International

Myanmar court sentences ousted leader Suu Kyi to 4 years in prison

A SPECIAL court in Myanmar’s capital sentenced the country’s ousted leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, to four years in prison on Monday after finding her guilty of incitement and violating coronavirus restrictions, a legal official said. The sentencing was the first in a series of cases in which the 76-year-old Nobel laureate is being prosecuted since the army seized power on Feb 1, preventing her National League for Democracy party from starting a second five-year term in office. The verdict in another case ..

Blanket travel bans will not prevent intl spread of Omicron variant: WHO

THE World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that blanket travel bans will not prevent the international spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, even as dozens of countries have already introduced such restrictions. Although Omicron has been labeled a “variant of concern” by the WHO, it said on Tuesday that blanket travel bans will only place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods, while also “disincentivizing countries to report and share epidemiological and sequencing data.”..

Omicron poses ‘very high’ risk: WHO

THE World Health Organisation (WHO) warned on Monday that the global risk from the omicron variant is “very high” based on the early evidence, saying the mutated coronavirus could lead to surges with “severe consequences.” The assessment from the UN health agency, contained in a technical paper issued to member states, amounted to WHO’s strongest, most explicit warning yet about the new version that was first identified days ago by researchers in South Africa. It came as a widening circle of countries ..

Omicron has 30+ mutations in spike protein region, may bypass vaccines: AIIMS chief

THE new Omicron variant of coronavirus has reportedly got over 30 mutations in the spike protein region giving it the potential to develop a immunoescape mechanism, and thus the efficacy of vaccines against it needs to be evaluated critically, AIIMS chief Dr Randeep Guelria has said. The presence of spike protein facilitates a virus’ entry into the host cell and is responsible for making it transmissible and causing infection. “The new variant of coronavirus reportedly has got more than 30 mutations ..

NASA launches ‘asteroid-deflecting’ spacecraft

NATIONAL Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on Wednesday launched its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft, intended to deliberately crash into an asteroid. The DART mission lifted off at 1.21 am EST (11.51 am India time), aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, NASA said in a statement. The DART mission is the first to test technologies for preventing an impact on Earth by a hazardous asteroid. DART will demonstrate the planetary defence ..

Taliban bans women from appearing in TV dramas

WOMEN have been banned from appearing in television dramas in Afghanistan under new rules imposed by the Taliban-led Government, the BBC reported. Female journalists and presenters have also been ordered to wear headscarves on screen, although the guidelines do not say which type of covering to use. Reporters say some of the rules are vague and subject to interpretation, according to the BBC report. The latest set of Taliban guidelines, which have been issued to Afghan television channels, features ..

Pak’s Parlt enacts law to give Kulbhushan Jadhav right to file review appeal against his conviction

PAKISTAN’S Parliament in its joint sitting on Wednesday enacted a law to give Indian death-row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav the right to file a review appeal against his conviction by a military court. Jadhav, a 51-year-old retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017. India approached the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Jadhav and challenging the death sentence. ..

China overtakes US as richest country in world

GLOBAL wealth tripled over the last two decades, with China leading the way and overtaking the US for the top spot worldwide, Bloomberg reported. A report by McKinsey & Co. that examines the national balance sheets of 10 countries representing more than 60 per cent of the world’s income. China accounted for almost one-third of gains in global net worth over the past two decades. “We are now wealthier than we have ever been,” Jan Mischke, a partner at the McKinsey Global Institute in Zurich, said in ..

CBI searches in 14 States in child sexual abuse case

THE CBI on Tuesday started a coordinated search operation at 76 locations in 14 States against 83 people allegedly involved in sexual abuse of children and posting and circulating abuse material on the web space, officials said. The Central agency registered 23 separate cases on November 14 against 83 people allegedly involved in online child sexual abuse and exploitation, they said...

Climate talks resume, cautious coal phaseout still on table

NEGOTIATORS at the this year’s UN climate talks pored over fresh proposals on Saturday aimed at sealing a deal that could credibly be said to boost the world’s efforts to tackle global warming. British officials chairing the talks in Glasgow, Scotland, released new draft agreements a day after the official deadline passed. A proposal for the overarching decision retains contentious language calling on countries to accelerate “efforts towards the phase-out of unabated coal power and inefficient fossil ..

SpaceX crew launch marks 600 space travellers in 60 yrs CAPE

A SPACEX rocket carried four astronauts into orbit on Wednesday night, including the 600th person to reach space in 60 years. The repeatedly delayed flight occurred just two days after SpaceX brought four other astronauts home from the International Space Station. They should have been up there to welcome the newcomers, but NASA and SpaceX decided to switch the order based on Monday’s ideal recovery weather in the Gulf of Mexico and pulled it off. “It was a great ride, better than we imagined,” mission ..

Ice on the edge of survival: Arctic warming 3 times faster than rest of planet

WHILE conducting research in Greenland, ice scientist Twila Moon was struck this summer by what climate change has doomed Earth to lose and what could still be saved. The Arctic is warming three times faster than the rest of the planet and is on such a knife’s edge of survival that the UN climate negotiations underway in Scotland this week could make the difference between ice and water at the top of the world in the same way that a couple of tenths of a degree matter around the freezing mark, scientists ..

