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India briefs key nations on planned terror attack by Pakistan-based terrorist group JeM in J-K


The heads of missions were provided with a comprehensive “information docket” giving the details of the incident, and also the list of items and munition recovered from terrorists, clearly indicating their Pakistani origins.

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Monday briefed top envoys of key nations, including the US, Russia, France and Japan on the planned terror attack by Pakistan-based terrorist group JeM in Nagrota in Jammu which was foiled by security forces on November 19, sources said.

The heads of missions were provided with a comprehensive “information docket” giving the details of the incident, and also the list of items and munition recovered from terrorists, clearly indicating their Pakistani origins.

The envoys were sensitised about India’s concerns regarding Pakistan’s sustained efforts to “destabilise” the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and to “subvert” upcoming local elections and democracy in the union territory, sources said.

“In terms of the bigger picture, it was clear that the terrorists were planning the biggest terror attack in India since Pulwama in February 2019 and the implications can be guessed,” said a source, adding that details of JeM’s involvement in previous such incidents were also shared with the envoys.

Four suspected JeM terrorists, who were hiding in a truck, were killed by security forces near Nagrota in an encounter on Thursday morning after which the government asserted that a major terror attack was foiled by the Indian security forces.

It was the first of several briefings to be conducted by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in small groups in view of the COVID-19 situation, the sources said adding other secretaries will also be holding similar sessions with heads of missions of other countries.

The envoys were also briefed on how the terrorists got into India which is now clear after the discovery of an underground tunnel in the Samba sector in J&K, sources said.

It was shared with the heads of missions how preliminary investigations by the police and intelligence authorities led India to believe that the terrorists, who had planned the attack in Nagrota, belonged to Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad, a terrorist organisation proscibed by the UN, they added.

According to sources, the planned attack was part of ongoing efforts to sabotage the local elections and to carry out a terror attack aimed to coincide with the anniversary of 26/11 Mumbai strikes.

The envoys were briefed about markings on the recovered AK47 rifles and other items, sources said.

The foreign secretary also briefed the envoys about the possible implications of these planned attacks on security, diplomacy and the battle against terrorism, they said.

“It was pointed out how the incident of November 19 is part of Pakistan”s ongoing terror campaign in J&K and that in the year 2020 itself, there have seen 200 incidents of terrorist violence and neutralisation of 199 terrorists,” the source said.




Joe Biden announces secretary of state, key figures for his cabinet


He picked Avril Haines, the former deputy CIA director, as his director of national intelligence, the first woman to ever hold that position.

US President-elect Joe Biden announced on Monday key figures for his cabinet, picking longtime foreign policy advisor Antony Blinken to be his secretary of state and former US chief diplomat John Kerry as his special climate envoy.

Biden also nominated the first Latino ever, Cuba-born lawyer Alejandro Mayorkas, to lead the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees immigration.

He picked Avril Haines, the former deputy CIA director, as his director of national intelligence, the first woman to ever hold that position.

Biden also said that long-time diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield will be nominated to serve as his ambassador to the United Nations, with status as a cabinet member.


And Jake Sullivan, who was a security aide to Biden when he was vice president, was appointed White House national security advisor.

All are veterans of the former 2009-2017 Obama-Biden administration, and deeply experienced in their fields.

Kerry, who was secretary of state from 2013 to 2017 and signed the Paris climate accord in 2015 on behalf of the United States — only to see President Donald Trump withdraw from it — will be made a member of the national security council, the first time the council has had a specialist on climate change, Biden’s office said.

Mayorkas, a former federal prosecutor, was director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services and then DHS deputy secretary under president Barack Obama.

Sullivan was director of the Policy Planning Staff at the State department and deputy chief of staff to secretary of state Hillary Clinton, and was a lead negotiator in the early talks for the Iran nuclear deal that Trump withdrew from.

“We have no time to lose when it comes to our national security and foreign policy,” Biden said in a statement.

“These individuals are equally as experienced and crisis-tested as they are innovative and imaginative,” he said.




Modi to review Covid situation with CMs today


He will hold virtual meetings with the chief ministers of Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Chattisgarh, West Bengal and Kerala.

Amidst the rising cases of coronavirus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to review the situation on Tuesday with the chief ministers, sources said.

Sources also said the Prime Minister will discuss the rollout of the vaccine programme in the states.

He will hold virtual meetings with the chief ministers of Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Chattisgarh, West Bengal and Kerala.

After this meeting, the Prime Minister is scheduled to discuss the vaccine delivery roll out with all the states and Union Territories.

The Centre is preparing on a war footing the vaccine delivery system as the Covid cases have surpassed nine million. With 44,000 new Covid-19 cases, India’s tally reached 91,39,865 on Monday.

According to the data released by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, 511 new deaths occurred due to the deadly virus in the last 24 hours taking the toll to 1,33,738.

