India Newsletter

FRONT PAGE NEWS
8 August 2020

AIR INDIA FLIGHT FROM DUBAI CRASHLANDS IN KOZHIKODE, BOTH PILOTS AMONG 17

KILLED

 

At least 17 people were killed, including the pilot and co-pilot, and around

100 injured when an Air India Express flight from Dubai skidded off the

table-top runway in Kozhikode on Friday evening. The aircraft, with 190

people on board, was attempting to land in bad weather when it shot the

runway around 7.40 pm and split into two after nosediving into a valley 35

feet below.

An air traffic control official at Kozhikode airport said, "It had been

raining incessantly for several hours. The fight went around the airport

twice and then tried to land." He said luckily the aircraft, which took off

from Dubai at 2 pm and was scheduled to land in Kozhikode at 7.27 pm, didn't

catch fire. "We immediately started rescue efforts with the support of local

people."

Deepak Vasanth Sathe, who died along with co-pilot Akhilesh Kumar, was a

former Wing Commander of the Indian Air Force. Officials said he had also

flown often to the Kozhikode sector.

While international passenger flights remain suspended since March 23 due to

the coronavirus, since May 6, Air India and Air India Express have been

running repatriation flights to help stranded people reach their

destinations under the Vande Bharat Mission.

An Air India Express spokesperson said they were setting up help centres in

Sharjah and Dubai. Indian consulates there have also set up helplines.

 

 

MAJOR GENERALS LIKELY TO MEET AT DBO OVER DEPSANG TENSIONS

 

After the breakdown of talks at the level of the Corps Commander to restore

status quo ante at friction points on the LAC in Ladakh, the division

commanders of India and China are likely to meet in the coming days to

arrive at a plan to reduce tensions in the strategic Depsang Plains. The

Indian delegation will be led by the General Officer Commanding of 3

Mountain Division, Major General Abhijit Bapat, at the meeting which is

likely to happen "in the next few days," sources said.

More than 15,000 Chinese troops are estimated to have been deployed opposite

Depsang, where India has also mobilised matching troops on its side,

including an armoured brigade.

The meeting is expected to discuss a plan for de-escalation by both the

sides in an area considered strategically important by both armies. In all

the games, sources said, Depsang is seen as an area of highest priority by

the Army because of its location in northern Ladakh: access to DBO airstrip,

the Karakoram region, and the 255-km Darbuk-Shyok-DBO (DSDBO) road, besides

providing depth to China's western highway, its main link between the two

restive provinces of Xinjiang and Tibet.

The area of Depsang Plains has been disputed by both countries, with a large

number of transgressions by Chinese patrols recorded by the Indian side: 157

in 2019, up from 83 in 2018 and 75 in 2017. The contentious nature of the

LAC has led to the armies often blocking patrols of the other side, but

there has been complete denial of erstwhile patrolling rights to the Indians

since May, adding to the tensions.

 

 

DAWOOD ENJOYS PATRONAGE IN 'NEIGHBOURING COUNTRY': INDIA

 

India on Friday drew the UN Security Council's attention to underworld don

Dawood Ibrahim's D-Company and said collective action by the international

community towards threats such as the IS would serve well against similar

threats.

"An organized crime syndicate, the D-Company, that used to smuggle gold and

counterfeit currencies transformed into a terrorist entity overnight causing

a series of bomb blasts in the city of Mumbai in 1993," the Indian statement

said. "The success of collective action against the ISIL serves as an

example of how focused attention by the international community yields

results. A similar focus on addressing threats posed by proscribed

individuals and entities such as Dawood Ibrahim and his D-Company, the

Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammad, will serve humankind well," it

read.

 

 

JAISHANKAR, POMPEO AGREE ON EARLY MEETING OF QUAD

 

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his American counterpart Mike

Pompeo yesterday discussed the need to hold an early meeting of the Quad.

