Centre bans wheat export with immediate effect

New Delhi [India]- The Centre has amended the Export policy of wheat by putting its export under the “prohibited” category.

The order that was rolled out by the Ministry of Commerce late Friday night stated that the government has banned the wheat exports with “immediate effect”.
The government said that the move is being made to manage the overall food security of the country and to the needs of the neighbouring and other vulnerable countries.

“There is a sudden spike in the global prices of wheat arising out of many factors, as a result of which the food security of India, neighbouring and other vulnerable countries is at risk,” said the Ministry in its notification.

However, the export will be allowed in case of shipments where an irrevocable letter of credit is issued on or before the date of notification.

The export will be allowed on basis of permission granted by the government of India to other countries to meet their food security needs and based on the request of the governments. (ANI)

Amit Shah says one should take holistic view to understand PM Modi

New Delhi [India]: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should be seen from a holistic view and not from an isolated view to understand his political life.

Addressing the book launch of ‘Modi@20: Dreams Meet Delivery’, the Home Minister said, “Narendra Modi has worked all along as considering society as a family. He is the first such leader in the politics of the country, whose family no one has even heard of. Such a leader will not be found even after searching through binoculars.”
Shah said that PM Modi Modi is the most popular leader of every region and section of society.

He pointed out that PM Modi didn’t even have experience of running panchayat when he was made CM of Gujarat and despite that, he won continuously and ran the state quite efficiently.

“Those who are in front of me today have known Narendra Modi for the last 20 years. You have seen his successful 20 years. You have seen the difference in his leadership in India and Gujarat,” said Shah.

He stated: “But as a student of Political Science, I would say that it is necessary to know the journey of 30 years before this. If you have to understand the journey of rising from the courtyard of poverty to becoming the Prime Minister of the country, from being a small worker to becoming the most popular leader in the world and the journey of becoming the PM of India, despite never being a member of the Panchayat you need to know about the first 30 years.”

Shah also asserted that “to understand the political life of Modi ji, he has to be seen not from an isolated view but from a holistic view”.

He further said that as a worker of the organization, he has seen PM Modi eating food in the house of the poorest of the poor in a small village.

“While making a policy, whether it is a policy for the smallest person, the policy is for all-inclusive, and for the all-round development, where does it come from? The answer to this is the time of Prime Minister Modi ji in the work of the organization for the last 30 years,” he said.

The Home Minister said that Narendra Modi thinks about the result and this thinking has brought a big change in the country. “They are sensitive, they think about the smallest person,” he added.

He further said that the Modi-led BJP government does make policies which are good for the people of the country.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji’s government does not take such decisions which are liked by the people, but the Modi government takes such decisions which are good for the people. He doesn’t do politics for votes. His speciality is immense love and immeasurable sensitivity for the downtrodden, tribal, poor and backward,” added the Home Minister.

Shah said the primary education system implemented by PM Modi in Gujarat is a role model for the entire country.

“I have worked with Modi for years. He thinks most about the nation. For this reason, the people of the country have faith that when we celebrate the centenary of independence, India will reach new heights,” he said.

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu today released the book ‘Modi @20: Dreams Meeting Delivery’, in presence of Home Minister and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

The book ‘Modi @20: Dreams Meeting Delivery’, is an anthology about Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (ANI)

Uber Cup: India lose to South Korea 5-0

Bangkok [Thailand]: After registering two back-to-back wins, Team India crashed 5-0 against South Korea in their final group clash of the ongoing Uber Cup 2022 in Bangkok, on Wednesday.

In the Group D match, World No. 7 PV Sindhu fell prey to An Se-young, as she got completely dominated in both the games. Sindhu lost in her outing by 15-21, 14-21, in a match that lasted 42 minutes.
In the second clash, the women’s doubles pair of Shruti Mishra and Simran Singhi got thrashed by Lee So-hee and Shin Seung-chan 13-21, 12-21, in a 39-minute match. locked horns with Kim Ga-Eun in the third match and got outplayed by 10-21, 10-21.

Then, the duo of Tanisha Crasto and Treesa Jolly lost to Kim Hye-jeong and Kong Hee-yong, 14-21, 11-21, in a match that lasted for 36 minutes.

In the final clash, Ashmita Chaliha went against Sim Yu-jin but India’s losing streak continued as she ended the game at 18-21, 17-21.

Earlier, Team India had convincingly won against Canada and USA and reserved their place in the quarterfinals of the ongoing Uber Cup 2022. (ANI)


India ‘categorically’ denies reports of sending troops to Sri Lanka

Colombo [Sri Lanka]: The Indian High Commission on Wednesday “categorically” denied media reports about New Delhi sending its troops to Colombo, stating that the country is fully supportive of Sri Lanka’s democracy, stability and economic recovery.

Sri Lanka is struggling with acute food and electricity shortages, forcing the country to seek help from its neighbours. The economic situation has led to huge protests with demands for the resignation of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
“The High Commission would like to categorically deny speculative reports in sections of media & social media about India sending her troops to Sri Lanka. These reports and such views are also not in keeping with the position of the Govt of India,” the Indian mission said in a Tweet.

“The Spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs of India clearly stated yesterday that #India is fully supportive of Sri Lanka’s democracy, stability and economic recovery,” it said in another tweet.

Yesterday, India denied rumours circulating in sections of media and social media that certain Sri Lankan political persons and their families have fled to India.

In view of the current situation in Sri Lanka, India earlier today said it is fully supportive of the democracy, stability, and economic recovery of the island nation.

Sri Lanka on Tuesday ordered the country’s armed forces to open fire on anyone looting public property or causing harm to others following a day of violent clashes.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa also urged people to remain calm, and refrain from violence and acts of revenge against others.

A number of violent incidents have been reported in the country after pro-government groups clashed with anti-government protesters on Monday, leaving eight people dead and over 200 injured.

A nationwide curfew was imposed from Monday until Wednesday and the military was deployed to maintain law and order.

Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned as Sri Lanka’s PM on Monday as violent protests broke out. (ANI)

Uber Cup : India thrash Canada 4-1 in opening match 

Uber Cup : India thrash Canada 4-1 in opening match

Bangkok [Thailand]: India thrashed Canada by a margin of 4-1 in their first Uber Cup Finals 2022 tie in Bangkok. Both the teams, part of Group D, had an intensely fought battle which saw India dominating most of the proceedings. World No. 7 PV Sindhu started off things against Michelle LI. The first game of tie was a closely fought one, with Sindhu prevailing 21-17. However, in the second game, things were more one-sided as Sindhu defeated LI 21-10 to seal the match.

Then, the duo of Shruti Mishra and Simran Singhi took on Rachel Honderich and Kristen Tsai. The first game was extremely close fought, with the Canadian duo taking it 21-19. Honderich and TSAI also won the second game 21-12 to win the match.

Aakarshi Kashyap locked horns with Wen Yu Zhang in the third match. Zhang took the first game by margin of 21-17 to gain an early advantage over Kashyap. However, Kashyap bounced back to win the next games 21-18 and 21-17.

The fourth match saw the Indian duo of Tanisha Crasto and Treesa Jolly battle it out against Catherine Choi and Josephine Wu. Crasto and Jolly walked off as winners with a comfortable win by 21-9, 21-15.

Finally, Ashmita Chaliha took on Rachel Chan. Chan won the first game 21-12, however, Chaliha bounced back with 21-11 in second round to make things even. Chaliha also took away the final game 22-20, sealing the win for her country in the final match.


India highlights food, energy, security challenges emanating from Ukraine war at UNSC

New York [US]- Highlighting the food and energy security challenges emerging as a result of the ongoing war in Ukraine, India at United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Thursday (local time) highlighted the “disproportionate impact on the Global South and developing countries” of the ongoing disruptions.

Speaking at the UNSC briefing on Ukraine, India’s permanent representative to the UN, TS Tirumurti, said, “The conflict is having a destabilizing effect with broader regional and global implications.”
“Oil prices are skyrocketing and there is a shortage of food grains and fertilizers. This has had a disproportionate impact on the Global South and developing countries,” Tirumurti said.

“The food security challenges emanating from the conflict require us to respond by going beyond constraints that bind us presently. Energy security is equally a serious concern and needs to be addressed through cooperative efforts,” Tirumurti further said.

Tirumurti reiterated India’s consistent calls for “complete cessation of hostilities (in Ukraine) and for pursuing the path of dialogue and diplomacy as the only way out.”

“However, the conflict has resulted in loss of lives and countless miseries for its peoples, particularly for women, children and elderly, with millions becoming homeless and forced to take shelter in neighbouring countries,” he said.

“India has strongly condemned killing of civilians in Bucha and supported the call for an independent investigation,” Tirumurti further said.

The Indian envoy also welcomed the presence and remarks of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres during the briefing.

“We acknowledge the efforts made by the Secretary-General, particularly the findings of the Global Crisis Response Group Task Team. We welcome their recommendation for exempting purchases of food by WFP (World Food Programme) for humanitarian assistance from food export restrictions with immediate effect,” Tirumurti said.

“It is important that similar exemptions are provided to all member states and relevant stakeholders, who are contributing to this global humanitarian effort,” he added.

India also welcomed the recent visit of Guterres to Moscow and Kyiv and his engagement with the leadership of the Russian Federation and Ukraine.

“We agree that the immediate priority is of evacuation of innocent civilians from areas witnessing intense fighting. We appreciate the efforts of the United Nations in evacuating civilian population from Mariupol. We hope these efforts will extend to other areas as well,” Tirumurti said.

Speaking earlier, Guterres had expressed hope that the UN’s continued coordination with the governments of Russia and Ukraine will help facilitate humanitarian aid efforts.

“I hope that the continued coordination with Moscow and Kyiv will lead to more humanitarian pauses to allow civilians safe passage from the fighting and aid to reach those in critical need,” Guterres said.

Talking about India’s humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, Tirumurti said, “India has been sending humanitarian supplies to Ukraine and its neighbours, which include medicines and other essential relief material. We are also providing more medical supplies to Ukraine.”

He added that India supports calls for guarantees of safe passage to deliver essential humanitarian and medical supplies through humanitarian corridors.

“Humanitarian action must always be guided by the principles of humanitarian assistance, i.e., humanity, neutrality, impartiality, and independence. These measures should never be politicized,” Tirumurti emphasized.

“Let me conclude by reaffirming that the contemporary global order has been built on the UN Charter, international law and respect for sovereignty and the territorial integrity of states,” Tirumurti said. (ANI)

NBA star Dwight Howard visits Varanasi for ‘spiritual journey’

Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) [India]: NBA star Dwight Howard has hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for reforming the holy city of Varanasi, after making a visit to the place recently for a ‘spiritual journey’ that ‘rejuvenated his soul’.

“At peace with myself and the world after a visit to Varanasi. A spiritual journey that has rejuvenated the soul. Congratulations @narendramodi for the magical reformation of the holy city. Varanasi has inspired so many legends, I am humbled. I am sure the reincarnation of this sacred city will inspire many more. @pixstoryapp,” posted Howard on Instagram.
Howard currently plays as a Centre-Forward for Los Angles Lakers in National Basketball Association (NBA), the North American professional basketball league. (ANI)

Home, car loans get expensive as SBI and others hike lending rates

New Delhi [India]: The country’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI), and other government and private banks including Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda and Kotak Mahindra Bank, on Tuesday increased their benchmark lending rates by up to 10 basis points or 0.10 per cent.

This will make the home, car, personal and other loans more expensive. Equated monthly installment (EMI) for different categories of loans will go up.
State Bank of India has increased its marginal cost of funding based lending rate (MCLR) by 0.10 per cent across tenors, as per data available at SBI website.

Bank of Baroda has increased its one-year MCLR by 0.05 per cent.

Private sector lenders Axis Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank have also hiked one-year MCLR rates.

Banks have hiked lending rates for the first time in around three years. Other banks are also likely to increase their lending rates in the coming days. (ANI)


‘K.G.F: Chapter 2’ Hindi Becomes The Biggest Opener In India

The Hindi version of Yash’s KGF: Chapter 2 is now the biggest opener in India. The film collected Rs 52.95 crore in India on its opening day. Directed by Prashanth Neel, the film is on its way to shattering several box office records. According to trade analyst Taran Adarsh, the film has surpassed the opening day records of Hrithik Roshan-Tiger Shroff’s War and Aamir Khan’s Thugs of Hindostan.

Director Prashanth Neel’s KGF: Chapter 2 hit the theatres on April 14. The film was postponed several times due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. KGF: Chapter 2 is taking the box office by storm.

Trade analyst Taran Adarsh took to Twitter to inform the fans that the Hindi version of KGF: Chapter 2 has surpassed the opening day records of War and Thugs of Hindostan.

His tweet read, “‘KGF2’ CREATES HISTORY, BIGGEST DAY 1 TOTAL #KGF2 has demolished *opening day* records of #War and #ThugsOfHindostan #KGFChapter2 is now BIGGEST OPENER in #India [#Hindi version] *Day 1* biz #KGF2: Rs 53.95 cr. #War: Rs 51.60 cr #TOH: Rs 50.75 cr Nett. #India biz (sic).”

KGF: Chapter 2 is written and directed by Prashanth Neel. The film is produced by Vijay Kiragandur of Hombale Films. Sanjay Dutt, Raveena Tandon, Srinidhi Shetty, Prakash Raj and Malavika Avinash play key roles in the film. Editor Ujwal Kulkarni, cinematographer Bhuvan Gowda and music director Ravi Basrur form the technical crew.

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)


Zakir Naik’s IRF banned for 5 years on charges of radicalizing Muslim youth

New Delhi [India]: The Ministry of Home Affairs in a notification issued on Wednesday has declared the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) an unlawful association and banned it for five years.

The MHA notification stated that the speeches of Zakir Naik, founder of the IRF, were objectionable as he has been extolling known terrorists, and also proclaiming that every Muslim should be a terrorist.
The notification further stated that the IRF founder has also been promoting forcible conversion of the youth to Islam, justifying the suicide bombings, posting objectionable comments against Hindus, Hindu Gods and other religions, which are derogatory to other religions.

“Naik has also been further inspiring the Muslim youth and terrorists in India and abroad to commit terrorist acts,” added the notification by the MHA.

The notification also stated that the unlawful activities of IRF, its members as well as sympathizers were noticed in Gujarat, Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Kerala, Maharashtra and Odisha.

Before the anti-terror tribunal, Solicitor General submitted that there is overwhelming evidence on record to show that Zakir Naik continues to reach out to his followers in India by propagating his teachings through videos and making provocative speeches and lectures disseminated via various social media channels.

The MHA notification further stated that the material on record before this Tribunal by a senior government officer in sealed cover shows that trustees of IRF and especially Zakir Naik continue to travel to Gulf Countries for the purpose of raising funds and have opened trusts, NGOs, shell companies, all of which are being used for the sole purpose of radicalizing individuals and especially the youth of Muslim community.

“These activities constitute a form of symbolic yet manifested invasion through the deliberate perpetuation of hate in the community done by IRF and its office bearers. Therefore, the aforesaid material shows that there exists sufficient cause to hold IRF an unlawful association,” added the notification. (ANI)


Shah Rukh Khan Is Back In India After Wrapping Spain Schedule Of ‘Pathaan’: Video

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 31 (ANI): After shooting for ‘Pathaan’ for over a month in Spain, superstar Shah Rukh Khan is finally back home.

On Thursday morning, SRK was spotted at the Mumbai airport along with his manager Pooja Dadlani. Several pictures and videos have been doing the rounds on the internet in which King Khan can be seen sporting a white tee, a pair of blue denim jeans and a black cap. He also wore a mask and had his shoulder-length hair tied in a ponytail.

See Video:

Before moving into his car, Shah Rukh greeted his staff, hugged them, and then he settled inside.


His airport look has left his fans in awe of him.
“SRK slaying,” a social media user commented.
“He is looking so hot in a white T-shirt,” another one wrote.

A few days ago, he surprised everyone with his BTS picture from the shooting schedule in which he flaunted his eight-pack abs and long hair look.

For the unversed, SRK’s ‘Pathaan’ will hit theatres on January 25, 2023. The film also features Deepika Padukone and John Abraham.

US Eases COVID-19 Travel Advisory For India From ‘Level 3’ To ‘Level 1’

Washington [US], March 29 (ANI): The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday (local time) has eased its COVID-19 travel advisories for India, taking it from Level 3 (high risk) to Level 1 (low risk).

The CDC in its advisory said it has changed its COVID-19 travel recommendation for India to “Level 1 (Low)” from “Level 3 (High).” “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 1 Travel Health Notice due to COVID-19, indicating a low level of COVID-19 in the country. Your risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated with an FDA authorized vaccine,” the US department of state said in a statement.

“Before planning any international travel, please review the CDC’s specific recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers,” the statement added.

While giving key information for travellers to India, the CDC said, “Make sure you are vaccinated and up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines before travelling to India. Even if you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines, you may still be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19. Anyone 2 years or older should properly wear a well-fitting mask in indoor public spaces. Follow all requirements and recommendations in India.”

CDC uses Travel Health Notices (THNs) to alert travellers and other audiences to health threats around the world and advise on how to protect themselves.

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)


UP govt issues helpline number for stranded citizens in Ukraine, appoints IAS Ranvir Prasad as Nodal officer


Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India](ANI): Amid the ongoing Ukraine crisis, the Uttar Pradesh government on Friday issued a helpline number for the citizens stranded in the Eastern European country and said that the government is working to bring back the people of the state.

The number launched by the government is 94544 41081.
The government also appointed IAS Ranvir Prasad, Relief Commissioner and Secretary, Revenue Department, as the nodal officer to coordinate the return of the citizens.

“In view of the emergency situation arising in Ukraine, all commercial flights to and from Ukraine are closed. Ukraine’s airspace is also closed. The Embassy of India, Kiev, is striving to provide all possible help to all Indians (Indian students and others) present in Ukraine. Helpline numbers are being operated by Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India and Embassy of India, Kiev, Ukraine,” said the statement by the government.

“According to the notification, the Nodal Officer, in coordination with the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India and the Embassy of India, Kiev, Ukraine, will facilitate the process of repatriation of students/persons from Uttar Pradesh who are present in Ukraine,” added the statement.

The state government further stated that the state control room will provide 24-hour helpline service to the people. (ANI)

Singapore High Commissioner called by MEA over remarks by PM Lee during parliamentary debate


New Delhi [India] (ANI): The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday called the High Commissioner of Singapore to India, Simon Wong over the remarks made by the Prime Minister of Singapore during a parliamentary debate.

India on Thursday termed as “uncalled for” Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s remarks in which he had referred to “Nehru’s India” and to criminal charges faced by MPs. The matter has been taken up with the Singaporean side, sources said.
The Singapore PM had referred to “Nehru’s India” while talking about India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in the context of working of democracies during debate on the report of the committee of privileges of Parliament. He had also referred to media reports about pending cases against Lok Sabha MPs.

“The remarks by the Prime Minister of Singapore were uncalled for. We are taking up the matter with the Singaporean side,” a source said.

“Nehru’s India has become one where, according to media reports, almost half the MPs in the Lok Sabha have criminal charges pending against them, including charges of rape and murder,” Loong said, adding that “it is also said that many of these allegations are politically motivated”.

“Most countries are founded and start off on the basis of high ideals and noble values. But more often than not, beyond the founding leaders and the pioneer generation, over decades and generations, gradually things change,” Lee said.

