FRONT PAGE NEWS
11 August 2020
'DE-ESCALATION MAY TAKE LONGER, ARMY PREPARED'
Top brass of the Indian military including Chief of Defence Staff general
Bipin Rawat informed a committee of lawmakers on Monday that the
de-escalation in Ladakh, where Chinese troops transgressed in June, forcing
India to deploy heavily along the Line of Actual Control, may be a
long-drawn process but that the Indian armed forces is prepared for it and
has made all arrangements for troop deployment in the harsh winter.
The top general and three-star Generals who attended the meeting also
emphasised that the Indian armed forces is prepared to face any onslaught
but at the same time efforts are also on to bridge the trust deficit with
China, whose transgression resulted in a bloody conflict in Galwan valley on
June 15 that left 20 Indian soldiers including a colonel, and an unspecified
number of Chinese soldiers dead.
SACHIN PILOT SOFTENS AS RAHUL, PIYANKA PAVE WAY FOR HIS RETURN
Congress president Sonia Gandhi has decided to set up a three-member
committee to address issues that rebel leader Sachin Pilot has raised---a
development that comes after Pilot met Rahul Gandhi in Delhi to hold parleys
at a time when turbulence threatens to tear apart Rajasthan's Congress unit.
Pilot also meet general secretary Priyanka Gandhi. The meeting between Pilot
and the Gandhis appeared to have course to what looks like some resolution
to the crisis that is threatening to rip the party apart for over a month
After meeting Congress leaders, Sachin Pilot said, "We raised issues of
principles before Congress leadership and welcome their assurance of
time-bound redressal of our grievances." "I don't crave for any post, party
has given position and can take it back," he added. "Some personal remarks
have been made against me. I feel there is no place for such mudslinging in
politics," the former Deputy CM added.
The Congress said in a statement issued on Monday evening that Pilot's
meeting with Rahul Gandhi was "frank, open and conclusive".
Sachin Pilot has "committed to working in the interest" of Congress party
and its government in Rajasthan, the party's statement said.
Pilot and 18 rebel MLAs have been at daggers drawn with Rajasthan Chief
Minister Ashok Gehlot for almosta month.
For any redressal, however, Pilot and rebels will be asked to vote for the
Gehlot Government should the Chief Minister seek trust of the house in the
upcoming Assembly session from August 14.
Even though the Congress recently sacked Pilot as Deputy Chief Minister and
state unit chief they kept asking him to return to party fold and talk.
Pilot, who ran out of options after Gehlot managed to secure his flock of
102 MLAs with six former BSP MLAs also merging in the Congress, yesterday
decided to come to the talking table and negotiate his return.
It remains to be seen if the Congress leadership will restore Pilot as
Deputy CM and state chief in return for his peace-making effort.
That said, the Congress is now secure in the Rajasthan Assembly after
Pilot's rebel move misfired.
PM INAUGURATES FIRST-EVER OPTICAL FIBRE CABLE PROJECT FOR ANDAMAN AND
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday inaugurated the first-ever undersea
optical fibre project for Andaman and Nicobar Islands which will provide
high-speed broadband connections in the Union Territory at par with services
in the mainland.
On December 30, 2018, the Prime Minister had laid the foundation for the
2,312-Kilometers long submarine optical fibre cable project connecting
Chennai - Andaman and Nicobar Islands (CANI).
The project has been implemented at a cost of Rs 1,224 crore.
Besides, Port Blair, it will connect other islands namely Swaraj Dweep
(Havlock), Long Island, Rangat, Little Andaman, Kamorta, Car Nicobar and
All telecom operators in the country will be able to provide their mobile
and broadband services using the CANI optical fibre link.
According to official data, internet with a speed of 400 Gb per second will
be provided at Port Blair and for other islands, it will be 200 Gb per
DESPITE HARDSHIPS, RURAL INDIA BACKS MODI GOVT IN COVID WAR: STUDY
Seventy-four per cent of rural Indians are satisfied with the steps taken by
the Modi government to fight Covid-19 pandemic and about 78 per cent
respondents said they were also satisfied with the steps taken by their
state government, a "nationwide" survey of rural India by media platform
Gaon Connection along with the Lokniti-CSDS found.
A total of 25,371 respondents were interviewed between May 30 and July 16,
2020 during the exercise and all of them were main earners of their
households, and thus primarily men, the Gaon Connection said.