The Quad comprises the US, India, Australia and Japan and it aims to ensure

freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, besides promoting sustainable

infrastructure projects in the region. Talk for holding a meeting of the

Quad is significant, considering the tension on the LAC and the increased

Chinese and US military presence in the South China Sea.

Later in the day, Jaishankar and Pompeo were again at a videoconference,

this time with foreign ministers of Australia, Brazil and Israel on measures

to combat Covid.

The Quad meetings were upgraded from official to the ministerial level in an

indication of the seriousness behind the vision to provide an alternative

approach in South China Sea.

 

 

COVID-19 DASHBOARD - (Nos. IN INDIA / Nos. WORLDWIDE)

(Indian data from covid19india / and World Data from

worldometers.info/coronavirus/ )

 

Total Cases 20,86,407 (+61,452) / 1,95,42,626 (+2,84,977)

 

Total Deaths 42,578 (+940) / 7,24,075 (+6,388)

 

Total Recovered 14,27,669 (+50,285) / 1,25,44,638 (+1,86,984)

 

Active Cases 6,16,160 (+10,227) / 62,73,913 (+91,605)

 

 

TOP IMPACTED NATIONS SO FAR: (AND SOME OF INDIA'S NEIGHBOURS)

Country, Total Cases / Total Deaths / Recovered Cases / Active

Cases

 

1 USA 50,95,524 / 1,64,094 /

26,16,967 / 23,14,463

2 Brazil 29,67,064 / 99,702 /

20,68,394 / 7,98,968

3 India 20,86,864 / 42,578 /

14,27,669 / 6,16,617

4 Russia 8,77,135 / 14,725 /

6,83,592 / 1,78,818

5 South Africa 5,45,476 / 9,909 /

3,94,759 / 1,40,808

6 Mexico 4,69,407 / 51,311 /

3,13,386 / 1,04,710

7 Peru 4,63,875 / 20,649 /

3,14,332 / 1,28,894

8 Chile 3,68,825 / 9,958 /

3,42,168 / 16,699

9 Colombia 3,67,196 / 12,250 /

1,98,495 / 1,56,451

10 Spain 3,61,442 / 28,503 / N/A

/ N/A

11 Iran 3,22,567 / 18,132 /

2,79,724 / 24,711

12 UK 3,09,005 / 46,511 / N/A

/ N/A

13 Saudi Arabia 2,85,793 / 3,093 /

2,48,948 / 33,752

14 Pakistan 2,82,645 / 6,052 /

2,58,099 / 18,494

15 Bangladesh 2,52,502 / 3,333 /

1,45,584 / 1,03,585

 

 

TOP IMPACTED INDIAN STATES SO FAR

State / Confirmed Cases / Active Case / Recovered /

Deceased

 

Maharashtra 4,90,262 / 1,45,582 /

3,27,281 / 17,092

Tamil Nadu 2,85,024 / 52,759 / 2,27,575

/ 4,690

Andhra Pradesh 2,06,960 / 84,654 /

1,20,464 / 1,842

Karnataka 1,64,924 / 77,685 / 84,232

/ 2,998

Delhi 1,42,723 / 10,409 / 1,28,232

/ 4,082

Uttar Pradesh 1,13,378 / 44,563 / 66,834 /

1,981

West Bengal 89,666 / 24,652 / 63,060 /

1,954

Telangana 75,257 / 21,417 / 53,239 /

601

Bihar 71,794 / 25,128 / 46,265 / 400

Gujarat 68,885 / 14,489 / 51,792 / 2,604

Assam 55,497 / 16,552 / 38,810 / 132

Rajasthan 50,157 / 13,195 / 36,195 /

767

Odisha 42,550 / 13,560 / 28,698 / 292

Haryana 40,054 / 6,143 / 33,444 /

467

Madhya Pradesh 37,298 / 8,715 / 27,621 /

962

Kerala 31,700 / 12,411 / 19,147 / 103

Jammu and Kashmir 23,927 / 7,260 / 16,218 /

449

Punjab 21,930 / 7,351 / 14,040 / 539

 

 

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

======================

 

 

BEIRUT BLAST: POSSIBILITY OF 'EXTERNAL INTERFERENCE', SAYS LEBANON PREZ

 

Three days after a massive explosion rocked Lebanon's capital city Beirut,

the country's President Michel Aoun said that an investigation committee is

presently looking into whether the blast was deliberately caused by a

rocket, bomb or other external interference.

