In Pictures: Cyclone Amphan leaves death, destruction in its trail in Odisha, West Bengal


In Pictures: Cyclone Amphan leaves death, destruction in its trail in Odisha, West Bengal

Scenes of large uprooted trees, damaged houses and flown off roofs were observed, when Super Cyclone Amphan made its appearance over Odisha and West Bengal. As it pummelled through the night, it left behind a trail of deaths as at least 12 people were killed.

The severe cyclonic storm on Thursday weakened and lay centered over Bangladesh about 270 north-northeastwards of Kolkata with a wind speed of 27 kmph.

"It is very likely to continue to move north-northeastwards and weaken further into a deep depression during the next three hours and into a depression during subsequent six hours," the IMD said.

 
 
 
ANI
 

Houses were flattened, massive number of trees uprooted as many feared damage to iconic structures in the cities as well.

With landlines severed and no electricity for hours as the people managed through the raging storm, many tweeted photos of destruction to property, as they paddled through pools of water.

ANI

ANI

It said that the Cyclone is now centred over Bangladesh and it will have no adverse impact over West Bengal and Odisha -- a good sign as it cut a swath through northern Odisha before bearing down on West Bengal where it claimed 10-12 lives, flattened houses and cast aside trees and electricity poles like matchsticks in six-and-a-half hours of monstrous fury that left Kolkata and most of south Bengal pulverised.

While Odisha was spared the worst of Amphan, the Sunderbans region and six south Bengal districts felt the full impact of winds gusting at 155-165 kmph along with torrential rain after the cyclone made landfall near Sagar Island around 2.30 p.m. on Wednesday and entered Kolkata, about a 100 km north, around 5 p.m.

Amphan, a Thai name means sky, is the most severe storm in the Bay of Bengal since the Odisha super cyclone of 1999.




Flying domestic during the coronavirus pandemic? Here are the list of guidelines issued by Airport Authority of India


Flying domestic during the coronavirus pandemic? Here are the list of guidelines issued by Airport Authority of India

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) on Thursday issued a standard operating procedure (SOP) to airport operators for recommencement of domestic commercial flight operations from May 25. The AAI has said that all passengers must compulsorily be registered with the Aarogya Setu app on their phones.

However, Aarogya Setu app is not mandatory for children below 14 years of age. All other departing passengers must be registered on the app on their mobile phones and it will be verified by the CISF or the airport staff at the entry gate of the terminal building, the AAI said.


According to the SOPs, airports have been advised to ensure that passenger seating arrangement shall be done in such a manner so as to maintain social distancing among passengers using chairs by blocking those seats that are not to be used, with proper markers/tapes.

The airport staff must be provided Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits, face masks etc, and should also be provided with hand sanitisers. It has also asked all food and beverage (F&B) and retail outlets to be opened with COVID-19 precautions. Take-away to be encouraged to prevent crowding. Promote digital payments, self-ordering booths at F&B and retails outlets.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation also issued general instructions for domestic travellers. The ministry said that those passengers with confirmed web check-in will be allowed to enter the airport. Passengers will be required to wear protective gear (face mask) and only one check-in bag will be allowed.

The ministry also advised that Vulnerable persons, such as very elderly, pregnant ladies, passengers with health issues should avoid air travel. No physical check-in at airport counters would be done. Only those passengers with confirmed web check-in shall be allowed to enter the airport.


In a tweet, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Wednesday said: "Domestic civil aviation operations will recommence in a calibrated manner from Monday, 25th May 2020." "All airports & air carriers are being informed to be ready for operations from 25th May," he said. Furthermore, the minister said the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the passenger movement would be issued soon.




Ahmedabad: TikTok star Sonu Nayak gets arrested for violating lockdown norms after Isanpur bridge video goes viral


Ahmedabad: TikTok star Sonu Nayak gets arrested for violating lockdown norms after Isanpur bridge video goes viral

Ahmedabad: TikTok star Sonu Nayak, 21, was arrested on Wednesday after she recorded a video on the Isanpur bridge amid the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown. The TikTok fame was later released on bail.

Sonu Nayak is a resident of Kundaliyavas area of Isanpur, Ahmedabad and is a nurse at a private hospital there. The 21-year-old had recorded the video on Monday at 9:00 pm. Soon after the video went viral on social media, Isanpur police had lodged a complaint against her for violating the lockdown norms. She was reverse tracked by the cops and arrested on Wednesday.

