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India reports 1,94,720 fresh COVID-19 infections, 442 fatalities


New Delhi [India],(ANI): India recorded as many as 1,94,720 fresh COVID-19 infections and 442 fatalities in the last 24 hours, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Wednesday.

With this, the total tally of COVID-19 cases in the country rose to 3,60,70,510 including 9,55,319 active cases. The daily positivity rate due to this virus in the country is at 11.05 per cent. Active cases account for 2.65 per cent of the total cases.
As many as 69.52 crore total tests were conducted so far wherein a weekly positivity rate of 9.82 per cent was observed.

Maharashtra on Tuesday reported 34,424 new COVID-19 cases, Delhi added 21, 259 fresh cases, West Bengal added 21,098 fresh COVID-19 cases, Karnataka reported 14,473 new cases and the rest of the cases were reported from other states.

Of the fresh infections logged in today in the country, 4,868 infections are of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Maharashtra reported 1,281 cases, Rajasthan reported 645 cases, Delhi reported 546 cases, Karnataka reported 479 cases and Kerala reported 350 cases of the Omicron variant.

Following up, as many as 60,405 new recoveries from this virus were reported in the country. With this, the total recoveries who were infected with COVID-19 moved up to 3,46,30,536. Moreover, the recovery rate is currently at 96.01 per cent.

As far as the COVID-19 vaccination status is concerned, the health ministry informed that 153.80 crore vaccine doses have been administered so far under the nationwide vaccination drive. (Image -Kshvid)

Ashes, 4th Test: Pink Village back to give fans themed entertainment zone at Sydney


Sydney [Australia]: Cricket Australia’s Pink Village will be back this year, providing fans with a dedicated pink-themed entertainment zone at Driver Avenue, Moore Park during the Men’s Ashes Pink Test at the SCG starting on January 5.

Fans attending the Pink Village can expect a range of entertainment options, such as a food and beverage area that includes a bar stocked with 4 Pines, plus big screens to catch all the action of the fourth Vodafone men’s Ashes Test.

There will also be numerous fan activations, such as a cricket simulator, a nail art salon, smoothie bikes, freebies, and a Spirits stand with non-alcoholic cocktails and a viewing area to watch live entertainment by various artists on the stage.

EGM, Event Experience & Operations Brian Nourse is excited to have the Pink Village take place once again this year and extend the support of the McGrath Foundation and the Pink Test to fans outside the ground.

“We are ecstatic to have returned the Pink Village at this year’s Vodafone Ashes Series Pink Test, not only to provide an exciting experience for our fans, but also to support the McGrath Foundation, which is undeniably a cause important to us all,” said Nourse in an official statement.

Australia has already retained the Ashes after gaining an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series. The fourth Test will begin on January 5.

161 Omicron cases reported in India: Mansukh Mandaviya


New Delhi [India]: India has reported 161 cases of new coronavirus variant Omicron, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Monday.

“As of now, India has 161 Omicron cases…We are monitoring the situation daily with experts,” the minister told Rajya Sabha while replying to debate on the COVID-19 situation.
He said the government has taken steps to deal with situation if the virus spreads.

“With our experience during the first and second waves, to ensure that we don’t face problems if variant spreads, we have arranged a buffer stock of important medicines.”

He said the states and union territories have adequate quantity of vaccines against COVID-19 for vaccination drives, adding that the country’s vaccine manufacturing capacity has also increased.

“Today all states and UTs have adequate quantity of vaccines, 17 crore doses available with them. Our manufacturing capacity has increased. Today India has capacity to manufacture 31 crore doses of vaccine per month. In next two months, it’ll further rise to 45 crore doses per month,” the minister said.

“Under PM Modi’s leadership, with the efforts of our healthcare workers, 88 per cent of first doses of the COVID vaccine have been administered and 58 per cent of second doses administered so far. The majority of the population in India is vaccinated today,” he added. (ANI)

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan joins ED probe in Panama Papers leaks case

New Delhi [India]: Bollywood actor Aishwarya Rai on Monday joined the Enforcement Directorate investigation in the Panama Papers leak case.