While the active cases stood at 4,43,486, a total of 85,62,641 have recovered from the virus and have been discharged of which 41,024 were discharged in the last 24 hrs.

It is also, however, the 16th straight day when India reported less than 50,000 cases in a day. The last time daily new cases crossed the 50,000-threshold was on November 7.

While the recovery rate stands at a whopping 93.86 per cent, the fatality rate is at 1.46 per cent, the Ministry data revealed.

Delhi sees 121 more Covid deaths; toll hits 8,512:

Delhi today recorded 4,454 new coronavirus infections (Covid-19), logging 121 more Covid deaths that pushed its toll to 8,512, according to the Delhi government’s latest health bul let in issued late tonight.

These relatively low number of fresh cases were detected from relatively lesser number of 37,307 tests, including reportedly 18,046 RT-PCR tests, with positivity rate being 11.94 per cent.

This is the sixth time in the last 12 days that the daily number of Covid deaths crossed the 100 mark in the national capital.

~With inputs from other agencies~




3-year-old girl found stuffed inside three gunny bags in UP’s Meerut, survives


“The child has been admitted to Pyarelal Hospital for treatment. The police are taking required action,” the Meerut Police tweeted.

A horrific incident surfaced on a roadside in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut where a baby girl was found stuffed inside three gunny bags. The infant was reportedly left to die in the cold apparently by her parents, will survive.

As per the initial reports, she was found when people heard her wails and, to their horror, discovered her inside the sacks.

A video has been surfaced on social media showing passers by remove the sacks one by one to reveal the crying infant.

The people who rushed her to a local hospital had called the police.

“The child has been admitted to Pyarelal Hospital for treatment. The police are taking required action,” the Meerut Police tweeted.

“We got a call from a locality called Shatabdi Nagar that a newborn was found. A police team went there and the baby has been admitted to the district women’s hospital. She is being given proper medical treatment and doctors say she is a premature baby but healthy. All SOPs are being followed,” police officer Dr Akhilesh Narayan Singh said, reported NDTV.




Joe Biden welcomes long-delayed release of government aid for his transition to White House


Biden transition executive director Yohannes Abraham said in the statement that the president-elect’s team would now move quickly, with Murphy’s decision also formally allowing for coordination with current government officials.

President-elect Joe Biden’s team on Monday welcomed the long-delayed release of government aid for his transition to the White House, a step he said was crucial to “a smooth and peaceful transfer of power.”

“The GSA administrator has ascertained President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as the apparent winners of the election, providing the incoming administration with the resources and support necessary to carry out a smooth and peaceful transfer of power,” Biden’s team said in a statement.

“Today’s decision is a needed step to begin tackling the challenges facing our nation, including getting the pandemic under control and our economy back on track. This final decision is a definitive administrative action to formally begin the transition process with federal agencies.”

General Services Administration head Emily Murphy, who denies acting under political pressure, had refused since the November 3 election to release the standard package of aid that her agency manages to Biden’s incoming team.

Her decision came with Donald Trump refusing to concede, baselessly alleging vote fraud and seeking through legal challenges and other means to overturn the results of the November 3 election.

Biden transition executive director Yohannes Abraham said in the statement that the president-elect’s team would now move quickly, with Murphy’s decision also formally allowing for coordination with current government officials.

“In the days ahead, transition officials will begin meeting with federal officials to discuss the pandemic response, have a full accounting of our national security interests, and gain complete understanding of the Trump administration’s efforts to hollow out government agencies,” he said.




CBI arrests former Karnataka minister Roshan Baig


Bengaluru: In a swift development after a day-long questioning, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested former Karnataka Congress minister Roshan Baig for his alleged involvement in the multi-crore IMA ponzi scam in the southern state, an official said on Sunday.

“Baig was arrested after questioning him in the ongoing ponzi chit fund scam investigation and a competent court sent him to judicial custody for further interrogation,” CBI spokesman R.K. Gaur told IANS from New Delhi.

Roshan Baig
Baig (67) is a former 8-time legislator from the Shivajinagar assembly segment in the city centre and was a minister in the Congress and Janata Dal government.

“Baig was summoned for interrogation to our office earlier in the day and taken into custody on the evidence collected against him in the scam that rocked the state in 2018-19,” a CBI source said earlier.

Sleuths of the premier investigation agency also conducted a search and seizure operation in Baig’s house in the city earlier in the day.

The I-Monetary Advisory (IMA) Jewellery kingpin Mohammed Mansoor Khan alleged that he had given Rs 400 crore to Baig ahead of the state assembly elections in April-May 2018.

Baig, however, denied the charge and said Khan had falsely implicated him.

Ponzi Chit Fund Scam
The Rs 4,000-crore ponzi chit fund scam came to light in June 2019 after hundreds of investors complained to city police that the chit fund firm stopped returning their deposits, including gold jewellery, cash and interest.

