojan horse comment
Senior BJP leader Swapan Dasgupta on Monday said it would be wrong to view everyone who joined the saffron party in West Bengal after 2019 as "Trojan horses" obliquely countering his colleague Tathagata Roys tweet hinting that former BJP national vice president Mukul Roy may have left behind agents in the saffron camp while returning to the Trinamool Congress.
"Many new entrants participated in the election with sincerity and they must not be made to feel unwelcome," Dasgupta, a Rajya Sabha MP, who had unsuccessfully contested from Tarakeswar assembly constituency, said.
Without mincing words, Tathagata Roy had tweeted after Mukul Roy crossed over to the TMC, "After having been welcomed into the BJP, he gained access to its all-India leaders, hobnobbed with state BJPs gullible... learnt all about the party and its innermost detail, he went back and leaked everything to Mamata. But what's done is done. Now the big question is, did Mukul leave back Trojan Horses within this Trojan Horse?"
Metaphorically, a "Trojan horse" refers to a trick or a strategy that causes a target to invite a foe into a securely protected bastion.
Mukul Roy, who had left the TMC to join the BJP in 2017, returned to the ruling party on Friday and many others have already expressed a desire to return to their old party from the saffron camp.
Alluding to the insinuations by the former Meghalaya governor that there could be agents planted by Roy in the BJP, the journalist-turned-politician posted on Twitter, "Politics is not a game of exclusion; it involves adding support & creating new leaders".
17:59 Fire in IT building at Delhi airport
Delhi: Fire breaks out at IT building of Safdarjung Airport, six fire tenders rushed to the site for firefighting/
17:52 US Novavax vax made by SII 90.4% effective
US Biotechnology company Novavax on Monday announced that its Covid-19 vaccine provides 100 per cent protection against moderate and severe symptoms of the disease and 90.4 per cent efficacy overall in phase 3 trials.
The study enrolled 29,960 participants across 119 sites in the US and Mexico to evaluate efficacy, safety and immunogenicity, with an emphasis on recruiting a representative population of communities and demographic groups most impacted by the disease.
"Today, Novavax is one step closer to addressing the critical and persistent global public health need for additional COVID-19 vaccines. These clinical results reinforce that NVX-CoV2373 is extremely effective and offers complete protection against both moderate and severe COVID-19 infection," said Stanley C Erck, President and Chief Executive Officer, Novavax.
"Novavax continues to work with a sense of urgency to complete our regulatory submissions and deliver this vaccine, built on a well understood and proven platform, to a world that is still in great need of vaccines," he added.
According to the company's statement, it intends to file for regulatory authorizations in the third quarter, upon completion of the final phases of process qualification and assay validation needed to meet chemistry, manufacturing and controls (CMC) requirements.
Upon regulatory approvals, Novavax remains on track to reach the manufacturing capacity of 100 million doses per month by the end of the third quarter and 150 million doses per month by the end of the fourth quarter of 2021.
Last year, Novavax, announced an amendment to its existing agreement with Serum Institute of India Private Limited (SIIPL) under which SIIPL will also manufacture the antigen component of NVX-CoV2373, Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
17:31 Don't want blood-soaked Bengal: Governor
WB Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar: "With folded hands, I want to appeal to all -- we don't want blood-soaked Bengal. There is no place for violence in this land. Rabindranath Tagore had said - 'where mind is without fear & head is held high'. I know no one's mind is free from fear here.
"Fear quotient is so high that democracy is breathing its last. I request govt officials and CM -- it is vital for us that democracy thrives. I hope CM will take necessary steps and govt will adopt a positive approach. We can't allow Bengal to be on fire."
BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari today headed a delegation of party MLAs and met the West Bengal Governor to discuss the law and order situation in the state.
17:06 Zero Covid cases in Dharavi slum in 24 hours
The slum colony of Dharavi in Mumbai did not report a single COVID-19 case in the past 24 hours, a clean slate feat in one of the world's densest urban settlements achieved for the first time since February 2, a civic official said on Monday.
Dharavi's infection tally stands unchanged at 6,861, while the active caseload is 13, comprising seven in hospitals and six in home isolation, he added.
