FRONT PAGE NEWS
24 Oct 2020
PM KICKS OFF CAMPAIGN CITING GALWAN, ART 370 AND 'NAYA BIHAR'
Kicking off his election rallies in Bihar on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra
Modi contrasted the NDA's work on a "naya Bihar" with the "misrule" of the
1990s, while accusing the Opposition of being anti-reform, and of siding
with "dalaal" (brokers), Naxalites and "forces out to weaken the country".
At three brief halts in Sasaram, Gaya and Bhagalpur, the Prime Minister
spoke of the Galwan clash with China in June, in which soldiers of 16 Bihar
regiment had been killed, and accused the Opposition of supporting those
"conspiring" against India.
"Today, the situation has become such that these people (Opposition parties)
do not hesitate to support people who are conspiring to weaken India. The
country had been waiting for years to abrogate Article 370 from Jammu and
Kashmir. We took the decision, but today, these people are talking about
reversing this decision. They are saying that if they come to power, they
will bring back Article 370. And look at their audacity. After saying all
this, they still have the nerve to seek votes from the people of Bihar, the
Bihar that sends its sons and daughters to guard the country on the border.
Is it not an insult to the feelings of Bihar?" he asked the crowd at his
first rally in Sasaram.
In Gaya, Modi accused the Opposition parties of supporting Naxalites. "What
an irony it is that the place where Lord Buddha received enlightenment, the
land of peace, has been gifted to Naxalites," he said.
Modi said most of the current problems of the state were a legacy of the
misrule of the 1990s, and told people they were witnessing the making of a
Modi also brought up the recent protests by the Opposition against the two
farm laws introduced by the Central government, and accused them of trying
to save brokers and middlemen. "When the country decided to free farmers
from middlemen and brokers, they (the Opposition) came out in support of
middlemen and brokers; mandi-MSP (market and Minimum Support Price) is just
an excuse," he said.
RAHUL, TEJASHWI IN A JOINT RALLY
Grand alliance leaders Rahul Gandhi and Tejashwi Yadav were unsparing in
their attack on PM Narendra Modi and CM Nitish Kumar over NDA's handling of
the pandemic, migrant crisis, LAC standoff and economy, as they addressed
their maiden joint rally in Bihar's Nawada yesterday.
Targeting the PM, Rahul said, "China has taken 1,200 sq km of our land. The
PM should tell us when he will throw out the Chinese." At another rally in
Bhagalpur, Rahul said PM's promise of 19 lakh jobs was a "jumla", as was the
"Rs 15 lakh cash in everyone's bank accounts".
Tejashwi Yadav said the PM is unable to grasp the real issues of Bihar since
there was a generational gap with the people. "I'm just a small theth Bihari
who is speaking up for Biharis, talking about youth, jobs, migrant
labourers. We are talking on these lines. They are senior to me. There is a
two-generation gap between me and Modi ji and Nitish ji. If they can't sense
the real issues of Biharis, who's at fault," he said at a press conference
The 31-year-old politician is the chief ministerial candidate for the
RJD-led Mahagathbandhan that includes Congress, CPI, CPI(M) and CPI-ML.
Bihar goes to polls in three phases - on 28 October, 3 November and 7
November, with counting scheduled for 10 November.
WON'T CONTEST POLLS TILL J&K SPECIAL STATUS BACK: MEHBOOBA
Declaring that she will have "nothing to do with elections" till J&K's
special status under the Constitution is restored, PDP president and former
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said Friday that she will raise the Tricolour
only when the J&K state flag is also restored.
Following the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019, the J&K state
flag, which used to fly along with the Tricolour atop the civil secretariat
building in Srinagar, was removed.
"They are trying to replace this country's Constitution with the BJP
manifesto, and this will not last long," she said. "The people of J&K are
expendable to them (Centre), what they want is territory. This country will
run on the Constitution, not BJP's manifesto," she said.
Referring to the constitutional changes stripping J&K of its special status,
Mufti said "what has been snatched away from us, will be taken back. this is
a political battle that we will fight peacefully."
