China targets UK Minister for making anit-Beijing remarks, says Britain following Cold War playbook

London [UK] (ANI): China has said that the UK is following the Cold War playbook, which it will get nowhere following the British Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs Liz Truss’ remarks in Australia where she blamed Beijing for exerting the “economic coercion” against other countries and working more closely with Russia.
“The accusations against China in this speech confuse right and wrong and raise questions about their real intention. They are full of disinformation about China as well as the current international situation,” the Chinese Embassy in the UK said in a statement on Sunday. “Today’s world is a far cry from the one 40 or 50 years ago. The Cold War is long gone! In the face of global challenges including pandemics, what the international community needs is solidarity and cooperation, not division or confrontation. British diplomacy, if following the Cold War playbook, will get nowhere,” the statement added.
The embassy further stated that what the people are seeing is parroting of US rhetorics in the speech, drawing lines along with ideology and discrediting other sovereign countries regardless of facts. “This is an attempt to justify the move to create the small circles, which has inflicted negative impact on regional peace and stability,” it said.
China’s remarks came after UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs Liz Truss delivered a speech at the Lowy Institute of Australia recently, in which she mentioned China several times, blaming China groundlessly for exerting “economic coercion” against other countries and working more closely with Russia. She called on the UK and Australia to work with some other countries to “defend economic security and freedom”. (Image source: Instagram)

‘Wrote to Governor, no response yet’, Maharashtra Minister Thorat over Assembly Speaker election

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India]: Maharashtra Minister and Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat on Tuesday hit out at Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari stating that there was no response over Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government’s request seeking approval for the election of the Legislative Assembly Speaker during the ongoing winter session of the state legislature.
Speaking to the reporters here on the matter of the election of Speaker ahead of the last day of the Winter Session of Maharashtra Assembly, Thorat said, “We have written a letter to the governor on the matter but we have not received any response yet.” “If he does not want to allow the conduct of the election, he can clarify that. He should not keep the matter pending in this manner,” he added.
The MVA government intends to conduct the Speaker election in the Assembly on the last day of the Winter session, according to sources. For this the ministers of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government will hold a meeting to discuss the matter.
On the other hand, the Nationalist Congress Party, said that no one can interfere with law board officials.
The assembly speaker’s post has been lying vacant since February this year after Nana Patole resigned from the position to take charge as state Congress chief.
The Winter Session of the Maharashtra Assembly commenced on December 22 and is scheduled to culminate on December 28.

Co-education reason behind closure of universities in Afghanistan, says Taliban minister

Kabul [Afghanistan]: Minister of Higher Education of Afghanistan, Abdul Baqi Haqqani on Sunday said that the reason behind the closure of universities is co-education and economic crisis.
The Taliban minister said that they have to make separate classes for girls and hire extra lecturers that need more time and extra budget, reported Khaama Press. Haqqani was on a visit to Pakistan recently discussed the problems of Afghan students with Islamabad officials and relevant administrations.
“We discussed the problems of Afghan students and we were given assurance by Pakistani officials. Pakistan increased yearly scholarships for Afghan students by 500. Afghanistan will be provided 1,500 scholarships every year,” said Haqqani.
Meanwhile, Haqqani also said that no country will be allowed to grant scholarships directly to people and that the scholarships will be managed through the ministry of higher education, reported Khaama Press.
He had suggested building independent universities for Afghan refugees in Pakistan.
“Pakistan is an ideal country for Afghan students who seek higher education as the country is cheaper and has similarities with the Afghan people,” Haqqani added.
It comes as public universities and high schools for girls are yet to be reopened.
The Taliban, after the siege, proposed a ban on coeducation. Group’s officials had also ordered that girls will no longer be allowed to sit in the same classes as boys in universities, Khaama Press reported.

AAP govt will provide all benefits that a minister gets to common people, says Arvind Kejriwal

New Delhi [India]: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday hit back at Opposition parties for calling his schemes freebies and said that “his government will provide all the benefits that a minister gets to common people”.
Addressing the AAP’s legal cell annual programme in Delhi today, Kejriwal said, “I am happy that this team started with only two to four members but now there are many members in the team. In 2019, we introduced a scheme for Delhi’s advocates in which we give them medical and health insurance.” “During the COVID-19 pandemic, the lawyers of Delhi got the benefit of this scheme. There are about 122 lawyers who succumbed to coronavirus infection. Their families got Rs 10 lakh each as life insurance. About 1,210 lawyers got infected with COVID-19. Their expenses were borne by the Delhi government,” the AAP National Convener said.
He further stated that Delhi is the only place where the lawyers get this scheme. “Hopefully, it will start in other states as well. People spread the false notion that it was started for only one year and will be closed, but it is not so. As long as our government is here, the scheme will continue,” he added.
Hitting back at the Opposition parties for calling his schemes freebies, Kejriwal said, “The Opposition parties opposed this schemes. They called it freebie. They asked why are you doing it for advocates who are very rich.”
“I would like to ask them that why do they think that advocates are rich. They must have seen a few rich advocates in movies only. Advocates struggle throughout their life to earn fame and money,” Kejriwal said.
Further, he asked, “I ask the ministers who is paying for their treatment? Their treatment is free. They don’t ask anything when they get these benefits for themselves. Then they even ask from where this money comes for the free scheme.”
“I would say that if one becomes an MLA, then he would have around 10-15 crores money, 3-4 bungalows, and many more things. I am using that money for the welfare of people. I will provide all those benefits to common people which a minister gets,” he added.