In the video, the social media star was reportedly heard saying, "This is our Isanpur village. Modiji open the lockdown. Please open the lockdown."

Inspector JM Solanki of Isanpur police station, told TOI: "She went to Isanpur Bridge at about 9pm and recorded a video in which she is heard saying that "This our Isanpur Bridge. Modiji open the lockdown (then laughs) and again says that please show us by sleeping on the bridge when the lockdown opens". Nayak also made another video and then posted them on TikTok".

Earlier this week, TikTok sensation Faizal Siddiqui's account was banned after he came under the scanner for allegedly "glorifying" acid attack in a video. The ban was enforced "due to multiple community guidelines violations".

Faizal, who had a 13 million-plus following on the video sharing application, posted a clip in which he is seen throwing a liquid on a girl's face for betraying him. Later the girl is seen in the clip with grotesque make-up, suggesting a disfigured face.




Coronavirus update: 26 scientists among 150 Indians returning home from South Africa this week


Coronavirus update: 26 scientists among 150 Indians returning home from South Africa this week

Johannesburg: Twenty-six Indian scientists stranded in South Africa's Cape Town due to the coronavirus lockdown will be heading back home this week.

They had been on a mission to Antarctica and stuck in South Africa three months ago after the imposition of the lockdown. The scientists are among around 150 Indian nationals who will be returning home on a South African Airways (SAA) flight that will leave Johannesburg on Friday for Mumbai and Delhi.

Indian Consul General in Johannesburg, Anju Ranjan, said over 1,000 Indian nationals had registered for the flight.

Passengers had to be vetted by the Indian mission based on a criteria set by the South African Department of Home Affairs.

"We had to select priority passengers depending on their need," Ranjan said in a Facebook broadcast.

The diplomat said those left out are likely to be repatriated on an Air India flight under the Indian government's Vande Bharat mission. "People who are going back on this flight include 26 scientists from India who were stuck in Cape Town after they returned from a mission to Antarctica," Ranjan said.

"They were here for the past three months, so this was a priority for us to send them back to India," the official said.

Ranjan said 93 members of the ISE Cruise who were stuck in the coastal city of Durban were also a priority for them.

Others approved for the flight are those who are ill or on a temporary tourist visa.

Ranjan said the ticket price for the one-way flight was 15,000 rands, which was fixed by the SAA and the Indian government had nothing to do with it.

The fare, which is almost thrice the normal ticket price, has to be paid by the passengers themselves.

An Air India flight can be expected in phase 3 of the Vande Bharat mission in June as there is no fixed date for it yet, Ranjan said.

Currently, the mission in phase 2, the official added.

"Many people who could not pay could not be accommodated on the flight. I feel very sorry for them, but we can have some say and discounts when we get our own flights, so I just want them to wait patiently and not feel disheartened," Ranjan said.




Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen inaugurated for a second term


Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen inaugurated for a second term

Taipei: Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has been inaugurated for a second term amid increasing pressure from China on the self-governing island democracy it claims as its own territory.

Tsai represents the ruling Democratic Progressive Party which advocates Taiwan's formal independence, something Beijing says it will use force to prevent.

She won in a landslide last year after the repression of pro-democracy protests in the nearby Chinese semi-autonomous region of Hong Kong solidified public opinion in Taiwan against moves toward accepting rule by Beijing.

The sides split amid civil war in 1949 and Beijing has cut off ties with Tsai's government over her refusal to accept its demand that she recognize the island as a part of China.

Beijing's diplomats have shut Taiwan out of international gatherings such as the World Health Assembly and poached away its diplomatic allies while its military has boosted patrols and exercises aimed at intimidating the island's population.

Following Wednesday morning's ceremony, Tsai, 63, is to give an inaugural address and provide over a parade celebrating the island's mixed Chinese and Asian-Pacific heritage.

A former law professor, Tsai is unique in being the only modern woman leader in Asia to rise to the top without being part of a political dynasty. Among those attending are representatives of Taiwan's remaining 15 formal diplomatic allies.

The US maintains strong but informal ties with Taiwan and is the island's main source of military support against China's military threats.

Prior to her address, congratulatory remarks from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were read out praising Tsai's "courage and vision in leading Taiwan's vibrant democracy is an inspiration to the region and the world." "The United States has long considered Taiwan a force for good in the world and a reliable partner," Pompeo said in the statement.