“Things start off with a passionate intensity. The leaders, who fought for and won independence, are often exceptional individuals of great courage, immense culture, and outstanding ability. They came through the crucible of fire and emerged as leaders of men and nations. They are the David Ben-Gurions, the Jawaharlal Nehrus, and we have our own too,” he added. (ANI)

India’s Navdeep Kaur Wins Best National Costume Award At Mrs World 2022

New Delhi [India], January 19 (ANI): Indian women have definitely been making a mark at the international beauty pageants. The recent one to bring home the glory is Navdeep Kaur.

Navdeep, who hails from Odisha, recently won the Costume Round of Mrs World 2022 held in Nevada, Las Vegas. Making the announcement, the official handle of Mrs India wrote on Instagram, “Heart overflowing with gratitude!! India we made it, We are glad and honoured to announce that our queen Mrs. India World 2021 has won the National Costume by @eggiejasmin_artist on Mrs. World 2022.”

Dressed up as Kundalini Chakra, Navdeep beautifully depicted India’s cultural aspect with her costume on the global platform.

The golden attire comprised a huge serpent head and snake-like details throughout, along with a serpent cane. It’s been learnt that Kundalini Chakra symbolises the movement of energy in the chakras of the body from the base to the spine up through the crown.

Kudos to artist Eggie Jasmin for conceptualising Navdeep’s look. Jasmin sprinkled the unique costume with over 50,000 diamond rhinestones.

Brocade, tulle and Korean sequin fabric were used to craft the costume, while pearls and crystals were added as a final touch for a regal look.

After seeing Navdeep’s outfit, everyone’s heart swelled with pride.
“Beautiful. What a concept,” a social media user commented.
“Couldn’t be more proud. In awe of the outfit,” another one wrote.

For the unversed, Navdeep worked as an assistant manager at a private bank before entering the world of beauty and fashion. She won the title of Mrs India World in October 2020. She is also a doting mother to a 5-year-old child.

India reports 1,41,986 new COVID-19 cases


New Delhi [India], (ANI): India reported 1,41,986 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, taking the daily positivity rate in the country to 9.28 per cent, said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Saturday.

With this, the country’s COVID-19 case tally has gone up to 3,53,68,372.
According to Health Ministry, the country has so far reported 3,071 cases of Omicron of which 1,203 have been recovered.

Maharashtra accounts for the highest number of Omicron cases (876), followed by Delhi (513) and Karnataka (333).

The Ministry informed that India’s active caseload presently is at 4,72,169. It accounts for 1.34 per cent of the country’s total cases.

The weekly positivity rate is at 5.66 per cent, while the daily positivity rate is at 9.28 per cent.

With the recovery of 40,895 patients in the last 24 hours, the cumulative tally of COVID recovered patients, since the beginning of the pandemic, now stands at 3,44,12,740. The current recovery rate is at 97.30 per cent.

The country also reported 285 new fatalities in the last 24 hours, taking the death toll to 4,83,463.

India conducted 15,29,948 COVID-19 tests in the last 24 hours, and so far the country has conducted 68,84,70,959 tests as per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) data.

India has administered a total of 150.06 crore vaccine doses so far under Nationwide Vaccination Drive.

The COVID vaccination drive began on January 16, 2021. Cumulatively, 1,50,61,92,903 people have been vaccinated so far in the country of which 90,59,360 were administered vaccines in the last 24 hours.

India, China to hold 14th round Corps Commander talks on Jan 12


New Delhi [India]: In a bid to resolve the ongoing stand-off on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), India and China are likely to hold the 14th round of corps commander talks on January 12.
This would be the first time that the Indian Army’s new 14 ‘Fire and Fury’ Corps Commander Lt Gen Anindya Sengupta would be representing the country in talks with the Chinese side. He took over formally on Tuesday.

The 14th round of India-China talks are likely to be held on January 12 to mainly resolve the Hot Springs area which is the only new friction point left to be resolved between the two countries, government sources told ANI.

India and China have been holding talks on the Line of Actual Control in the Eastern Ladakh area to resolve the standoff and 13 rounds have been held so far.

The two sides are looking at the resolution of the Hot Springs friction point which emerged after the Chinese aggression last year.

The friction points on the banks of the Pangong lake and Gogra heights have been resolved but Hot Springs remains to be addressed, the sources said.

India has also been demanding the resolution of the DBO area and CNN junction area which have been there before the April-May timeframe last year and are considered to be legacy issues.

India responded very aggressively to Chinese aggression and checked their actions at multiple locations.

The 2020 Galwan clash also took place in June there in which both sides suffered casualties.

India has been working towards establishing peace in the area but has also maintained a high level of preparedness to thwart any misadventure by the enemy troops.

India has also made rapid developments in terms of roads and habitats for troops and sources estimated that India can easily manage over 2 lakh soldiers in the area in extreme winters in case such a large number of troops are required to be there.

Direct Flights Between India & Switzerland To Restart From January 10

Swiss International Air Lines is reportedly expanding its range of scheduled flights and adding new destinations to its networks. This means that the airlines will be restoring its services to Delhi and Mumbai, which were earlier suspended due to the pandemic.

According to latest reports, Swiss International Air Lines will be welcoming passengers from India as early as January 10, 2022. Hence, direct flights to and from Switzerland will be operational as part of the air bubble agreement between the two countries.

You will be able to fly to Zurich from Mumbai on Wednesdays and Fridays, and on the other hand, you can fly from Zurich to Mumbai on Mondays and Wednesdays. The following months will see more flights available from Mumbai, and Delhi. This could mean that your Swiss holiday is soon going to become a reality, but that is subject to change, as per the situation, and restrictions in the future.

You are advised to check the eligibility conditions for travel before you book tickets. Also, do check the transit regulations for Switzerland during that time.

Fully vaccinated travellers can now travel to Switzerland, so if you have been vaccinated with Covishield, or Covaxin, then you are eligible to travel. However, all adult travellers need to submit a negative PCR test report, which should not be older than 72 hours before your entry into the country.

Switzerland used to have a rule where travellers needed to take a second PCR or rapid antigen test, four to seven days after arriving into Switzerland, but that too is not necessary now.

Arnab Chatterjee: ‘I’m Looking Forward To Collaborate With Studios & Banners Across India’

Filmmaker Arnab Chatterjee is all set to resume work after a break of about three years. He was in London to pursue a course in film studies. In a chat with CT, Arnab spoke about his recently released film, Janmodin, his future plans and more…

How does it feel to be back in your hometown during Christmas?
Being in Kolkata, especially during Christmas, feels great. I was born and raised in the Park Street area, so December is always special to me. All my childhood friends, who’re now spread all over the world, return to Kolkata around this time of the year and we have our annual meetups.

Your much-awaited film Jonmodin featuring the late Soumitra Chatterjee is finally streaming on OTT. Are you excited?
The feeling is more of a relief than excitement. We made Jonmodin in 2018. There were quite a few hiccups before the release because of the pandemic. But finally, I am happy that the film got released and the audience is watching it.

Tell us about the feedback you received for your film…
Feedback from the audience is always the biggest validation for any filmmaker. On my flight back from London to Kolkata, I met a few people who watched my film. I’m glad it’s already been well-received by the global audience.

Your future projects...
I have a few scripts underway. A psychological thriller, a romance, a heist drama, to name a few. I want to make all of them as and when I get the budget in place. I’m really looking forward to collaborating with studios and banners across India. I hope the pandemic doesn’t come in the way because film industries have already suffered a lot.

Study Investigate Whether Personality Traits Can Be Improved Without Personal Motivation

A new study has found that attempting to improve someone’s emotional stability without their commitment is not likely to happen.

The research has been published in the ‘Journal of Research in Personality’. A growing body of studies suggested that personality traits can be changed through intervention. As a recent study conducted by SMU psychology professor Nathan Hudson noted, personality traits are linked to a wide range of life outcomes, such as relationship quality and occupation success.

The goal of his recent research was to test two theories; that successful personality intervention may require that the participants choose which traits they change and that they be actively invested in changing the target traits.

He found that conscientiousness – the ability to be responsible, hard-working and organized – could be improved even if participants were not motivated to change. Completing a series of tasks over a regulated period was found to change habits and therefore improve conscientiousness.

But emotional stability was a different matter: study participants only got better at handling difficult situations if they chose to work on their emotional stability. Otherwise, tasks they were given over four weeks proved to be ineffective.

“This provides promising evidence that schools, companies, or other organizations could ask people to make relatively minor changes that could help improve their lives by making them more organized and responsible over time,” Hudson said.

“In contrast, it appears that emotional stability might require a bit more investment from the people who partake in an intervention,” Hudson added.

Hudson stressed that this research isn’t about trying to control people.

“The idea of personality trait change – especially other people trying to change an individual’s personality – can sound scary. But whether we recognize it or not, society is filled with interventions designed to try to change our personality traits,” he said.

“For instance, elementary school is a giant intervention designed to help children become more intelligent, yes, but also kinder and more sociable, responsible and hardworking,” he said.

Previous research by Hudson and other psychologists had shown that people who actively worked to change aspects of their personality were, in many cases, successful in achieving the results they desired.

But before now, it wasn’t clear if a person could have successful results if they didn’t choose which personality trait they were looking to change and weren’t invested in making that change.

Hudson conducted two separate studies to answer that question. Each lasted four months.

In the first, 175 college students were randomly assigned to change either conscientiousness or emotional stability. They were then given their choice of tasks to improve that personality trait. For instance, those who were selected to work on being more conscientious were given challenges like “organize and clean your desks” or “make a list of tasks you would like to complete.”

The second trial had more than 400 college students at several universities choose which trait they wanted to work on. Yet, unbeknownst to them, half of the participants were randomly assigned to receive challenges targeting a characteristic that they didn’t choose.

In both studies, the students’ personality traits were measured before and after tasks were assigned using the 44-item Big Five Inventory test that is standard among psychologists.

Hudson found that students who completed more tasks for conscientiousness-building tasks saw an improvement, even when they were not aware of why they were assigned the tasks. But for those who did not choose to work on emotional stability, the challenges were entirely inert – or even made that trait worse.

Hudson suspected that the reason people must be motivated to change emotional stability is that this trait dealt with negative emotions.

“For many people, it can be difficult to ‘just stop feeling angry’ or ‘just stop being stressed,'” he said.

“My hunch is that indirect strategies for changing someone’s emotions, such as writing in a journal or thinking about positive things, can only really work when people want to use those techniques to change their emotions,” he added.

Conscientiousness, on the other hand, can be easily faked and increased over time through mechanical acts, like cleaning your room or using a calendar.

“Motivation is largely irrelevant to interventions targeting conscientiousness, as long as participants adhere to the intervention,” Hudson concluded.

Raj Kapoor’s 97th Birth Anniversary: A Look At Some Of His Iconic Movies

Film actor, producer, and director — Raj Kapoor — widely regarded as the greatest showman in the history of Indian cinema and entertainment would have turned 97 if he was alive today.

The legendary actor was born in Peshwar to father-actor Prithviraj Kapoor and his wife had an illustrious career spanning more than two decades and had won many accolades including 3 National Film Awards and 11 Filmfare Awards in India. At the age of ten, he appeared in a Hindi film for the first time, in 1935’s ‘Inquilab’. Kapoor’s big break came with the lead role in ‘Neel Kamal’ (1947) opposite Madhubala in her first role as a leading lady.

Winner of several accolades, the iconic Bollywood star has been honoured with the Padma Bhushan in 1971 for his contributions to the arts. In 1987, the late actor was bestowed with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award. He was also a two-time nominee for the Palme d’Or grand prize at the Cannes Film Festival for his films ‘Awaara’ (1951) and ‘Boot Polish’ (1954).

Here is remembering the legend of Indian cinema by revisiting some of the iconic movies that made him an irrepressible star:

1. ‘Mera Naam Joker’ (1970): Raj Kapoor donned the director’s hat apart from playing the lead character in this film. The movie is considered one of the lengthiest films of Indian cinema and the second Hindi film to have two intervals, the first being Sangam (1964). The film is based on the life of a clown who uses his sorrows to make his audience laugh. Three women, Mary (Simi Garewal), Marina (Kseniya Ryabinkina), and Meena (Padmini), are each sent a toy clown and invited to the last performance of the famous clown Raju (Raj Kapoor), in his first time on stage in 20 years. The stories of these three women and their relationships with Raju are told through a series of flashbacks during his performance.

The film also gave Indian cinema evergreen songs like–‘ Jeena yahan marna yahan’, ‘Ae bhai zara dekh ke chalo’, ‘Jane kahan gaye woh din’ and more. This movie also marked debut of Rishi Kapoor in Bollywood.

2. ‘Sangam’ (1964): The romantic film was directed, produced and edited by Raj Kapoor at R. K. Studio. Apart from Kapoor, the movie stars Vyjayanthimala and Rajendra Kumar in the lead roles, with Iftekhar, Raj Mehra, Nana Palsikar, Lalita Pawar, Achala Sachdev and Hari Shivdasani appearing in supporting roles. The film revolves around the story of Sunder (Kapoor) who gets rejected by Radha (Vyjayanthimala). He then sets out to prove his worth to her by becoming a pilot. He eventually manages to marry her, unaware that she had been planning to marry his best friend (Rajendra Kumar).

The film also gave some of the iconic songs in Hindi cinema like— ‘Har dil jo pyar karega’, ‘Dost dost na raha’, and more.

3. ‘Shree 420’ (1955): The comedy-crime drama was the highest-grossing Indian film of 1955, and the song ‘Mera Joota Hai Japani’ sung by Mukesh, became popular and a patriotic symbol of the newly independent India at that time. The film was directed and produced by Kapoor from a story written by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas. The movie also gave Indian cinema one of the most iconic songs ‘Pyar hua iqraar hua’.

The movie stars Nargis, Nadira, and Kapoor in the lead roles. The film centres on Raj Kapoor, a poor but educated orphan who comes to Bombay with dreams of success. Kapoor’s character is influenced by Charlie Chaplin’s “little tramp”, much like Kapoor’s character in his 1951 ‘Awaara’. The music was composed by the team of Shankar Jaikishan, and the lyrics were penned by Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri.

4. ‘Awaara’ (1951): The crime-romantic drama was produced and directed by Raj Kapoor, and written by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas. It stars Kapoor along with his father Prithviraj Kapoor, as well as Nargis, Leela Chitnis and K. N. Singh in lead roles. Other members of the Kapoor family also made special appearances, including Kapoor’s youngest brother Shashi Kapoor, who plays the younger version of his character, and Prithiviraj’s father Dewan Basheshwarnath Kapoor, playing a cameo role in his only film appearance. The film’s music was composed by Shankar Jaikishan.

A poor young man named Raj (Kapoor) joins a criminal gang to feed his mother. But when he falls in love with Rita (Nargis), he decides to reform himself for her. ‘Awaara’ is considered a milestone in the history of Bollywood.

5. ‘Teesri Kasam’ (1966): The comedy-romantic drama was directed by Basu Bhattacharya and produced by lyricist Shailendra. It is based on the short story ‘Mare Gaye Gulfam’, by the Hindi novelist Phanishwarnath Renu. The film stars Raj Kapoor and Waheeda Rehman in lead roles. The duo Shankar-Jaikishan composed the film’s score.

It is the story of a naive bullock cart driver Hiraman (Kapoor), who falls in love with Hirabai (Rehman), a dancer at a theatre. ‘Teesri Kasam’ won the National award for best film.

All About India’s Harnaaz Sandhu, Miss Universe 2021

Harnaaz Sandhu has made the entire country proud by bringing home the Miss Universe 2021 crown.

The 21-year-old from Chandigarh won the international beauty pageant held in Eilat, Israel, by edging out Paraguay’s Nadia Ferreira and South Africa’s Lalela Mswane. The actor-model brought home the crown, two decades after Lara Dutta won the title in 2000.

Harnaaz has received her education from Chandigarh. She attended Shivalik Public School and the Post Graduate Government College for Girls, both in Chandigarh.

Harnaaz stepped into the glamourous industry at a young age and bagged numerous pageant titles including Times Fresh Face Miss Chandigarh 2017, Miss Max Emerging Star India 2018, Femina Miss India Punjab 2019 and LIVA Miss Diva Universe 2021.

She will also star in upcoming Punjabi films ‘Yaara Diyan Poo Baran’ and ‘Bai Ji Kuttange’, which are slated to release in 2022.

The newly crowned Miss Universe is very close to her family.

As per her Miss Universe delegate profile, Harnaaz draws her inspiration from her mother Ruby Sandhu, who is a gynaecologist by profession.

Before the finale, Harnaaz took to her Instagram Story and posted a screenshot of a video call with members of her family.

She wrote, “My strength, my lifelines,” along with tagging “maa” Ruby Sandhu, “bhai” Harnoor Sandhu and “masi” Preet Boparai.

Her Miss Universe delegate profile also stated that her favourite actor is Priyanka Chopra.

Further, her past time interests include “enjoying the company of friends, loves yoga, dancing, cooking, horse riding, and playing chess.”

India had earlier won the coveted crown twice with Sushmita Sen bagging the title in 1994 and Lara Dutta in 2000. Harnaaz has now joined the league of these incredible women.

Harnaaz Sandhu After Becoming Miss Universe 2021, Says ‘Chak De Phatte India’

India’s Harnaaz Sandhu has made the entire country proud by bringing home the crown at the 70th Miss Universe 2021, held in Eilat, Israel.

Mexico’s Andrea Meza, the reigning queen, passed on her crown to the new successor. After being crowned, Harnaaz could be seen celebrating on the stage with her fellow contestants.

Expressing pride in the country’s win, Harnaaz said, “Chak de phatte India, chak de phatte.”

Harnaaz edged out the first runner up Paraguay and the second runner up South Africa.

As part of the final question round, the top three contestants were asked, “What advice would you give to young women watching on how to deal with the pressures they face today?”

To this, Harnaaz, delivering her final statement, said, “Well, I think the biggest pressure the youth of today is facing is to believe in themselves. To know that you are unique and that’s what makes you beautiful. Stop comparing yourselves with others and let’s talk about more important things that are happening worldwide. I think this is what you need to understand. Come out, speak for yourself, because you are the leader of your life. You are the voice of your own. I believed in myself and that’s why I am standing here today. Thank you.”

India had earlier won the coveted crown twice with Sushmita Sen bagging the title in 1994 and Lara Dutta in 2000. Harnaaz has now joined the league of these incredible women.

The 21-year-old Chandigarh-based model has previously bagged numerous pageant titles including LIVA Miss Diva Universe 2021 and Femina Miss India Punjab 2019.

She has also starred in Punjabi films like ‘Yaara Diyan Poo Baran’ and ‘Bai Ji Kuttange’.

India’s Harnaaz Sandhu Wins Miss Universe 2021

The 21-year-old Harnaaz Sandhu, representing India at the 70th Miss Universe 2021, brought home the crown, two decades after Lara Dutta won the title in 2000.

Harnaaz has made the entire country proud by winning the crown for Miss Universe 2021, held in Eilat, Israel. Harnaaz edged out contestants Paraguay and South Africa to bag the crown.

The moment her name was declared as the winner, Harnaaz broke down with tears of joy. She could also be seen joining her hands in gratitude.

Mexico’s Andrea Meza, the reigning queen, passed on her crown to the new successor.