No role of BJP in attacks on TMC, investigation underway, says Tripura Minister

Agartala (Tripura) [India]: The state’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has distanced itself from the attacks on Trinamool Congress workers and the house of TMC steering committee state head Subal Bhowmik in Tripura and categorically denied any involvement of BJP workers in the attacks.
The Party, on the other hand, accused the TMC of plotting everything in connivance with the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Congress. The tensions in Tripura increased after violent incidents in the run-up to the elections to the Agartala Municipal Corporation (AMC) and 12 other municipal bodies slated for November 25.
Senior BJP leader and Minister of Higher Education Ratanlal Nath on Sunday said that CPIM, Congress and TMC hatched a well-orchestrated conspiracy to defame, demean and tarnish the image of Tripura at the national as well as the international level in order to show BJP in a bad light.
Addressing the reporters at BJP state headquarters late on Sunday night, Nath said, “BJP had already bagged 112 seats uncontested. In 222 seats, BJP is going to face opposition parties like CPIM, TMC and Congress in turns”.
“In this game plan, CPIM, Congress and Trinamool Congress are working all together. They are also going to stage a fresh drama in New Delhi by meeting union Home minister Amit Shah on the Tripura violence issue which is nothing but a mere attempt to hide their own shortcomings. The clandestine understanding among the opposition parties is visible and an open secret for all”, he added.
The minister said, “TMC which did not even have district or block committee in the state is trying to make a statement that they can defeat the ruling party. For that, they have taken a number of efforts which are against the interest of Tripura”.
“On several occasions, Sushmita Dev, TMC MP was seen making unparliamentary comments on CM Biplab Kumar Deb. Even Sayani Ghosh’s act during CM’s public meeting is also unacceptable. Their leader Bobby Hakim has also attacked our Chief Minister verbally with words that could not be revealed in such a platform,” the senior BJP leader pointed out.
On being asked about the visuals of people bearing BJP flags attacking the police station, Nath has categorically denied any involvement of BJP workers in the incidents but maintained that the police is investigating the matter.

Modi’s Cabinet reorganised

New Delhi [India] : Taking a significant step to further improve the functioning of the central government, all the 77 ministers in the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led cabinet have been divided into eight different groups.
In the eight new groups of ministers, the responsibility of coordinating each group will be given to a senior minister. Further, two new ministers, a few old ministers and some state ministers will also be a part of each group. According to sources, the step has been taken after the instructions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in which he had asked to expedite the working of the ministries and make efforts to coordinate among themselves.
In the series of meetings with the union council of ministers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently reviewed the work of ministries. During the meetings, suggestions were also sought from all the ministers in order to make decisions in public welfare. At the same time, the possibilities of bringing about further improvement in the functioning of the ministries were also discussed in detail. Prime Minister also laid special emphasis on the better use of technology in all ministries.
In these meetings, the Prime Minister also referred to the tiffin meetings between ministers in Gujarat during his tenure as chief minister and directed the union ministers focused on the same lines to meet and work.
The effort of the government is to make it easier for the new ministers to understand the working of the ministry. Along with this, the Centre is looking forward to establishing a system in which ministries would have information about the working of each other. The government believes it will bring more transparency and speed in the completion of the projects jointly run by different departments.

UK Brexit Minister accepts France’s invitation to discuss fisheries row in Paris

London [UK]: The UK’s chief Brexit negotiator, David Frost, has accepted the invitation of France’s secretary of state for European Affairs to discuss the fisheries dispute between the two countries, a UK government spokesman has said.
French Secretary of State for European Affairs Clement Beaune has invited the UK official to hold talks on the issue in Paris this Thursday. The French side has also announced postponing the implementation of previously announced sanctions against London for the time being. “We welcome France’s acknowledgement that in-depth discussions are needed to resolve the range of difficulties in the UK/EU relationship. Lord Frost has accepted Clement Beaune’s invitation and looks forward to the discussions in Paris on Thursday,” the spokesman said in a statement.
London has also approved of France’s decision to refrain from imposing the sanctions that were scheduled to go into force on Tuesday.
“We welcome the French Government’s announcement that they will not go ahead with implementing their proposed measures as planned tomorrow. The UK has set out its position clearly on these measures in recent days,” the spokesman said.
Last week, France said that it would impose sanctions against the United Kingdom over London’s alleged refusal to issue enough fishing licenses for French fishermen to access British waters under the Brexit trade deal.