"The cause has not been determined yet. There is a possibility of external

interference through a rocket or bomb or other act," President Aoun told

local media yesterday. The ongoing investigation is being conducted at three

levels: "First, how the explosive material entered and was stored.second

whether the explosion was a result of negligence or an accident.and third

the possibility that there was external interference," he added.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah says the explosion at the Beirut port

reveals nepotism and corruption that can't be ignored in Lebanon and that

those responsible should be brought to justice. Nasrallah denied in a speech

on Friday that his group was responsible for Tuesday's blast or exercised

any power at the port. Nasrallah also said his group's domestic opponents

are using the blast to blame Hezbollah and to turn public opinion against

it. "You will see no results," he said.

 

 

SRI LANKA ELECTION: RAJAPAKSA BROTHERS WIN 'SUPER-MAJORITY'

 

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has declared victory in the

country's parliamentary election. His brother Mahinda Rajapaksa is expected

to be installed as prime minister, having held the role as caretaker since

November.

The brothers' party, Sri Lanka People's Front, has secured a two-thirds

"super majority" of seats needed to carry out its promised constitutional

changes.

The party won 145 of the 225 seats, plus five more seats from its allies.

The controversial Rajapaksa family has dominated Sri Lankan politics for two

decades. Mahinda Rajapaksa was previously president, from 2005 to 2015.

The opposition of former prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has been

trounced, having lost all but one of the 106 seats it held in the outgoing

parliament.

The main opposition party is now a new group established by the son of

Ranasinghe Premadasa, a former president who was assassinated in 1993.

With their dominant majority, the Rajapaksas could attempt to change the

constitution, increase the powers of the president so reversing the work of

the previous government to introduce more checks and balances.

 

 

PAKISTAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES FATF-RELATED BILL

 

Amidst vociferous protests from Pakistan's religious parties, the Parliament

has approved a third Bill related to the tough conditions set by the global

money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog FATF.

The legislation is part of the efforts by Pakistan to move from the

Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list to the white list.

The FATF put Pakistan on the grey list in June 2018 and asked Islamabad to

implement a plan of action by the end of 2019 but the deadline was extended

later due to COVID-19 pandemic.

The Mutual Legal Assistance (Criminal Matter) Bill, 2020 - which calls for

exchange of information and criminals with countries - was passed late

Thursday evening in a joint sitting of Parliament after a hectic two-day

consultation with the two major Opposition parties - Pakistan Muslim

League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party.

 

 

THE REST

========

 

 

KERALA: IDUKKI LANDSLIDE LEAVES 15 DEAD, OVER 40 MISSING

 

At least 15 persons were killed after a river of mud and debris washed over

lines of settlements of tea plantation workers near the popular hill station

of Munnar in Kerala's Idukki district Friday. A total of 15 persons have

been rescued so far even as efforts are underway to find the missing, Chief

Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in a press briefing.

The mudslide, caused by a bout of extreme rainfall in the area, was reported

at the Nyamakad estate of the Kannan Devan Hills Plantation Company near

Rajamala in Devikulam Taluk around 7 am Friday, though it is believed to

have occurred late Thursday night. The debris has buried at least 30

settlements in which nearly 78 people resided.

Due to paucity of good hospitals in the area and several roads damaged, the

state government has placed a request before the Indian Air Force to use its

choppers to air-lift critically injured to major hospitals in Idukki and

Ernakulam, CM Vijayan said. However, reports say that the conditions in the

area are not conducive for airlift operations.

