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28 May 2021





The centre Thursday extended the existing Covid-19 containment guidelines till June 30. In its last order, it had spelt out measures to contain the spread of the virus, largely based on the formula of testing, tracking and treating.


The April 25 advisory asked states and UTs to identify districts where either the positivity rate had been more than 10 per cent or more in the last one week; or, where bed occupancy was more than 60 per cent. It said the districts fulfilling any of the above two criteria should be considered for taking intensive and local containment measures.


In Thursday’s order, the MHA has extended the same guidelines.


“The strict implementation of containment and other measures has led to a declining trend in the number of new and active cases, across states & UTs, barring some areas in the southern and northeastern regions,” Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said in a letter to states on Thursday.


“I would Ike to highlight that in spite of the declining trend, the number of active cases presently is still very high. It is, therefore, important that containment measures continue to be implemented strictly. Any relaxation by states/UTs, may be considered at an appropriate time, in a graded manner, after assessing the local situation requirement and resources,” he added.










The govt on Thursday strongly refuted as “baseless and false” a New York Times report that estimated 42 lakh deaths due to Covid-19 in India in a worst case scenario, 13.3 times the official toll of 3,15,235.


While the govt’s rebuttal was in the context of the NYT report, it sought to make a broader point that many of estimates of “under reported” deaths in India were based on assumptions lacking evidence. The report was “totally baseless and absolutely false” as estimations by the publication are not backed by any evidence and are incorrect, it said.


NITI Aayog member (health) Dr V K Paul said the report is based on “distorted estimates” that consider the govt’s sero-survey findings for determining the infection spread but select an arbitrary number to calculate mortality rate for that incidence of infection.


In detailed comments, he said the problem arises when a certain number is thrown in as mortality. “As per our estimates, infection fatality is 0.05% (calculated on findings of sero survey) and case fatality rate is 1.15% (based on reported cases). When somebody attaches a number without thinking or understanding-…they (NYT) are taking 0.3% IFR (infection fatality rate) which is six times of 0.05% and (also) 0.6% is 12 times. On what basis? No basis at all,” Dr Paul said.


“The (NYT) estimates have been done ad hoc and without any basis; there are two parts — quoted cases is what percentage of viral infections. Because this virus infects a large number of people only some people get symptoms. This is well-known.


“There is a universe where infection is not known — if it is to be ascertained, every day or every week the entire population needs to be tested-…saying that the infection is 10-15 times of reported, it doesn’t bother,” Dr Paul said.










Current Active Cases Countrywide: 23,27,541


New Cases in last 24 hours: 1,79,650


Recovered in last 24 hours: 2,64,312


Change in no. of Active cases in last 24 hours: -88,220


No. of deaths in last 24 hours (Total Covid Deaths so far): 3,558 (3,18,821)


Daily Tests: 21,57,857


Daily Positivity Rate (Proportion of Positives among total Tested): 9.8%




Most Affected States:


(S. No. / State / No. of Active Cases / New Cases in last 24 Hrs / Deaths in Last 24 Hrs)