India had earlier won the coveted crown twice with Sushmita Sen bagging the title in 1994 and Lara Dutta in 2000.

The 21-year-old Harnaaz, hailing from Chandigarh, has now joined the league of these incredible women.

Omicron: India Removes Singapore From List Of ‘At Risk’ Nations

Singapore has been taken off from the list of “at-risk” nations, from where travellers are required to follow additional measures on arrival including post-arrival testing.

As per the reports, the current list of “at-risk” countries now comprises countries in Europe including the United Kingdom, Brazil, South Africa, Botswana, Ghana, China, New Zealand, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Israel, and Hong Kong.

This move comes as Omicron has been reported in 57 countries, and the World Health Organization (WHO) expects the number to continue growing.

As per the latest government travel guidelines, passengers travelling from the said countries are required to undergo an RT-PCR test on arrival in India, and will be further required to wait for the test results in the airport. The travellers would also need to follow additional measures on arrival in the country.

The additional measures include seven days of home quarantine, which will be further followed up by an RT-PCR test on the eighth day.

However, those arriving from ‘at no risk’ countries, can proceed forward quarantine-free within India, but will need to self-monitor their health for 14 days.

Reports have it that a random sample of 2 per cent of passengers travelling from Singapore will be required to undergo RT-PCR testing on arrival at Indian airports.

Singapore Airlines (SIA) restarted passenger services from 8 cities in India, including daily Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) services from Chennai, Delhi, and Mumbai from November 29, providing eligible customers with quarantine-free entry into Singapore.

India airlifts around 110 people including Afghan nationals from Kabul

New Delhi [India]: A special repatriation flight from Kabul with around 110 people including Afghan citizens belonging to the Hindu and Sikh communities, is set to arrive here on Friday.

The flight chartered by the Government of India is being operated from Kabul and is likely to arrive here around noon.
The flight is repatriating the stranded Indian citizens there and distressed Afghan citizens belonging to the Hindu and Sikh Community along with spouses of Indian citizens, according to a statement by India World Forum.

The three Sri Guru Granth Sahib from historical Gurdwaras in Afghanistan and Hindu religious scriptures including Ramanaya, Mahabharat and Bhagavad Gita from the ancient 5th Century Asamai Mandir, Kabul are also being flown to India.

The India World Forum said that after their arrival, the Afghan nationals will be rehabilitated by Sobti Foundation.

“It is pertinent to mention that the family of Mahram Ali, a local security guard who was killed during the terror attack in Gurdwara Guru Har Rai, Shor Bazar, Kabul is also being facilitated and being airlifted and will be rehabilitated by Sobti Foundation,” the statement read.

The Sri Guru Granth Sahib will proceed towards Gurdwara Guru Arjan Dev Ji, Mahavir Nagar and the Hindu religious scriptures will proceed towards Asamai Mandir in Faridabad.

India has evacuated 565 stranded persons from Afghanistan since August when Kabul fell to the Taliban fighters, the Government stated last week in the Lok Sabha.

Answering a question from Congress MP Hibi Eden, Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan said officials of the Ministry of External Affairs were in contact with the Indians left behind. The statement, however, did not elaborate if the airlifted individuals also included some Afghans. (ANI)

Greece Lifts Travel Restrictions For Tourists From India

The Global Visa Center World (GVCW) has announced that Indian citizens and residents of India can now enter Greece following the Covid-19 testing protocol as a precautionary measure against the pandemic.

According to the latest regulations, limited categories of visitors are now allowed to enter Greece, including:

1) Citizens of the EU & Schengen Area countries.

2) Residents of a limited number of third countries, including residents of India.

Expressing their joy on the re-opening of Greece to tourists from India after approximately 21 months, DuDigital Global and GVCW, which jointly operate the Visa Application centres in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka state, “You can now apply for short stay visa (C- Visa category) at GVCW application centres in New Delhi and Mumbai on Mondays and Wednesdays.”

New Delhi Visa Application Centre: Shivaji Stadium Metro Station, Concourse Level Baba Kharak Singh Marg, Connaught Place

Mumbai Visa Application Centre: 4th Floor, Urmi Axis Building, Behind Famous Studio, Opp. E. Moses Road, Mahalaxmi (West)

Additionally, Indian citizens and residents can also submit their visa applications as per the standard procedures outlined on the website:

Please visit the following link for the complete protocol of arrivals to & departure from Greece:

Omicron: Japan To Add India & More Under Strict Quarantine Vigilance

In an effort to curb the spread of Covid-19 variant Omicron, Japan will add India, Greece, Romania and four US states under strict quarantine vigilance.

Japanese nationals and foreign residents travelling to Japan from India, Greece, Romania and four US states will have to undergo stringent quarantine regulations Sunday onwards, in order to control the spread of the Omicron variant, reported Kyodo news.

While, foreign residents, as well as Japanese nationals travelling from Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota and New York to Japan, will have to mandatorily spend three days of their two-week quarantine at government-designated facilities, reported Kyodo News.

With emerging Omicron cases in the country and to curb the further spread, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno on Friday announced the expansion of the list addressing a press conference. A government task force made the decision to control the increasing number of new variant cases in Japan.

The list for three-day mandatory quarantine at government-designated facilities already includes countries such as Austria, Ecuador and France. While many are being subject to stringent quarantine requirements, such as staying in government-designated facilities for over 10 days, reported Kyodo News.

The first Omicron case was reported on Tuesday in Japan, causing it to deny re-entry of all foreigners, including residents with long-term visas, who have recently been to any of 10 African countries likely to have widespread infections of the variant.

The country has further banned new entries by foreigners from around the globe. 

India Revises Rules For International Arrivals Over Omicron

Starting Wednesday, a new set of rules will come into effect for international travellers arriving in the country. The rules have been revised in view of the rising concerns over the emergence of the new coronavirus variant, named ‘Omicron’, that has been termed as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Among the latest guidelines, the Union health ministry has mandated RT-PCR test passengers arriving from ‘at-risk’ nations’.

According to the health ministry, the countries designated as “at-risk” are the European countries, including the UK, South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel.

Here are the key points to know:

> According to the new guidelines, passengers arriving in India are required to submit the self-declaration form on the online Air Suvidha Portal before the scheduled travel. They are also required to submit the last 14 days travel details.

> The guidelines also mandated uploading of negative RT-PCR test reports on the Air Suvidha portal before the journey. The test should have been conducted within 72 hours prior to undertaking the journey.

> Travellers from ‘countries at-risk’ will need to take the Covid-19 test post-arrival. They will be then asked to wait at the airport premise until the result comes.

> In case of a negative test result, the traveller will be asked to home-quarantine for seven days as a precautionary measure. They will have to take a retest on eighth day and if negative, further self-monitor for the next seven days.

> In case of a positive test result, the samples will be sent for genomic testing at the INSACOG laboratory network. Meanwhile, the passenger will be taken to a separate isolation facility and will be treated as per the protocol laid down by the health ministry.

> A subsection (5 percent of the total flight passengers) shall undergo post-arrival testing at random at the airport on arrival.

‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ To Release On December 16 In India

Instead of December 17, ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ is now scheduled to release on December 16 in India.

On Monday, Sony Pictures Entertainment India shared the update via its social media channels, though it provided no reason as to why this was happening. “We have some exciting news for all the Spider-Man & Marvel fans! Our favourite superhero will be swinging in one day earlier than the US! Catch #SpiderManNoWayHome on December 16,” the post read.

The film will release in India in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu languages.

‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ is Spider-Man/Peter Parker’s third solo adventure. It stars Tom Holland, Benedict Cumberbatch, Zendaya, Alfred Molina, Jamie Foxx, Marissa Tomei and others.

People coming from new COVID-19 variant affected countries to take RT-PCR: K’taka Health Min

Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India]: Karnataka Health Minister, Dr K Sudhakar on Saturday said that the people coming from new COVID-19 variant affected countries has to take RT-PCR after landing in Bengaluru.

While speaking to the media in Bengaluru, Dr K Sudhakar, said, “We are constantly in touch with the Union Health Ministry and have information that this new strain in South Africa, Hong Kong, Israel, & Botswana is very contagious & has overtaken the Delta variant.”
“People coming from these affected countries will take the RT-PCR once they land in Bengaluru. If found positive, they will stay in and around the airport and will be treated, if needed. The home quarantine will be mandatory after their arrival,” added the Minister.

The minister added that 281 students tested positive in SDM College of Medical Sciences in Dharwad. “We have tested all 1,788 students of the college, some results are awaited. Also, one international school had reported 34 cases and another 12 cases. None of these cases was severe.”

Meanwhile, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavraj Bommai on Saturday called a meeting of experts of the health and disaster department to discuss the rise in COVID-19 cases in the state.

Karnataka reported 402 new COVID-19 cases and six deaths on Saturday. As per the state’s health department, the state has 6,611 active cases of infection. Karnataka has recorded 29,94,963 infections since the onset of the pandemic last year.

Amitabh Bachchan Pens Celebratory Note For Indian Cricket Team

As the Indian cricket team defeated New Zealand and claimed a clean sweep in the three-match series on Sunday, megastar Amitabh Bachchan penned a celebratory note for the “champions”.

Taking to his Instagram handle, Big B posted a picture of the Mean in Blue and shared some poetic lines to mark their victory. “Champions .. INDIA ! Gir jaana, haar jaana, yudh ke maidaan mein , haan maana. Dhvaj phairana , bal par apne , phir khade ho jaana, ye jaana…ghudasavaar ve, jo gir kar, phir savaar ho jaate hain, phir gaya paani unpar, jo maarte the unpar ashleel taana,” he wrote.

At the Eden Gardens on Sunday, Rohit Sharma’s 56-run knock followed by Axar Patel’s three-wicket haul helped India defeat New Zealand by 73 runs in the third and final T20I.

With this win, India won the three-match series 3-0 and now both teams will square off in two-match Test series, beginning Thursday in Kanpur.

Meanwhile, Big B has multiple upcoming projects including ‘Mayday’, ‘Jhund’, ‘Good Bye’ and ‘The Intern’ remake. He is also a part of ‘Brahmastra’, co-starring Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt.

Ind vs NZ, 2nd T20I: PIL in Jharkhand HC against full capacity permission at JSCA stadium

Ranchi (Jharkhand) [India]: A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Jharkhand High Court against the full capacity permission of spectators at JSCA stadium for the India and New Zealand T20 match.

The petitioner, Advocate Dheeraj Kumar on Thursday asked the concerned authorities such as the Jharkhand Chief Secretary, the Director of Disaster Management Department and the Jharkhand Cricket Association, why the government allowed full occupancy in the stadium whereas temples, courts, and other places are allowed with 50 per cent only.
According to the PIL, allowing a hundred per cent capacity of spectators is risking the lives in the view of COVID 19.

India and New Zealand will play the second match of the three-match T20 series in Ranchi on Friday. (ANI)

India, Singapore in talks to resume commercial flights soon

Singapore: It is learnt that Singapore is in talks with the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Ministry of External Affairs to restart scheduled commercial services with two daily flights each from Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai.

As of now, only repatriation is taking place through Air India, under the Vande Bharat mission.
Singapore has announced that from November 29 it will open up its Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTL) for India and once the programme is in place there will be no need for quarantine for vaccinated passengers.

There is huge pent up demand for travellers from both sides. Technically, repatriation flights cannot be included under Singapore’s VTL arrangement and only scheduled commercial flights are included in this programme.

It is learnt Singapore is keen that Singapore airlines should restart partial operations to India.

Sources say that talks for resumption of commercial flights between Singapore and India are moving in the right direction and there can be a decision soon.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is currently in Singapore and holding talks with top leadership, resumption of connectivity also came up during his talks.

Yesterday, Jaishankar met the Singapore transport minister and discussed enhancing travel arrangements between the two countries.

“Began my Singapore visit by meeting S. Iswaran, Minister of Transport. Discussed enhancing travel arrangements between the two countries,” Jaishankar tweeted. (ANI)

India Reopens To Vaccinated Foreign Travellers

India began on Monday allowing fully vaccinated foreign tourists to enter the country on regular commercial flights, in the latest easing of coronavirus restrictions as infections fall and vaccinations rise.

Tourists entering India must be fully vaccinated, follow all Covid-19 protocols and test negative for the virus within 72 hours of their flight, according to the health ministry. Many will also need to undergo a post-arrival Covid-19 test at the airport.

However, travellers from countries which have agreements with India for mutual recognition of vaccination certificates, such as the U.S., U.K. and many European nations, can leave the airport without undergoing a Covid-19 test.

This is the first time India has allowed foreign tourists on commercial flights to enter the country since March 2020, when it imposed one of the toughest lockdowns in the world in an attempt to contain the pandemic. Fully vaccinated tourists on chartered flights were allowed to enter starting last month.

It comes as coronavirus infections have fallen significantly, with daily new cases hovering at just above 10,000 for over a month.

To encourage travelers to visit India, the government plans to issue 500,000 free visas through next March. The moves are expected to boost the tourism and hospitality sector which was battered by the pandemic.

“The pandemic devastated the industry but things will return to normal once foreign tourists start to arrive,” said Jyoti Mayal, President of the Travel Agents Association of India.

Mayal said coastal states like Kerala and Goa in the country’s south and Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh in the Himalayan north are already witnessing a surge in domestic tourists. All four states are heavily dependent on earnings from tourism, and Mayal said foreign travelers scheduling their visits there would also help lift the local economy.

“Tourism is a very resilient industry and the upcoming season looks very promising. We are hopeful of generating more jobs than we lost during the pandemic,” she said.

With more than 35 million reported coronavirus infections, India is the second-worst-hit country after the U.S. Active coronavirus cases stand at 134,096, the lowest in 17 months, according to the health ministry.

Nearly 79% of India’s adult population has received at least one vaccine dose while 38% is fully vaccinated. The federal government has asked state administrations to conduct door-to-door campaigns to accelerate the vaccine campaign.

Fewer than 3 million foreign tourists visited India in 2020, a drop of more than 75% from 2019, when tourism brought nearly $30 billion in earnings.

T20 WC: New Zealand eliminate India with 8 wicket win

New Zealand reach semis with eight-wicket win.

All hopes for the Indian cricket team were dashed thanks to a classy and controlled performance from New Zealand. Led by Williamson and supported by Conway, the black caps strolled to victory and to the semis as a fighting but poor Afghanistan team succumbed to a dismal defeat.

New Zealand beat Afghanistan by eight wickets in their last Super 12 stage match of the ongoing T20 World Cup at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Chasing a total of 125 runs, New Zealand lost both the openers in the first 10 overs but an unbeaten 68-run partnership between skipper Kane Williamson (40*) and Devon Conway (38*) guided New Zealand to victory and semi-final qualification. With this result, India and Afghanistan are both out of the race for the final four. However, the Virat Kohli-led side has one more game left in the tournament against Namibia on Monday. The result of the India-Namibia game will make no change in India’s fate in the ongoing tournament. This is also the first time since 2012 that India failed to make it to the semi-finals of any ICC event– 2013 (Champions Trophy- winners), 2014 (T20 World Cup- runners-up), 2015 (ODI World Cup- semi-finalists), 2016 (T20 World Cup- semi-finalists), 2017 (Champions Trophy- runners-up), 2019 (ODI World Cup- semifinalists), 2021 (World Test Championship- runners-up).

After a decade India failed to make it to semis in an ICC tournament. But, what will hurt more is another great opportunity lost.

FIR lodged after man complains wife, in-laws celebrated Pakistan’s victory

Rampur (Uttar Pradesh) [India] : An FIR was lodged on the basis of a complaint by a man in Rampur against his wife and in-laws for allegedly celebrating Pakistan’s victory over India in the T20 World Cup match held on October 24, police said.
“An FIR has been registered after a case of making fun of the Indian cricket team came to our notice on the basis of a complaint made by a man,” said Ankit Mittal, Superintendent of Police. Complainant Ishan Miya, resident of Azim Nagar of Rampur has alleged that his wife Rabia Shamsi and her family burst crackers and put up WhatsApp status celebrating Pakistan’s victory in the T20 World Cup match.
The FIR has been filed in Ganj Police Station of Rampur district under Section 153-A of Indian Penal Code and Section 67 of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008.
“The husband and wife started living separately soon after the marriage. The wife lives with her family and has filed a dowry case against the husband,” reads the FIR.
Investigation into the matter is going on. More details are awaited.

Delhi govt orders probe into Green Park incident

New Delhi [India] : The Delhi government on Saturday ordered a probe into the collapse of a portion of multilevel parking in Green Park and directed the authorities to submit a report in 15 days.
Addressing a press conference, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said, “Within one year, the parking lot collapsed. God’s grace that there were no people there at that time, otherwise there could have been a big accident, but the vehicles were damaged.” “The BJP-run municipal corporations keep claiming they have no funds, but when they have money, they use it like this. They spend it on corruption. To build this parking facility, the BJP collected big amounts of money from nearby shopkeepers in the name of conversion charges,” Sisodia alleged.
He added that the Delhi government has taken the matter very seriously and ordered an inquiry.
” I have directed the Director Local Bodies to get it inspected by the Public Works Department (PWD) Engineer-in-Chief within 15 days and state what was lacking in the construction of the parking facility and identify those responsible for the collapse.”
He further said that appropriate action will be taken against those responsible according to the findings of the probe.
The Deputy Chief Minister also said, “We have come to know from the newspapers that the safety audit of the facility was not even done. If any deficiency is found in the investigation, action will be taken.”
The leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Atishi, Saurabh Bhardwaj and Somnath Bharti held a press conference on the issue and targeted the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).
Bharti had earlier said that the matter should be probed by the Supreme Court Monitored Committee.
A portion of the multi-level parking lot constructed by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation at Green Park had collapsed on the night of November 2

UP CM holds high-level meeting on COVID vaccination

Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India] : In a high-level meeting held on Saturday, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath released detailed guidelines on COVID-19 vaccination, the spread of Zika virus in the state and other issues in the state.
Instructing the officials regarding the COVID-19 vaccination, the Chief Minister said “a target should be set to vaccinate up to 25-30 lakh people on daily basis in the next two months.” He asked the state’s Additional Chief Secretary of Health to speed up the COVID-19 vaccination process by holding a meeting with all the CMOs of the state. “The action on vaccination has to be accelerated,” the Chief Minister said.
Speaking further, Adityanath noted that due to the correct implementation of the policy of “tracing, testing, treatment and vaccination”, there is effective control on COVID-19 infection in the state.
“In the last 24 hours, 72 thousand 969 samples were tested and only 7 were infected with the virus. On Saturday, the total number of active COVID-19 cases in the state is 83, while 16 lakh 87 thousand 207 patients have defeated Corona,” the CM noted.
“In many countries of the world, along with many states of the country, the number of COVID-19 cases are increasing. In such a situation, we need to be more careful,”, he added.
The chief minister further instructed that every person coming to Uttar Pradesh from other states must be investigated.”Need to be extra careful at the bus, railway stations and airport. Effective implementation of COVID-19 measure must be followed,” he added.
The Chief Minister further informed that more than 13 crores 28 lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the state. “More than 3,37,70,000 people have been provided with the security cover from COVID-19 by administration of both doses of the vaccine,” the Chief Minister said.
In view of rising cases of the Zika virus in Kanpur, the CM Adityanath instructed the officials to speed up sanitisation work.
“Infection of Zika virus is spreading rapidly in Kanpur. Considering the seriousness, special caution is required,” he said.
The Chief Minister further instructed the officials to intensify the dengue testing across the state.
“Arrangements should be made in all hospitals. The health of each patient should be continuously monitored,” the minister added.

