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China-India border tensions ‘remain high’ despite pullbacks: US Intel report

CHINA-INDIA border tensions “remain high” despite some force pullbacks this year, the US intelligence community has told Congress, asserting that Beijing seeks to use coordinated, whole-of-government tools to demonstrate its growing strength and compel regional neighbours to acquiesce to its preferences, including its claims over disputed territory. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) said in its latest annual threat assessment report to the US Congress that Beijing will continue ..

Mah’s ‘Shiv Bhojan Thali’ to be free for poor amid ‘lockdown’

FOR the first time since its launch on January 26, 2020, the Maharashtra Government’s “Shiv Bhojan Thali” will be distributed free to the poor for a month during the current ‘lockdown-like’ curfew measures being clamped from Wednesday night, officials said. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced that the ‘thali’ - comprising a wholesome meal of two chapatis, a vegetable, a bowl of rice and dal - will be given free to the poor people in the form of a parcel...

India has operationalised over 75,500 Ayushman Bharat-Health and Wellness Centres so far: Govt

INDIA has operationalised 75,532 Ayushman Bharat-Health and Wellness Centres so far despite the COVID-19 pandemic and is on track to functionalise 1.5 lakh HWCs by December 2022, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Wednesday. Vardhan, who chaired an event virtually to mark the third anniversary of the rollout of Ayushman Bharat-Health and Wellness Centre (AB-HWC), said that as on April 13, over 23.8 crore women (53.7 per cent) have accessed care at these centres, which saw a footfall of over ..

No e-pass required for vehicle movement during Mah curbs: DGP

MAHARASHTRA’S in-charge DGP Sanjay Pandey on Wednesday said that no e-pass is required to be obtained for the movement of vehicles during the coronavirus-induced restrictions imposed in the State. He said that only those vehicles that are involved in emergency services and those private vehicles that come out with a valid reason are allowed to operate during the restrictions...

All need to work together in COVID-19 fight: PM to Governors

ASSERTING that the Government is committed to ensuring adequate availability of COVID-19 vaccines, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday called for harnessing the combined power of community groups, political parties and NGOs in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. Interacting with Governors and Lieutenant Governors of all States and Union Territories through video conference, Modi urged them to actively engage in ensuring that social institutions collaborate seamlessly with State Governments. ..

CBSE cancels Class 10, postpones 12th exams

THE Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on Wednesday cancelled class 10 exams and postponed class 12 exams in view of surge in COVID-19 cases. The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “The board exams for class 12 to be held from May 4 to June 14 are hereby postponed. These exams will be held hereafter. The situation will be reviewed on June 1 by the board and details will be shared subsequently. A notice of at least 15 days will be given before ..

Ignoring COVID norms, lakhs take holy dip in Haridwar

THROWING caution to the wind amid rising cases of coronavirus, thousands of seers congregated on Wednesday at Har ki Pauri in Haridwar to take a dip in the Ganga during the third shahi snan of the Kumbh mela. The ‘royal bath’ marked Mesh Sankranti and Baisakhi, and fell two days after a similar convergence of ‘sadhus’ and other devotees for the second shahi snan -- events where following social distancing norms appears almost impossible. By noon between eight and 10 lakh people had take a bath in ..

Campaigning for fifth phase of W Bengal elections ends

CAMPAIGNING for the fifth phase of the West Bengal Assembly elections to 45 seats ended on Wednesday. The campaigning ended at 6.30 pm, while polling is scheduled to be held on April 17. The Election Commission increased the silence period from 48 to 72 hours in view of the Cooch Behar killings in the fourth phase...

‘Waze was planning fake encounter to claim to have solved Antilia scare case’

INVESTIGATORS suspect that suspended cop Sachin Waze had planned a “fake encounter” of two persons to project their link with the explosives-laden SUV found near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s residence, sources said on Wednesday. This way, Waze, an “encounter specialist”, apparently wanted to claim to have solved the case, but it did not work out, they said. During a search of Waze’s house in neighbouring Thane, the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is conducting a probe into the case, had ..

India will raise climate ambitions but not under pressure, asserts Javdekar

UNION Environment Minister Prakash Javdekar on Wednesday said India will raise its climate ambitions but “not under pressure”, and that it will not allow anybody to forget their historical responsibility. However, the Environment Ministry later issued a clarification stating Javdekar “had only said that India will ‘over achieve’ its commitment made in Paris and not said that India will ‘raise its ambitions’”. India is suffering because of the mistakes of others and “is not responsible for climate ..

CBI quizzes ex-Mah Home Minister Anil Deshmukh for 8 hours

FORMER Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh was on Wednesday questioned for eight hours by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) conducting the Preliminary Enquiry (PE) on orders of the Bombay High Court in connection with the allegations of corruption raised against him by former Mumbai police chief Param Bir Singh, an official said. Deshmukh denied the allegations raised against him by Singh during questioning and told the officers that they were an attempt to malign the image of the State ..

Woman hangs herself, in-laws make video

IN A shocking incident, a family lined up outside a window to shoot a video even as their daughter-in-law hanged herself to death inside. The family even shared the video on the social media to ‘absolve’ themselves of any complicity in the crime. The parents of the deceased, Komal, have alleged that her husband’s family had been hounding her for dowry, which forced her to take the drastic step...

No nation more important than India, says US tech think tank

AS America seeks to counter a rising China, no nation is more important than India, with its vast size, abundance of highly skilled technical professionals, and strong political and cultural ties with the United States. This conclusion has been made by one of the leading science and technology think tanks in the US. The Washington based Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), in a significant paper authored by David Moschella and Robert Atkinson, has said that the economic and geopolitical ..