The recovery count of the area, which reported its first case on April 1 last year, and a single-day high of 99 on April 8 this year during the second wave, is 6,489. Spread over 2.5 sq km and housing a mix of shanties and micro industrial units, Dharavi is home to almost 6.5 lakh people. PTI
16:40 Your void can't be filled: Rhea on SSR
Remembering Sushant Singh Rajput on his first death anniversary, actor and his former girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty said she is yet to come to terms with the Bollywood star's passing. Rajput, 34, was found dead at his apartment in suburban Bandra on June 14, 2020.
Chakraborty, who was accused of abetting the late actor's suicide and misappropriating his wealth by Rajput's family, shared an emotional note on Instagram on Monday.
"There isn't a moment where I believe that you aren't here anymore. They said that time heals everything but you were my time and my everything. I know that you are my guardian angel now - watching me with your telescope from the moon and protecting me," Chakraborty, 28, wrote alongside her photo with Rajput, a science nerd who had a deep interest in astronomy.
"There is no life without you, you took the meaning of it with you. This void cannot be filled.. Without you, I'm standing still.." she added.
The actor further said she experiences a "barrage of emotions" every time she realises Rajput's absence. "I wait for you everyday to come pick me up, I look for you everywhere I know you're here with me... I miss you, my best friend, my man, my love..."
After a case of alleged abetment of suicide was registered against Chakraborty by Rajput's kin, a parallel probe into alleged drug procurement by her also began on the basis of her WhatsApp chats. Starting with Mumbai Police, Enforcement Directorate (ED), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) were brought in to investigate various angles in the actor's death.
16:22 Suvendu, BJP delegation meet WB guv
BJP leader & Leader of Opposition in State Assembly, Suvendu Adhikari along with a delegation of party's MLAs met Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar at Raj Bhawan, Kolkata to apprise him of several inappropriate incidents happening in Bengal & discuss other important matters.
L&T was amongst the top gainers
16:15 Sensex rises 77 points to all-time high of 52,551
Equity benchmark Sensex rose 77 points to close at its all-time high on Monday, tracking gains in index majors Reliance, Infosys and TCS amid positive cues from global markets. The 30-share BSE index ended 76.77 points or 0.15 per cent higher at 52,551.53. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty advanced 12.50 points or 0.08 per cent to its fresh record of 15,811.85.
Reliance Industries was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, rising around 1.5 per cent, followed by Bajaj Finance, ONGC, Infosys, PowerGrid, L&T and IndusInd Bank.
On the other hand, Kotak Bank, NTPC, HDFC, Sun Pharma, Bajaj Auto and Maruti were among the laggards.
Dr Sangita Reddy
15:57 Apollo Hospitals Jt MD tests +ve for Covid
Vaccines don't prevent coronavirus infections but will help in keeping the symptoms mild, Apollo Hospitals Joint MD Sangita Reddy said on Monday. In a series of tweets, Reddy also said she was going home today after being hospitalised for coronavirus infection.
"After 500 days of dodging #COVID19 I tested +VE on June10th My initial reaction was of shock & dismay - Why me? I was careful & #vaccinated. Hospitalized with high fever I took the cocktail #Regeneron therapy within the early window period & it has made a dramatic difference," she said.
Highlighting the role of vaccines and timely diagnosis and treatment, she said, "The imp point 2 remember- vaccine dont prevent #COVID BUT help keep symptoms Mild.Timely diagnosis & treatment r key 2 quick recovery". "As I go home 2day & continue #self isolation under Med sup via #telemedicine My heartfelt gratitude 2 R #Nursing, Doc & #scientific com," she noted.
Reddy has been emphasising that the government should move quickly to ramp up the availability of the COVID vaccine in the country by enhancing domestic production as well as increasing procurement from abroad.
In a tweet on May 17, Reddy said, "The challenge of India#vaccinationstrategy is not admin as much as supply. I urge R #govt to move quickly on ramping up domestic prod, enhance intl procure, seek Intl aid in the form of vaccine & establish a dist network of all Pub & Pvt hospitals 2 accelerate the pace of inoculation." PTI
Protests against Adani in Australia in 2019
15:40 Reports of frozen a/cs blatantly erroneous: Adani
Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone Limited says the news reports stating that NSDL has frozen accounts of 3 foreign funds holding shares in Adani Group companies are "blatantly erroneous and is done to deliberately mislead the investing community."