1          Karnataka                     4,02,203           /           24,214  /           476


2          Tamil Nadu       3,13,048           /           33,361  /           474


3          Maharashtra     3,01,041           /           21,273  /           884


4          Kerala              2,41,972           /           24,166  /           181


5          Andhra Pradesh            1,86,782           /           16,167  /           104


6          West Bengal     1,17,154           /           13,046  /           148


7          Odisha             94,889  /           6,736    /           34


8          Rajasthan                     71,099  /           3,454    /           85


9          Uttar Pradesh   58,267  /           3,178    /           187


10        Assam              52,884  /           NA       /           NA


11        Chhattisgarh     49,420  /           2,824    /           69


12        Gujarat             49,082  /           2,869    /           33


13        Punjab              48,231  /           3,854    /           177


14        JnK                  42,272  /           2,769    /           37


15        Uttarakhand      39,177  /           2,146    /           88


16        Madhya Pradesh           38,327  /           1,977    /           70


17        Telangana                    38,267  /           3,614    /           18


18        Bihar                28,447  /           2,568    /           98


19        Haryana                       28,189  /           2,322    /           98


20        Himachal Pradesh         20,184  /           1,472    /           59


21        Delhi                16,378  /           1,072    /           117


22        Goa                  15,699  /           1,504    /           39


23        Puducherry       14,473  /           1,137    /           20


24        Jharkhand        14,196  /           NA       /           NA


25        Meghalaya        8,255    /           809       /           12


26        Tripura             7,508    /           542       /           6


27        Manipur                        7,462    /           813       /           18


28        Nagaland                      4,941    /           228       /           11


29        Arunachal Pradesh        3,692    /           444       /           2


30        Sikkim              3,612    /           408       /           1


31        Chandigarh       3,129    /           200       /           7


32        Mizoram                       2,735    /           206       /           NIL


33        Lakshadweep    2,200    /           135       /           2










The row over Twitter's handling of certain messages escalated into an all-out war of words on Thursday, with the govt saying the messaging platform was levelling baseless and false allegations to defame India and dictating terms to the world's largest democracy.


It started with Twitter calling the visit by Delhi Police to its offices a form of 'intimidation' -- a statement which met with vociferous protests from both the govt and the Delhi Police.


While the govt called it "totally baseless, false and an attempt to defame India", Delhi Police said the statement was "mendacious" and designed to impede a lawful inquiry.


Twitter had marked several tweets by ruling BJP leaders on an alleged strategy document of Opposition to target the govt over COVID as containing 'manipulated media', which prompted the police to visit its offices late on Monday.


Twitter said it was committed to India as a vital market, but criticised the new IT rules and regulations that it said "inhibit free, open public conversation." It went on to express concern over the safety of its employees in India and said it will continue to be strictly guided by principles of transparency and protecting freedom of expression.


Within hours, the Delhi Police issued a strongly-worded statement saying Twitter was purporting to be both investigating and adjudicating authority and had "taken upon itself, in the garb of terms of service, to adjudicate the truth or otherwise of documents in public space".


The reference being of the alleged 'toolkit' -- the one that Twitter, which uses fact-checking websites, tagged as 'manipulated media'. The Delhi Police is investigating it on a complaint by Congress of the 'toolkit' being fake.


The Ministry of Electronics and IT issued a statement saying India has a glorious tradition of free speech and democratic practices dating back centuries. 'Twitter's statement is an attempt to dictate its terms to the world's largest democracy. Through its actions and deliberate defiance, Twitter seeks to undermine India's legal system,' it asserted.


Stating that Twitter has refused to comply with new digital rules requiring identification of the originator of a flagged message and appointing grievance redressal officers, the ministry said the purported commitment of the US-based firm to India not only sounds hallow but completely self-serving.


'Twitter needs to stop beating around the bush and comply with the laws of the land,' the ministry said without saying what action it could take in case non-compliance continued.


It went on to highlight previously raised concerns around certain locations in Ladakh being shown as part of China, alleged reluctance to block content around a 'genocide plan' during farmers' protest, rampant proliferation of fake and harmful content against India, and no action being taken on a type of coronavirus being called the Indian variant.


















India abstained on Friday from voting on a UN Human Rights Council resolution establishing commission of inquiry to investigate alleged human rights violations and abuses in Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel, during the Israel-Palestine conflict.


The resolution, described by Israel as an attempt to “whitewash crimes committed by the terror organisation Hamas”, was adopted with 24 countries voting in favour and 9 against it. India was among the 14 countries that abstained. The Israel foreign ministry immediately said it was not going to cooper-ate with the probe.


Speaking at the special session on the issue, India welcomed the recently announced ceasefire and called on all parties to show extreme restraint, desist from actions that aggravate tensions and refrain from any further attempts to unilaterally change the existing status-quo, including in East Jerusalem and its neighbourhoods.


India said it remained firmly convinced that dialogue was the only viable option that can effectively address the issues confronting the region and its people. “Recent developments have once again underscored the need for immediate resumption of dialogue between Israel and Palestine, aimed at realising the establishment of two States living side by side in peace within secure and recognised borders,’ said Indian permanent representative I M Pandey


Among other countries that abstained are France, Italy, Japan, Nepal, Netherlands, Poland and South Korea.


