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Shiv Sena asks BJP to stop focusing on donations to Rajiv Gandhi Foundation and resolve India-China LAC issue

The Shiv Sena on Saturday once again attacked the BJP-led government for its handling of the India-China crisis and asked it to focus on the border crisis instead of indulging in politics right now. The request comes after BJP President JP Nadda alleged that Chinese Embassy, and the Prime Minister's Relief Fund under the UPA regime donated to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation.

The editorial written in its mouthpiece Saamana said that the BJP can fight the Congress party anytime later but it is time to fight with China.

"I am amazed that the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation received $ 3 lakh from the People's Republic of China & the Chinese Embassy in 2005-06. This is the secret relation of Congress & China," ANI quoted Nadda.

This blame game continued for a while on social media. Referring to this issue, the Saamana editorial wrote that there is nothing new about these discussions on "which country donated how much funds to RGF."

"If there is any relation in between these donations to RGF and infiltration by China in India and followed deaths of our soldiers then BJP should declare that," it added.

Yesterday also Shiv Sena criticised PM Narendra Modi for using the sacrifice of Indian soldiers for upcoming polls in Bihar. It also accused Modi of playing 'caste and regional card' politics ahead of assembly polls.

Latest coronavirus update: Rahul Gandhi slams PM for not holding any meeting to assess situation for 19 days

Amid the uproar over the increasing COVID-19 cases in the country, Congress leader is back with "Modi has surrendered" jibe but this time over "not holding any meeting over the past few days to assess the COVID-19 situation in the country."

Gandhi said that the PM is silent and he has surrendered and refusing to fight the pandemic. He took to Twitter and said, "Covid19 is spreading rapidly into new parts of the country. GOI has no plan to defeat it. PM is silent. He has surrendered and is refusing to fight the pandemic."

Gandhi was sharing an article by ThePrint that reported that the last meeting of the Group of Minister (Gom) on COVID-19 related matters, headed by Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan was held on June 9. The article also mentioned that the last briefing by the Health Ministry took place two days later on June 11. It went on to add that the last time ICMR met was over two weeks ago.

The story was published on June 25 and it slams the Modi government for not taking stock of the situation well. The article says, "The central government is becoming less visible, receding into the background as if in tactical retreat."

Well, this is not the first time Gandhi has come up with his "Modi has surrendered" jibe as we all may be aware.

And for those living under the rock, Gandhi had earlier ttacked PM Modi over his remark that neither is anyone inside India's territory nor has any of its posts been captured, alleging that the PM has "surrendered" Indian territory to Chinese aggression.

In a statement on the all-party meeting called by Modi to discuss the situation at the India-China border, the government said, "At the outset, prime minister clarified that neither is anyone inside our territory nor is any of our post captured." Tagging PM's remarks with his tweet, Gandhi said, "PM has surrendered Indian territory to Chinese aggression." "If the land was Chinese: 1. Why were our soldiers killed? 2. Where were they killed?" Gandhi said.

In another instance, Gandhi in a move to hit out at PM Modi said 'Narendra Modi Is actually Surender Modi.'

Gandhi shared an opinion piece titled 'India’s appeasement policy toward China unravels' published by The Japan Times. While sharing the article he wrote, "'Narendra Modi Is actually Surender Modi."

Did Pakistan use its high commission in New Delhi to recruit J&K youth to join Lashkar-e-Taiba?

The High Commission of Pakistan in New Delhi has reportedly issued 399 visas to youth from Jammu & Kashmir since January 2017, a report in Deccan Chronicle has revealed. The report added that of these 399 people, 218 went untraceable and there are suggestions that they may have been recruited by terrorists.

Notably, these reports has promoted the Government of India to ask the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi to reduce the number of its staffers by half.

The information came to light after three of the five Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists who were killed by security forces between March 31 and April 1 had travelled to Pakistan in April 2018 on visas issued by the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi.

Notably, New Delhi was put on high alert earlier this week after intelligence reports about the possibility of four to five terrorists from Jammu and Kashmir attempting to enter the national capital with an intention to carry out a terror attack.