Shares of Adani Group companies witnessed a massive drubbing in morning trade on Monday, tumbling up to 25 per cent, amid reports that the National Securities Depository Ltd (NSDL) has frozen certain FPIs accounts that have holding in some of these firms.
Adani Enterprises tumbled 24.99 per cent to Rs 1,201.10, Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone plummeted 18.75 per cent to Rs 681.50 on the BSE. Among others, Adani Green Energy dipped 5 per cent to Rs 1,165.35, Adani Total Gas fell 5 per cent to Rs 1,544.55, Adani Transmission declined 5 per cent to Rs 1,517.25 and Adani Power slumped 4.99 per cent to Rs 140.90.
All these stocks hit their respective lower circuit limits. According to media reports, the National Securities Depository Ltd has frozen the accounts of three foreign funds which together own shares in four Adani Group companies.
15:08 I spent prime years without a lover: Neena Gupta
Veteran actor-director Neena Gupta on Monday said her autobiography "Sach Kahun Toh" is an honest tell-all tale about her life, chronicling her professional highs and personal lows. Published by Random House India, the book touches upon several milestones of Gupta's life, from her unconventional pregnancy, single parenthood to a successful comeback in Bollywood.
During an Instagram video chat with actor Kareena Kapoor Khan, who launched the book, Gupta said she has been writing the autobiography for 20 years and would often wonder if people were even interested in reading about her.
"I would start and wonder, 'What is there to write about my life? Why would people be interested in reading it?' Then the lockdown happened... And I did a lot of thinking about my life and decided to resume writing again.
"Everything is out of my system now. Things I was hiding for so many years. That's a big relief. I think, may be after reading the book, even if one person doesn't make the mistake which I did, if they feel 'yeah, we should not do this', it'll be worth it," Gupta said. Kapoor Khan said she doesn't view the book as a document of Gupta's "mistakes", rather, a sincere effort to put forth a life "that has been lived with all heart." "Too much heart! Gupta quipped.
"What is nice about living from your heart, is that even if something goes wrong, you are content," the veteran added. According to the publishing house, the book will share Gupta's life story in the most "unapologetically honest" manner, from her time at National School of Drama (NSD) to moving to Bombay (Mumbai) in the 80s and her single parenthood.
The 62-year-old actor said, during the course of her writing the bookin Mukteshwar, Uttarakhand, where she stayed throughout the second wave of the pandemicshe realised how she was without any lover in her prime. Gupta was in a relationship with former West Indian cricketer Vivian Richards in the 1980s and had to face insensitive intrusion from media and public for her decision to raise her daughter, Masaba, as a single mother.
"While I was writing the book I realised that I've been alone most of my younger years, my prime years, without a lover or a husband. I came here, there were some inconsequential affairs, nothing really materialised. I was all alone most of the time. Vivian was living far away, he had his own life. We met very seldom," she said. The "Badhaai Ho" actor said contrary to the perception that she has lived life on her own terms, she has simply accepted whatever has come her way and learnt to "move on".
"Whatever God gave me, wherever I went wrong, I accepted it and moved forward. I wanted to have a normal husband, children from the husband who's living with me, my in-laws, grandparents... "When I see other people, I do feel a little envious. But I didn't blame (anyone), didn't become an alcoholic or went in a wrong direction because I didn't get what I wanted." The actor mentioned a story from her book, when a man she was in love with and was about to get married to, called off the wedding at the last minute.
"Till today I don't know why. I had no option but to move on... What you read about my life is actually not what I wanted my life to be," she added. The book addresses issues like casting couch, film industry politics, and also talks about what it takes for a young actor to survive without a godfather or guide. PTI
The Indian economy has turned turtle under Modi
14:59 58% Indians expect fall in income in 6 months
Consumer anxiety is at the highest levels since the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic in India with the less affluent most skeptical about economic outlook while a majority of consumers think their income in the next six months will be lower than the pre-COVID levels, says a latest study.
