Brazil reports 1,555 new Covid deaths


Brazil reports 1,555 new Covid deaths

Since January 17, Brazil has vaccinated more than 10 million people, with more than 8 million having received the first dose.

Brazil has registered 1,555 new Covid-19 fatalities, bringing the nationwide death toll to 264,325, the second highest in the world, the Ministry of Health reported.

It also reported 69,609 new cases in the same period, raising the caseload to 10,938,836, the third largest globally, reports Xinhua news agency.

The Ministry said that Brazil ended a week with high numbers of new cases and deaths, as the South American country broke its record of daily fatalities on Wednesday with 1,910.

As the country faces another wave of the pandemic, driven by the more contagious variant that was found in the state of Amazonas, many states have enacted curfews and banned non-essential business activities after reaching a critical level of capacity in hospital intensive care units.

To take the strain off the health system, the state of Sao Paulo has asked for volunteer healthcare workers who can help at field hospitals to treat Covid-19 patients.

Meanwhile, the states of Rio Grande do Sul and Bahia have requested an increasing number of mobile cold storage units due to the high demand for mortuary services.

Since January 17, Brazil has vaccinated more than 10 million people, with more than 8 million having received the first dose.




Intensify stir: Priyanka to farmers


Intensify stir: Priyanka to farmers

In Meerut, she calls upon people to support farmers not just for 100 days but for next 100 months

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in her 5th Kisan Mahapanchayat in western UP at Kaily village of the district on Sunday called upon the farmers to intensify agitation against the three farm laws by protesting in their respective villages and appealed the public to stand by the farmers even for 100 more months if the need be.

Addressing a crowd in the mahapanchayat in Kaily, a village in Sardhana, Priyanka Gandhi asked the people to extend their support and give blessings to the farmers in their agitation against the three farm laws in their villages. She said if the need be “we should stand with the agitating farmers not just for 100 days but for the next 100 months”.

Priyanka had arrived at the Mahapanchayat venue on a tractor accompanied by PCC UP chief Ajay Kumar Lallu and other party rank and files. People gave her a rousing welcome amid slogans of “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan” and “Priyanka Gandhi Jindabad”.

Starting with Saharanpur, she held similar mahapanhayats in Bijnore and Muzzaffarnagar districts in the past weeks.

“The first war of independence started from Meerut in which many people made supreme sacrifice and farmers gave their contribution. Now is the time to give strength to the farmers ,” she stated.

Comparing the BJP rule with the British Rule, Priyanka said as the farmers were exploited then, BJP is doing the same with them now. In 100 days of agitation over 200 farmers have been martyred and the government is mocking at it and insulting the farmers, she quipped and added that instead they could have initiated for dialogues with the agitating farmers.

The Congress leader said the government has introduced these laws to benefit corporates and these would reduce the income of farmers.

“If these farm laws were in favour of the farmers than why are they sitting at borders of Delhi for more than 100 days?” She questioned adding that the farmers are full of courage and valor. So should the PM not respect them.

Instead the water supply of the agitating farmers were cut, she lamented and charged the Prime Minister of mocking at the farmers. “His ministers did not even bother to stand to keep 2 minutes silence to pay tribute to the farmers who lost their lives during the agitation at the Delhi borders,” she charged.

Also raising the issue of sky rocketing hike in the prices of diesel, petrol, cooking gas and electricity, Priyanka said the government is running only to benefit its two friends.

Highlighting the problem of sugarcane farmers, Priyanka Gandhi attacked the government for non-payment of sugarcane dues. She said that sugar mills have to pay more than Rs 10,000 crore to the farmers, but instead of clearing these dues Modiji has bought two planes for himself spending Rs 16,000 crore. He spend Rs 20,000 crore on the new Parliament and Rs 26,000 crore have gone to the pockets of his friends from farmers insurance policy. She called upon the people to unite to bring about a change in the country.

“The time has come when you should wake up and know what wrong is being done to you,” she said to the farmers appealing them to raise the voice for their rights. She maintained a 2-minute silence in the Mahapanchayat to pay tribute to farmers who sacrificed their lives in this movement against the farm laws.