About one-third (32 per cent) said they faced extremely high difficulty in
accessing/getting food items during the lockdown and another one-third (36
per cent) said they faced high difficulty in doing so. A little over
one-fifth (22 per cent) claimed to have had some difficulty in accessing
"Thus overall around nine of every ten households face some level of
difficulty in getting food to eat," the survey said.
Overall around 35 percent of the households went without eating the whole
day either many times or sometimes, 38 percent skipped an entire meal in a
day several times or sometimes and 46 percent cut 1-2 items from their meal
often or sometimes.
More than half the farmers managed to harvest their crops in time in the
lockdown, but only one fourth could sell them on time.
It also found that 71 per cent ration card-owning households said they
received wheat or rice from the government during the lockdown.
Of the 17 per cent citizens who do not own ration cards, only 27 per cent
said they received wheat or rice from the government.
Twenty-three per cent of the migrant workers returned home walking during
the lockdown and over 33 per cent migrant workers said they want to go back
to the cities to work, the survey showed.
The survey showed that only 20 per cent respondents said they got work under
MGNREGA in the lockdown.
COVID-19 DASHBOARD - (Nos. IN INDIA / Nos. WORLDWIDE)
(Indian data from covid19india / and World Data from
Total Cases 22,66,686 (+53,013) / 2,02,49,553 (+2,25,290)
Total Deaths 45,353 (+887) / 7,38,726 (+4,731)
Total Recovered 15,81,640 (+47,362) / 1,31,13,231 (+2,14,993)
Active Cases 6,39,693 (+4,764) / 63,97,596 (+5,566)
TOP IMPACTED NATIONS SO FAR: (AND SOME OF INDIA'S NEIGHBOURS)
Country, Total Cases / Total Deaths / Recovered Cases / Active
1 USA 52,51,446 / 1,66,192 /
27,15,934 / 23,69,320
2 Brazil 30,57,470 / 1,01,857 /
21,63,812 / 7,91,801
3 India 22,67,153 / 45,353 /
15,81,640 / 6,40,160
4 Russia 8,92,654 / 15,001 /
6,96,681 / 1,80,972
5 South Africa 5,63,598 / 10,621 /
4,17,200 / 1,35,777
6 Mexico 4,85,836 / 53,003 /
3,27,993 / 1,04,840
7 Peru 4,78,024 / 21,072 /
3,24,020 / 1,32,932
8 Colombia 3,97,623 / 13,154 /
2,21,485 / 1,62,984
9 Chile 3,75,044 / 10,139 /
3,47,342 / 17,563
10 Spain 3,70,060 / 28,576 / N/A
11 Iran 3,28,844 / 18,616 /
2,86,642 / 23,586
12 UK 3,11,641 / 46,526 / N/A
13 Saudi Arabia 2,89,947 / 3,199 /
2,53,478 / 33,270
14 Pakistan 2,84,660 / 6,097 /
2,60,764 / 17,799
15 Bangladesh 2,60,507 / 3,438 /
1,50,437 / 1,06,632
TOP IMPACTED INDIAN STATES SO FAR
State / Confirmed Cases / Active Case / Recovered /
Maharashtra 5,24,513 / 1,47,735 /
3,58,421 / 18,050
Tamil Nadu 3,02,815 / 53,099 / 2,44,675
Andhra Pradesh 2,35,525 / 87,773 /
1,45,636 / 2,116
Karnataka 1,82,354 / 79,907 / 99,126
Delhi 1,46,134 / 10,346 / 1,31,657
Uttar Pradesh 1,26,722 / 47,878 / 76,724 /
West Bengal 98,459 / 26,031 / 70,328 /
Bihar 82,741 / 28,151 / 54,139 / 450
Telangana 80,751 / 22,528 / 57,586 /
Gujarat 72,120 / 14,072 / 55,376 / 2,672
Assam 61,738 / 17,997 / 43,587 / 151
Rajasthan 53,670 / 13,810 / 39,060 /
Odisha 47,455 / 14,097 / 33,021 / 337
Haryana 42,429 / 6,448 / 35,492 /
Madhya Pradesh 39,891 / 9,202 / 29,674 /
Kerala 35,515 / 12,737 / 22,616 / 116
Jammu and Kashmir 25,367 / 7,514 / 17,375 /
Punjab 24,889 / 8,550 / 15,735 / 604
LEBANON'S GOVERNMENT RESIGNS AS PUBLIC ANGER MOUNTS
Lebanon's government has resigned amid mounting anger over the explosion on
Tuesday that devastated parts of Beirut and left more than 200 people dead.