We’ll lead even if you don’t: Indian girl to world leaders at COP26

A 15-YEAR-OLD Indian schoolgirl, whose solar-powered ironing cart project was the finalist of Prince William’s inaugural Earthshot Prize, addressed the World Leaders’ Summit of the COP26 conference in Glasgow with a clarion call for them to act and save the planet. Vinisha Umashankar, who is from Tamil Nadu, was part of the “Accelerating Clean Technology Innovation and Deployment”, attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi just before he left for New Delhi on Tuesday evening. She invited world leaders, ..

Experts hail India’s pledge of net zero carbon emissions by 2070 as ‘real climate action’

ENVIRONMENT experts on Monday hailed as “real climate action” India’s pledge to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2070, saying that by making this big promises at COP 26, India has put the ball in the court of developed nations to fulfill promise of climate finance. Lauding the national statement delivered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the 26th international climate conference in Glasgow, experts said India is rightly demanding USD 1 trillion from the developed nations. “I want to congratulate ..

PM Modi and other G20 leaders toss a coin at iconic Trevi Fountain in Rome

PRIME Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday visited the famous Trevi Fountain here along with other world leaders on the sidelines of the G20 summit. The fountain is one of the most visited monuments of Italy and is loved by tourists. The historical fountain has drawn many filmmakers to it who have popularised the Baroque art-styled monument as the epitome of a place of romance. “#G20 Heads of Delegation start the 2nd day of the #G20RomeSummit with a walk to a symbolic place of the city: Trevi Fountain, ..

US to lift all travel restrictions for foreign nationals from Nov 8: WH

THE US will lift all restrictions for fully-vaccinated international travellers, including from India, from November 8 but they will have to show proof of a negative coronavirus test before boarding a flight to the country, the White House has announced. The updated travel guidelines issued on Monday also include new protocols around testing. To further strengthen protections, unvaccinated travellers - whether US Citizens, lawful permanent residents (LPRs), or the small number of accepted unvaccinated ..

Flower festival of Telangana ‘Bathukamma’ showcased on Burj Khalifa in Dubai

TELANGANA’S traditional ‘Bathukamma’ (floral festival), celebrated by the women folk, was showcased on the world’s largest screen on Burj Khalifa in Dubai. TRS MLC K Kavitha-led cultural organisation ‘Telangana Jagruthi’, made arrangements to play the Bathukamma documentary on the big screen for invited delegates and separately for the local people on Saturday night, a release from Kavitha’s office said here. “Dubai’s Burj Khalifa witnessed a unique show that celebrated Telangana’s ‘Bathukamma’ ..

S Korea test launches first domestically made space rocket

SOUTH Korea test launched its first domestically produced space rocket on Thursday in what officials describe as an important step in the country’s pursuit of a satellite launch programme. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the three-stage Nuri rocket succeeded in delivering a dummy payload – a 1.5-ton block of stainless steel and aluminum – into orbit 600 to 800 km (372 to 497 miles) above Earth. Live footage showed the 47-meter (154 foot) rocket soaring into the air with bright yellow flames ..

IMF Chief Economist Gopinath to leave job

INTERNATIONAL Monetary Fund’s Chief Economist Gita Gopinath will leave her job in January next year and return to the prestigious Harvard University’s Economics Department, according to the global financial institution. The 49-year-old prominent Indian-American economist had joined IMF as the Chief Economist in January 2019. She was the John Zwaanstra Professor of International Studies and Economics at Harvard University when she joined the Washington-based global lender. IMF Managing Director Kristalina ..

46 killed, dozens injured after 13-story building catches fire in Taiwan

THE death toll from a fire in southern Taiwan that engulfed a building overnight has further risen to 46 killed, according to local officials on Thursday who said at least another 41 people were injured. The 13-story building caught fire around 3 a.m. Thursday, fire officials in the city of Kaohsiung said. A fire department statement said the blaze was “extremely fierce” and destroyed many floors. At least 11 bodies were sent straight to the morgue, Fire Chief Li Ching-hsiu told reporters at the scene. ..

Physics Nobel goes to 3 for climate discoveries

THE Nobel Prize for physics has been awarded to scientists from Japan, Germany and Italy. Syukuro Manabe, 90, and Klaus Hasselmann, 89, were cited for their work in “the physical modeling of Earth’s climate, quantifying variability and reliably predicting global warming”. The second half of the prize was awarded to Giorgio Parisi, 73, for “the discovery of the interplay of disorder and fluctuations in physical systems from atomic to planetary scales.” The panel said, Manabe and Hasselmann “laid ..

2 US scientists get Nobel Prize in medicine

TWO scientists won the Nobel Prize in medicine on Monday for their discoveries into how the human body perceives temperature and touch, revelations that could lead to new ways of treating pain or even heart disease. Americans David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian identified receptors in the skin that respond to heat and pressure. Their work is focused on the field of somatosensation, which explores the ability of specialised organs such as eyes, ears and skin to see, hear and feel. The committee said ..

N Korea’s hypersonic missile test-fired

NORTH Korea said, it successfully tested a new hypersonic missile it implied was being developed as nuclear capable, as it continues to expand its military capabilities and pressure Washington and Seoul over long-stalled negotiations over its nuclear weapons. The missile test early on Tuesday was North Korea’s third round of launches this month and took place shortly before North Korea’s UN envoy accused the United States of hostility and demanded the Biden administration permanently end joint military ..