She reached the ED office here in the second half of the day following the agency’s notice.
The agency needs to record the statement of the 48-year-old actress in the case over allegations of stashing wealth abroad under the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999. The actress had earlier submitted records on the foreign payments under investigation.

The ED had issued notices to the Bachchan family asking them to explain their foreign remittances since 2004 under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) of the Reserve Bank of India.

Sources in the agency informed that Bachchan was summoned earlier too but she could not appear and sought next dates at least two times.

The Panama Papers pertain to leaked documents that point towards fraud and tax evasion by many individuals and corporate entities across the world. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s name featured in the list of 500 Indians who were named in the massive leak of 11.5 million tax documents exposing their secret offshore dealings.

“The Panama Papers” case is a sprawling investigation spanning millions of documents stolen and leaked to the media in 2016, which involves allegations that the world’s rich and powerful set up offshore accounts or shell companies to avoid taxes.

Over 300 Indians were said to be part of the Panama Papers.

Many Indian celebrities including Amitabh Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai were named in this paper leak. All these people were accused of tax fraud. After the name surfaced in this case, Amitabh had said that he has sent money abroad only under Indian rules. He also denied having any affiliation with the companies that appeared in the Panama Papers. (ANI)

CDS Gen Bipin Rawat and wife dies in chopper crash; ‘irreparable loss’ says Rajnath Singh

New Delhi [India]: General Bipin Rawat, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) died after a military helicopter crashed in Coonoor in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday, the Indian Air Force said today.

“With deep regret, it has now been ascertained that Gen Bipin Rawat, Mrs Madhulika Rawat and 11 other persons on board have died in the unfortunate accident,” tweeted IAF.
Gen Rawat, India’s first CDS was on a visit to the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington to address the faculty and student officers of the Staff Course when his chopper crashed near Coonor in the Nilgiris district.

“Gen Bipin Rawat, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) was on a visit to Defence Services Staff College, Wellington (Nilgiri Hills) to address the faculty and student officers of the Staff Course today,” the IAF added.

late CDS Bipin Rawat with wife Madhulika Rawat

Gen Rawat had taken off from Sulur Airbase for Wellington and was accompanied by his wife Madhulika Rawat, his DA Brigadier LS Lidder, SO Lieutenant Colonel Harjinder Singh, among other defence officials.

“Around noon today, an IAF Mi 17 V5 helicopter with a crew of 4 members carrying the CDS and 9 other passengers met with a tragic accident near Coonoor, TN,” the Indian Air Force said in a tweet.

Group Captain Varun Singh, SC, Directing Staff at DSSC, the sole survivor of the crash, is undergoing treatment for his injuries at Military Hospital in Wellington.

General Rawat was India’s first Chief of Defence Staff. With his appointment in the topmost position in December 2019, he was the one-point advisor to the government matters related to the military including the Army, Navy and the Air Force.

“Deeply anguished by the sudden demise of Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 other Armed Forces personnel in an extremely unfortunate helicopter accident today in Tamil Nadu. His untimely death is an irreparable loss to our Armed Forces and the country,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted.

“General Rawat had served the country with exceptional courage and diligence. As the first Chief of Defence Staff he had prepared plans for jointness of our Armed Forces,” Singh added.

A veteran of counterinsurgency warfare, CDS Rawat served in the most difficult terrains including northern and eastern commands.

CDS Rawat was commissioned into the Indian Army in December 1978. He previously served as Chief of the Army Staff from January 2017 to December 2019. (ANI)

Caste Based Census: Will soon call all-party meeting to discuss the issue, says Nitish Kumar, CM-Bihar

Patna (Bihar) [India]: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said that the state government will soon call an all-party meeting to discuss the caste-based census.

Briefing media persons in Patna, Kumar said, “We will soon call an all-party meeting to discuss the caste-based census. We want to do it so that all political parties reach a consensus and the state government will make an announcement based on the consensus.”
Earlier on Thursday, RJD MP Manoj Kumar Jha moved a Zero Hour Notice in Rajya Sabha on the matter of ‘caste-based census’.