‘Chhatrapati Tararani’ Becomes First-Ever Marathi Hollywood Film

Marathi cinema’s ‘Apsara’ Sonalee Kulkarni is all set to star in another historical based on the life of Maratha queen Tarabai. Now, the filmmakers Akshay Bardapurkar’s Planet Marathi and Piiyush Singh’s Golden Ratio Films bring UK’s biggest Independent film studio onboard.

Never before in the history of Marathi films, the industry has witnessed such a phenomenon. Black Hangar Studios is the name behind many Hollywood productions like ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’, ‘Dark Tide’, ‘The Grand Tour’ and many more.

The film will be titled ‘Moghul Mardini Chhatrapati Tararani’ and is based on one of the greatest epics of valor of the warrior queen Chhatrapati Tararani who fought with the Mughals, Nizamshahi, Aadilshahi, Qutubshahi, Dutch, British, Portuguese, Siddis at the same time!

While speaking about the same, Planet Marathi CMD, Akshay Bardapurkar said, “Chhatrapati Tararani is going to be a golden page in the history of Marathi cinema. Planet Marathi and Golden Ratio are proud to take the story of the Maratha warrior queen ‘Chhatrapati Tararani’ to the world.

“This will be the first and one of the biggest Marathi-Hollywood films to go on floors with an international film studio. It is too soon to reveal more details about the film but we have a talented blend of filmmakers, musicians, and artists that are working hard to bring this beautiful presentation to our Marathi audiences. I strongly believe this film has the potential to take Marathi cinema at a newer height.” Akshay added.

Black Hangar Studios and ORWO Studios is excited to be a part of an Indian regional film that narrates the historical epic. Jake Seal, CEO said, “After working with the Indian Sci-fi genre we are excited to create the experience for a historical period drama. The story itself moves us and with the promise that Planet Marathi brings in filmmaking we are thrilled to see where this journey leads us. We aim to make films more engaging for global audiences irrespective of the language and medium and we are committed to making the story come alive.”

Piiyush Singh, Cofounder, Golden Ratio Films said, “We are excited for the first ever Marathi Hollywood historical film which will definitely be the most awaited one for 2022. The title itself comes with huge responsibility to us and the entire team is working to bring out the best for the viewers.”

This mega-blockbuster, one-of-a-kind, film will be produced in both Marathi and English. Chhatrapati Tararani will create history yet again, this time as a first-ever Marathi Hollywood film. The makers are planning a Diwali 2022 release in India and overseas for this mammoth project.

India openers register fastest team fifty of T20 WC 2021

Dubai [UAE] : Team India on Friday registered the fastest team fifty of the ongoing ICC men’s T20 World Cup.
The Men in Blue achieved the feat against Scotland in the Group 2 match of Super 12 stage of the ongoing ICC men’s T20 World Cup here at Dubai International Cricket Stadium. Chasing 86, India reached the 50 run mark in just four overs and registered an eight wickets win.
India needed to chase the target in 7.1 overs to better their net-run rate from Afghanistan but the Virat Kohli-led side did the needful in 6.3 overs. Rahul and Rohit kept smashing boundaries as India raced to 70 in the five overs.
However, Bradley Wheal removed Rohit on 30 but India kept inching closer to a thumping win.
In the end, India chased down the target in just 6.3 overs, minutes after losing the wicket of Rahul.
Earlier, put in to bat first, Scotland got off to a bad start as they lost two wickets inside the powerplay. The side never really recovered as India starred with the bowl as Scotland were restricted to 85/10 in the Group 2 match.
For Scotland, George Munsey and Michael Leask played the innings of 24 and 21 as no batter of their side crossed the 30-run mark.

Jasprit Bumrah becomes India’s leading wicket-taker in men’s T20Is

Dubai [UAE] : Pacer Jasprit Bumrah on Friday became India’s leading wicket-taker in men’s T20Is as he surpassed spinner Yuzvendra Chahal’s tally.
Bumrah achieved the feat in the ongoing match against Scotland in ICC men’s T20 World Cup here at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Friday. Bumrah dismissed Mark Watt to wrap up Scotland innings in the 18th over and went past Chahal’s tally of 63 wickets.
Spinner Ravichandran Ashwin is third in the list with 55 wickets under his belt as Bumrah tops the chart with 64 scalps for India.

Bumrah also has most maiden overs in men’s T20Is. The India pacer has bowled 8 maiden overs while former Sri Lanka bowler Nuwan Kulasekara has six maidens.
Coming to the match, India starred with the bowl as Scotland were restricted to 85/10 in the Group 2 match. Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja were the picks of the bowlers as they scalped three wickets each for India.
For Scotland, George Munsey and Michael Leask played the innings of 24 and 21 as no batter of their side crossed the 30-run mark.

T20 WC: KL Rahul interacts with Scotland players after game

Dubai [UAE] : Star India opener KL Rahul on Friday interacted with Scotland players after the team’s thumping win in the Group 2 match of Super 12 stage of the ongoing ICC men’s T20 World Cup here at Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja starred with the ball before KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma’s firing knocks helped India defeat Scotland by eight wickets. Moments after hitting a 19-ball 50 to take India home against Scotland, Rahul spent time speaking to some of the Scotland players as he shared his experience of playing at the top level against some of the best in the business.
Coming back to the game, Chasing 86, India got off to a firing start as the openers registered the fastest team fifty of the ongoing tournament.
India needed to chase 86 runs in 7.1 overs to better their net-run rate from Afghanistan but the Kohli-led side did the needful in 6.3 overs.
“We spoke about the 8-10 over bracket before the start, didn’t want to really go too hard because if you lose wickets, then an extra 20 balls could cost. We thought that if they play naturally, runs will come quickly,” said Kohli after the win.
Having registered a thumping win, Kohli and boys will now be keeping an eye on New Zealand vs Afghanistan match on Sunday.
“A dominating performance, something that we were striving to do again. Now it will be interesting to see what happens on 7th (November). Don’t want to say a lot about today’s performance, we know what we can do,” said Kohli after the win.
“Also tells you how important the toss can be at this venue. We wanted to get them under 110-120 max, that was the mindset we went in with. The bowlers were excellent, and then KL and Rohit did really well,” he added. 

Telangana govt should reduce VAT on fuel after Centre’s excise duty cut: Cong’s V Hanumantha Rao

Hyderabad (Telangana) [India] : Congress leader V Hanumantha Rao on Friday demanded that the Telangana government should reduce the value-added tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel after the Central government reduced the excise duty on fuel.
While speaking to reporters here today, Rao said, “Ahead of Diwali, the Centre reduced excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs 5 and Rs 10, respectively. The state government should also follow suit and reduce the VAT on these products.” “People are worried as the fuel prices have skyrocketed, resulting to increase in other essential products like vegetables etc. So the state government should also reduce the VAT on fuel. The Centre should include petrol and diesel under the purview of GST,” added Rao.
His remarks came after the Finance Ministry on Wednesday announced a Rs 5 per litre cut in excise duty on petrol and a Rs 10 per litre cut in excise duty on diesel. Amid record-high fuel prices, this is the first cut in central excise duties in over three years.

Antariksh Group bags Indian Excellence Award in developing Logistics Parks

New Delhi (India) : Another award was presented to the Antariksh Group, a leading brand in Logistics Parks at the Indian Excellence Awards 2021 function organized by Abhigyane Foundation in New Delhi.
CA L. V. Rathi and Bhagwanji N Patel, the founders of the Antariksh Group, were presented with the award for their contribution in the industry of Logistics Parks. Antariksh Group has touched new heights in almost a decade, the group has grown rapidly in the MMR region of Maharashtra, which has provided more employment to the people of small villages as well as many multinational companies in their Logistic and supply services.
In Mumbai, the financial capital of the country, as there is no place to live for the people, then there are usually many problems for the Logistic storage places there. Antariksh Group has developed suitable sites in the Thane district adjoining Mumbai and developed a large amount of Logistics space.
The group has till date provided more than 12.5 million square feet of space to multinational companies including many brands like Amazon, Flipkart, Jaguar, D Mart, DB Schenkar, DHL, Bajaj, Delhivery, Apple and Pidilite.
According to CA L. V. Rathi, founder of Antariksh Group, “Our only goal is to accelerate the pace of our development work and provide employment opportunities to maximum number of people. All the credit for our achievements goes to our team which gives impetus to our work while facing many challenges.”
Talking about the people working in the Antariksh Group, all the people are experts, including many CAs, engineers, architects, legal advisors and secretaries.
On this occasion Bhagwanji N Patel, Co-Founder of the group said, “We are working on providing employment opportunities to thousands of people in the coming days. Our one project of 35 lakh square feet is almost complete. Also, our project of about 1 crore square feet is in the line-up. Due to which many people will get employment and many companies will get an opportunity to join us, which will increase the GDP of the country.”
Industrialists and ministers from various sectors were present in the award ceremony held in the Constitution Club of New Delhi.

Centre should release GST compensation so that state govts can reduce VAT on fuel: Sharad Pawar

Pune (Maharashtra) [India] : After the Central government reduced the excise duty on petrol and diesel, NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Friday demanded the release of GST compensation to the states so that state governments can reduce value-added tax (VAT) on fuel.
Speaking to reporters here today, Pawar said, “If the Centre disburses the GST compensation to all the states, then it is possible for the state governments to reduce the VAT on petrol and diesel and implement other welfare schemes.” Pawar’s remarks came after the Finance Ministry on Wednesday announced a Rs 5 per litre cut in excise duty on petrol and a Rs 10 per litre cut in excise duty on diesel. Amid record-high fuel prices, this is the first cut in central excise duties in over three years.
The NCP chief also confirmed that Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar’s driver and other staff have been tested positive for COVID-19.
“As a precautionary step, the doctors have asked Ajit Pawar to remain in home isolation for a few days,” he added.

India to hold NSA-level meet on Afghanistan on Nov 10; Pak won’t attend, China yet to confirm

New Delhi [India] : India is set to host the regional security dialogue on Afghanistan on November 10, a meeting that will be conducted at the national security advisor (NSA) level, sources said on Friday.
NSA Ajit Doval will chair the meeting next week. India had formally invited the NSAs of Russia, Iran, China, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan for the conference.
According to sources, there has been an overwhelming response to India’s invitation. Several countries including Russia and Iran have confirmed participation in the meeting, in which, not just Afghanistan’s immediate land neighbours are invited but also Central Asian countries are invited.
The enthusiastic response is a manifestation of the importance attached to India’s role in regional efforts to promote peace and security in Afghanistan, sources said.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has declined the invitation to the regional countries’ national security advisors meeting on Afghanistan being hosted by India.
“Pakistan’s decision is unfortunate, but not surprising. It reflects its mindset of viewing Afghanistan as its protectorate. Pakistan has not attended the previous meetings of this format. Its media comments against India are an unsuccessful attempt to deflect attention from its pernicious role in Afghanistan,” sources said.
Aside from Pakistan, another country that is yet to respond to India’s invitation is China.
Two earlier meetings in this format have been held in Iran in September 2018 and December 2019. The third meeting in India could not be held earlier due to the pandemic.
The high-level participation in next week’s meeting hosted by India reflects the widespread and growing concern of regional countries about the situation in Afghanistan and their desire to consult and coordinate with each other, sources said. India has an important role to play in this process, they added.

Rise of Taliban adversely affecting South Asia

Kabul [Afghanistan] : As the situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating by the day, there have been reports emerging that radical Islam is on the ascent in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and even India since the Taliban took over Afghanistan, said a media report.
Writing in The J.CA, Rachel Avraham, a political analyst cited an interview of Shipan Kumer Basu, President of the World Hindu Struggle Committee where he stated that with the rise of the Taliban to power, there are fears that the situation will further deteriorate. “Over the past few weeks, extremists Muslims have carried out barbaric attacks on Hindus by placing the Qur’an in a Hindu puja mandap (temporary places of worship). The people of the Buddhist community were not left out either. Due to false rumours of blasphemy, in more than 31 districts, Hindu idols were vandalized, Hindu homes were attacked and looted, and many Hindu women were gang-raped,” Basu said.
From Basu’s perspective, Bangladesh has always been associated with developments in Afghanistan – and the rise of the Taliban there has led to a euphoria of radicalism in Bangladesh, which has a government that was already pampering radical Islamists, said the report.
According to the report, earlier this week, radical Islamists clashed with the police while en route to Pakistan’s capital city. These riots, which did result in the death of a couple of police officers, resulted in the government releasing 350 banned Islamist activists.
At the same time, there are also reports of Pakistani cricketers praising radical Islam and promoting bigotry against non-Muslims. A recent Gallop poll found that 55 per cent of Pakistanis would support the installation of a radical Islamist government similar to the Taliban in Afghanistan, the report stated.
And in Afghanistan itself, the situation is deteriorating by the day, thus increasing the possibility that such radicalism will influence the entire region.
Meanwhile, the European Parliament recently held an international conference on “the situation of women’s rights in Afghanistan after the Taliban’s takeover.”
The conference was organised by Manel Msalmi, a well-known feminist and human rights activist.
In the conference, one of the speakers was Zarifa Ghafari, a former Afghani mayor of Maidan Shar. Ghafari proclaimed: “Afghanistan has undergone drastic changes in the past few weeks. Since the Taliban has illegitimately wrested power on 15 August 2021, it has been building a narrative of a ‘moderate Taliban’ to gain recognition from the International community,” The J.CA reported.
According to Ghafari, “It is becoming clear that Taliban 2.0 is going to be worse, as its worldview remains unchanged, rooted in medieval ideologies. Especially on the crucial issue of women’s rights.”
“The new government formed by the Taliban is all-male, comprising mostly mullahs. Even in the Ministry of Education, female professionals are absent. The Taliban’s Higher Education Ministry consulted only male teachers and students on resuming the function of universities,” she added.

T20 WC: Dhoni, Kohli and Shastri discuss strategy ahead of must-win game against Afghanistan

Dubai [UAE] : Team India skipper Virat Kohli, chief coach Ravi Shastri and mentor MS Dhoni were seen discussing strategies at the end of Tuesday’s optional training session at the ICC Academy in Dubai. This was followed by another round of discussion between Kohli and Dhoni before the team wrapped up the session.
Interestingly, it was Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav who were earlier engaged in a long chat after their training session while Dhoni was busy chatting with Shastri as they watched the batsmen fine-tune their skills at the nets. Skipper Virat Kohli and deputy Rohit Sharma were the first to hit the nets as the frontline pacers like Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami gave the session a miss to recover for the game on Wednesday. Another good news was the presence of batsman Suryakumar Yadav.
Having missed the crucial game against New Zealand on Sunday due to back spasm, Surya returned to the training ground and started off with a light jogging session. He followed it up with some fitness drills under the watchful eyes of assistant strength and conditioning coach Soham Desai. Physio Nitin Patel and strength and conditioning coach Nick Webb were right there watching Surya go through the drills.
While the batting department had almost all the big names present, Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul gave the session a miss.
In the bowling department, the likes of Ravindra Jadeja and Shardul Thakur were present, as were Deepak and Rahul Chahar. All-rounder Hardik Pandya also skipped the session as the team gears up for the toughest game of their campaign in terms of results.

Neeraj, Mithali, Chhetri among 12 to receive Khel Ratna on November 13

New Delhi [India] : Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports announced the National Sports Awards 2021 on Tuesday. The awardees will receive their awards from the President of India at a specially organized function at the Darbar Hall of Rashtrapati Bhavan on November 13.
Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award will be given to 12 sportspersons including Neeraj Chopra (Athletics), Ravi Kumar (Wrestling), Lovlina Borgohain (Boxing), Sreejesh P.R (Hockey), Avani Lekhara (Para Shooting), Sumit Antil (Para Athletics), Pramod Bhagat (Para Badminton), Krishna Nagar (Para Badminton), Manish Narwal (Para Shooting), Mithali Raj (Cricket), Sunil Chhetri (Football), and Manpreet Singh (Hockey). All men’s Hockey India team who has won the historic bronze medal in Tokyo 2020 Olympics has been awarded Arjun Award with the exceptions of PR Sreejesh and Manpreet Singh.
The full list of athletes who will receive the Arjuna Award are Arpinder Singh, SimranjitKaur, Shikhar Dhawan, Bhavani Devi, Monika, Vandana Katariya, Sandeep Narwal, Hiimani Uttam Parab, Abhishek Verma, Ankita Raina, Deepak Punia, Dilpreet Singh, Harman Preet Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Surender Kumar, AmitRohidas, Birendra Lakra, Sumit, Nilakanta Sharma, Hardik Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Gurjant Singh, Mandeep Singh, Shamsher Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Varun Kumar, Simranjeet Singh, Yogesh Kathuniya, Nishad Kumar, Praveen Kumar, SuhashYathiraj, Singhraj Adhana, Bhavina Patel, Harvinder Singh, and Sharad Kumar.
Dronacharya Award in the Life-Time Category went to T. P. Ouseph, Sarkar Talwar, Sarpal Singh, Ashan Kumar, and Tapan Kumar Panigrahi. Dronacharya Award in the regular category is awarded to Radhakrishnan Nair P, Sandhya Gurung, Pritam Siwach, Jai Prakash Nautiyal, and Subramanian Raman.
Dhyan Chand Award for Lifetime achievement went to Lekha KC, Abhijeet Kunte, Davinder Singh Garcha, Vikas Kumar, and Sajjan Singh.
Punjab University (Chandigarh) will receive the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy for 2021.

JSPL Q2 results: Consolidated net profit grows three-fold to Rs 2,584 cr

New Delhi [India] : Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) saw its consolidated net profit grow almost three-fold on annual basis to Rs 2,584.22 crore during the second quarter ended September 30, 2021.
According to a statement issued by the Indian steelmaker, JSPL reported a standalone profit after tax (PAT) of Rs 2,711 crore. The consolidated net debt was reduced to Rs 11,164 crore in the second quarter of the financial year FY22 from Rs 15,227 crore in June 2021.
As per the company statement, notwithstanding sluggish domestic demand due to ongoing monsoons in the country, JSPL reported robust growth in sales and production in Q2FY22.
JSPL further stated that its sales volume surged 32 per cent quarter on quarter (QOQ) and 10 per cent year-over-year (YOY) to hit a record of 2.13 million tonnes during the quarter. Q2FY22 also marked the first time JSPL steel sales have crossed 2 million tonnes quarterly volumes, said the company.
It further stated that the company continues to benefit from buoyant export markets as the share of exports in overall volumes increased to more than 40 per cent in 2QFY22 compared to 34 per cent in the first quarter of FY22 (38 per cent in Q2FY21).
Exports have become a key channel of sales for the Company, especially in times of subdued domestic demand, said JSPL in its statement.
The first half of FY22 further showcases the company’s operational flexibility under challenging market conditions helping the company to post a solid production growth of 12 per cent YoY and sales growth of 7 per cent YoY.
“Resilient operational performance in 1HFY22 and anticipated pick up in domestic construction
activities in 2H gives the confidence to achieve our full-year production target of 8.0-8.5 million tonnes,” read JSPL’s statement.
It further stated that JSPL has recently received an additional 1MTPA Consent to Operate (CTO) for the Angul Blast furnace (CTO of 4.25mtpa from 3.2mtpa currently) raising our capacity to 9.6MTPA.
“JSPL has been declared as the preferred bidder for Kasia Iron Ore Mine in Odisha. Kasia Mine has a large geological resource of 278 million tonnes of iron ore and it consists of an average Fe grade of approx. 62.5 per cent. Kasia is an operational mine having an Environmental Clearance (EC) of 7.5 MTPA. The mine is only 17 km away from JSPL’s Barbil pellet plant. Iron ore from Kasia will significantly boost JSPL’s raw material security; especially as the company makes steady progress on its plans to raise its pellet capacity to 21mtpa (from 9mtpa now) by FY24 and steel capacity to ~16mtpa (from 9.6mtpa) by FY25,” said the statement.
According to JSPL’s statement, the company is also working towards setting up a slurry pipeline between Barbil and Angul (200kms), which will not only help reduce logistics costs but also lower carbon and dust emissions associated with raw material transport through road.
“Conclusion of Jindal Power Limited (JPL) divestment (accounted as asset held for sale)
will result in Net Debt declining further by INR3,015 Cr, taking JSPL a step closer to its vision of becoming a Net Debt-free company by FY23- a rare feat in the Steel sector. The divestment has received strong backing from the shareholders’ approving the transaction in the EGM held on 3rd September 2021. The company is currently in the process of getting relevant approvals from JSPL as well as JPL lenders and expect the divestment to conclude in FY22 itself,” added JSPL in its statement.