 

 

CENTRE ENGAGES NSCN-IM LEADERS FOR NAGA PEACE TALKS

 

The Centre yesterday resumed negotiations with the NSCN-IM leadership as

part of the last leg of talks for the Naga peace as the efforts are on to

resolve the three contentious issues - flag, constitution and territory -

and ink a "final settlement" before the Independence Day.

The talks between senior officials and NSCN-IM leaders, led by its

86-year-old general secretary Thuengaleng Muivah, are reportedly being held

at an undisclosed location in the national capital where representatives of

Assam, Manipur and Arunachal were also present.

According to an MHA official, the presence of three north-eastern states'

representatives is significant as the NSCN-IM has been claiming parts of

their territories for Greater Nagalim.

 

 

COVID-19: HEALTH MINISTER UPBEAT ON CONTAINMENT

 

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said yesterday that the spread of Covid-19 had

been contained even as the virus tally touched 20,27,274 after a surge of

62,538 cases in 24 hours.

"High-impact interventions have made it possible to reduce the mortality

rate from 3.33 per cent on June 18 to 2.05 per cent today. Our containment

strategy has been successful. Over 50 per cent cases are from three states,

while 32 per cent are from seven others. The spread of the virus thus has

been contained," the minister said.

Even as cumulative cases continued to rise, the recovery rate jumped to a

new high of 68 per cent today, with daily recoveries rising from 26,000 to

44,000 in two weeks.

"The upgrade of hospital infrastructure and emphasis on efficient treatment

of patients have ensured improvement in the recovery rate. The average daily

recovered cases (seven-day moving average) have increased from around 26,000

to 44,000 in the last two weeks," the Health Ministry said.

World's leading vaccine maker, the privately owned Serum Institute of India

yesterday said it would produce up to 100 million Covid-19 vaccine doses for

India and low and middle income countries as early as 2021. The institute

said it would price each dose of the vaccine for US $3.

 

 

PILOT OF ILL-FATED PLANE WAS PGM AND 'SWORD OF HONOUR' WINNER

 

Deepak Vasant Sathe, the captain of the ill-fated Air India Express Boeing

737 aircraft that crashed at Kozhikode on Friday, had bagged the coveted

'Sword of Honour' on passing out from the Air Force Academy.

The former IAF fighter pilot belonged to the 58th Course of the National

Defence Academy, Kharakvasla, where he was a gold medalist. Thereafter, he

moved to the AIr Force Academy, Dundigal, and was part of the 127th Pilot's

Course, where he was awarded the 'Sword of Honour' for topping the course.

He was commissioned in June 1981 and retired in 2003.

 

 

DELHI AIRPORT LAUNCHES PORTAL, FLYERS CAN OPT FOR ONLINE QUARANTINE

EXEMPTION

 

The Delhi International Airport has launched a portal to facilitate inbound

passengers to file their mandatory self-declaration form and eligible

passengers to apply for exemption from compulsory institutional quarantine

for Covid.

"The portal will help make passengers' journey contactless as they won't

have to fill physical copies of the self-declaration form and quarantine

exemption form at the time of arrival in India," airport authorities said.

According to the government guidelines from August 8 onwards, five

categories of passengers can get exemption from the mandatory seven-day

institutional quarantine - pregnant women; those who have suffered death in

the family; those suffering from a serious illness; parents accompanying

children below 10 years of age; those who have Covid-negative certificate

from a test done 96 hours prior to the journey.

 

 

OCI CARD HOLDERS FROM US, UK, GERMANY, FRANCE CAN VISIT INDIA: GOVT

 

Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card holders from the US, UK, German and

France, with whom India has signed 'air bubble' arrangements, will be

allowed to visit the country, the Home Ministry announced on Friday.

Other foreigners from these countries have also been allowed to avail Indian

visa facility for business, medical and employment purposes.

India so far has bilateral air travel arrangements or 'air bubbles' with the

US, UK, Germany and France during the coronavirus pandemic-related

international travel restrictions.