In his letter to Secretary-General of the Upper House, Jha said, “In order to ensure that Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas is a reality, we must urgently count the ladder of our social edifice and for that, it is important that Socio-Economic Caste Census be undertaken on priority and with urgency. While there is a strong possibility of sub-categorization of OBC, we need to have solid scientific data about the relationship between access to several resources vis-a-vis caste.”

He also said, “Denying a caste-based census is denying that a problem exists especially in a country where caste has become not only an identity but a way of life and it has stories of discrimination attached therein. A caste-based census will identify the wealth and education gap between the upper and non-upper caste groups relative to their population and assist in framing targeted policy interventions.”

Earlier on Tuesday, the Centre had said that it has not enumerated caste wise population other than Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the census since independence.

In reply to a question in Lok Sabha, Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai said that the castes and tribes which are specifically notified as Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) as per the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order 1950 and the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950, as amended from time to time, are enumerated in the decadal Census.

Rai added that the Centre has not enumerated caste wise populations other than SCs and STs in Census since independence. The Census Schedule is designed in consultation with various stakeholders including Central Ministries.

The intent of the Government for conducting Census 2021 was notified in the Gazette of India on 28 March 2019. However, due to the outbreak of Covid-19, the Census activities have been postponed. (ANI)

COVID-19: Zimbabwe returnee tests positive for Omicron in Gujarat, India’s 3rd case

Jamnagar (Gujarat) [India]: Gujarat on Saturday reported its first case of new COVID-19 variant Omicron in Jamnagar, informed the state’s health department.

“A person who came from Zimbabwe was infected with Omicron. His sample has been sent to Pune,” an official said.
This is the third case of the Omicron variant in the country. The first cases of Omicron were reported in Karnataka.

A new variant of COVID-19 was first reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) from South Africa on November 25. As per the WHO, the first known confirmed B.1.1.529 infection was from a specimen collected on November 9 this year.

On November 26, the WHO named the new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529, which has been detected in South Africa, as ‘Omicron’. The WHO has classified Omicron as a ‘variant of concern’.

Dozens of countries have imposed travel restrictions on the southern African nations since the mutation was discovered.

The new Omicron coronavirus variant has been confirmed in 23 countries and their number is expected to rise, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had said.

India has also added several countries to the list from where travellers would need to follow additional measures on arrival in the country, including post-arrival testing for infection. (ANI)

T20I Rankings: Babar Azam becomes top-ranked batter

Dubai [UAE]: Pakistan captain Babar Azam’s two successive half-centuries in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 have helped him overtake England’s Dawid Malan and grab the top position for batters in the ICC Men’s T20I Player Rankings.

Babar, who scored 51 against Afghanistan and 70 against Namibia to lead the 2009 champions into the semifinals, is at the top for the sixth time in his career. The 27-year-old had first attained top position on January 28, 2018. He is presently also ranked No. 1 in ODIs.
Babar’s tally of 834 rating points keeps him 36 points ahead of Dawid Malan but Babar’s career-best remains 896 rating points that he achieved after scoring 65 against England at Cardiff on 5 May 2019. Malan had been at the top since 29 November last year.

England’s performances in the tournament too reflect in the rankings, with both their openers Jos Buttler and Jason Roy moving up in the latest weekly update. Buttler has gained eight slots to reach a career-best ninth position after smashing his maiden T20I hundred against Sri Lanka while Roy is up to five places to 14th.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga has topped the bowling charts for the first time in his career after two successive three-wicket hauls against South Africa and England. He replaces South Africa’s Tabraiz Shamsi, who was at the top since 10 April this year.

The top four bowlers in the rankings are all wrist spinners, with England’s Adil Rashid overtaking Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan to take third place with a career-best 730 rating points. A fast bowler who has made rapid rise is South Africa’s Anrich Nortje, who has gained 18 slots to reach the seventh position.

At the top of the all-rounders’ table, Mohammad Nabi has caught up with Shakib Al Hasan on 271 rating points. Hasaranga is fourth on this list. (ANI)

Bihar bypolls: JD-U retains Tarapur, Kusheshwar Asthan Assembly seats

Patna (Bihar) [India], November 2 (ANI): The Janata Dal (United) on Tuesday retained both Tarapur and Kusheshwar Asthan Assembly seats that went to by-elections on October 30.