Royals join cast of new Bond film for glitzy London premiere

BRITAIN’S royals joined Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux and the cast of “No Time to Die” on the red carpet for the new Bond film’s world premiere Tuesday, a glittering event that marked the movie’s release after multiple delays caused by the pandemic. The film, the 25th in the long-running series and Craig’s last outing as 007, was initially due to be released in April 2020...

Amazon is East India Co 2.0, wants to establish its monopoly: Panchjanya

E-COMMERCE major Amazon has been termed as “East India Company 2.0” by the RSS-linked weekly, ‘Panchjanya’, which has also alleged that the firm has paid crores of rupees in bribes for favourable Government policies. In its latest edition, which will hit the stands on October 3, ‘Panchjanya’ has carried a cover story with Jeff Bezo’s photo that is highly critical of Amazon. “Whatever the East India Company did in the 18th century to capture India, the same is visible in the activities of Amazon,” ..

Afghan soil mustn’t be used to attack any country: India, US

INDIA and the US have called on the Taliban to adhere to its commitments and respect the human rights of all Afghans, including women, children and minority groups, and asked the new rulers in Kabul to make sure that the war-torn country’s territory is never again used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter or train terrorists. In a US-India Joint Leaders’ Statement issued after the first in-person bilateral meeting between US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the ..

North Korea expanding uranium enrichment plant

RECENT satellite images shows North Korea is expanding a uranium enrichment plant at its main Yongbyon nuclear complex, a sign that it’s intent on boosting the production of bomb materials, experts say. The assessment comes after North Korea recently raised tensions by performing its first missile tests in six months amid long-dormant nuclear disarmament diplomacy with the United States. “The expansion of the enrichment plant probably indicates that North Korea plans to increase its production ..

Chinese astronauts return after 90-day mission to space station

CHINA on Friday announced that the manned mission to construct its first space station was a complete success after three Chinese astronauts returned to Earth after 90 days, concluding the country’s longest crewed mission. The Shenzhou-12 manned spaceship carrying astronauts Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo touched down at the Dongfeng landing site in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region at around 13:35 local time, the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) said. The mission to construct ..

Scientists find part of universe’s missing matter

A TEAM of scientists has mapped a galactic wind for the first time, a finding that may help to reveal where some of the universe’s missing matter is located and to observe the formation of a nebula around a galaxy. Galaxies can receive and exchange matter with their external environment thanks to the galactic winds created by stellar explosions. The galactic wind was observed via the MUSE instrument from the Very Large Telescope at the European Southern Observatory. The unique observation is detailed ..

World Bank cancels business report after investigation

THE World Bank is cancelling a prominent report on business conditions around the world after investigators found staff members were pressured by the bank’s leaders to alter data about China and some other Governments. The bank said on Thursday it would discontinue “Doing Business” following an investigation prompted by internal reports of “data irregularities” in its 2018 and 2020 editions and possible “ethical matters” involving bank staff. Staff members changed data on China to improve its ranking ..

IMF suspends engagement with Afghanistan

THE International Monetary Fund has said its engagement with Afghanistan will remain suspended until there is clarity within the international community on the recognition of the Government led by the Taliban. The IMF said it was deeply concerned with economic conditions in Afghanistan, urging the international community to take urgent steps to stall a “looming humanitarian crisis” in the country. “Our engagement with Afghanistan has been suspended until there is clarity within the international community ..

US special envoy John Kerry lauds Modi for ambitious climate targets

US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry on Monday lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for setting ambitious climate targets and added that India has demonstrated that economic development and clean energy can go hand-in-hand. While congratulating India for making significant progress in climate targets, Kerry said that the 450 gigawatts renewable energy goal will be reached by India. “PM Modi has set very ambitious targets in India. The target of 450 GW by 2030, of renewable energy, ..

Taliban Government bans Afghan women from playing any sport

WITH the announcement of the newly-elected Cabinet of the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan (IEA) under the Taliban, statements and orders have started to come out from various ministries, which are putting the issue of acceptance and legitimacy of the group’s rule in the country, under serious scrutiny. One such decision was taken by the IEA’s Cultural Commission, in which women have been barred from playing cricket or any other sport, in which their bodies could be seen. “It wasn’t necessary for ..

UN appeals for $606 mn to aid Afghans rest of year

THE United Nations is making an emergency appeal for $606 million to help nearly 11 million people in Afghanistan for the four remaining months of 2021. It says they face a humanitarian crisis exacerbated by drought, displacement, chronic poverty and the sharp increase in hostilities as the Taliban swept to power. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs already has a $1.3 billion appeal for Afghanistan for the entire year of 2021, but it is only 39% funded -- at just $498 million. ..

USD 1bn refund offer acceptable to firm, to drop cases within days: Cairn CEO

UK-BASED Cairn Energy PLC on Tuesday said it will drop litigations to seize Indian properties in countries ranging from France to the US, within a couple of days of getting a USD 1 billion refund resulting from the scrapping of a retrospective tax law. The firm, which gave India its biggest onland oil discovery, termed “bold” the legislation passed last month to cancel a 2012 policy that gave the tax department power to go back 50 years and slap capital gains levies wherever ownership had changed ..

Protests in Kabul against Pak dropping bombs in Panjshir

A NUMBER of men and women took to the streets of Kabul chanting slogans against Pakistan as they claim the latters jets conducted airstrikes in Panjshir province. They have gathered at the gate of the Pakistani embassy in Kabul and said that they do not support a puppet government in Afghanistan and asked for an inclusive government. The people gathered after co-leader of the resistance front in Panjshir province Ahmad Masoud in a voice clip called on people of Afghanistan to resurrect against the ..