Women farmers:

From managing the stage, food and security to sharing tales of their struggles, and significance of taking part in the farmers’ agitation, thousands of women farmers, students and activists will take over key roles at the Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur protest sites at Delhi’s borders on International Women’s Day on Monday, according to a PTI report from New Delhi.

Noting that women contribute significantly to the country’s farming sector, the organisers have laid out elaborate plans to let women farmers take centre stage and all the space under the sky to acknowledge the big but unrecognised part of the farming community.




India Science Research Fellowship (ISRF) 2021 announced


India Science Research Fellowship (ISRF) 2021 announced

These scholars have been selected based on research proposal, experience, academic merit and publication record and recommended for the award of India Science and Research Fellowship (ISRF) 2021.

Forty scholars from six countries have been awarded the opportunity to carry out their research in Indian Institutes and Universities using state of the art facilities in these places.

These scholars have been selected based on research proposal, experience, academic merit and publication record and recommended for the award of India Science and Research Fellowship (ISRF) 2021.

As a part of India’s initiatives to engage with neighbouring countries to develop S&T partnerships, the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Govt. of India has launched ISRF Programme for Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand researchers to work in Indian Universities and Research Institutions.

It has been implemented since 2015, and as of now, 5 calls have been announced in this programme with the participation of young researchers from these countries. About 128 fellows from these countries have been awarded a fellowship under this programme. A number of quality research papers have been published by awardees during the ISRF calls from 2015-2019, and fellows also participated in various conferences/symposiums of their relevant fields.

Because of the pandemic, no award was made last year.

ISRF programme has provided an opportunity for the young researchers from neighbouring countries to get access to the state of art facilities available in the Indian institutes/universities. This fellowship is a platform to establish research cooperation with neighbouring countries of India, which is one of the mandates of DST’s International Science and Technology Cooperation.

Realizing that they are still going through the pandemic, awardees are being encouraged to have virtual interaction with their host institutes and host scientists. They could visit Indian institutes once travel restrictions are eased and the overall environment is conducive to doing regular laboratory research.




CPM: Polls to decide if BJP extends ‘hegemonic rule’


CPM: Polls to decide if BJP extends ‘hegemonic rule’

Among the five states and one UT going to the polls only Assam has a BJP govt

The CPI (M) today said the coming Assembly elections in five states will decide whether the BJP extends its “hegemonic rule” in the entire country, or the opposition to its “authoritarian” drive gains strength. In an editorial in its official journal People’s Democracy, the party said among Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and the Union Territory of Puducherry, going to the polls from 27 March to 29 April, only Assam has a BJP government.

The “capture” of Assam in 2016 helped the BJP advance in the North-east. The party formed governments in Tripura, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh subsequently, “by hook or by crook,” the editorial said.

In Assam, the BJP has sought to use the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) to advance its communal agenda.

Against the BJP, a combination of seven parties has emerged comprising Congress, AIUDF, CPI (M), CPI, CPI (ML), Anchalik Gana Morcha and Bodoland People’s Front. “This united opposition grouping should be able to give an effective fight to the BJP alliance,” the CPI (M) said.

The CPI (M) and the Left parties have the biggest stakes in West Bengal and Kerala. The situation in West Bengal is the most complicated, the party journal said. The BJP is making a serious bid to capture power in the state.

The 2019 Lok Sabha election saw a polarisation between the TMC and BJP and the latter won 18 of the 42 seats polling 40.6 per cent. The Left Front got squeezed out in this polarisation and got only 7.4 per cent of the vote.

The CPI (M) and the Left Front have been strenuously working to recover lost ground. “The danger of BJP advance in West Bengal is real. This has led some liberal and Left circles outside Bengal to advocate cooperation with the TMC by the CPI (M) and Left Front,” the party journal said.

“This would be suicidal for the Left and actually facilitate a BJP victory. There is strong discontent against the TMC and its thuggish misrule. A soft attitude to Mamata Banerjee and her party on the part of the Left will drive all the anti-TMC voters into the arms of the BJP,” the editorial said.