BJP can not win through ‘jumlas’: TRS

Hyderabad (Telangana) [India]: Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leader and Telangana Cabinet Minister KT Rama Rao on Saturday took a jibe at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA T. Raja Singh over escalating fuel and cooking gas prices, adding that the MLA should win hearts of people through works instead of indulging in “jumlas”.

Earlier on October 16, alleging in a video that drainage system in the old Hyderabad city would overflow and flood people’s homes and shops, Raja had said in a tweet, “@KTRTRS Ji let’s take a ride on my bullet across Goshamahal Constituency and old city you will have the 1st hand experience of the development that happened. What say? #HyderabadRains.”
To which Rao responded, “Why don’t you go to petrol bunk & find out what people are saying about hike in Petrol & Diesel prices? Also, stop at a household & enquire with them on how LPG cylinder prices are going up? GDP = Gas, Diesel, Petrol Suna Hi Hoga? Ab Yeh Jhumle bandh Karo, Kaam se Dil Jeeto.”

On Sunday, petrol and diesel prices rose in various parts of the country for the fifth consecutive day.

Price of petrol & diesel in Delhi are at Rs 107.59 per litre & Rs 96.32 per litre respectively today while they are at Rs 113.46 & Rs 104.38 per litre in Mumbai. In Kolkata and Chennai, petrol and diesel prices are at Rs 108.11 & Rs 99.43 per litre and Rs 104.52 & Rs 100.59 per litre respectively. (ANI)

Pakistan minister blames past rulers for current economic crisis

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan federal minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain has blamed the past governments for the current economic situation in the country and said that the former rulers have ruined the “national economy during their 10 years of misrule”.
He believed that the amount was being used for debt servicing could be used to offset the price hike, reported The News International. In a statement on Twitter, the information minister said had the government not repaid 12 billion dollars in debt, the amount could have been used to provide subsidy in the prices of oil and electricity.
He said that the country’s current economic crisis was a “gift of 10-year rule of Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif,” adding that had the former rulers not ruined the national economy during their 10 years of misrule, the consumers could have been protected from the adverse effects of rising prices of commodities in the international market, The News International reported.
Earlier, Pakistan’s Awami National Party (ANP) has launched a hunger strike camp against the Imran Khan government and said that he had not fulfilled the promises he had made with the nation before the general elections.
A senior leader of the Pakhtun nationalist party Ghulam Ahmad Bilour said that the prices of edible items, petroleum products and other daily-use commodities had almost doubled under the governance of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
Pakistan’s joblessness has jumped from 5.8 per cent in 2017-18 to 6.9 per cent in 2018-19, according to the Labour Force Survey (LFS) published by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).
The first year of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf in power saw an increase in unemployment in the case of both males and females, with the male unemployment rate rising from 5.1 per cent to 5.9 per cent and female unemployment rate jumping from 8.3 per cent to 10 per cent, reported Dawn.

Akhilesh Yadav demands MoS Home’s resignation, Rs 2 cr ex-gratia for next of kin of victims

Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India]: Demanding the resignation of the Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra Teni over the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Monday said even Britishers would not have oppressed the people the way BJP-led government is oppressing the farmers.

The former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister also demanded Rs 2 crores as ex-gratia and government jobs for the next of kin of the farmers who died in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident.
Speaking to the media person while protesting outside his residence in Lucknow, Yadav said: “Even Britishers would not have committed the kind of atrocities this government is committing against farmers. MoS Home Ajay Mishra and Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya should resign.”

“Rs 2 crores and government jobs should be given to next of kin of the farmers who lost their lives in the incident,” he said.

The Samajwadi Party president has staged a sit-in protest outside his residence after police stopped him from going to Lakhimpur Kheri, where 8 people, including 4 farmers, died yesterday.

“Government does not want any political leaders to go there. What are they hiding?” he asked.

Samajwadi Party workers have gathered here as police deployed forces put up barricades at his residence at Vikramaditya Marg in Lucknow.

Earlier, Yadav demanded Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s resignation over the incident.

Several Opposition leaders from various parties including Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, and Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa are also scheduled to visit Lakhimpur Kheri today.

Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of several farmer unions, alleged that Ashish Mishra Teni, son of MoS for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra Teni came with three vehicles around the time that farmers were dispersing from their protest at the helipad and mowed down farmers and towards the end also attacked SKM leader Tajinder Singh Virk directly, by trying to run a vehicle over him.

However, Ashish Mishra Teni refuted SKM’s allegations and said he was not present at the spot where the incident took place.