Intelligence agencies have alerted police that the terrorists are likely to enter Delhi via road using a bus, car or taxi. Delhi Police has been kept on high alert and an alert has also been issued at all bus stations and railway stations.

All the District Deputy Commissioners of Police (DCP), Special Cell, Crime Branch and other units of Delhi have been placed on the alert. The development comes amid the India-China standoff in eastern Ladakh, following which the security agencies are on heightened vigil.

Furthermore, a number of terrorists who have come across the border have been killed by security forces in Jammu & Kashmir. Most of these terrorists have been associated with the Lashkar-e-Taiba.


US reviewing its global force posture to counter China's threat to India, says Mike Pompeo

Washington: The US is reviewing its global deployment of forces to ensure it is postured appropriately to counter the People's Liberation Army, given the increasing threat posed by China to Asian countries like India, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday.

Pompeo made those remarks in response to a question during the virtual Brussels Forum 2020 of the German Marshall Fund. "We're going to make sure we're postured appropriately to counter the PLA. We think that the challenge of our times, and we're going to make sure we have resources in place to do that," Pompeo said.

The force posture review is being done at the direction of President Donald Trump, as part of which the US is reducing the number of its troops in Germany from about 52,000 to 25,000, he said. Pompeo said that the force posture would be dictated by the ground realities.

"In certain places there will be fewer American resources. There'll be other places - I just talked about the threat from the Chinese Communist Party, so now threats to India, threats to Vietnam, threats to Malaysia, Indonesia, South China Sea challenges, the Philippines," he said.


"To the extent that that changed, the difference in what the US decided to do impacts adversely a threat some place, it may be that other nations need to step up and take responsibility for their own defense in ways that they hadn't done previously. So, we want to do this in full consultation with all of our partners all around the world, and certainly our friends in Europe," Pompeo said.

President Trump is being criticised for reducing troops from Germany. His critics say that this will increase the threat from Russia to Europe. Pompeo, however, did not agree with that argument. It has been a long time since there has been a strategic review of our force posture all across the world. The US undertook that starting about 2.5 years ago, whether that was our forces in Africa, our forces in Asia, the force we have in the Middle East and in Europe, he said.

"We began to say these are often decisions that were made in a different time. Should we reallocate those a different way? Should we have a different composition of those forces? Everyone always wants to talk about ground troops. I get it. I was a young tank officer. You described that. There's nothing I like as much as a good M1 tank.

"But it's often the case that the capacity to deter Russia or other adversaries isn't determined any longer by just having a bunch of folks garrisoned someplace. So, we really went to back fundamentally relook, what is the nature of the conflict, what's the nature of the threat, and how should we allocate our resources, whether that's our resources in the intelligence community, our resources from the Air Force or the Marines and Army," Pompeo said.

Last week, Pompeo criticised the Chinese Army for "escalating" the border tension with India and militarising the strategic South China Sea. He also described the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) as a "rogue actor." "Our broad set of allocation of security apparatus, our ability to counter cyber threats, how do we allocate them? What's the best way to do this? And the decision that you see the president made with respect to Germany is an outcome from a collective set of decisions about how we're going to posture our resources around the world," said the top American diplomat on Thursday.

Changes in force posture is being taken in consultations with allies and friends, Pompeo said. "President Trump has spoken to this. (Defense) Secretary (Mark) Esper will be in London today and in Brussels tomorrow. We'll talk about our plan and how we're thinking about delivering it," he said.

"But you should understand this, and I hope our European partners will understand this as well. When you see what we ultimately conclude, how we ultimately deliver on the statements of the president made, that they're aimed squarely at what we believe to be democracies' fundamental interest and certainly America's most fundamental interest," Pompeo said.

Earlier this month, Pompeo had said that China's actions, be it on the India border, or in Hong Kong or in the South China Sea, were part of the behaviour of the ruling Communist Party in Beijing in the recent past. China has been fast expanding military and economic influence in the Indo-Pacific region, triggering concern in various countries of the region and beyond.

