International

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 ..

Mauritius’ ex-President, six times PM Sir Anerood Jugnauth passes away at 91

SIR Anerood Jugnauth, the former President and Prime Minister of Mauritius, has passed away. He was 91. Jugnauth, who served as Mauritius’ President twice and Prime Minister six times, was accorded with India’s second highest civilian honour Padma Vibhushan in 2020..

Iran warship catches fire, sinks in Gulf of Oman

THE largest warship in the Iranian Navy caught fire and later sank on Wednesday in the Gulf of Oman under unclear circumstances, the latest calamity to strike one of the country’s vessels in recent years amid tensions with the West. The blaze began around 2:25 am and firefighters tried to contain it, the Fars news agency reported, but their efforts failed to save the 207-metre (679-foot) Kharg, which was used to resupply other ships in the fleet at sea and conduct training exercises. State media reported ..

7-yr-old boy swims for an hour to rescue dad, sister

A 7-YEAR-OLD boy is being credited for helping to save his father and 4-year-old sister by swimming to shore and calling for help after they got caught in a strong current during a holiday weekend boating trip on Florida’s St. Johns River. The father, Steven Poust, told Jax4 television station that he anchored his boat in the river while he fished and his children played on Friday. Chase Puost said the current was too strong for her sister Abigail to hold onto the boat, and he also let go to stay ..

Chinese climber becomes 1st blind Asian to scale Everest

A CHINESE climber who became the first blind Asian to scale Mount Everest says he aims to climb the highest peaks on all seven continents and then travel to the North and South Poles. Zhang Hong, 44, is also the third blind climber internationally to reach the world’s highest peak. Following his guides and Sherpas, he reached the summit on May 24 and returned safely to Kathmandu...

COVID-19 has no credible natural ancestor, claims new study

AMID calls for a fresh probe into the origins of COVID-19, an explosive new study has found that Chinese scientists created the virus in a lab in Wuhan, then tried to cover their tracks by reverse-engineering versions of the virus to make it look like it evolved naturally from bats. The novel coronavirus SARSCoV-2 virus has no “credible natural ancestor” and was created by Chinese scientists who were working on a ‘Gain of Function’ project in aWuhan lab, the ‘Daily Mail’ reported on Sunday, citing ..

India supports calls for detailed studies on origins of virus

INDIA on Friday supported renewed global calls for a comprehensive investigation by the WHO into the origins of COVID-19, days after US President Joe Biden asked American Intelligence agencies to find out how coronavirus emerged in China. ..

China amassing weapons systems at Indian border

BEIJING is amassing new weapons systems in its border with India complicating efforts towards a peaceful solution to the border stand-off. ..

NATO troops conduct massive war games across Atlantic, Black Sea

AS TENSIONS with Russia simmer, thousands of NATO troops, several warships and dozens of aircraft are taking part in military exercises stretching across the Atlantic, through Europe and into the Black Sea region. ..

Jaishankar meets US NSA; discusses Indo-Pacific region, climate change

EXTERNAL Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan during which they held wide-ranging discussions and agreed that people-to-people ties and shared values are the foundation of the US-India strategic partnership that is helping to end the pandemic, supporting a free and open Indo-Pacific and providing global leadership on climate change. Jaishankar, the first Indian Cabinet Minister to visit the United States under the Biden administration, met Sullivan on Thursday. ..

B.1.617 COVID-19 variant now found in 53 countries: WHO

THE B.1.617 COVID-19 variant, first detected in India, has now been found in 53 countries, according to the WHO, which noted that India recorded 23 pc decrease in number of new cases in the last seven days but they were still highest in the world. World Health Organisation’s Weekly Epidemiological Update, published on May 25, said that over the past week, the number of new cases and deaths continued to decrease globally, with over 4.1 million new cases and 84,000 new deaths reported, a 14 per cent ..

New drugs developed by Aus scientists can prevent, cure COVID-19

SCIENTISTS from QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Australia’s Queensland have developed two new drugs to both prevent SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind COVID-19 infection, and also treat people who have been exposed to the virus so they do not develop severe disease. The two early intervention drugs target how human cells respond to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, instead of the virus itself, according to the findings published in the journal Nature Cell Discovery. The first peptide-based drug would be ..

World’s first man to get COVID-19 vaccine dies of unrelated illness in UK

AN 81-year-old pensioner in the UK who made history when he became the first man in the world to have the COVID-19 vaccination has died of an unrelated illness, the British media reported on Tuesday. William Shakespeare hit global headlines on December 8 last year when he became the first man to have the jab to fight against the coronavirus at the University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire. Shakespeare received his first Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at the same hospital shortly after 91-year-old ..