Taliban kill Afghan female police officer in front of her family

TALIBAN militants in Afghanistan have shot dead a policewoman in a provincial city, BBC has reported. The woman, named in local media as Banu Negar, was killed at the family home in front of relatives in Firozkoh, the capital of central Ghor province. The killing comes amid increasing reports of escalating repression of women in Afghanistan. Details of the incident are still sketchy as many in Firozkoh fear retribution if they speak out. But three sources have told the BBC that the Taliban beat ..

‘Taliban leader Mullah Hasan Akhund nominated as head of Afghanistan’

AFTER days of consultations, the Taliban have nominated Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund as the new head of state, according to senior leaders, a media report said. They said the new Government was likely to be installed on Wednesday, “or may get delayed for a few more days”, The News International reported. “Ameerul Momineen Sheikh Hibatullah Akhunzada had himself proposed Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund as Raees-e-Jamhoor, or raees-ul-wazara or the new head state of Afghanistan. Mullah Baradar Akhund and ..

Taliban say, they took Panjshir, no need for any more fighting

THE Taliban said on Monday that they have seized the last province not in their control after their blitz through Afghanistan last month, apparently overrunning forces who had opposed their takeover. Thousands of Taliban fighters charged into eight districts of Panjshir province overnight, according to witnesses from the area. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed that the province was now held by their fighters. “There is no need for any more fighting,” Mujahid said at the news conference. ..

Taliban co-founder Baradar to lead new Govt in Afghanistan

TALIBAN co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar is set to lead a new Afghan Government, sources in the Islamist group said on Friday. The development comes as the Taliban is battling rebel fighters in Panjshir Valley and was striving to ward off an economic collapse, ‘TOLO News’ reported. The formation of a new Afghan Government by the Taliban, which was to be announced on Friday, has now been delayed by a day, according to the spokesman of the insurgents Zabiullah Mujahid...

Taliban all set to announce its new Govt in Afghanistan

THE Taliban are all set to announce the formation of a new Government in Kabul on the lines of the Iranian leadership, with the group’s top religious leader Mullah Hebatullah Akhundzada as Afghanistan’s supreme authority, a senior member of the group has said. “Consultations are almost finalised on the new Government, and the necessary discussions have also been held about the cabinet,” Mufti Inamullah Samangani, a senior official in the Taliban’s information and culture commission, said. He said ..

China may grab Afghan’s Bagram air base: Nikki Haley

THE US needs to closely watch China as it might try to take over the Bagram air force base in Afghanistan following the Taliban’s takeover of the war-torn country and use Pakistan to get stronger to go against India, a former senior American diplomat has warned. America’s former envoy to the United Nations Nikki Haley said President Joe Biden has lost the trust and confidence of American allies after his hasty decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. She said there are many challenges in front ..

Taliban say, negotiations with Panjshir leaders failed

THE Taliban on Wednesday said that the negotiations with the leaders of the Panjshir province have gone in vain as it is the only province that is still out of the Taliban’s reach in the country, a media report said. Taliban’s commission for guidance and encouragement’s head Mullah Amir Khan Motaqi said that negotiations with the tribal elders and leaders failed and asked the people of Panjshir province to motivate their leaders, ‘Afghanistan’s Khaama Press’ reported. The Panjshir valley lies in the ..

Taliban supreme leader concludes talks on Government formation

THE Taliban leaders have said that negotiations over the future set-up of Government in Kabul have ended and will announce new Government soon. Officials in the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan said that negotiations led by Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada -- the supreme leader of IEA -- ended on August 30, ‘Khaama News’ reported. Mullah Hibatullah has recently come to the Afghan capital from Kandahar province where he had held a series of talks with tribal elders. The exact date of announcing the new Government ..

Launch pads in Pak humming with activities after Taliban’s return: Intelligence agencies

SOON after the complete takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban, the Intelligence agencies have sounded alerts that Pakistan-based terror outfits are humming with activities at the launch pads near the border. “There has been indication that Pakistan based terror outfits like Lashkar-e Toiba, and Jaishe-e Mohammad have stepped up their efforts to push ultras into Jammu and Kashmir soon after the Taliban took over Afghanistan”, a source in the security set up said. According to him, the launch pads ..

Taliban proclaim ‘full independence’ after US troops leave

THE Taliban have proclaimed “full independence” for Afghanistan after the last US soldiers flew out following 20 years of war. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said early Tuesday that “American soldiers left the Kabul airport, and our nation got its full independence.” The US confirmed its last forces withdrew ahead of a Tuesday deadline, ending America’s longest war and a frantic two-week evacuation effort...

Child killed as rocket hits near Kabul airport

A ROCKET struck a neighbourhood just northwest of Kabul’s international airport on Sunday as the US evacuation there winds down following the Taliban’s lightning takeover of the country, killing a child, an Afghan police chief said. The attack comes as the United States winds down a historic airlift that saw tens of thousands evacuated from Kabul’s international airport, the scene of much of the chaos that engulfed the Afghan capital since the Taliban took over two weeks ago...

Pak based JeM met Taliban leadership, Indian security agencies issue alerts

THE country’s Intelligence agencies have warned of a possible terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir after they got inputs regarding the movement of terrorists from across the border. A senior official said that the input was shared with the State Intelligence and security agencies concerned to prepare themselves for any untoward situation. He added that all Intelligence agencies have been put on high alert after they learnt about a meeting between Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) leaders ..