PM calls for united global efforts to defeat COVID

PRIME Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday stressed the need for united global efforts to deal with the coronavirus crisis, saying mankind will not be able to defeat it unless everyone comes out of it. In an address at the Raisina Dialogue, the Prime Minister said India tried to protect its 1.3 billion nationals from COVID-19, and, at the same time, tried to support pandemic response efforts of others. “We understand fully, that mankind will not defeat the pandemic unless all of us, everywhere, regardless ..

Agencies trail Dawood’s brother for striking drug deals in India via Dubai

INDIA’S most wanted fugitive Dawood Ibrahim’s younger brother and accused in the Mumbai serial blasts, Anees Ibrahim is under the lens of Indian security agencies for his involvement in smuggling and manufacturing of contraband narcotics. Anees Ibrahim’s close aide Kailash Rajput, a high profile drug operator based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is already on the wanted list of Mumbai Police and Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), for smuggling drugs from India, highly placed sources told IANS on ..

BJP leaders face EC’s ire in W Bengal

THE Election Commission on Tuesday barred BJP leader Rahul Sinha from campaigning for 48 hours and slapped a notice on its West Bengal chief Dilip Ghosh over their “provocative” remarks on the killing of four people in firing by CISF during poll violence in Sitalkuchi, saying such statements could have a serious impact on law and order. Strongly condemning Sinha’s reported remarks that central forces “should have killed eight rather than four people”, the EC said he made “highly provocative statements ..

Marriage celebrations return as guns fall silent along LoC

AS INDIA and Pakistan adhere to ceasefire agreement after years of cross-border shelling, marriage celebrations have silently returned to villages along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir. Director General of Military Operations (DGMOs) of India and Pakistan agreed to uphold ceasefire along the borders in the Union Territory from the night of February 24 and 25, bringing respite to the residents who were reeling under the constant threat of shelling from across the border. The original ..

Govt fast-tracks approval for foreign-produced vaccine jabs

WITH an aim to expand the basket of COVID-19 vaccines and enhance the pace of inoculation in India, the Central Government on Tuesday said, it has fast-tracked emergency approval for foreign-produced jabs that have been granted similar clearances in other countries. The move is significant as it may make available several vaccines, including those made by Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, in India with certain conditions. The first 100 beneficiaries of such foreign vaccines shall be assessed ..

India gets 3rd vaccine

PHARMA major Dr Reddy’s on Tuesday said it has received regulatory approval for emergency use of Sputnik V, which will be imported from Russia, paving the way for the third COVID vaccine in India. The Russian Direct Investment Fund said, more than 850 million doses of Sputnik V are going to be produced annually in India — the 60th country to approve the vaccine. The company has received permission from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) to import the Sputnik vaccine into India for restricted ..

Mamata stages dharna to protest EC’s 24-hr ban on her campaigning

WEST Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday sat on a dharna in the heart of the city to protest against the Election Commission’s “unconstitutional” decision to ban her from campaigning for 24 hours. Banerjee, still confined to a wheelchair owing to the injuries she sustained last month, arrived at Mayo road here around 11.40 am and began her sit-in next to a Mahatma Gandhi’s statue at the venue. No TMC leaders or supporters were spotted nearby. A senior TMC leader, when ..

10 COVID patients die due to oxygen shortage in two hospitals in Mah

IN A shocking tragedy on Gudhi Padwa, at least 10 COVID-19 patients have died in two private hospital in the Vasai town due to alleged shortage of medical oxygen, here on Tuesday. While confirming the fatalities that occurred at the Vinayak Hospital and Riddhi Vinayak Hospital, the Vasai-Virar Municipal Corporation (VVMC) refuted allegations about the shortage of medical oxygen supply in the civic body jurisdiction...

Uddhav announces 15-day lockdown with concessions from 8 pm today

MAHARASHTRA Government on Tuesday announced a 15-day long state-wide curfew from April 14 amid the spike in coronavirus cases in the State. The curfew, which excludes essential services, will come into effect from 8 pm on Wednesday, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said in his address via social media to people of the State. Section 144 (prohibitory orders) of the Criminal Procedure Code will be in force till the “lockdown-like” restrictions are in place, Thackeray said. “From 7 am-8 pm only essential ..

Ranjith’s remarkable journey from watchman to IIM Asst Professor

FROM a night watchman earning a pittance to graduating from the hallowed portals of IIT and now an Assistant Professor at IIM, Ranchi, it has been a remarkable journey for 28-year-old Ranjith Ramachandran, inspiring many to fight adverse circumstances in their lives. “An IIM professor was born here,” reads his post on Facebook, along with a picture of his dilapidated tiled hut covered with a tarpaulin sheet to prevent rainwater from seeping in...

Containment ops sub-optimal in Mah distts: Centre

THE Central teams deputed to Maharashtra to coordinate the response to the coronavirus pandemic have observed that containment operations were sub-optimal in Satara, Sangli and Aurangabad districts, says a report sent by the Centre to the State Government. The teams found “less than satisfactory perimeter control and lack of active surveillance” in COVID-19 cases, the report sent by the Union Health Ministry said. “Efforts at surveillance and contact tracing were found to be sub-optimal in Buldhana, ..

CBI summons Deshmukh for questioning tomorrow

MOVING ahead in its probe into the allegations of corruption and misuse of office, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has summoned former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh for questioning on April 14. “We have asked Deshmukh to record his statement on April 14 at our office here,” a CBI official related to probe told IANS. This is for the first time that the CBI has summoned Deshmukh for questioning after it registered a preliminary enquiry (PE) on April 6 into allegations of corruption ..

