FRONT PAGE NEWS
30 Sept 2020
HARDENING STANCE, CHINA REJECTS LADAKH UT, RAISES 1959 CLAIM LINE
Pushing its old claim line in Ladakh and hardening its position on the
situation there, Beijing Tuesday said it does not recognise the Union
Territory of Ladakh and is opposed to the construction of Indian
infrastructure there. This was stated by Chinese Foreign Ministry
spokesperson Wang Wenbin yesterday.
New Delhi reacted sharply, saying it has "never accepted the so-called
unilaterally defined 1959 Line of Actual Control", and that it is
The spokesperson's statement that Beijing "does not recognise the Union
Territory of Ladakh" is an escalation in its rhetoric, as compared to its
comment last year following the abrogation of Article 370 and the decision
to bifurcate the state of Jammu and Kashmir into the Union Territories of
J&K and Ladakh. At that time, China had objected to the formation of Ladakh
as Union Territory, saying this "undermined its territorial sovereignty".
Beijing had also expressed "serious concern" about the current situation in
the region and had said "relevant sides need to exercise restraint and act
"India has never accepted the so-called unilaterally defined 1959 LAC. This
position has been consistent and well known, including to the Chinese side,"
MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said. Furthermore, he said, under their
various bilateral agreements including the 1993 Agreement on Maintenance of
Peace and Tranquility along the LAC, 1996 Agreement on Confidence Building
Measures (CBMs) in the military field, 2005 Protocol on Implementation of
CBMs, 2005 Agreement on Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for
settlement of the India-China Boundary Question, "both India and China have
committed to clarification and confirmation of the LAC to reach a common
understanding of the alignment of the LAC".
"In fact, the two sides had engaged in an exercise to clarify and confirm
the LAC up to 2003, but this process could not proceed further as the
Chinese side did not show a willingness to pursue it," Srivastava said,
putting the onus on Beijing. "Therefore, the insistence now of the Chinese
side that there is only one LAC is contrary to the solemn commitments made
by China in these agreements," he said.
Referring to the September 10 meeting in Moscow between the Foreign
Ministers, Srivastava said the Chinese side reiterated its commitment to
abide by all the existing agreements.
PM MODI TARGETS OPPOSITION: 'NOT WITH FARMERS, YOUTH OR SOLDIERS'
Targeting the Opposition for protesting against the new farm laws, Prime
Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said "these people are neither with the
farmer, nor with the youth, nor with the soldiers".
Saying that they were "opposing just for the sake of opposing", Modi said
"people who oppose and protest are becoming increasingly irrelevant for the
country and society".
Speaking at the inauguration of six projects related to the Namami Gange
mission in Uttarakhand, via video conference, Modi said: "They are opposing
the independence of the farmer. These people are now insulting farmers by
setting on fire the goods and equipment that farmers worship." Youth
Congress workers from Punjab set a tractor on fire near India Gate on
Reiterating that the MSP (minimum support price) system would not be
scrapped, Modi said: "The country has freed its farmers from many
restrictions. Now, the farmer can sell his produce to anyone, anywhere. But
today, when the central government is giving the farmers their rights, these
people are protesting."
"Today, these people are spreading confusion among farmers about MSP. The
MSP will remain and the freedom of farmers to sell their produce anywhere
will also remain. Some people are unable to accept this freedom. One of
their means of generating black money has ended, so they have problems," he
He said the Opposition had also criticised the government on other issues
including the jan dhan scheme, GST, one rank-one pension, surgical strikes,
Rafale acquisition, Statue of Unity and Ram temple. "Yeh log na kisan ke
saath hain, na naujawan ke saath, aur na hee jawan ke saath (these people
are neither with the farmer, nor with the youth, nor with the soldiers)," he
JUST 6.6% EXPOSED TO COVID TILL AUGUST: NEW SERO-SURVEY
An estimated one in 15 individuals aged 10 years and above were exposed to
the novel coronavirus infection by August, indicating that a large part of
the population is still susceptible to the virus, according to the second
Releasing the findings on Tuesday, ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava
said 6.6 per cent of the 29,082 people (aged 10 years and above) surveyed
from August 17 to September 22 showed evidence of past exposure to Covid-19.