US drone strike kills ISIS-K ‘planners’ in Afghanistan

THE US military has said that it carried out a drone strike in Afghanistan, killing two high-profile “planners and facilitators” of the Islamic State, hours after President Joe Biden promised to retaliate for the twin blasts at the Kabul airport that killed 169 Afghans and 13 American soldiers. The Islamic State’s Afghanistan affiliate, dubbed Islamic State Khorasan or ISIS-K, had claimed responsibility for the attack at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Thursday. “Two high-profile ..

Taliban directs Afghan women to work from home, says they are ‘not trained’ to respect them

ADMITTING that women are not safe in the present Taliban regime, the outfit directed Afghan women to work from home. Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said at a news conference on Tuesday that women should not go to work for their own safety, undermining the group’s efforts to convince international observers that the group would be more tolerant towards women than when they were last in power, reported CNN. As per Mujahid, the measure was necessary because the Taliban “keep changing and are ..

Reshuffle on the cards in Chhattisgarh?

AMID speculation of change of Chief Minister in Chhattisgarh, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and Health and Family Welfare Minister T S Singhdeo are likely to meet Congress Interim President Sonia Gandhi, former Congress National President Rahul Gandhi and other senior Congress leaders in New Delhi on Friday. The Congress party sources claimed that Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel will continue as the Chief Minister or not it will be decided by the Congress high command within two or three days. The Congress ..

13 killed in twin suicide attacks outside Kabul airport

TWIN suicide bombings struck on Thursday outside Kabul’s airport, where large crowds of people trying to flee Afghanistan have massed, killing at least 13 people, Russian officials said. Western nations had warned earlier in the day of a possible attack at the airport in the waning days of a massive airlift. Suspicion for any attack targeting the crowds would likely fall on the Islamic State group and not the Taliban, who have been deployed at the airport’s gates trying to control the mass of people. ..

Taliban seize US weapons including aircraft, missiles

  NEW DELHI : AFGHANISTAN’S military has laid down its weapons, and the Taliban have wasted little time in collecting them, raising concerns about how easily troves of US-made arms, military aircraft and armoured vehicles have fallen into enemy hands and the new capabilities they bring, The Wall Street Journal reported. Scores of videos have emerged of Taliban fighters rejoicing near abandoned American helicopters, carrying US-supplied M24 sniper rifles and M18 assault weapons, ..

Zydus Cadila’s COVID vaccine gets nod for Emergency Use Authorisation

INDIGENOUSLY developed Zydus Cadila COVID vaccine ZyCoV-D has received approval for Emergency Use Authorisation from the Drug Controller General of India and it will be administered to people 12 years and above, the Department of Biotechnology said on Friday. ..

Afghan footballer killed after falling from US plane leaving Kabul

A FORMER Afghan national youth team footballer, Zaki Anwari, died after falling from a US aircraft while trying to escape Kabul, France 24 reported on Thursday. ..

US struggles to speed Kabul airlift

THE United States struggled on Thursday to pick up the pace of American and Afghan evacuations at Kabul airport, constrained by obstacles ranging from armed Taliban checkpoints to paperwork problems. With an Aug 31 deadline looming, tens of thousands remained to be airlifted from the chaotic country. Taliban fighters and their checkpoints ringed the airport — major barriers for Afghans who fear that their past work with Westerners makes them prime targets for retribution. ..

Man surrenders after claiming to have bomb near US Capitol

A NORTH Carolina man who claimed to have a bomb in a pickup truck near the US Capitol surrendered to law enforcement after an hours-long standoff on Thursday that prompted a massive police response and the evacuations of Government buildings in the area. ..

NASA suspends SpaceX’s lunar lander contract till November

A WEEK after Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin sued NASA over awarding Moon lander contract to Elon Musk, the US space agency has put SpaceX’s $3 billion contract on hold for the second time, the media reported. According to court filings, NASA voluntarily agreed to temporarily suspend the contract until November 1, this year, while the US Court of Federal Claims adjudicated the case, the Verge reported on Friday. ..

India seals deal with Russia to procure AK-103 rifles

INDIA has finalised a deal with Russia to buy a sizeable number of AK-103 series of assault rifles for the Indian Army under the provisions of emergency procurement, people familiar with the development said on Friday. The Army is implementing a mega infantry modernisation programme under which a large number of light machine guns, battle carbines and assault rifles are being purchased to replace its ageing and obsolete weapons. ..

‘Taliban likely to announce Govt after US withdrawal’

AN AFGHAN official familiar with talks with the Taliban says, the group does not plan to make any decisions or announcements about the upcoming Government until after the August 31 US withdrawal date passes. The official, who is not authorised to give information to the media and thus spoke anonymously, says Taliban lead negotiator Anas Haqqani has told his ex-Government interlocuters that the insurgent movement has a deal with the US “to do nothing” until after the final withdrawal date passes. ..

Desperate Afghan moms throw babies towards British soldiers over razor wire

KABUL airport has become a picture of chaos and desperation after the fall of Afghanistan into the hands of the Taliban. As per the reports of Sky News, in a heartbreaking incident, desperate Afghan women were seen throwing their babies over the razor wire of the Kabul airport compound. A senior British officer told Stuart Ramsay from Sky News that they can hear the sound of shouting, the noise of desperation as thousands of people are flooding towards Kabul airport that will, for some, be the gateway ..