Varun Gandhi pays tribute to farmers killed in Lakhimpuri Kheri, urges CBI probe, aid to kin

Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], October 4 : Bharatiya Janata Party (MP) Varun Gandhi on Sunday wrote a letter to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on the Lakhimpur Kheri incident demanding strict action against culprits and suggested a Supreme Court-monitored CBI probe in time bound manner in the case.
The MP from Uttar Pradesh’s Pilibhit paid tribute to farmers killed in the incident and said that Rs 1 crore compensation should be given to families of victims. “The incident of brutal mowing down of farmers protesting in Lakhimpur Kheri on October 3 is heart-wrenching. It has caused rage and pain among citizens in the country… The incident is unforgivable. Protesters are our citizens. If they have problems with some issues and are protesting within their democratic rights then we should keep restraint and be patient while dealing with them,” read Gandhi’s letter translated from Hindi.
“I pay my tribute to farmers killed in the incident and express condolences to their families,” it said.
Varun Gandhi requested Adityanath to “identify all suspects in the incident and take strict action against them by registering a murder case under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code.”
“In this regard, it will be suitable to bring all culprits to justice by a Supreme Court-monitored CBI probe in a time-bound manner,” he stated.
Several Opposition leaders from various parties including Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav are also scheduled to visit Lakhimpur Kheri today.
The District Magistrate of Lakhimpur Kheri has imposed section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), which prohibits the assembly of five or more people at a time, in the district.
Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of several farmer unions, alleged that Ashish Mishra Teni, son of Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra Teni arrived with three vehicles around the time that farmers were dispersing from their protest at the helipad and mowed down farmers and towards the end also attacked SKM leader Tajinder Singh Virk directly, by trying to run a vehicle over him.
However, Ashish Mishra refuted SKM’s allegations and said he was not present at the spot where the incident took place.

“…Some unruly elements attacked our workers, killed 4-5 of them. I was in Banbirpur from 9 am till the end…I have not been at the (incident) spot for two days…It could be that they don’t like me and using politics… Allegations against me are completely baseless and I demand judicial inquiry of this matter and culprits should get punished,” he said.
As many as eight people died in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident on Sunday, said Uttar Pradesh police.
MoS Teni also said that his son was not present at the spot, adding that some miscreants mingled with protesting farmers and pelted the stones at the car which lead to the ‘unfortunate incident’. 

Anti-corruption dept raids against former TN minister

Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India]: The Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) is conducting searches at more than 20 places in connection with the corruption cases belonging to AIADMK leader and former Commercial Taxes Minister KC Veeramani, the department informed on Thursday.
Searches are being conducted in places like Chennai, Vellore, Thiruvannamalai. According to sources, DVAC has registered a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act for possession of Disproportionate assets against the former Minister for Commercial Taxes and Registration.
The FIR alleges that during the check period between April 2016 and March 2021, Veeramani has been in possession of assets worth Rs 28.78 crores disproportionate to known sources of income which works out to 65.4 per cent of his total income.
Veeramani had held the Commercial Taxes and Registration portfolio from 2016 to 2021, was also a minister in the 2011-2016 AIADMK regime. He lost the 2021 polls from Jolarpet in Tiruppattur district in Tamil Nadu.
Further details are awaited.

Tokyo Paralympics: Sports Minister Anurag Thakur felicitates medallists

New Delhi [India]: Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Thakur on Wednesday felicitated India’s para athletes who won a historic 19 medals, including 5 gold and 8 silver, in the Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju and Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Nisith Pramanik also graced the event. Secretary of Department of Sports Ravi Mittal, Secretary of Department Youth Affairs Usha Sharma and other officers of the Ministry were also present on this occasion. During his address, Anurag Thakur congratulated all the para athletes for their fantastic performance and said, “I recall in the 2016 Paralympics, the size of the Indian contingent was 19, while this year the country has won as many as 19 medals! You have shown us that the human spirit is the most powerful of all! Our medal tally has increased by about five times. For the first time we have won medals in Table Tennis, won multiple medals in Archery, competed for the first time in canoeing and powerlifting. We equalled two world records and we broke even more. India’s para athletes delivered a perfect podium finish!”
Thakur added, “The government approach in extending support to athletes for international competitions has undergone a transformational change. The government will continue to support India’s Paralympians with facilities and funding so that they may continue to excel internationally. We’d like to encourage more regional and national tournaments for our Paralympians so they can regularly compete and hone their skills.”
He further said, “The government will continue to support India’s Paralympians with facilities and funding so that para athletes can achieve even more medals in 2024 and 2028 Olympics. All the Para Athletes are part of the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) and this scheme will be taken forward and further strengthened to extend greater support to athletes under the scheme. This is also a part of our commitment to realise Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of Inclusive India.”
Thakur also said that the extraordinary performance of athletes has changed the attitude towards Para – Sports in the country. The government has ensured world-class facilities and when Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself speaks to the sportspersons and encourages them; in fact during the last interaction the PM spent nearly two hours speaking to the para-athletes and their families. This has an impact on every section of society, whether be it individual, corporate, sports associations or any other organisation.
In Tokyo 2020, India won 19 medals, finishing 24th in the overall medal tally among 162 nations competing and ranking 20th on the basis of total medals won. India had won only 12 medals until 2016 since making its Paralympic Games debut in 1968.