Nepal PM thanked PM Modi for providing COVID-19 vaccines in a timely manner: Shringla

Glasgow [UK] : Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for providing the Covid-19 vaccines in a timely manner to Nepal, during their first meeting on the sidelines of the COP26, said Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Tuesday.
While addressing a special briefing on Prime Minister Modi’s Glasgow visit, Shringla informed that the Nepali PM also thanked PM Modi for assistance that India had provided Nepal in post-earthquake relief for the construction houses, schools and several cultural sites. “The Prime Minister of Nepal started by thanking PM for the assistance that India had provided Nepal in post-earthquake relief — the construction of 50,000 houses in the Gorkha district. A number of schools and hospitals and a number of cultural sites were restored, which were badly affected by the earthquake. He also spoke about the cross border oil pipeline which connects part of India and Nepal and the utility of the pipeline,” Foreign Secretary said during the briefing.
“He also thanked the Prime Minister for providing vaccine in a timely manner to Nepal including the one million does that has just been supplied. He also invited PM Modi to visit Nepal at his earliest convenience,” he added.
Earlier today, PM Modi and his Nepalese counterpart noted the excellent cooperation between two countries during the pandemic, particularly through the supply of vaccines, and medical equipment from India to Nepal.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), in a statement, said that this was the first meeting of Prime Minister Modi with Prime Minister Deuba after the telephone conversation between them in July this year when Deuba assumed office as the Prime Minister of Nepal.
“The two leaders noted the excellent cooperation between India and Nepal during the pandemic particularly through the supply of vaccines, medicines and medical equipment from India to Nepal as well as by ensuring the free flow of goods across the borders,” the MEA said.
Both leaders discussed ways to further strengthen bilateral cooperation including in the context of ongoing efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic.
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that the leaders discussed the issue of climate change and COVID-19. “PM @narendramodi met PM of Nepal @SherBDeuba today. In their first engagement since PM Deuba assumed office, the two leaders discussed ways to further strengthen our close bilateral ties. Also discussed climate, COVID-19 & resolved to work together toward post-pandemic recovery,” Bagchi said in a tweet.

Amit Shah rolls out pan-India ‘Ayushman Bharat’

New Delhi [India] : Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday rolled out the ‘Ayushman Bharat CAPF’ healthcare scheme on a pan-India basis for the personnel of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) in all states in a phased manner.
He handed over the ‘Ayushmaan card’ to a jawan of CAPF and also handed over ‘Ayushmaan CAPF’ Scheme health cards to the Director-General, NSG for distribution to NSG personnel on the occasion of ‘Dhanvantri Pooja’, which is celebrated in the honour of ‘The God of Medicine. ‘The process of distribution of health cards across CAPFs, which began today is slated to be completed by December this year and about 35 lakh cards will be distributed.
In his remarks, the Home Minister said that the Modi government has always given priority to the CAPFs.
The Home Minister said, “you protect the country without any worry, the Modi government will take care of your family”.
The Home Minister had rolled out the ‘Ayushman CAPF’ healthcare scheme on a pilot basis to the personnel of all CAPFs in Guwahati, Assam on January 23 this year.
The scheme, a joint initiative by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the National Health Authority (NHA), aims to provide cashless and paperless medical treatment at empanelled hospitals and will ensure access to health services across the country to CAPF personnel.
A dedicated website has been prepared to facilitate jawans of CAPFs and their families.
The use of Ayushman Bharat for CAPFs is a first-of-its-kind initiative that leverages the strengths of the existing robust IT framework, access to the network of various private hospitals and portability of services across the country.
The scheme will also provide cashless and paperless facilities at Out Patient Departments besides follow-ups.
CAPF personnel and their dependents will get an e-card which can be used to avail the scheme.
The health facilities under the scheme will be available in all CGHS and Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY) empanelled private hospitals in a phased manner.

India’s cumulative COVID-19 vaccination coverage exceeds 107 cr

New Delhi [India] : India’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage has exceeded 107 crore (107,25,41,626) as per provisional reports till 7 pm on Tuesday, informed the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
More than 37 lakh (37,38,574) vaccine doses have been administered till 7 pm today. As per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s data, India has administered a cumulative 73,61,08,324 first vaccine doses while 33,64,33,302 second doses.

West Bengal govt intimidating BJP leaders to join TMC

Indore (Madhya Pradesh) [India] : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya on Tuesday accused the TMC-led West Bengal government of intimidating its leaders to make them join the TMC.
Vijayvargiya said, “Many cases are being filed against BJP leaders in West Bengal. There are almost 120 fake cases on BJP MP Arjun Singh, there are 20 cases against me too. Now how can anyone survive when the government starts killing the opposition like this? “Those who are joining TMC in Bengal are forced to join,” he added.
Vijayvargiya, who was also in charge of BJP during 2021 assembly polls in West Bengal said that the question of winning and losing arises where elections are held in a free and fair manner, not in a place where “police, goons and political parties work in nexus for booth capturing.”
“Victory and loose comes in when elections are held in a free manner not where booths are captured. Police, goons and political parties work in nexus there therefore there are no elections. They (TMC) snatch seats by capturing polling booths,” Vijayvargiya said while replying on TMC’s lead in West Bengal by-polls.
BJP leader also said that the results of by-polls show people’s confidence in Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“If we look at the election results of the whole country, then the opposition which made farmers’ movement an issue has failed. NDA is leading everywhere, be it Madhya Pradesh, Bihar or Assam, this shows that farmers have given their support to Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” said Vijayvargiya.
Reacting on Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s campaign in Uttar Pradesh, BJP leader said, “Congress is completely finished over there. Surely Priyanka Gandhi is working very hard but it is too early to say whether this will be converted into votes or not. The country has rejected the Congress.”

PM Modi holds meeting with his Nepalese counterpart Deuba in Glasgow, discusses climate, COVID-19

Glasgow [UK] : Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a bilateral meeting with his Nepalese counterpart Sher Bahadur Deuba here on Tuesday and resolved to work together towards post-pandemic recovery.
The two leaders discussed ways to further strengthen the close bilateral ties. It was the first meeting between PM Modi and Deuba since the latter assumed the prime minister’s office. Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs said that the leaders discussed climate and COVID-19.
“PM @narendramodi met PM of Nepal @SherBDeuba today. In their first engagement since PM Deuba assumed office, the two leaders discussed ways to further strengthen our close bilateral ties. Also discussed climate, COVID-19 & resolved to work together toward post-pandemic recovery,” Bagchi said in a tweet.

Earlier in the day, PM Modi and his British counterpart Boris Johnson launched the initiative Infrastructure for the Resilient Island States (IRIS).
PM Modi reached Glasgow on Sunday to participate in the COP26 summit.
On Tuesday, the Prime Minister is expected to hold several bilateral meetings.
Further, PM Modi is scheduled to attend an event on “Accelerating Clean Technology Innovation and Development”. He is expected to emplane for New Delhi by tonight.
On Monday, PM Modi met Boris Johnson on the sidelines of COP26. The Prime Minister had said that Johnson accepted his invitation to visit India.
He also met members of the Indian community in Glasgow to strengthen people-to-people bonds between the two countries ahead of his participation in COP26. The summit is taking place under the Presidency of the UK partnering with Italy in Glasgow.

COP26: PM Modi holds talks with Israeli counterpart Naftali Bennett

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday held a bilateral meeting with Israeli counterpart Naftali Bennett on the sidelines of the COP26 meet in Glasgow.
Earlier in the day, PM Modi met Nepali Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Prime Minister Modi and his British counterpart Boris Johnson today launched the initiative Infrastructure for the Resilient Island States (IRIS).
PM Modi reached Glasgow on Sunday to participate in the COP26 summit.
Today, the Prime Minister is expected to hold bilateral meetings with leaders of Switzerland, Finland, Malawi, and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.
He is also likely to attend the side event by the United States of America – Build Back Better World. Further, PM Modi is scheduled to attend an event on “Accelerating Clean Technology Innovation and Development”.
The Prime Minister will emplane for Delhi by tonight.

On Monday, PM Modi met Boris Johnson on the sidelines of COP26. He stated that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has accepted PM Modi’s invitation to visit India saying that he would plan his visit as soon as the circumstances allow.
He also met members of the Indian community in Glasgow to strengthen people-to-people bonds between the two countries ahead of his participation in the 26th session of the Conference of Parties (COP26).
At COP26, the world leaders are expected to work to achieve the completion of Paris Agreement implementation guidelines, mobilisation of climate finance, actions to strengthen climate adaptation, technology development and transfer and keeping in reach the goals of limiting the rise in global temperatures.
The COP26 is taking place under the Presidency of the UK partnering with Italy. The high-level segment of COP-26 is titled the World Leaders’ Summit (WLS) and the Summit has participation by heads of State/Government of over 120 countries. The Prime Minister is on a two-day visit to participate in the event.

Russia likely to export new S-500 missile systems to India, China

Moscow [Russia] : Russia may supply its cutting-edge S-500 anti-aircraft missile systems to India and China in the future, Dmitry Shugaev, the director of the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC), has said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that the country’s military will soon receive a first batch-produced S-500 missiles system. According to Shugaev, once enough of those systems is supplied to the national armed forces, Russia may export them to other countries. “We are considering India, as well as China and all the states with which we have old partner and predictable mutual relations, as future owners of this cutting-edge system,” Shugaev said in an interview with the RBC news outlet, adding that the FSMTC will consider each potential request individually.
The S-500 Prometey is a next-generation surface-to-air missile system with a range of around 600 kilometres (370 miles), designed for intercepting and destroying intercontinental ballistic missiles, as well as hypersonic cruise missiles and aircraft.

Founder of Northeast India’s AVENUES felicitated with AsiaOne’s Asian Youth Empowerment Leader Award

Dubai (UAE) : In recognition of over two decades of Serial Entrepreneurship and Youth Empowerment Leadership, Founder and CEO of Meghalaya-based AVENUES, Mark Laitflang Stone, was felicitated with the inaugural edition of AsiaOne’s Asian Youth Empowerment Leader Award 2O2O-21 at the 15th Edition Asia-Africa Business and Social Forum: Awards & Business Summit, which was held on 26th October 2021 at JW Marriott Marquis Hotel, Dubai.
In an effort to promote mutual welfare and facilitate fresher avenues of economic cooperation, networking and investment opportunities in Asia, the Middle East and Africa on a global platform, the one-day mega summit was joined by esteemed dignitaries, which included ambassadors from 8 countries, international business and social leaders such as Dr. Aman Puri – Consul General of the Republic of India in Dubai, Malraj de Silva – Ambassador of Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi, Amal Alblooshi – Director, National Program for Wellbeing, Ministry of Community Development, Government of UAE and Victor Haruta, Ambassador of The Republic of Moldova to the UAE. Prominent personalities from The Indian Film Industry of Bollywood, including Urvashi Rautela – Philanthropist & Actress, Daisy Shah – Actress, Vivek Oberoi – Actor, S. Sreesanth – Cricketer and Actor and Gulshan Grover – Philanthropist, Producer & Actor were also present. More than 200 Brand and Leader Award winners from diverse fields such as Diplomacy, Women Empowerment, Youth Empowerment and Entrepreneurship were felicitated on occasion. H.E. Dr. Aman Puri, Honourable Chief Guest, spoke at the event, saying, “This is a special evening because we are witnessing something truly unique as eminent personalities from both the diplomatic and business communities are being honoured on a single platform.” He went on to say that it was encouraging to see renowned Indian personalities from the fields of art, culture and business coming together to engage with their global counterparts and showcase the best of Indian innovation, knowledge, creativity, and heritage as India is on its way towards becoming a 5 Trillion Dollar economy.
Although the Summit has gone through 14 editions over the years, it is for the first time that the platform is being used to recognise Youth Empowerment efforts in the region. Taking this decision forward to highlight the pressing need for economic progress through youth empowerment efforts, and following a 6-month nomination process for this award, AsiaOne Magazine recognises the efforts of the Mark Laitflang Stone-led Avenues for its role in pioneering Life Coaching and Personal Development interventions that build Communication, Clarity and Confidence in young people across Northeast India. It is also the first time that a homegrown initiative from Northeast India is being recognised in this context on an international stage.

Speaking at the Summit, Mark Laitflang Stone said, “There are a number of youth communities around the world, especially in emerging economies, who do not have equal access to equal opportunities. Our interventions in Life Coaching and Soft Skills are driving the region towards economic prosperity simply because we know that if our young people don’t have the ability to celebrate the effort without being criticized for failure, there really will be no progress.” He went on to thank the Government of Meghalaya, the Government of India, Team Avenues, the Shillong community and his family for their support over the years.
It is in recognition of Mark Laitflang’s twenty-year journey as an award-winning Serial Entrepreneur, Life Coach and Impact Speaker that AsiaOne Magazine has bestowed upon him this prestigious award. From the age of 17, he has led high-impact, benchmarking businesses and teams in Hospitality Services, Skills Development, Events, IT, Telecom and Consulting.
At the age of 20, he founded AVENUES – Northeast India’s pioneering Life Coaching and Personal Excellence Training Social Enterprise – where he leads a committed team of young life coaches whose meaningful interventions in soft skills, leadership, capacity building, life coaching and personal development have touched the lives of over 1,00,000 young people across Northeast India. An internationally sought-after Keynote and Impact Speaker, Mark’s coaching initiatives have led him to address audiences in India, Switzerland, Thailand and Brunei.
A culmination of these efforts is visible in a flagship programme – Aspire Meghalaya – which is working towards nurturing Confidence, Well-being and Aspirations through talent-identification efforts in Meghalaya. The programme has so far touched over 10,000 lives across the State’s districts since 2019.
It may be mentioned that AsiaOne is an international media house and the only Pan-Asia Business & News magazine whose pioneering Platform of Excellence recognises and felicitates brand leaders in Asia, Africa and the GCC.

PM Modi meets UNGA President Abdulla Shahid on sidelines of COP26

Glasgow [UK] : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday met United Nations General Assembly’s President Abdulla Shahid on the sidelines of COP26 Summit.
“Always good to meet with Indian Prime Minister @narendramodi. #COP26 World Leaders Summit. #Deliver4Climate #PresidencyOfHope,” Shahid tweeted. Prime Minister Modi, who arrived in Glasgow on Sunday for COP26 Summit, met several leaders on the sidelines of the Summit.
Prime Minister Modi met with members of the Indian community in Glasgow on Monday to strengthen people-to-people bonds ahead of his participation in the 26th session of the Conference of Parties (COP26).
“Strengthening our people-to-people bonds. Indian community members and Indologists gather in Glasgow to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in a tweet.
At COP26, the world leaders are expected to work to achieve the completion of Paris Agreement implementation guidelines; the mobilisation of climate finance; actions to strengthen climate adaptation, technology development and transfer; and keeping in reach the Paris Agreement goals of limiting the rise in global temperatures.
The COP26 is taking place under the Presidency of the UK partnering with Italy. The high-level segment of COP-26 is titled the World Leaders’ Summit (WLS) and the Summit is attended by Heads of State/Government of more than 120 countries. 

WB: Cracker ban order set aside

New Delhi [India] : The Supreme Court has set aside the Calcutta High Court order putting a blanket ban on the sale, purchase and use of all kinds of firecrackers in the state during Kali Puja, Diwali celebrations and some other festivities this year to check air pollution amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
A special Bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Ajay Rastogi remarked that the top court has already passed an order regulating the use of firecrackers which use polluting materials. It said, “There cannot be a complete ban on firecrackers. Strengthen mechanism to supervise and implement (Supreme Court’s earlier order).”
The Bench said its order will be applicable to all states uniformly and West Bengal cannot be an exception.
The apex court termed the High Court order as an “extreme order”, said it has taken a consistent view on the matter and restated its October 29, 2021 order which reiterated its October 2018 order that there is no total ban.
In the order, the Bench stated, “The State submits that officials are taking necessary steps to ensure that directions issued by this Court (Supreme Court) are complied with in letter and spirit. We set aside the impugned order and permit any person interested to approach High Court by placing all relevant materials.”
The top court was hearing an appeal against the Calcutta High Court’s October 29 order banning the sale, purchase and use of all firecrackers in the state this year.
The appeal filed by the chairman of a West Bengal-based firecracker association and another such group stated that the High Court order was “patently erroneous” in holding a complete ban on firecrackers within West Bengal when the apex court has allowed the use of green firecrackers in permissible limit across all states.
The petitioners have said that they represent the interest of about seven lakh families who are involved in the process of manufacture and sale of fireworks and are involved in the fireworks industry in one manner or another.
They said if a blanket ban is imposed in this season on the sale and use of firecrackers in West Bengal, the sellers and manufacturers will have to suffer irreparable losses which may “lead to a complete shutdown of the firecracker industry altogether”.
The High Court in its order had said that the expression “firecrackers” will cover all types of sparklers as well as other similar materials, whether or not their bursting or burning involves any sound or light generation.
The order had stated, “The state should ensure that there is no use or display or bursting of firecrackers of any type at all during Kali Puja, Diwali celebrations as well as Chhath Puja, Jagadhatri Puja, Guru Nanak’s Birthday and Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations this year.” It said that only wax or oil-based diyas may be used for the occasions.
On October 29, the top court had said celebration cannot be at the cost of others’ health and clarified that while there is no total ban on the use of firecrackers, fireworks that contain Barium salts are prohibited.
It had warned that top officials at various levels shall be held personally liable for any lapses. The top court had said it is unfortunate that despite various directions issued by it there is a blatant violation going on.

India administered first COVID19 vaccine dose to 78% eligible population: Mansukh Mandaviya

New Delhi [India] : In another milestone, 78 per cent of India’s eligible population has been administered the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine while 38 per cent have received both shots, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Monday.
Talking to Twitter, the Minister said: “An extraordinary feat of an extraordinary nation! India has administered 1st #COVID19 vaccine dose to 78 pc of the eligible population and 2nd dose to 35 pc of the eligible people. Congratulations to all as we rapidly progress on our path to defeat the virus!” tweeted Mandaviya. As per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s data, 106.31 cr vaccine doses have been administered so far under Nationwide Vaccination Drive.
Meanwhile, 12,514 new COVID cases in the last 24 hours. The recovery rate is currently at 98.20 per cent.