Lockdown leads to loss of jobs, says Fadnavis

STATING that people lose their jobs when a lockdown is imposed, senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis on Monday alleged the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) Government is not serious about providing any financial aid to vulnerable sections. Taking a dig at the State Government amid talks that an extended lockdown is imminent in Maharashtra in view of a steep rise in COVID-19 cases, Fadnavis said there is a “lockshahi” in the state now instead of ‘lokshahi’ (democracy). The Leader of Opposition in the Legislative ..

Expert panel approves Sputnik V vaccine for emergency use in India

AN expert panel of India’s central drug authority has recommended granting approval to Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V for emergency use in the country with certain conditions, sources said. The Subject Expert Committee (SEC) of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) on Monday took up the application of Dr Reddy’s Laboratories seeking emergency use authorisation for Sputnik V. The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) will take a final call on the recommendation. If approved, ..

30 lakh vaccine doses given on Day 1 of ‘Tika Utsav’: Govt

THE Health Ministry on Monday said that nearly 30 lakh doses of vaccine were given on Day 1 of the “Tika Utsav” which has pushed the cumulative coverage to 10.45 crore, as India’s average doses per day crossed the 40 lakh mark, continuing to be the highest globally. India continues to remain at the top globally with an average of 40,55,055 doses administered per day. Monday marks the second day of the countrywide Tika Utsav. The Centre said that cumulatively, 10,45,28,565 vaccine doses have been administer..

EC slaps 24-hr campaign ban on Mamata

THE Election Commission on Monday barred West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee from campaigning for 24 hours for her remarks against Central forces and a statement which had alleged religious overtones. “Commission hereby condemns such statements potent with serious law and order problems across the State (s) and sternly warns Mamata Banerjee and advises her to desist from using such statements while making public utterances during the period when Model Code of Conduct ..

Mah Govt postpones Class 10, 12 board exams

THE Maharashtra Government on Monday postponed the State board exams of Classes 10 and 12, which were scheduled to be held later this month, in view of a steep rise in COVID-19 cases in the State. The board exams of Class 12 were to begin from April 23 and of Class 10 from April 30. “Given the current COVID-19 situation in Maharashtra, we’ve postponed State board exams for Class 10th & 12th. The present circumstances are not conducive for holding exams. Your health is our priority,” State School Education ..

Lakhs take dip in Ganga on Shahi Snan amid pandemic

AMID rising coronavirus cases nationwide, a sea of saffron-clad seers and ash-smeared Nagas converged at Har ki Pauri in Haridwar for a holy dip in the Ganga during the second ‘Shahi Snan’ of the Kumbh Mela on Monday. Led by their ‘mahamandaleshwaras’, the sadhus from different akhadas took out “shobha yatras” through the main thoroughfare of the pilgrimage city to gather at Brahma Kund, Hari ki Pauri for the ‘Shahi Snan’ –- or the royal bath -- on Somvati Amavasya. Marching barefoot to their destinatio..

‘Maternal health should get priority even during emergencies like COVID’

ON THE occasion of National Safe Motherhood Day on Sunday, experts said maternal health and family planning services should not be compromised and given due priority even in emergency situations like the COVID-19 pandemic. National Safe Motherhood Day is observed every year on April 11 on the birth anniversary of Kasturba Gandhi, wife of Mahatma Gandhi...

Take uniform decision on Class 10, 12 exams: Sena to Centre

THE ruling Shiv Sena in Maharashtra has appealed to the Centre to take a uniform decision on the Board exams of Classes 10 and 12 across the country in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. A unilateral decision by any state would lead to students of that State being at a disadvantage in terms of career and opportunities, Shiv Sena’s chief spokesperson Arvind Sawant said in a letter, dated April 10, addressed to Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’...

Man finds iPhone one year after dropping in Taiwan lake

A MAN in Taiwan has found an iPhone he had accidentally dropped in a lake about a year ago. Surprisingly, the recovered device was found to be working normally, according to media reports. The recovery of the iPhone has been possible as water level in the Sun Moon Lake receded due to the biggest drought it has witnessed in more than 50 years. According to a report in Taiwan News last week, a man identified as Chen in the Facebook group Bao Fei 1 Commune said his iPhone had been found after the ..

Over 2,000 years on, Sanskrit remains popular in China: Chinese Professor

SANSKRIT studies are flourishing in China, over 2,000 years after the ancient Indian language was brought to this country along with Buddhism, making a profound impact on Chinese monarchs and scholars over the centuries, according to a distinguished professor here. Wang Bangwei, a well-known Chinese scholar in Sanskrit and Director of Sino-Indian Buddhist Studies, Institute of Oriental and Indian Studies at the Peking University, said Sanskrit which is the root of Indian culture continues to remain ..

‘Tika Utsav,’ a second big war on COVID-19: PM Modi

ASSERTING that the ‘Tika Utsav,’ a vaccination drive between April 11 and 14, marks the beginning of the second big war on COVID-19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday made several suggestions to people on tackling the virus and urged them to focus on personal and social hygiene. In a statement, he urged people to keep four things in mind, including “each one, vaccinate one,” “each one, treat one” and “each one, save one.” Elderly people or those who may not be much educated should be helped in ..

India’s COVID-19 active cases breach 11-lakh mark for first time

HITTING another record daily high of 1,52,879 new coronavirus infections, India’s COVID-19 tally of cases climbed to 1,33,58,805, while the active cases breached the 11-lakh mark for the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Sunday. The death toll increased to 1,69,275 with 839 daily new fatalities, the highest since October 18, 2020, the data updated at 8 am showed. Registering a steady increase for the 32nd day in row, the active ..

Varanasi to be known as Sanskrit city

VARANASI, the parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will now be known as the Sanskrit city in the world. Varanasi has the maximum number of Sanskrit schools as well as the highest number of students studying Sanskrit. There are more than 110 Sanskrit schools that are functional in Varanasi. Two more will be added to this tally by the new session while 13 new Sanskrit schools are also going to be opened across the State by the Yogi Adityanath Government. According to the Government ..