Future of Indian sports is in hands of coaches, says Anurag Thakur

Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India]: The future of India’s sports lies in the hands of coaches, said Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports, and Information and broadcasting Anurag Singh Thakur on Sunday.
As per an official release, the Minister visited the Netaji Subhas Southern Centre, Sports Authority of India in Bengaluru and participated in the Teachers’ Day Celebration of the 58th Batch of NIS Diploma in sports coaching. Reiterating the Central government’s renewed focus on sports, the Union Sports Minister addressed the coaches and athletes at the event and said, “Future of India’s Sports lies in the hands of Coaches; On the occasion of teachers’ day, let’s resolve to nurture and polish athletes with best of training and ensure they bring forth star athletes of Olympian standards.”
According to the release, there are currently over 160 athletes undergoing high-performance training at the Bangalore Centre of the SAI under the National Centres of Excellence (NCOE) scheme in five disciplines; besides, 168 trainee coaches are undergoing diploma courses in Sports Coaching in 9 disciplines and shall soon be passing out as young coaches.
“SAI is also emphasising on the sports sciences support in the high-performance training wherein a battery of young sports scientists has recently been inducted to support the training processes with modern scientific approach and the latest research,’ said the release.
DG, SAI, Sandip Pradhan and Ritu Pathik, Regional Director, SAI, Bengaluru Centre, were also present at the event.

Financial aid for free textbooks approved: Haryana Minister

Chandigarh, Aug 23: Haryana Education Minister Kanwar Pal informed that under the component ‘Free Text Books/Workbooks’, an amount of Rs 250 per student from class I to V and Rs 400 per student from class VI to VIII has been approved.

This amount will soon be transferred to the accounts of the students through the DBT system. For this, the process of verification of the bank accounts of students has been completed.

Responding to a Calling Attention Motion brought during the ongoing Monsoon Session of Vidhan Sabha on Monday, the Education Minister said that in the meeting of the High Powered Purchase Committee (HPPC) chaired by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar held on June 12, 2021, it was decided that the amount for books per student should be transferred in the respective accounts of the students from class I to VIII.

It is pertinent to mention here that for the year 2021-22, a total amount of Rs 46 crore has been approved by the Central Government in the meeting of the Project Approval Board under the component ‘Free Text Books’.

The Minister apprised the House that the e-books of all classes and all subjects have been uploaded in the public domain on the official website of SCERT, Haryana, Gurugram.

He informed that due to the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, classes I to V are conducted online and are also being telecast through EDUSAT and are available on various television channels.

He said that as far as the availability of books for classes VI to VIII is concerned, the department adopts NCERT textbooks, which are also published by NCERT and are easily available in the open market.

In addition, in view of the National Education Policy, 2020, the process of developing a new National Curriculum Framework has been initiated, after which the syllabus is expected to change from next year. From the next academic session, new textbooks will be printed according to the new syllabus.

Sending troops to Afghanistan not in Russia’s interests: Deputy Foreign Minister

Moscow, Aug 23: Russia has no plans of sending a military contingent to Afghanistan and the Taliban is in no need of military support, Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Oleg Syromolotov told Sputnik.
“Such phrasing of the question is not relevant,” Syromolotov said when asked about the possibility of Russia sending troops to Afghanistan. “Such a step would not be in our interests. In addition, the new Afghan authorities have started to restore order in the country and do not need anyone’s military support,” he added.
The Taliban entered Kabul on August 15. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani resigned and fled the country to prevent what he described as bloodshed that would occur if the militants had to fight for the city.
The chief of the political office of the Taliban, Abdul Ghani Baradar, will likely announce the decision concerning the structure of the future Afghan government over the next two weeks, a source in the Taliban told Sputnik on Saturday.
Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said in an interview with the Izvestia newspaper that there are no prerequisites for the entry of a Russian military contingent into Afghanistan, and Moscow plans to focus primarily on political and diplomatic efforts to establish an intra-Afghan dialogue and facilitate a peaceful resolution of all the problems Afghanistan currently faces.

Sports to get prominence under NEP: Anurag Thakur

Hamirpur, Aug 23: Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur assured the people of the state that sports activities would get prominence under the New Education Policy.

“Sports would get prominence under the new education policy of the central government and all sorts of modern facilities would be provided to the budding sportspersons of India,” the Minister said here on late Sunday.

He appealed to all the stakeholders of the sports to work together for the promotion of sports activities all over India.

Mr Thakur claimed that the performance of the Indian athletes at the Tokyo Olympics was excellent and they were fully rewarded by the central government for their performance. “Sports would be promoted through Khel Maha Kumbh all over India and the budding sportspersons would be chosen from there,” he underlined.

The Minister said that Himachal Pradesh would be developed as a Modern hub of sports and would be known as the land of sports (Khel Bhoomi) on the analogy of the Veer Bhoomi and Dev Bhoomi.