CONGRESS LEADERS TAKE SWIPE AT PM OVER TRUMP'S 'FILTHY AIR' REMARK
Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Friday took a swipe at Prime Minister
Narendra Modi for "flaunting" his friendship with US President Donald Trump
over his remark that 'India sent out filthy air". Sibal said the jibe was
the result of the Howdy Modi event held in Texas in 2019.
"Trump: Fruits of Friendship: Questions India's COVID death toll. Says India
sends dirt up into the air India 'air is filthy'. Called India 'tariff
king'. The result of 'Howdy Modi'," Sibal tweeted.
Another party leader, Anand Sharma, said, "President Donald Trump has
insulted 'Namaste India' and exposed his lack of knowledge on climate change
and the Paris Agreement." "A fact check would have told him that the US is
the largest polluter historically and its per capita green-house gas
emissions are six times India's 'filthy air'," the former External Affairs
Trump has accused China, India and Russia of not taking care of their
"filthy air" as he justified America's withdrawal from the "unfair" Paris
PAKISTAN AVOIDS FATF BLACK LIST, STAYS IN GREY LIST FOR NOW
Pakistan didn't meet all the action points laid out by the Financial Action
Task Force (FATF), but avoided getting blacklisted yet again. However, the
Paris-based terror financing watchdog kept the country in its 'grey list' at
its plenary that concluded Friday.
The plenary, FATF's highest decision-making body, will next meet in February
2021 and has given Pakistan time until then to meet all the 27 parameters,
especially those that pertain to imposing sanctions on terrorist outfits.
"Pakistan has made progress. It has largely completed 21 items of the 27; it
definitely means that the world has become safer, but the six outstanding
items mean the risks have not gone. The Pakistan government must do its best
to repair and work on these outstanding six items," Marcus Pleyer, the FATF
president, said in a virtual press conference.
The six outstanding action points that Pakistan has to meet mostly pertain
to terror financing investigations, demonstrating terror financing
prosecutions, effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions
against United Nations-designated terrorists, and federal authorities
cooperating on enforcement cases.
Pakistan has been on the FATF grey list since the June 2018 plenary. India
has provided evidence to the FATF, demonstrating the country's role in
SL HOUSE STRENGTHENS PREZ POWERS
Sri Lankan lawmakers approved amendments to the constitution that
strengthened the powers of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and took away
parliament's role in making key appointments such as judges and the police
chief. The new amendments were passed by parliament late on Thursday with a
two-thirds majority after a raucous two-day debate.
Rajapaksa, a former defence chief who oversaw the military defeat of Tamil
separatists a decade ago, swept to power last November and has since
consolidated control. In August, his party and its allies overwhelmingly won
a parliamentary election on an election plank that included doing away with
a previous constitutional amendment in 2015 that had put more power in the
Under the new law, Sri Lanka's president will have the power to dissolve the
225-member legislature any time after it crosses the half-way mark of its
Opposition groups have criticised the amendments, and some wore red armbands
in protest in parliament during the debate.
NEW PARLIAMENT CONSTRUCTION TO BEGIN IN DECEMBER, END BY OCT 2022
The construction of the new Parliament building will commence from December
this year and is likely to be completed by October 2022, the Lok Sabha
Secretariat said on Friday. The timeline regarding the construction of the
building was disclosed during a review meeting chaired by Lok Sabha Speaker
Om Birla and was attended by Union Minister of State (Independent Charge)
for Housing & Urban Affair Hardeep Singh Puri and senior officials.
It was also informed that the existing Parliament building will be suitably
retro-fitted "to provide more functional spaces for parliamentary events, to
ensure its usage along with the new building".
"During the meeting, Shri Birla was informed that the construction of the
new Building will commence in December 2020 and is likely to be completed by
October 2022," the Lok Sabha Secretariat said in a statement.
KERALA: CPM FLAYS CONGRESS FOR TIE-UP WITH JAMAAT WING
The CPI(M), the leading constituent of ruling LDF in Kerala, on Friday
accused opposition Congress of "surrendering" its secular stance before the
Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), stating that it is now "led by
This comes on a day the Congress-led UDF decided on local-level electoral
adjustments with organisations such as Welfare Party of India (WPI),
political arm of Jamaat-e-Islami, for the coming local body elections in the
CPI(M) Politburo member and party's state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan
told the media that IUML had "strongly opposed" Jamaat-e-Islami in the past.