Repairing ozone layer is also reducing CO2 in the atmosphere, says study

LANCASTER (UK), SPRING 2060. In dark glasses, a wide sunhat and with what little exposed skin left caked in sun cream, a child stares at the woodland across from their house. It looks scraggly and stunted, and with far fewer leaves than in the old photos she has seen. Still, no time to dwell on it: there’s a UV index of 20 and she’s already spent five minutes outside...

IMF blocks Afghan’s access to emergency reserves

THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) has announced to block Afghanistan’s access to the emergency reserve worth USD 460 million as the Taliban’s control over the country has drawn uncertainty for the country’s future, a media report said. The decision followed pressure from the Biden administration to ensure that the reserves did not reach the Taliban, New York Times reported. On Tuesday, the Biden administration also froze about USD 9.5 billion of Afghan reserves to keep cash away from the Taliban ..

Afghans protest Taliban in emerging challenge to their rule

AFGHAN protesters defied the Taliban for a second day on Thursday, waving their national flag in scattered demonstrations that were met with renewed violence by the militants who are facing growing challenges to their rule. A UN official warned of dire food shortages in this nation of 38 million people reliant on imports and experts said the country was severely short on cash, highlighting that the Taliban face the same problems as the civilian Government they dethroned without the level of international ..

UNSC for establishment of inclusive, united Government in Afghanistan

THE UN Security Council on Monday called for the establishment through inclusive negotiations of a new, united, inclusive and representative Government in Afghanistan with full women participation as it reaffirmed the need to ensure that the Taliban or any other Afghan group should not support terrorists operating on the territory of any other country. The 15-nation Council held an emergency meeting on the situation in Afghanistan, where the Taliban took control, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled ..

IAF Chief Bhadauria flies sortie in F-15 fighter jet in Israel

AIR Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria flew a sortie in an F-15 fighter aircraft in Israel on Thursday apart from holding wide-ranging talks with his Israeli counterpart Major General Amikam Norkin on further boosting bilateral military cooperation, officials said. ..

Hiroshima marks 76th anniversary of atomic bombing

HIROSHIMA on Friday marked the 76th anniversary of the world’s first atomic bombing, as the mayor of the Japanese city urged global leaders to unite to eliminate nuclear weapons, just as they are united against the coronavirus. ..

Iran hails India’s role in Afghanistan

IRAN and India can play a “constructive and useful” role in ensuring security in the region, especially in Afghanistan, and Tehran welcomes New Delhi’s role in the war-torn country, newly-elected President Ebrahim Raisi told External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar here on Friday. Raisi’s comments came during his meeting with Jaishankar, a day after the 60-year-old Iranian leader was sworn in as the country’s President. ..

India, China disengage at Gogra friction Point

AFTER nearly 15 months of face-off, Indian and Chinese Armies have completed the disengagement process in the Gogra friction point in eastern Ladakh and the ground situation has been restored to pre-stand-off period, the Indian Army said on Friday. ..

Scientists spot two ghosts dancing deep in cosmos

SCANNING through data fresh off the telescope, Australian scientists saw two ghosts dancing deep in the cosmos. Scientists said that they had never seen anything like it before, and had no idea what they were. Several weeks later, they had figured out that they were seeing two radio galaxies, about a billion light years away. In the centre of each one is a supermassive black hole, squirting out jets of electrons that are bent into grotesque shapes by an intergalactic wind. But where does the intergalactic ..

‘Taliban committed retaliatory killings of civilians, looted property in Kandahar’

THE Taliban, in violation of international humanitarian law, committed retaliatory killings of civilians and looted properties, including that of former and current government officials, in Kandahar province’s Spin Boldak district. Following the fall of the district to the Taliban and the publication of reports of the killing of civilians by the group, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) despite serious challenges in the area investigated and documented the incidents and, in ..

Jeff Bezos offers NASA $2 bn discount for human lunar lander mission

FRESH from his trip to the edge of space, Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos has offered NASA a discount of up to $2 billion to give his space company Blue Origin the human lunar landing system (HLS) contract, won by Elon Musks SpaceX earlier this year. Escalating his space war with Musk, Bezos in an open letter to the NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said on Monday that his company would close US space agency’s near-term budgetary shortfall and producing a safe and sustainable lander that will return Americans ..

Tunisian President sacks PM, freezes Parliament

TUNISIAN President Kais Saied announced that he has removed Hichem Mechichi from the post of Prime Minister and suspended all activities of Parliament or the Assembly of People’s Representatives. The announcement on Sunday night was made in a video broadcast on the official page of the Tunisian Presidency on the Facebook, after an emergency meeting that Saied held with senior security officials, reports Xinhua news agency. ..

Fauci says, US going in ‘wrong direction’ on COVID-19 cases

AS COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalisations continue to increase among the unvaccinated across the US, top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said that the country is “going in the wrong direction”, the media reported. “If you look at the inflection of the curve of new cases, that it is among the unvaccinated. And since we have 50 per cent of the country is not fully vaccinated, that’s a problem,” Fauci was quoted as saying to CNN on Sunday. The majority of deaths could be, thus, among the ..