“In fact, it is the projection of an alternative combination of the Left Front, Congress and other non-BJP, non-TMC forces that can rally these people and deprive the BJP of additional support,” the CPI (M) said.

The contest in Kerala is between the LDF and the UDF. The BJP is aspiring to become the third pole. Throughout last year, the Congress worked in tandem with the BJP in raising allegations against the LDF government and the chief minister regarding the gold smuggling and other cases.

Rejecting this anti-LDF tirade, the people gave a resounding mandate to the LDF in the local body election in November, 2020.




Bihar Cov jabs: Cases soar, lens on medical fraternity


Bihar Cov jabs: Cases soar, lens on medical fraternity

So far, one MBBS student has died whereas six medical students have been left infected after taking the first dose of vaccine in the state.

The increasing cases of medicos contracting coronavirus after getting first dose vaccines has hugely alarmed the medical fraternity in Bihar. So far, one MBBS student has died whereas six medical students have been left infected after taking the first dose of vaccine in the state.

Panic gripped the medical students at the Nalanda Medical College and Hospital (NMCH), one of the two premier government hospitals in Patna, after 10 more of them tested positive earlier this week. Strangely, six of them had taken first dose of Covid vaccine in the first week of February, according to local doctors.

“All the undergraduate students testing positive for the virus at the NMCH belong to 2016, 2018 and 2020 batches. They began to show symptoms of the virus from the last week,” a junior resident doctor associated with the vaccination drive at the NMCH Dr Papu Kumar Saifi told a local newspaper. Reports said majority of them contracted the virus well some 20 days after getting the first shot. Heath experts say one begins to develop immunity against the virus 14 days after getting the second jab of the vaccine.

Alarmed at the increasing infection among the medical students, the hospital authorities have collected swab samples of 270 other medicos for RT-PCR test. The test report is likely to come tonight or tomorrow, a NMCH official said.

There are some 700 medical students at the hospital. The hospital administration went into tizzy after a final year MBBS student Shubham Shekhar died, 22 days after he had taken the first dose of the Covaxin.

According to hospital officials, the deceased had taken the first shot of the Covaxin in the first week of February but was tested positive on 27 February.

Hospital sources said the medico had given his swab samples on 24 February after developing symptoms before leaving for his native village in Begusarai district. He was admitted to a private hospital after his condition deteriorated but he died later.

The medical superintendent of Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Dr Gopal Krishna too got infected after taking the first shot of the vaccine earlier. Subsequently, he was advised to go for home quarantine.

However, the Opposition legislators have refrained from getting the vaccines so far despite appeals by the chief minister to go for the shots.




650-cr discrepancies found in raids on Pannu, Kashyap


650-cr discrepancies found in raids on Pannu, Kashyap

The statement from the CBDT came as raids on the homes and offices of Bollywood actor Taapsee Pannu, director Anurag Kashyap and his partners who launched the now shuttered Phantom Films continued in Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad for the second day.

The Income Tax Department has detected financial irregularities of over Rs 650 crore after it raided two film production companies, two talent management companies and a leading actress, the Central Board of Direct Taxes claimed on Thursday but did not take any names.

The statement from the CBDT came as raids on the homes and offices of Bollywood actor Taapsee Pannu, director Anurag Kashyap and his partners who launched the now shuttered Phantom Films continued in Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad for the second day.

The searches also covered some executives of celebrity and talent management companies KWAN and Exceed, officials said.

Official sources identified the entities raided as Pannu and the four former promoters of Phantom Films ~Kashyap, director-producer Vikramaditya Motwane, producer Vikas Bahl and producer-distributor Madhu Mantena. They also identified the celebrity and talent management companies as Kwan and Exceed.

The second film production company that was raided belongs to Kashyap. Evidence of huge suppression of income by the film production house compared to the actual box office collections has been unearthed,” the statement from CBDT, the administrative body of IT Department, claimed.