The announcement was made in a national TV address by Prime Minister Hassan
Diab on Monday evening.
Many people have accused the country's leaders of culpability through their
alleged negligence and corruption.
Protesters have taken to the streets and clashed with police for a third
The massive blast was caused by the detonation of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium
nitrate stored unsafely at the port for years.
TENSIONS FLARE AFTER CHINESE FIGHTERS FLY CLOSE TO TAIWAN
Chinese air force jets briefly crossed the mid-line of the Taiwan Strait on
Monday and were tracked by Taiwanese missiles, Taiwan's government said, as
US health secretary Alex Azar visited the island to offer President Donald
Azar, the highest-level US official to visit in four decades, arrived in
Taiwan on Sunday. China condemned the visit which comes at a period of
sharply deteriorating relations between China and the US.
Beijing, meanwhile, sanctioned 11 US lawmakers and individuals in a
tit-for-tat move against a US move to sanction 11 Chinese and Hong Kong
officials over the passing of the security law. A foreign ministry
spokesperson said the US should stop official interactions and the upgrading
of substantive relations with Taiwan.
MAURITIUS RACES TO HALT OIL SPILL FROM SHIP
Urgent efforts increased in Mauritius on Monday to empty a stranded Japanese
ship of an estimated 2,500 tonnes of oil before it breaks up and increases
the contamination of the island's Indian Ocean coastline.
High winds and waves are pounding the MV Wakashio, which was showing signs
of splitting apart and dumping its remaining cargo oil into the waters
surrounding Mauritius. The bulk carrier had run aground on a coral reef on
July 25. and later started to leak oil.
Already more than 1,000 tonnes of fuel has washed up on the eastern coast of
Mauritius, polluting its coral reefs, protected lagoons and shoreline.
Helicopters are taking out the fuel little by little." Efforts were also
underway to get other ships to pump oil out of the MV Wakashio.
BJP-LED GOVT WINS TRUST VOTE IN MANIPUR
The BJP-led N Biren Singh government in Manipur on Monday won the trust vote
28-16 in the state assembly. The confidence motion, moved by Singh, was put
to vote after a marathon debate during the one-day special session, and he
Eight Congress MLAs skipped the proceedings, defying a party whip.
The Congress has 24 MLAs in the House of 60, whose effective strength is 53.
The Congress had on July 28 moved a no-confidence motion against the BJP-led
government in the state.
PRANAB MUKHERJEE TESTS COVID POSITIVE, HAS SURGERY FOR CLOT
Former President Pranab Mukherjee was put on ventilator support on Monday
after he underwent surgery to remove a clot in his brain. Hours before the
surgery, Mukherjee, 84, said he had also tested positive for the novel
"On a visit to the hospital for a separate procedure, I have tested positive
for COVID 19 today. I request the people who came in contact with me in the
last week, to please self isolate and get tested for COVID-19," Mukherjee
said in a tweet.
SC ASKS PUNJAB, HARYANA, DELHI, UP TO SPELL OUT STEPS TAKEN TO STOP STUBBLE
The Supreme Court on Monday asked Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh
to spell out steps taken to stop stubble burning that virtually turns the
entire NCR into a gas chamber during October-November.
A Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra asked the chief secretary of
Punjab-who attended the hearing through video-conferencing-about the steps
taken to providing machines and equipment to small and marginal farmers so
as to dissuade them from burning stubble.
It asked all the parties to file affidavits detailing the steps taken to
dealing with pollution hotspots in the region. "What steps have been taken?
We want affidavit on all issues...not just stubble burning... We want
involvement of Centre on formulation of rules/laws to prevent and confiscate
vehicles running on kerosene," it asked.
SHAH FAESAL QUITS POLITICS
Former IAS officer turned-politician, Shah Faesal has stepped down as
president of Jammu and Kashmir People's Movement. Faesal, who had topped the
2010 civil services exam, had formed the JKPM in 2019.
Faesal said that Kashmir faced a new political reality, and he did not want
to show "quixotic dreams" to people when he had no power to change it.
"In the last one year due to some of my problematic utterances, a perception
was built that I am an anti-national. due to some of my statements, I let
down a lot of people who had immense goodwill for me. I want to undo that,"
Faesal said that his detention (following abrogation of Article 370 last
August) proved to be an "immense learning phase". "I realised that at the
end of the day you are all alone. It's your family that suffers the most
while ironically those for whom you seem to be standing up are drawing a
sadistic pleasure out of your misery. Detention gave me the clarity of mind
that I belong somewhere else. That I can't destroy my life for those who
won't even cry for me," he said.