Bezos completes space trip on own rocket

JEFF Bezos blasted into space on Tuesday on his rocket company’s first flight with people on board, becoming the second billionaire in just over a week to ride his own spacecraft. The Amazon founder was accompanied by a hand-picked group: his brother, an 18-year-old from the Netherlands and an 82-year-old aviation pioneer from Texas — the youngest and oldest to ever fly in space. “Best day ever!” Bezos said when the capsule touched down on the desert floor at the end of the 10-minute flight...

Afghan Ambassador to Pak called back following daughter’s abduction

FOLLOWING the abduction of the Afghan Ambassador’s daughter in Pakistan, the Afghan leadership has called back the envoy Najibullah Alikhel and senior diplomats from Pakistan until all security threats are addressed, including the arrest and trial of the perpetrators of abduction. An Afghan delegation will visit Pakistan soon to assess and follow up on the case and all related issues and subsequent actions will follow based on the findings...

US Navy hands over MH-60R maritime helicopters to India

IN YET another sign of strengthening India-US defence relationship, the US Navy has handed over the first two MH-60R Multi Role Helicopters (MRH) to the Indian Navy to bolster its capabilities to ward off regional threats and to strengthen homeland defence. The Indian Navy is procuring 24 of these helicopters manufactured by Lockheed Martin under foreign military sales from the US government at an estimated cost of USD2.4 billion. A ceremony was held at the Naval Air Station North Island or NAS North ..

Ghani lashes out at Pak, asks it to convince Taliban to cease violence

AFGHANISTAN President Ashraf Ghani on Friday lambasted Pakistan for not severing its ties with terrorist organisations groups and said that according to Intelligence reports over 10,000 ‘jihadi’ fighters had entered Afghanistan in the last month, while the Imran Khan’s Pakistan Government had failed to convince the Taliban to “negotiate seriously” in the ongoing peace talks. ..

Afghan forces battle Taliban to retake border

AFGHAN Government forces battled Friday to retake a border crossing with Pakistan from Taliban insurgents. The Taliban had overrun the Spin Boldak crossing earlier in the week. On Friday, witnesses on the Pakistan side of the border said they saw intense fighting and reported seeing bodies. The Taliban have overrun dozens of districts in Afghanistan since the start of the final phase of the withdrawal of US and NATO troops, after a 20-year military presence. ..

Death toll in Iraq covid ward blaze 92

THE death toll from a fire that swept through a hospital coronavirus ward in Iraq has climbed to at least 92, the Iraqi state news agency reported on Tuesday. The announcement came as anguished family members buried their loved ones and lashed out at the government over the tragedy. The blaze that erupted on Monday in the city of Nasiriyah was the second catastrophic fire in less than three months to kill hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Iraq, where the health care system has been crippled by ..

Taliban impose severe restrictions on women

MANY Afghans who hoped that the Taliban would reform their extreme views amid ongoing talks with the Afghan Government and the US troop withdrawal have been disappointed by the new severe restrictions imposed on the local population in some of the districts recently captured by the militant group, a media report said. Several residents of Balkh, a district in Balkh that is located 20 km north of the provincial capital, Mazar-e-Sharif, confirmed to the Voice of America (VOA) that the Taliban have distribute..

UAE’s Hope spacecraft snaps Mars’ glowing auroras

THE United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) Hope Mars Mission has snapped the most detailed pictures yet of the ‘discrete nightside auroras’ of the Red Planet, which scientists have struggled to study for decades. The ultraviolet emissions arise when solar wind runs into magnetic fields that emanate from Mars’s crust. Charged particles then collide with oxygen in the upper atmosphere, causing it to glow, Nature reported...

NASA’s self-driving Perseverance Mars Rover ‘takes the wheel’

NASA’s newest six-wheeled robot on Mars, the Perseverance rover, is beginning an epic journey across a crater floor seeking signs of ancient life, the US space agency announced on Thursday. A NASA release said the rover team is deeply engaged with planning navigation routes, drafting instructions to be beamed up, even donning special 3D glasses to help map their course. ..

Pak not to give its bases to US after its troops exit Afghanistan

IN A bold decision, Pakistan has decided and announced that it will not provide any bases on its soil to the US to operate from, after its troops exit Afghanistan. ..

As troops leave, US to keep airstrike option in Afghanistan

THE US military will remain involved in the Afghanistan war into September, keeping the option of launching airstrikes against the Taliban to defend Afghan forces, US officials said on Thursday, even as the final combat troops prepare to leave the country in coming days. ..

Life could exist in clouds of Jupiter, not Venus: Research

JUPITER’S clouds have water conditions that would allow earth-like life to exist, but this isn’t possible in Venus’ clouds, according to the groundbreaking finding of research led by Queen’s University Belfast scientists. For some decades, space exploration missions have looked for evidence of life beyond earth where we know that large bodies of water, such as lakes or oceans, exist or have previously existed...

China deleted COVID-19 data in possible cover-up: Report

AMID the resurgence of lab leak theory of COVID-19, a new report has revealed that China deleted early coronavirus data in a possible bid to conceal its origins -- hence impeding the World Health Organisation’s investigation’s (WHO) probe of the virus. The so-called “lab leak” theory, once dismissed by the mainstream media, has gained traction after a series of revelations. It has become the subject of renewed public debate after several prominent scientists called for a full investigation into the ..

Delta variant ‘greatest threat’ to anti-COVID efforts of US: Dr Fauci

THE highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus is the “greatest threat” to America’s attempt to eradicate the COVID-19 pandemic, the country’s leading infectious disease expert and White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr Anthony Fauci has warned. The variant, which was first detected in India, is more contagious and causes more severe disease than other circulating variants, he said on Tuesday during a White House COVID-19 response team briefing. Fauci said the Delta variant now makes up more ..