~With inputs from PTI~




Gujrat municipalities Election AIMIM wins 17 seats in debut polls in 3 municipalities


Gujrat municipalities Election   AIMIM wins 17 seats in debut polls in 3 municipalities

Ahmedabad: Putting an impressive show in its debut election in Gujarat, Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM won 17 seats in three municipalities in the state, where votes were counted on Tuesday.

As per the final results declared by the State Election Commission (SEC), of the total 24 candidates fielded by the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) in three municipalities of Modasa, Godhra and Bharuch, 17 have emerged victorious.

In two of these three municipalities, the AIMIM bagged the second position after the BJP relegating the Congress to the third slot.

In Modasa municipality in Arvalli district, 9 of the 12 candidates of the AIMIM won.

Though the BJP retained power in this 36-member municipality, the AIMIM has won one more seat than the Congress (8).

In the 44-member Godhra municipality in Panchmahal district, the AIMIM won seven out of the eight seats the party had contested. Among others, the BJP bagged 18 seats, the Congress one while 18 seats were won by Independent candidates.

In Bharuch municipality, one of the four nominees of the AIIMIM won.

The Owaisi-led party had not fielded candidates for district and taluka panchayat polls which were held on February 28. In all, 81 municipalities, 31 district panchayats and 231 taluka panchayats went to polls on Sunday.

Ahead of the polls, Owaisi had addressed campaign rallies in Modasa and Godhra towns.

Recently, the AIMIM won seven seats in the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation which went to polls along with six urban civic bodies on February 21.

Source: PTI




US condemns LoC infiltration, expects Pakistan’s ‘constructive role’


US condemns LoC infiltration, expects Pakistan’s ‘constructive role’

The US condemns terrorists infiltrating the Line of Control (LoC) and expects Pakistan to play a “constructive role” in Kashmir, according to State Department Spokesperson Ned Price.

The US condemns terrorists infiltrating the Line of Control (LoC) and expects Pakistan to play a “constructive role” in Kashmir, according to State Department Spokesperson Ned Price.

“We have been very clear that we condemn the terrorists who seek to infiltrate across the Line of Control,” he said on Thursday at his daily briefing in Washington.

He said that the US welcomed the joint statement by military officials of India and Pakistan to observe the ceasefire along the LoC and added, “We encourage continued efforts to improve communication between the two sides and to reduce tensions and violence along the Line of Control.”

Acknowledging that Pakistan is an important partner of the US, he said that Washington will be paying close attention to it and urged Pakistan to play a constructive role Kashmir.

Pressed by a reporter if the Biden administration had played a “role in helping broker this new ceasefire agreement”, Price discounted the suggestion of direct US involvement, saying, “When it comes to the US role, we continue to support direct dialogue between India and Pakistan on Kashmir and other issues of concern”.

About Washington’s relations with Islamabad, he said, “Pakistan is an important partner with whom we share many interests. We, as I said, have been clear in terms of this issue.”

He added, “Obviously, Pakistan has an important role to play when it comes to Afghanistan and what takes place across its other border. So clearly we will be paying close attention, and we urge the Pakistanis to play a constructive role in all of these areas of mutual interest, including in Afghanistan, including with Kashmir, including with our other shared interests.”

The two neighbours’ directors general of military operations (DGSMO) announced the agreement reaffirming the ceasefire on Wednesday.

Their joint statement said that after a “free, frank and cordial” assessment of the situation along the border they agreed “In the interest of achieving mutually beneficial and sustainable peace along the borders, the two DGsMO agreed to address each other’s core issues and concerns which have propensity to disturb peace and lead to violence.”

Earlier, President Joe Biden’s Spokesperson Jen Psaki said that the US welcomed the agreement as “a positive step towards greater peace and stability in South Asia, which is in our shared interest and we encourage both countries to keep building upon this progress”.

Asked whether Pakistan was doing enough to combat terrorism, Psaki did not give a direct reply.

She said, “We remain closely engaged with a range of leaders and officials in the region, including those in Pakistan. But in terms of an assessment of that I would point you to the State Department or the intelligence Department.”