"Now, IUML has abandoned that stand and has no reservations to work with
Jamaat-e-Islami, which wants to establish Islamic country. It is parallel to
the stand of RSS, which aims at Hindu Rashtra. The decision of Congress to
work with WPI would have far-reaching consequences," he said.
The Jamaat, he said, has "supported reconversion of Istanbul's Hagia Sophia
museum into a mosque. "The Congress has surrendered its secular outlook
before IUML for a few votes."
PRIYANKA CHATURVEDI, AMRUTA FADNAVIS IN TWITTER SPAT
A decision of the Mumbai Police to shift the salary accounts of its
personnel from the Axis Bank to the HDFC Bank set off a Twitter spat between
Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi and former chief minister Devendra
Fadnavis's wife Amruta.
In a tweet, Chaturvedi had called the move as being "much-needed" and stated
the Axis Bank was chosen "arbitrarily" and salary accounts of state
government employees were moved to it overnight.
While Chaturvedi did not mention of Amruta, who was earlier associated with
the Axis Bank, on Friday she responded by calling Chaturvedi as
"Axis Bank is not my family bank - it's third largest listed private sector
bank and I'm an employee who has worked for the same bank for 18 years!"
Amruta tweeted. She also called Chaturvedi an "opportunistic turncoat" and
said "these accounts were acquired in 2005-basis technology & services".
In response, Chaturvedi asked why Amruta was offended by the tweet when her
name had not been mentioned.
The feud escalated further with Chaturvedi responding to a question by a
Twitter user on why a public sector bank was not chosen to shift the bank
accounts. Chaturvedi said the Government of Maharashtra was not involved in
the decision and unlike the former CM's wife no family member was a direct
beneficiary or employee of the chosen bank.
REPUBLIC TV EDITORS BOOKED FOR REPORT ON 'REBELLION' AGAINST MUMBAI POLICE
The face-off between Mumbai Police and Republic TV has intensified as the
former booked senior editors and newsroom staff of the Arnab Goswami-led
news channel for airing news about a "revolt" within the force against
Mumbai Police commissioner Param Bir Singh.
The FIR, registered at the N.M. Joshi Marg station, invokes sections of the
Police (Incitement to Disaffection) Act, 1922, and claims the editors and
staff concerned "attempted to incite disaffection" among members of the
police force and defamed Mumbai Police with the report.
The FIR comes amid a months-long tussle between Mumbai Police and Republic
TV, including over the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput in June.
BHARAT BIOTECH SAYS ITS ICMR-BACKED VACCINE SET FOR JUNE 2021 LAUNCH
Bharat Biotech, which has received approval for late-stage human trials for
its Covid vaccine candidate, expects to have it ready by June 2021 - unless
the government advances its launch through emergency use authorisation,
according to a top company official.
"If we get all the approvals in place, I think during Q2 of 2021, we should
get the efficacy readout from our phase-3 clinical trial - April, May,
June, for example. That is for the full efficacy results," says Sai Prasad,
executive director, Bharat Biotech International.
Covaxin, developed in collaboration with National Institute of Virology, is
an inactivated vaccine that is expected to work by injecting the "killed
version" of the Covid-19 virus into the body to develop an immune response.
The approval for Bharat Biotech to conduct phase-3 trials currently puts it
behind front-runner Serum Institute of India, which is said to be in the
process of recruiting and vaccinating participants for the third phase of
testing for its candidate, Covishield.
FDA APPROVES REMDESIVIR AS FIRST DRUG TO TREAT COVID, NOTWITHSTANDING WHO
The US FDA said on Thursday that it had formally approved remdesivir as the
first drug to treat Covid-19, a move that indicated the government's
confidence in its safe and effective use for hospitalised patients. The FDA
said the drug had been approved for adults and pediatric patients ages 12
years and older and weighing at least 88 pounds who require hospitalisation
The FDA had granted remdesivir emergency authorisation in May after a trial
by the National Institutes of Health found that it modestly reduced the
recovery time in hospitalised patients. President Trump received the
antiviral drug after he began showing symptoms earlier this month. The drug
does not prevent death.