CBI questions personal staffers of Deshmukh

THE CBI on Sunday questioned two personal staffers of former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh in connection with the allegations of corruption levelled against him by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh, officials said. Deshmukh’s Personal Assistant Kundan Shinde and Personal Secretary Sanjeev Palande were asked to appear before the CBI team in connection with its ongoing preliminary enquiry (PE) into the case following directives of the Bombay High Court, they said. Both of them ..

Tibetans in 26 countries cast votes for Dharamshala-based parliament-in-exile

TIBETANS living in 26 countries including India voted for the final phase of the general election for the Dharamshala-based parliament-in-exile to elect the next Sikyong (president). Forty-five members of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), also called as Tibetan-parliament-in-exile, will also be elected by the voters, Wangdu Tsering, the chief election commissioner of the Tibetan election commission said. There are around 1.3 lakh Tibetans living in exile in India and across the globe...

Appropriate decision on lockdown in Mah after April 14, says Tope

AN APPROPRIATE decision regarding imposing a lockdown in Maharashtra will be taken after April 14, State Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Sunday. He was speaking to reporters after a virtual meeting of the COVID-19 task force chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to discuss measures, including imposition of a lockdown in the State, to break the virus chain. “Duration of the lockdown and how to handle its economic fallout was discussed during Sunday’s meeting...

WHO chief criticises ‘shocking’ global COVID vaccine divide

THE World Health Organisation (WHO) has criticised what it describes as a “shocking imbalance” in the distribution of coronavirus vaccines between rich and poor countries. “There remains a shocking imbalance in the global distribution of vaccines,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference on Friday, the BBC reported. The group’s chief said a target of seeing vaccination programmes under way in every country by Saturday would be missed. The WHO has long called for fairer ..

India, China agree to maintain stability on ground, avoid any new incidents

INDIA and China held detailed deliberations on disengagement in remaining areas of eastern Ladakh and agreed to jointly maintain stability on the ground, avoid any new incidents and resolve the outstanding issues in an “expeditious manner”. A day after the 11th round of military talks that lasted for 13 hours, the Indian Army on Saturday said it was highlighted during the parleys that completion of disengagement in other areas would pave the way for considering “de-escalation of forces” and ensure ..

Have to decide on strict lockdown as situation getting worse: Uddhav

MAHARASHTRA Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday indicated the imposition of a strict lockdown in the State given the alarming rise in COVID-19 cases, underlining the need to save the lives of people and clamping of strict restrictions to break the transmission chain of coronavirus. Speaking at an all-party meeting held virtually to discuss the COVID-19 situation in the State, the Chief Minister also said that his Government will address the issues of the livelihood of poor, labourers and daily-wage..

Violence mars 4th phase of West Bengal elections

FIVE people were killed, including four in the firing by CISF personnel, during the fourth phase of polling on Saturday for 44 Assembly seats of West Bengal, triggering a political firestorm. Four people were killed as Central forces opened fire allegedly after coming under attack from locals, who “attempted to snatch their rifles”, in West Bengal’s Cooch Behar district, police said...

76.16 per cent turnout in 4th phase of poll in WB

WEST Bengal registered a voter turnout of 76.16 per cent till 5 pm during the fourth phase of polling on Saturday in 44 Assembly constituencies spread across five districts, a senior official in the CEO’s office said. The highest turnout of 79.73 per cent was registered in Cooch Behar district, followed by 76.2 per cent polling in Hoogly...

10 cr doses administered so far: Health Ministry

WITH the total number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country crossing 10 crore, the Union Health Ministry on Saturday said that India is the fastest nation to administer 100 million doses in 85 days. The US took 89 days to administer 10 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccine, while China took 102 days to cross the same number, it said. In terms of the number of daily doses administered globally, India continues to remain at the top with an average of 38,93,288 doses administered per day, ..

India records fresh 1.45 lakh COVID cases

WITH a record 1,45,384 fresh cases, India’s COVID-19 tally has climbed to 1,32,05,926, the Health Ministry said on Saturday. The number of active cases has breached the 10-lakh mark again after around six-and-a-half months, while the death toll due to the viral disease has gone up to 1,68,436 with 794 more fatalities, the highest since October 18 last year, the Ministry’s data updated at 8 am showed. Registering a steady increase for the 31st day in a row, the number of active coronavirus cases ..

‘Sharma approached BJP leader in Mumbai hotel to reinstate Waze’

AS THE National Investigation Agency (NIA) probes deep into the extortion racket, fresh evidence is pouring in on the close affiliation between suspended cop Sachin Waze and his mentor, Pradeep Sharma, also known as the ‘encounter king’ of the Mumbai Police. A prominent leader and Bharatiya Janata Party MLA told IANS that Sharma had reportedly approached the BJP Government to reinstate his protege Waze in 2016. The BJP MLA, requesting anonymity, said: “The meeting took place at Hotel Leela Kempinski ..

NASA’s Odyssey marks 20 yrs of mapping Martian surface

DO YOU know that a NASA spacecraft launched 20 years ago is still working at the Red Planet? For two decades, the longest-lived spacecraft at the Red Planet, 2001 Mars Odyssey, has helped locate water ice, assess landing sites, and study the planet’s mysterious moons, NASA said. Launched 20 years ago on April 7, the orbiter, which takes its name from Arthur C Clarke’s classic sci-fi novel “2001: A Space Odyssey”, was sent to map the composition of the Martian surface, providing a window to the past ..