China is engaged in hotly contested territorial disputes in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea. Beijing has built up and militarised many of the islands and reefs it controls in the region. Both areas are stated to be rich in minerals, oil and other natural resources and are vital to global trade.


NEET, JEE Main exam: Hope of postponement increased

New Delhi: JEE Main exam is scheduled to be held from 18th to 23rd July whereas the scheduled date for the NEET UG exam is 26th July. However, after the cancellation of the remaining class 10 and 12 CBSE exams, the hope of cancellation or postponement of NEET and JEE Main exam increased.


Postponed NEET, JEE Main exam: Parents

On Twitter, parents and students are questioning why the exams are not postponed yet?

They claimed that conducting examinations on the scheduled dates is nothing but risking the lives of 16 lakh students.

Meanwhile, experts say that cancellation of NEET exam is not the solution as in the current situation, India need to increase number of doctors in the country. However, they also believe that travelling from remote areas to cities to write examination during the pandemic times is very risky.

As per medical experts, the pandemic has not reached peak in the country. In such a situation, conducting national level exam not only pose threat to students and staff but also increases chances of transmission of virus in areas that has no cases.

Examination in shifts

Stressing the importance of physical distancing, experts also urged government to consider conducting examination in shifts.

It is expected that the decision over NEET and JEE Main examination will be taken soon. Till then, uncertainty prevails.

As Safoora steps out of jail, 2 Jamia students questioned

NEW DELHI: On a day Jamia Coordination Committee member Safoora Zargar stepped out of jail after she was granted bail under humanitarian consideration, two other Jamia students have been called in by the Delhi Police for questioning.

The two students are — Suyash Tripathi from the Law department and Arsalan Alhmed from the department of Social Studies. Both were called by Delhi Police on Wednesday and are being questioned regarding their alleged role in the anti-CAA protests and the conspiracy behind the Delhi Riots in which 53 people lost their lives.

The two Jamia students were sent notices to appear before the Delhi Police’s Special Cell, a specialized wing based out of the capital’s Lodhi Road area.

Jamia has been at the forefront of the anti-CAA protest that even saw violence. However, Jamia Millia Islamia claimed their students did not take part in the riots or indulge in any kind of violence.

ON Wednesday, Zargar, a key member of the Jamia Coordination Committee that was leading the anti-CAA protests in the capital, was released from the jail after she was granted bail on Tuesday. However, she also cannot leave Delhi without permission. The 27-year-old was arrested on April 10, under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, on conspiracy charges over the riots.

India-China standoff: Satellite images indicate Chinese army structures, soldiers in Galwan Valley

Defying the agreed mutual consensus to disengage, Chinese People's Liberation Army troops has significantly ramped up its military presence in Galwan valley in eastern Ladakh.

According to a report by NDTV, new Satellite images show the presence of Chinese structures on both sides of the Line of Actual Control in the Galwan river valley. The new images appear to show possible defensive Chinese positions at the site. The new images also show shelters or accommodation having been constructed along the rock-face leading up the LAC.

Chinese military has also deployed a sizeable number of its troops in Galwan Valley, the site of the violent clashes on June 15 that left 20 Indian soldiers dead. The erection of a surveillance post by China in the area had triggered the clashes. However, Chinese troops have again put up some structure around patrolling point 14 in the area, notwithstanding India's stiff opposition.

The two sides on Wednesday held diplomatic talks under the framework of Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs. In the meeting, both sides agreed to ensure expeditious implementation of the understanding on disengagement of troops from eastern Ladakh as decided in a meeting of senior military commanders on June 6, the Ministry of External Affairs said.

On June 15, the clash occurred at the south bank of Galwan river, which flows in an east-west direction before its confluence with Shyok river. The killing of the 20 soldiers became the first fatalities faced by the Indian Army in a clash with the PLA since 1975 when an Indian patrol was ambushed in Arunachal Pradesh.

(Inputs from Agencies)

Mumbai: Fire breaks out in office of Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait at Nariman Point; none hurt

Mumbai: A fire broke out at the office of the Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait at Nariman Point in South Mumbai early Thursday morning, a fire brigade official said.