 

 

RHEA GAVE DRUG OVERDOSE TO SUSHANT, SUPREME COURT TOLD

 

The Bihar Government on Friday alleged before the Supreme Court that Rhea

Chakraborty gave drug overdose to actor Sushant Singh Rajput.

Chakraborty, said to be the deceased actor's girlfriend, is now being probed

as an accused in the case by the CBI after an FIR lodged against her in

Patna got transferred to the CBI.

"She overdosed him with drugs and then spread the word that he was mentally

ill," the affidavit said, citing Sushant father's complaint. It is further

stated that the petitioner and her relatives namely Indrajeet Chakraborty,

Sandhya Chakraborty and Shovik Chakraborty used to interfere in the actor's

life.

"The petitioner also took his bank account details and started using it

according to her wishes. The actor wanted to leave the film industry and do

organic farming in Coorg, but the petitioner started blackmailing the actor

by saying that she will give his medical report to the media and prove him

'mad' after which he will not get any kind of work," the affidavit stated.

"The actor had informed his sister that the petitioner (Rhea) will falsely

implicate him, if the deceased did not pay heed to her," the affidavit

stated.

 

 

ENGLAND VS PAKISTAN 1ST TEST DAY: 14 WICKETS ON DAY 3

 

After a lone wicket in the first session of day 3, thirteen wickets fell in

the next two frantic sessions of play, as Pakistan veered from being in a

winning position to be rattled late in the day. At stumps, they were 137/8,

with a lead of 244 runs.

Scores at end of day 3: Pakistan 326 & 137/8, England 219

 

 

INDIA TO HOST 2021 T20 WORLD CUP, AUSTRALIA GETS TO HOLD IT IN 2022: ICC

 

India on Friday retained the right to host the 2021 T20 World Cup while

Australia will conduct this year's postponed edition in 2022, the ICC

announced after its board meeting.

"The ICC today confirmed that the T20 World Cup 2020 that was postponed due

to Covid-19 will be held in Australia in 2022. India will host the T20 World

Cup 2021 as planned," the ICC stated in a press release.

 

 

INDICATORS

 

Sensex 38,041 (+15), Nifty 11,214 (+14), Trading Value NSE ,(Rs.crores)

59,208

Nasdaq 11,011 (-97) Dow 27,433 (+47), S&P 3,351 (+2)

US$-Rs. 74.78 GBP-Rs. 97.82, Euro-Rs. 88.33, UAE Dhm-Rs.20.35, Can$-Rs.

55.95, Aus$- Rs. 53.75

GBP 0.76 /US$, Euro 0.84 /US$, Jap.Yen 105.73 /US$, Aus$ 1.39 /US$, Sing

1.37 /US$, Bang Taka 83.20 /US$, Can$ 1.33 /US$, Mal Ring 4.18 /US$,

Pak Re 167.82 /US$, Phil Peso 49.04 /US$, Russian Rouble 73.56 /US$, NZ$

1.50 /US$, Thai Baht 31.14 /US$, Ukraine Hryvnia 27.51 /US$, Norway NOK 9.02

/US$

Bitcoin - USD 11,606

Dollar Index 93.39 Brent Crude 44.40 BDI 1,501

Gold world Spot Price USD/aoz 2,035 India (Rs. per gm 24k/22k) 5,541 / 5,451

Silver (Rs. Per KG) 73,510

 

 

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

 

There is nothing so agonizing to the fine skin of vanity as the application

of a rough truth. - Edward Bulwer-Lytton

 

 

OFF TRACK

 

One day, Little Johnny visited a doctor for a vaccination. After the doctor

gave him an injection, he tried to bandage around Johnny's arm.

"I think you'd better bandage around the other arm, Doc!"

"But, why? I'm supposed to bandage around the injected part of your arm to

let your friends know not to touch it."

"You really don't know anything about how my friends behave!"

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