Thakur said that with the provision of adequate land by the state government, more sports activities would be started in the state by providing indoor and outdoor stadiums, gyms, sports fields, and other related activities.

Defence Minister approves proposal to publish relevant details of planned procurements

New Delhi, Aug 20: In a bid to provide more transparency in capital acquisition process, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has approved a proposal mandating the Service Headquarters to publish the details on the website within a week of receipt of approvals.

However, the details shared will be subject to sensitivities keeping the security aspect in mind, a Defence Ministry release said on Friday.

It said the defence industry has regularly pitched for providing greater access to the details of procurements planned by the Ministry especially with regard to cost, quantity, offsets, trials and transfer of technology which are being envisaged at the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) stage.

The release said the Minister gave the approval to promote ‘Ease of Doing Business’ and provide more transparency in capital acquisition process, aligning with the aspirations of industry.

The relevant details should be published on the Service Headquarters/MoD website. This is an important step towards greater transparency and information symmetry and will provide an opportunity to the additional vendors, who did not respond to the Request for Information (RFI) but wish to express interest for receipt of the Request For Proposal (RFP

Mamata pays homage to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on his birth anniversary

Kolkata, Aug 20: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday paid heartfelt

homage to former Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi on his birth anniversary.

Taking to her social media page, Ms Banerjee said, “Heartfelt homage to former Prime

Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi on his birth anniversary.”

Born on this day in 1944, Rajiv Gandhi served as the sixth prime minister of India, from

1984 to 1989.

He took office after the 1984 assassination of his mother, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi,

to become the youngest Indian prime minister at the age of 40.

In 1991, the central government posthumously awarded Gandhi the Bharat Ratna, the

country’s highest civilian award. At the India Leadership Conclave in 2009, the Revolutionary

Leader of Modern India award was conferred posthumously on Gandhi.

He was assassinated by the LTTE during an election campaign in 1991

Will endeavour to take India forward in civil aviation sector: Jyotiraditya Scindia

Indore (Madhya Pradesh) [India]: Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Tuesday said that it will be his endeavour to take India forward in the civil aviation sector.
While speaking to the media during his visit to Indore after assuming charge as Union Minister, Scindia said, “I want to thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP President JP Nadda that they believed in me, I am ready to serve the people.” “I am dedicated and it will be my endeavour to take India forward in the civil aviation sector under the leadership of the Prime Minister,” he added.
Scindia landed at the Indore airport to embark on the three-day Jan Ashirwad Yatra. A large number of BJP workers and leaders turned up to accord a warm welcome to their leader.
Notably, Scindia is a Rajya Sabha MP from Madhya Pradesh.
He was the Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry in the UPA-II government between 2009 and 2012. Scindia was Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Power between 2012 and 2014.
Belonging to the erstwhile Gwalior royal family, Scindia was first elected to Lok Sabha from Guna in 2002 after his father Madhavrao Scindia died in a plane crash.
He has also been president of the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association.

Action plan to be prepared to avoid floods in Kolhapur in future: minister

Kolhapur, Aug 14: District Guardian Minister Satej Patil on Saturday said that the local administration will prepare an action plan to avoid the repeat of floods in the district in future.

After a visit to flood affected areas of Karveer and Hatkanangale tehsils in the district, he said that the state government was trying to resolve difficulties of flood-affected people but at present the government’s first priority is to complete ‘panchanama’ of damages caused by recent floods and also to permanently rehabilitate the affected people, he informed.

Mr Patil said that the action plan would be prepared by taking into account various remidial measures such as fixing of flood line, widening of riverbeds, removal of encroachments alongside river bank and others to avoid repeat of severe floods in the district in future.

Hardeep Puri felicitates 11 players from Indian men’s hockey team, announces reward of Rs 15 lakh each

New Delhi [India]: Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri on Friday felicitated the 11 players who were part of the Bronze medal-winning men’s hockey team at the Tokyo Olympics.
The felicitated players are Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) Hockey players who are employees of various public sector companies of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas & Labour and Employment Rameswar Teli was also present on the occasion. Puri said that the hockey stars brought glory to India after a gap of 41 years by winning the Bronze medal.
He announced a reward of Rs 15 lakh to each of the 11 players, who were part of the 18-member team. The Minister also announced that these players will also be given one out-of-turn promotion by their respective organizations for their outstanding performance in Tokyo.
Puri said that it is a matter of delight that the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas is part of the re-scripting of history in the field of hockey. He said that the Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) with the support of 15 PSUs continues to promote and encourage sports and sportspersons, by continuously conducting sports activities, camps and providing scholarships.
This year in Tokyo Olympics, 22 players in six disciplines were from the petroleum sector.
Puri expressed the confidence that the Indian players will keep putting their best performance and bring more medals in the years to come. He also congratulated the women’s hockey team for their superlative performance. The Minister assured the players of the Government’s full support in their endeavours. He said that these stars have rekindled the spirit that Indian hockey is back in action.
Teli said that Hockey is a popular sport in the country, and is being played in villages, towns, and cities. He said that the Indian hockey team, both men and women, have brought laurels to the country. Congratulating the players, he expressed the hope that in the future, they will continue to make the country proud with their performance.
Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas Tarun Kapoor, CMD Indian oil and president, PSPB SM Vaidya, CMD HPCL M K Surana were among those present on the occasion.

