Poornima Das

2o percent Twitter accounts fake, offer ‘can not move forward’ until there’s clarity: Musk

Washington [United States]: Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk on Tuesday claimed that he will wage his USD 44 billion take control of Twitter just if the microblogging giant is able to prove that less than 5 per cent of its users are robots.

” 20 pc fake/spam accounts, while 4 times what Twitter claims, could be more, greater. My deal was based upon Twitter’s SEC filings being precise. The other day, Twitter’s chief executive officer openly refused to reveal proof of 05  percent accounts.  This deal can not move forward until clarity is there,” Musk tweeted.

His tweet can be found in reaction to a Twitter customer that composed that the Billionaire business owner might be trying to find a better bargain as the previously quoted quantity of USD 44 billion seems expensive with 20 per cent individuals being phony or spam accounts.

This comes a day after Twitter CEO Parag Agarwal issued a series of tweets in the middle of the dispute surrounding the spam controversy between the firm and also Musk.

Agarwal on Monday emphasised that the business strongly incentivized to spot and also remove as much spam as we perhaps can, every single day.

The Twitter head stated the business puts on hold over half a million spam accounts each day, usually prior to any of you also see them on Twitter.

” The difficult obstacle is that many accounts which look fake ostensibly – are really actual people. As well as several of the spam accounts which are in fact the most harmful – and trigger the most damage to our individuals – can look absolutely genuine on the surface,” he added.

Twitter shares fell by 20 percent in very early trading hereafter news. (ANI).

Sri Lanka to enforce 9-hour curfew from 8 pm today

Colombo [Sri Lanka], May 16 (ANI): Sri Lankan federal government will enforce a curfew from 8 pm on Monday till 5 am Tuesday, local media reported on Monday.

This comes a day after Sri Lankan government  announced that more than 200 people were detained on different charges.

Srilankan Citizens continue to protest against the govt.

On Sunday, newly-appointed Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickremesinghe stated he will certainly offer a complete description of the financial crisis faced by the island country on Monday.

Ranil was designated Head of state this week with a pledge to revitalize the debilitating Sri Lankan economic condition. He has actually invited opposition leader Sajith Premadasa as well as his party leaders to create a non-partisan federal government that exceeds conventional parliamentary politics and work for the country.

In a collection of tweets on Sunday, Wickremesinghe stated there is a great deal to be “done as well as undone” amidst the unprecedented recession in the country, which requires his federal government to focus on issues.
Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who has actually been implicated of mismanaging the nation’s economic climate, designated 4 ministers to the cabinet after United National Party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as country’s head of state on Thursday.

IPL: Boult, McCoy’s intense spell power RR to 24-run win against LSG

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India]- Trent Boult and Obed McCoy’s two-wicket haul specifically aided Rajasthan Royals sign up a 24-run victory over Lucknow Super Giants in their IPL 2022 match right here at Brabourne Stadium on Sunday.
Yashasvi Jaiswal (41) as well as Devdutt Padikkal (39) shined with the bat, while Trent Boult and also Obed McCoy took two wickets respectively for Rajasthan Royals.
Chasing 179, Lucknow Super Giants left an unsteady beginning as they lost their opening batter, Quinton de Kock as well as Ayush Badoni in the 3rd over of the inning, which was delivered by Trent Boult. LSG skipper KL Rahul with Deepak Hooda tried to anchor the innings against the great bowling of Rajasthan Royals.

Yet the duo might not stand longer as Prasidh Krishna eliminated KL Rahul for 10.  Krunal Pandya then pertained to the fold to continue the proceeding with Hooda. Pandya searched in terrific touch, wrecking Yuzvendra Chahal for a sixe over long-on.

After nine overs Lucknow required 118 runs in 66 balls as well as a strong collaboration to chase after the challenging target. Hooda targeted spinner Chahal for 13 runs in the 11th over of the innings. The much-needed 50-run partnership might not stand for long as Pandya was bowled by Ravichandran Ashwin for 24 off 23. Pandya’s wicket put LSG under wonderful stress.

Lucknow crossed the 100-run mark in the 14th over. Hooda raised his half-century in 33 balls. Hooda continued to look great, shattering Chahal for one four in the 16th over. Nevertheless, his excellent inning involved an end when he was puzzled by the wicket-keeper Sanju Samson after racking up 59 runs.

At the end of the powerplay, the Royals had actually recouped from a very early misstep, standing at a solid 51/1 with Jaiswal (34 *) and also Samson (13 *).

At the end of 10 overs, RR stood at a solid 90/2, with Jaiswal (40 *) as well as Padikkal (14 *).

Boult played an amusing role at the end, helping RR finish off at 178/6 in their 20 overs, with him (17 *) off 9 and Ravichandran Ashwin (10 *).

Quick Scores: Rajasthan Royals 178/6 (Yashasvi Jaiswal 41, Devdutt Padikkal 39, Ravi Bishnoi 2/31) versus Lucknow Super Giants 154/8 (Deepak Hooda 59, Marcus Stoinis 27; Trent Boult 2-18). (RECTUM).

We will overcome, Congress will have a new ‘uday’: Sonia Gandhi

Udaipur (Rajasthan) [India] – Congress acting president Sonia Gandhi, in her concluding statements at Chintan Shivir, on Sunday claimed that a task force would be formed in the next couple of days to apply the inner reforms which will certainly concentrate on the 2024 Lok Sabha surveys.

She likewise said that these internal reforms will cover all aspects of the organization including structure, regulations for appointments to party posts, interactions and also publicity, outreach, finances and also political election management.

” A compact plan by as task force will be established to drive the process of internal reforms that are important. These reforms will focus on the 2024 Lok Sabha polls and  will cover all challanges faced by the party. The composition of the Task Force will certainly be informed in the following two-three days,” stated Gandhi in Udaipur.

Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi are trying hard to revive the organization


” We will overcome. That is our determination. That is our Nav-Sankalp. The Congress will have a brand-new Uday. That is our Nav-Sankalp,” she insisted.

The Congress president also announced developing an advisory team from among Congress Working Board (CWC) participants which would certainly meet routinely to go over political issues.

” I have also determined to have an advisory team from the CWC that would certainly meet on a regular basis under my chairpersonship to talk about and deliberate upon political problems and also obstacles prior to elections,” she said.

” We do have the CWC that meets periodically which will continue. The new group is not, nonetheless, a cumulative decision-making body yet but will help to get the advantage of the substantial experience of elderly coworkers. It too will certainly be informed very soon,” added Sonia Gandhi.

Sonia Gandhi additionally called three-day Chintan Shivir in Udaipur “beneficial as well as productive” as many party leaders had a chance to express their views as well as offer the ideas in a spirit of positive engagement. Sonia Gandhi likewise announced that Congress will certainly introduce connection drive with people as “Kanyakumari to Kashmir Bharat Jodo” yatra beginning on October 2, as a part of the party’s outreach program.

The three-day Navsankalp Shivir began in Rajasthan’s Udaipur on Friday.


Women’s World Boxing: Indian Boxers Manisha and Nitu win

Istanbul [Turkey]: Indian Boxers continued their impressive run as 2017 Youth World Champion Nitu (48kg) and 2019 Asian Championships bronze medallist Manisha (57kg) cruised into the quarter-finals at the 12th edition of the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships after registering contrasting wins in Istanbul on Saturday.

Nitu, who won the gold medal at the Strandja Memorial tournament in Sofia this year, was facing Spain’s Lopez Del Arbol in the pre-quarterfinal bout. The boxer from Bhiwani dominated the proceedings right from the beginning and showed relentless energy, speed and footwork to land precise punches.
Nitu upped the ante in the next two rounds and carried on with her attacking approach without giving any chance to her opponent and won the bout convincingly by 5-0.

Her next opponent will be Kazakhstan’s Alua Balkibekova in the quarter-final on Monday.

Indian women boxers are surprising every contender

Manisha (57kg) prevailed 4-1 over Svetlana Staneva of Bulgaria in a hard-fought bout that saw both the boxers trade punches throughout the three rounds. Manisha held her nerves and secured the verdict of the judges in her favour in the end.

She will next face a tough challenge from Youth World bronze medallist Namuun Monkhor of Mongolia in the quarter-final on Monday.

On Sunday, 6 Indian boxers including Nikhat will be in action in the round-of-16 bouts.

Nikhat (52kg) and Shiksha (54kg) will next face Mongolia’s Lutsaikhan Altantsetseg and Youth Asian bronze medallist Yesugen Oyuntsetseg respectively whereas Parveen will take on former Youth Olympic champion Jajaira Gonzalez of USA.

Anamika (50kg) will square off against World Championships bronze medallist Kristy Lee Harris of Australia while Jaismine (60kg) will be up against Australia’s Angela Harries.

Meanwhile, 2017 Youth World Champion Ankushita (66kg) will make her elite World Championships debut against Poland’s Aneta Rygielska.

This year’s event, which marks the 20th anniversary of the IBA Women’s World Championships, will be played till May 20.

In the last edition of the tournament, held in Russia in 2019, Indian boxers secured one silver and three bronze medals.

Indian boxers have won 36 medals, including nine gold, eight silver and 19 bronze, in the 11 previous editions of the tournament, which is the third-highest after Russia (60) and China (50). In the last edition of the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships, held in Russia in 2019, Indians concluded with one silver and three bronze medals. (ANI)


UAE: Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed elected as UAE president

Dubai [UAE]: Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was elected as the president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the UAE official WAM news agency reported on Saturday. The Federal Supreme Council convened today to elect the president, who will hold office for a five-year term before being eligible for re-election. The new president was selected from among the members of the Federal Supreme Council, Khaleej Times reported.
According to it, Sheikh Mohamed has also served as the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces since January 2005. He is known for playing a key role in developing the UAE Armed Forces in terms of strategic planning, training, organisational structure and promoting defence capabilities. Under his leadership, the UAE Armed Forces have emerged as a leading institution that is widely admired by international military organisations.

The rulers of the United Arab Emirates’ seven sheikhdoms made the decision at a meeting. It comes after the late President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who had been in office since 2004, died at the age of 73 after a long illness on Friday.

The Ministry of Presidential Affairs announced that there will be 40 days of official mourning with flags at half-mast and three days of closure of ministries and official entities at the federal and local levels and the private sector,” the agency wrote on Twitter on Friday.

“The Ministry of Presidential Affairs condoles the people of the UAE, the Arab and Islamic nation and the world over the demise of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the president of the UAE,” Emirates News Agency, also known as WAM, said in a statement. (ANI)

CM Kejriwal visits Mundka, orders enquiry, announces 10 lakh each as Compensation

New Delhi [India]- Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday reached the fire incident site near Mundka metro station, and said that the government has ordered a magisterial enquiry into the incident.

The Chief Minister also announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakhs for the family of the deceased while the injured will be given Rs 50,000 as ex-gratia.
He was accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Cabinet Minister Satyendar Jain.

Speaking to reporters, Kejriwal said, “I have ordered a magisterial enquiry on behalf of the Delhi government. Ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh would be given to the family of the deceased ones and Rs 50,000 to the injured ones. The two brothers have been arrested. Strict action would be taken against the guilty after the investigation.”

Stating that the bodies of the deceased were not identified yet, the Chief Minister said that DNA tests would be conducted to ascertain their identities.

“Bodies of the deceased were charred to the extent that many of them have not been identified yet. We have deployed help to identify the missing and the dead. We will conduct the DNA test through the FSL to ascertain identities of the mortal remains,” he said.

“We are awaiting the investigation to know if any officer or an agency was responsible for the incident,” Kejriwal said.

A massive fire had broken out on Friday evening that left 27 people dead and 12 injured in the tragic incident.

However, the blaze was brought under control, informed the fire officials. (ANI)

North Korea facing biggest challenge in history over Covid-19

Pyongyang [North Korea]: North Korea is facing the biggest challenge since the foundation of the republic over the spread of COVID-19, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said, as quoted by the state-run KCNA news agency.

According to KCNA, Kim said that the country must focus on implementing the anti-coronavirus measures and boost them to stop the spread of the disease, Sputnik News Agency reported on Saturday.
The country has reported 17,400 new COVID-19 cases, taking the total number of infections to 520,000, according to the KCNA news agency.

Notably, 21 new fatalities were also reported due to the coronavirus cases, according to Sputnik News Agency.

North Korea reported the first coronavirus deaths on Friday. At least six persons were confirmed dead yesterday in the country.

Kim Jong Un has accepted that country is facing a crisis because of Covid

On Thursday, the country announced a “major national emergency” after reporting its first case of COVID-19 Omicron variant and put in place a “maximum emergency” virus control system with leader Kim Jong Un vowing to “eliminate” the virus.

According to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), top officials, including the country’s leader Kim Jong Un, held a crisis politburo meeting to discuss the outbreak and announced they would implement a “maximum emergency” virus control system.

With this North Korea’s coronavirus-free claim has come to an end, reported the Yonhap News Agency.

Reportedly in a meeting conducted to discuss North Korea’s “most critical emergency” antivirus system that had been “firmly maintained” for more than two years, Kim pledged that the “unexpected crisis” shall be overcome. He further instructed all the officials to block every possibility to stop the spread of the virus.

Further, the North Korean leader ordered stricter vigilance along the borders on all fronts, the air, and sea to prevent a “safety vacuum” in the national defence of the country, reported the Yonhap News Agency. In addition, North Korean authorities stated that samples that were collected from patients suffering from fever indicated that they were identical to the omicron variant.

However, North Korea asserted that it has aimed to manage and also prevent the spread of the virus. It has further mentioned that it will provide treatment to the omicron-detected patients to “root out the source of transmission in the shortest period possible” the country’s state media reported. (ANI)


My journey taught me What’s Life in True sense: N K Chaudhary


NK Chaudhary, Chairman and Managing Director needs no introduction in the Industry. He has created a huge empire with his great vision, relentless efforts and and a ‘team’ which is like a ‘Family’ to him. In an exclusive interaction with our Editor, he emphasizes on the human relationships, social entrepreneurship, philanthropy and building a team with wonderful achievements.  


How do you feel and rate your success as a Businessman?

NKC: When I started the business, I was innocent, restless, and highly ambitious. I wanted to do things for myself and my family. But it is by doing this business that I realized my true self. I unknowingly started on a journey to learn who I am and nurture my inner self. I learnt that the pursuit of self is bigger than the pursuit of any material profits. And this to me is the biggest success in the world. Now that I have this understanding, I find myself capable of reaching the heights of true success.

Jaipur Rugs has earned a great reputation in India and Abroad


Tell us something about childhood, school & college days.


NKC : I was a very sincere and dedicated child. I remember back in college, we had a very strict professor of business administration. One day, he came to my class and asked me to stand up. I got very scared and thought about what wrong I might have done. He took out a test copy and showed it to everyone in the class saying look at the answer this boy has written. The question was what is the definition of business and I wrote “Business is next to love. It is the creator and preserver of civilization.” The professor then said that this boy will become a different businessman one day!

N K Chaudhary with his Family at his House


What according to you is the reason behind a successful person in your field?

NKC: The biggest thing I have learnt about life is that everything lies within. It is only by building a deep connection with my inner self that I can be satisfied in life. And when I am satisfied, I am happy.


What are the three wishes which you would like to fulfill in upcoming years?

NKC : As per my opinion, you can say that 

  1. Understanding why I do what I do and not being led by my compulsions.
  2. Developing a deep sense of how I might be more mindful and relaxed in life.
  3. Tapping into the full potential of our weavers and employees so that their lives are transformed by the work they do. Building work as meditation.

 What could be the future of the Indian economy in upcoming years and the carpet industry?

NKC: The future holds a lot of exciting things. The global demand for luxury products is rising at a very fast pace. If we focus on working on the grassroot, connecting the creators & the consumers directly, and building a fair proposition for everyone involved – the industry can do wonders. I am very positive about what the future holds and how we will go there.

Founder N K Chaudhary in his early days when he started his business

What motivates you and how do you motivate your team to perform better?

NKC : I focus a lot on how I can forgive and forget. This practice makes me feel fresh and alive everyday. It retains my childlike spirit. And when the team sees me this enthusiastic and curious, they feel motivated too. As a leader, I make sure I provide enough love, direction, and freedom to everyone at work.


Being a veteran in the field, what would be your suggestions for a long successful career for young entrepreneurs?

NKC : Work on understanding who you are, what is your passion & natural abilities – and then decide what you want to work on. Before starting a business, it is important to know yourself in and out. It is only when you have that knowledge that you can build a successful business.

NKC with his coworkers ! His team is his ‘Family’

 Anything unique you have experienced in Your Leadership? How a leader should be in the present scenario?

NKC: I think a leader’s presence should be such that when they pass by, everyone in the team feels that he is also one of them. I work a lot on creating direct communication with the employees, learning about their life & passions, sharing my learnings, and listening to them actively. Empathy and love for colleagues can make a leader unique. The entire weaving business is based on human resources, and in my opinion, they are the essence. To keep this essence alive, we need to focus on specific traits which involve empathy and compassion. look at humans as human not objects.

What’s your take on India becoming a superpower soon?

NKC: We can constantly march forward on this path and we shall reach there super soon!


#jaipurrugs #jaipur #business #carpetindustry #exports #rajasthanbusiness #NKC #NKChaudhary #businessnews #interviewNKC #IndiaBusiness #industry #stalwarts 



in IPL Anything below 130 is difficult to defend: Dhoni

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India] : After getting bundled out at 97 and later losing the clash by five wickets against Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni admitted that any target below 130 runs is difficult to defend.

The crucial partnership between Tilak Varma and Hrithik Shokeen and a quick unbeaten 16 by Tim David helped Mumbai Indians register a third win against Chennai Super Kings here at Wankhede Stadium on Thursday.
“Irrespective of how the wicket is, anything below 130 is difficult to defend, but what I asked the bowlers was to show a lot of character and forget about the result. Both the young fast bowlers bowled really well and I feel a game like this really helps them in believing in themselves that irrespective of the conditions, whenever we start we need to have the same kind of attitude and that’s what is needed in the shortest format,” said Dhoni in a post-match presentation.

“We have gone through periods where we never really had that extraordinary bench of fast bowlers. Also, fast bowlers, they take their time to mature if you are lucky you get somebody who can feature in all formats in six months’ time and that is what IPL is doing and it is an opportunity for a lot of them. They bowl a bit courageous now which is very important in a format like this. And some players take their time before executing their plans better. The fast bowlers to have both of them really well is a big positive, and also we will have two more fast bowlers coming into the next season, also we have a few more up the sleeves, just want to give ample time for them to prepare.” he added.

Despite posting a small total, CSK showed some true character with the ball as Mukesh Choudhary scalped three wickets while Simarjeet Singh and Moeen Ali took one wicket each.

“It’s the first few deliveries which is important when you are batting in that kind of pressure, so it was a chance of survival. Once they are past those first few deliveries, they can be themselves. It didn’t pay off today but I think they bowled really well. A bit of application was needed from our side, and a few of the batters got out on good deliveries, hopefully, they are learning with each and every game,” said Dhoni.

For CSK, Dhoni (36*) was left-hanging as the lone warrior for his side, as a brutal pace attack by Mumbai Indians fast bowlers skittled out the Men in Yellow for 97.

Daniel Sams was the pick of the bowlers for MI, with 3/16 in their four overs. Meredith (2/28) and Kartikeya (2/22) also bowled well. Bumrah and Ramandeep Singh got a wicket each.

With this win, MI is currently at the bottom of the points table with six-point. CSK is at ninth position with 8 points. (ANI)


25 injured after plane catches fire on runway in China’s Chongqing

Beijing [China]:  As many as 25 people were injured after a passenger plane veered off the runway during take-off and caught fire at an airport in southwest China’s Chongqing on Thursday, lcoal media reported.

The passenger plane operated by Tibet Airlines was carrying 113 passengers and nine crew members were on board, Xinhua reported citing airport sources as saying.
All passengers aboard the plane were evacuated and the injured were rushed to the hospital for treatment.

The cause of the incident remains unknown.

Further details are awaited. (ANI)

PM Modi condoles demise of Santoor player Pandit Shivkumar Sharma

New Delhi [India]: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday offered condolences to eminent Santoor player Pandit Shivkumar Sharma’s family after his demise saying, his music will continue to enthral the coming generations. Sharma, a musical legend, passed away in Mumbai at the age of 84.

“Our cultural world is poorer with the demise of Pandit Shivkumar Sharma Ji. He popularised the Santoor at a global level. His music will continue to enthral the coming generations. I fondly remember my interactions with him. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti,” PM Modi said in a tweet.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also extended condolences to the family of Pandit Shiv Kumar, saying his demise “impoverishes our cultural world”

“Sad to know about the demise of Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, eminent Santoor player and internationally celebrated Indian music composer. His departure impoverishes our cultural world. My deepest condolences,” Banerjee tweeted.

Maharashtra Governor of Bhagat Singh Koshyari expressed condolences on the demise of renowned Santoor maestro Padma Vibhushan Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma.

“The news of the demise of Pt Shiv Kumar Sharma is shocking. Pt Shiv Kumar Sharma was instrumental in taking Santoor and Indian classical music to the global stage. Pt Sharma was a great artist, Guru, researcher, thinker and above all a kind-hearted human being. Pt Shiv Kumar Sharma mentored many disciples and enriched the world of music with his multifarious contributions. I pay my respectful homage to Pt Shiv Kumar Sharma and convey my deepest condolences to Pt Rahul Sharma and to other members of the bereaved family,” said Koshyari.

Union Minister Jitendra Singh express grief over the demise of the greatest maestros and said, “The world of music has lost one of its greatest maestros. Pt #ShivKumarSharma not only introduced Santoor at global level but also enriched film music with his melody. I am particularly bereaved since I shared a personal repport with Pandit ji who hailed from Jammu.”

Pandit Shivkumar Sharma was an Indian composer and santoor player from Jammu.

He received the Padma Shri in 1991, and the Padma Vibhushan in 2001. (ANI)

Australia : Are you planning to Study in Melbourne or Sydney?


Australia is one of the most popular study locations for international students. This is attributed to their high-quality education, as seen by their  Australian Universities, which are among the top 100 in the world. Furthermore, this results in a very high hiring probability. Graduates of an Australian University have numerous options both on the island and beyond the world. Because colleges have the instruments that assist international students in having flexibility and reliability in any workplace, in addition to acquiring excellent information, other benefits to studying in Australia include it’s high quality of living, excellent natural attractions, diversified culture, and a high degree of security, all of which contribute to a great career.