PM Modi meets Naftali Bennett on sidelines of COP26

Glasgow [UK] : Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Naftali Bennett had their first in-person meet on Monday since the latter took office, on the sidelines of the ongoing COP26 Summit.
Taking to Twitter, Bennett shared a small clip of two leaders engaged in conversation at the summit venue. In the clip, PM Modi is seen with an arm around Bennett engaging him in a conversation.
Bennett, who took office as Israeli PM in June, captioned the video: “It was truly great to finally meet you.’
In August, Narendra Modi spoke on phone August with Bennett.
The leaders had expressed satisfaction over the remarkable growth in the bilateral relationship in recent years. Prime Minister Modi also emphasised that India greatly values its robust cooperation with Israel in areas like agriculture, water, defence and security, and cyber-security.
During External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s first visit to Israel, PM Bennett thanked his Indian counterpart Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Jaishankar for their personal commitment to the partnership between Israel and India
“I speak on behalf of Israelis. We love India. We view India as a huge friend and we’re looking forward to expanding our relationship in all fields and all dimensions. I look forward to a very productive meeting,” Bennett told Jaishankar at the start of the meeting.

Dinesh Patnaik appointed as next Ambassador of India to Spain

New Delhi [India] : Dinesh K Patnaik has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to Spain on Monday, informed the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in a release.
Patnaik is a 1990 batch Indian Foreign Services (IFS) officer and is presently Director-General of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). He is expected to take up the assignment shortly, added the release.

India eyes USD 700 billion investments to boost urban infrastructure

Dubai [UAE], : Kunal Kumar, Joint Secretary and Mission Director (Smart Cities Mission), Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India, today said that India needs around USD 700 billion of investment from 2021 to 2031 to boost its urban infrastructure services like Urban Mobility, Affordable Housing, Water Security, Clean India Mission and Smart Cities Mission.
Kumar along with other Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs officials – Dinesh Kapila, Economic Advisor (Housing) and Jaideep, OSD (Urban Transport) was briefing the media on the sidelines of the inauguration of the ‘Urban and Rural Development Week’ at the India Pavilion in Expo 2020 Dubai. The Ministry is showcasing its efforts being made in comprehensive urban development in India and exhibiting the multi-sectoral opportunities for the World during the ‘Urban and Rural Development Week’ in Dubai. The broad objective is to demonstrate India’s innovative case studies and attract investments to India, fostering market access for other countries.
Kunal Kumar added, “India is a USD 3 trillion economy and aggressively moving towards becoming a USD 10 trillion economy by 2030 and one of main constituents of this growth will be massive urbanisation happening in the country. Rapidly urbanizing India presents exciting investment opportunities for private sector in Indian cities to address several challenges which include improving quality of urban services such as water, sanitation, urban transport and planned development of land resources.”
“The Government of India since 2014, has already invested USD 160 Billion on creating and upgrading urban infrastructure and ensuring ease of living for the citizens. India’s investment in the urban sector has jumped by over 600% during 2014-2021 as compared to 2004-2014. Urban Development is the key to India’s growth because we need productive, liveable cities that ensure ease of doing business,” he said.
Highlighting the opportunities in infrastructure, Kumar added, “The Government of India has created a National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) for infrastructure projects worth USD 1.5 trillion to be completed between 2020-25. Major focus of NIP is across energy (24%), roads (18%), urban (17%) and railways (12%). Each of these urban mission presents opportunities for global companies to invest and grow.”
Speaking on the Smart Cities Mission, Kumar said that with total investments worth USD 28 billion, the Smart Cities Mission is realizing the vision of 100 ‘smarter’ Indian cities in addressing the challenges of increasing urbanization and ultimately the plan is to cover more than 4000 cities in the country.
On his part, Jaideep, OSD (Urban Transport), Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs said, “Urban Transport with a big focus on Metro Rail and other mass transit systems is a critical component of the comprehensive approach initiated towards urbanization. In the last seven years we have operationalised 485 km of Metro network. In National Infrastructure Projects, we have projects worth USD 60 billion out of which USD 32 billion is sanctioned and remaining is in planning stage to be implemented before 2024. We are also working on green urban mobility, sustainable and energy efficient transport system.”
Speaking on the opportunities in the real estate sector in India, Dinesh Kapila, Economic Advisor (Housing), Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs said, “The size of the housing sector is currently USD 200 billion in India, and it contributes around 7% to the GDP. The contribution of the real estate sector to the Indian economy is likely to be around USD 1 trillion by 2030. As per an industry study, with massive urbanisation, every year we need to construct 700-900 million sq mt. worth of houses, malls and offices. There are huge opportunities in India in the next ten years and currently the atmosphere is very conducive to the growth of the real estate sector and also the economy.”
The inaugural day also saw a panel discussion on ‘The Future of Cities: Perspective on use of technology’ which saw participation from dignitaries like H.E. Dr Aisha Bin Bishr, Global Digital & Urban Future Magnate & Former Founding Director General of Smart Dubai, Vice Chairwoman of Emaar Development board (UAE); Andrea Petti, MD – IMEA Region, PTV Group (Germany); Sridhar Gadhi, Founder & Executive Chairman, Quantela Inc.; Afzal Shabaz Mohammed, VP – IoT and Technology and Innovation, Siemens Industrial LLC (UAE); JVS Ramakrishna, Head – Strategy & CTO (Safe & Smart Cities), L&T Smart World & Communication and Ashish Khare, GM and Global Head- IoT and Smart Cities, Wipro Ltd.
The session highlighted the importance of IoT in making cities self-sustainable, integrated command and control centres and also discussed the role of emerging technologies in the sector.
The second panel discussion on ‘Resurgence and responsible real estate’ saw participation from industry leaders like Dinesh Kapila, Economic Advisor (Housing), Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs; Raj Menda, Joint Chairman, FICCI Real Estate Committee and Corporate Chairman, RMZ Corp; Sanjay Dutt, Joint Chairman, FICCI Real Estate Committee and MD and CEO, Tata Realty & Infrastructure Ltd; Asheesh Mohta, Senior MD, Real Estate – India, The Blackstone Group; Sharad Mittal, CEO, Motilal Oswal Real Estate; Ashish Singh, Partner Real Estate, Actis; Srini Sriniwasan, MD, Kotak Investment Advisors Ltd. and Chanakya Chakravarti, MD India, Growth Markets, Ivanhoe Cambridge.
The session highlighted the issues, challenges, and changes in the real estate sector due to the pandemic and the learnings from the unprecedented crisis. It also discussed the role of the government regulations and incentives in driving the sector.
The Urban and Rural Development Week will go on till 6th November and the sessions will address themes like Resurgence and Responsible Real Estate, Smart and Sustainable Transportation, Alternate Real Estate, Building Smart, Liveable and Sustainable Cities, and Electric Mobility.

T20 WC: Boult, Ish Sodhi, Mitchell star as New Zealand thrash India by 8 wickets

Dubai [UAE] : Trent Boult and Ish Sodhi starred with the ball before Daryl Mitchell smashed 49 off 35 to help New Zealand defeat India by eight wickets in the Super 12 match of the ongoing T20 World here at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday.
With this defeat, India has now lost two games in the ongoing tournament while New Zealand has bounced back after losing the first match. Mitchell and Kane Williamson stitched a 72-run stand for the second wicket to steer the New Zealand chase.
Chasing 111, New Zealand got off to a decent start as openers Martin Guptill and Daryl Mitchell stitched a 24-run stand. Jasprit Bumrah gave India the first breakthrough when he dismissed Guptill in the fourth over.
But the target was so low that New Zealand didn’t falter and kept scoring at a brisk rate as Kane Williamson and Mitchell look comfortable at the crease.
In the end, just when New Zealand were about to wrap up the win, Bumrah dismissed Mitchell in the 13th over.
However, with 15 runs needed in 44 balls, it was too late for India as New Zealand got home in the 15th over.
Earlier in the day, India had a bad start as Ishan Kishan made a little impact before Tim Southee struck to remove another Indian opener, KL Rahul.
India’s score read 35/2 after six overs in the innings. Rohit Sharma went to the pavilion two overs later as the Asian side kept losing wickets.
India’s fortunes then took a huge blow when Virat Kohli was caught on the boundary of the very first ball after the drinks break, leaving India 48/4 after 10.1 overs.
After the torrid start, India collected 11 runs in the last over as they reached 110 in 20 overs.
Brief Scores: India 110/7 (Ravindra Jadeja 26*, Hardik Pandya 23; Trent Boult 3-20, Ish Sodhi 2-17) vs New Zealand 111/2 (Daryl Mitchell 49, Kane Williamson 33; Jasprit Bumrah 2-19)

T20 WC: India have to disconnect from pressure and continue with process, says Kohli after defeat

Dubai [UAE] : India captain Virat Kohli said that the team need to disconnect from the pressure and continue with the process after New Zealand thrashed Men in Blue by 8 wickets in the Group 2 match of Super 12 stage of the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup here at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday.
Set a modest target of 111 to win the Group 2 fixture, Kiwi opener Daryl Mitchell top-scored in a comfortable chase, hitting a quickfire 49 as his side chased it down with 33 balls to spare. The result means that India will need other games to go their way if they are to reach the semi-finals.
“I thought we were brutal upfront. We weren’t brave enough when we entered the field, but NZ sustained that pressure. Every time we took a chance, we lost a wicket. It’s most often a result of hesitation of whether you should go for a shot or not,” Kohli in the post-match presentation.
“When you play for India, there are loads of expectations. We are watched, people come to the stadium and everyone who plays for India needs to embrace that and cope with it. We haven’t done that in these two games, and that’s why we haven’t won.”
“We have to be optimistic and positive and take calculated risks. We have to disconnect from the pressure and continue with our process and play a positive brand of cricket. There’s a lot of cricket to play in the tournament,” he added.
Earlier India endured a disappointing evening with the bat, limping to 110/7 off their 20 overs after being put in to bat first. Trent Boult scalped three wickets while Ish Sodhi returned with two for New Zealand.
For the Men in Blue, Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya played the innings of 26* and 23 as no Indian batter crossed the 30-runs mark.

T20 WC: This was great performance against a side that puts up fight, says Williamson

Dubai [UAE] : New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson said the wicket wasn’t an easy one to bat but the Kiwis openers made things easy for the side against India in the ongoing T20 World Cup on Sunday.
Trent Boult and Ish Sodhi starred with the ball before Daryl Mitchell smashed 49 off 35 to help New Zealand defeat India by eight wickets on Sunday. “There’s always planning going into game, but this was a great performance against a side that puts up a fight. The surface wasn’t easy to find rhythm on, and the way the openers came out really set things up for the chase,” said Williamson after the match.
Williamson also praised New Zealand’s spinners and said the Kiwi side has adapted well to the conditions here in the UAE.
“It’s just about adapting to the conditions as well as we could. The way the spinners kept applying pressure was commendable and it was a complete performance,” said Williamson.
“We play against strong teams all the time, and there are match-winners in every side, and we commit to our brand of cricket and today was a good example of that.
“Ish is an outstanding white-ball bowler, and he’s very experienced in playing T20 cricket, having played in different leagues all over the world, and we’re looking forward to the rest of the games in the league stages,” he signed off.
With this defeat, India has now lost two games in the ongoing tournament while New Zealand has bounced back after losing the first match.
Mitchell and Kane Williamson stitched a 72-run stand for the second wicket to steer the New Zealand chase.

Blast in Assam’s border district with Mizoram; Mizo jawan arrested

Hailakandi (Assam) [India] : After a “high explosive” blast was reported near the Baicherra border output (BOP) in Assam’s Hailakandi district, early on Saturday, tension erupted along the Assam-Mizoram border.
As per Hailakandi district Superintendent of Police (SP) Gaurav Upadhyay, a Mizo Indian Reserve Battalion (IRBn) personnel was arrested by Assam police, after the clash in the district. “Yesterday morning at 1.45 am, it was reported that there was a high explosive blast using detonating cord near Baicherra BOP under Ramnathpur PS, done by some Mizo miscreants,” the SP said.
He informed that on preliminary investigation, it seemed that some “Mizo miscreants and others entered and carried out this blast using high explosives in the close vicinity of Assam Police outpost.”
“During the investigation, one Mizo person named Laldintwanga, aged 23 years, resident of Bhairabi, Kolasib district who was found suspiciously moving near the site was apprehended,” said Upadhyay.
He added that during the interrogation, the arrested accused revealed he was a “Mizo IRBN Personnel”
“He was arrested and forwarded to Judicial custody under case vide Ramnathpur PS, under sections 120(B)/447/427 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) right with section 4 of Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act and section 3 of Explosive Substance Act, that has been registered with reference to the incident,” he added.
Further investigation into the case is underway.
On July 26, the border dispute between the two states escalated and a fierce gun battle between the forces of the two states resulted in the death of six Assam police personnel and one civilian. At least 50 people were injured in the incident.

Delhi: Nursing assistant dies after being hit by truck in Okhla

New Delhi [India] : A 37-year-old nursing assistant died after he was hit by a truck near crown plaza Hotel in Delhi’s Okhla.
The truck was coming from the Sarita Vihar underpass and going towards Tara Apartment. The Police Control Room (PCR) call was received at PS Okhla regarding an accident near crown Plaza hotel on Saturday, informed Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) South East, Esha Pandey.
As per the police statement, the staff reached the spot and found a person was lying in a pool of blood.
The Centralised Accident and Trauma Services (CAT) ambulance also arrived at the spot immediately after the incident and declared the persons dead on the spot, it added.
The deceased was identified as Jijo P Paul, a resident of Mahavir Enclave Palam Colony Village Palam in New Delhi who originally hails from Kerala, the DCP informed.
“He was working as Nursing Assistant in QRG Hospital, Sector-16, Faridabad, Haryana. The deceased was travelling on his motorcycle from the Govindpuri Metro Station to MB Road when the accident took place,” the police informed.
The body was shifted to Safdarjung Hospital and deposited in Mortuary.
The truck driver was identified as a Purushotam resident of JJ Colony Khanpur in Delhi and apprehended on the spot.
Pandey said, the post mortem of the deceased has been conducted and the body has been handed over to his relatives for his last rites.
Further investigation into the matter is in progress.

Delhi reports 45 new COVID-19 cases in last 24 hrs

New Delhi [India] : Delhi reported 45 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours and no death occurred for the 9th consecutive day.
According to Delhi Health Bulletin on Sunday, as many as 25,091 people have succumbed to the virus so far in the national capital. The total count of coronavirus cases in the city has gone up to 14,39,870 and the active caseload in the city stands at 348. The case fatality rate in the national capital is 1.74 per cent. The positivity rate is 0.08 per cent.
With 46 more persons recovered in the last 24 hours, the total number of recoveries in the city has gone up to 14,14,431, the bulletin said.
As many as 2,94,27,753 COVID-19 tests have been conducted so far in Delhi including 46,468 RT-PCR tests and 10,283 rapid antigen tests conducted in the last 24 hours.
As many as 79,014 beneficiaries were vaccinated in the last 24 hours taking cumulative beneficiaries in the city to 2,04,55,535.

35 IS terrorists surrendered to Taliban in eastern Nangarhar province

Jalalabad [Afghanistan] : As many as 35 terrorists affiliated with Islamic State (IS) surrendered to Taliban-led authorities in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province Sunday, an Afghan intelligence official said.
Head of intelligence agency in the province Bashir Khan said the former IS terrorists gave themselves up to the authorities in the provincial capital Jalalabad city, Xinhua reported. They have previously been active in Kot and Spinghar districts.
According to the official, 149 terrorists affiliated with the Islamic State group locally known as Daesh have earlier surrendered to the authorities in Nangarhar.
The hardliner IS outfit, which has been vying with the Taliban-led Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan, has not made any comment on the report.

Maharashtra man sentenced to 7 years imprisonment in FICN case

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India] : A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Mumbai on Saturday convicted and sentenced one accused in Bhivandi, Maharashtra under Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) case.
The NIA Special Court on Saturday convicted the accused named Rohit Kumar Nagendra Singh for the offence under sections 120-B, 489 (B) and 489 (C) of IPC and sentenced him to 7 years of Rigorous Imprisonment and a fine of Rs 1000, under FICN case (03/2018/NIA/MUM), after the accused pleaded guilty before the court. “NIA Special Court, Mumbai pronounced judgement in 03/2018/NIA/MUM pertaining to recovery of FICN having face value of Rs 4,78,000 from five accused namely Rehan Abbas Shaikh, Shafahad Mukhtar Ansari, Anees Iklak Shaikh, Kishor Namdeo Fular and Rohit Kumar Nagendra Singh, all residents of Bandra (East), Mumbai,” NIA said.
The case was originally registered as FIR Number 357/2018 dated October 11, 2018, at Bhiwandi Taluka Police Station, District-Thane, Maharashtra under Section 489-B, 489-C and 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Subsequently, NIA re-registered the case as RC-03/2018/NIA/MUM on December 4, 2018, and took up the investigation.
After investigation, NIA had filed three charge sheets on January 5, 2019, November 30, 2019, and April 23, 2021, against nine accused persons.
The trial against the remaining charge-sheeted accused is continuing.

NGO MDV distributes Ghee-Free Sweets & Vegan Ghee on this World Vegan Day

New Delhi [India] : This Diwali, International NGO Million Dollar Vegan (MDV) is celebrating the time of festivities and the World Vegan Day by distributing vegan ghee and ghee-free sweets.
To spread awareness about veganism and its benefit to the human lifestyle, MDV will distribute jars of Vegan Ghee along with Ghee-Free sweets to educate people about the importance of being vegan. Many known personalities like Bryan Adams, Evanna Lynch, Joanna Lumley, Sunny Leone, Shilpa Shetty, Genelia Deshmukh, Mallika Sherawat and several others across the globe have supported MDV in their endeavour to educate people about the urgency to eat a plant-based diet by distributing vegan meals.
Campaign supporter and actress Sunny Leone says, “I have lived in Mumbai, India for 10 years now and nothing makes me happier than bringing a smile and a warm meal to the children, women and men in this city. Million Dollar Vegan has now served over 500,000 meals globally. The smiles and gratitude have made me realize there is so much more to be done and I never want to stop trying to help those in need. As part of our India aid efforts, we have provided almost 2 lakh (2,00,000) meals in India itself and we look forward to serving even more.”
Campaign supporter, singer, music producer, composer, and actor, Anushka Manchanda says, “I am proud to be supporting Million Dollar Vegan in providing plant-based sweets in celebration of Diwali! By providing plant-based options this Diwali, we want to show that the same sweets can be enjoyed without the need for animal products. This Diwali we can make choices which are better for our health, better for the animals and better for the environment.”
MDV’s India Campaign Manager, Darshana Muzumdar, says, “Every year, we celebrate World Vegan Day in a different way, and this year, we’re happy to raise awareness in the “sweetest” way possible. Combining World Vegan Day with Diwali is a boon and we’re happy that people are more than receptive to learning about the hidden dark truths about dairy.” She further adds, “Million Dollar Vegan aims to take future pandemics off the menu by putting plants on it and we act in solidarity with communities impacted by food justice issues.
In India, many people suffered huge losses apart from the lives of dear ones and MDV works with them to educate them and help them make choices that will help prevent a repeat of the experience of the last 18 months.”
This give-away is part of a global 14-day food justice initiative by MDV that has themed events in 14 different countries over 14 days. In India, the theme is “Veganism is Hope; Veganism is Light”.
The other events and their themes will take place in Kenya (Veganism is for All), the UK (Veganism is Delicious), Brazil (Veganism is Sustainable), Spain (Veganism is About Justice), Mexico (Veganism is Safer), France (Veganism is Compassion), UAE (Veganism is Nutritious), Hungary (Veganism is Empowering), Argentina (Veganism is the Future), Italy (Veganism is Enlightening), Uganda (Veganism is Global), USA (Veganism is Love) and will end on 14th November with a food justice project in Indonesia (Veganism is Impactful).
In their endeavour to help people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, MDV has over the past 18 months donated vegan meals and ration in 85 cities in 22 countries and has pledged to donate 1 million (10 lakh meals) in all. It has already served 500,000 meals.
In India, MDV has helped and educated almost 2 lakh people including migrant workers, underserved communities in the slums of Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, and Bengaluru, frontline medical and healthcare workers in Pune, sex workers in Mumbai, and they even provided a fully vegan Eid meal for 2,000 people in Pune.