India, China to hold 11th round talks on 9th

AFTER having successfully disengaged with China in the Pangong lake area, Armies of India and China are scheduled to hold the 11th round of Corps Commander-level talks on Friday to discuss disengagement from friction points in Gogra, Hot Springs and Depsang plains in Ladakh. “Indian and Chinese Army are scheduled to hold the 11th round of Corps Commander-level talks at Chushul in eastern Ladakh tomorrow at 10:30 am to discuss further disengagement from friction points there,” Indian Army sources ..

Why is Mah getting fewer COVID vaccine doses: Tope

MAHARASHTRA Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Thursday sought to know why the State was getting fewer number of COVID-19 vaccine doses as compared to some other States, including Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, even as it is leading the vaccination drive and has the highest number of active cases in the country. His statement comes a day after Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said that the “lackadaisical attitude” of the Maharashtra Government had singularly bogged down the entire country’s efforts ..

Mukesh Ambani to appeal against SEBI penalty

RELIANCE Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani will appeal against the fine imposed by market regulator SEBI over alleged irregularities in a two-decade-old share issue in the company, the firm said on Thursday. Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) had issued debentures with convertible warrants in 1994 and allotted equity shares against the warrants in 2000. This was when Dhirubhai Ambani was heading the undivided company...

AI to digitally preserve world-famous Ajanta Cave paintings

IN AN initiative that is unique in every sense of the word, artificial intelligence (AI) has now come to the aid of digitally preserving the world-famous, 2nd Century BC Ajanta cave paintings, so that they last for many lifetimes, safe from disasters of all kinds and for the benefit of generations to come. This initiative by the Mumbai-headquartered Sapio Analytics, a data management company, for the restoration and preservation of Ajanta paintings with the help of modern technology is in tandem with ..

CBI questions Waze, Singh, Patil, records statements

THE CBI questioned former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh and suspended police officer Sachin Waze on Thursday in connection with its preliminary inquiry into allegations of corruption against former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, officials said. The CBI has recorded the statements of former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh, suspended API Sachin Waze and two others in this case...

India’s transition to e-learning well-managed: Oxford report

THE transition to online learning during the coronavirus-induced lockdown in India was done rather well, though unequal access to digital learning devices as well as lack of Internet connectivity were major issues, according to the findings of a new report from Oxford University Press (OUP). The pandemic has paved the way for a hybrid model in education, combining digital and traditional methods of teaching and learning, but Governments need to act so that progress from the past year is not lost, ..

SC dismisses pleas of Mah Govt, Deshmukh against CBI probe

IN A setback to Maharashtra Government and its former Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, the Supreme Court Thursday dismissed their pleas challenging the Bombay High Court order directing a CBI probe into allegations of corruption and misconduct levelled against him by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh. “Looking at the personas involved and nature of allegations and seriousness of allegations, it requires investigation by an independent agency. It is a matter of public confidence,” a bench ..

PM asks States to check laxity in containing COVID-19; calls for vaccine festival from 11-14

NOTING that administration was appearing lax in many States amid a rising number of COVID-19 cases, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday urged Chief Ministers to strengthen their efforts for the next 2-3 weeks to check the spread of the virus on a “war-footing”. He also called for observing a vaccine festival between April 11-14 to inoculate the maximum number of eligible beneficiaries. In his interaction with Chief Ministers to discuss the COVID-19 situation and the ongoing vaccination drive, ..

Army chief holds defence talks with Bangladesh’s Navy, Air Force chiefs

INDIAN Army chief General M M Naravane on Thursday met Bangladesh’s Air Force and Navy chiefs, and discussed issues of mutual interest and matters on bilateral defence cooperation. Naravane also paid tributes to the fallen heroes of Bangladesh’s 1971 Liberation War after arriving in the country on a five-day visit to further strengthen the close and fraternal ties existing between the Armed Forces of the two nations. The visit of Naravane, who is here at the invitation of his Bangladeshi counterpart ..

Abducted CoBRA commando released by Naxals

A COBRA commando abducted by Naxals after the Bijapur ambush in Chhattisgarh on April 3 was released on Thursday, official sources said. They said constable Rakeshwar Singh Manhas of the 210th Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) was freed by the Maoists on Thursday evening after a team of few eminent people, including a person from the tribal community, was nominated by the State Government to secure his release...

Mah Govt urges Centre for supply of oxygen from nearby States

MAHARASHTRA Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Wednesday said the State has requested the Centre for the supply of oxygen for medical use from nearby States. “12 metric tonnes of oxygen is produced and over 7 tonnes of oxygen is consumed daily. We’ve urged that we should be supplied medical oxygen from the nearby States. If a need arises, we’ll close down the industries that use oxygen but won’t let the supply of medical oxygen be affected,” Tope said. “We are working on various technologies for obtaining ..

In just 6 months, Mumbai migrant labourers ready to pack-up again

BARELY six months after they returned, thousands of migrants working in Mumbai and Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) are now re-packing their bags to go back home as Maharashtra is in the grip of a tsunami-like COVID ‘second-wave’. With night curfews, stringent daytime restrictions and a weekend lockdown imposed across the State, migrants from different parts of India are in a state of semi-panic, as daily new infections in the State soar in half-lakh-plus range...

Army returns boy from PoK, who strayed across LoC

THE Army handed over a boy to Pakistani authorities at the Titwal crossing point along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara district on Wednesday, a defence spokesperson said here. Mausam, the son of Manzoor Ahmad and a resident of the Lipa area in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), was handed over to the Pakistani authorities at 11.50 am, he added...