Most students hunt for reasons to learn in Australia as it’s undeniable that it has surpassed all other destinations in terms of educational quality and level. Students who aspire to pursue in Australia must first complete many steps before proceeding. So, if you’re looking for recommendations to assist you in understanding what you need to do when studying abroad in Australia or which subject is best for studying in Australia, here are a few things to keep in mind.  These conclusions are based on experineces of stduents and some experts.

Melbourne is a popular destination

When Should You Apply?

If you want to study in Australia, apply to institutions a few months well before the session starts, so you have enough chance to prepare, be admitted, and organise everything else. In general, Australian Universities divide their years at University into two four-month semesters. From February until May, the first semester is held.  August to November is the second semester. Many University and college websites can provide information on registration deadlines and start dates. Check carefully.


A visa is required:

A visa is required to learn in Australia for even more than three months. The application procedure is straightforward. There are no official visits or waiting for your passport to arrive in the mail because everything is online and electronically linked to your passport. It will cost a lot so be prepared! If you’re only studying for three months, you should always be able to get an ordinary visiting visa and save money.

In Australia, Which City is better?

Because Australia is a large country, you must decide where you want to live based on your subject and personal preferences.  Do you prefer surfing on the beach or walking in the woods? Are you planning on becoming a marine biologist? It would be preferable for you to live near the Barrier Reef. Will, you major in business? Why not make Sydney your study destination? Regardless of your subject or personal preferences, researching the location where you will be planning to stay will benefit you.

Sydney is another most popular education destination


Expenses: Plan ahead 

Australia can be costly. Melbourne and Sydney are frequently regarded as two of the most expensive places. Tuition and living costs differ across Australia. Tuition fees for classroom-based courses are about A$30,000 per year. Laboratory-based courses can cost approximately $40,000 per year. Travel, lodging, bills, equipment, socialising, and food and drink are all living expenses. The majority of these vary in price depending on where you live in Australia. Costs of living in Sydney can be astronomical compared to Hobart, which is 25% less expensive than the entire country. Scholarships are one option to help with some of these expenditures. Contact your University and inquire about the scholarships available. Students can combine many funding sources that assist them in paying for their higher education. Students can also take out a college loan or merge these strategies with family assistance or work.

A health insurance plan:

Make sure to investigate this. It may be included if you are going on a study trip. Still, if you are studying directly with an academic facility, you will almost certainly be needed to obtain medical insurance in Australia.

Know what to bring

Australia is distinct in every way, including its seasons. Winters occur in June, Late august, and July, with the climate remaining warm from October to March as the seasons change.

Warm clothing items such as sweaters and jackets should always be packed. Furthermore, the duty is to make sure that you have all necessary documents and visas and has enough medications for the duration of their stay.

Australia is quite large.

Australian Universities are Top Ranked and are huge in nature

Many people associate “Australian aspiration” with the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru, the Outback, the Sydney Music Hall, etc. However, unless you have a deal of time and resources to burn, traveling to Australia and hoping to see all of this and more is probably a pipe dream. Wherever you go, there are bound to be a plethora of amazing things nearby, and while you may be able to sway one large trip, you should temper your standards about seeing the entire country.

You’ll feel homesick:

Regardless of how excited you are to visit Australia, there’ll be occasions when you miss home greatly. Remember that there is still a time difference, so you can contact and communicate with your family members when you miss them the most.

You’ll need to get a part-time job:

Hundreds of Indian Students are enjoying advantages of Australian Education

True, the living costs are extremely high, so you must save or earn money even while studying. Students can, however, manage to work part-time employment and improve their living standards thanks to the comprehensive educational setup.

Coral reefs, lovely white sand beaches, and fauna spring to mind when thinking of Australia. However, many things are there to learn about Australia. If you’re thinking about studying in Australia, you should learn about the culture, history, and social standards beforehand. Otherwise, you will put yourself in a problem or face unpleasant shocks after you arrive in another country.

Crocodile Dundee and other Hollywood films have helped to create prejudices about Australia. You’ll need to discover the real country to adapt to living in Australia swiftly. To begin with, you won’t always see kangaroos on your walk to school, and you shouldn’t name every girl you meet “sheila.” You can, however, greet everyone on the street with a friendly “g’day mate.” The majority of the locals you meet will be quite nice and helpful.

#studyabroad #studyinaustralia #australiaeducation #educationnow #indianinaustralia #studyaustralia #australianvisa #australianstudentvisa #australiaindiarelationship


Elon Musk pledges to scale up work standards in Twitter

Washington [US]: Tesla CEO and SpaceX founder Elon Musk said he would significantly increase work ethic standards in Twitter once he officially acquires the social media platform.

Last week, Twitter said it agreed to be acquired by Musk in a deal worth $44 billion, although it is still subject to shareholder approval.
“Work ethic expectations would be extreme, but much less than I demand of myself,” Musk said on Twitter on Friday.

Twitter is going through a major change

The company will be “super focused on hardcore software engineering, design, information security and server hardware,” he added. Elon Musk previously said that he would like to revolutionize Twitter’s role in public debate as “free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated.”


KL Rahul wants his side to keep improving despite 75-run win over KKR in IPL

Pune (Maharashtra) [India]: Despite a massive 75-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on Saturday, Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) skipper KL Rahul wants his side to keep improving to deliver a complete performance in IPL 2022.

A superb show by the Lucknow Super Giants pace attack led by superb efforts from Avesh Khan (3/19) and Jason Holder (3/31) helped the side clinch a clinical victory over Kolkata Knight Riders here at MCA Stadium.
“Still can’t think of any game where we’ve had a complete performance. Still, areas to improve. Don’t think any team is going to be perfect anyway, we aren’t chasing that. Everyone wants to contribute which is great to see,” said KL Rahul in a post-match presentation.

He further added that he is not sure whether they are peaking at the right time or not.

“Don’t know if we’re peaking at the right time but we’re getting the wins, we’re doing what is expected of us, sticking to our plans,” he added.

Rahul said that the wicket was tricky to play on but the way Quinton de Kock and Deepak Hooda batted made it look easier than it was.

“Played really well, started well with the bat, except for the runout. Was a tricky wicket. Knew it was going to be slow and sticky. Had to get around 150-160. The way Quinton and Deepak batted, made it look easy. Big-hitting from Stoinis and Jason gave the momentum,” said LSG skipper.

The bowlers of Lucknow delivered a great spell in the match, in which Avesh Khan and Jason Holder took 3 wickets each. Rahul hailed LSG’s bowling unit for putting the pressure on the KKR with regular wickets.

“We started superbly with the ball, put the ball in the right areas, and couldn’t have asked for more. Trust them a great deal (his pace battery). Having skills is one thing, but knowing what to do when is important. They’ve been put under pressure a couple of times but they’ve stuck to their strengths and been brave with the ball. That’s all we can ask for,” he added.

Talking about the match, KKR won the toss and elected to field first, Shreyas Iyer-led team got off to a great start as they got LSG skipper KL Rahul for a diamond duck. But then Deepak Hooda and Quinton de Kock stitched up 71 runs partnership for the 2nd wicket. LSG struggled in the middle but some fine late order hitting by Marcus Stoinis and Jason Holder guided them to put 176 runs on the board.

In reply, Andre Russell played an attacking knock (45 off 19) but he didn’t get any support from the other KKR batters. After Russell, Sunil Narine (22 off 12) was the second-highest scorer for Kolkata. In the end, KKR were bowled out for 101 in 14.3 overs, losing by a huge margin of 75 runs.

With the win, LSG now take the top spot at the points table with 16 points. With half as points as the Super Giants, KKR lay at eighth position in the table. (ANI)


Domestic LPG cylinder price hiked by Rs 50 again

New Delhi [India]- The price of Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinder has been increased by Rs 50.

With the latest revision, domestic LPG cylinders will retail at Rs 999.50 in Delhi.
Earlier this month, the price of commercial LPG cylinders had been increased.

On May 1, the price of a 19-kilograms commercial LPG cylinder was increased by Rs 102.50, to Rs 2355.50.

Recently, on May 1, Oil marketing companies organized more than 5000 LPG panchayats on the occasion of Ujjwala Diwas, where apart from experience sharing, aimed at safe and sustained usage of LPG, all out efforts were made to maximize customer enrolment.

Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) is a step toward social inclusion by providing Free LPG connection to every BPL household. The scheme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 1, 2016 at Ballia, Uttar Pradesh. (ANI)

Students back from Ukraine should be allowed to complete studies, Hemant Soren writes to PM Modi

Ranchi (Jharkhand) [India]:  Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to give directions for appropriate steps to enable students who have returned from Ukraine to complete higher education in India.

“I have written to @PMOIndia appreciating his sincere efforts in ensuring evacuation of Indian students trapped in Ukraine and urged him to give necessary direction to the concerned ministry to take appropriate steps enabling such students to complete higher education in India,” Soren said in a tweet.
In his letter, Soren said more than 180 students have returned to Jharkhand from Ukraine.

“I would like to draw your kind attention towards the plight of students who have returned from Ukraine. Russian Invasion of Ukraine suddenly interrupted their studies and it was only due to your intervention that they could be rescued back home safely. More than 180 such students have returned to Jharkhand,” Soren said.

He said students have come back safely but “an uncertain future now seems to stare at them”.

“At present. there does not seem any possibility of the Ukraine war ending soon. There is thus no hope for them to return to Ukraine for pursuing their studies,” he said.

Soren said a large number of students pursuing higher studies in educational institutions of Ukraine were enrolled in courses of medical education and in the wake of the ongoing crisis “future of these students remains extremely uncertain”.

“This is causing immense mental hardship to such students and their family members. There have been demands that the government must take tangible steps to get them admitted in the medical colleges in India,” he said.

“I would urge you consider the plight of these students sympathetically and give necessary direction to the concerned Ministry to take appropriate steps enabling such students to complete their higher education in India,” the letter said. (ANI)


Study finds mental illness can damage heart and mind

Washington [US]:  During a recent study, scientists from the University of South Australia uncovered another reason why society should be paying more attention to mental health as it is closely aligned to blood pressure and heart rate variations.

A new study published in BioMedical Engineering draws a link between mental illness and widely fluctuating blood pressure, which can lead to cardiovascular disease and organ damage.
UniSA researcher Dr Renly Lim and colleagues from Malaysian universities say there is clear evidence that mental illness interferes with the body’s autonomic functions, including blood pressure, heart rate, temperature and breathing.

“We reviewed 12 studies on people with anxiety, depression and panic disorders and found that, regardless of age, mental illness is significantly associated with greater blood pressure variations during the day,” Dr Lim says.

“We also found that for people who are mentally ill, their heart rate does not adapt to external stressors as it should.

“Contrary to what many people think, a healthy heart is not one that beats like a metronome. Instead, it should adjust to withstand environmental and psychological challenges. A constantly changing heart rate is actually a sign of good health.”

Reduced heart rate variation (HRV) is common in people with mental illness and indicates that the body’s stress response is poor, exacerbating the negative effects of chronic stress.

Unlike a person’s heart rate – how many times a heart beats in a minute – which is usually consistent, HRV is more complex and is the time between two heartbeats, which should change according to external stressors.

“What we aim for is not a constantly changing heart rate but a high heart rate variation. This is achieved through a healthy diet, exercise, low stress and good mental health.”

Low HRV occurs when a person’s body is in fight-or-flight mode, easily stressed and common in people with chronic diseases, including cardiovascular and mental health problems.

While large blood pressure variations (BPV) during the day are not ideal, at night the systolic pressure should dip by between 10-20 per cent to allow the heart to rest. The researchers found that in people with mental health issues, their blood pressure does not drop sufficiently at night.

The reduced dipping – under 10 per cent – can be caused by many factors, including autonomic dysfunction, poor quality of sleep and disrupted circadian rhythms that regulate the sleep-wake cycle.

“The takeout from this study is that we need to pay more attention to the physical impacts of mental illness,” Dr Lim says.

“It is a major global burden, affecting between 11-18 per cent (one billion) of people worldwide. Since mental illness can contribute to the deterioration of heart and blood pressure regulation, early therapeutic intervention is essential.” (ANI)


PM Modi invites Nordic companies to invest in Sagarmala project

Copenhagen [Denmark]: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday invited Nordic companies to invest in the Blue Economy sector, including the Sagarmala project and asked the sovereign wealth funds of the Nordic countries to invest in India.

As a part of Sagarmala Programme, more than 800 projects at an estimated cost of around Rs 5.48 lakh crore have been identified for implementation.
Sagarmala projects include projects from various categories such as modernisation of existing ports and terminals, new ports, terminals, inland waterways, lighthouse tourism and skill development, etc.

PM Modi made this pitch at the 2nd India-Nordic Summit. This summit saw the participation of Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen of Denmark, Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir of Iceland, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store of Norway, Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson of Sweden and Prime Minister Sanna Marin of Finland.

PM Modi and his counterparts from Nordic countries agreed to work together to fight and address climate change and protect the natural environment in accordance with the Paris Agreement.

The Summit provided an opportunity to review the progress of the India-Nordic relations since the 1st India-Nordic Summit, which was held in 2018 in Stockholm.

“Discussions were held on multilateral cooperation in post-pandemic economic recovery, climate change, sustainable development, innovation, digitalization, and green and clean growth. Discussions were also held on cooperation in maritime sector with a focus on sustainable ocean management. Prime Minister invited Nordic companies for investing in the Blue Economy sector, especially in India’s Sagarmala project,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a press release.

The Prime Ministers agreed to work together to fight and address climate change and to protect the natural environment in accordance with the Paris Agreement, according to a joint statement.

The Summit noted that the acceleration of the global green transition to combat climate change is one of the greatest and most imminent global challenges.

“At the same time, successful transition to sustainable economy offers huge opportunities including new jobs. The need for setting ambitious goals for reducing emissions and concrete implementation plans was underlined, which will facilitate business actors’ contribution to accelerating the transition,” the JOINT statement read.

The Prime Ministers welcomed the international agreement at COP26 on the need for accelerated climate action for holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degree above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degree above pre-industrial level.

According to the statement, India and the Nordic countries are committed to ambitious cooperation on renewable energy, energy diversification, smart grids and energy efficiency.

The leaders furthermore discussed collaboration on environmental sustainability including clean water, clean air and circular economy, which is critically important, not only to maintain and support biodiversity, water and wildlife, but also as a basis for food security, human health and prosperity.

The statement said that India and Nordic countries are also committed to adopting the ambitious Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework in the upcoming 2nd Part of COP15 of Convention on Biological Diversity to be held at Kunming, China and work together in its implementation.

The Prime Ministers agreed that the blue economy can deliver economic growth, new jobs, improved nutrition, and increased food security, if managed sustainably.

“As leading ocean nations, India and the Nordic countries agreed on the benefits of partnering on transforming the shipping industry towards a low carbon future through exchange of good practices and technology transfers,” the statement read. (ANI)

Are you looking for a scholarship to study in the UK? Take the first step now!



London [UK]: Everyone wants to study in the best universities in the world. It’s every bright student’s dream to fulfill. But they think they cannot study in the best universities as it costs a lot. So what if you could study at the best universities? What if you could study fully funded by the UK government or the UK universities in the United Kingdom and achieve a long-held ambition? Various colleges in the United Kingdom award many scholarships each year to international students who wish to pursue their ambition of studying in the United Kingdom. We can say that UK universities offer the best education system globally, allowing you to learn while also joining some of the world’s best research teams. We’ve put up a list of some great scholarship opportunities in the UK that will allow you to study for free. Fully Funded Scholarships in the United Kingdom are mentioned here for international students interested in studying in the study destination, which is statistically at the top of the list of those having the most international students.

1.     British Council Commonwealth Scholarship UK

Commonwealth Scholarships 2022 in the United Kingdom are fully financed scholarships for Master’s Degree studies in the United Kingdom. Commonwealth Scholarships are available to Commonwealth students from low- and middle-income nations. This scholarship will also cover the tuition fee, air travel, an allowance, books, and other charges.

2.     Chevening Scholarships

Since 1983, Chevening has been the UK government’s scholarship program for international students in the UK, intending to cultivate global leaders. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and partner organizations are funding this project. Chevening Scholarships are offered to outstanding scholars from Chevening-eligible nations worldwide as part of the UK government’s scholarship initiative. Awards are typically for a one-year Master’s degree. Most Chevening Scholarships include:

  • A fixed-rate living stipend (for one person).
  • An economy-class return flight to the UK.
  • Supplementary funding to cover necessary expenses.

3.    The Royal Society Grants

Many of the world’s most eminent scientists are members of the Royal Society. It’s also the oldest known scientific academy that’s still running strong. The Royal Society has three basic objectives: promoting scientific excellence, supporting international collaboration, and demonstrating the relevance of science to everyone.

Royal Society Grants support international students across globe


4.   Gates Cambridge Scholarships 2022

Gates Cambridge Scholarships are offered to the best students from any country other than the United Kingdom to complete a full-time master’s degree in any topic accessible at the University of Cambridge. A Gates Cambridge Scholarship involves the full expense of attending Cambridge. It also offers extra supplemental funds.

Gates Cambridge scholarships are there to support scholars who want to study in UK

5.   Rhodes Scholarship 2022:


Rhodes scholarship is the oldest scholarship program at Oxford University, awarded in 1902, giving outstanding young people from all around the globe the opportunity to study in the UK. Rhodes Scholarships are awarded to approximately 100 postgraduate students at the University of Oxford. The Rhodes scholarship gives overseas students the best educational opportunity to study for Master’s and Ph.D. degrees at Oxford University in the United Kingdom.


Scholarships for Study in UK supports hundreds of international students year after year

6.     Oxford Pershing Square Scholarship


The Oxford Pershing Square Scholarship is a financed scholarship for international students at the University of Oxford. There are five full scholarships available for both the Master and MBA programs. This scholarship covers the entire tuition fee and £15,285 in living expenses for both years of study.


7.     GREAT Scholarships 2022

Great Scholarships are received by international students.

Students from 18 countries can apply for the GREAT scholarship, which grants scholarships from UK colleges in various topic areas. This fellowship is open to applicants from Bangladesh, Brunei, China, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam.

The tuition fees for a one-year taught postgraduate degree worth a minimum of £10,000 are covered by this grant. The GREAT scholarships are co-funded by the GREAT Britain Campaign of the UK government and participating UK higher education institutions.


8.     University College London Grants 


University College London (UCL) ranked seventh in the QS University Rankings in 2022. It is one of the world’s top universities.

Aside from its excellent teaching and experience learning opportunities, UCL offers considerable scholarships to students who would otherwise be unable to afford an education at the prestigious university. The UCL Global Masters Scholarship, which is open to international applicants from low-income backgrounds, is one of UCL’s scholarships.


University College London is a great place to study.

9.     Cambridge Trust International Scholarships


This three-year foreign fellowship in the United Kingdom is open to all students who will be enrolled in a three-year research program leading to a Ph.D. (including CPGS) that begins in the following academic year. The Cambridge Commonwealth, European, and International Trust was founded on August 1, 2013, when the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust and the Cambridge Overseas Trust merged. Each year, the Trust provides roughly 500 scholarships and supports between 1,100 and 1,400 students in residence from 85 different countries. International students have received over 19,000 scholarships from the Trust. The grants are open to Ph.D., master’s, and undergraduate students in all areas.


10.   Felix Trust Scholarships for Students from Developing Countries

Students from developing nations are welcomed to apply for Felix Scholarships

The Felix Scholarship was established in 1990 to provide talented needy students from India and other developing nations with the opportunity to pursue postgraduate studies at a university in the United Kingdom. Felix scholarships are available at three universities: the University of Oxford, the University of Reading, and the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).

International students who desire to study in the United Kingdom can apply for many scholarships offered by the British government and UK universities. Studying in the United Kingdom is a fantastic way to access some of the world’s greatest higher education. However, such top quality is often inexpensive, and many international students seek financial support to cover all or a portion of their education and daily costs in the United Kingdom.

When applying for good, attractive UK scholarships, the competition is stiff, and some of the best providers assess various factors, including your previous academic experience.

Don’t hesitate to apply for an international scholarship in the United Kingdom if you can show that you’re a top student with great academic achievements.


#studyinUK #scholarships #ukscholarships #studyabroadprograms #UKuniversities #UKcolleges #indianstudents #grantsUK  #developingnations




IPL: Dhawan, Rabada steer PBKS to comfortable victory over GT

Navi Mumbai (Maharastra) [India]: Shikhar Dhawan’s unbeaten 62 off 53 balls and Kagiso Rabada’s four-for guided Punjab Kings to a comprehensive eight-wicket win against Gujarat Titans at the Dr DY Patil Stadium here on Tuesday. Punjab Kings comfortably chased the target of 144 with four overs to spare.

Chasing the moderate target, Punjab Kings lost the opener Jonny Bairstow for 1 in the third over. The first wicket was lost with only 10 on board.
Bhanuka Rajapaksa then joined in-form opener Shikhar Dhawan and the duo forged a partnership to take the team’s total beyond the 50-run mark in 6.2 overs.

Dhawan-Rajapaksa struck a fifty-run partnership in just 31 balls and Shikhar Dhawan too notch up his half-century off 38 balls. The southpaw allowed Rajapaksa to hit boundaries and sixes keeping one end tight.

The 87-run partnership was finally broken Lockie Ferguson dismissed Rajapaksa for 40 off 28 balls to reduce PBKS to 97/2.

It took Punjab Kings only 12.1 overs to reach the triple-figure mark. Liam Livingstone joined Dhawan and wreaked havoc with the bat scoring a 10-ball 30 with help of two fours and three sixes.

Dhawan remained unbeaten on 62 hitting eight fours and one six in the chase that lasted 16 overs.

Earlier in the day opting to bat first after winning the toss table-toppers Gujarat Titans did not get a great start losing in-form opener Shubman Gill for 9 as he was runout by Rishi Dhawan for 9 as Gujarat Titans lost their opening wicket for 17 in the third over.

In the next over Gujarat were dealt with another blow as Kagiso Rabada got the wicket of Wriddhiman Saha for 21 off 17 balls to leave his team in a spot of bother at 35/2.

Captain Hardik Pandya walked in to bat but he failed to deliver getting out cheaply for 1 to medium-pacer Rishi Dhawan to leave Gujarat Titans tottering at 44/3.

B Sai Sudharshan was joined by David Miller and the duo took the team beyond the 50-run mark in 8 overs. But the 23-run partnership was broken as Liam Livingstone got the dangerman Miller out for 11 to reduce GT to 67/4.

Gujarat Titans desperately needed a partnership and Sudharshan along with Rahul Tewatia did exactly that the duo took the team’s total beyond the triple-figure mark in 15.2 overs as Sudharshan played the role of the aggressor.

Sai Sudharshan notched up his half-century in 42 balls as he was the only batter who was able to perform with the bat.