There was no report of any casualty, he said. The blaze erupted around 5.15 am in the bank's office and server room located on the ground floor of the 15-storey Jolly Maker Chamber 2 building.

The flames spread across the electric wiring and installations, office furniture, records and important documents, computers, UPS battery and false ceiling in an area of 4,000 sq ft on the ground floor, he said. The fire brigade received a call about the blaze at 5.21 am and rushed to the spot, the official said.

"No one was reported to be trapped inside," he said. Nine fire engines, including water tankers, were at the spot and efforts were on to douse the blaze, he said. The cause of the fire was yet to be ascertained, he added.

Despite opposition from Cong-NCP ministers, Uddhav keeps Ajoy Mehta as Principal Adviser


The Maharashtra government on Wednesday appointed additional chief secretary Sanjay Kumar as the next chief secretary. Kumar, who belongs to the 1984 IAS batch, will succeed incumbent and batchmate Ajoy Mehta, who retires on June 30. Kumar will take over on the same day and his tenure will be until February 2021.

Further, Mehta, who had received two extensions in all (September 2019 to March 2020 and March to June 2020), has been appointed Principal Adviser to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. He will be tasked with advising the CM on the restoration of economic and administrative systems post-Covid-19.

Mehta’s appointment is almost similar to that of former Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha, who after three extensions, took over as the Principal Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office. The Free Press Journal broke the story recently. Incidentally, the government release is silent on the duration of Mehta’s appointment.

Both Mehta and Kumar abstained from comment.

With Kumar’s appointment, the CM has prioritised seniority. Apart from Kumar, additional chief secretary (general administration) Sitaram Kunte and additional chief secretary Praveen Pardeshi (urban development), from the 1985 IAS batch, had also been frontrunners for the post of chief secretary. Both Kunte and Pardeshi retire in December 2021.

A section of bureaucrats feared there would be two power centres in Mantralaya. Even though as chief secretary, Kumar will chair nearly 300 committees with a statutory role, the bureaucracy will find itself in a Catch-22 situation, having to go by Mehta’s decision, in his capacity as the Principal Adviser to the CM.

It must be mentioned here that the NCP and Congress ministers had complained to Thackeray against Mehta’s style of functioning. They had also strongly opposed another extension for Mehta after June 30. Even though Thackeray has not extended Mehta’s term, he has used his power of veto to appoint him Principal Adviser.


COVID-19: Human trial of new vaccine begins in UK

London: Volunteers have begun being immunised with a new UK coronavirus vaccine. About 300 people will have the vaccine over the coming weeks, as part of a trial led by Robin Shattock and his colleagues, at Imperial College London.

Tests in animals
Tests in animals suggest the vaccine is safe and triggers an effective immune response.

Experts at Oxford University have already started human trials, the BBC reported on Wednesday.

The trials are among many across the world – there are around 120 vaccine programmes under way.

First volunteer
Kathy, 39, who works in finance, is one of the first volunteers taking part in the Imperial trial.

She said she volunteered because she wanted to play a part in fighting the virus.

“I think it came from not really knowing what I could do to help, and this turned out to be something that I could do.

“And understanding that it’s not likely that things will get back to normal until there is a vaccine, so wanting to be part of that progress as well.”

After this first phase, another trial is being planned for October, involving 6,000 people.
The Imperial team hopes the vaccine could be distributed in the UK and overseas from early 2021.

Meanwhile the Duke of Cambridge met volunteers taking part in Oxford University’s trial, at the city’s Churchill Hospital.

Prince William told the volunteers: “It’s the most incredibly exciting and very welcome project that you’re all doing which is why it’s fascinating.”

Imperial vaccine
Many traditional vaccines are based on a weakened or modified form of virus, or parts of it, but the Imperial vaccine is based on a new approach, using synthetic strands of genetic code, called RNA, which mimic the virus.

Once injected into muscle, the RNA self-amplifies – generating copies of itself – and instructs the body’s own cells to make copies of a spike protein found on the outside of the virus.

his should train the immune system to recognise and fight coronavirus without having to develop Covid-19.