As per the COVID-19 consumer sentiment research by global management consulting firm Boston Consulting group (BCG) conducted between May 23 and May 28, 2021, covering around 4,000 respondents across metros, tier I, II, III, IV and rural India, 51 per cent of consumers expected their spends over the next six months to be lower.
In the last round of survey conducted from July 20 to August 2, 2020, the figure stood at 40 per cent. As many as 83 per cent of the respondents agreed that coronavirus posed a high level of threat to their jobs or businesses, while another 86 per cent felt that there would be an economic recession due to the pandemic.
In terms of income outlook, 58 per cent of the respondents expected a decline in income in the next six months, the study said adding the decline in income sentiment is the steepest among less affluent/small towns. It found that 76 per cent of respondents in the 'struggler/next billion' category expected income lower than the pre-COVID level, while the same was also true for 60 per cent in the 'aspirer' segment.
However, only 49 per cent 'affluent/elite' expected decline in income in the next six months. The less affluent were also the most skeptical about economic outlook, although health concerns were prevalent across consumer profiles. The impact of the pandemic on daily lifestyles were felt more in urban/affluent India, the study said.
14:51 3 Minicoy Island BJP officer-bearers quit
Three office-bearers of the Minicoy Island unit of BJP submit resignation to Lakshadweep BJP chief Abdul Kader Haaji. "We find it futile to continue further due to unfortunate current public circumstances in Minicoy Island and Lakshadweep."
14:27 Chirag Paswan has reaped what he had sown: JD-U
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's JD(U), which bore the brunt of Chirag Paswan's brinkmanship in the assembly polls last year, on Monday said the LJP president was reaping what he had sown.
JD(U) national president RCP Singh reacted with a sense of vindication to the developments in the party founded by late Ram Vilas Paswan, whose son has been left cornered in a revolt led by the former's younger brother Pashupati Kumar Paras and supported by four other MPs, including nephew Prince Raj.
"It is a well known adage that as you sow, so you reap. Chirag Paswan was heading a party which was with the NDA. Yet, he adopted a stance that damaged it in the assembly polls. This led to a sense of unease within his own party," Singh told reporters.
Chirag Paswan had opened a front against Nitish Kumar in the elections, fielding nominees against all JD(U) candidates, many of them rebels from the BJP. He had claimed that he wanted to help the saffron party form its own government in the state where the people yearned for a change in leadership.
Although the NDA managed to secure a majority and Kumar was backed for another term, the JD(U) ended up with a much smaller tally, conceding the upper hand to the BJP, which now has the lion's share in the council of ministers in Bihar two of them being deputy CMs.
Asked about the praise showered on Nitish Kumar by Pashupati Kumar Paras, who represents the Hajipur seat from where Ram Vilas Paswan was elected for most of his career, Singh said "he was a minister in the state cabinet until he got elected to Parliament. We shared extremely cordial relations". The JD(U) chief also remarked that Chirag was "too young" and had failed to keep his flock together in the LJP, which owed its current standing, in a large measure, to "efforts put in by Pashupati Kumar Paras and Ram Chandra Paswan (Prince Raj's late father)".
Singh, however, parried queries as to whether the rebel LJP MPs would be welcome if they expressed the wish to join JD(U).
14:00 Misuse of donations of devotees is insult to faith: Priyanka on alleged Ayodhya land scam
Amid charges of corruption in the land purchased by the Ram Janmabhoomi Trust in Ayodhya, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Monday said misuse of donations by devotees is a sin and an insult to their faith.
"Crores of people made their offerings at the feet of God out of their faith and devotion. Misuse of those donations is unrighteous and is a sin and an insult to their faith," she said in a tweet in Hindi.
The Congress on Sunday alleged that scams are happening by taking donations in the name of Lord Ram after two opposition leaders accused Shriram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust general secretary Champat Rai of buying a piece of land at an inflated price for the Ram temple premises.
The allegation that the land worth Rs 2 crore was brought at an inflated price of Rs 18.5 crore was made by AAP's Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh and a former minister in the Samajwadi Party government, Pawan Pandey.
The allegation was strongly refuted by Rai.