Rabada struck again to break the 45-run partnership dismissing Tewatia for 11 and in the next ball he cleaned up Rashid Khan to a golden to put Gujarat in trouble at 112/6.

In the next over Arshdeep Singh struck cleaning up Pradeep Sangwan for 2 as GT lost their seventh wicket for 122. In the next over Rabada took his wickets tally to four wickets in the match dismissing Lockie Ferguson for 5 to restrict Gujarat Titans to 143/8 in 20 overs as Sudharshan remained unbeaten on 64 off 50 balls.

Brief Scores: Gujarat Titans 143/8 in 20 overs (Sai Sudharshan 64, Wriddhiman Saha 21; Kagiso Rabada 4/33) vs Punjab Kings 145/2 in 20 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 62*, Bhanuka Rajapaksa 40, Liam Livingstone 30; Lockie Ferguson 1/29). (ANI)

Shabd.in introduces listing facility of books for sale

New Delhi [India]: ‘Shabd.in’, an e-platform based dedicated tool for the writer community through for publishing their books and promote them online and earn money, has now introduced the listing facility of books for sale across the country. Any writer, who has got their book published from any publication, will now be able to list it on shabd.in for sale. In addition to it, the brand is preparing to make available all the books in nearly all Indian languages on their website for readers to purchase from. Shabd.in used to be a Hindi-based website, and recently has added English language, making it a one of the very few bi-lingual literature websites in India.

Shabd.in was soft-launched in late 2021 and re-launched in March 2022, with additional features and various revenue models. The platform aims at serving as a means to bridge the gap of the absence of local language platforms in India where people could write freely and get their books published.
Shabd.in came into existence as Shabdanagari.com in 2015, where it was merely a social networking site in Hindi, founded by Amitesh Misra and Nikhil Tiwari. In September 2021, the social networking site was re-branded as Shabd.in with an expanded range of services targeted towards the writers in Indian languages. The platform was joined by another founding member, Santosh Verma, to further strengthen the functionality and vision. For its interactive model, the platform got approved by the IIT Kanpur incubation center and received seed funding to proceed. The platform is headquartered in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh and has its branch office in Noida.


has different revenue and publishing models.

1. Writers can publish their e-book on the platform for free and the users can enjoy reading their work without shelling a dime.

2. Writers can publish their e-book and set a price on their work to earn 80 per cent royalty on each sale, claimed highest compared to the competing publishers in the industry.

3. Writers can also get their books published in paperback, promote them on the platform and get them listed on other platforms like Amazon or Flipkart as well.

For publishing the paperback edition, the writer is required to pay a one-time fee of INR 5100. An additional package available at INR 11,000 is made available with added benefits for the printing of the book like the addition of ISBN and listing on 3rd party platforms. For listing a book published by other publishers, 65 per cent commission is paid to the writer.

Discussing the platform, MD & CEO – Shabd.in, Amitesh Misra said, “We are continuously adding more and more convenient features and options for the userbase and writer community of India so that no piece of creativity is lost due to the lack of resources or opportunities. With our new additions of listing facility, adding English to our website and further working on adding 20+ Indian languages in the coming months will certainly serve to the pressing requirements of the community.”

Shabd.in aims to become the biggest multilingual content platform in the vernacular space in India in the next 5 years, while keeping the exploitation of writers at bay. While the platform offers the highest royalty percentage for the sellers, it looks ahead to become every writer’s first choice to publish their work in their native language.

This story is provided by PNN. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content of this article. (ANI/PNN)


Ukraine crisis, a lesson for US to prepare for Chinese invasion of Taiwan

Washington [US]: The Ukraine-Russia conflict has become a guide for the United States to prepare a strategy to defend Taiwan against a possible attack by China, according to an analysis.

The US military has in a report on the strategic assessment of the Ukraine crisis detailed the need to prepare a strategy on how to defend Taiwan in case of a possible attack by China, air superiority is the deciding factor in defence against the Chinese forces.
Notably, the US did not agree to the Ukrainian request for enforcing a no-fly zone over its air space as that would have brought it into direct combat with Russia. However, Taiwan is not Ukraine as it is in a far more vulnerable position, The Hong Kong Post reported citing a military analysis website DefenseOne.

“No matter what other idea guides the defense of the island republic, air superiority will be critical. Washington and Taipei must prepare now to ensure this air superiority….planning for Taiwan’s air defense must be grounded in hard truth, the media outlet quoted the website as saying.

However, according to American military experts, Taiwanese airspace is “much more difficult to defend” than that of Ukraine as Taiwan is separated from US bases by thousands of miles of open Pacific waters and the closest supply routes are through “the Philippine Sea, south along the Ryukyus, or north from Luzon” and all these regions are beyond Taiwanese territory and its Exclusive Economic Zone.

Thus, approving a no-fly war zone over Taiwan means a large territory beyond the island of Taiwan will need to be defended. However, Seth Cropsey, a naval officer and former US Deputy Undersecretary of the Navy, has come up with a four-point strategy that is being discussed within the military circles.

According to this strategy, the US must ensure its naval and aerial superiority in the Ryukyu archipelago which can be turned into an anti-air nest, packed with forward-deployed US Marines and Air Defense Artillery. Further, the US should have an “integrated air defense network” to protect Taiwan from Chinese “missile bombardment”.

The US should also obtain more tanker aircraft as a “no-fly zone would require air combat over Taiwan and near the Taiwan Strait which is extremely close to Chinese territory. Lastly, the US must begin the fight with a significant numerical advantage as according to the naval officer, the fight will boil down to numerical superiority of either force.

In a comparison of the Russia-Ukraine situation to that of China-Taiwan, Cropsey laments US’ casual attitude toward Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attacks on the other Black Sea targets.

“Had we (Americans) taken more seriously (Vladimir) Putin’s attacks on such other Black Sea targets as Georgia and Crimea and acted with greater resolve years ago to help Ukraine defend itself, war might have been averted. Xi Jinping and his predecessors’ declared intent to subdue Taiwan–if needed, by force–is clear as blue skies. Those skies must be defended over Taiwan if the US is to remain the Pacific’s pre-eminent power and our friends and allies in the region are to continue casting their lot with us,” the media outlet quoted him as saying. (ANI)


Premier League: Arsenal, Spurs trade blows for 4th place; Everton stun Chelsea

London [UK]: Centre-backs Rob Holding and Gabriel Magalhaes scored in either half as Arsenal maintained their two-point lead over fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur with a 2-1 win at West Ham United in the Premier League on Sunday.

Arsenal went ahead on 38 minutes when Rob Holding, only in the team because of an injury to Ben White, headed home Bukayo Saka’s corner for his first Premier League goal. West Ham reacted well, though, with Declan Rice’s header expertly pushed away by Aaron Ramsdale before Jarrod Bowen equalised with a smart 45th-minute finish.
But Arsenal scored the winner nine minutes after the break when the unmarked Gabriel met Gabriel Martinelli’s delivery at the back post with a diving header beyond Lukasz Fabianski.

The Gunners move back up to fourth with 63 points after a perfect response to Spurs’ 3-1 win over Leicester City earlier in the day.

Tottenham Hotspur defeated Leicester City to stay hot on the heels of Arsenal in the race for fourth place. Son Heung-min was directly involved in all three Spurs goals to take his tally for the season to 19, three behind Mohamed Salah in the race for the Golden Boot.

Leicester’s Patson Daka hit the post early on before Harry Kane headed in from Son’s 20th-minute corner for his 19th goal in 18 appearances in all competitions against Leicester. Kasper Schmeichel denied Kane a second goal before Son doubled Spurs’ lead on the hour, slotting in from substitute Dejan Kulusevski’s pass following a brilliant tackle by Cristian Romero.

Kulusevski then teed up Son again to curl in a stunner from distance before Kelechi Iheanacho netted a consolation goal with his own long-range strike in stoppage time. Fifth-placed Spurs move on to 61 points.

At Goodison Park, Everton stunned Chelsea with a 1-0 win that moved them to within two points of Burnley and Leeds United in the fight for safety.

The winner came moments into the second half when Richarlison scored his fourth goal in five matches with a cool finish from Demarai Gray’s pass. (ANI)


Start-up ‘First In Class’ Launches Free Edu Platform for One Lakh poor kids

Delhi NCR/Hyderabad (Telangana) [India]- First In Class edutech platform has signed an MoU with Rotary India Literacy Mission (RILM) to create the largest free-of-cost edutech initiative in India and the world. One Lakh (1,00,000) tablet PCs will be distributed free-of-cost. All the tablets will be loaded with fully functional e-learning platforms also free-of-cost provided by First In Class.

This is being done to mark the occasion of the 75th year of India’s Independence – Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. The MoU was signed at the Rotary International Presidential Conference India 2022 being held in Hyderabad this morning.
The motivating force behind First In Class is ‘all for learning, learning for all’. India’s first and only edutech platform in which the cause of social justice is the core value. This is the kind of positive, trailblazing disruption and pioneering effort that can truly revolutionise how edutech is delivered, perceived and implemented in India.

First In Class will provide K to 12 high quality curated content in line with CBSE-NCERT curricula. In a notable first, the coursework will be available in Hindi, English, Tamil, Kannada, Bengali, Punjabi & 6 other regional languages to facilitate inclusion, access & mother tongue learning. More than 10,000 hours of audio-visual & graphical interface content will be part of the course libraries. This will be linked with interactive testing & assessment nodules. The coursework will be facilitated with live-teaching. A special continuous review deck for parents to track the progress of their wards will be available in a user-interface friendly format.

Cultural learning, language learning, linguistic training and spiritual learning modules will also be available through the First In Class platform. For higher education, entrance test modules and specialisation in UPSC, Law & engineering are also on offer.

The MoU was signed today between RILM Chairman Kamal Sanghvi and iTV Network Founder Kartikeya Sharma.

“The coursework is structured and curated by some of the best educationists in the country in line with the CBSE NCERT curriculum. Crucially, it is being offered in Hindi, English and many regional languages to ensure inclusivity and mother tongue learning. All of this is the fruit of years of research and hard-graft to create content using the latest pedagogical techniques to ensure students benefit from holistic learning,” said Kartikeya Sharma, Founder, iTV Network.

“The government is keen to promote digital learning. In this context, RILM already has an MoU with NCERT to provide E-learning content. In this new year, in line with public priority in vocational training, First In Class in collaboration with RILM will create content for vocational education for higher classes,” said Kamal Sanghvi, Chairman RILM earlier.

“This is our way of saluting our martyrs in the 75th year of independence. While there is no way we can fulfil our debt to those who sacrificed their lives, it is our tribute. We have been working on E-learning in India for 10 years, reaching out to thousands of schools providing world-class audio-visual content,” said Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta at the proclamation of the mission earlier this year.

Member of Parliament and Rotarian Vivek Tankha said in the run-up to the event, “What is being done today, the world will remember. This MoU is an organised effort to tell the Rotary and corporate world that we are ready to educate one lakh deserving children.”

“First In Class is born out of the vision that every child is unique and deserves equal opportunity to learn and think. Our curriculum is a result of extensive research on new digital learning techniques. Our highly experienced teachers have carefully curated the curriculum to prioritise the student perspective,” said Aishwarya Sharma, Founder, First In Class.

This story is provided by NewsVoir. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content of this article. (ANI/NewsVoir)


Erdogan pushes limit with US, NATO; strives to mend ties with S Arabia, UAE

Nicosia [Cyprus]: Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has recently been pushing the limit with his US and NATO allies in the war in Ukraine, while at the same time, due to the dire economic situation facing Turkey, he is trying to mend relations with oil-rich former adversaries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
In the war between Russia and Ukraine, as Turkey maintains good relations with both countries, Erdogan is trying a delicate balancing act. On the one hand, he strongly criticized Moscow’s invasion but refrained from implementing the sanctions imposed by most Western countries, claiming that he opposes sanctions on principle.

As Turkey continues to buy Russian oil and keeps its airspace open to Russian civilian flights – whereas 31 countries on the European continent have closed their airspace to Russian companies- probably with a view to deflecting criticism, Erdogan tried to play the role of mediator between Ukraine and Russia and hosted an unsuccessful meeting in Antalya between the Foreign Ministers of Ukraine and Russia.

Turkey also indicated that it is ready to be a guarantor of a future deal between Ukraine and Russia. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called on Turkey to be a “guarantor” in any future agreement with Russia, along with the United Nations Security Council’s five permanent members which include Russia and Germany.

Russia may accept Turkey as a mediator, but at the same time is angry because Turkey has supplied its drones to the Kyiv government, which helped Ukrainian resistance to the Russian invasion and reportedly played a decisive role by providing precise targeting information to the Ukrainian Neptune missiles that sank the “Moskva”, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. So, Ankara has good reasons to fear the wrath of Moscow.

Soner Cagaptay, of the Washington Institute, points out: “Turkey fears a Russian defeat only slightly less than it fears a Russian victory…If Putin has a list of countries he will punish for supporting Ukraine after the war, Turkey is close to the top of that list after the Baltic states, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Erdogan’s ultimate goal is to avoid a showdown with Putin, who could use economic leverage or even cyber-attacks to derail the Turkish President’s re-election prospects.”

Ankara’s mediation efforts and its offer to be one of the guarantors of an agreement between Ukraine and Russia have certainly improved its relations with Washington, that in recent years had been steadily deteriorating. The worsening of relations between the two countries was mainly due to the purchase by Turkey of the Russian S-400 missile system, for which last December the US imposed sanctions on the head of Turkey’s military procurement agency Ismail Demir and other top officers.

But the crisis concerning the S-400, although put on the back burner due to the war in Ukraine, maybe far from over, as Ismail Demir said last Tuesday that Turkey was still talking with Russia about purchasing a second batch of S-400 despite the war in Ukraine. Demir also repeated Turkey’s position that it wanted to maintain good relations with Moscow during its invasion of Ukraine.

Although Erdogan has embarked in the past few months on “a charm offensive”, trying to improve relations with European countries, and has scored some success in this respect, he suddenly makes some moves that destroy the whole effort.

For example, Erdogan and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had announced during their talks on March 13 that they decided to improve the relations between the two countries.

Despite this, on April 24, when Greek Orthodox people celebrated Easter day, Turkish F-16 fighters made 17 violations of Greek airspace. The violations continued on Easter Monday, while last Wednesday Turkish F-16 made 126 violations of Greek airspace.

Another example is the case of Turkish philanthropist Osman Kavala, who was sentenced last week to life imprisonment, allegedly for trying to overthrow the government by financing the Gezi Park protests in 2013. Two years ago, the European Court of Human Rights decided that Kavala should be released immediately, but the Turkish Court ignored the decision. Now infringement proceedings will be initiated, which could end in Ankara’s suspension from the Council of Europe.

On April 27, Germany summoned the Turkish Ambassador over the sentencing of Kavala and Ankara responded immediately by summoning the German Ambassador and reminding him of the principle of not meddling in internal affairs.

Last October, Erdogan caused a major diplomatic row when he threatened to expel the ambassadors of the US, France, Germany and other seven European countries after they reiterated the need for Turkey to respect the ECHR ruling.

As Turkey is passing through one of its worst economic crises in recent history, Erdogan who is facing a tough election next year is making feverish efforts to boost the faltering economy of his country, trying to improve economic relations with the oil-rich Gulf States, as well with Israel and Egypt.

Having succeeded to mend ties with the United Arab Emirates and securing a promise by Abu Dhabi to set up a USD 10 billion fund to support investments in Turkey, Erdogan on Thursday travelled to Saudi Arabia and had meetings with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

It should be noted that ties between Turkey and Saudi Arabia were strained after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Erdogan had accused the “highest levels” of the Saudi government of giving the orders but Ankara has since sharply softened its tone.

Just three days before Erdogan’s visit to Saudi Arabia, a Turkish prosecutor decided to transfer to the Kingdom the case of 26 Saudi suspects tried in absentia, removing in this way a thorn in the relations between the two countries.

Speaking to reporters on his return from Riyadh, Erdogan said, “We agreed with Saudi Arabia to reactivate a great economic potential through organizations that will bring our investors together.” (ANI)

Pakistan gets USD 8 billion package from Saudi Arabia amid sinking economy

Islamabad [Pakistan]- Pakistan, which is grappling with an economic slump, has secured a “sizeable package” of around USD 8 billion from Saudi Arabia during the visit of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, reported local media.

The USD 8 billion package includes a doubling of the oil financing facility, additional money either through deposits or Sukuks, and rolling over of the existing USD 4.2 billion facilities, reported The News International.
“However, technical details are being worked out and will take a couple of weeks to get all documents ready and signed,” the media outlet quoted the top official sources privy to the development as saying.

Notably, Shehbaz Sharif and his official entourage have left Saudi Arabia but Pakistan Finance Minister Miftah Ismail is still staying there to finalize the modalities of the increased financial package.

“Just said goodbye to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and other colleagues at Jeddah Airport, who are on their way to Islamabad after a brief stopover in Abu Dhabi to meet Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Zayed. I remain in SA to meet Saudi officials and start technical-level talks,” tweeted Ismail.

According to the official, Pakistan’s proposal of doubling the oil facility from USD 1.2 billion to USD 2.4 billion was accepted by Saudi Arabia, which also agreed that the existing deposits of USD 3 billion would be rolled over for an extended period up to June 2023.

“Pakistan and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia discussed an additional package of over USD 2 billion either through deposits or Sukuk and it is likely that even more money will be provided to Islamabad,” the media outlet quoted the official sources which added that the size of the total package would be determined after additional money was finalized.

Earlier in December 2021, Saudi Arabia had provided USD 3 billion deposits to the State Bank of Pakistan and also provided Pakistan with USD 100 million to procure oil after the Saudi oil facility was operationalized in March 2022.

Under the Imran Khan government, Saudi Arabia provided Pakistan a package of USD 4.2 billion, including USD 3 billion deposits and a USD 1.2 billion oil facility for one year.

Meanwhile, amid a combination of internal and external challenges of unpredictable tenure in Pakistan, the Ministry of Finance on Friday forecasted tough days ahead — including rising inflation, expanding current account deficit, higher fiscal deficit and dampening economic growth prospects.

According to the Finance Ministry, high international commodity prices not only keep inflation elevated, but they are also a burden on Pakistan’s external account and hence on its foreign exchange reserves, Dawn reported.

Moreover, economic activities in Pakistan’s main trading partners continue to remain slightly above the trend as some slowdown has been observed due to geopolitical uncertainty and a surge in commodity prices. If these tensions continue, the country’s growth may be affected as well. (ANI)


Bollywood : Jacqueline Fernandez’s 8 cr property seized by ED

Mumbai : The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday seized the property of Bollywood actress Jacqueline Fernandez in connection with Rs 200 crore extortion case involving conman Sukesh Chandrashekhar. According to sources, valuables and property which is a fixed deposit worth 7.27 crore has been confiscated by the investigation agency.

For the unversed, conman Chandrasekhar gave the actress a lot of luxury gifts which included Gucci outfits for gym wear, Gucci shoes, Rolex watch, 15 pairs of earrings, 5 Birkin bags, Hermes bangles and LV bags. He also gave a mini chopper to Jacqueline which she returned, as per the charge sheet. She has been summoned by the ED for interrogation several times.


Jacqueline is currently acting as the witness in the case and has recorded her testimonies in the 200 crore PMLA case. Not just Jacqueline, another Bollywood actress Nora Fatehi has also recorded her statement as a witness. When asked why they were not made an accused in the case, the source said that they were not aware of the criminal background of Sukesh.

Previously, Nora Fatehi told the investigating agency ‘that the officials were free to seize the BMW car gifted to her by Sukesh Chandrashekhar’.

Mobile internet suspended in Patiala, CM transfers IG, SSP, SP

Patiala (Punjab) [India]: Mobile internet services have been temporarily suspended on Saturday in Punjab’s Patiala, which a day ago witnessed clashes between two groups in which four people were injured. Three senior police officials have also been transferred in connection with the incident on the directions of chief minister Bhagwant Mann.

CM Mann has directed the transfer with immediate effect of Inspector General of Police (IG) Patiala range, Rakesh Aggarwal, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Patiala, Nanak Singh and Superintendent of Police (SP) Harpal Singh, according to a spokesperson from the chief minister’s office.
Authorities imposed a curfew in the district yesterday till 6 am today after clashes broke out near the Kali Devi Temple in Patiala city on Friday afternoon as members of two groups hurled stones and brandished swords at each other. Police personnel were deployed to bring under control the situation. Two policemen were among those injured.

On Saturday morning the Punjab government temporarily suspended mobile internet services from 9:30 am to 6 pm in the city today.

“… there is likelihood of tension, annoyance, obstruction or injury to persons, danger to human life and property, disturbance of public peace and tranquility within the limits of district Patiala due to the recent law and order events,” an official order read.

By stopping the spread of misinformation is necessary “to thwart the designs and activities of anti-national and anti-social groups/ elements and maintain peace and communal harmony and to prevent any loss of life or damage to public/private property,” the order said.

“.. (i) Mobile internet services (2G/3G/4G/CDMA) (ii) all SMS services and (iii) all dongle services etc. provided on mobile networks except voice calls in the territorial jurisdiction of the District of Patiala from 9:30 am to 6 pm on April 30,” the official order said.

After the clashes the Shiv Sena on Friday expelled from its Punjab unit working president Harish Singla who had led a march in Patiala on Friday after which clashes broke out in the city. Singla was later arrested in connection with the incident. Locals say the situation is peaceful and devotees continue to visit the temple today.

Patiala Deputy Commissioner Sakshi Sawhney confirmed the development and said that one person has been arrested with regard to the clashes.

She said, “FIRs have been lodged and raids are underway. We appeal to public to maintain peace. From 9.30 am to 6pm today, mobile internet services will remain temporarily suspended as a step of abundant caution by the government. One person has been arrested.”

Patiala’s Senior Superintendent of Police, Nanak Singh told reporters today that the police and administration will share factual information and no misinformation should be believed in the said incident.

Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has ordered a probe into the clash and said that strict action will be taken against those behind the violence. (ANI)

RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat calls for ensuring peace in society

Amravati (Maharashtra) [India]: Advocating peace in the society, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat on Thursday said violence does not benefit anybody and stressed the need to bring together all communities to preserve humanity.

He said this in the backdrop of recent clashes between different groups in several parts of the country.
Addressing an event on Thursday evening in Amravati, Bhagwat said, “Violence does not benefit anybody. The society to which violence is dear is now counting its last days. We should forever be non-violent and peace-loving. For this, it is essential to bring together all communities and preserve humanity.”

Bhagwat further said, “We all should follow the path of Ahimsa to safeguard humanity. This path should be given the topmost priority.”