The prevalence was higher for adults (aged 18 years and above) at 7.1 per
This is a significant increase from the 0.73 per cent prevalence found in
the first sero-survey, conducted between May 11 and June 4, among adults in
70 districts. The second survey was conducted in the same districts, but
children (above 10 years) were included. "Earlier, we were under the
impression that it does not affect below 18 years. But we have found that
there is no difference," said Bhargava.
"The sero-survey gives us the data on exposure to the virus; whether the
individual has developed a disease or not, that data is not there. Second,
this is the data collected statistically from different districts, and we
extrapolate the data and try to get a percentage. the first tool is to test,
the second tool is to look at the sero-survey, and the third tool is to look
at sewage water to find the prevalence. These are epidemiological tools that
guide us," he said.
TRUMP-BIDEN IN A NASTY PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE
Democrat Joe Biden told a raging President Donald Trump to "shut up" in an
opening debate that turned almost immediately into a shouting match 35 days
ahead of the most tense US election in recent memory.
The debate in Cleveland, Ohio, was as bad-tempered as had been feared, with
Trump leading the way in yelling over his challenger and the Fox News
moderator Chris Wallace alike.
Trump went as hard on 77-year-old Biden as he'd threatened to do, saying the
"radical left" had the centrist Democrat "wrapped around their little
finger." And he got personal, seeking to rile the Democrat by accusing one
of his sons of corruption, and telling Biden that "there's nothing smart"
about the Democrat.
Biden, though, not only gave as good as he got -- he launched the kind of
attack on Trump that the billionaire president has rarely had to endure to
his face. "Liar," "racist" and "clown" were just some of the missiles
launched from Biden, who also branded Trump the "puppy" of Russian President
At times, neither Biden nor Wallace could get a word in, as Trump loudly
touted his economic record and went after Biden's son Hunter.
At one point an exasperated Biden, who leads strongly in the polls, turned
to Trump and said: "Will you shut up, man!"
That moment symbolized the strength of Biden's performance in an arena where
Trump's campaign had for months been predicting he would crumble. The
Republican had even spread lurid conspiracy theories right up until the last
minute that Biden would need drugs or an earpiece secretly providing answers
to get through the night.
The anger-filled event did nothing to calm fears around the country that the
presidential election, taking place in the middle of an ongoing coronavirus
pandemic, could end in chaos.
Asked by Wallace whether they pledged to urge calm and refrain from
declaring victory if the results are not immediately known November 3, Biden
Trump, though, wouldn't commit, saying that if he saw "tens of thousands of
ballots being manipulated, I can't go along with that."
AZERBAIJAN AND ARMENIA BRUSH OFF SUGGESTION OF PEACE TALKS
Leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia brushed off the suggestion of peace talks
Tuesday, accusing each other of obstructing negotiations over the separatist
territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, with dozens killed and injured in three days
of heavy fighting.
In the latest incident, Armenia said one of its warplanes was shot down by a
fighter jet from Azerbaijan's ally Turkey, killing the pilot, in what would
be a major escalation of the violence. Both Turkey and Azerbaijan denied it.
The international community is calling for talks to end the decades-old
conflict between the two former Soviet republics in the Caucasus Mountains
region following a flareup of violence this week. It centers on
Nagorno-Karabakh, a region that lies within Azerbaijan but has been under
the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by the Armenian government
since 1994 at the end of a separatist war.
HOW LONG WILL YOU DETAIN MUFTI, SUPREME COURT ASKS J&K
With PDP leader and former J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti remaining under
continued detention for almost 14 months, the Supreme Court on Tuesday
sought to know from the government how long it wanted to keep her under
"How long do you propose to continue the detention," a Bench headed by
Justice SK Kaul asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.
The top court is seized of a petition filed by the PDP president's daughter
Iltija Mufti against her mother's detention under the PSA. The court had on
February 26 issued notice to the Centre and the J&K Administration.