Indian Army officer, soldier killed in blast in J-K’s Rajouri

Rajouri (Jammu and Kashmir) [India]: An officer and a soldier of the Indian Army lost their lives in a mysterious blast on Saturday that took place in the Naushera sector of Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian Army said.
According to updates both the Army personnel were critically injured in the explosion near a forward post along the Line of Control in Rajouri district of the union territory. The area has been cordoned off.
Earlier on October 11, five army personnel including a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) were killed in anti-terrorist operations in the DKG area of Rajouri adjoining the Poonch sector.

Delhi: Carriageway of road leading to Haryana opened

New Delhi [India]: Delhi Police on Saturday reopened the carriageway of the road leading to Haryana, at the farmers’ protest site in Tikri.
DCP Parvinder Singh said, “There are still some temporary structures on the road. As per farmers’ request, only 2-wheelers, 3-wheelers and emergency vehicles will ply on this road.” Earlier today, Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana had said, “General public who travel on regular basis was facing a lot of problem due to this, so we decided to open the borders for the sake of their convenience.”
Earlier, Delhi police have started removing barricades and cemented blocks put up at the Gazipur and Tikri borders after the blockage of almost 11 months due to the farmers’ agitation against Central farm laws.
On Thursday, police started the process of removing barricades placed at the Tikri border allowing traffic movement from New Delhi to Haryana. This initiative have been taken after Supreme Court on October 21 said that farmers have the right to protest but roads cannot be blocked indefinitely.
The barricades were placed in the wake of the January 26 violence during the farmers’ protest.
Thousands of protestors broke barricades to enter Delhi and indulged in vandalism across several parts of the national capital during their tractor rally organised to protest against the Centre’s three new farm laws on January 26 this year.
Farmers have been protesting at different sites since November 26 last year against the three enacted farm laws: Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

India administers over 56 lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses in last 24 hrs, cumulative coverage exceeds 105.43 cr

New Delhi [India] : With the administration of 56,91,175 COVID-19 vaccine doses in the last 24 hours, India’s COVID-19 vaccination coverage has exceeded 105.43 crore, informed the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Saturday.
As per provisional reports till 7 am today, 1,05,43,13,977 doses have been administered through 1,05,30,690 sessions. Meanwhile, India logs 14,313 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours and witnessed 13,543 recoveries.
The active caseload of the infection is presently at 1,61,555.
According to the ministry, India’s recovery rate stands at 98.19 per cent.
A total of 11,76,850 COVID-19 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours, informed the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) today.
A total number of 60,70,62,619 tests have been conducted so far.

India Extends Ban On Scheduled International Flights Till November 30

India has now once again extended a ban on international flights till November 30. This was announced by the Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) recently.

Earlier last month, the DGCA extended the ban till October 31. Like the previous order, the DGCA will not be restricting international all-cargo operations and flights that have been specifically approved by DGCA.

As reported earlier, India reopened for tourists earlier this month. Starting October 15, India started granting fresh tourist visas to foreigners. Further, the Union Home Ministry earlier announced that foreign tourists will be allowed to enter the country by flights other than chartered aircraft starting November 15.

The MHA informed that the said move was taken to provide a boost to the slumping tourism sector and help the economic recovery. Reports have it that the aviation and tourism sector were among the largest casualties of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a bid to boost the aviation sector, the Civil Aviation Ministry allowed domestic flights to fly at full capacity starting last week. The Ministry in its statement added, “The airlines/airport operators shall, however, ensure that the guidelines to contain the spread of COVID are strictly adhered to and COVID appropriate behaviour is strictly enforced,” the Ministry said.

Delhi HC to resume physical hearings

New Delhi [India] : Delhi High Court on Friday decided complete resumption of physical courts hearing from November 22, while continuing to give an option to parties to request for video conferencing mode.
“It is ordered that there shall be a complete resumption of physical Courts effecting from November 22, while permitting video conferencing hearing where a request to such effect is made by any of the parties or their counsel,” said an office order issued by Registrar General Manoj Jain. The office order said the Delhi High Court has been pleased to order that the existing mechanism of hearings in this Court shall continue till November 18 and there shall be a complete resumption of physical courts in District courts from November 22.
It also said that the existing mechanism of hearing of matters in the district courts complex shall continue till November 20, added the court order.
Earlier, the Delhi High Court on August 31 resumed limited physical hearings after a gap of nearly five months when the second wave of COVID-19 hit the national capital.
After the second wave struck the national capital, the Delhi High Court on April 8, 2021, suspended its physical hearing till April 23 which was later extended from time to time.
Earlier on August 24, physical hearings in the district courts in Delhi have resumed in a graded manner.
The Delhi High Court has suspended its functioning on March 23, 2020, followed by the government decision to impose lockdown for containing COVID-19.
However, the High Court continued to take up urgent matters through video conferencing and later resumed physical hearing of limited benches.

New Delhi to Patna Express

New Delhi [India] : In order to provide convenience to the rail passengers and reduce rush during festive seasons, the Indian Railways is going to introduce a special train 01684/01683 Anand Vihar Terminal-Patna-Anand Vihar Terminal Gati Shakti Superfast Special train having a composition of 20 new 3 AC Economy coaches.
Train No. 01684 Anand Vihar Terminal-Patna Junction Gati Shakti Superfast Special train will depart from Anand Vihar Terminal at 11.10 pm on October 29, October 31, November 2, November 5, November 7 to arrive at Patna Junction at 03.45 pm the next day, said the Ministry of Railways in a statement. In the return direction, Train No. 01683 Patna Junction- Anand Vihar Terminal Gati Shakti Superfast Special train will depart from Patna Junction at 05.45 pm on October 30, November 1, November 3, November 6 and November 8 to arrive at Anand Vihar Terminal at 09.50 am the next day.
The train will stop at Kanpur Central, Prayagraj Junction, Varanasi, Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhaya Junction and Danapur stations en route in both directions.

Pak govt negotiating with detained TLP leader to end protest

Islamabad [Pakistan] : As thousands of protestors march towards Islamabad raising the security threat in the country, the Pakistan government said it is negotiating with the detained leader of a radical Islamist party, responsible for the protest, to end the rally.
Briefing the media after a meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) convened by Prime Minister Imran Khan, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said the government wanted to “amicably” resolve the matter of the protest march, which has disrupted life in several Punjab cities for two weeks, Dawn reported. Meanwhile, members of proscribed Tehreek-i- Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) resumed their march from Gujranwala on Friday.
Participants of the protest march spent the night near the General Bus Stand on the Grand Trunk Road and resumed their rally in the morning, despite Interior Minister’s Thursday night warning to the TLP to call off its march or face “consequences”.
The rally, which comprises around 5,000 participants, reached the Gujrat-Chenab toll plaza after stopping at Rahwali to offer Friday prayers. A heavy police contingent was deployed at the toll plaza.
A senior official earlier told Dawn that the next TLP-police encounter was expected at two major security points that had been established at Chenab and Jhelum rivers, the only route for the march to reach Islamabad.
Rashid said it was also expected that Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri would talk to the TLP leadership again.
Referring to one of the TLP’s demands, the minister said the government had taken the matter of the French ambassador’s expulsion to the parliament, adding that the opposition would not vote in favour of such a move.
He noted that TLP protesters were heading to Islamabad for the seventh time. “People are facing difficulties, the demonstrators should review their stance,” he said.

India to achieve Rs 3500 crore exports in defence

New Delhi [India] : India will soon achieve the target of Rs 3500 crore exports in the aerospace and defence sector, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday.
Singh was speaking on “Delivering Democracy; Two Decades of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as Head of Government”, organised by the Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini at India International Centre. “In politics of independent India, Narendra Modi has done great work. He accepted this crisis of credibility as a challenge and overcame it. You might have felt that in independent India, the biggest challenge before politics and politicians has been a crisis of credibility. Due to the difference between words and deeds of politicians, people’s trust in them lessened gradually,” he said.
“We were the biggest importer in the world in terms of Defence equipment. We are now among the top 25 exporters of the world. We will soon achieve the target of Rs 3500 crore export. It all happened because of PM Narendra Modi directions,” he added.
“Challenges do come in life and PM Modi life is full of challenges but he never bowed down but he fought and won. He is a case study of effective leadership and effective governance. I request people in the field of the management school. The life and work done by PM Narendra Modi should be taught as a case study,” said Singh.
The revolution in urban planning and road infrastructure that was laid by former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee was slowed down during the previous government but PM Modi has set a new definition of urban planning and road infrastructure.
“I request people to do an unbiased analysis of PM Modi and he has only agenda of National building and Lok Kalyan. No one can question the intention and integrity of PM Modi. He is 24 cart gold and in his long political career of 20 years no one can point a finger on him over corruption allegations,” he added.
PM Modi knows how to maintain coordination between individual rights and national interest, he said.
“After people were angry over corruption by the previous government and wanted a credible alternative. They have only option that is BJP. Except for BJP and left people all political parties are family Enterprises,” he added.
Singh said BJP is the only political party with ideology.
“Decision making the power of PM Modi is unimaginable. BJP were always clear with its agenda to abolish Article 370. PM Modi did that in no time. Except for a few small incidents, the situation is normal in Kashmir. He has redefined and redesigned the fight against terrorism,” he said.
“PM Modi is clear terrorism and talk can’t be done simultaneously. We never discuss cricket matches. Action will be done either inside the border or across the border as per the requirements. We did surgical strikes and airstrikes. PM Modi deliver want he promised,” the Minister added.
BJP leader further said there is a major paradigm shift in Internal security or border security because of PM Modi’s decision making powers.
Singh assured that no one will die due to the oxygen crisis because the country has developed sufficient Oxygen plant capabilities.

Delhi Police make security arrangements ahead of Diwali

New Delhi [India] : Delhi Police has started making security arrangements in the national capital to avoid any kind of mishappening at the time of the Diwali festival.
Speaking to ANI, Delhi Police Commissioner, Rakesh Asthana said, “People are now coming out at the time of Diwali festival because there were many restrictions for a long time due to COVID-19 pandemic. So it is necessary to take security measures.” In order to avoid any kind of mishappening during Diwali, the Police Commissioner said, “Anti Terror Major has been deployed. Markets are being checked at the public place, checking the vehicles, hotel lodges, cyber cafes, etc.”
He also said that the orders have been issued to increase the patrolling during peak hours.
“Specific actions are also being taken to prevent terrorist attacks or other accidents which also involves anti-social elements,” he added.

President Kovind inaugurates housing scheme for EWS

New Delhi [India] : President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday inaugurated a housing scheme project for the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana at Gujarat’s Bhavnagar.
“President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated a housing scheme project for Economically Weaker Section under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Urban at Bhavnagar, Gujarat and handed over the keys to some beneficiaries,” the official account of Rashtrapati Bhavan tweeted. The President had also visited Shree Chitrakutdham Ashram in Gujarat today.
President is on a three-day visit to Gujarat ending on October 30.

SC says ‘it will wait for WHO’s response over Covaxin recognition’

New Delhi [India] : The Supreme Court on Friday said that “it will wait for the response of the World Health Organisation (WHO) over Covaxin recognition.” and cannot simply direct the Centre to revaccinate people with Covishield who are fully vaccinated with Covaxin against COVID-19.
A Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and BV Nagarathna said it cannot play with the lives of people by directing the Centre to permit people to voluntarily get vaccinated with Covishield vaccine even if they have been fully vaccinated with Covaxin. The top court said that it does not have any data of what will be effect on people and it cannot simply direct the Centre to re-vaccinate people with Covishield.
“We cannot play with the lives of people by directing Centre to revaccinate. We don’t have any data with us. We have read in newspapers that Bharat Biotech has filed an application with the World Health Organisation for recognition. Let us wait for the response of WHO. We will take up this matter post-Diwali vacation,” the apex court said.
It was hearing a petition that said that Covaxin was not approved by the WHO and people here are facing difficulty in getting permission to travel abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The apex court said that there is also a concern that competitors may in the garb of the PIL try to take advantage of the litigation.

Advocate Kartik Seth, who filed the plea told the Bench that every day some students and people are willing to go abroad but they are denied entry as Covaxin is not recognised by the WHO.
Hence, individuals who voluntarily at their own costs and risk wish to get Covishield even after having received two doses of Covaxin, should not be prevented from doing so, he said.
The plea said that at the time of rolling out of Covaxin, the government did not make the public aware that it was not approved by WHO.
The Bharat Biotech has submitted its application for approval as late as April 2021 and in May people came to know many countries are not allowing entry of those who are vaccinated with vaccines other than those enlisted in WHO’s emergency use list, it added.
It urged the court to direct the government that the concerned department release official data and reasons for the delay in getting approval to Covaxin developed by Bharat Biotech. 

Increasing demands for minerals led to resurgence of exploring marine resources: Muraleedharan

New Delhi [India] : Minister of State for External Affairs, V. Muraleedharan on Friday said that the depleting land resources coupled with the ever-increasing demands for metals and minerals have led to the resurgence of global interest in exploring marine mineral resources.
Addressing the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Conference on Future of Natural Resources virtually, the MoS said that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), increasing population and transition to green technologies are bound to increase the demands for metals. Metals such as nickle and cobalt play a crucial role in promoting renewable energy technologies needed to curtail global warming and the environment and the social cause often linked to existing terrestrial mining practices. “Gas hydrate deficits may contain roughly twice the carbon contained in all reserves of coal, oil and conventional natural gas combined making them a potentially valuable energy resource. Hence the development of marine mineral resources becomes imperative to meet the demand for future industrial and economic progress in a sustainable manner,” said Muraleedharan.
The minister further said that India holds a unique maritime possession and is surrounded by the oceans on its three sides. Around 30 per cent of India’s population is living in coastal areas. Its 7,517 km long coastline is home to nine coastal states. For India, oceans are a major economic factor supporting fisheries and aquaculture, tourism livelihood.
“India is one of the frontline nations in marine scientific research and is also actively engaged in exploring the resourceful ocean bed for meeting the country’s future energy and metal demands. The Government of India’s mission of New India by 2030 underlines the blue economy as one of the 10 crore dimensions of growth,” he said.
Stressing on India’s self-dependence in the energy sector, the minister said that it is extremely important for an Atma Nirbhar Bharat. India’s accelerated progress in developing its blue economy and harnessing its ocean resources is a key to India’s energy self-reliance. To achieve its target, India has set a target of 450GW of renewable energy by the end of this decade, that is, 2030.
“We believe in One Sun, One World and One Grid,” he said.
Enumerating the initiatives of the government, Muraleedharan said that India has been conducting detailed studies and explorations on deep-sea minerals and the country has also been conducting detailed experiments on harnessing energy from the ocean. India has also taken several initiatives for the development of marine fisheries in a sustainable manner.
“We are also carrying out offshore marine surveys and exploration in the exclusive economic zone of India to identify potential zone for mineral resources. We are taking scientific studies and development of technology for gas hydric for the exploration of ocean resources in the Bay of Bengal,” he said.
Talking about the challenges faced by the government in its way towards fulfilling the goal, he said that challenges include the development of suitable technologies for effective mining of some of the deep-sea mineral resources and exploitation of gas hydrates resources.

France is indispensable to peace and stability in Indo-Pacific: Jaishankar

New Delhi [India] : Terming France as a “premier partner for India” in Indo Pacific region, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday said New Delhi sees Paris as resident power in the region and the country is indispensable to peace and stability in the region.
Speaking at Ambition India Business Forum, Jaishankar said India and France partnership must safeguard “our interest and uphold international law and multilateralism”. He also said that traits — such as values, traits and transparency — define India and France relationship.
“In these times values, trust and transparency matter. These traits define India-France relationship. We are also bound with a shared belief in strategic autonomy and a multipolar world underpinned by reformed and effective multilateralism that has produced decades of solidarity most recently during the pandemic and a relationship free from sudden shifts and surprises,” he said.
Jaishankar noted that the strategic partnership between two countries has become more relevant in the 21st century for the future of the Indo-Pacific.
“For this reason, our strategic partnership has become more relevant in the 21st century both to strengthen multilateralism, which must be the basis for our stable multipolar world and even more for the future of the Indo Pacific region,” he added.
Jaishankar called France a “premier partner for India” in Indo-Pacific.
“Our partnership must safeguard our interest, protect the commons and uphold international law and multilateralism. But it must also offer better alternatives to countries in the region and enable them to make sovereign and viable choices,” he said.

“SP, BSP, Congress destroyed UP”

Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India] : Slamming the Opposition parties in Uttar Pradesh, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday alleged that Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) and Congress had “destroyed” the identity of the state and Yogi Adityanath government has given the state a distinct identity under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Union Home Minister on Friday launched ‘Mera Parivaar-BJP Parivaar’ membership drive in Lucknow as the BJP gears up for the assembly polls early next year. “Samajwadi Party, BSP, Congress had destroyed the identity of Uttar Pradesh. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Modiji, the Yogi Adityanath government has given a distinct identity to the state,” he said.
He said the state has made rapid development strides under BJP rule.
“Before 2017, Uttar Pradesh was the seventh-largest economy of the country, today it has become the second economy of the country. Akhilesh babu’s state budget was Rs 10 lakh crore. Yogiji has kept an interim budget of Rs 21.31 lakh crore.” Amit Shah said.
He said there was forced migration from parts of Uttar Pradesh during the rule of non-BJP parties and those responsible for it have themselves migrated now.
“Today no forced migration takes place from Uttar Pradesh. Those responsible for it have themselves migrated. Today there are no Bahubalis. This change is because of the BJP government,” Shah said.
He further said that unlike the opposition, the BJP has proved that its governments work for the poorest of the poor.
“People who were sitting at home for the last five years are coming out thinking their government will be formed. I want Akhilesh Yadav to tell the people of Uttar Pradesh that for how many days he was staying abroad. Where was he during the COVID and floods? They only worked for their family,” he said.
The Union Home Minister said that the BJP government in the state had fulfilled 90 per cent of promises made in the 2017 manifesto and the remaining 10 per cent would also be completed by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in the next two months.
The BJP won a landslide victory in the 2017 assembly polls.