He also underlined the need for establishing a Sindhi university in the country to ensure the survival of the Sindhi language and culture. The RSS chief said India is a multi-lingual country and each language has its own importance.

Bhagwat was speaking as a Chief Guest at the ‘Gaddinashini’ programme (ceremony to assume religious seat) of Sai Rajeshlal Mordiya, the great grandson of Sant Kanwarram, at Kanwarram Dham on Bhankheda Road near here in Maharashtra. (ANI)


Switzerland aligns with new EU sanctions on Russia that ban coal, caviar

Bern [Switzerland]: Switzerland adopted on Wednesday a fifth package of EU sanctions against Russia that ban import of caviar, seafood, coal, timber and cement in a bid to punish Russia for a military operation in Ukraine.

“This implements the Federal Council’s decision of 13 April to adopt the EU’s latest package of sanctions. The measures come into force at 6pm on 27 April 2022,” the Swiss government said in a statement.
The new measures ban export of industrial robots, certain chemical products and other goods that can help strengthen Russia’s industrial capacities.

An exemption will be made for export of military-grade equipment that protects from nuclear, biological or chemical hazards, under a request from the UN’s Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

In the financial sector, Switzerland prohibited support for Russian entities in public ownership and registration of trusts for Russian nationals or residents.

The Council also extended the ban on export of banknotes and sales of securities in Swiss francs and euros to Belarusian nationals and entities to cover all official EU currencies. The same measure is planned for Russia. (ANI/Sputnik)


India’s fresh COVID-19 cases breach 3000 mark

New Delhi [India]: India on Thursday witnessed an uptick in the number of COVID-19 cases, with 3,303 fresh cases in the last 24 hours, the union health ministry reported. There were 39 fatalities over the same period.

On Wednesday 2,927 COVID-19 cases were reported from the country.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare today informed that this single-day rise of these fresh cases pushed India’s coronavirus tally to 4,30,68,799. Moreover, the death toll from the virus rose to 5,23,693 in the country.

Of the fresh COVID-19 cases recorded today, Delhi accounted for 1367 cases which is 58.61 percent of the total cases, followed by Maharashtra with 186 cases and the rest of the cases were reported in other states.

India’s active caseload currently stands at 16,980 which accounts for 0.04 per cent of the total cases.

As the country reels under the pandemic, the ministry data mentioned that as many as 2,563 recoveries were logged in the last 24 hours from this virus thereby taking the total recoveries to 4,25,28,126.

The daily positivity rate has been recorded at 0.66 per cent with 4,97,669 COVID-19 tests being conducted in the last 24 hours. The weekly positivity rate was also reported at 0.61 per cent.

On the COVID-19 vaccination front, 188.40 crore vaccine doses have been administered so far under the nationwide vaccination drive. (ANI)

World champions Muktar Edris, Hellen Obiri to headline TCS World 10K Bengaluru

Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India]:  Reigning world champions Muktar Edris and Hellen Obiri will be the star names on the start line of the TCS World 10K Bengaluru 2022 road race.

After a three-year hiatus enforced by the pandemic, the latest edition of the World Athletics Elite Label Race will take place on May 15.
Edris, from Ethiopia, is the two-time defending world champion over 5000m on the track and will be using the Bengaluru race as part of his preparations to become just the second man to win three consecutive titles in the event at this summer’s World Athletics Championships in Eugene, USA.

He is no stranger to India having made his half marathon debut in the 2020 Delhi Half Marathon, where he finished fourth in the stunning time of 59:04.

His arrival in Bengaluru fulfils a promise he made after that run. “And when I come back to India, I will certainly be aiming to win and make a bigger impression,” said Edris in November 2020.

Edris will have some strong competition if he is to fulfil his ambition. Also announced for this year’s TCS World 10K is the former holder of the world half-marathon record Kibiwott Kandie, from Kenya, who has a 10km personal best of 26;51 from last year, almost a minute faster than the course record in Bengaluru.

Ethiopia’s Tadese Worku, who is still only 20, is another man with a 10km best inside 27 minutes, having run 26:56 last September just a few months after he won the world U20 3000m title on the track.

In the women’s race, Kenya’s Obiri will be making her Indian racing debut next month. Like Edris, she has also won the 5000m at the last two editions of the World Athletics Championships and took silver medals over the same distance at the last two Olympic Games in Rio and Tokyo.

Into the bargain, Obiri can also claim two other world titles to her name after having won the world indoor 3000m crown back in 2012 and, more recently, she was the 2019 world cross country champion. Both Edris and Obiri will have the TCS World 10K course records as their targets on May 15.

Kenya’s Geoffrey Kamworor ran the men’s record of 27:44 in 2014 while the late Agnes Tirop, also from Kenya, set the women’s course record of 31:19 in 2018. Tirop also won the TCS World 10K in 2019.

Joyce Tele comes to Bengaluru having won the Agnes Tirop Cross Country Classic in February – a memorial race in her honour after her tragic death in October 2021 shocked the world – and has produced some outstanding half marathon times since the start of 2021. Tele ran a personal best of 1:05:50 to finish second in the Berlin Half Marathon earlier this month.

A third Kenyan to watch out for in the women’s race will be the 2017 world cross country champion Irene Cheptai, who also triumphed at the 2017 TCS World 10K a few months later.

Cheptai has been in good form recently with two strong second-place finishes in the prestigious New York and Prague half marathons in the last six weeks.

The World 10K Bengaluru 2022 has a total prize fund of USD 210,000, with the men’s and women’s winners taking home USD 26,000. In addition to the World 10K for elite runners, there is an Open 10K, the Majja Run (5km) the Senior Citizens’ Race and the Champions with Disability Race (both 4.2km). (ANI)


Xi asks Chinese officials to enter economic race with US

Washington [US]: Chinese President Xi Jinping has instructed officials to ensure that the country’s economic growth outpaces that of the US this year.

The issue of the China-US competition has been raised in recent weeks in Xi’s meetings with senior officials in the economic and financial bloc, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the discussions.
This comes as investors are ditching China due to growing business risks, and rising interest rates elsewhere. China witnessed USD 17.5 billion worth of portfolio outflows last month, an all-time high, CNN reported citing the data from the Institute of International Finance (IIF).

The US-based trade association said that this capital flight by overseas investors “unprecedented.”

Amid the growing economic insecurity, the Chinese leader said that ensuring stability and economic growth is extremely important, as the US is declining both politically and economically.

The relevant Chinese government agencies are discussing plans to accelerate the implementation of large construction projects, as well as to issue coupons for individuals, designed to stimulate consumer spending, WSJ’s sources said.

In the final quarter of 2021, the US economy outpaced China, growing 5.5 per cent year-on-year compared to China’s 4.0 per cent.

US President Joe Biden claimed that the American economy grew faster than the Chinese for the first time in 20 years. According to WSJ, this caused discontent among a number of senior Chinese officials.

Last week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) slightly downgraded its forecast for economic growth in China to 4.4 per cent this year and to 5.1 per cent in 2023.

According to the IMF forecast, the zero-COVID strategy pursued in China entails an increase in restrictive measures that have a negative effect on China’s private consumption and overall economic growth.(ANI)


LIC IPO to open on May 4

New Delhi [India]: The much-awaited initial public offering (IPO) of the Life Insurance Corporation of India is likely to open on May 4, sources privy to the development told ANI.

The government, which wholly owns the insurance behemoth, plans to sell a 3.5 per cent instead of 5 per cent as mentioned in the previous Draft Red Herring Prospectus (DRHP), said sources.
LIC has cut the size of IPO from 5 per cent to 3.5 per cent due to the market condition. A proposal to reduce the size of LIC’s IPO to 3.5 per cent from 5 per cent proposed in its draft red herring prospectus (DRHP) was tabled and approved at a board meeting held on Saturday.

Last month, market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) approved the initial public offering proposal of the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC).

The company has filed the Draft Red Herring Prospectus with the market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

It has time until May 12 to launch the IPO. If it is not done by May 12, the company would be required to file fresh papers with the market regulator.

The government had initially wanted to list LIC in the last financial year that ended March 31 but had to delay the sale after the Russia-Ukraine war triggered a market rout. (ANI)

Wasim Khan appointed as ICC general manager of cricket

Dubai [UAE]: The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Friday confirmed Wasim Khan has been appointed as ICC General Manager of Cricket and will take up his post next month.

Khan who was previously the Chief Executive of the Pakistan Cricket Board, Leicestershire County Cricket Club and Chance to Shine, will take over from Geoff Allardice who spent eight years in the role before being appointed as the ICC CEO.
Allardice said: “I am delighted to welcome Wasim to the ICC. He brings an in-depth knowledge of our sport and its stakeholders and his firsthand experience of the international cricket landscape will be of enormous benefit as we implement the ICC global growth strategy and move forward into a new events cycle.”

Khan added: “I am honoured to be joining the ICC, I can’t wait to get started and work in partnership with our Members to strengthen and grow our sport. I’m particularly excited by the ICC’s commitment to the growth of the women’s game, and I look forward to playing my part in really accelerating that growth over the next decade.” (ANI)


Boris Johnson’s India visit to give momentum to Trade negotiations

New Delhi [India] : British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s visit to India beginning Thursday is expected to give momentum to negotiations on Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries.

The third round of negotiations will begin next week and the two sides are keen to double bilateral trade by 2030.
The two countries are also exploring the possibility of an interim agreement to provide quick gains for benefitting businesses on both sides.

The United Kingdom is also looking to increase its footprint in defence production in India.

India and UK launched Free Trade Agreement negotiations in January this year.

Sources said the two countries have cleared some of the issues in the first two rounds of negotiations and some major issues around market access are expected to figure in the third round of negotiations.

They said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and PM Johnson would be keen to encourage and give momentum to those negotiations. While some big announcements are not expected, the two leaders are expected to give a strong signal.

The sources said the aim is to try and do the negotiation this year if possible and there is quite a bit of ambition on both sides.

India was the second biggest contributor to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the UK in 2020.

The two countries have strong links in the healthcare sector and the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is manufactured in India as Covishield.

The issue concerning financial fugitives from India may come up during talks. The United Kingdom’s position is that executive processes have been followed but there are legal proceedings that continue and it is for the judiciary to take a view.

The UK is seeking an increase its presence in the defence manufacturing sector in India the issues related to the transfer of technology are expected to come up in talks. The cooperation between India and the UK in the maritime domain is expected to become stronger in the coming years.

PM Johnson has been absolutely determined to come to India with UK keen to turn the Compressive Strategic Partnership into something real and long-lasting.

The sources said the visit to India is a big deal for PM Johnson and the trip has been one of his top priorities. His visit to India was “cancelled” twice due to the situation created by COVID-19.

PM Johnson knows India well and it will be his first visit to the country as Prime Minister

During the visit, PM Johnson and Prime Minister Narendra will review the implementation of the Roadmap 2030 and set their vision for further intensifying cooperation across the full spectrum of bilateral ties. They will also exchange views on regional and global issues of mutual interest.

The sources said the UK looks at the next 25 years to further enhance bilateral cooperation.

Johnson’s two-day visit will begin with Gujarat, a state that is home to a large number of Indian diaspora in the UK including the family of UK Home Secretary Priti Patel.

The visit comes almost a year after the two countries held the India-UK Virtual Summit in early May last year in which PM Modi and PM Johnson adopted the India-UK Roadmap 2030 to steer cooperation for the next ten years.

The two leaders also launched an ‘Enhanced Trade Partnership’ (ETP) to tap into the full trade potential between the two countries by the way of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to achieve the target of more than doubling the bilateral trade by 2030.

PM Johnson will be accorded a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan and he will hold bilateral consultations with PM Modi on April 22.

India and the United Kingdom have a long and historical relationship which was elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership during the India-UK Virtual Summit in 2021. (ANI)

Bengal means Business: Mamata’s eight pillar strategy, Adani to invest 10,000 Cr

Kolkata (West Bengal) [India]:  West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday laid out an eight-pillar strategy for the development of the state and making it a global hub for business.

Addressing the Summit, the Chief Minister said, “We do not divide people on the basis of caste, creed and religion. We stay like family. Irrespective of one being from any part of the country, whenever one is in Bengal, he or she becomes part of our family and should be comfortable here.”

Banerjee’s statement comes contrary to her party’s “Bohiragoto” campaign against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) whose major vote bank in West Bengal is believed to be from Hindi speaking population.

The ‘Bengal Global Business Summit’ started at Biswa Bangla Convention Centre in Kolkata on Wednesday.


Gautam Adani declares an Investment of 10,000 Cr in Bengal

The Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo emphasized infrastructure development and no-strike culture in order to instill an ‘ease of doing business’ ecosystem transforming West Bengal into a global hub for trade.

“West Bengal is the first state to organize a physical business summit since COVID pandemic struck. There are eight pillars on which our strategy lays. First is world-class infrastructure, second is education, third is social security for the unprivileged and the fourth is skill development,” said Banerjee.

She further said, “The fifth pillar is expanding capital infrastructure while the sixth is the ease of doing business, the seventh is digitalization and the eighth is no strike and no mandate loss.”

Industrialists from different countries attended the event. Gautam Adani, chairperson of Adani Group also graced the event.

Gautam Adani on Wednesday said the company’s investment in West Bengal would exceed Rs 10,000 crore over the next decade.

Addressing the inaugural session of Bengal Global Business Summit 2022 (BGBS 2022), Adani said, “Over the next decade, we expect our total investment in Bengal to exceed Rs 10,000 crore.”

The investment will help generate over 25,000 direct and indirect employments in the state.

“All in all, over the next decade, we expect our total investment in Bengal to exceed 10 thousand crore rupees. We anticipate that this investment will create 25,000 or more direct and indirect jobs for the people of Bengal,” Adani Group said in a tweet.

In a separate tweet, Gautam Adani said, “What an honour to be at #BGBS2022 and hear Hon’ble CM Mamata Didi lay out her bold vision for Bengal. This is the land that gave India some of its greatest Freedom Fighters. The Adani Group is committed to invest and make a difference to this great land of Bengal.” (ANI)

Supreme Court halts demolition drive in Delhi’s violence-hit Jahangirpuri

New Delhi [India]: Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered to maintain a “status-quo” on the demolition drive conducted by North Delhi Municipal Corporation in Jahangirpuri in the national capital.

The court said it will hear tomorrow the petition challenging the special joint encroachment removal programme in Jahangirpuri of the civic bodies including the NDMC and the PWD.
A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana hearing the submission of Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave ordered status quo in the present situation and said the petition would be listed before an appropriate bench.

The court’s order came even as bulldozers started razing structures in the area as per orders of the BJP-controlled North Delhi Municipal Corporation and amid heavy police presence. The “encroachment removal action programme” was scheduled to take place on Wednesday and Thursday after the area witnessed violence on April 16 during a religious procession

In the hearing senior Advocate Dave mentioned that “unconstitutional, unauthorised demolition” was taking place in Jahangirpuri where riots took place.

Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave also apprised the court that the demolition drive, which was scheduled to be carried out in the afternoon had begun in Jahangirpuri at 9 am today.

Meanwhile, senior Advocate Kapil Sibal mentioned the plea filed by Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind’s plea against employing bulldozers to raze houses of persons suspected to be involved in crimes.

Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind moved the Supreme Court against employing bulldozers to raze down the houses of persons suspected to be involved in criminal incidents such as violence.

Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind has urged the Supreme Court to issue appropriate direction to the Centre and state governments that no lasting precipitative action be taken against any accused in any criminal proceedings and issue directions that residential accommodation cannot be demolished as a punitive measure.

In its petition Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind said that there has recently been an increase in the incidents of demolition of residential and commercial properties by government administration in several states as a punitive measure towards persons purportedly involved in criminal incidents such as riots.

“In response to alleged acts of violence, the administration in several states has been employing bulldozers to raze down the houses of persons suspected to be involved in such acts/ incidents. A number of ministers and legislators, including the Chief Minister and the Home Minister of the state of Madhya Pradesh, have made statements advocating such acts and especially threatened the minority groups with the destruction of their homes and commercial properties in case of riots,” the petition read.

According to the petition, resorting to such measures/ actions is clearly against our constitutional ethos and the criminal justice system, as also in violation of the rights of accused persons.

“Such measures by the governments undermine the criminal justice system of our country, including the important role of the courts. The legal process, including the pre-trial and trial stage, is hindered by these acts of the state, therefore, immediate action is needed to prevent such incidents from repeating,” the petitioner said, urging the top court to step in to stop the situation from escalating any further and also prevent such acts from being repeated in other states as well. Therefore, Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind has sought directions that any commercial property

cannot be demolished as a punitive measure.

It also sought to issue directions to provide training to police personnel in handling communal riots and situations where populations become restive.

The petitioner also urged to issue directions that ministers, legislators and anybody unconnected with the criminal investigation should be restrained from apportioning criminal responsibility regarding criminal action publicly or through any official communication until a determination by a criminal court publicly or any official communication until a determination by a criminal court.

The North Delhi Municipal Corporation Wednesday had scheduled an “encroachment removal action programme”, wherein illegal construction in the Jahangirpuri area will be removed on Wednesday and Thursday (April 20-21). (ANI)

Olympic Gold Medalist Justin Gatlin named ‘Ambassador’ for World 10K Bengaluru-2022

Bengaluru (Karnataka)[India]: World 10K Bengaluru on Wednesday announced Justin Gatlin – the 2004 Olympic 100M champion and four-time World Athletics Championships gold medallist – as the International Event Ambassador for the 14th edition of the race on May 15.

The American sprinter had an illustrious career winning titles on the world stage across a period of 16 years from 2003 to 2019, before he officially hung up his spikes and retired on February 10 this year, his 40th birthday.
In addition to his 2004 Olympic 100m title and his world championships gold medals – which included the 100 M in 2005 and 2017, Gatlin also won the World Athletics Indoor Championships 60m in 2003 and 2021. In total, he won no less than 17 medals in the global athletics championships.

“The last two years have been challenging for all of us and made me realize the importance of being together; being part of something bigger. Sport has always been a great unifier and I am extremely excited to be a part of Tata Consultancy Services World 10K Bengaluru. This will be my first visit to India, and I look forward immensely to the new experience and witnessing each one of us #ComeAlive in our own unique way on the streets of Bengaluru. I urge everyone to be a part of this event and find what brings you joy. See you at the start line!” Gatlin said.

Vivek Singh, Joint Managing Director of Procam International, said they are delighted to have Justin Gatlin as the International Event Ambassador of the World 10K Bengaluru 2022.

The USD $210,000 World Athletics Elite Label Race will witness some of the world’s finest distance runners on the roads of Bengaluru as well as thousands of mass participation competitors from across India. (ANI)


Jhunjhunu road mishap: PM Modi announces ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to victim’s family

New Delhi [India]: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday expressed sorrow over the deaths of those killed in a road accident in Rajasthan’s Jhunjhunu and announced ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased.

As many as 11 people were killed and several others were injured in a rod accident as a pickup vehicle collided with a truck in Jhunjhunu district of Rajasthan on Tuesday, said police.
The Prime Minister announced ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased from the Prime Minister National Relief Fund (PMNRF) and Rs 50,000 to the injured.

”Anguished by the tragic accident in Jhunjhunu. Condolences to the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon. Rs 2 lakh each from PMNRF would be given to the next of kin of the deceased. The injured would be given Rs 50,000,” the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a tweet.

The accident occurred in the afternoon on the Jhunjhunu-Gudha Godji highway.

About 20 people were on their way home in a pickup vehicle when the incident occurred.

“Eight people died on the spot, others three died in hospital. A total of 11 people have died so far. The injured are admitted to the hospital and treatment is going on,” said Shankar Lal Chhaba, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP).

“20-22 people were travelling to their homes in a pickup vehicle when the incident happened,” said Shankarlal Chabba, Sub-Inspector.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has expressed grief over the incident. “My deepest condolences to the bereaved family. May God give them strength to bear this loss and may the souls of the departed rest in peace. Wishing a speedy recovery to those injured in the accident,” he said in a tweet in Hindi. (ANI)

100 smart cities to get integrated command-control centre by 15th August

Surat (Gujarat) [India]: Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri on Monday said that 80 out of the 100 Smart Cities in the country have Integrated Command and Control Centres and the remaining will get them by August 15.

“Out of the 100 smart cities, 80 already have their Command and Control Centre. We have to complete the work in the remaining 20 cities by August 15, 2022,” he said.
Further, Puri said that all the projects worth around Rs 200,000 crore have been tendered, while projects worth around Rs 63,000 crore or so have been completed.

Sharing the Centre’s vision, Puri said, “… next step is to make this completion of 100 smart cities a movement…”

“Gujarat is very well placed in terms of most urban infrastructure in smart cities,” he added.

Puri was in Gujarat to inaugurate the 3-day ‘Smart Cities, Smart Urbanization’ conference organised by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in association with Surat Smart City Corporation Development Ltd as part of the Centre’s Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.

The Smart Cities Mission was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June 2015 to promote cities that provide core infrastructure, clean and sustainable environment and give a decent quality of life to their citizens through the application of “Smart Solutions”.

Smart Cities Mission is a centrally sponsored scheme under which the Central Government will provide financial support to the extent of Rs 48000 crores over five years i.e. on an average Rs 100 crores per city per year and an equal amount of matching basis is to be provided by the State/Urban Local Bodies (ULB).

Since the launch of the Mission, a total of Rs 27,234 crores have been released by the Government of India to 100 cities under the Mission. The progress of the Mission in these cities is done on a regular basis by the state-level High Powered Steering Committee.

The Mission has launched several initiatives that will not only ensure integrated development across various aspects of urban development but also help lay long-term foundation for good quality urbanization in the country.

Smart cities have played important role in managing the crises during COVID–19. With Integrated Command and Control Centres being used as COVID-19 War Room, they have helped in the area of information, communication, management and preparedness. (ANI)

IPL: GT’s Rashid Khan feels ‘amazing’ after win against CSK

Pune (Maharashtra) [India]: Gujarat Titans stand-in skipper Rashid Khan expressed happiness after his side thrashed Chennai Super Kings in their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 clash.

David Miller’s unbeaten half-century and Rashid Khan’s quick knock helped Gujarat Titans in defeating Chennai Super Kings by 3 wickets in their IPL 2022 match here at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium here on Sunday.
“It’s an amazing feeling in IPL, it’s a dream come true to lead the team, and delivering that is something special. Just that we wanted to take the game deep. We were capable of chasing 90 runs in the last 7 overs, and that was the plan. We were trying to take the game as deep as possible. I haven’t batted in the first 5 games, that was the discussion, so I wanted to take the responsibility,” said Rashid Khan in a post-match presentation.