Tagging a tweet on Rai refuting the allegation, Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala had said on Sunday, "Lord Ram, what kind of days are these? Scams are happening by taking donations in your name. Shameless robbers are intoxicated with arrogance like Ravana and are selling faith."
"The question is how the land bought for Rs 2 crore was sold after 10 minutes to 'Ram Janmabhoomi' for Rs 18.50 crores?" he asked.
"Now it seems Kans are ruling, Ravana is everywhere!" Surjewala had said in a tweet in Hindi.
Terming it a case of money laundering, Singh and Pandey had sought a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate.
13:47 ASI to open monuments to public from June 16
Just in: All Centrally protected monuments/sites and museums under ASI will be opened from 16th June, the Archaeological Survey of India announced.
The monuments were closed during the second Covid wave in April this year.
Monuments which are over a 100 years old falls under the ASI's purview totaling 3,684 monuments.
In Uttar Pradesh, for instance there are 741 monuments, the maximum among states and union territories, under the ASI including the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort.
13:34 Pashupati Paras elected leader of LJP in LS
Pashupati Kumar Paras unanimously elected as the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) Parliamentary party leader in Lok Sabha; a meeting was held on 13th June.
Five of the six Lok Janshakti Party MPs in the Lok Sabha have joined hands against their leader Chirag Paswan and elected Pashupati Kumar Paras in his place, causing a big churn in Bihar politics.
Paras on Monday lauded Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as a good leader and "vikas purush" (development-oriented man), highlighting the deep fault lines within the party as his nephew Chirag Paswan has been a strong critic of the JD(U) president.
" I have not broken the party but saved it," Paras, MP from Hajipur, told reporters. He asserted that 99 per cent of LJP workers were unhappy with the turn of events in Bihar as Paswan led his party against the JD(U) and fared poorly in the 2020 assembly polls.
13:22 WB state BJP to meet Governor Dhankar today
BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari on Monday informed that a delegation of party MLAs will meet West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar today to discuss the law and order situation in the state.
Taking to Twitter, Adhikari wrote, "A big delegation of BJP MLAs will meet the Honourable Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar today to apprise him of the several inappropriate incidents happening in Bengal and discuss other important matters at 4 pm in Raj Bhavan, Kolkata."
Informing about the meeting, the Governor wrote, "Opposition delegation led by Sri Suvendu Adhikari, Leader of the Opposition in the West Bengal Legislative Assembly will be calling on the Governor of West Bengal at 4 p.m. today as regards the grave law and order situation @MamataOfficial in the State of West Bengal."
Adhikari will be meeting the governor for the second time this month.
Earlier he met the governor and submitted a representation about unabated post-poll retributive violence.
12:51 States to get just 96,490 Covid vax doses by 17th
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Monday said more than 96,490 vaccine doses are there in the pipeline and will be received by the states and Union Territories (UT) within the next three days.
The ministry also said 1,40,70,224 COVID vaccine doses are still available with the states and UTs to be administered. The Centre has so far provided 26,68,36,620 vaccine doses to states and UTs, through the Government of India (free of cost channel) and through the direct state procurement category. -- ANI
Pashupati Kumar Paras
12:03 Chirag Paswan meets dissident uncle
LJP national president Chirag Paswan arrives at the residence of party MP and uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras. Five of the six Lok Janshakti Party MPs in the Lok Sabha have joined hands against their leader Chirag Paswan and elected Pashupati Kumar Paras in his place, causing a big churn in Bihar politics.
Paras on Monday lauded Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as a good leader and "vikas purush" (development-oriented man), highlighting the deep fault lines within the party as his nephew Chirag Paswan has been a strong critic of the JD(U) president.
"I have not broken the party but saved it," Paras, MP from Hajipur, said, asserting that 99 per cent of LJP workers were unhappy with the turn of events in Bihar as Paswan led his party against the JD(U) and fared poorly in the 2020 assembly polls. Paras said his group will continue to be part of the BJP-led NDA and said Paswan can remain part of the organisation.
File pic: PM Modi with Gautam Adani
11:58 Adani Group stocks tumble up to 25%
Shares of the Adani Group companies witnessed a massive drubbing in morning trade on Monday, tumbling up to 25 per cent, amid reports that the National Securities Depository Ltd (NSDL) has frozen certain FPIs accounts that have holding in some of these firms.