RED FLAGS OVER CHECKS & BALANCES: EIA DRAFT FEEDBACK CLOSES TODAY
Greater discretion for the government to decide on strategic projects,
allowing promoters to declare violations themselves, and a substantive
increase in number of projects that will escape scrutiny - These are among
the controversial clauses in the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) draft
2020 for which the deadline to file objections and suggestions by the public
Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said Monday that the objections
will be discussed before the Ministry takes a call on the final draft.
Since the notification was issued in March, environmentalists and civil
society groups have accused the Centre of trying to dilute existing norms to
facilitate "ease of doing business".
UGC QUESTIONS DECISION OF MAHARASHTRA, DELHI TO CANCEL FINAL-YEAR EXAMS
The University Grants Commission on Monday questioned before the Supreme
Court the decisions taken by governments of Maharashtra and Delhi to cancel
final-year examinations of state universities in view of COVID-19, saying
they went against rules.
Not holding examinations will not be in students' interest as their degrees
may not be recognised if the states would act unilaterally and cancel
final-year examinations in violation of UGC norms, Solicitor General Tushar
Mehta, representing UGC, told a Bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan.
As Mehta said UGC would like to respond to the affidavits filed by Delhi and
Maharashtra, the Bench posted the petitions challenging the UGCs directive
to conduct university examinations by September 30 for further hearing on
LUFTHANSA SET TO COMMENCE FLIGHT SERVICES TO DELHI, MUMBAI, BENGALURU
German carrier Lufthansa on Monday announced the commencement of its flight
services to Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru from Frankfurt from August 13, under
a "bilateral agreement" between the governments.
The company will also run flight services on the Munich-Delhi route.
The European carrier is already operating flights out of India to its two
hubs-Frankfurt and Munich-for the past several months, according to a
release. "Following a bilateral agreement between India and Germany, inbound
passenger flights to India will be reinstated from August 13," Lufthansa
said in the release.
HEROIN WORTH RS 1,000 CRORE CAMOUFLAGED AS 'AYURVEDIC' MEDICINE SEIZED IN
In one of the biggest narcotics haul in Mumbai, the Mumbai Customs and
Department of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) have seized 191 kg of heroin worth
around Rs 1,000 crore from a cargo container at Nhava Sheva Port Trust,
officials said here on Monday.
The seizure of the drugs, being declared as 'ayurvedic medicine'-believed to
have originated from Afghanistan-was made late on Saturday.
The narcotic, stated to be of high-grade quality, was concealed in plastic
pipes painted in bamboo colour and sought to be passed off as a traditional
common medicine, said the officials.
Further probe is underway into the source of the supply, the modus operandi
and whether the same has been tried before to evade the various enforcement
RHEA CHAKRABORTY CITES BIHAR POLLS, SAYS BEING MADE 'POLITICAL SCAPEGOAT'
Actor Rhea Chakraborty submitted before the Supreme Court on Monday that
Bihar Police has no jurisdiction in the Sushant Singh Rajput death case, and
had usurped it "under political pressure". She also called Bihar Police's
move to seek a CBI probe in the matter "illegal and bad in law".
She stated that Rajput came from Bihar, and his death is being used ahead of
the elections in the state.
Urging the court to protect her from being made a "scapegoat of political
agendas", she said, Chakraborty also accused media channels of "convicting"
her before it was even established that there was foul play in his death.
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Dollar Index 93.57 Brent Crude 45.19 BDI 1,501
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Silver (Rs. Per KG) 74,220
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Focused action beats brilliance. - Mark Sanborn
A group of bikers were riding out when they saw a girl about to jump off
bridge. So they stopped.
George, their leader, gets off his Harley, walks through a group of gawkers,
past the Policeman who was trying to talk her down off the railing, and
says, "Hey Baby..... whatcha doin' up there on that railin'?"
She says tearfully, "I'm going to commit suicide!!"
"Well, before you jump, Honey-Babe... why don't you give ole George here
your best last kiss?"
So, with no hesitation at all, she leaned back over the railing and did just
After they breathlessly finished, George gets a big thumbs-up approval from
his biker-buddies, the onlookers, and even the Policeman, and then says,
"Wow! That was the best kiss I have ever had, Honey! That's a real talent
you're wasting, Sugar Shorts. You could be famous if you rode with me. Why
are you committing suicide?"
"My parents don't like me dressing up like a girl."
It's still unclear whether she jumped or was pushed.