“We wanted two batters to score big, I just had a discussion with Miller and we tried to strike the ball hard. I needed to step up and take the responsibility, just wanted to back myself and that was the plan,” he added.

David Miller’s sensational knock of 94* was well accompanied by stand-in captain Rashid Khan’s quick innings of 21-ball 40 as Gujarat chased the target 0f 170 with a ball to spare.

This is the fifth win in six games for Gujarat Titans, while the fifth loss in six games for Chennai Super Kings. GT are currently on the top of the Indian Premier League 2022 table with 10 points while CSK are just above winless Mumbai Indians. (ANI)

Delhi: Heavy security in violence-hit Jahangirpuri, 20 arrested

New Delhi [India]: Heavy security has been deployed in Delhi’s Jahangirpuri area after the incident of violence and stone-pelting erupted following a clash between two groups during Shobha Yatra on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Noida Police is on alert and a flag march was conducted to create an atmosphere of faith and security among the public.
“After Delhi’s sensitive incident, a flag march is being conducted by police with the goal to create an atmosphere of faith and security for the public. I appeal to the public to maintain peace and not pay heed to rumours,” said Love Kumar, Joint Police Commissioner (Law and Order).

Clashes broke out between two groups after stone-pelting incidents were reported from the Jahangirpuri area in the national capital on Saturday evening during a procession on Saturday. Some people, including two policemen, have been injured. Delhi police have deployed heavy security in the area.

Delhi Police has registered a case and started the investigation of the incident.

“Case registered and investigation started… the police team present on the spot immediately contained the situation in the clash during Shobha Yatra in Jahangirpuri and maintained peace and order. A few policemen got injured in the process,” said Special Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Depender Pathak.

Pathak said that the situation is under total control and the atmosphere is peaceful.

“Situation is under total control; the atmosphere is peaceful. We are in continuous touch with people and are appealing to maintain peace and not pay heed to rumours. An adequate number of police officials are here for protection,” he added.

Meanwhile, heavy security forces were deployed in the Jahangirpuri area to maintain a law and order situation. Kejriwal has also condemned the violence and appealed for maintaining peace.

“I appeal to everyone to maintain peace as the country cannot progress without it. Central govt has the responsibility to maintain peace in the national capital; appeal to people to maintain peace,” the Chief Minister said.

Moreover, Union Home Minister Amit Shah also spoke with Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana and Depender Pathak over Jahangirpuri violence and asked them to maintain law and order, said official sources.

Shah, in a telephonic conversation with both the officers, also took stock of the situation after stone-pelting in Delhi’s Jahangirpuri following clashes between members of two communities during a Hanuman Jayanti procession this evening.

Officials said that Shah also directed the officers to take strict action against the miscreants.

BJP MP from North-West Delhi Hans Raj Hans in the wee hours of Sunday visited the violence-hit Jahangirpuri area. (ANI)


Egypt approves India as wheat supplier, announces Piyush Goyal

New Delhi [India]: Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal announced that Egypt has approved India as a wheat supplier.

Taking to Twitter, Union Minister said, “Indian farmers are feeding the world. Egypt approves India as a wheat supplier. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government steps in as the world look for reliable alternate sources for a steady food supply. Our farmers have ensured our granaries overflow and we are ready to serve the world.”

The Egyptian delegation of the General Authority for Supply Commodities, Agriculture and Supply Ministry which is on an India visit, examined Indian grains which involved touring fields and grain warehouses as well as export warehouses in different Indian provinces including Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra.

Earlier in the day, the President of the Egyptian Council of Ministers posted a statement on their official Facebook account where it stated that their delegation discussed cooperation with the Indian Ministry of Agriculture, including the Egyptian agriculture exports to India.

Wael Mohamed Awad Hamed, Egyptian Ambassador to India was also present during their visit, according to the President of the Egyptian Council of Ministers’ Facebook post.

Egypt among the world’s biggest wheat importers was earlier dependent on Ukraine and Russia for wheat but now the government has been seeking alternative supplies from countries including India and France.

Though India is not among the top ten wheat exporters in the global trade, its rate of growth in exports has surpassed that of other countries, indicating the rapid strides it is taking in reaching new markets worldwide.

India’s wheat exports are mainly to neighbouring countries with Bangladesh having the largest share of more than 54 per cent in both volume and value terms in 2020-21. In 2020-21, India entered new wheat markets such as Yemen, Afghanistan, Qatar and Indonesia.

According to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, India accounts for even less than one per cent of world wheat export. However, its share has increased from 0.14 per cent in 2016 to 0.54 per cent in 2020. India is the second-largest producer of wheat with a share of around 14.14 per cent of the world’s total production in 2020.

India produces around 107.59 Million MT of wheat annually while a major chunk of it goes towards domestic consumption. Major wheat growing states in India are Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and Gujarat.

The unit price of wheat plays an important role in international trade. While the unit export price of wheat has increased for all countries in the last five years, India’s unit export price is slightly higher than that of other countries. This is one of the factors adversely impacting wheat exports from India. (ANI)


Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif to visit Saudi Arabia, China

Islamabad [Pakistan]:  Newly elected Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is expected to travel to Saudi Arabia and China on his first foreign trip after taking charge, a Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) leader has said.

According to the media outlet, Pakistan Prime Minister’s first foreign visit has often been to Saudi Arabia and China due to the country’s strategic relationship with both.
According to sources, PM Shehbaz Sharif during his visit to Saudi Arabia will perform Umrah and meet the Saudi leadership.

Saudi Arabia in the past has extended financial bailout packages to successive Pakistani governments, in fact, Riyadh gave former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government a USD 6 billion bailout package.

It is unclear if the new premier will also seek financial assistance, given that Saudi Arabia provided USD 3 billion dollars to Pakistan not long ago, The News International reported.

While after the Saudi visit, the premier is also expected to travel to China.

According to The News International, Shehbaz is known to enjoy a good reputation amongst the Chinese leadership because of his administrative qualities. During the previous PML-N tenure, Shehbaz played a central role in accelerating China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects.

Shehbaz Sharif took oath as the 23rd Prime Minister of Pakistan on Monday after being elected by the National Assembly of the country. (ANI)


Madras HC upholds Tamil Nadu’s 7.5 pc reservation to govt school students in medical courses

Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India]: Madras High Court on Thursday upholds a 7.5 per cent reservation by Tamil Nadu Government to students from government schools in admission for medical courses.

A bench of Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice D Bharatha Chakravarthy gave the verdict while directing the state government to review the quota in five years.
“We direct the state government to review the same in a period of five years as recommended by the commission and during the intervening period, steps may be taken to improve the standard of education in government schools so that the reservation may not be further extended beyond five years,” the court said.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin termed the judgment historic and a form of social justice.

“The judgement is a huge victory as the quota will provide a level playing field for medical aspirants from the economically weaker sections,’ Stalin said.

“Following medical education, when we came to power, we gave reservations to public school students in vocational courses! We charge tuition and accommodation fees! The High Court judgment Social Justice has shown that our every step in the journey is solid!” he tweeted.

In August 2021, the Tamil Nadu government moved a bill reserving 7.5% of seats for government school students for admission to undergraduate professional courses in engineering, law, agriculture and others in all private and government colleges and universities. Stalin introduced the bill in the legislative assembly and said that the government has taken action to bring equality between the students of public and private schools. (ANI)


India, Australia to start dual degree programme for students: Piyush Goyal

Delhi/Sydney [India/Australia]: Union Commerce and Industry Minister, Piyush Goyal on Thursday said that education will act as a bridge between India and Australia, highlighting that both countries will soon be starting dual degree programmes for students. Goyal and Dan Tehan, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment of Australia said they are working on a dual degree programme under the trade agreement with an aim to enhance collaboration between universities of both countries.

Union Commerce Minister Goyal who was in the University of New South Wales (NSW) in Sydney, said, “I invite the University of New South Wales to expand its footprints in India and enable students on both sides to gain.”

Goyal is in Australia for a three-day visit after inking India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA).

Goyal said that both sides are working on a dual degree programme and the move would help in recognising each other’s degrees, and course contents.

“A lot of the good work that researchers come out with does not get that kind of scale and opportunity to operationalise and therefore the partnership between the two countries can truly transform the lives of Australia and India,” Goyal said while addressing students at the University of NSW, Sydney.

He added, “I believe that such partnerships are important for the world as we increase our strategic engagements between Australia and India. Education will act as a bridge between the two countries, it has always been an important element of our partnership.”

Under the dual degree programme between the countries, students would be allowed to study the course for a few years in one country and a few years in another country India, subject to certain norms.

Australian Minister Tehan said if you are an Indian student or Australian student, you will be able to do one or two years of your degree in Australia and one-two year in India and with this collaboration between universities will grow.

Tehan said, “It is absolutely vital that we educate Indian students in Australia and also use that as a basis to grow education relationships between two nations. I want to see Australian students flocking to India to get educated.”

“We are working on a dual degree where you do part of your degree in Australia and part of your degree in India, you can mix and match. It will be a wonderful opportunity,” he added.

The dual degree programme will help bring quality education to more and more Indians, and get more exposure, experience, new skill sets and knowledge, Goyal has said.

Indian students at the University also expressed hope that trade deals will provide more opportunities for them in jobs.

Naveen, an Indian student said that the collaboration between the two countries will create opportunities for both nations.

“In terms of the deal, I think, its more collaboration between two countries, and how opportunities can be explored from both ends– be it start-ups, energy sector or other sectors as well. I think it depends upon how we explore different sectors within those two countries. There is a lot to find and do as well. I think Australia has its own resources, which can be used in India. With COVID opening a lot of doors, it’s great we are looking forward to a new future,” said Naveen.

Talking about the increase in the timeline of visas that has been extended to three years, Naveen said, “As far as my expectations are concerned, I want to stay here longer which has been done as the timeline of the visa has been extended up till three years which is great. That gives us a lot of opportunities in finding the job we like. It also gives us time to stay here and explore the culture, and opportunity.”

Another student, Shreya said that the IndAus Agreement is expected to bring a lot of business to India.

“I expect this deal to bring a lot of business to India. It has increased the working rights of the students. It will give us a lot of exposure and will get to work in a different environment here in Australia. We will be able to get back the expertise to India,” said Shreya.

Talking about the difficulties in getting jobs in Australia, she said, “It depends on a degree which you are pursuing. A lot of companies have restrictions on employing citizens only with permanent residence, so it gets a little difficult, but it’s just a process we have to go through it. Eventually, your hard work pays off.”

Goyal and Tehan also paid tributes to the statue of Mahatma Gandhi on the University campus.

ECTA is the first trade agreement of India with a developed country after more than a decade and provides for an institutional mechanism to improve trade between the two countries.

Australia is the 17th largest trading partner of India and India is Australia’s 9th largest trading partner. The ECTA is expected to almost double the bilateral trade from USD 27.5 bn (2021) to about USD 45 to USD 50 Billion in the next 5 years. ECTA is expected to create new employment opportunities, raise living standards and enhance the overall welfare of the people of both countries. Additional employment generation is expected to be 10 lakhs within the next 5 years. (ANI)

Korea Open: PV Sindhu enters quarter-finals, Kidambi Srikanth also wins


Suncheon [South Korea]: The third-seed PV Sindhu on Thursday stormed into the quarter-finals of the Korea Open Badminton Championships 2022 after defeating Japan’s Aya Ohori here at the Palma Stadium.

The two-time Olympic medallist Indian defeated world No. 26 Aya Ohori from Japan 21-15, 21-10 in the second round of her women’s singles event. PV Sindhu took 37 minutes to notch up her 12th win in as many games against Ohori.
Sindhu will now be up against Busanan Ongbamrungphan in the quarter-finals.

PV Sindhu who is seventh in the badminton world rankings began the match, not on a great note but kept her nose ahead with an 11-9 lead at the first break. The Indian shuttler then shifted the gears to pocket the first game with ease.

Sindhu was trailing 8-4 in the second game but won four points on the trot to level the score and then went up 11-9 at the second break. The Indian then dramatically changed the momentum after the resumption by winning 10 straight points to seal the match and sailed into the quarter-finals of the BWF Super 500 event.

Later, the former world No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth defeated Misha Zilberman of Israel by 21-18, 21-6. The world championship silver medallist Indian had to work hard in the first game but eventually managed to win 21-18.

However, the Indian shifted gears in the second game, cruising to a massive 12-0 lead before Misha Zilberman could open his account. Srikanth shrugged off the challenge effortlessly to wrap up the match in 33 minutes. (ANI)

US, G7, EU impose severe financial sanctions on Russia

Washington [US]/Moscow [Russia]: The United States, along with the G7 nations and European Union (EU) has imposed severe and immediate economic costs on Russia for its “atrocities in Ukraine, including in Bucha”.

As per an official statement from the White House, as a part of mechanisms to hold Russia accountable for its actions in Ukraine, the US has announced economic measures to ban new investment in Russia and imposed severe financial sanctions on Russia’s largest bank and several of its most critical state-owned enterprises and on Russian government officials and their family members.
These sweeping financial sanctions follow our action earlier this week to cut off Russia’s frozen funds in the United States to make debt payments, read the statement.

In the new economic cost, the US has announced full blocking sanctions on Russia’s largest financial institution, Sberbank, and Russia’s largest private bank, Alfa Bank. This action will freeze any of Sberbank’s and Alfa Bank’s assets touching the US financial system and prohibit US persons from doing business with them.

The US has also prohibited new investment in the Russian Federation as President Joe Biden will sign a new Executive Order (E.O.) that includes a prohibition on new investment in Russia by US persons wherever located, aimed at isolating Russia from the global economy.

Further, full blocking sanctions on critical major Russian state-owned enterprises have been imposed, aimed at prohibiting any US person from transacting with these entities and freezing any of their assets subject to US jurisdiction.

The US has also imposed full blocking sanctions on Russian elites and their family members, including sanctions on Russian President Putin’s adult children, Foreign Minister Lavrov’s wife and daughter, and members of Russia’s Security Council including former President and Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.

The US Treasury has also prohibited Russia from making debt payments with funds subject to US jurisdiction. However, sanctions do not preclude payments on Russian sovereign debt at this time, provided Russia uses funds outside of US jurisdiction.

However, the US has expressed its commitment to exempting essential humanitarian and related activities from its sanctions.

Meanwhile, Biden on Tuesday authorized an additional USD 100 million in security assistance to Ukraine to meet a need for additional anti-armor systems. This brings the total US security assistance commitment to Ukraine to more than USD 1.7 billion since the beginning of Russia’s military operation in the war-torn country, according to the US state department. (ANI)

Wall Street up broadly, tech stocks fired up by Twitter rally after Musk purchase

New York [US]- Wall Street’s three major equity indexes rose about 1% on the average with shares of Twitter, particularly, outperforming on news that flamboyant tech-entrepreneur and influencer Elon Musk had become the largest shareholder in the microblogging site.

The three indexes – the S&P 500, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite – also rose broadly for a second day in a row after closing first quarter trading last week with the biggest slump since the coronavirus breakout of two years ago.
Twitter jumped 27% in price, closing up $10.66 at $49.97 per share after Musk, the chief executive of electric carmaker Tesla, bought almost 73.5 million shares in the company amounting to a passive stake of 9.2%.

Musk’ purchase, worth nearly $3 billion, comes less than two weeks after he criticized the company, polling people on Twitter about whether Twitter adheres to free speech principles. An entrepreneur known for courting controversy and for getting into trouble with stock market regulators, Musk has also polled Twitter users on whether he should sell his stake in Tesla. Besides these, he also constantly tweets about cryptocurrencies, another one of his passions.

Wedbush Securities said it expects Musk’s buy into Twitter to be the start of his bid to raise his influence on the site.

“We would expect this passive stake as just the start of broader conversations with the Twitter board/management that could ultimately lead to an active stake and a potential more aggressive ownership role of Twitter,” the broker said in a note.

The rally on Twitter helped fire up Wall Street’s broader tech sector.

The Nasdaq Composite – which houses the biggest technology names of the world, including Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google – closed up 271 points, or 1.9%, at 14,533.

The S&P500 – which groups the top 500 US stocks – finished up 38 points, or 0.8%, at 4,584.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which lists travel, aviation and cross-industry value stocks, settled up 104 points, or 0.3%, at 34,922. (ANI/Sputnik)


Flipkart Foundation to support entrepreneurship, skill development

New Delhi [India]: E-commerce giant Flipkart said on Monday that it has constituted Flipkart Foundation with a focus on supporting improved market access for under-served communities, entrepreneurship, skill development, community development, livelihood opportunities, and environmental responsibility initiatives in India.

The Foundation aims to impact 20 million lives directly and indirectly over the next decade, Flipkart said in a statement.
The Foundation will carry forward Flipkart Group’s efforts towards bringing opportunities for ecosystem partners and convenience to stakeholders through a technology-led digital commerce model. This will enable it to drive inclusive growth with a mission to drive grass-root level, at-scale and institutionalised impact for sustainable livelihoods and growth opportunities in India for the underprivileged.

The Foundation was formally launched in the national capital by Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Virendra Kumar, Union Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma and Minister of State for Rural Development Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti.

“While India is full of opportunities, there is a need to drive equitable growth. To help drive this, it is important for businesses to offer support to underprivileged sections of society to make them a part of the country’s growth story,” Social Justice and Empowerment Minister said at the launch event.

Flipkart Foundation’s operations are grant-based, with contributions from the Flipkart Group and through the ‘Charity Checkout’ feature available on Flipkart platforms, which provides an easy and seamless way for philanthropic giving.

The establishment of the Foundation is in line with the Flipkart Group’s continuing efforts toward nation-building by supporting livelihoods through direct and indirect employment creation and opportunities enabled by its technology and innovation-driven marketplace for lakhs of MSMEs, sellers and artisans, along with infrastructure development through its supply chain and other group services and offerings, Flipkart said.

“Flipkart Foundation is our commitment to engage with diverse stakeholders to enable transformational development work for society and the economy. The Foundation will address several critical societal concerns ranging from art and craft revival to employment opportunities for the underserved, to disaster relief,” said Rajneesh Kumar, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Flipkart.

“We have set audacious targets for the Foundation and aim to influence 20 million lives directly and indirectly in the coming decade across a wide array of areas by utilising our learnings over the years,” Kumar said in a statement. (ANI)


Jagan Mohan seeks 60 months’ time for construction of Amaravati Capital City in AP, TDP objects

Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh) [India]:  Telugu Desam Party (TDP) Member of Legislative Council (MLC) BT Naidu, with an official statement by the Andhra Pradesh TDP office on Sunday, objected to the government’s affidavit seeking a time of 60 months for the construction of Amaravati Capital City.

“The latest affidavit once again exposed the Yuvajana Shramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP/YCP) regime’s ulterior plans to sabotage Amaravati and cause suffering to thousands of farmers who gave up their ancestral lands,” said B.T. Naidu.
According to the statement, B.T. Naidu said that “over 70 per cent task was accomplished on the Polavaram Lifeline Irrigation Project during the TDP regime itself. However, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy had totally undermined both Polavaram and Amaravati projects though they were like two eyes for the State.”

Naidu termed it unpardonable that the ruling YSRCP was still continuing to throw mud on the Capital project regardless of the court judgments.

“With 29,000 acres given by the farmers, a wealth of over Rs 2 Lakh Crore was created for Andhra Pradesh in Amaravati. With this massive property, a glorious and landmark Capital City could be constructed for the 5 crore people of the State,” said Naidu.

The TDP MLC said for the past three years, the YCP Ministers have been carrying misinformation propaganda against Amaravati in the name of ‘Kammaravati’, graphics, and flood-proneness.

“Why didn’t the Government provide details of its anti-Amaravati campaigns in its court affidavit? The YCP regime admitted in the court that its campaigns in the past three years were false and politically motivated,” he added.

Naidu further recalled how the YCP MLAs criticized Chandrababu Naidu that he could not complete Capital construction in his five-year term.

“Jagan Reddy said during the elections that he would complete Capital city within six months. It was shameless that having wasted precious time for three years, the Jagan regime was now seeking more time to complete the Capital works,” it added.

The TDP MLC also asserted that the courts had a constitutional duty and right to declare decisions of the Government as ‘invalid’ if they were in violation of the constitutional provisions.

The statement further read, “If the legislature passed a bill cancelling all the cases of Jagan Reddy, it would not stand in the courts of law. The Government’s vindictive attitude had already caused huge losses to the people due to lack of a full-fledged Capital and absence of investments.” (ANI)


Rajasthan CM appeals people to stay away from miscreants, maintain peace after stone-pelting in Karauli

Barmer (Rajasthan) [India]: After Section 144 was imposed following stone-pelting at a ‘Shobha Yatra’ in Rajasthan’s Karauli, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Saturday appealed to the people to maintain peace and asked them to stay away from the miscreants.

Speaking to ANI, Gehlot said, “I have spoken to DG police. Police and administration are present there. I appeal to the public to maintain peace and stay away from miscreants who are present in every religion.”
The Chief Minister said that he has directed the police to identify the anti-social elements.

Taking to Twitter, Gehlot appealed to help maintain law and order.

“Took detailed information from DG, police on the incident that took place in Karauli. Instructed the police to deal with the miscreants strictly. I appeal to the common people to maintain peace and help in maintaining law and order,” he tweeted in Hindi.

Many people were injured in the incident, of which 27 were treated and sent home, 10 are undergoing treatment in the hospital and 3 seriously injured were referred to Jaipur.

The injured were admitted to the District General Hospital.

Among the injured people four were police officers.

More than 600 policemen including 50 police officers deployed in Karauli. (ANI)


Sri Lankan President blames unidentified ‘extremist’ group for violent protest in Colombo

Colombo [Sri Lanka]: Sri Lankan President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s office blamed an unidentified ‘extremist’ group for creating the violent situation during the protest near the Jubilee Post in Nugegoda, Colombo, the Colombo Page reported citing President’s media division’s press release.

The mob armed with iron clubs, sickles and clubs marched towards the Sri Lankan President’s residence at Mirihana Pangiriwatta, to provoke the protesters and create a riot-like situation in the city, according to the statement.
The statement further revealed the police has arrested several people who were involved in the protest and many of them were identified as organized extremists. It further added that they have spearheaded the protest calling for an Arab Spring in Sri Lanka.

The detainees revealed that the riots were carried out using social media to provoke the people and destabilize the country, the statement added.

The protest was staged on Thursday over the government’s failure to address the existing issues in the island nation.

The protesters clashed with the police outside the residence of President Rajapaksa in Mirihana.

A bus attached to the Sri Lanka Army and a jeep were set on fire by protesters. Moreover, police have imposed a curfew in several areas in Colombo.