On Tuesday, Mehta told the top court that the Centre had filed its reply to
Iltija's petition. But the Bench said it had not received a copy of the
affidavit. The court posted the matter for hearing on October 15 as Iltija
sought permission to file an amended petition.
AMNESTY ENDS INDIA OPERATIONS OVER 'GOVT REPRISAL'
In a sudden move on Tuesday morning, Amnesty announced the halting of India
operations over what it called reprisal by the government.
"The complete freezing of Amnesty International India's bank accounts by the
Government of India, which it came to know on September 10, 2020, brings all
the work being done by the organisation to a grinding halt. The organisation
has been compelled to let go of staff in India and pause all its ongoing
campaign and research work," Amnesty said in a statement.
It alleged that freezing of bank accounts was the latest among incessant
witch-hunts of human rights organisations by the Government over unfounded
and motivated allegations.
The Union Home Ministry strongly refuted Amnesty International's allegation
that it was being subjected to an "incessant witch-hunt", saying India, by
settled law, does not allow interference in domestic political debates by
entities funded by foreign donations.
Coming down heavily on the organisation, the ministry also said all the
"glossy statements" about humanitarian work and speaking truth to power are
nothing but a "ploy to divert attention" from their activities which were in
clear contravention of laid down Indian laws.
LIGHT COMBAT HELICOPTERS BEING BUILT FOR RS 125 CRORE EACH, SAYS HAL
In a double assertion of its proficiency in building different kinds of
helicopters, Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) on Monday achieved two significant
landmarks: The company rolled out its 300th Dhruv advanced light helicopter
for the military; and also conducted the inaugural ground run of the first
light combat helicopter (LCH) for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
While the Dhruv, with over 280,000 flying hours logged, is already the
backbone of the IAF and the Army's light helicopter fleet, the LCH is a
crucial new induction that would play an important role in any armed
confrontation between Indian and Chinese troops on the Ladakh border,.
The LCH project was sanctioned after the 1999 Kargil War, when a dire need
was felt for a weapons platform that could provide dedicated fire support to
Army soldiers at high altitudes, who can carry only a limited amount of
weaponry. The Ministry of Defence accordingly sanctioned the LCH project in
HAL has agreed to build the first 15 'limited series production' LCH for
about Rs 125 crore per helicopter - about one-third the cost of each of the
28 AH-64E Apaches attack helicopters the government is importing from The
Boeing Company. True, the Apache is a bigger, more heavily armed gunship
with more advanced avionics and battle-tested night fighting capabilities.
But, for those reasons, it is expensive and the Army and IAF will be making
up the numbers with LCHs.
TO MOSUL AND BACK, KERALA ISIS MAN'S BRUSH WITH TERROR
Awarding life imprisonment to the ISIS terrorist Subahani Haja Moideen on
Monday, an NIA court in Kochi said: "How easily he deceived the Consul
General in Turkey, his dexterity to keep the journey of no return (as he
believed then) a secret from all his kin and his foresightedness to use a
mobile phone of a particular brand presumably for all his vital
communications demonstrate that normal methods of reformation will be
ineffective for him."
Moideen, 35, of Thodupuzha in Idukki, was a member of ISIS's Omar al-Hindi
module, which wanted to carry out terrorist attacks in South India and
establish an ISIS unit in Kerala. Six others in the module, which was busted
in 2016, were convicted last year; many are absconding.
The court's observation stemmed from the unusual journey of the young man
from a Tamil trading family that came to Kerala decades ago, to a religious
fanatic fascinated with ISIS.
According to the NIA, Moideen left from Chennai in April 2015 and reached
Mosul, Iraq via Istanbul with the intention of joining the ISIS's war in
Syria and Iraq.
Back in the country, Moideen "tried to collect 50 kg each of chlorate,
phosphorus, sulphur and aluminium powder, (explosives) which could destruct
an area up to 5 km radius".
The NIA judge observed that "the act of the convict is a blot on the
cultural conscience of this state" and "a blow to its pride as one of the
most progressive societies in the nation".