Over 3,000 people perform Yoga at iconic Times Square

OVER 3,000 people spread their mats at the iconic Times Square here and performed Yoga asanas keeping in mind social distancing guidelines to celebrate the International Yoga Day as the city opens up following the COVID-19 pandemic. The Consulate General of India, New York in partnership with Times Square Alliance hosted the 7th International Day of Yoga celebrations on Sunday at the popular city destination, known as the crossroads of the world. The day-long celebration themed as Solstice Event was ..

M K Stalin meets Sonia, Rahul

TAMIL Nadu Chief Minister and DMK President M K Stalin on Friday met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi at her residence, where Rahul Gandhi was also present. This is the first meeting between Stalin and Sonia Gandhi after the DMK-Congress alliance was elected to power in the just-concluded Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu. ..

World’s 3rd largest diamond unearthed in Botswana

ONE of the world’s largest diamonds has been unearthed in Botswana, the country Government said. The CNN reported that the 1,098-carat stone, believed to be the third largest “gem-quality” diamond ever found, was presented to President Mokgweetsi Masisi on Wednesday. The discovery was made earlier this month at the Jwaneng mine, around 75 miles from the country’s capital, Gaborone. ..

Three Chinese astronauts enter new space station successfully

THREE Chinese astronauts on Thursday entered the country’s new space station after their spaceship successfully docked with it, just over seven hours after the launch from the Gobi Desert, in a major milestone for the Communist giant’s space exploration plans and its bid to become a leading space power. According to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA), Shenzhou-12 manned spaceship successfully docked with the space station core module Tianhe on Thursday and entered the orbital capsule from the return ..

China all set to launch mission with 3 astronauts for its space station today

CHINA is all set to send on Thursday the first three crew members to its under-construction space station which is expected to be Beijing’s eye in the sky and will rival the aging International Space Station (ISS). The spaceship, Shenzhou-12, will take Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo into space for the construction of China’s space station, Ji Qiming, assistant to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) director, said at a nationally televised press conference held at the launch centre on Wednesday...

Biden, Putin conclude summit between ‘two great powers’

US PRESIDENT Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin concluded their summit meeting on Wednesday between what the American leader called “two great powers,” wrapping up more quickly than expected. The pair’s second sit-down, with aides present on both sides, lasted about 65 minutes. That session was to be divided into two parts with a break in between, but concluded without a second part...

Naftali Bennett sworn in as Israel’s new Prime Minister

NAFTALI Bennett was on Sunday sworn in as Israel’s new Prime Minister, ending Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year hold on power and the political uncertainty that gripped the Jewish nation for months after inconclusive elections. Bennett, the 49-year-old leader of the Right-wing Yamina party, took oath of office after the Knesset (Parliament) elected him as the 13th Prime Minister of Israel by approved with a razor-thin majority of 60-59 in the 120-member House. One lawmaker abstained...

Biden urges G-7 leaders to call out and compete with China

LEADERS of the world’s largest economies unveiled an infrastructure plan on Sunday for the developing world to compete with China’s global initiatives, but they were searching for a consensus on how to forcefully call out Beijing over human rights abuses. Citing China for its forced labour practices is part of President Joe Biden’s campaign to persuade fellow democratic leaders to present a more unified front to compete economically with Beijing. But while they agreed to work toward competing against ..

Pulitzer to Indian-origin scribe for Uyghur Muslim story

MEGHA Rajagopalan, an Indian-origin journalist, along with two contributors has won the Pulitzer Prize for innovative investigative reports that exposed a vast infrastructure of prisons and mass internment camps secretly built by China for detaining hundreds of thousands of Muslims in its restive Xinjiang region. Rajagopalan from BuzzFeed News is among two Indian-origin journalists who won the US’ top journalism award on Friday. ‘Tampa Bay Times’ Neil Bedi won for local reporting. Bedi along with ..

Bezos plans to go to space aboard Blue Origin flight in July

JEFF Bezos will be aboard for Blue Origin’s first human space flight next month. In an Instagram post on Monday, Bezos said he, his brother, and the winner of an ongoing auction, will be aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft during it’s scheduled launch on July 20. July 20 is the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. The trip will be a brief hop to space from Texas. Bezos said in early February that he was stepping down as CEO of Amazon to spend more time, among other things, focused ..

G7 sets global tax rate of at least 15%

THE G7 group of leading economies have reached “a historic agreement” to reform the global tax system to make it fit for the global digital age. Speaking outside Winfield House in London’s Regents Park on Saturday, the US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the minimum rate of at least 15 per cent would end “the race to the bottom in corporate taxation”. In a tweet later, she added that global minimum tax would end the race-to-the-bottom in corporate taxation, and help the global economy thrive, ..

Wuhan Institute of Virology got $6,00,000 in ‘gain-of-function’ research from US: Report

AMID the leaked Anthony S Fauci emails and independent investigations into the Wuhan lab secrets, reports have emerged again that the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China was funded by the US Government and the virology lab, headed by Shi Zhengli, received nearly $6,00,000 in ‘gain-of-function’ research. At a US Senate hearing on May 11, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky) said that scientists in the US have long known how to mutate animal viruses to infect humans. “For years, Dr Ralph Baric, a virologist in ..