“Police curfew imposed until further notice with immediate effect within Colombo North, Colombo South, Colombo Central and Nugegoda Police Division,” said Inspector General of Police, reported Daily Mirror.

After the protest, at least ten people were injured including journalists.

Six people were admitted to the Colombo National Hospital after sustaining injuries following clashes between protestors and police in Mirihana. Another four patients were admitted to the Colombo South Teaching Hospital in Kalubowila, Daily Mirror reported.

Sri Lanka’s economy has been in a free fall since the COVID-19 pandemic due to the crash of the tourism sector.

Sri Lanka is presently facing a foreign exchange shortage which has led to a food, fuel, power and gas shortage and has sought the assistance of friendly countries for economic assistance.

Sri Lanka is witnessing at least 10-hour daily power cuts. Sri Lanka’s currency has been also devalued by almost SLR 90 against the US dollar since March 8. (ANI)

Domestic natural gas prices doubled; CNG, cooking gas to get costlier

New Delhi [India]: Domestic natural gas prices will be more than doubled to USD 6.10 per million British thermal unit (mmBtu) effective from April 1, 2022, from the current USD 2.90 per mmBtu, Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas announced on Thursday.

The new price will be effective for the first six months of the financial year 2022-23.
“In accordance with Para 8 of the ‘New Domestic Natural Gas Pricing Guidelines, 2014’ issued vide Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Govt of India, F.No. O-22-13/27/2012-ONG-D-V dated 25-10-1014 the price of domestic natural gas for the period 1st April 2022 to 30th September 2022 is $6.10/MMBtu on the Gross Caloric Value (GCV) basis,” Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell said in a release.

This will result in an increase in the prices of piped cooking gas, CNG and other energy product. Apart from CNG and piped cooking gas, natural gas is also used to produce electricity and fertilisers.

The prices of the natural gas from deep fields will be increased to USD 9.92 per MMBtu for the April-September 2022 period from the existing price of USD 6.13 per mmBtu. (ANI)


Centre to reduce disturbed areas under AFSPA from Nagaland, Assam, Manipur: Amit Shah

New Delhi [India]: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday announced that the Central government has decided to reduce disturbed areas under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the states of Nagaland, Assam and Manipur after decades.

“In a significant step, Government of India under the decisive leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided to reduce disturbed areas under Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the states of Nagaland, Assam and Manipur after decades,” Shah made the announcement through a series of tweets.
Reduction in areas under AFSPA was a result of the improved security situation and fast-tracked development due to the consistent efforts and several agreements to end insurgency and bring lasting peace in North East by PM Narendra Modi government, said the Home Minister.

“Thanks to PM Narendra Modi Ji’s unwavering commitment, our North-Eastern region, which was neglected for decades, is now witnessing a new era of peace, prosperity and unprecedented development.”

The Home Minister further congratulated the people of North East on this momentous occasion.

Meanwhile, officials in the Ministry of Home Affairs clarified that the Centre’s decision will considerably reduce areas under AFSPA with effect from April 1. However, the officials also made it clear that AFSPA has not been completely removed.

Disturbed area notification is in force in the whole of Assam since 1990. With the step, the officials said, 23 districts of Assam are now being removed completely and one district partially from the effect of AFSPA with effect from April 1.

The Disturbed Area Declaration in the entire Manipur (except the Imphal Municipality area) is in operation since 2004. Taking important steps under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi, the officials said 15 police station areas of six districts are being excluded from disturbed area notification with effect from April 1.

The disturbed area notification is in force in the whole of Nagaland from the year 1995. The Central government has accepted the recommendation of the committee constituted in this regard to remove AFSPA in a phased manner. Disturbed area notification is being removed from 15 police stations in seven districts in Nagaland with effect from April 1, added the officials.

In a note, the Home Ministry said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is determined to make the entire North-East region extremist-free, and in this regard, the Central government has been interacting with the state governments and other stakeholders from time to time.

The disturbed area notification under AFSPA has been completely removed by the Modi government from Tripura in 2015 and Meghalaya in 2018 due to improvements in the security situation.

The AFSPA empowers security forces to conduct operations anywhere and arrest anyone without any prior warrant. In 2005, the Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee had recommended the repeal of AFSPA and suggested an amendment to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967 by inserting a new Chapter with respect to the North-Eastern states. (ANI)

PM Imran Khan to address Pakistan over ‘foreign conspiracy’

Islamabad [Pakistan]:  Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is set to address the nation on Wednesday evening to take people into confidence that there is a ‘foreign-funded conspiracy’ letter that contains evidence that outside elements are trying to topple the government.

Sheikh Rasheed, Pakistan’s Interior Minister, while addressing the media said the Prime Minister has also summoned an emergency meeting of the federal cabinet to take party leaders and allies into confidence over the contents of the letter, reported ARY News.
According to the sources privy to the matter, the allied parties to the ruling PTI will also be invited to the meeting so that they can be taken into confidence too ahead of the no-trust motion against the PM.

Meanwhile, a total of fourteen journalists have been invited to the PM’s house where Imran Khan will brief them on the contents of the letter, reported the news channel.

PM, earlier in the day said that he will share the ‘foreign-funded conspiracy’ letter with senior journalists and ally party members. “The letter will reveal the elements who are conspiring against the country from abroad,” he said at the launch of e-passport services in Islamabad and added, “Suspicions were cast that the government is doing all this to save itself.”

“The letter clearly shows how big conspiracy is against the government and it is far bigger conspiracy than what I am telling to you,” he added.

After the no-confidence motion against Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was tabled in the National Assembly with a total of 161 votes in favour, the proceedings were adjourned till March 31.

The no-confidence motion was submitted by the Opposition parties on March 8. The Opposition has been confident that its motion would be carried as many PTI lawmakers have come out in the open against PM Imran Khan. (ANI)


Economy in Crisis: Sri Lanka to experience 10-hr daily power cuts

Colombo [Sri Lanka]: Amid the financial crisis, Sri Lanka will be experiencing 10-hour daily power cuts from Wednesday, announced Public Utilities Commission of the island nation.

The Ceylon Electricity Board said in a statement that they were “compelled to take demand management measures due to inadequate power generation, as a result of fuel shortage and unavailability of generators,” reported Xinhua.
Sri Lanka has been facing power cuts since February due to dwindling electricity production in hydropower plants as well as diesel shortages that have crippled the operations of thermal power plants, the Commission said.

Meanwhile, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) on Tuesday announced that there will be a diesel shortage in the country on Wednesday and Thursday, reported Xinhua.

“We were unable to unload 37,500 tons of diesel shipment as planned on Tuesday. Therefore, we request the public not to queue up at filling stations for diesel on March 30 and 31,” CPC Chairman Sumith Wijesinghe told the media.

Wijesinghe said the remaining stocks of diesel would be given to essential services.

Sri Lanka’s currency has been also devalued by almost SLR 90 against the US dollar since March 8.

Sri Lanka’s economy has been in a free fall since the COVID-19 pandemic due to the crash of the tourism sector.

Sri Lanka is presently facing a foreign exchange shortage which has led to a fuel, power and gas shortage and has sought the assistance of friendly countries for economic assistance.

India provided more than USD 500 million in foreign currency swaps to strengthen Sri Lanka’s foreign reserves, taking the total up to USD 900 million. India also extended the repayment time frame for the USD 500 million debt of Sri Lanka under the Asian Clearance Arbitration.

More recently on March 17, Sri Lanka signed a USD 1 billion credit line deal with India for the procurement of food, medicines and other essential items during Sri Lankan Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksha’s two-day visit to India.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Friday recommended a number of measures, including tax hikes, for macroeconomic stability in Sri Lanka and also to mitigate adverse impacts on the vulnerable and the poor.

The report recommended implementing a credible and coherent strategy to restore macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability while protecting vulnerable groups and reducing poverty through strengthened, well-targeted social safety nets.

Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister Basil Rajapakse is scheduled to travel to Washington in April in order to seek IMF assistance to deal with the country’s economic crisis. (ANI)


20,000 students have been provided credit cards: Mamata Bannerjee

Darjeeling ( West Bengal) [India]: On a five-day visit to north Bengal, West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday talked about the ongoing progress in the state.

She cleared her stance on students and the facilities provided to the young minds under her leadership.
“Over 20 thousand students of West Bengal have been provided credit cards for their educational expenses upto Rs 10 lakh, we are in the process of adding more students to the list gradually,” said the West Bengal CM.

While stating about the increment in daily wages of the tea labourers in Darjeeling, she said “Chaa Sundari Scheme’ has been launched in the state, under which 3,80,000 families will be provided homes. Tea labourers used to get Rs 67 as daily wage before TMC came to power, now they are paid Rs 202 daily wage”.(ANI)


Lok Sabha approves ‘crypto tax’ amendments

New Delhi [India]: Taxation of virtual digital assets (VDAs) or “crypto tax” proposed in the Union Budget 2022-23 is set to be implemented from April 1, as the Lok Sabha on Friday passed the Finance Bill, 2022.

The Lok Sabha also passed the amendments introduced in the Finance Bill, 2022 regarding clarification on taxation of virtual digital assets.
Section 115BBH of the Bill deals with tax on virtual digital assets. Clause (2)(b) prevents loss on the trading of crypto assets from being set off against income under “any other provision” of the IT Act.

As per the amendment, the word “other” is dropped. Under the amended law, loss from crypto assets cannot be set off against gains in crypto assets as well.

“The proposed 30 per cent tax irrespective of whether crypto-assets are capital assets or not will be detrimental to the investor growth that the industry has been seeing so far. This move will make day-traders incapable of saving on taxes even if they aren’t in the income tax brackets currently,” said Nischal Shetty, Founder and CEO of crypto exchange WazirX.

“Furthermore, not allowing investors to offset losses from one crypto trading pair by gains from another type will further deter crypto participation and throttle the industry growth,” he said.

Shetty said the new regulation would not provide desired results to the government.

“It can result in cascading participation on Indian exchanges that adhere to the KYC norms and lead to a rise in capital outflow to foreign exchanges or to the ones that aren’t KYC compliant. This is not conducive for the government or the crypto ecosystem of India,” he said. (ANI)

BJP welcomes High Court’s order directing CBI probe in Birbhum violence

New Delhi [India], March 25 (ANI): Amid the row over Birbhum violence, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday welcomed the Calcutta High Court’s order directing a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry in the case.
“We welcome the decision of the Calcutta High Court. Democracy has fallen in West Bengal. Now the High Court’s order will help in instilling people’s faith in democracy. I believe the CBI will bring the leaders who are involved in a larger conspiracy under justice. These leaders will be sent to jail. We had specific information that these leaders directed police to reach the spot late after houses were gutted in the fire,” West Bengal BJP president and party MP Sukanta Majumdar told ANI. BJP national vice president Dilip Ghosh alleged that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government had formed the SIT to suppress the truth.

“Everyone demanded CBI inquiry. Everyone knows that Mamata Banerjee constituted SIT to suppress the case. Innocent people are murdered there but she is not accepting her government’s failure,” Ghosh told ANI.
Meanwhile, BJP MLAs staged a protest in the Vidhan Sabha premises on Friday against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, demanding her statement over the Birbhum violence.

“The SIT by the state government was an attempt to suppress the facts. We had demanded a CBI inquiry in the case so that truth can be divulged. We thank the High Court for ordering a CBI probe in the case. We believe that a fair inquiry will be done now and justice will be given to the victims and their families,” the BJP MLAs told ANI.
“We also demand that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee inform the house over the entire incident and also hold a discussion in the House. Our protest will continue until the chief minister gives a statement over the matter in the House,” they added.
The Calcutta High Court on Friday ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe in the case.
The High Court sought a report that is to be submitted by April 7. The case was being investigated by an SIT formed by the West Bengal government.
As many as eight people were burnt to death in the Rampurhat area of West Bengal’s Birbhum on Tuesday after a mob allegedly set houses on fire following the killing of Trinamool Congress leader Bhadu Sheikh.
Director-General of Police (DGP) West Bengal, Manoj Malviya informed that 11 arrests have been made in the case so far. (ANI)

Sri Lankan Navy apprehends 16 Indian fishermen

Rameswaram (Tamil Nadu) [India]: Sri Lankan Navy has apprehended 16 fishermen from Rameswaram and Mandapam in Tamil Nadu and their two boats, according to Q branch police.

Earlier on February 12, the Sri Lankan Navy has apprehended 12 Rameswaram-based fishermen and two fishing boats after they had gone fishing across the border in the Palk Bay.
Minister of State in the Ministry of External Affairs V Muraleedharan, in a written reply in Lok Sabha on February 4, 2022, said Indian fishermen are arrested from time to time by the Sri Lankan authorities for allegedly crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) and fishing in Sri Lankan waters.

“As per the available information, 74 and 159 Indian fishermen were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy in 2020 and 2021 respectively,” he stated.

Muraleedharan further informed that following the 2+2 initiative in November 2016, when the Foreign and Fisheries Ministers of the two countries met in New Delhi, a bilateral Joint Working Group (JWG) mechanism and meeting of the Ministers for Fisheries of the two countries was institutionalized to address the fishermen issues with Sri Lanka. (ANI)


Swiss Open: Saina Nehwal defeats Yaelle Hoyaux

Basel [Switzerland]: Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal on Wednesday entered into the second round of the ongoing Swiss Open, here at St. Jakobshalle, Basel.

Playing at court 2, Nehwal defeated Spain’s Yaelle Hoyaux in straight games 21-8, 21-13, in a match that lasted for 31 minutes.
Apart from her, shuttler Parupalli Kashyap also won his men’s singles clash and stormed into the next round.

Kashyap won against France’s Enogat Roy in straight games 21-17, 21-9, in a match that lasted for 38 minutes.

Earlier, Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth defeated Denmark’s Mads Christophersen to enter the second round. However, Shuttler Malvika Bansod lost in her women’s singles clash against France’s Qi Xuefei.

The Indian men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty won the first-round clash against the Indonesian pair of Muhammad Shohibul Fikri and Bagas Maulana 17-21, 21-11, 21-18.

Mixed doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Sumeeth Reddy were defeated by fifth seeds Thom Gicquel and Delphine Delrue of France in straight-sets 13-21, 9-21 in 33 minutes.

Later in the day, two-time Olympic Medalist PV Sindhu will be facing Denmark’s Line Kjaersfeldt in her women’s singles clash. (ANI)


World No 1 Ashleigh Barty retires at 25!

Canberra [Australia]: Australia’s world number one Ashleigh Barty on Tuesday announced her shock retirement from tennis aged just 25.

Barty has been the No.1-ranked WTA player for 114 consecutive weeks and counting. The outgoing Aussie is one month shy of her 26th birthday.
“It’s the first time I’ve actually said it out loud and, yeah, it’s hard to say,” an emotional Barty told former doubles partner Casey Dellacqua in a video posted on her Instagram. “But I’m so happy, and I’m so ready.”

“I don’t have the physical drive, the emotional want and everything it takes to challenge yourself at the very top of the level any more. I am spent,” she added.

Barty is retiring after winning three major singles titles on three different surfaces – the 2019 French Open, the 2021 Wimbledon and, back in January, the Australian Open.

In all, she collected 15 titles in singles and 12 in doubles – more than any other active player in that span.

Across all-levels of play, Barty produced a 305-102 record in singles and a 200-64 record in doubles, earning total career prize money of USD 23,829,071.

Barty’s current reign as No.1 is the fourth-longest streak in the history of the Hologic WTA Tour, behind Steffi Graf (186 weeks), Serena Williams (186) and Martina Navratilova (156). Her 121 total weeks are No.7 all time.

Barty becomes the second reigning World No.1 ranked woman to retire while on top, following Justine Henin, who retired in May of 2008, after 61 consecutive weeks at No.1. Henin returned to play two years later. (ANI)

Taliban to open high schools for girls today

Kabul [Afghanistan]: The Taliban has allowed girls to return to high schools from Wednesday, ending the uncertainty over whether the Islamic group would allow full access to education for girls.

Teenage girls across will return to their classrooms after being banned after the Islamic outfit sized power last August. Since taking power, the Taliban have rolled back women’s rights in virtually every area, including crushing women’s freedom of movement.
The vast majority of girls’ secondary schools were closed. Universities recently reopened, with new gender segregation rules. But many women are unable to return, in part because the career they studied for is off limits now as the Taliban banned women from most jobs.

“Critical period ahead for Afghanistan as school and colleges soon re-open after winter break. UNAMA conducted a discussion on Higher Education yesterday with Mawlawi Abdul Baqi Haqqani. Importance of equal access to quality education for all & guarantees for academic freedom was stressed,” the UN Mission in Afghanistan said in a tweet.

Heather Barr, former senior Afghanistan researcher, at Human Rights Watch (HRW), said opening girls’ secondary schools is hugely important.

According to HRW, women and girls are blocked from accessing health care as some healthcare facilities require them to bring a mahram. Reports suggest that women and girls facing violence have no escape route if they can flee only with an abuser escorting them.

Allowing girls into schools and other educational institutes has been one of the main demands of the international community.

The majority of countries have refused to formally recognise the Taliban amid worries over their treatment of girls and women. and other human rights issues.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday had welcomed the plan announced by the Taliban to reopen schools for girls and boys. (ANI)


Centre considering alternative educational measures for Indian students returned from Ukraine

Davanagere (Karnataka) [India]: Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Monday said that the Union government is seriously considering alternative measures for medical students who have returned from war-torn Ukraine in the middle of their course.

Speaking to media persons in Davanagere before participating in the funeral rites of Karnataka student Naveen, Bommai said, “The course in Ukraine is different from that in India. The Union government is thinking about their future seriously as it involves the future of students from various states.”
“Though the government fee is low, medical education in the private sector is expensive. Even students who score 90-95 per cent are not getting seats in NEET. As the cost of seats in the management quota and NRI quota is high, the students look out for other options. We are considering a proposal to categorise the seats into A, B and C categories to reduce the fee. The Medical Council of India decides the issues related to medical courses. A reconsideration is on in this regard,” Bommai said.

The final rites of Naveen Shekharppa, who died in a shelling attack in Ukraine, were performed in Haveri on Monday. CM Bommai was also present during the final rites. Shekharappa Gyangoudar had said to media persons that his body will be donated to SS Medical College in Davanagere for medical research. The mortal remains of Naveen came to Bengaluru at 3 am on Monday and from there it was taken to his village. (ANI)

Australia to announce ‘largest-ever’ investment of Rs 1,500 cr in India

New Delhi [India]: In the largest-ever investment by the Australian government in India, Canberra will announce an investment of Rs 1,500 crore in the country in multiple sectors at the India-Australia bilateral summit to be held on Monday. India and Australia will conclude an early harvest agreement by the end of this month, according to sources.
An early harvest agreement is aimed at liberalising tariffs on the trade of certain goods between two countries or trading blocs before a comprehensive agreement.

As per a diplomatic source, the two countries will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the field of critical minerals, which will help increase India’s access to metallic coal and lithium in Australia and cater to India’s growing demand for electric vehicles and growing infrastructure.

Australia has one of the biggest reserves of lithium and is also a provider of the cleanest metallic coal.

The two countries will also be building a centre to promote partnership, which will be located in Canberra, Australia. Announcements on space, cyber activities, technology, agriculture, education and broadcasting will also be made, said the source.

According to the source, India-Australia’s comprehensive strategic partnership is not just symbolism but there is remarkable depth in relation.

Tomorrow both leaders will demonstrate that India and Australia are top tier partners that deliver.

When asked whether Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and India’s position will have any impact, the source said that former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s 1957 no condemnation policy and space of resolution policy is in place and every country has a different relationship with different countries.

It is widely believed and reported that PM Modi is in discussion with Russian President Putin on the issue.

The source also said that it will have no negative impact on India-Australia bilateral relations or quad, although incidents in Ukraine will have implications in the Indo-Pacific region.

Further, the Union Minister of Coal and Mines in India, Pralhad Joshi, is expected to visit Australia soon.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison will hold the second India-Australia Virtual Summit on Monday to lay the way forward on new initiatives and enhance cooperation in a diverse range of sectors between the two countries.

The Summit follows the historic first Virtual Summit in June 2020 when the relationship was elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. During the upcoming virtual summit, the Leaders will take stock of progress made on various initiatives under the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

The Leaders are expected to commit to closer cooperation in trade, critical minerals, migration and mobility, and education, among others, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a press statement.

According to the MEA release, views on regional and international issues of mutual interest will also be discussed by the Leaders. It also said the Summit highlights the importance attached by both countries to their bilateral relations as also their close cooperation on regional and global issues.

The India-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership has maintained the momentum of an upward trajectory with both countries continuing to collaborate closely, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, in wide-ranging areas including science and technology, defence, cyber, critical and strategic materials, water resource management, as well as public administration and governance.

PM Modi and Morrison met in Washington DC for the first in-person meeting after the COVID-19 pandemic in September 2021 on the margins of the Quad Leaders’ Summit and jointly launched the Infrastructure for Resilient Island States (IRIS) in Glasgow on the margins of the COP26 in November 2021.

On Friday, Morrison had underlined that the strong bilateral relationship between the two countries is based on a shared vision of an open, inclusive, and resilient Indo-Pacific.

In an official statement, he said, “Australia and India’s strong bilateral relationship is based on mutual understanding and trust, a commitment to democracy, and a shared vision of an open, inclusive, resilient and prosperous Indo-Pacific.”

“Prime Minister Modi and I will discuss deepening our trade and investment relationship and harnessing new economic opportunities to support our mutual economic recovery and growth. Central to these endeavours are strengthened cooperation in defence and security, science and technology, and critical minerals and clean energy,” he added.

Furthermore, the Australian PM said both sides will also discuss a range of regional and multilateral issues, including the situation in Ukraine and its implications for the Indo-Pacific, and Myanmar. (ANI)

Asia Cup to be held in Sri Lanka in t20 format from August

Colombo [Sri Lanka]: The Asia Cup will be held in Sri Lanka from August 27 to September 11 in the T20 format and the qualifiers will start from August 20.

There will be six teams in the Asia Cup 2022, which includes India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and a qualifier. India will be playing Pakistan for the first time after the 2021 ICC T20 World Cup. The qualifier match will be played between UAE, Kuwait, Singapore and Hong Kong.
India will be competing as defending champions, which conquered the title in 2018. The 2020 edition of the tournament was cancelled due to Covid-19 and its restrictions. India remains the most dominant team in the history of the Asia Cup clinching it seven times out of the 14 editions so far, including the last two editions.