FM: Kerala is now ‘fundamentalists’ own country


FM: Kerala is now ‘fundamentalists’ own country

Speaking at a public meeting at Tripunithara near Kochi,organised in connection with the reception accorded to the ‘Vijaya Yatra’ led by BJP Kerala president K Surendran, Nirmala Sitharaman said Kerala which was famed as ‘God’s own country’ has now become ‘fundamentals own country’, because of the LDF government’s appeasement of the fundamentals

Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday alleged that Kerala has lost its famed tag line of ‘God’s own country’ because of the LDF government’s policy of appeasement of fundamentalists.

Speaking at a public meeting at Tripunithara near Kochi,organised in connection with the reception accorded to the ‘Vijaya Yatra’ led by BJP Kerala president K Surendran, Nirmala Sitharaman said Kerala which was famed as ‘God’s own country’ has now become ‘fundamentals own country’, because of the LDF government’s appeasement of the fundamentals.

The union finance minister said that the CPI-M, which is leading the LDF government in Kerala is not just engaged in minority appeasement,but also the appeasement of the fundamentalists.


 
She alleged there is a secret deal between the CPIM and SDPI. Alleging that the law and order situation has gone worse under the LDF rule in Kerala, she said the Walayar rape cases, killings of Kripesh and Sarathlal and the recent murder of RSS worker Nandu Krishna in Alappuzha are examples for this.

She further said that the state government under Pinarayi Vijayan is neck deep in corruption and the government failed to contain the spread of Covid-19. She said the slogans of the 1921 Mapplla rebellion, which she termed as a rebellion against the majority community is being again sounded in Kerala.




Mehbooba accuses Centre of crushing J&K economy


Mehbooba accuses Centre of crushing J&K economy

Mehbooba, who was addressing a PDP convention in the apple growing belt of Pulwama in south Kashmir, alleged that apart from robbing us of our constitutional rights we have witnessed the loot of our resources and our economy being crushed.

Former chief minister and PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday warned that attempts were being made to crush the economy of Kashmir by allowing flooding of the markets with apple imported from Iran.

Mehbooba, who was addressing a PDP convention in the apple growing belt of Pulwama in south Kashmir, alleged that apart from robbing us of our constitutional rights we have witnessed the loot of our resources and our economy being crushed. The horticulture sector which forms the backbone of our economy has not been spared either.

By allowing apple produce from Iran to flood the market and our own crop destroyed by supply of spurious pesticides, the nefarious designs are being implemented. “This also seems to be a part of the scripted scheme to pulverise our economy. The need is to stand up in unison and struggle for our rights, identity and the future of our coming generations,” she said.

Mehbooba advocated an unrelenting peaceful struggle for the restoration of democratic and constitutional rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

She said that people of Kashmir should not let despair decide their destiny but rather strengthen their resolve, unify their ranks and articulate their pain vociferously. Referring to the fact that more youngsters were taking to gun, she emphasised that gun is no solution to any problem and that we should always keep peaceful means as our lodestar and not lose sight of the fact that there are elements who wish to bracket us as violent and extremist so as to delegitimise our aspirations and our struggle.

Pointing to how farmers have mobilised and successfully rallied the whole world behind their cause, she said that the discipline underpinning the farmer’s movement is something worth emulating.

“Pulwama is the heartbeat of PDP and your unwavering support is the source of personal strength to me. And my first visit to your district after being re-elected as the party president is a reaffirmation of my love for you,” she said.

Reaffirming that dialogue and reconciliation as envisioned by PDP founder Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, is the only way to bring about peace and prosperity not only to the people of J&K but the whole of subcontinent, Mehbooba said that they she would continue to advocate dialogue between India and Pakistan no matter how disliked the idea is.

“We have always advocated dialogue and reconciliation. No matter what they said till yesterday, today we see them only emulating our roadmap as inevitable. The recent joint statement of DGMOs of Indo- Pak Armies is a case in point. We want them to take this forward to the highest levels and also engage with the people of Jammu & Kashmir constructively respecting their dignity,” she added.




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