Among those voting in favour of the resolution are Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, Russia, while Germany, the UK, Austria, among others, voted against it.










German researchers on Wednesday said that based on laboratory research, they believed they have found the cause of the rare but serious blood clotting events among some people who received vaccines made by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.


The researchers, in a study not yet reviewed by experts, said vaccines that employ adenovirus vectors — cold viruses used to deliver vaccine material — send some of their payload into the nucleus of cells, where some of the instructions for making coronavirus proteins can be misread. The resulting proteins could potentially trigger blood clot disorders in a small number of recipients, they suggest. J&J, in a statement said: “We are supporting continued research of this rare event as we work with medical experts and global health authorities.” AstraZeneca declined to comment.


Researchers at the Goethe-University of Frankfurt and other sites explained in their paper that vaccines using a different technology known as messenger RNA (mRNA) deliver the genetic material of the coronavirus spike protein only to fluid found inside cells, not to the nucleus of the cells. “All mRNA-based vaccines should represent safe products,” the paper said.


















The Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Thursday lodged a police complaint against yoga guru Ramdev, seeking a first information report over his 'dishonest and wrongful representations' on modern medicine. In the complaint submitted at the IP Estate Police Station, the apex medical body said Ramdev has 'wilfully and deliberately spread false, baseless and malicious information' about treatment of Covid patients by established and approved methods and drugs.


The IMA had earlier written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding that yoga guru Ramdev be booked immediately under sedition charges for alleged misinformation campaign on vaccination and challenging govt protocols for treatment of COVID-19.


The apex medical body of modern doctors has also served a defamation notice on Ramdev for his alleged disparaging remarks against modern medicine and its practitioners, demanding an apology from him within 15 days, failing which it said it will demand a compensation of Rs 1,000 crore from the yoga guru.










The Lakshadweep administration, which is under attack from the Opposition for its reform measures, on Thursday said it was laying the foundation for the future of islands in a planned way and to develop it on the lines of the Maldives in two decades.


Rejecting allegations that all measures were taken without taking people of the islands into confidence, Lakshadweep District Collector S Asker Ali said those who are having vested interests and those involved in illegal business were carrying out propaganda against the administration.


"Lakshadweep is very peaceful. It will remain peaceful.


Justifying the decision to introduce the Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Act (PASA) in the islands, the official said this is to check the incidents like drug abuse and increasing cases of sexual abuse of children.










The central bank, in its annual report, has issued caution over the meteoric rise in stock prices at a time when the country’s GDP has contracted.


India’s benchmark indices have more than doubled from the post-pandemic lows made in March 2020. Several individual companies have seen multi-fold jump in their stock prices. This, even as the economy has headed south.


Not just India, almost all global markets have seen a sharp rebound in their benchmark indices since March last year underpinned by aggressive stimulus measures.


“Prices of risky assets surged across countries to record high levels during the year on the back of unparalleled levels of monetary and fiscal stimulus, and the turn in market sentiments following positive news on the development of and access to vaccines and the end of uncertainty surrounding US election results. The widening gap between stretched asset prices relative to prospects for recovery in real economic activity, however, emerged as a global policy concern,” RBI said in a note titled "Is the bubble in stock markets rational?".










The case of fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi is proving to be a hot potato for the govts of Carribbean island countries, with Antigua and Barbuda asking the neighbouring Dominica to repatriate him to India, and the latter nation considering returning him to Antigua.


The fugitive businessman, who was residing in Antigua and Barbuda since 2018 after his escape from India, had gone missing on Sunday under mysterious circumstances. He was later "detained" in Dominica for illegal entry.


Choksi's lawyers have raised questions over the claims of his escape from Antigua and Barbuda, calling it "abduction" by people who looked like Indian and Dominica policemen.


Choksi's lawyer Vijay Aggarwal said that after a lot of effort, when lawyers met him he narrated horrifying details to them, saying that he was "forced" to get into a boat from Jolly Harbor in Antigua and taken to Dominica.