In an audio clip to then Bengaluru Police Commissioner Ajay Kumar Singh, Khan alleged that Baig was harassing him for more money and he fled to Dubai in June second week as his life was under threat.

Though the former Janata Dal-Secular-Congress government had set up a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the scam, the ruling BJP government transferred the case to the CBI in August after it came to power in July 2019.

Khan was flown to Bengaluru on July 20, 2019 via New Delhi from Duabai and has been in the central jail on the city’s outskirts along with about 30 accused, including seven directors of the company.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had also booked Khan under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) for allegedly transferring funds to overseas banks through the hawala route.

Source: IANS




Karachi will be part of India one day: Fadnavis



Nagpur: Former Maharashtra Chief Minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis has said that Pakistan’s Karachi will be a part of India one day.

His remark came while he was commenting on a controversy that erupted after a Shiv Sena leader allegedly asking “Karachi Sweets” shop owner in Mumbai’s Bandra West to omit the word “Karachi” from the name.

Akhand Bharat
“We believe in ‘Akhand Bharat’. We also believe that Karachi will be a part of India one day,” Fadnavis told reporters here on November 21.

A video of Shiv Sena leader Nitin Nandgaokar went viral last week, where he was seen allegedly asking Karachi Sweets shop owner in Bandra West to change the name “Karachi”.

“You have to do it, we’re giving you time. Change ‘Karachi’ to something in Marathi,” said Nandgaokar in the video.

Later, senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said that the demand for changing names of Karachi bakery and Karachi sweets is not his party’s official stance.

“Karachi bakery and karachi sweets have been in mumbai since last 60 years. They have nothing to do with Pakistan. It makes no sense to ask for changing their names now. Demand for changing their name is not shivsena’s official stance,” Raut tweeted on November 19.

Nawab Malik
On Sunday, Maharashtra Cabinet Minister Nawab Malik said that his party Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) will welcome the move if BJP creates one country by merging India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

“The way Devendra ji has said that time will come Karachi will be the part of India. We have been saying that India, Pakistan and Bangladesh should be merged. If the Berlin wall can be demolished then why not India, Pakistan and Bangladesh can come together? If BJP wishes to merge these three countries and make a single country, we will welcome it definitely,” Malik told ANI, when asked to comment on Fadnavis’s remark on Karachi.

Source: ANI




PM Modi reviews preparedness of Covid-19 vaccine delivery strategy


Countries such as Bangladesh, Myanmar, Qatar, Bhutan, Switzerland, Bahrain, Austria and South Korea – have shown keen interest in partnering for vaccine development of Indian vaccines and use thereof. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the preparedness of Covid-19 vaccine delivery, distribution and administration. Prime Minister appreciated the efforts of innovators, scientists, academicians and pharma-companies in their efforts to develop vaccines and has directed that every effort should be made to facilitate the research, development and manufacturing of the vaccine.

Five vaccines are in advanced stages of development in India, out of which 4 are in Phase II/III and one is in Phase-I/II.  Countries such as Bangladesh, Myanmar, Qatar, Bhutan, Switzerland, Bahrain, Austria and South Korea – have shown keen interest in partnering for vaccine development of Indian vaccines and use thereof.

In an effort to administer the vaccine at the first available opportunity, database of healthcare and frontline workers, augmentation of cold chains and procurement of syringes, needles, etc. are in advanced stages of preparation.

The vaccination supply chain is being enhanced and non-vaccine supplies are being escalated.  Medical and nursing students and faculty will be involved in the training and implementation of the vaccination programme.  Every step is being steadily put in place to ensure that vaccines reach every location and person according to the prioritisation principles.

The Prime Minister has directed to work in collaboration with all reputed national and international institutions and regulators to ensure the rigour and highest global standards in Indian research and manufacturing.

National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC) in consultation with State Governments and all relevant stakeholders have accelerated the implementation of vaccination of priority groups in first phase.

The digital platform for vaccine administration and distribution is prepared and test runs underway in partnership with the State and District Level stakeholders.

The Prime Minister reviewed the aspects of emergency use authorisation and for manufacture and procurement of medicine. As the results of these Phase III trials from national and international vaccine arrive, our robust and independent regulators will speedily and rigorously examine these for according authorisation for use.

The Government has provided assistance of Rs 900 crore under Covid Suraksha Mission to support Research & Development of Covid-19 vaccination.

The Prime Minister directed that a time-bound plan be laid out for speedy regulatory clearances and timely procurement for early rollout of the vaccination drive.

The Prime Minister appreciated comprehensive efforts at vaccine development. He also emphasised that given the persisting pandemic scenario there is no place for any relaxation in preventive measures such as wearing masks, keeping distance and ensuring hygiene.