WHO scientists likely to reconsider China lab origin theory of COVID-19

WORLD Health Organisation (WHO) is expected to restudy the “dominant theory” that the SARS-CoV-2 probably originated and spread across the world from China’s Wuhan lab, according to reports. According to CNN, previously overlooked Chinese data on extensive screening of animals for coronavirus around the time the pandemic erupted is among several areas identified for further study by WHO scientists investigating the origins of the virus, as per a source...

China develops UAV with plateau ops capabilities, to deploy at LAC

CHINA has developed an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with plateau operations capabilities and plans to deploy it at Line of Actual Control with India in Kailash mountain range, sources said. The UAV has been developed in Shaanxi and completed its first flying and control task at Gar Gunsa in Tibet Autonomous Region, the sources said. The flight was undertaken by the Hailan Aviation team. “The UAV took off from an elevation of 4,700 metre -- Baga Township -- and completed its task of patrolling, control ..

‘Largest afloat Antarctic iceberg could drift through ocean for several years’

A VAST iceberg that broke off Antarctica earlier this month could drift through the ocean for several years before it breaks up and melts away, a scientist from the European Space Agency said on Friday. The iceberg, dubbed A-76, is more than 40 times the size of Paris, or about 73 times as big as Manhattan, making it the largest currently afloat. It was first spotted by scientists at the British Antarctic Survey and confirmed by the US National Ice Center using images taken by the European Space ..

RBI to transfer Rs 99,122 cr as dividend to Centre

  THE Reserve Bank on Friday decided to transfer Rs 99,122 crore as surplus to the exchequer, a move that will help the Government to channelise more resources to combat the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic. The decision to transfer the surplus amount for the accounting period of nine months ended March 31, 2021 was taken at a meeting of the central board of the RBI, held through video conferencing, under the chairmanship of Governor Shaktikanta Das. The surplus is commonly called ‘div..

Israel unleashes strikes as expectations for truce rise

ISRAEL unleashed another wave of airstrikes across the Gaza Strip early on Thursday, killing at least one Palestinian and wounding several, and Hamas fired more rockets, even as expectations rose that a ceasefire could be coming. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pushed back against calls from the US to wind down the Gaza offensive, appearing determined to inflict maximum damage on Hamas in a war that could help save his political career. Still, officials close to the negotiations say they expect ..

Estimated 4,000-6,000 refugees from Myanmar sought safety in India: UN

AN estimated 4,000 to 6,000 refugees from Myanmar have sought safety in India, a spokesperson for the UN chief has said, as the world body voiced concern over the rising levels of displacement of people since the military coup in the country in February. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said that in Myanmar, as of last week, approximately 60,700 women, children and men have been internally displaced...

China offers to host Afghan peace talks, backs leading role for Ghani-led Govt

CHINA, which has stepped up its diplomacy between Pakistan and Afghanistan in the wake of the US troops withdrawal from the war-torn country, has offered to host peace talks between the Afghan Government and the Taliban. Significantly, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who in the last two-days held telephone talks with his Pakistani and Afghan counterparts, said that China will back the Afghan Government headed by Ashraf Ghani in playing a leading role...

Strike from Gaza kills 2 as Israel topples 6-story building

A STRIKE launched from Gaza killed two Thai workers in southern Israel on Tuesday, police said, hours after Israeli airstrikes toppled a six-story building in the Palestinian territory that housed bookstores and educational centres. With the war between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers showing no sign of abating and truce efforts apparently stalled, Palestinians across Israel and the occupied territories went on strike in a rare collective action against Israel’s policies. Violence erupted at one protest ..

Israel claims, Gaza tunnels destroyed in heavy airstrikes

THE Israeli military unleashed a wave of heavy airstrikes on the Gaza Strip early on Monday, saying it destroyed 15 kilometres (nine miles) of militant tunnels and the homes of nine Hamas commanders. Residents of Gaza awakened by the overnight barrage described it as the heaviest since the war began a week ago, and even more powerful than a wave of airstrikes in Gaza City the day before that left 42 dead and flattened three buildings...

Israeli strikes kill 42 people, topple 3 buildings in Gaza City

ISRAELI air strikes on Gaza City flattened three buildings and killed at least 42 people on Sunday, medics said, making it the deadliest single attack since heavy fighting broke out between Israel and the territory’s militant Hamas rulers nearly a week ago. The Gaza Health Ministry said 10 women and eight children were among those killed, with another 50 people wounded in the attack. A rescuer could be seen shouting into a hole in the rubble...