Any significant adverse effect is unlikely if the second dose of a different COVID-19 vaccine is administered, but reaching a firm opinion on this will need more scrutiny and understanding, the Centre said on Thursday.


The clarification comes following reports that health workers in Uttar Pradesh's Siddharthnagar district administered Covaxin to 20 villagers who had been given Covishield in the first dose.


NITI Aayog member (Health) V K Paul said the incident needed to be investigated.


Commenting on the UP incident, Paul said, "Even if it has happened, it should not be a cause of concern for the individual, but I urge all health workers to give second dose of the same vaccine.










The lawyers of Bollywood superstar Salman Khan on Thursday said a legal suit filed by him against Kamaal R Khan was not for his review of the recently-released film 'Radhe', but for making defamatory allegations against the actor.


The suit has been filed against Kamaal Khan in a civil court in Mumbai by DSK Legal on behalf of Salman Khan and his ventures.


The actor's legal team claimed that Kamaal Khan has been "spreading malicious falsehoods and defaming' Salman Khan consistently over the past several months, "clearly with a view to draw attention to himself".


KRK has appealed to Salman’s father, veteran screenwriter Salim Khan, and requested him to make his son withdraw the case. “Respected @luvsalimkhan Sahab, I am not here to destroy @BeingSalmanKhan films or his career. I review films just for fun. If I know that Salman get affected by my review so I won’t review. If he could have asked me to not review his film So I would have not reviewed,” he wrote.










Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, the three most successful men in Grand Slam tennis history, were on Thursday all drawn in the same half of the French Open.


Having slipped to number three in the world, it was always likely that Nadal, the 13-time champion, would face top-ranked Djokovic before the final.


All three men are chasing history at the French Open which starts on Sunday.


Nadal and Federer, seeded eight, are locked on 20 Grand Slams each while Djokovic, who has 18, can become the first man in over half a century to win all four majors on more than one occasion.


It is the first time that the three heavyweights of the sport have been drawn in the same half at a major.










Sensex 51,115 (+98), Nifty 15,338 (+37), Trading Value NSE (Rs.crores) 120763.2


Nasdaq 13,736 (-2) Dow 34,465 (+142), S&P 4,201 (+5)


US$-Rs. 72.56 GBP-Rs. 102.71, Euro-Rs. 88.48, UAE Dhm-Rs.19.75, Can$-Rs. 59.99, Aus$- Rs. 56.17


GBP 0.70 /US$, Euro 0.81 /US$, Jap.Yen 109.42 /US$, Aus$ 1.29 /US$, Sing 1.32 /US$, Bang Taka 83.38 /US$, Can$ 1.20 /US$, Mal Ring 4.13 /US$,


Pak Re 154.80 /US$, Phil Peso 48.03 /US$, Russian Rouble 73.47 /US$, NZ$ 1.37 /US$, Thai Baht 31.24 /US$, Ukraine Hryvnia 27.34 /US$


Bitcoin - USD 38,079


Dollar Index 90.07 Brent Crude 69.70  BDI 2,688


Gold world Spot Price USD/aoz 1,896 India (Rs. per gm 24k/22k) 4,760 / 4,660, Silver (Rs. Per KG) 76,000










The known is finite, the unknown infinite; intellectually we stand on an islet in the midst of an illimitable ocean of inexplicability. Our business in every generation is to reclaim a little more land. - T.H. Huxley










The duty officer reported to his CO: Sir nothing significant has happened during my duty hours - only the dog died.


The CO asked: How did the dog die?


The duty officer: Ate too much of mule meat sir.


The CO: Mule meat ? Where did that come from?


The duty officer: Sir actually we had to shoot one of our mules.


The CO: Why?


The duty officer: You see sir, he was in terrible pain due to over exhaustion caused by overload.


The CO: How over load ?


The duty officer: We had to carry water in barrels from the river and this mule got overworked.


The CO: Water ? Why ?


The duty officer: Sir because we had a fire in the Quarter Guard... everything is turned to ashes.


The CO: Goddamn it... this is what you should have begun your report with.


The duty officer: Well actually when I reported to 2IC, I did that, but he fainted on the spot....





Comments (0)

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