They have also made the most appearances in Asia Cup followed by Pakistan and Bangladesh who have played the tournament 13 times each. Pakistan have won the remaining two times – 2000 and 2012. This will be the 15th edition of the Asia cup, which was started in 1984. (ANI)


Best Sunscreens To Protect Your Skin This Summer

Sunscreens are not just for the summer season but is a one true solution to our skincare woes. We have definitely heard it a million times that wearing a face SPF every day is key to healthy-looking skin but at the same time, we need to lookout for appropriate formulations and textures as the season shifts. With summer around the corner, we surely would want to stock up on lightweight formulations and non-greasy textures. Here’s a list of best sunscreens for you to choose from. Give your skin the much-needed sun protection with these sunscreens.

1. Lakme Sun Expert SPF 50 PA+++Ultra Matte Tinted Sunscreen

The right kind of sun protection is a need for the skin. This sunscreen from Lakme blends into your skin easily and offers an invisible, natural finish. It comes with SPF 50 that shields up to 97% of UVB rays causing sunburn. It has a super light and non-greasy formulation that feels lightweight on the skin and gives a naturally toned finish.


2. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunblock

A product that is lightweight and has non-sticky formulation is what we all want and this sunscreen is perfect to serve the purpose right. It is ultra-light with a non-shiny finish which leaves the skin soft and smooth. It is waterproof and gives a matte finish.


3. The Derma Co Ultra Matte Sunscreen Gel with SPF 60

This sunscreen is an ultra matte sunscreen gel that provides broad-spectrum protection of SPF 60. It is oil-free, lightweight, and won’t clog your pores. It has an effective formulation that protects you from the UV rays.


4. RE’ EQUIL Ultra Matte Dry Touch Sunscreen Gel SPF 50 PA++++

This sunscreen lends a dry and mattifying finish to the skin. It removes the excess oils and helps in preventing fresh oil to be visible from the skin. It can be simply applied before makeup as well as it is sweat resistant.


Shah Rukh Khan Announces His New Venture In The OTT World

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 15 (ANI): Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, on Tuesday, got fans all hyped up by announcing his new venture in the OTT world, the details of which were later revealed by Salman Khan.

Taking to his Twitter handle, the actor shared a poster of him with his thumbs up and ‘SRK+ Coming Soon’ written on it. Along with it, he tweeted, “Kuch Kuch hone wala hai OTT ki duniya mein.”


The announcement got SRK’s fans and friends all excited and congratulatory wishes started pouring in. Among these well-wishers was Salman, who within a few minutes retweeted and wrote, “Aaj ki party teri taraf se @iamsrk. Congrats on your new OTT app, SRK+.”

Later, filmmaker Anurag Kashyap revealed that he will be collaborating with SRK on his app. He tweeted, “Dream come true! Collaborating with @iamsrk on his new OTT app, SRK+.” Karan Johar wrote on Twitter, “Biggest news of the year! @iamsrk, this is going to change the face of OTT. Super excited!!!”

Last year, SRK had teased his OTT debut by sharing a couple of promotional videos about his absence from these platforms. It featured him in a discussion with his manager while fans thronged the gates of his house Mannat.
SRK was last seen in the 2018 film ‘Zero’, co-starring Anushka Sharma and Katrina Kaif. He will next be seen in ‘Pathaan’, which will arrive in cinemas on January 25, 2023.

Sachin Tendulkar congratulates Team India for winning

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India]: Cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar praised Team India on clean sweeping the two-match Test series against Sri Lanka.

India beat Sri Lanka by 238 runs in the second Test on Monday at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium to clinch the two-match series 2-0.
“#TeamIndia’s pink, white and red ball form at home this season has been outstanding. Congratulations on a good win,” tweeted Sachin.

Former India batter and current National Cricket Academy (NCA) chief VVS Laxman also took to his Twitter and wrote, “Clinical series win for India. Shreyas Iyer was a treat to watch in both innings, Rishabh Pant was at his entertaining best and Bumrah showed his class again. For Sri Lanka,Karunaratne fought valiantly but it was always going to be an uphill task. Congratulations.”

On the other hand, former Indian batter Irfan Pathan also congratulated Team India and also said that Sri Lanka needs to work on their performance.

“Feel good series win by team India Bumrah was outstanding on this dry pitch. Not a single win during this Indian trip for Sri Lanka, they need to learn a lot quickly,” tweeted Irfan.

Resuming the post-Tea session at 151/4, Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne and Niroshan Dickwella struck a 50-run partnership for the fifth wicket. The 55-run partnership was broken by left-arm spinner Axar Patel who dismissed wicket-keeper batter Dickwella for 12 after he was stumped by wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant.

Charith Asalanka joined his skipper but could not do much as he became the second victim of Axar Patel, caught by Rohit Sharma for 5 to put Lankans in further trouble at 180/6.

Karunaratne kept the fight on as he went on to notch up his century and along with Lasith Embuldeniya took Sri Lanka’s total beyond the 200-run mark.

Jasprit Bumrah was again introduced into the attack and the pacer cleaned up the centurion Karunaratne for 107 with the visitors losing their seventh wicket for 204. In the next over, Lasith Embuldeniya was dismissed leg before wicket for 2.

Bumrah struck for the third time in the innings as he cleaned up tail-ender Suranga Lakmal for 1 picking up his eighth wicket of the match. Ashwin delivered the final blow as he dismissed Vishwa Fernando for 2 to bowl out visitors for 208. Ashwin finished with 4 wickets in the second innings.

This was India’s third day-night Test match victory on home soil in as many matches. (ANI)


India needs USD 20 billion investments each year to achieve climate targets

New Delhi [India]: India needs USD 20 billion worth of investments each year to achieve its climate targets and fund its green transition, according to an industry report released on Saturday.

The report titled ‘ESG – Into the Mainstream’ done jointly by the industry body FICCI and Trilegal, notes that India would require a large budget allocation, international finance from bilateral and multilateral sources and green private investments to fund the programmes needed to achieve climate targets.

The report released by Rajesh Verma, Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, comes at a timely juncture as ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) considerations are increasingly influencing the way in which businesses measure success. The expectations of key business stakeholders such as investors, regulators, customers, and employees are also bringing these parameters into sharp focus.

The narrative around ESG has changed significantly over the last couple of years, from being seen as compliance imperative to taking the centre stage at boardroom discussions and driving investment and business strategy decisions, FICCI said in a statement.

A chapter of the report titled ‘Unlocking Green Finance’ explores India’s readiness to access and deliver climate finance and other related aspects such as uniform carbon tax policy and green taxonomy for enhancing investor confidence. It delves deep into potential sources of finance and novel structures and the need to incentivize investors willing to provide ‘first loss capital’ to de-risk projects and catalyze further investments.

Focussing on redefining corporate citizenship – the road to sustainability, the report details how corporates can contribute to the sustainability agenda, non-financial metrics and management of ESG risks. As regulators actively incorporate ESG and sustainability factors into the legal framework, the ways in which companies operate will change.

The report also explores the themes of ESG Crisis Readiness and Regulation of ESG Ratings Providers in India through global comparisons and makes recommendations on the ESG framework that pre-empts ESG crises as well as handles one responsibly when it arises. (ANI)


Instagram head condemns Russian decision to block social network

Washington [US]: Instagram head Adam Mosseri has condemned the Russian decision to block the social network over Meta’s decision to allow publication of calls for violence against Russian soldiers and Russians in the context of the military operation in Ukraine.

Following the controversial statements of Meta, the Russian authorities decided to block Instagram starting from Monday.
“On Monday, Instagram will be blocked in Russia. This decision will cut 80 million in Russia off from one another, and from the rest of the world as ~80% of people in Russia follow an Instagram account outside their country. This is wrong,” Mosseri wrote on his Twitter page.

On February 24, Russia launched a special operation after the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk requested assistance to defend themselves from ongoing attacks by the Ukrainian troops.

The Western countries have strongly condemned the Russian military operation and boosted the sanctions pressure on Moscow. (ANI/Sputnik)


Google’s dynamic colour themes now coming to more Android 12 smartphones


Washington [US] (ANI): One of Android 12’s marquee new features has been the Material You dynamic theme and while it’s still a Pixel exclusive, Google has now revealed that it’s coming to a growing list of Android devices.

According to GSM Arena, Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo, OnePlus, Vivo, Realme and Tecno phones will get the new option soon but no concrete timeline was provided.
Google also showcased a preview of various Android phones running Gmail with the new color theming option.

Android Product Manager Rohan Shah also revealed that Google is working with more OEMs to ensure that key design APIs such as dynamic color are working consistently across the Android ecosystem.

A recent report had suggested that Material You-style dynamic themes may soon become a prerequisite for all phones launching with Android 12. (ANI)

UP Assembly polls: CM Yogi Adityanath declares assets worth Rs 1.54 cr in election affidavit


Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh) [India](ANI): Ahead of Assembly polls, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Friday declared assets worth Rs 1,54,94,054 in his election affidavit which includes cash in hand, the balance of bank accounts, and fixed deposits.

Accompanied by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Friday filed his nomination papers as a BJP candidate from Gorakhpur Urban constituency for the state assembly elections.
Chief Minister Yogi also declared in the affidavit that he owns a gold earring weighing 20 gm worth Rs 49,000 and a gold chain with Rudraksha weighing 10 gm worth Rs 20,000. He carries a smartphone having a price of Rs 12,000.

The affidavit said Yogi Adityanath owns a revolver worth Rs 1,00,000 and a rifle worth Rs 80,000. He also declared that there is no vehicle registered in his name.

Explaining about earnings in the last five years, Yogi Adityanath declared in his affidavit that his income was Rs 13,20,653 in the FY 2020-21, Rs 15,68,799 in FY 2019-20, Rs 18,27,639 in FY 2018-19, Rs 14,38,670 in FY 2017-18 and Rs 8,40,998 in FY 2016-17.

In his affidavit, the chief minister said he does not own any agricultural or non-agricultural property. He said he does not have any liabilities.

Yogi Adityanath holds a Bachelor’s degree in Science.

Notably, Yogi Adityanath, a five-time MP from Gorakhpur, is contesting the assembly elections for the first time. The polling in the Gorakhpur Urban seat will be held on March 3 during the sixth phase of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.

Earlier in the day, Adityanath offered prayers at Gorakhnath temple, ahead of filing nomination for the state Assembly election.

The polling in Uttar Pradesh will be held on February 10, 14, 20, 23, 27, and March 3 and 7 in seven phases. The counting of votes will take place on March 10.

In the 2017 Assembly elections, the BJP won a landslide victory winning 312 Assembly seats. The party secured a 39.67 per cent vote share in the elections for 403-member Assembly. Samajwadi Party (SP) bagged 47 seats, BSP won 19 while Congress could manage to win only seven seats. (ANI)(image-Instagram)

Pradip and Kumkum Ghosh Family Foundation takes lead to help six villages in WB, Initiates Public Health Care Outreach

Kolkata: More than 500 people of the six villages namely lebutala, Munsihari, Bhawanipur, Amradengi, Gopalpur, Notunpara  in Haroa District of West Bengal, 45 kilometers from Kolkata had a chance to interact with Researchers and Volunteers of International Institute of Innovation and Technology ( I3T Kolkata).  Volunteers arrived with good quality ration and food, winter clothing/blankets for them. With the support of the villagers, things are distributed to all the needy people in a much organised manner. The best part of this initiative is that this outreach support will continue and this is not a one-time affair for the villagers. Under the aegis of Pradip and Kumkum Ghosh Family Foundation, I3TK will extend all the support to improve the various aspects of their lives ((food, health care, education, skill development etc) in upcoming months through different social initiatives. This initiative gains much importance amid pandemic situations across the nation. Many villagers are facing hard times to run their families. I3TK researchers are also trying to understand the major issues being faced by the villagers and accordingly an outreach welfare project will be initiated for the development of the villagers in a “model village” concept via the I3TK outreach initiative called “SHANTI”. Currently cataract, malnutrition, poor growth of children in the area and physical deformities. Foundation is also studying the women empowerment aspect of these villages and planning to initiate skill development projects in the area.

Villagers que to receive the food grain and winter clothing being provided by I3TK volunteers.

To improve public health in India by integrating research, education and health-related services that deliver innovative solutions to real problems impacting the society, International Institute of Innovation and Technology (I3T) under the patronage of the Pradip and Kumkum Ghosh Family Foundation has taken new initiatives this December through various outreach programs for the development of the weaker sections of the society in the post Covid scenario. International Institute of Innovation and Technology (I3T) has collaborated with The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH), USA for its various Research and Public Health initiatives. The institute aims to provide educational and research programs in the public health domain for the first time in Eastern India.

Dr. Pradip Ghosh (in centre) with JHSPH dignitaries at Kolkata.

In it’s recent outreach initiative, the institute has planned to focus on the overall development of the people residing in more than 10 villages across different districts of West Bengal. In the first phase of its social outreach initiative, the institute has started distributing ration and winter clothing (blankets, etc) of good quality to the weaker sections of the society. 

 Internationally acclaimed visionary educationist Dr. Pradip Ghosh, Founder Chairman of International Institute of Innovation and Technology (I3T), firmly believes that this outreach program should be a continuous process and each and every aspect of issues concerning villagers should be addressed and focus should be on empowering them through different initiatives.

Pradip and Kumkum Ghosh Family Foundation has already donated five million dollars (approx. INR 40 crs) to Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, aiming to change lives of millions in West Bengal and India. The Foundation’s contribution to Johns Hopkins is a huge step for the establishment of Johns Hopkins University India Maternal and Child Health Research Center and the Vaccine Research Center in West Bengal – the first of it’s kind in India. This alliance is going to improve the basic health care facilities and research aspects of public health care on a large scale.

The Foundation is committed for the regular assistance and support to the weaker sections of the society in the districts of West Bengal. In the month of December, Pradip and Kumkum Ghosh Family Foundation has engaged Gram Panchayats and senior people of the villages like Dhamakhali, Pukurhati, Haroa, Khardah, Ghaskhali and  few more villages of North & South 24 Parganas to distribute monthly ration of good nutritional quality. In Haora, six villages have been covered. 

Dr. Pradip Ghosh has taken unique initiatives for the development of the various villages through his social outreach programs.

 “This alliance is just the beginning of a long journey that might actually change the public healthcare scenario of the state completely”, says Dr. Pradip Ghosh.

Hailing from Khardah, West Bengal, Dr. Ghosh has always felt the urge to extend a hand to support the socio-healthcare face of the state. He aims at mobilizing more than 100 research scientists to find cure and vaccinations for Malaria, Dengue, Hepatitis, and other tropical diseases. His vision even includes public healthcare services in research fields related to Diabetes, Cancer, Stem Cell Therapies, and others. An educator, a philanthropist, Founder of Pradip and Kumkum Ghosh Family Foundation, Dr. Ghosh is also the Founder – Chairman of Washington Kali Temple, a true Indian Temple representing every religion of India, built on nine acres of pristine ashram like setting. His endeavour is certainly going to change millions of lives In India. (Image Source-KSHVID)

H-1B visa registrations for fiscal 2023 to start from March 1: US immigration authority


Washington [US]: US Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced that the initial registration period for the fiscal year 2023 H-1B cap will open on March 1 and run till 18, 2022.

During this period, prospective petitioners and representatives will be able to complete and submit their registrations using our online H-1B registration system, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said in a statement.
The US immigration services said it will assign a confirmation number to each registration submitted for the FY 2023 H-1B cap. “This number is used solely to track registrations; you cannot use this number to track your case status in Case Status Online.”

According to the release, prospective H-1B cap-subject petitioners or their representatives are required to use a myUSCIS online account to register each beneficiary electronically for the selection process and pay the associated USD 10 H-1B registration fee for each registration submitted on behalf of each beneficiary.

“Prospective petitioners submitting their own registrations will use a “registrant” account. Registrants will be able to create new accounts beginning at noon Eastern on Feb. 21.”

Representatives may add clients to their accounts at any time, but both representatives and registrants must wait until March 1 to enter beneficiary information and submit the registration with the USD 10 fee, US immigration services said.

“Prospective petitioners or their representatives will be able to submit registrations for multiple beneficiaries in a single online session. Through the account, they will be able to prepare, edit, and store draft registrations prior to final payment and submission of each registration. If we receive enough registrations by March 18, we will randomly select registrations and send selection notifications via users’ myUSCIS online accounts. We intend to notify account holders by March 31,” it added.

An H-1B cap-subject petition, including a petition for a beneficiary who is eligible for the advanced degree exemption, may only be filed by a petitioner whose registration for the beneficiary named in the H-1B petition was selected in the H-1B registration process. (ANI-Image Instagram)

AFC Women’s Asian Cup: Road to World Cup gets clearer as quarter-finals loom


Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India] (ANI): The road to the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 Final on February 6 and the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 qualification is now clearer as the final eight teams have been decided after the thrilling group stage matches.

Eight-time champions China PR, titleholders Japan, Australia, the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2010 winners, Korea Republic, Chinese Taipei, Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand have all advanced to the quarter-finals.
The leading five teams at the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 will qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 while two teams will secure their places in the Inter-Confederation playoffs.

As Australia have already qualified as co-host in the global showpiece, the fixtures and sequence of the playoff matches will depend on the progress of the Matildas.

Should Australia qualify to the semi-finals of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022, the four losing teams from the quarter-finals will compete in a playoff match on February 2 at the D.Y. Patil Stadium, with the two winners gaining direct slots to the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 while the two losing teams advance to the Inter-Confederation playoffs.

However, if Australia’s campaign ends in the final eight, the three other losing teams in the quarter-finals will play in the playoff matches in a single one-round robin format, with the winner advancing to the global showpiece and the remaining two teams securing berths for the Inter-Confederation Playoffs. (ANI)

Accenture study reveals 70% Indians frustrated with OTT viewing experience

Navigating through the growing thicket of video OTT players trying to decide what to watch is vexing the Indian viewership as nearly 70 per cent of them surveyed in an Accenture study reported being frustrated with the viewing experience.

Further detailing the trials of a viewership that is spoilt for choice now, the “Streaming’s Next Act: Aggregators to play a starring role in making consumers happier” report threw up these figures: In addition to the challenge of finding something to watch, consumers in India also think more than 60 per cent of the content they are paying for is not relevant to them. As many as 46 per cent of those surveyed indicate they spend more than six minutes searching for something to watch. A whopping 81 per cent said they wished their profile from one service could easily be shared with another service that may offer them better, more personalised content. 

The online survey of 6,000 consumers aged 18 and older across 11 countries (Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, India, Japan, South Africa, Spain, UK and US) was conducted between October and November 2021. It includes 500 respondents from India.

As the content space matures in India, the next step for players to differentiate themselves may be to focus on investing in making their recommendation engines more intelligent to sharpen personalised content suggestions and look into content aggregation, according to the study 

“Till now, most Indian OTT platforms have tried to differentiate through content and majority of their investments have gone into flagship titles. With changing viewing patterns, this needs to change and factor in scenarios like shared viewing. For the next phase of growth, these platforms need to focus on improving consumer experience and product features,” said Neeraj Sharma, managing director – Communications, Media and Technology, Accenture in India. 

The research found that content aggregators can address this concern by unifying access across streaming services through application software, services and data-sharing agreements. Aggregators can also foster flexibility and personalisation for viewers by serving as a single platform with curated content that enables them to select exactly what they want to watch, it said. 

Amazon Prime Video in India has already forayed into content aggregation. In September, it launched its Channels vertical in India by tying up with eight other subscription-based OTT video streaming players whose content can be viewed on its platform.

At the time, its head of Prime Video Channels, Chaitanya Divan, had said a single interface for discovery, streaming and payments is a key need for customers as content choices explode. 

India already has more than 40 OTT apps even as newer regional players enter the fray every few months, offering content in a dizzying array of formats, languages and payment models. 

Kohli can take 2-3 months’ break


Muscat [Oman]: Former Team India head coach Ravi Shastri has suggested that Virat Kohli can play the next three-four years as a gun player if he takes a break from a series for two or three months.

Kohli had stepped down as the Test skipper after India suffered a Test series loss against South Africa. He holds the record for most Test appearances as India Test captain (68) and he also holds the record for most Test wins by an Indian captain (40).
Shastri wants Kohli to calm down and focus on his batting. He feels the former India skipper has five years of “good” cricket left in him.

“He realizes he is 33, he realizes he has five years of good cricket ahead of him. If he can calm down, focus on his batting, take one game at a time, probably take a break from the game as well. I think if he sits out for two or three months or takes a break for a series, it would do him a world of good,” Shastri told Shoaib Akhtar on the former Pakistan pacer’s YouTube channel.

“To come back and play those three-four years as king, absolute king. You know where he is clear mentally, knows exactly what his job and role are, and then plays as a team player, that’s where I want to see Virat Kohli now. To come, contribute big time as a team player and help the team win,” he added.

Kohli had first led the side in Test cricket in 2014 against Australia. His last game as captain was the Cape Town Test in South Africa, which India lost by seven wickets.

Filling the shoes of MS Dhoni was not going to be easy, but Kohli took leadership by storm, and quickly, he cemented himself as one of the best thinkers the country has seen in Test cricket.

The leadership also brought out the best in Kohli and it saw the batter registering seven double-centuries in the longest format of the game. Kohli also holds the record for scoring most Test centuries (20) as India captain. (ANI)

BJP is not Hindutva, it used Hindutva for power: Uddhav Thackeray

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India]: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has used Hindutva for power and asserted that it will not leave Hindutva.

Addressing the Shiv Sainiks virtually on the 96th birth anniversary of the party founder Bal Thackeray, Uddhav also said that the party will try to expand its footprint outside the state and aim for a national role.
Thackeray said that the Shiv Sena has left the BJP but it will not leave Hindutva.

“We are the ones who supported them (BJP). We had an alliance for 25 years. BJP used Hindutva for power. We left BJP but will not leave Hindutva. BJP is not Hindutva. Tactics were used against us when we challenged them,” he said.

“(Union Home Minister) Amit Shah said fight alone; we are ready to fight alone,” he added.

The Maharashtra Chief Minister also said that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has shrunk as its old constituents like Akali Dal and Shiv Sena walked out.

As the Shiv Sena is now testing waters in other states too, the Maharashtra Chief Minister asked the party workers to not be overwhelmed by defeat.

“Even if we lose, don’t be overwhelmed. We will win someday,” he said.

Talking of the recent Nagar Panchayat elections where Shiv Sena secured just the fourth position, Uddhav said that the party did not contest all seats.

“Even though we are at number four today, more Nagar Panchayat seats were elected today than those we fought and even won in the alliance (with BJP). We must take this election seriously,” he said. (ANI/Image -instagram)

Sensex, Nifty likely to remain volatile in the run-up to Budget


By Gyanendra Kumar Keshri

Mumbai [India]: As the countdown to the Union Budget 2022-23 has begun, the Indian equities market is likely to remain volatile in the week beginning Monday.
Market participants will try to envisage the reforms and measures that could be announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the budget to be presented on February 1 and make speculative trading decisions.