The formal approval by the FDA indicated that the drug had cleared more
rigorous regulatory hurdles involving a more thorough review of clinical
data and manufacturing quality since it was given emergency authorisation in
The WHO said on Friday it is preparing guidelines on use of remdesivir and
should be able to release them in three to four weeks. A large WHO study on
Covid patients in hospital found that the drug probably had no effect on
their survival rate. A WHO panel will convene next week to look at all
evidence of the drug's effectiveness, Janet Diaz, the WHO's top official for
clinical care responses, said. WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said
FDA does not appear to have taken the results of its study into account: "We
believe our results are very robust."
COVID 19 - INDIA'S ACTIVE CASE COUNT DROPS TO TWO THIRDS OF THE PEAK LEVEL
Continuing its streak of daily net reduction in active coronavirus cases,
India today reports a decline ofabout 14,000 cases, bringing the total
active count to about 6.80 lakhs, This number of active cases in the country
now is only two-thirds of the September 18 peak of 1,017,754.
Meanwhile, coronavirus testing in India has gone past the 100-million
milestone, with over 1.4 million tests a day conducted on Thursday and
Friday. The overall test positivity rate (TPR) - positive cases as a
proportion of total tests carried out - stands 7.8 per cent. The TPR for
Friday was 3.78 per cent, the lowest so far.
FACEBOOK GETS 2 WEEKS TO REPLY TO HOUSE PANEL, AMAZON TO SKIP HEARING
Facebook India's Public Policy Director Ankhi Das was among its
representatives who appeared Friday before Parliament's Joint Committee on
the Personal Data Protection Bill.
It is learnt that the panel, headed by Lok Sabha MP Meenakshi Lekhi, has
given Facebook India two weeks to furnish written replies to the questions
posed by its members.
Meanwhile, e-commerce giant Amazon has declined to appear before the
committee on October 28, and the panel has taken strong exception to this.
Officials have long argued that data localisation will help law-enforcement
access data for investigations and enforcement. Currently, much of
cross-border data transfer is governed by mutual legal assistance treaties,
a process that almost all stakeholders agree is cumbersome. Civil society
groups have criticised the open-ended exceptions given to the government in
the Bill, saying it will allow surveillance.
"Amazon has refused to appear before the panel on October 28 and if no one
on behalf of the e-commerce company appears before the panel, it amounts to
breach of privilege," said Lekhi.
The panel, she said, is unanimous in its opinion that coercive action can be
suggested to the government against the e-commerce company.
IPL: MUMBAI INDIANS DEMOLISH CHENNAI SUPER KINGS
Mumbai Indians beat Chennai Super Kings by 10 wickets, with almost 8 overs
to spare, in Sharjah yesterday.
Earlier, Trent Boult and Jasprit Burmah produced a devastating pace-bowling
spell in tandem to restrict Chennai Super Kings to 114 for 9. Put in to bat,
CSK were five wickets down inside powerplay overs with Boult and Bumrah
taking three and two wickets respectively and the MS Dhoni-led side could
never recover from there.
CSK could reach to 114 for 9 thanks largely to Sam Curran's enterprising
half-century. The young Englishman mixed caution with aggression and some
creativity to top-score with 52 in an otherwise pathetic display by CSK
Incidentally, Curran's 43-run partnership for the ninth wicket with Imran
Tahir (13 not out) was the highest partnership of the CSK innings which
showed the rest of the batsmen in poor light.
MI now have 7 wins from 10 matches and have the best 'Net Run rate'. CSK are
right at the bottom, with 3 wins from 11 matches.
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THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Never mistake motion for action. - Ernest Hemingway
An anthropologist shows off his priceless trove of treasure to his saintly
grandmother. "What's that?" she asks, pointing to an oddly shaped item.
"Uh..." stammers the anthropologist, "it's a phallic symbol."
"Oh," says his grandmother, nodding her head. "That's good, 'cause I hate to
tell you what it looks like."