Profound structural flaw in GST system, says Tamil Nadu Finance Minister

New Delhi, Aug 11: Tamil Nadu Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan has been vocal about his position on GST and never mince words in pointing out the issues involving the indirect tax system.

Speaking about the problems related to GST, the Minister on Wednesday said that there was a profound structural flaw and lack of clarity in the system.

“…I find that there is such profound structural flaws and lack of clarity which raise the question that four and half years after the (GST) council, the law and the system we still debate, for an hour and half in the beginning of the meeting that happens after 8 months break when law calls for every three-month meeting, the first hour and half of the 43rd Council meeting was, which items on the agenda are for approval, which are for ratification and which are for information,” Rajan said in an interview to news channel NDTV.

He further said that given the fact as stated the GST system was surely not an ideal one.

The Minister, however, noted that he was a new entrant (in GST Council) and his views were more as a systems analyst or ex-banker or ex-consultant.

Palanivel Thiaga Rajan or PTR as he is commonly known holds engineering degree from NIT, Trichy and an MBA degree from prestigious Sloan School of Management at MIT.

Asked if the economy was back on track as claimed by the government and also indicated by some macro numbers, the MIT graduate-turned politician said he would wait for data to come for a few more months to conclude if the green shoots were permanent.

He noted that the economy had suffered from structural damage not because of Covid but prior to that as a result of bad policy and lack of corrective action at the right time.

The economy was in steady decline for 7-8 quarters before we heard the word Covid, Rajan said.

Indian women’s hockey team members meet Haryana Home Minister

Chandigarh, Aug 11: Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij met the members of the Indian women’s hockey team at his office on Wednesday.
Mr Vij welcomed women players, including team captain Rani Rampal, Monica, Nisha, Navneet Kaur, Navjot Kaur, Uday, Sharmila and Neha, with shawls and sweets.
On this occasion, Mr Vij said that in sports one team wins and the other losses, it does not matter in the game, what matters is how strongly the player has played.
He said that these hockey players displayed their stamina, technique, scientific sense in the matches. He said that they could not win the match but they have done the work of uniting the whole country.
The Minister said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi also evinced interest in the game of hockey and also encouraged a player who had got injured during the match. He said that Prime Minister values sports and that is why he started ‘Khelo India’ programme so that good players can be prepared.
Expressing his gratitude to Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, he said, “I also express my gratitude to the Chief Minister who has announced Rs 50 lakh each to these hockey players.”

Tourism minister Anand Singh creates political ripples in Karnataka again

Bengaluru, Aug 11: The taking down of the name board of Tourism Minister Anand Singh at his legislator’s residence-cum-office at Vijayanagara city has created political ripples in the state.

A video depicting the same has also gone viral on Twitter. Yet another video has also gone viral which depicts the deserted look of his office. The office staff has informed the people of the minister’s unavailability to receive their pleas and grievances.

Asked about the taking down of the name board, Singh said: “I do not want to comment on this. I have told the Chief Minister what I have to say.”

In all these past days, he has not even once visited the Vidhana Sabha and he is yet to occupy his chamber. Sources say Singh is demanding energy or public works portfolios. Energy ministry has been allocated to Sunil Kumar.

Amidst these developments, Singh is expected to visit Bengaluru later today.

Earlier in Ballari, Singh had hinted that he would resign if his demand was not met. “I am a stubborn man. I will not bog down for any reason. I will even resign from my assembly membership if my demand is not met,” he had threatened.

These threats from Singh are not new. He had issued such threats during the JDS-Congress coalition government while demanding district status to Vijayanagara.

When the JDS-Congress coalition government refused to heed to his demand, Singh resigned as Congress legislator and paved the way for other rebel JDS and Congress MLAs to resign.

After their resignations, the rebel JDS and Congress legislators joined the BJP and toppled the coalition government led by HD Kumaraswamy and paved the way for BS Yediyurappa to win trust vote in the state assembly and form the government.

After assuming charge as a minister in the BJP government, Singh had allegedly pressured Yediyurappa threatening to resign as a minister and quit the party if the Vijayanagara district was not carved out of Ballari.

Apparently sensing the danger it could cause to the government, Yediyurappa’s government approved the new district on November 18, 2020, and finally announced Vijayanagara as the 31st district in its gazette notification.

Back story

A day after Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai allocated portfolios to his cabinet colleagues, Singh had expressed his discontentment over the portfolio allocated to him.

Last August 7, Singh had threatened to take extreme decisions if his portfolio was not changed and had asked Bommai to reconsider his demand. He also said that it was because of his resignation as the legislator, the BJP came to power in the state.