The Indian stock markets have historically been volatile with negative bias in the fortnight preceding the presentation of the union budget.

Bears were in full control of the Dalal Street during the week ended January 21. Snapping four-week of winning run the benchmark indices – Sensex and Nifty – slumped around three-and-a-half per cent during the week. The key indices sustained heavy losses for the four out of the five trading sessions of the week.

The benchmark Sensex lost 2,185.85 points and the Nifty slumped 638.6 points or 3.5 per cent during the week ended January 21.

The Indian stock markets witnessed heavy selling during the week on negative cues from the global markets amid speculations that the US Federal Reserves would hike policy rates sooner than expected.

Major indices across the world witnessed heavy losses during the week. Nasdaq Composite Index lost 7.6 per cent during the week. S&P 500 lost 5.7 per cent.

The rate hike speculation led to increase in bond yields. The US as well as Indian bond yields rose to two years high. India’s 10-year government bond yield rose to 6.68 per cent and the US 10-year treasury yield climbed to 1.90 per cent.

Foreign institutional investors sold heavily during the week. Investors are withdrawing money from equities and investing in debt.

A sharp increase in crude oil prices, rising concerns over inflation and restrictions imposed across the country to contain the spread of new variant of COVID-19 have also spooked investors’ sentiments in the markets. Crude oil price surged to $89 per barrel, the highest level in seven years.

The Union Budget 2022-23 will be presented ahead of the assembly elections in five states. Uttar Pradesh assembly election is seen crucially important. There are strong speculations that the government will come out with populist budget to win hearts of the voters.

Apart from the speculative trading ahead of the budget there are several other developments that are likely to keep the markets volatile in the coming days.

The US Federal Reserve’s meeting is scheduled on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Fed action will have huge impact on the markets globally. While the Fed has already given indication for increasing the policy rates, investors await clues from this week’s meeting on by how much the rates will be increased and when it will start.

There are also major earnings reports expected during the week. India’s most valuable company Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) announced its third quarter results on Friday. The report was made public after closing of the stock market trading on Friday. The company has reported a robust 38 per cent jump in its third quarter net profit. It will be interesting to see how the markets react to RIL’s third quarter number.

ICICI Bank announced its third quarter results on Saturday. The private sector lender net profit rose by 25 per cent to Rs 6,194 crore during the quarter ended December 31, 2021. Direction in the scrips like Reliance Industries and ICICI Bank would have big impact on the market on Monday. (image -instagram)

COVID-19 situation worsens in Pakistan as it reports over 7,500 new cases


Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan reported 7,586 fresh cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours as the fifth wave of COVID-19 pandemic continues to get worse in the country, the country’s National Command and Operation Centre’s said on Sunday.

According to Geo tv, Pakistan registered its highest number of daily coronavirus cases — 7,678 — on Friday since the pandemic started in 2020, as per NCOC statistics.
A total of 58,334 tests were conducted in the country during the last 24 hours, of which 7,586 came back positive, pushing the nationwide tally of the virus cases to 1,367,605. The country’s positivity rate now stands at a record high of 13 per cent.

Meanwhile, 20 more patients succumbed to the virus during the same period, taking the death toll to 29,097.

In addition to this, the country’s active coronavirus cases surged to 70,263, making it the highest in over four months. Pakistan last reported 65,725 active cases on September 16, 2021, according to Geo tv.

Pakistan is currently facing its fifth deadly wave of coronavirus, and cases of Omicron variant are rising in the country.

Amid this outbreak, 15 judges along with five dozen staff members working in the lower courts have been infected, according to media reports. (ANI-Image )

Cricket West Indies salutes Clive Lloyd on knighthood


St John’s [Antigua],: Cricket West Indies (CWI) has congratulated West Indies legend, Sir Clive Lloyd, on receiving Knighthood.

The former West Indies captain received the honour for his services to the game of cricket. The investiture was performed on Wednesday by the Duke of Cambridge at Windsor Castle.
“On behalf of CWI and everyone involved in West Indies cricket, I want to offer heartiest congratulations to Sir Clive on this tremendous honour. Sir Clive holds a special place in cricket history, as the first man to lift the Cricket World Cup, which brought tremendous pride and joy to West Indians all over the world,” CWI President Ricky Skerritt said in a statement.

“That victory at Lords was a hugely significant moment in West Indies cricket when we demonstrated we were the best team in the world, with the unifying style of Sir Clive’s leadership standing out.

“Sir Clive has made a massive contribution to the growth of the game in the West Indies and globally, and cricket fans everywhere should welcome this most fitting accolade,” he added.

Clive Lloyd led West Indies to victory over Australia at Lords in the final of the inaugural Cricket World Cup tournament in 1975.

Four years later he again led West Indies to the world title when they beat England again at a historic venue. He played in 110 Tests and 87 One-Day Internationals and is one of the most successful captains of all time.

During his captaincy, the team was the most successful in the world and had a run of 27 Test matches without defeat – which included 11 wins in a row. He was also a former West Indies team manager and selector, and ICC Match Referee. In 2009 he was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame. (Image -Newsday)

Be it common man or big leader, all COVID-19 norm violators will be punished equally: Karnataka CM Bommai


Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], (ANI): Whether it is a common man or a big leader, no distinction will be made among those found violating COVID-19 norms in the state, said Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Monday.

“Whoever violates the Covid rules, whether a common man or a big leader, there is no differentiation. Action will be taken in a uniform way according to the law,” said Bommai.
Bommai’s statements came after an FIR wasregistered against 30 members who participated in Congress padayatra for the Mekedatu project.

“Government is concerned about the health of those who are participating in Mekedatu padayatra. It is the duty of the health department to check the health condition of those who take the long walk,” said Bommai and urged the participants to cooperate with the health department to do its duty efficiently.

While speaking to reporters here today, Bommai advocated the need for a more intense vigil against the spread of COVID-19.

“The state has registered 12,000 Covid cases yesterday, of which Bengaluru has accounted for about 9000. The positivity rate in the state has risen to 6.8 per cent and it is 10 per cent in Bengaluru. Karnataka is in the third spot in the country in Covid cases. So more precautionary measures are needed,” he added. (Image -Istangram)

Death toll in Pakistan’s Murree snowfall surges to 23, thousands of stranded tourists evacuated


Islamabad [Pakistan]: The death toll from heavy snowfall in Pakistan’s Murree has surged to 23 on Sunday as the forces evacuate over a thousand tourists from the affected area, reported local media.

Hundreds of tourists have been transported to safe localities so far by the Islamabad police and continued the evacuation operation at full pace, ARY News quoted Inspector General Islamabad Muhammad Ahsan Younas.
Younas has inspected the progress of the ongoing evacuation operation for stranded citizens in Murree and more than 1500 police officers were deployed to take part in the evacuation operation that will be continued till the safe return of the last tourists from Murree.

On Saturday, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar declared Murree calamity hit the area. The Chief Minister also imposed a state of emergency in hospitals, police stations, and rescue services.

The administration had to call Pakistan Army for assistance in evacuations as around 1,000 cars were stuck on the hill station. Buzdar had issued instructions for expediting rescue work and providing aid to the stranded tourists, Dawn reported.

Rawalpindi administration presented a report to Punjab CM. It emphasized that the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) had not alerted the district administration about the unprecedented snowfall.

According to the report, Murree received five feet of snowfall, and the roads leading to the hill station were closed on the night of January 6. People were advised to avoid traveling to the area, reported ARY News. (ANI)

Sensex down by 491 points


Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India]: Benchmark indices opened in red on Thursday amid weak global cues.

At 9.15 am, BSE Sensex was down by 491.40 points or 0.82 per cent, while NSE Nifty was down by 156.80 or 0.87 per cent.
The negative trading in stock markets after the US Fed Reserve has signalled raise interest rates, prompting investors to withdraw money from emerging markets. (ANI)

Flights from Mumbai, Delhi to WB will operate thrice a week from Jan 5, Govt writes to Civil Aviation Ministry


Kolkata (West Bengal) [India]: In light of the prevailing COVID-19 situation, the West Bengal government on Tuesday wrote to the Ministry of Civil Aviation informing it of their decision to allow domestic flights from Mumbai and Delhi only thrice a week from January 5.

A letter by West Bengal Additional Chief Secretary BP Gopalika stated that the flights between the two metro cities will operate only on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
“The State Government is extremely sensitive towards the inconvenience that may be caused to the passengers but restrictions are absolutely essential for containment of COVID cases in the State,” the letter read.

“However, the incoming domestic flights from Mumbai and Delhi will be allowed thrice a week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with effect from January 5, 2022, and the same will be reviewed again shortly depending upon the COVID situation in the State,” it added.

Notably, this decision of the State government comes after Delhi and Mumbai for the past week have been reporting a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Mumbai on Tuesday reported 10,860 fresh infections of COVID-19 and 2 deaths. The active cases in the financial capital of India are at 47,476.

Delhi reported 5,481 new infections on Tuesday pushing the positivity rate to 8.37 per cent, the highest in over seven months.

Meanwhile, West Bengal recorded 9,073 new cases and 16 deaths on Tuesday while the active cases are at 25,475.

Number of coronavirus patients at New York hospitals nearly doubles in past 10 days


New York [US]: The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the US state of New York almost doubled in the past ten days amid the spread of the Omicron variant, according to the latest data on Governor Kathy Hochul’s website.

There were 4,452 COVID-19 patients in New York hospitals on December 21. Updated coronavirus data released on Saturday, January 1, shows that the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 now stands at 8,451.
Out of all the coronavirus patients hospitalized in New York, 1,112 are currently in intensive care. That number was at 828 on December 21.

“If you haven’t gotten your second dose, do so as soon as possible and get your booster if you’re eligible. We will continue to make vaccines, boosters and testing more widely available as part of our Winter Surge Plan so we can continue to keep each other safe,” Governor Hochul said in a Saturday statement.

The state of New York reported 88 coronavirus-related deaths on Saturday. A total of 89,675 vaccine doses were administered in New York over the 24-hour period.

Governor Hochul has urged people to wear masks and take all other precautionary measures amid the spread of the Omicron strain in the US.

Hulu drops first teaser of Kardashian-Jenner family’s new show ‘The Kardashians’


Washington [US]: The Kardashian-Jenner family has the perfect gift for its fans this new year! The first teaser of the family’s upcoming Hulu show is finally here.

On Friday, Hulu released the first teaser for the famous family’s forthcoming series on the network, which will simply be titled ‘The Kardashians’.
“New year, new beginnings. See you soon @kardashianshulu #TheKardashians,” the streaming giant tweeted alongside a clip of the family.

“Happy New Year! We’ll see you soon,” family matriarch Kris Jenner wrote as she reshared the clip on social media. Added Kim Kardashian in her own tweet: “Coming soon…”

However, a premiere date for the forthcoming series was not included in the posts.

Kim and her family previously starred in E!’s long-running hit reality show ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’, which premiered in 2007.

They announced the end of ‘KUWTK’ in September 2020, saying the “difficult decision” was made with “heavy hearts” and thanking their fans for all of the support, reported People magazine.

Three months later, during Disney’s Investor Day in December 2020, Kim, Khloe Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Kendall Jenner, Kylie Jenner and Kris announced they had signed a multi-year deal to “create global content” that will stream exclusively on Hulu in the United States and in multiple international territories on Star.

‘KUWTK’ concluded after 20 seasons in June and was followed by a two-part reunion special hosted by Andy Cohen.

Earlier this year, Kim hinted at a new production project, posting a photo of a microphone pack on her Instagram Story. “Day 1,” she wrote.

A few days later, during an appearance on ‘The Late Late Show’ with James Corden, Khloe said she “missed” getting to spend so much time filming with her family after ‘KUWTK’ wrapped.

“Since 2007, we haven’t gone six weeks without filming. So, this six months without filming is the longest I’ve ever had,” she said. “And it was weird at first but actually nice for a minute because we got to remember, ‘Okay, this is what life [is like] not mic’d all the time. I don’t have to be in full hair and makeup all day long!'”

“But … even though we live next to each other and we’re all, like, weirdly obsessed with one another, there’s nothing like being paid to be with one another,” she added. “Shout out to Kris Jenner.”

From the studio audience, Kris admitted she also missed the experience of filming together. “Oh my God, she was pushing to start filming ASAP,” Khloe said. “She missed it like crazy.”

“I did,” Kris confirmed.

“I said, ‘We have to start filming. It’s an emergency.’ And they said, ‘What’s the emergency?’ I said, ‘I don’t know, but I’ll think of something’.” (ANI)

Rain batters Tamil Nadu, leaves parts of Chennai waterlogged, 3 dead


Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India): Tamil Nadu is all set to end the year on a low note, as torrential rainfall activity battered the state for another time leaving Chennai flooded on Friday.

The IMD had predicted rainfall and thunderstorms to intensify between Friday and Saturday (January 1, 2022). Following the forecast, Tamil Nadu government issued a Red Alert in four districts including Chennai, Kanchipuram, Thiruvallur and Chinglepet.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin had visited the Flood Control Room in the Ripon Building of Greater Chennai Corporation on Thursday night to review work done by officials monitoring the rain, relief and rescue work in various parts of state’s capital city.

Meanwhile, three people died due to electrocution on Thursday, said the Tamil Nadu Revenue and Disaster Management Minister KKSSR Ramachandran. “As many as 27 cases of tree falling have been reported in Chennai. More than 145 pumps are operating to clear the waterlogging caused by heavy rainfall in the city”, said Greater Chennai Corporation Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi.

Heavy rain has caused water logging in Chennai which caused inconvenience to traffic movement in Jemini bridge and Valluvar Kottam, Thyagaraya Nagar (T. Nagar) and Usman road of the city. Vehicles are being driven slowly in order to balance on waterlogged streets. People found themselves in knee-deep water in T. Nagar on Friday morning. Some roads also closed due to the clearing process of inundated roads, as per the information. People are seen placing sandbags outside their house trying to stop rainwater from entering their house.

Antony, a local said, “Yesterday it rained heavily for six hours in our area (T. Nagar ). I couldn’t go to my office today as a result of the flooded roads. The Met department has also predicted rain for the next two days. We appeal to the government to come out with a permanent solution so that that there is no water stagnation in our area.” (ANI)

China tightens travel restrictions in Tibet ahead of Beijing Winter Olympics: Report


Beijing [China]: Chinese officials have tightened travel curbs in the Tibet region ahead of Beijing Winter Olympics and deployed a large police force in the regional capital Lhasa, a media report said.

Beijing is imposing restrictions on Tibetans’ movements in the areas by ramping up security in the region, Radio Free Asia reported citing a source.
China’s Information Service last week had announced that visitors to the country will be strictly monitored during the Olympic games.

“In just a few days, greater security and restrictions have been put in place in Tibetan areas of Lhasa and in Shigatse, Chamdo, Draggo, Ngaba, and Rebkong,” RFA quoted a source as saying.

Lhasa is witnessing the massive deployment of police and armed security personnel. People who are visiting the regional capital are being closely questioned, the source said on the condition of anonymity.

He also said that officials are also inspecting restaurants and shops.

A former resident of Sichuan province’s Draggo citing his local contacts said that Chinese authorities have also begun household inspections in these areas, according to RFA.

The massive security deployment and checks are being carried out by China soon before the Beijing Winter Olympics. The US, the UK, Australia, Canada and Lithuania have announced the diplomatic boycott of games.

Ireland to impose COVID-19 restrictions after Christmas to curb surge of Omicron strain

Dublin [Ireland]: Northern Ireland will impose restrictions the day after Christmas to curb spread of the Omicron coronavirus strain, which now accounts for over 40 per cent of COVID-19 infections in the country, Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Michelle O’Neill said.

“The Executive has taken decision to protect people and protect the health service over the coming days and weeks,” O’Neill said in a video posted on her Twitter account on Wednesday.
The deputy minister told reporters that nightclubs would be closed and indoor dancing would not be allowed from 6 a.m. on December 26. Moreover, all indoor standing events will be prohibited.

In addition, starting December 27, only residents of a maximum of three households will be allowed to gather together. Guests will also be required to be seated with a maximum of six people, or 10 people from a single household at a table.

Citizens are also recommended to work from home and to maintain a two-meter social distance.

The deputy minister said the decision would help keep infection rates down and relieve the pressure put on healthcare workers and emergency services.

The measures may be revised on December 30, O’Neill said. Currently, the Irish authorities are closely monitoring the situation.

The United Kingdom has faced a surge in COVID-19 cases ahead of Christmas. The country has been breaking records for several days in the number of registered infections. The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases with the Omicron strain has exceeded 74,000. The Ministry of Health has predicted that the number of Omicron infections in the country may exceed a million by the end of December.

On December 8, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the country would move to the so-called plan B. The British are now encouraged to work from home whenever possible and required to wear a face covering. In addition, a COVID-19 pass confirming vaccination is now mandatory for visiting crowded places. Daily testing is required for those who may have come into contact with carriers of the coronavirus. (ANI/Sputnik)

Two Pakistani militants killed

Two Pakistani terrorists were killed and two Indian soldiers were killed in an encounter along the Line of Control on Thursday (July 8, 2021)

This was the second encounter along the Line of Control or LoC in as many days. The ceasefire along the LoC is seen to be on weak ground now. The encounters and intensive search operations by Indian soldiers come less than a month after a drone attack at an Indian Air Force base in Jammu region by Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

“Based on information about infiltration and movement of terrorists in Dadal, Sundarbani sector, Rajouri district, the army had launched extensive search operations on Jun 29,” the defence spokesperson said. “Subsequently, the information was corroborated on July 8 and a search and destroy patrol seeking proactive engagement with the terrorists, spotted them at Dadal forest and challenged them,” he said.

“The terrorists opened fire and lobbed hand grenades, leading to a fierce encounter in which two foreign terrorists from Pakistan have been killed. In the operation, two jawans received fatal injuries. A detailed search of the area continues,” he said.

Nb Sub Sreejith M and Sepoy Maruprolu Jaswanth Reddy died as a result of the operation.

In the other incident, security officers shot and killed a Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist, Mehrazuddin Halwai, who was known to utilise social media to recruit.

The army has increased up seek and destroy missions in Jammu and Kashmir and along the Line of Control, especially after the recent drone incident.
According to Lt General DP Pandey, Corps Commander of the 15 Corps in Srinagar, the technology utilised in the drone strikes on the air force base indicated “state-support” and involvement of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba.

General Pandey had said the army is “well aware these assets and tech – like drones and drone warfare – are state-supported systems” and that such threats may continue and even increase.

Kerala-First Zika virus case

A 24-year-old pregnant lady has been diagnosed with the mosquito-transmitted disease in Kerala’s first instance of Zika virus, State Health Minister Veena George announced on Thursday.

Thiruvananthapuram has 13 more suspected cases of the virus, according to the minister, who added that the government was waiting for confirmation from the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune.

Thirteen health personnel, including doctors, are suspected of being Zika positive out of the 19 samples supplied from Thiruvananthapuram, according to the minister.

On July 7, the woman, who hails from Parassalai and is receiving treatment at a private hospital here, gave birth to her baby.

She had been admitted to the hospital on June 28 with fever, headache and red marks on her body.

Her samples were submitted to NIV, Pune, after the tests at the hospital indicated that she was positive.
The woman’s condition was satisfactory.

Despite the fact that she has no prior travel experience outside of the state, her home is close to the Tamil Nadu border.
Her mother had apparently displayed identical symptoms a week prior, according to a government statement.

Fever, skin rashes, and joint discomfort are all signs of Zika, which are similar to those of dengue fever.

Centre happy with Kerala

The centre’s high-level multi-disciplinary public health team that was sent to Kerala to oversee COVID-19 control and containment measures indicated satisfaction with the mitigation approaches used in the state.

The delegation assessed the COVID-19 treatment facilities at Thiruvananthapuram General Hospital, Parippally Medical College, and Kolenchery General Hospital, and met with state Health Minister Veena George.

“The team expressed satisfaction on the treatment given to the patients, basic facilities, and vaccination process in the state,” Veena George said.

The central health team, recognised that the government had intervened effectively during the pandemic to avert a scarcity of oxygen and ICU beds in the state.

“We have also requested the union government to allot 90 lakh additional doses of vaccine. We are trying to vaccinate 2.5 to 3 lakh persons per day,” the minister said.

The team comprises Regional Director Officer Public Health specialist Ruchi jain and JIPMER Pulmonary Medicine department head Dr SK Vinod Kumar.

The team had also held discussions with health secretary Rajan Khobragade, NHM state mission director Rathen Khelkar and others.

PM Modi’s ‘Youngest Cabinet Ever’ will drive the country

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new cabinet has it all, plus a little more: high-profile resignations, unexpected arrivals, and a focus on election-year states.
With an average age of 56, Team Modi 2.0 also claims to be the “youngest-ever.”

The youngest of the 36 new ministers is Nisith Pramanik, who is 35 years old, and the oldest is 69 years old.
There are five ministers over the age of 65 and none over the age of 70.
Shantanu Thakur (38), Anupriya Patel (40), Bharati Pravin Pawar (42), and John Barla are among the younger members of the group (45).

Compared to 12 important exits of leaders such as Ravi Shankar Prasad, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, Prakash Javadekar and Harsh Vardhan, the difference in the average ages is eight years. The average age of those who resigned is 64, with the youngest at 50 years and the eldest at 73. There were eight people above 65, while three were above 70.

PM Modi’s Council of Ministers has been rearranged for the first time since he took office for a second term in May 2019. The prime minister is likely to take on the challenges of unemployment and a poor skills, particularly as the Covid-19 pandemic rages.

Japan banning spectators

According to rumours released on Wednesday, the Japanese government plans to declare a viral state of emergency in Tokyo during the Olympics, preventing spectators from entering sites.

Following an increase in instances less than three weeks before the Games, the emergency measures — which are less severe than a blanket lockdown — will be in effect until August 22, according to multiple Japanese media reports.

“The government decided to declare the fourth state of emergency for Tokyo and communicated the decision to the ruling parties,” public broadcaster NHK said.

The pandemic-affected 2020 Olympics will be held under rigorous anti-infection guidelines, with international spectators already barred.

Last month, organisers imposed a limit of 10,000 fans, or half the capacity of each arena, but have since warned that a fully closed-door Games is still an option as the virus situation worsens.

With about 14,800 deaths, Japan’s Covid-19 outbreak was not as serious as in some other nations, but experts believe another wave could strain medical facilities as the Games begin.

11,000 Olympic athletes from about 200 countries are expected to compete, and they have already begun arriving in Japan.

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