"We have a shared vision for the region - one that includes rule of law, transparency, prosperity, and security for all." The US support comes amid rising frictions between Washington and Beijing over trade, technology and allegations of Beijing's mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic that began last year.

At the same time, Washington has increased military sales to the island of 23.6 million and Congress has passed legislation promoting closer political and economic ties.

Despite Beijing's attempts to isolate it diplomatically and vastly reduce numbers of Chinese tourists visiting the island, Tsai has overseen steady growth in Taiwan's high-tech economy and enacted social reforms, including making the island the only democracy in Asia to recognize same-sex marriage.

Reforms, including reductions in civil service pensions had sparked a backlash and Tsai had appeared vulnerable to a challenge from the pro-China Nationalist Party candidate.

However, her support for the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong in the face of an often-violent police response helped lift her poll figures.

Many see China's autocratic Communist Party as eroding Hong Kong's civil liberties and Taiwanese voters have strongly rejected any moves toward political accommodation with Beijing.

Poll results released by the US-based Pew Research Center last week found that 66% of island residents view themselves as Taiwanese, 28% as both Taiwanese and Chinese and 4% as just Chinese.

The telephone poll of 1,562 people, conducted last fall, has a margin of error of 3.2 percentage points.

Among respondents under 30, fully 83% said they don't consider themselves Chinese.

Another 2.3% of Taiwan's people are members of indigenous groups who are not ethnically Chinese.

A former Japanese colony, Taiwan was handed to China in 1945 but split again from the mainland when Mao Zedong's Communists swept to power on the mainland in 1949. The rival Nationalists, led by Chiang Kai-shek, fled to Taiwan, 160 kilometers (100 miles) off China's east coast.

 
 
 



Coronavirus update: Chinese mainland reports 5 new confirmed COVID-19 cases


Coronavirus update: Chinese mainland reports 5 new confirmed COVID-19 cases

Beijing: Chinese health authority said on Wednesday that it received reports of five new confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Chinese mainland on Tuesday, of which one was imported and reported in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

The other four cases were domestically transmitted in Jilin Province, the National Health Commission said in its daily report, Xinhua reported.

No deaths related to the disease were reported Tuesday, according to the commission.

Three suspected cases were reported on Tuesday, all in Shanghai. Of the three cases, two were imported from abroad and one was domestically transmitted, the commission said.

On Tuesday, three people were discharged from hospitals after recovery, while the number of severe cases decreased by one to nine.

As of Tuesday, the overall confirmed cases on the mainland had reached 82,965, including 87 patients who were still being treated, and 78,244 people who had been discharged after recovery.

Altogether 4,634 people had died of the disease, the commission said.

By Tuesday, the mainland had reported a total of 1,708 imported cases. Of the cases, 1,662 had been discharged from hospitals after recovery, and 46 remained hospitalized with two in severe conditions. No deaths from the imported cases had been reported.

The commission said seven people were suspected of being infected with the virus, of which six were imported from overseas.

According to the commission, 4,893 close contacts were still under medical observation after 328 people were discharged from medical observation Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, 16 new asymptomatic cases, including one from overseas, were reported on the mainland. No cases were re-categorized as confirmed cases, and 37 asymptomatic cases, including four from overseas, were discharged from medical observation.

The commission said 368 asymptomatic cases, including 26 from overseas, were still under medical observation.

By Tuesday, 1,055 confirmed cases including four deaths had been reported in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), 45 confirmed cases in the Macao SAR, and 440 in Taiwan including seven deaths.

A total of 1,025 patients in Hong Kong, 45 in Macao, and 401 in Taiwan had been discharged from hospitals after recovery.

 
 
 



Shabana Azmi called out for sharing pics of 2 Pak boys and trying to pass them off as Indians


Shabana Azmi called out for sharing pics of 2 Pak boys and trying to pass them off as Indians

The WhatsApp forward universe continues to divide the line between what’s real news and what’s fake. And in that madness, there are people who even assume something just because it is shared at a particular moment.

On Tuesday evening, veteran Bollywood actor Shabana Azmi shared a photograph of two children holding each other with the caption, ‘heartbreaking’.

Assuming that she had posted the picture based on the migrant crisis that has hit India, a number of Twitter users started schooling her saying that the picture was fake. Veteran journalist Kanchan Gupta even shared the same picture on his timeline, saying, “So a 2 January 2019 photo from 'Naya' #Pakistan resurfaces in #India on 19 May 2020. Heart took a rather long time to break, innit? #TyrannyOfDistance.”