India reports 14,348 COVID-19 new cases in last 24 hours

New Delhi [India] : India reported 14,348 COVID-19 new cases in the last 24 hours, informed the Ministry of Health and Family welfare on Friday.
With this India’s active caseload stands at 1,61,334. Active cases account for less than 1 per cent of total cases, currently at 0.47 per cent, the lowest since March 2020. The country also registered 13,198 new recoveries in the last 24 hours, taking the recovery rate to 98.19 per cent.
India has so far conducted over 60.58 crore COVID-19 tests.
Meanwhile, more than 104.82 crore vaccine doses have been administered so far under Nationwide Vaccination Drive

Russia records 39,849 COVID-19 cases in past 24 hours

Moscow [Russia] : Russia registered 39,849 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, down from the record 40,096 the day before, bringing the cumulative total to 8,432,546, the federal response center said on Friday.
“Over the past day, 39,849 COVID-19 cases were confirmed across 85 Russian regions, including 3,442 cases (8.6%) without clinical symptoms,” the center said, adding that the rate of increase fell to 0.47%. Moscow has the highest number of new cases with 7,511 infections, down from 8,440 the day before. The Russian capital is followed by St. Petersburg with 3,452 cases, up from 3,186, and the Moscow region with 2,556 cases, down from 2,639.
The response center reported a new single-day record of 1,163 deaths linked to the coronavirus, up from 1,159 the day before, bringing the country’s death toll to 236,220.
In the same 24 hours, 30,462 COVID-19 patients were discharged from hospitals across the country, up from 29,318 the day before, bringing the total to 7,302,515.

S Korea to launch ‘living with COVID-19’ guideline in November

Seoul [South Korea] : South Korea planned to launch the so-called “living with COVID-19” guideline from next month as the full vaccination rate topped the key precondition of 70 per cent, the health ministry said Friday.
Starting from November 1, the business hour restrictions on all multiuse facilities, including restaurants and cafes, will be lifted except for nightlife entertainment facilities such as nightclubs, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare. Under the first phase of the three-stage “living with COVID-19” scheme, nightlife facilities will be allowed to operate until midnight.
Currently, restaurants and cafes are allowed to open until 10:00 p.m. local time in the Seoul metropolitan area, while the business hour was limited to midnight in other parts of the country.
Under the new guideline, the maximum number of private gatherings will be raised to 10 people in the metropolitan area regardless of the vaccination from the current eight.
In the non-metropolitan regions, the number will be increased to 12 people from the current 10.
For those who have yet to be fully vaccinated, up to four people will be allowed to gather at restaurants and cafes where people have to take off masks for eating and drinking.
The so-called “vaccine pass” system will be introduced with a grace period to require people to show a vaccination certificate or a negative test result when visiting risky facilities, including nightlife facilities, karaoke, public bathhouse, indoor sports facilities, racecourse, bicycle race track and casino as well as medical institutions.
The eased antivirus measures came as the country’s full vaccination rate surpassed 70 per cent of the population.
In the latest tally, the country reported 2,124 more cases of COVID-19 for the past 24 hours, lifting the total number of infections to 360,536. The daily caseload hovered above 1,000 for 115 days since July 7.
The first phase of the new guideline will be maintained for six weeks. Under the second phase, the operating hour restriction on nightlife entertainment facilities will be lifted.
Under the third phase, the limit on the number of private gatherings will be removed.

Delhi logs 42 fresh COVID-19 cases in last 24 hours

New Delhi [India] : Delhi reported 42 fresh COVID-19 cases on Thursday and no single death was reported in the city for the six consecutive days.
According to Delhi Health Bulletin, as many as 25,091 people have succumbed to the virus so far in the national capital. The total count of coronavirus cases in the city has gone up to 14,39,751 and the active caseload in the city stands at 345.
The case fatality rate in the national capital is 1.74 per cent. The positivity rate is 0.07 per cent.
With 45 more persons recovered in the last 24 hours, the total number of recoveries in the city has gone up to 14,14,315.
As many as 2,92,52,619 COVID-19 tests have been conducted so far in Delhi including 47,895 RT-PCR tests and 15,279 rapid antigen tests conducted in the last 24 hours.
As many as 61,097 beneficiaries were vaccinated in the last 24 hours taking cumulative beneficiaries in the city to 2,02,62,413.

Google to launch Android 12L soon

Washington [US] : American tech giant Google released Android 12 last week, and now it’s announcing the next feature drop which it’s calling Android 12L. The L stands for Large screens, as the focus of this release will be all about better adapting the OS to tablets, foldables, and ChromeOS devices.
As per GSM Arena, Android 12L will become available early next year, in time for the next wave of Android 12 tablets and foldables. A developer preview of Android 12L is now out for emulator use, and it will be available soon for Lenovo’s Tab P12 Pro. Later a public beta for Pixel devices will be opened too, as Android 12L will also arrive as an update for phones, even though most of its features won’t be visible on smaller screens.
The UI has been refined for use on large screens. This includes notifications, quick settings, the lock screen, the home screen, the overview/recent apps panel, and so on. On large screens, the notification shade, lock screen, and other system surfaces all use a new two-column layout, and system apps are also optimised, reported GSM Arena.
For enhanced multitasking, Android 12L has a new taskbar that allows for quick switching between your favourite apps on the fly. This also makes split-screen mode easier to discover – all you need to do to engage it is drag and drop an app from the taskbar. All apps are enabled to enter a split-screen mode in Android 12L, which is another big step forward.
Google is urging developers to update their apps in order to better adapt to the multiple screen sizes Android works across, providing three window size classes as seen in the image above – Compact for phones, Medium for foldables and small tablets, and Expanded for landscape-mode tablets and computers.
There’s also a new API to make apps fold and hinge aware, allowing for the use of these as natural UI separators.
In the Play Store, Google will warn users about apps that are not optimised for large screens (if they’re accessing the listing from a large screen device). There will be new checks to assess each app’s quality against Google’s large screen app quality guidelines.
Finally, there will also be large screen-specific app ratings, and all of these changes are coming into effect next year.

French Open: Mix doubles pair of Ponnappa, Satwik lose to Indonesian duo

Paris [France] : Indian mix doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy on Thursday lost in the round of 16 match in the ongoing French Open.
Playing at Court 4, the Indian pair lost against Indonesia’s Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti 21-15, 17-21, 19-21. The pair Ponnappa and Satwik dominated the game in the first round but the Indonesian duo came back stronger in the second and the third round.
Earlier, India’s ace shuttler PV Sindhu defeated Denmark’s Julie Jakobsen 21-15, 21-18 in straight sets to advance into the second round of the women’s singles event at the French Open 2021.
Elsewhere, London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal was forced to retire from her opening round match with an injury. Saina Nehwal was trailing 21-11, 9-2 against Japan’s Sayaka Takahashi in her women’s singles clash when she decided to concede.
Earlier, Lakshya Sen stormed into the men’s singles round of 16. The 20-year-old defeated Ireland’s Nhat Nguyen 21-10, 21-16 in 45 minutes.
Sourabh Verma also went into the men’s singles round of 32. He defeated Brazil’s Ygor Coelho 22-20, 21-19.

bp and Infosys to develop ‘Energy as a Service’ Solution for campuses and cities

Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India] : bp , a global integrated energy company, and Infosys , a global leader in next-generation digital services and consulting, today announced that they have agreed to develop and pilot energy as a service (EaaS) solution, which will aim to help businesses improve the energy efficiency of infrastructure, and help meet their decarbonization goals.
Infosys and bp intend to co-develop a digital platform that can collect data from multiple energy assets and use artificial intelligence to optimize the energy supply and demand for power, heat, cooling and EV charging. The companies will pilot the digital platform at the Infosys Pune Development Center – in an environment that replicates a small city, where energy is generated, stored, and consumed at multiple points. Once the pilot is successful, they will aim to roll this model out across other Infosys campuses in India, and with some clients, to help manage energy and help reduce emissions. In addition, the companies have agreed to collaborate on integrating solar energy production into the campus’ energy system. Energy that is generated through this integration will be monitored and optimized by the digital platform and can be stored or redirected to the building power supply, heating and cooling systems, and also to an EV charging infrastructure.
Sashi Mukundan, President, bp India and Senior Vice President, bp Group, said, “At bp, we set out to provide solutions to enable cities and hard to abate industries decarbonize. Integrating advances in energy, mobility and digital technologies and services has huge potential to accelerate the progress towards a more sustainable and resilient future. By bringing together our complementary capabilities, products, and services from bp’s different joint ventures in India, bp and Infosys can help each other – and our customers – achieve energy and sustainability goals faster.”
Pravin Rao, Chief Operating Officer, Infosys, said, “Infosys shares bp’s ambitions for a net zero carbon future. Our collaboration with bp further strengthens our long-standing commitment towards sustainability and supports our ambitious ESG goals. We will now bring together the best of digital technologies – advanced AI, connected digital systems, experience design, analytics – and decarbonization to create an integrated energy and mobility offering. Together, bp and Infosys can create compelling and sustainable value for our customers globally.”

Nepal cabinet recommends appointment of ambassadors to India, UK and US

Kathmandu [Nepal]: Nepal cabinet on Thursday recommended the appointment of ambassadors of India, the United Kingdom and the United States on Thursday.
A meeting of the Council of Ministers recommended Shankar Sharma as the Ambassador to India, Gyan Chandra Acharya as the Ambassador to the United Kingdom, and Shridhar Khatri as the Ambassador to the United States, Information Minister Gyanendra Karki said in a press briefing. Khatri, a professor of political science, is a foreign affairs expert, while Sharma is a former US ambassador. A parliamentary hearing over the recommended ambassadors would be held in the coming month.
Nepal’s newly formed government under the Prime Ministership of Sher Bahadur Deuba has decided to recall all ambassadors appointed by the former government under KP Sharma Oli-led administration on September 21.
Nepal has a total of 33 diplomatic missions abroad. While career diplomats have been appointed as ambassadors in 10 different missions, the remaining 23 missions are filled by political appointees.

Mysore-Chennai Shatabdi Express becomes first IMS certified train

New Delhi [India] : With maintaining hygiene in train and perfect management system, another milestone achieved by Indian Railway as Chennai- Mysore-Chennai Shatabdi Express becomes the first Integrated Management Systems (IMS) certified train of Southern Railway.
This is also the first IMS certified Shatabdi Express train of Indian Railways and the second mail/express train on Indian Railways. According to the statement released by the Ministry of Railways, Chennai-Mysore-Chennai Central Shatabdi Express service is the first-ever train service of Southern Railway to bag IMS Certification with ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015 and ISO 45001:2018 Certifications.
The statement further read that the primary maintenance of the train is handled by Basin Bridge Coaching Depot of Chennai Division.
This certification has been granted by the certification agency after a comprehensive audit and duly verifying adherence by Railways to all laid down norms.
The pair of Shatabdi services between Chennai-Mysore-Chennai was run as Train in the pre-COVID times and presently run as Special service with train except for Wednesdays.
It is also notable that the train was inducted with state-of-the-art LHB coaches in July 2009. Most importantly, this train is running on Head-On-Generation (HOG) Technology, thereby reducing pollution and saving on the consumption of diesel.
Maintaining 100 per cent passenger amenities in working condition, 100 per cent Bio digester toilet operations and 100 per cent functional sub-pantry equipment, Quality air conditioning, lighting and other electrical amenities with energy conservation technology are the Special features of this train.
In this train, passengers also get Braille signage seat indication number And Pre-loaded Wi-fi Infotainment System.
Automatic sliding door closer for passenger coupe in Executive coach, fire extinguishers in all coaches with fire suppression system fitted in power cars and unified information sticker in all coaches with emergency contact numbers ensuring safe and comfortable travel for passengers in this train.

Shah chairs Security Meet

New Delhi [India] : To assess India’s coastal security preparedness, Union Home Minister Amit Shah chaired a meeting of the Consultative Committee of the Ministry of Home Affairs on Thursday.
The meeting started here around 11.30 a.m. at Parliament premises. The meeting was meant to assess India’s coastal security preparedness to prevent any “attempt by anti-national elements to carry out an attack on its territory or against its citizens by infiltrating through the sea route.” The meeting was attended by top Indian Coast Guard and Ministry of Home Affairs officials. Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai and Ajay Mishra Teni and Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla were also present in the meeting.

Since the 2008 terrorist attack on Mumbai, coastal security has assumed particular importance among India’s national security concerns.
Because that attack came through a sea route, the Central government and state governments along India’s long coastline have taken several steps to address potential capacity issues of various intelligence and security forces.

India and Israel victims of terror, have to make terrorism disappear: Israel envoy to India

New Delhi [India] : Israel is cooperating with India in fighting terrorism and extremism and “we have to make terrorism disappear,” Israel’s newly-appointed envoy to India Naor Gilon has said.
In an interview with ANI, the envoy said that Israel is also a big victim of terrorism like India and is sharing its capabilities in fighting the menace. “Terrorism is a sickness hitting our region especially but around the world, extremism is really bad. Israel is unfortunately big victim like India. We have developed our methods and its capabilities in fighting terrorism and we are very happy to share it with countries in general and India in particular and we do share it and we do work together. We have to make terrorism disappear, people have to talk to each other not to kill each other,” he said.
The Israeli envoy said Iran is a big threat to his country and they also shared concerns with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar during his visit to Israel earlier this month.
India shares good relations with Iran and both countries share common regional interests especially in the context of Afghanistan. Strategic Chabahar port has been built by India in Iran. The envoy said two friendly countries can have different interests.
“I think like many other issues, each country has its own vision and own interest because there is a difference sometimes between the two. Israel spoke at length with Indian Foreign Minister on how we see and perceives Iran. He made a point in saying India’s interest in having Iran cooperate on Afghanistan. We are trying to settle different visions, interests and different interests,” the envoy said.
Naor Gilon also said that recently held quadrilateral meet between India, Israel, US and UAE has no military component and is purely infrastructure oriented.
“This group of four is totally economic infrastructure of doing business and doing better for the region. So in general there is cooperation. This is not the right group for military cooperation but we do have bilateral, multilateral (cooperation) with this group of four,” he added.
The envoy referred to Indian Air Force participating in the Blue Flag 2021 international exercise in Israel. The UAE Air Force chief had also visited Israel to observe Blue Flag exercise.
“Indian fighter jets participated in this international drill for the first time,” he said.
The Israeli envoy also told ANI that one of the actors of popular web series ‘Fauda’ will be coming to India

PM Modi to visit Kedarnath on Nov 5, to inaugurate Shri Adi Shankaracharya Samadhi

New Delhi [India] : Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Kedarnath, Uttarakhand on November 5, informed Prime Minister’s Office on Thursday.
As per a release of the PMO’s office, the Prime Minister will offer prayers at the Kedarnath Temple and thereafter inaugurate Shri Adi Shankaracharya Samadhi and unveil the statue of Shri Adi Shankaracharya. “The Samadhi has been reconstructed after the destruction in the 2013 floods. The entire reconstruction work has been undertaken under the guidance of the Prime Minister, who has constantly reviewed and monitored the progress of the project,” read the release.
“Prime Minister will review and inspect the executed and ongoing works along the Saraswati Aasthapath. Prime Minister will also address a public rally. He will inaugurate key infrastructure projects which have been completed, including Saraswati Retaining Wall Aasthapath and Ghats, Mandakini Retaining Wall Aasthapath, Tirth Purohit Houses and Garud Chatti bridge on river Mandakini,” it added.
The release further informed that the projects have been completed at a cost of over Rs 130 crore.
It further said that PM Modi will also lay the foundation stone for multiple projects worth over Rs 180 crore, including the Redevelopment of Sangam Ghat, First Aid and Tourist Facilitation Centre, Admin Office and Hospital, two Guest Houses, Police Station, Command and Control Centre, Mandakini Aasthapath Queue Management and Rainshelter and Saraswati Civic Amenity Building.

New Quad between India, Israel, UAE, US has no military component : Envoy Gilon

New Delhi [India] : Israel’s new Ambassador to India Naor Gilon on Thursday said that the new quadrilateral economic forum between India, Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the US has no military component and the emphasis in only economy and infrastructure.
In the first four-nations virtual meeting earlier this month, the Foreign Ministers of the four countries discussed possible joint infrastructure projects in the fields of transportation, technology, maritime security, and trade. The new Quad builds on cooperation between the US-Israel-the UAE after the Abraham Accords was signed last year that saw the UAE and Israel establish diplomatic relations.
On the question of whether this new forum is against Iran, Gilon replied that that cooperation is to promote something positive.
“I don’t think the cooperation is against Iran. Cooperation is to promote something positive and not to create something negative against someone else. .. There is no military element in this cooperation.”
Answering a question of the emergence of the new Quad in the middle east, ambassador Gilon said, “I think there is a lot of synergy between India, UAE and Israel because you have a lot of companies in UAE led by Indians and most of the biggest companies have representations there. So this is one link.”
The envoy said that the new quad has been created as a practical deal-making forum and not a symbolic one.
“Together with Israel; with the manufacturing ability of India; the technological ability of UAE and along with the money… this should be a big success. …We hope not to keep this as a symbolic forum but a practical deal-making forum,” he said.

Arrested for celebrating Pakistan’s victory

The three students were booked after a BJP youth wing leader Gaurav Rajawat lodged a complaint against them for shouting pro-Pakistan slogans after Pakistan’s win against India in the T20 World Cup match.

Agra : Three Kashmiri students were arrested in Uttar Pradesh’s Agra on Wednesday for celebrating Pakistan’s win against India in the T20 World Cup match on October 24. All three are engineering students.

Agra Circle Officer (Lohamandi) Saurabh Singh said the three students have been identified as Arshad Yusuf, Inayat Altaf Sheikh and Shaukat Ahmed Ganai. They were arrested late on Wednesday evening. “They will be presented before a Magistrate today,” said the officer.

The three students were booked after a BJP youth wing leader Gaurav Rajawat lodged a complaint against them for allegedly “shouting pro-Pakistan slogans and sharing posts related to it on social media” after India’s loss.

Vikas Kumar, Superintendent of Police, Agra City, said that an FIR is being registered at Jagdishpura police station on the basis of the complaint. He said that the police also received information that some people had ‘shared anti-national messages’ on WhatsApp after the match. The students have been suspended from the hostel as well as the institute.

“The incident came to light after the match, anti-national remarks were made. We received a complaint, and an FIR was lodged. They were arrested after a probe,” he said.

Earlier in the morning, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that those celebrating Pakistan’s win will be charged with sedition.

India : 16,156 new COVID-19 cases, 733 deaths

New Delhi [India] : India reported 16,156 new COVID-19 cases and 733 deaths in the last 24 hours, informed the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Thursday.
The country also reported 17,095 recoveries in the last 24 hours, taking the recovery rate at 98.20 per cent, which is the highest since March 2020. The country’s active caseload stands at 1,60,989, which is the lowest in 243 days.
The active cases account for less than 1 per cent of the total cases, currently at 0.47 per cent, which is the lowest since March 2020.
At 1.19 per cent, the weekly positivity rate is less than 2 per cent for the last 34 days. The daily positivity rate stands at 1.25 per cent, which is less than 2 per cent for the last 24 days.
The total number of samples tested for COVID-19 till October 27 is 60,44,98,405 including 12,90,900 samples tested on Wednesday, as per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
Meanwhile, 104.04 crore vaccine doses have been administered so far under the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive.

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