Adani Enterprises tumbled 24.99 per cent to Rs 1,201.10, Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone plummeted 18.75 per cent to Rs 681.50 on the BSE.
Among others, Adani Green Energy dipped 5 per cent to Rs 1,165.35, Adani Total Gas fell 5 per cent to Rs 1,544.55, Adani Transmission declined 5 per cent to Rs 1,517.25 and Adani Power slumped 4.99 per cent to Rs 140.90.
All these stocks hit their respective lower circuit limits. According to media reports, the National Securities Depository Ltd has frozen the accounts of three foreign funds which together own shares in four Adani Group companies. These accounts were frozen on or before May 31, the report added. PTI
11:36 5-yr-old falls in 150-ft-deep borewell, rescue on
A five-year-old child fell into a 150-feet-deep borewell while playing in Dhariyai village on Monday, police said, adding that rescue operation is underway. The incident took place about 8:30 am under Nibohara police station area in Fatehabad in Agra rural.
So far, the child's movement can be noticed and he was responding, Station House Officer Sooraj Prasad told PTI.
He added, "The rescue of the child was on since the police got information about the incident." An eyewitness said the child fell into the borewell that was dug by his father, Chhotelal. "We had dropped a rope into the borewell which the child had caught and he has been responding to our queries," the villager added. PTI
11:04 BCCI chief Ganguly in Mumbai for tax exemption
The Board of Control for Cricket in India ( BCCI) President Sourav Ganguly has reached Mumbai as the Indian board gears up for an all-important meeting to discuss the issue of tax exemption for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup that is set to be hosted by India in October-November. The BCCI is needed to give a tax guarantee to the international body by Tuesday.
Speaking to ANI, sources in the know of developments said the former India skipper is in Mumbai to discuss issues related to hosting the showpiece event.
"Sourav is in Mumbai as BCCI needs to discuss important matters around hosting the World Cup. The matter of tax exemption needs to be cleared to the ICC by tomorrow while the issue of hosting the tournament needs to be decided on by June 28. So, a couple of important decisions are set to be taken in the next few days," the source explained.
While the BCCI has already been discussing hosting the 2021 T20 World Cup in UAE with the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), in a recent turn of events, Sri Lanka has entered the race as the darkhorse to help India host the showpiece event.
10:53 Bridge too far
West Bengal: A temporary bridge in Kanksa, Shibpur in Bardhaman district washed away due to incessant rainfall in the region. Traffic movement disrupted between Paschim Bardhaman and Birbhum districts.
SBI was one of the top losers
10:23 Sensex drops over 185 points in early trade
Equity benchmark Sensex dropped over 185 points in early trade on Monday, tracking losses in index-heavyweights HDFC twins, ICICI Bank, SBI and Bajaj Finance. The 30-share BSE index was trading 188.89 points or 0.36 per cent lower at 52,285.87 in initial deals.
Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty fell 80.65 points or 0.51 per cent to 15,718.70. Bajaj Finance was the top loser in the Sensex pack, shedding around 1.65 per cent, followed by NTPC, SBI, Kotak Bank, Bharti Airtel, Dr Reddy's and HDFC twins. On the other hand, Infosys, Reliance, TCS, Bajaj Auto and ONGC were the gainers.
10:07 Modi congratulates new Israel PM Naftali Bennett
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday congratulated new Israeli PM Naftali Bennett, saying he looks forward to meeting him to deepen the ties between the two countries.
"Excellency @naftalibennett, congratulations on becoming the Prime Minister of Israel. As we celebrate 30 years of the upgradation of diplomatic relations next year, I look forward to meeting you and deepening the strategic partnership between our two countries", Modi tweeted.
PM Modi also expressed his gratitude towards former PM Benjamin Netanyahu as he thanked the latter for his leadership and his attention to the India-Israel strategic partnership.
"As you complete your successful tenure as the Prime Minister of the State of Israel, I convey my profound gratitude for your leadership and personal attention to India-Israel strategic partnership @netanyahu", he tweeted.