GENERAL ATLANTIC TO INVEST RS 3,675 CR IN RELIANCE RETAIL FOR 0.84% STAKE
General Atlantic, a leading global growth equity firm will invest Rs 3,675
cr in Reliance Retail Ventures Limited, RIL said in a BSE filing on
General Atlantic's investment will translate into a 0.84% equity stake in
RRVL. The deal values Reliance Retail at a pre-money equity value of Rs
4.285 trillion, said RIL in a media release.
Reliance Retail Ventures Limited is a subsidiary of Reliance Industries
Limited, and holding company of all the retail companies under the RIL
Group. It reported a consolidated turnover of Rs 162,936 crore ($ 21.7
billion) and net profit of Rs 5,448 crore ($ 726.4 million) for the year
ended March 31, 2020.
General Atlantic had also invested Rs 6,598 crore in another RIL subsidiary,
Jio Platforms earlier this year.
Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala Investment Co is also said to be in advanced
talks to invest up to $1 billion in RRVL.
ACTOR SONU SOOD HONOURED BY UNDP
Actor Sonu Sood has been honoured with the prestigious SDG Special
Humanitarian Action Award by the United Nations Development Programme
(UNDP), for helping thousands of migrant workers reach home during lockdown.
"This is a rare honour. A UN recognition is very special. I have done
whatever little I have done in my own humble way for my fellow countrymen
without any expectations. However, to be recognised and awarded feels good.
I fully support the UNDP in its endeavours to achieve SDG (Sustainable
Development Goals) by 2030. Planet Earth and mankind will greatly benefit
from the implementation of these goals," Sonu said.
The award was presented to him via a virtual ceremony.
SHEKHAR KAPUR NAMED FTII GOVERNING COUNCIL CHAIRMAN
Noted filmmaker Shekhar Kapur was on Tuesday appointed president of the
Pune-based Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) Society and
chairman of the institute's governing council, an official said.
The 74-year-old filmmaker's tenure will be till March 3.
Born on December 6, 1945 at Lahore in Pakistan, the critically acclaimed
director is known for films like Masoom (1983) Elizabeth (1998), Bandit
Queen (1994) and The Four Feathers (2002).
DJOKOVIC CRUSHES YMER TO START FRENCH OPEN CAMPAIGN
Novak Djokovic got his quest for an 18th Grand Slam title back on track as
he commenced his French Open campaign with a drama-free 6-0 6-2 6-3 victory
over Mikael Ymer on Tuesday.
Little over three weeks since Djokovic was defaulted in the US Open fourth
round for hitting a line judge with a ball, he was a model of self-control
as he outclassed the young Swede.
Had Court Philippe Chatrier been packed with fans rather than just a
smattering on Tuesday because of the COVID-19 restrictions, Djokovic might
have expected some heckling from the sometimes fickle post-lunch French
Instead, it was as gentle a return to the Grand Slam spotlight as the
33-year-old top seed could have wished for as he charmed the tiny audience
with his silky repertoire.
IPL2020: SUNRISERS HYDERABAD BEAT DELHI CAPITALS, SCORE FIRST WIN
Sunrisers Hyderabad beat Delhi Capitals by 15 runs for their first win in
the Indian Premier League here on Tuesday.
Kane Williamson, playing his first game of the season, smashed 41 off 26
balls after SRH were put in to bat. Openers David Warner and Jonny Bairstow
made 45 and 53 respectively as SRH scored 162 for four in 20 overs.
In response, Delhi Capitals ended at 147 for seven in 20 overs with Rashid
Khan taking three wickets.
For SRH, it was their first win in 3 matches while for DC, it was their
first loss in 3.
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THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Anger, if not restrained, is frequently more hurtful to us than the injury
that provokes it. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca
One of Russia's Ambassadors was having dinner with Putin and said that time
zones around the world confused him.
"Why?" Putin asks.
"Ah, Mr. President, I called Angela Merkel to congratulate her on her
birthday and she tells me it's tomorrow. I wish the Chinese President a
happy New Year, and he says it was yesterday."
"Well, these are just minor inconveniences," Says Putin.
"Do you remember when that Polish plane crashed with their President on
board? I called them to express my condolences, but the plane hadn't taken