“I will request the Chief Minister to consider my demand. Tell me, am I not capable of handling the portfolio I had asked for? Am I not competent? Didn’t I do anything to the party? Wasn’t there my contribution in bringing the BJP to power? Let them say, if I am not capable. I will obey whatever their decision is,” he had said.

Singh’s resignation had started a flurry of resignations by JDS and Congress legislators to topple the previous coalition government and brought BJP to power. Therefore, he must get a better portfolio, he said.

Reacting to the development, Bommai said all ministers cannot be assigned the portfolios they wished for.

Apart from Singh, N Nagaraj, popularly known as MTB, also has expressed his dissatisfaction with the portfolios distributed to them.

Nagaraj was expecting the housing portfolio as he had held the same in the HD Kumaraswamy-led coalition government before defecting to BJP.

Ex Minister Mahadev Naik joins AAP

Panaji, Aug 6: Former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former Industries Minister Mahadev Naik joined Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in New Delhi on Friday.

Mr Naik joined AAP in the presence of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Power Minister Satyender Jain, AAP leader Atishi, among others.

Mr Naik, a two time MLA, is another important leader to join the party recently. Early this year, Goa Mahila Congress President Pratima Cutinho had joined AAP.

Welcoming Mr Naik into the party, Goa AAP Convenor Rahul Mhambre said,’ Warm welcome to Shri Mahadev Naik, former minister in BJP Govt and ex MLA of Shiroda to AAP. His joining the party will further strengthen AAP’s resolve to serve the people of Goa.’

In 2019, Mr Naik had joined Congress after quitting BJP. Mr Naik had served as a minister in the cabinet of Manohar Parrikar and Laxmikant Parsekar.

Disha App is invisible weapon for women’s defence: AP Minister

Kakinada, Aug 4: Andhra Pradesh Minister for Agriculture and Corporation Kurasala Kannababu on Wednesday described the special Disha APP as an invisible weapon embedded in the mobiles of womenfolk that provides the much-needed protection to them during any emergency.
Participating as a Chief Guest at the awareness meet on Disha App conducted by the DISHA police at the Pragna Kalyana mandapam at Thimmapuram, a city suburb, the Minister said that Chief Minister Y S Jaganmohan Reddy was giving utmost respect to womenfolk.
“Even the most important portfolio of Home was given to a woman,” Kannababu stated.
He further advised the womenfolk especially the working women, students and adolescent girls to download the Disha app, and after installation getting it duly registered so that it serves the real purpose .

BJP’s central leadership to reveal new Karnataka ministers’ list by evening

Bengaluru, Aug 3: By today evening the list of the names of the ministers will be revealed by the BJP’s central leadership, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said.

“There is a parliamentary session. After the session, they (party’s central leadership) will discuss and reveal the list (of names of the ministers). They themselves will reveal the list. We are expecting the final list by Tuesday evening. In all, we have discussed the one list between us. The central leadership will decide about whom to induct and whom to drop. Therefore, we will come to know who will be ministers and who will not,” he told reporters in Delhi.

Replying to a query, Bommai said three lists of various combinations have been submitted and the national party president JP Nadda will finalise one list. He, however, expressed ignorance about the number of ministers to be included in the list.

“Generally speaking, three lists of various combinations have been submitted. Our national party president will finalise one list. What they will do, I do not know. They will hold another round of discussion and finalise. After that, they will decide on the number of ministers to be inducted. This is because they are taking into consideration regional and social factors, which takes time,” he said.

Asked whether Congress and JDS legislators who joined BJP to form the government, Bommai said they should not be worried because they are part of the party, not outsiders.

On the number of deputy chief ministers’ induction, Bommai said the central leadership will decide on it too.

After his arrival in Delhi on Sunday, Bommai held ministry formation discussions with Nadda in the evening.

Amidst this development, aspirational legislators are camping at the national capital. Among them are Arvind Bellad, Sunil Valapure, Laxman Savadi, CC Patil and others, who are making efforts to get in touch with the party’s central leadership including Union Minister Prahlad Joshi from Karnataka.

On Monday, Bellad tried to get in touch with Joshi and BJP national organising secretary BL Santosh, but failed to do so. Both the leaders refused to engage him.

MLC Shashil Namoshi, a member of the Northeastern Teachers’ Council, from Kalburgi is also in the fray.

Already, former chief minister and compatriot of former chief minister BS Yediyurappa, Jagadish Shettar has opted out of the ministerial race, citing junior-seniority reasons. He said he had opted to work as the minister under the leadership of Yediyurappa since he was senior to him, but would not work under Bommai, who is a junior to him.

Moreover, Shettar had fought elections against Bommai in the past, from Hubballi-Dharwad region.

KS Eshwarappa, another compatriot of Yediyurappa, has shown interest in joining the new ministry, if not he will be happy to work as party worker to strengthen it and bring back BJP to power in the 2023 assembly election.

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