Naftali Bennett, a former ally of Netanyahu turned rival, became prime minister after the 60-59 vote. Promising to try to heal a divided nation, Bennett will preside over a diverse and fragile coalition comprised of eight parties with deep ideological differences.
09:46 India's official COVID toll nowhere close to real extent of damage: Owaisi
AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi that India's death toll from COVID-19 is "nowhere close to the real extent of damage" and accused the Centre of botching up the actual number of casualties.
He stated that families who have lost a dear one deserve to be counted. "This piece reiterates what I've been saying: India's official death toll from #covid is nowhere close to real extent of damage. How long will govt botch numbers to make itself feel good? Families who have lost a dear one deserve to be counted. This piece also quotes
@YRDeshmukh," tweeted Owaisi. He also shared an article that claimed that India's COVID-19 deaths were much higher than officially stated.
Stating that the government's data on coronavirus deaths is not validated, the AIMIM MP alleged that every study on COVID-19 casualties points to unrecorded deaths.
"Govt has responded to this piece by saying that these studies aren't 'validated' but neither is govt's own data. Every study on covid deaths points to unrecorded deaths. Instead of honestly reviewing, govt initiates hit job," said Owaisi in another tweet.
09:21 India sees dip in Covid tally with 70,421 cases
India on Monday recorded 70,421 cases and 3,921 fatalities due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), taking the caseload and death toll to 29,510,410 and 374,305 respectively, according to the Union ministry of health and family welfare.
On Sunday, the country saw 80,834 new cases, the lowest since April 2, when 81,466 people tested positive for the viral disease.
More than 119,000 people were discharged in the last 24 hours, taking the cumulative figure of recoveries in the country to 28,162,947, the health ministry further said. This is the 32nd day where the daily recoveries continued to outnumber the new cases. The active cases, meanwhile, have declined to 973,158 and constitute 3.49 per cent of the caseload.
Nearly 1.5 million samples were tested for Covid-19 in the last 24 hours and the total number of samples tested has climbed to 379,624,626, the Indian Council of Medical Research said.
09:08 Delhi likely to witness thunderstorm today: IMD
Due to the early arrival of monsoon in the national capital this week, Delhi is likely to witness thunderstorm with rain on Monday with maximum and minimum temperatures likely lower than normal, as per an India Meteorological Department forecast.
The minimum temperature on Monday is likely to be 25 degree Celsius while the maximum temperature is predicted to reach 34 degree Celsius. The minimum temperature on Sunday was 23.8 degree Celsius -- four degrees below normal -- and the maximum temperature was 35.2 degree Celsius -- four degrees below normal.
08:34 5 LJP MPs revolt against Chirag Paswan, likely to join JD-U
In a setback to the Lok Janshakti Party, five out of six party MPs in the Lok Sabha have revolted against party chief Chirag Paswan and have notified Lok Sabha to identify them separately from the party.
The pack of revolting leaders is led by Pashupati Kumar Paras, who is Chirag Paswan's uncle. Other MPs include Prince Raj (cousin), Chandan Singh, Veena Devi, Mehboob Ali Keshar.
All these leaders are said to have been in a rift with Chirag Paswan since last year's Bihar assembly elections, where the LJP had registered a poor turnout.
According to sources, the five leaders have written to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to give them a separate identity from the LJP.
They are also likely to join the ruling JD-U in Bihar, sources said.
08:10 All Delhi shops in markets, restaurants open today
With Covid-19 numbers in Delhi dropping to a three-month low, all market activities have been allowed from Monday, but with certain restrictions as part of the phased unlock plan of the Delhi government.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday announced that all activities will be allowed in the national capital after 5 am on Monday except for some activities that will be prohibited and some activities that will be done in a restricted manner.
The Delhi government imposed a lockdown in the national capital from April 19 at the peak of the second wave of Covid-19. The lockdown has been extended a few times since then. After a continuous decline in daily coronavirus cases for several days, Kejriwal had announced the unlocking process from May 31 in a phased manner.
Delhi on Sunday recorded 255 fresh Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours. The national capital's Covid-19 caseload has increased to 14,31,139 so far, according to the daily health bulletin. The death toll increased to 24,823 after 23 virus-related fatalities were reported in the last 24 hours.