Israeli airstrike on Gaza home kills 10

AN ISRAELI air raid in Gaza City killed at least 10 Palestinians, mostly children, early Saturday in the deadliest single strike since the battle with Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers erupted. Both sides pressed for an advantage as truce efforts gathered strength. Israel also bombed the home of Khalil al-Hayeh, a top leader of Gaza’s ruling militant Hamas group. The latest outburst of violence began in Jerusalem and has spread across the region, with Jewish-Arab clashes and rioting in mixed cities ..

China lands its rover ‘Zhurong’ on Mars

CHINA has successfully landed a spacecraft on Mars after surviving “nine minutes of terror”, the official media announced on Saturday, becoming the second country in history to have a rover on the red planet. The rover, Zhurong, named after a god of fire and war in Chinese mythology, landed at the pre-selected area in Utopia Planitia on Mars, the State-run ‘Xinhua news agency’ reported. The six-wheel solar-powered Zhurong rover weighs about 240 kilogrammes and carries six scientific instruments. ..

Penpa Tsering is new Tibetan Govt-in-exile President

FORMER speaker of Tibetan Parliament-in-exile and experienced administrator Penpa Tsering will be the next President of Tibetan Government-in-exile, it was announced on Friday. Tsering, 53, who won the post of Central Tibetan Administration’s Sikyong (President) with 5,417 votes, succeeded Lobsang Sangay, who completes two terms as president this month. CTA chief election commissioner Wangdu Tsering declared the result here for the second and final round, polling for which was held on April 11. ..

Palestinians flee as Israel pounds

PALESTINIANS grabbed their children and belongings and fled neighbourhoods on the outskirts of Gaza City on Friday as Israel unleashed a heavy barrage of artillery fire and airstrikes, killing a family of 6 in their home. Israel said it was clearing a network of militant tunnels ahead of a possible ground invasion. ..

Hamas, Israel fighting escalates even amid Egypt’s truce efforts

HAMAS sent a heavy barrage of rockets deep into Israel in a matter of minutes on Thursday and Israel pounded Gaza with more airstrikes. The relentless escalation of hostilities came even as Egyptian negotiators held in-person talks with the two sides, intensifying efforts at mediation. Previous fighting between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers, including a devastating 2014 war, was largely confined to the impoverished and blockaded Palestinian territory and Israeli communities on the frontier...

World’s largest cooling stations installed in Grand Mosque

AS PARTof SaudiArabia’s efforts to provide high-quality services to visitors and pilgrims of the Holy Mosques using the latest technologies, the world’s largest coolingplantofitskindhasbeen installed in Makkah’s Grand Mosque to ensure that worshipers perform their rituals in the cool and fresh atmosphere inside Al-Haram. TheGeneralPresidencyforthe Affairs of theTwo Holy Mosques worksonensuringfreshairinside the Grand Mosque using ultraviolet light air purification technology...

Escalating violence in Gaza bears hallmarks of 50-day war in 2014

ROCKETS streamed out of Gaza and Israel pounded the territory with airstrikes early on Wednesday as the most severe outbreak of violence since the 2014 war took on many hallmarks of that devastating 50-day conflict, with no endgame in sight. Gaza’s Hamas rulers and other militant groups have fired barrages of hundreds of rockets that at times have overwhelmed Israel’s missile defences, causing air raid sirens and explosions to echo across Tel Aviv, Israel’s biggest metropolitan area, and other cities...

NASA’s spacecraft begins home journey with asteroid rubble

WITH rubble from an asteroid tucked inside, a NASA spacecraft fired its engines and began the long journey back to Earth on Monday, leaving the ancient space rock in its rearview mirror. The trip home for the robotic prospector, Osiris-Rex, will take two years. Osiris-Rex reached asteroid Bennu in 2018 and spent two years flying near and around it, before collecting rubble from the surface last fall. The University of Arizona’s Dante Lauretta, the principal scientist, estimates the spacecraft holds ..

China to draw ‘separation line’ on Mt Everest to stop COVID spread

CHINA will draw a “separation line” atop Mount Everest to prevent the coronavirus from being spread by climbers ascending Nepal’s side of the mountain, Chinese state media reported on Monday. A team of Tibetan mountaineering guides will set up the separation line at the peak before climbers attempt to reach the summit from the Chinese side, state-owned Xinhua News Agency said. It is not clear what the separation line will be made of. The climbers ascending the north side of the mountain from China ..