SEBI slaps Rs 25 cr fine on Ambani brothers

SEBI on Wednesday imposed a total penalty of Rs 25 crore on Mukesh Ambani, Anil Ambani, other individuals and entities for non-compliance with takeover norms in a Reliance Industries case dating back to 2000. Others penalised by the watchdog include Nita Ambani, Tina Ambani, K D Ambani and other family members. Nita is wife of Mukesh Ambani and Tina is wife of Anil Ambani. RIL’s promoters and Persons Acting in Concert (PAC) failed to disclose the acquisition of more than 5 per cent stake in the company ..

Waze posted in CIU at Param Bir’s behest: Mumbai Police

CONTROVERSIAL police officer Sachin Waze, now suspended, was reinstated in the Crime Intelligence Unit in June last year on the insistence of then Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh despite the strong objection raised by then Joint CP (crime), as per a report submitted by present Commissioner of Police Hemant Nagrale to Maharashtra Home Department on the circumstances leading to Waze’s reinstatement. The report stated Waze bypassed hierarchy and reported directly to then Commissioner of Police ..

Wearing mask while driving alone in private vehicle is compulsory: HC

WEARING a mask while driving alone in a private vehicle is compulsory as it is a public place in the context of COVID-19, the Delhi High Court held on Wednesday and described face covering as a ‘suraksha kavach’ or protective shield against the spread of the infection. Justice Prathiba M Singh refused to interfere with the Delhi Government’s decision to impose challans for not wearing a mask while driving a private car alone, saying, a vehicle even if occupied by one person would constitute a public ..

Mukesh Ambani dethrones Jack Ma as richest person in Asia: Forbes

INDIA has the third highest number of billionaires in the world after the US and China, according to a new list by the prestigious Forbes magazine, which said, Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani reclaimed his spot as Asia’s richest person, dethroning Chinese business tycoon Jack Ma who was the richest person in the region a year ago. Forbes’ 35th annual list of the world’s billionaires is topped by Amazon CEO and Founder Jeff Bezos for the fourth year in a row. His net worth is USD 177 billion, ..

India fastest COVID-19 vaccinating country

INDIA has surpassed the US to become the fastest COVID-19 vaccinating country in the world with an average daily rate of 30,93,861 vaccine doses, the Union Health Ministry said on Wednesday. The cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 8.70 crore. Cumulatively, 8,70,77,474 vaccine doses have been administered through 13,32,130 sessions, as per the provisional report till 7 am. These include 89,63,724 health care workers (HCWs) who have taken the 1st ..

Waze claims, Deshmukh asked Rs 2 cr from him to be in service; Parab asked him to fleece contractors

SUSPENDED cop Sachin Waze on Wednesday claimed former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had demanded Rs 2 crore from him to continue his service in the Mumbai police and alleged another Minister Anil Parab asked him to collect money from contractors. Transport Minister Parab rejected the allegations made by Waze, saying they were incorrect and aimed at maligning his image, and expressed readiness to face any probe. Waze, who was reinstated in the police service last year, made the sensational ..

Prime Minister says, exams are not last chance to prove yourself

FINDING enough time and mental space in his hectic schedule, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stood on the lush lawns of his official residence and gave his best to motivate students aspiring to take various year-end examinations that are coming after a troublesome period of lockdown and fear of disease. Continuing with his annual exercise of “Pariksha par Charcha” on Wednesday, he asserted, “Exams are not the last chance to prove yourself”, but they are opportunities to take your first steps towards ..

Elusive Maoist leader Hidma in spotlight after Bastar attack

DREADED Maoist leader Madvi Hidma has emerged as the mastermind of the last weekend’s massacre of 22 security personnel by Naxals in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region and the audacious attack has brought him into the limelight once again. His age and looks are still a matter of speculation with security agencies suggesting he is around 45 years old. They just have a bundle of old photos of a young man who they believe is Hidma, who carries a cash reward of Rs 40 lakh for capture in Chhattisgarh. Last Saturday’s ..

DRDO joins hands with pvt firms to produce missiles

IN A bid to promote the domestic defence industry, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has allowed private sector firms to both develop and produce missile systems such as vertical launched surface to air missile systems programme. “Under the Development cum Production Partner (DCPP) programme, we have allowed the private sector to co-develop missile systems with us and then also produce them,” senior DRDO officials told ANI...

‘On-site registration for health, frontline workers only be available at Govt CVCs’

THE Centre has said that on-site registration for COVID-19 inoculation for healthcare and frontline workers aged 18 to 44 years will now only be available at Government COVID Vaccination Centres (CVCs). They will have to produce original photo identity cards and a copy of their employment certificate, it said. In a communique to States and Union Territories (UTs) on Monday, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said on-site registration facility for genuinely leftover healthcare workers (HCWs) and ..

Justice Ramana to take oath as CJI on 24th

SENIOR-MOST Supreme Court judge Justice Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana was on Tuesday appointed as the next Chief Justice of India. According to a notification issued by the Government, Justice Ramana would take over as the 48th CJI on April 24 after incumbent CJI S A Bobde demits office a day before. Justice Ramana would retire on August 26, 2022...

False narratives being built to trigger political instability: PM

PRIME Minister Narendra Modi lashed out at the BJP’s rivals on Tuesday as he accused them of spreading “false narratives” over issues ranging from the farm laws to the citizenship law to trigger political instability in the country, and asked party members to caution people about their reality. Addressing party members on its 41st foundation day, he said imaginary fears and rumours are stoked against his Government with claims that people’s citizenship will be revoked, farmers’ land will be seized, ..

India records 96,982 new COVID cases, 446 fresh fatalities

THE daily rise in new coronavirus infections in India remained above 90,000 for the third consecutive day taking the nationwide COVID-19 tally of cases to 1,26,86,049, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Tuesday. A total of 96,982 cases have been reported in a span of 24 hours, while the death toll increased to 1,65,547 with 446 daily new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed. India on Monday recorded an all-time high of 1,03,558 single day new coronavirus infections in a ..