In Tarapur, JD-U’s Rajeev Kumar Singh defeated his nearest rival RJD’s Arun Kumar by a margin of 3,852 votes. While Singh won 79,090 votes, Kumar bagged 75,238 votes. Meanwhile, Congress could manage to get 3,590 votes.
JD-U’s Aman Bhushan Hajari defeated his nearest rival RJD’s Ganesh Bharti by a margin of 12,695 votes in Kusheshwar Asthan. While Hajari bagged 59,887 votes, Bharti got 47,192 votes. Congress only secured 5,603 votes.

The assembly seats of Tarapur constituency in Munger and Kusheshwar Asthan in Darbhanga fell vacant after the deaths of JD-U MLAs Mewalal Choudhary and Shashi Bhushan Hazari, respectively.

Meanwhile, reacting to JD-U’s win in Bihar by-polls, Union Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted, “On NDA’s victory in Bihar assembly by-elections I congratulate @NitishKumar @sanjayjaiswal and

@BJP4Bihar and JD (U) Congratulations to all the workers and I express my gratitude to the public.”

Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the NDA government will continue to work in the same way for the welfare and development of the people of Bihar, added Shah.

LJP leader Pashupati Kumar Paras said that despite RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav’s poll campaigning in both the assembly seats, the party witnessed a loss in the elections.

“The campaigning done by RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav in Kusheshwar Asthan and Tarapur assembly setas for by-polls in Bihar was a loss for their party rather than a gain,” said Paras. (ANI)

Last rites of actor Puneeth Rajkumar performed in Bengaluru

Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India]: The last rites of late Kannada actor Puneeth Rajkumar were performed today with state honours at Sree Kanteerava Studios in Bengaluru.

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and a huge crowd of fans were present at the studio to pay their last respect to the late star.
Puneeth passed away on October 29 at the age of 46 following a cardiac arrest. He was admitted to Vikram Hospital in Bengaluru, after experiencing chest pain, where he breathed his last.

The demise of Puneeth took the entire country by shock and several popular actors from Mumbai and South film industry including Dhanush, Mahesh Babu, Jr NTR, Ram Charan, Abhishek Bachchan, Anil Kapoor, among others, have expressed their condolences.

Apart from that, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other noted politicians including Karnataka CM Basavaraj S Bommai, Rahul Gandhi, Prakash Javdekar and Nirmala Sitharaman also mourned his death.

Son of matinee idol Rajkumar, Puneeth is also lovingly called ‘Appu’ and ‘Power Star’ by his fans. He was associated with the silver screen since he was a child.

The 46-year-old actor has been the lead star in 29 films since his 2002 acting debut in ‘Appu’, with his last release being ‘Yuvarathnaa’, which came out in April earlier this year. His other notable performances include, ‘Raam’, ‘Hudugaru’, and ‘Anjani Putra’. (ANI)

India’s COVID-19 vaccine coverage exceeds 102.27 cr

New Delhi [India]: With the administration of 12,30,720 COVID-19 vaccine doses in the last 24 hours, India’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage has exceeded 102.27 crores, the Union Health Ministry informed on Monday.

According to the ministry, 1,02,27,12,895 doses of COVID-19 vaccines has been administrated across the country so far. This has been achieved through 1,01,52,393 sessions.
Meanwhile, India reported 14,306 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours. The active caseload in the country stands at 1,67,695.

The cumulative tally of COVID recovered patients now stands at 3,35,67,367.

Consequently, India’s recovery rate stands at 98.18 per cent. The recovery rate is currently at its highest peak since March 2020.

The testing capacity across the country continues to be expanded. The last 24 hours saw a total of 9,98,397 tests being conducted. India has so far conducted 60,07,69,717 tests so far. (ANI)

Bhopal : women in ‘Lota Daud’

Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) [India]: A unique initiative was taken up by the local administration of Bhopal on Tuesday as women in Phanda Kala village of the district ran with a water pot in their hands to send a message against open defecation to their daughters-in-law.

In a bid to discourage women from defecating in open, the district administration organised an event called ‘Lota Daud’ in which 18 elderly women participated in a race carrying water pots in their hands.
The women, through their participation, endeavoured to discourage their daughters-in-law from going through the same problems they faced due to the lack of toilets. The event was aimed at making maximum people aware of using toilets.