Other people also criticised the actor

 

The migrant crisis has continued to plague India. There were chaotic scenes outside Bandra Terminus yet again on Tuesday morning, as a huge crowd of over 2,200 migrant workers converged outside, jostling each other and ignoring social distancing norms, in their frenzy to board a Shramik Special train to Purnia, Bihar.

The crowd was, however, dispersed by police after calming them down, and a total of 1,800 workers were dispatched to Bihar in the special train originating from Bandra Terminus at noon.

On learning about the train on Monday, migrants staying at Nirmal Nagar in Bandra (East) called up others. Within a couple of hours, over a thousand of them from neighbouring areas like Chembur, Dharavi, Sion and Mahim were camping outside Bandra Terminus.

This was at midnight; they slept in the open, hoping to board the train on Tuesday morning. However, only those workers who had registered themselves beforehand were given that privilege.

Meanwhile in Uttar Pradesh, there has been a battle between the Yogi Adityanath-led administration and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra over supplying of buses to migrants.




Lockdown 4.0: Gujarat govt allows paan and tea shops to remain open during lockdown


Lockdown 4.0: Gujarat govt allows paan and tea shops to remain open during lockdown

Rajkot (Gujarat): Paan and tea shops have been allowed to open in Rajkot during the fourth phase of the coronavirus lockdown.

Shop owners have been asked to ensure that customers maintain social distancing and that not more than five people are present at the shop at any given time.

In Gujarat, the state government has allowed paan and tea stalls to be operational from 8 am to 4 pm every day till the coronavirus lockdown guidelines are in place.

With 366 new COVID-19 cases reported in Gujarat in the last 24 hours, the total number of positive coronavirus cases has risen to 11,476, said the state health department on Monday. The tally is inclusive of 4,804 patients who have been cured/discharged and 694 patients who succumbed to the deadly virus.

The total number of positive COVID-19 cases in India reached 96,169 on Monday, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. With 157 deaths reported in the last 24 hours, the toll has risen to 3,029, as per the latest update by the ministry. Out of the total number of cases, 36,824 have been cured/discharged/migrated.




Amit Shah speaks to Mamata Banerjee, assures help to deal with situation arising due to cyclone Amphan


Amit Shah speaks to Mamata Banerjee, assures help to deal with situation arising due to cyclone Amphan

Union Home Minister Amit Shah speaks to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and assured help to deal with the situation arising due to cyclone Amphan.

MHA sources told news agency ANI that the Home Minister has assured West Bengal CM that the Centre is committed to helping the state and teams of NDRF have been already deployed. Amit Shah also said that Centre is ready to give any assistance West Bengal requires.


ANI

@ANI
Home Minister Amit Shah has also spoken to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and reviewed the preparedness. He again reiterated that Central Government is ready to provide any support needed from them by both the affected states: Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) https://twitter.com/ANI/status/1262623649002975233 …

ANI

@ANI
Home Minister Amit Shah has spoken to West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee on #AmphanCyclone. He has assured West Bengal CM that the Centre is committed to helping the state&already teams of NDRF have been deployed. Centre is ready to give any assistance the state requires: MHA sources

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Amit Shah also spoke to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and reviewed the preparedness. He again reiterated that the Central Government is ready to provide any support needed from them by both the affected states.

The Met department has said that the super cyclonic storm 'Amphan' in the west-central Bay of Bengal is likely to weaken into an 'extremely severe cyclonic storm' by noon on Tuesday.

The system, which was situated 670 km south-southwest of Digha in West Bengal, is very likely to move north-northeastwards across the northwest Bay of Bengal, and cross West Bengal-Bangladesh coasts in the afternoon or evening of Wednesday as a 'very severe cyclonic storm', the Met department said.

The weatherman said that 'Amphan' is expected to cross West Bengal-Bangladesh coasts between Digha in West Bengal and Hatiya islands in Bangladesh on May 20 as a very severe cyclonic storm, after losing some steam as it approaches landfall.




Guess who's back: Yashwant Sinha to stage sit-in protest at Delhi's Rajghat over migrant workers crisis


Guess who's back: Yashwant Sinha to stage sit-in protest at Delhi's Rajghat over migrant workers crisis

Former Union Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha will stage a sit-in protest over migrant workers' issue at Rajghat, New Delhi amid the coronavirus induced lockdown.


Nalini




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