Polling mostly peaceful in 4 States, UT

PEACEFUL voting was reported in Assembly elections in three States and in Union Territory of Pudducherry that went to polling on Friday, except for West Bengal where clashes erupted between rival political groups. Though stray incidents of clashes between workers of rival parties were also reported in other States, a high voter turnout was recorded in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. In Kerala, where the Left is hoping to beat anti-incumbency to retain power, a feat unseen in four decades, while ..

Mah Govt, Anil Deshmukh move SC against HC order

MAHARASHTRA Government and its former Home Minister Anil Deshmukh moved the Supreme Court on Tuesday challenging the Bombay High Court order directing CBI probe into the allegations of corruption and misconduct leveled against him by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh. “We have filed an appeal on behalf of State against Bombay High Court order,” said Mah Standing Counsel Sachin Patil. Deshmukh’s counsel Sudhanshu S Choudhari said that he has also filed a petition in the apex court against ..

SC names 2 judges to hear coal scam cases

THE Supreme Court on Monday appointed two judicial officers, Arun Bhardwaj and Sanjay Bansal, as special judges to conduct trials in the coal scam cases pending since 2014 here. Earlier special judge Bharat Parashar was conducting trials in around the 40 coal scam cases and has been replaced by two judges after the apex court recently took note of a letter from the Delhi High Court’s Registrar General that permission be granted to nominate or post another suitable presiding judicial officer as special ..

AI can bring enormous changes in way wars are fought: IAF chief

THE use of Artificial Intelligence can bring enormous changes in the way wars are fought and the Indian Force has started looking at its applications in a range of areas, including training and threat monitoring, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria said on Monday. The chief of air staff said his force is also looking at using Artificial Intelligence (AI) in areas of data and intelligence fusion, maintenance as well as in its decision support system. “These are huge areas of focus for our immediate future,” ..

ULFA (I) releases second kidnapped employee of oil exploration company

THE second of the two kidnapped employees of a New Delhi-based private oil exploration firm was released by the ULFA (Independent) on Monday, two days after the first staff was set free from captivity on Saturday. A statement issued by the Assam Rifles stated that Ram Kumar, a resident of Bihar, was released on Myanmar side of Lungwa village after 108 days and he was further intercepted by Assam Rifles border domination patrol at Lungwa village in Mon district early in the day...

Arch of world’s highest railway bridge on Chenab river in J&K completed

THE construction of the arch of the world’s highest railway bridge that soars 359 metres above the bed of the Chenab river in Jammu and Kashmir was completed on Monday, with the Northern Railways terming the achievement a milestone. The 1.3-kilometre-long bridge aims to boost connectivity to the Kashmir Valley and it is being constructed at a cost of Rs 1,486 crore as part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Railway Link (USBRL) project...

Modi’s virtual ‘Pariksha Pe Charcha’ tomorrow

PRIME Minister Narendra Modi on Monday announced that his annual interaction with students ‘‘Pariksha Pe Charcha’’ will be held on April 7 in a new virtual format. “A new format, several interesting questions on a wide range of subjects and a memorable discussion with our brave #ExamWarriors, parents and teachers. Watch ‘Pariksha Pe Charcha’ at 7 PM on 7th April,” the Prime Minister tweeted. Along with his tweet, he also tagged a video on the event in which highlights of this year’s ‘Pariksha Pe Charcha’ ..

West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry go to polls today

SINGLE phase polling will be held in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry on Tuesday, while Assam and West Bengal will vote for third phase. Both BJP and Congress conducted massive campaigns to reach out to maximum voters in all the 5 States. As the third phase of the high-stakes West Bengal Assembly elections is set to commence, a total of 832 companies of central security forces have been deployed in the constituencies to ensure a peaceful election. Out of these, 214 companies of Quick Response ..

Fight against Naxals will be intensified, asserts Amit Shah

UNION Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday said the Government will intensify its ongoing fight against the Naxal menace, an assertion coming in the wake of the killing of 22 security personnel in an attack by the rebels in Chhattisgarh. The Home Minister, on a visit to Chhattisgarh, also paid tributes to the security personnel killed by Naxals in the State’s Bastar region on Saturday. Talking to reporters after chairing a high-level meeting at Jagdalpur, the headquarters of Bastar district, on the Left ..

NCP leader Dilip Walse Patil gets Mah Home Ministry

SENIOR NCP leader Dilip Walse Patil was on Monday given the charge of Maharashtra Home department following the resignation of Anil Deshmukh. Earlier in the day, Deshmukh resigned as the Home Minister after the Bombay High Court ordered a preliminary inquiry by the CBI into allegations of extortion raised against him by former Mumbai police chief Param Bir Singh. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has forwarded the resignation letter of Anil Deshmukh to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari with a request that ..

Anil Deshmukh resigns after HC orders CBI probe

Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh resigned on Monday after the Bombay High Court ordered a CBI probe into the allegations of extortion against him by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh. Deshmukh submitted his resignation letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, NCP Minister Nawab Malik told reporters. Deshmukh also tweeted a copy of the letter, in which he said the High Court had passed an order for a preliminary probe by the CBI into the petition filed by advocate Jayshri ..

Mamata attacks PM for predicting BJP victory

WEST Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday wondered whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi is “god or a superhuman” to make claims of a BJP triumph in the Assembly elections, six phases of which still remain. At an election rally in Hooghly district, the TMC boss, without naming the Indian Secular Front or its founder Abbas Siddiqui, also said the BJP is giving money “to a person” to eat into minority votes. “What do you (Modi) think of yourself, are you god or superhuman?”..