The meeting was attended by Principal Secretary to PM, Cabinet Secretary, Member (Health) NITI Aayog, Principal Scientific Advisor, Secretary Health, DG ICMR, officers of PMO, and Secretaries of related Departments of Government of India.




Hong Kong bans Air India flights from Delhi for fifth time due to coronavirus


Passengers from India can arrive in Hong Kong only if they have a coronavirus-negative certificate from a test done within 72 hours prior to the journey.

Hong Kong has banned Air India flights from Delhi till December 3 after a few passengers on its flight tested positive for the novel coronavirus post-arrival earlier this week, an official said on Friday.

This is the fifth time Air India’s flights from India have been banned by the Hong Kong government for bringing passengers who tested positive for the pathogen after arrival.

Passengers from India can arrive in Hong Kong only if they have a coronavirus-negative certificate from a test done within 72 hours prior to the journey. All international passengers are required to undergo a post-flight COVID-19 test at the airport, according to rules issued by the city state’s government in July.

The previous bans on the airline’s Delhi-Hong Kong flights were from August 18-31, September 20-October 3 and October 17-30, and on its Mumbai-Hong Kong flights during October 28-November 10.

“A few passengers on a Delhi-Hong Kong flight of Air India earlier this week tested positive for COVID-19 post-arrival,” the government official said.

“Consequently, the airline’s Delhi-Hong Kong flights have been banned till December 3.”

In a statement to PTI, an Air India spokesperson said the airline had been barred from operating any flights between Delhi and Hong Kong between November 20 and December 3.

However, the spokesperson added that the national carrier did not have any flight scheduled to Hong Kong during this period.

Besides India, a pre-flight COVID-negative certificate is mandatory for all passengers from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, France, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, South Africa, the UK and the US, according to the Hong Kong government’s rules.

An airline operating a flight to Hong Kong from these countries has to submit a form before departure, stating that all passengers onboard have COVID-negative certificates.

Another mandatory COVID-19 test is carried out for passengers after landing in Hong Kong and reports of this test may be at variance from the reports of tests conducted 72 hours before taking the flight, the spokesperson mentioned.

Scheduled international passenger flights continue to remain suspended in India since March 23 due to the pandemic.

However, the Indian airlines have been permitted to operate special international flights under the Vande Bharat Mission since May and under the bilateral air-bubble pacts since July.

Under the pact, the airlines of both countries can operate international flights with certain restrictions. India has formed such pacts with approximately 20 countries.




US President Donald Trump’s eldest son tests positive for coronavirus


Trump Jr’s positive test follows infections for a string of others connected to the White House, including his father, who was hospitalized, the president’s wife Melania and Trump’s youngest son Barron.

US President Donald Trump’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr has tested positive for Covid-19 and is quarantining without symptoms, the latest in a long list of infections among those with links to the White House.

“Don tested positive at the start of the week and has been quarantining out at his cabin since the result,” his spokesman said.

“He’s been completely asymptomatic so far and is following all medically recommended COVID-19 guidelines,” the spokesman said of the 42-year-old.

Trump Jr’s positive test follows infections for a string of others connected to the White House, including his father, who was hospitalized, the president’s wife Melania and Trump’s youngest son Barron.

Donald Jr’s girlfriend, former Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle, also tested positive in July.

Earlier Friday, Andrew Giuliani, a White House aide and son of the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, announced he had tested positive.

Trump Jr is one of the most outspoken and aggressive defenders of his father, who is still refusing to recognize his defeat to Democrat Joe Biden in the November 3 presidential election.

In the days after the vote, Trump Jr called for his father to go to “total war” against what he calls electoral fraud despite no evidence to support the claim.

Like his father he has also consistently downplayed the pandemic, telling Fox News as the virus surged around the country last month that deaths from Covid-19 had fallen to “almost nothing.”

Trump’s administration has been heavily criticized for its response to the pandemic and for downplaying the dangers.

Many in the crowds at his pre-election rallies were often maskless and not abiding by social-distancing rules.

They were a sharp contrast with Biden’s drive-in rallies and his scrupulous mask-wearing.

On Monday, the president-elect expressed frustration over Trump’s refusal to cooperate on the White House transition process, saying “more people may die” of coronavirus without immediate coordination on fighting the pandemic.

With Trump refusing to concede defeat, Biden and his team have been unable to coordinate with government officials on crucial continuity of issues like national security, but also on emergencies like a distribution plan for Covid-19 vaccines to tens of millions of Americans.

Current US numbers — more than a quarter of a million deaths have been reported — have alarmed authorities enough to advise that people stay home for next week’s Thanksgiving holiday, when Americans usually travel to be with their families.

New York City has shut down schools for its 1.1 million students, while California will impose a 10:00 pm to 5:00 am curfew from Saturday.

There was however a new sign of hope on Friday as US biotech giant Pfizer and German partner BioNTech sought approval to roll out their coronavirus vaccine early.




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