“Earlier there were no toilets, mothers-in-law used to go to the fields. Now those mothers are saying that I have got toilets made in the home and the government is arranging for water. Therefore, now my daughter-in-law will go to the bathroom inside the house and will live with respect,” said Vikas Mishra, CEO, Zila Panchayat, Bhopal.

The winner of ‘Lata Daud’ was decided on the basis of the amount of water left in the pot post the race. After reaching the finishing point, the winner threw away the pot sending the message that women in the village no longer need to carry these water pots for defecation in open.

“Through this competition, we are giving a message to the entire society against an evil practice where women were left with no option but to go out in open spaces for defecation,” said Tara Prajapati, a local resident. (ANI)

Earthquake hits Karnataka

Gulbarga (Karnataka) [India]: An earthquake of magnitude 3.6 on the Richter scale struck Karnataka’s Gulbarga at around 8 am on Tuesday morning, the National Centre for Seismology (NCS) informed.

“Earthquake of Magnitude: 3.6, Occurred on October 12, 08:06:27 IST, Lat: 17.36 & Long: 77.30, Depth: 5 Km, Location: Gulbarga, Karnataka,” NCS tweeted.

Earlier on Sunday, an earthquake of magnitude 3.4 on the Richter scale had struck Karnataka’s Gulbarga at around 6 am. (ANI)

Rahul Gandhi congratulate Punjab CM-designate Charanjit Singh Channi for new responsibility

Chandigarh [India]: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi congratulated the Chief Minister-elect of Punjab Charanjit Singh Channi on Sunday for the new responsibility, and said Congress will continue to fulfil the promises made to the people of the state.

“Congratulations Charanjit Singh Channi Ji for the new responsibility. We must continue to fulfill the promises made to the people of Punjab. Their trust is of paramount importance,” tweeted Gandhi.
Manish Tiwari, Congress leader and MP from Punjab’s Anandpur Sahib constituency also extended his greeting and said, “Please accept my heartiest congratulations on becoming the Chief Minister of Punjab.”

Congress MLA Charanjit Singh Channi will take the oath as the new Chief Minister of Punjab on Monday at 11 am on Monday.

Addressing media after meeting Governor Banwarilal Purohit, the Chief Minister-designate of Punjab said, “We have presented our stance, unanimously supported by party MLAs, before the Governor. Oath taking ceremony will take place at 11 am tomorrow.”

Taking to Twitter, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi congratulated Channi for the new responsibility.

“Congratulations to Shri Charanjit Singh Channi Ji for the new responsibility. We must continue to fulfill the promises made to the people of Punjab. Their trust is of paramount importance,” Gandhi tweeted.

Earlier today, Congress’ in charge of Punjab Harish Rawat said Channi has been unanimously elected as the Leader of the Congress Legislature Party and is set to take over as next chief minister.

“It gives me immense pleasure to announce that Charanjit Singh Channi has been unanimously elected as the Leader of the Congress Legislature Party of Punjab,” tweeted Rawat.

Channi, a Dalit leader, was Technical Education Minister in the outgoing Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s cabinet.

After the party announced his name as Punjab CLP leader, the Chief Minister-designate Channi, while leaving from JW Marriott Hotel in Chandigarh for Governor’s House, said, “I will speak after leaving from Governor’s house.”

According to the official website of the Punjab Government, Channi remained Municipal Councilor for three terms and moved on to become the President of Municipal Council Kharar for a two-term.

He was elected to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha from Chamkaur Sahib Consistency for the first time in 2007. He was elected to the assembly seat again in 2012 and then in 2017.

In 2015, Channi was elected as Leader of the Opposition in the 14th Punjab Vidhan Sabha. In 2017, he was appointed as the Cabinet Minister for Technical Education and Industrial Training, Employment Generation and also Science and Technology in the government of Punjab.

Channi will succeed Captain Amarinder Singh, who resigned as the chief minister of Punjab on Saturday following months of infighting between him and Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.

These development came months before the 2022 Punjab Assembly elections. (ANI)

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