Landslides, floods kill 41 in Indonesia

LANDSLIDES and flash floods from torrential rains in eastern Indonesia killed at least 41 people and displaced thousands, the country’s disaster relief agency said Sunday. More than two dozen others were still missing. Mud tumbled down from surrounding hills onto dozens of homes in Lamenele village shortly after midnight on Adonara island in East Nusa Tenggara province. Rescuers recovered 35 bodies and at least five injured, said Lenny Ola, who heads the local disaster agency. Flash flooding killed ..

Take custody of Ansari by April 8: Punjab to UP Govt

PUNJAB’S home department has asked the Uttar Pradesh Government to take custody of gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari from the Rupnagar jail on April 8, with BSP MP Afzal Ansari on Sunday saying that his brother’s “safety” is now the responsibility of the judiciary and the Yogi Adityanath dispensation. Mukhtar Ansari, who is wanted in various cases in Uttar Pradesh, has been lodged in the Rupnagar district jail in Punjab since January 2019 in connection with an alleged extortion case...

Miss India finalist to contest UP Panchayat polls

FEMINA Miss India finalist, Diksha Singh, will add a dash of glamour to the Zila Panchayat elections in Uttar Pradesh. Diksha, a finalist in 2015, is contesting the polls from Jaunpur. She told reporters that she would contest from the Baksha ward of the district and would be filing her nomination papers on Sunday. Jaunpur goes to polls on April 15 and the result would be announced on May 2 after four phases of polling...

In UP, villages to go digital

THE Yogi Government in Uttar Pradesh has prepared an action plan to convert all the rural areas into ‘smart’ villages in order to ensure that the benefits of the welfare schemes are provided to even the last person of the society. Uttar Pradesh is consistently on the path of development and its rural population is an integral part of this growth trajectory. The Chief Minister has planned to make all the Panchayat Bhawans digital. This will not only link the distant regions to the mainstream society ..

400 Naxals had ambushed security personnel with heavy gunfire in Chhattisgarh: Sources

A GROUP of an estimated 400 Maoists, armed with LMGs, had ambushed security forces deployed for a special operation besides decamping with over a dozen sophisticated arms, officials said on Sunday. The contingent of about 1,500 troops was drawn from CRPF’S specialised jungle warfare unit CoBRA, its regular battalions, a unit of its Bastariya battalion, the Chhattisgarh Police affiliated District Reserve Guard (DRG) and others...

Bodies of 17 jawans killed in gunbattle with Naxals recovered in Chhattisgarh

POLICE recovered bullet-riddled bodies of 17 jawans in the jungles of Chhattisgarh on Sunday, raising toll of the martyred security personnel in an ambush by the cadres of Peoples’ Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) in Bijapur district on April 3 to 22 -- the biggest massacre in more than a year that also left 31 injured. One trooper is still reported to be missing, said officials. A search operation is on in the forest to trace a missing jawan. The dead include eight from the District Reserve Guard ..

PM chairs high-level meet to review COVID-19 situation as cases surge

PRIME Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday reviewed the COVID-19 situation and vaccination exercise in the country amid an “alarming rate of growth” in infections and deaths, with 10 States contributing to more than 91 per cent of them. Modi said the five-fold strategy of testing, tracing, treatment, COVID-appropriate behaviour and vaccination if implemented with utmost seriousness and commitment would be effective in curbing the pandemic’s spread, according to an official statement...

Campaigning ends for Assam, WB, TN, Kerala and Puducherry polls

Campaigning came to an end for Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry and third phase of polling in Assam and West Bengal. While single phase polling will be held in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry on Tuesday, Assam is witnessing three-phase voting, and that of West Bengal eight phases. Third phase of polling in Assam and West Bengal will be held on Tuesday. Both BJP and Congress conducted massive campaigns to reach out to maximum voters in all the 5 States...

‘Weekend lockdown’, stringent curbs in Mah from today

THE Maharashtra Government on Sunday announced a weekend lockdown and night curfew during the weekdays from Monday to April 30, in addition to a slew of other restrictions like closure of private offices, theatres and salons to curb the unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases. The weekend lockdown will start from 8 pm on Fridays and last till 7 am on Mondays. Besides, prohibitory orders will be in force during daytime on weekdays, the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said in a statement. Except the essential ..

Facebook data of 61 lakh Indians among 53 crore users leaked

PERSONAL data of nearly 533 million (53.3 crore) Facebook users, including 61 lakh Indians, remerged online after a hacker posted the details on a digital forum. The leaked data includes Facebook ID numbers, profile names, email addresses, location information, gender details, job data, and other details. The easy availability of such data may make users more vulnerable to cybercrime, although Facebook has said that this is “old data”. “All 533,000,000 Facebook records were just leaked for free...

Mamata’s ‘obstructionist mindset’ deprived WB of jobs, industries: Modi

PRIME Minister Narendra Modi Saturday alleged the “obstructionist mindset” of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her TMC deprived West Bengal of industries and jobs. He claimed the TMC supremo hurt people’s self-respect by claiming they are attending BJP rallies after taking money. The Prime Minister also mocked Banerjee for her frequent criticism of the Electronic Voting Machines and the Election Commission. “She keeps criticising EVM, the EC...If players keep criticising umpires, you should know ..

‘Bahi khatas’ of Haridwar pandas relevant even in era of computers

A STEP into one of the nondescript houses the pandas live in at Kushaghat near Har Ki Pairi here, one will be confronted by almirahs fully stacked with arrays of yellowing pages in huge volumes. To the uninitiated, these “Bahi khatas (registers)” may seem nothing but scrap, but for the house owner, these centuries-old “precious volumes” can give the Internet search engines a run for their money when it comes to dredging up family histories...