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Mumbai traffic: Snarls seen on Eastern and Western Express Highway; water-logging reported in Dadar, Sion


Heavy rain continued to lash Mumbai and its suburbs on Thursday morning that resulted in water-logging in several parts of the city, and in the process traffic snarls.

A traffic police official told Free Press Journal said that the deployment of other of traffic police personnel was already in place at several busy junctions in the city.

There was delay and backlog of at least 10 minutes on the Eastern Express Highway, while the Western Express Highway witnessed a 15-minute delay in vehicle movement due to traffic.

Water logging was reported in King’s Circle, Mahatma Gandhi Market, Parel, Dadar and Sion.

A senior traffic policeman, who requested anonymity said, "We are tending to every distress call for traffic due to water logging and sending a team to manage the situation. In addition to deployment, we are making appropriate traffic diversions to avoid vehicles breaking down to water logging and leading to a major backlog, subsequently stunting vehicular movement."

The officials of Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said these heavy rains are remnants of Cyclone Nisarga, which resulted in lashes at Malad, Sion, Vikhroli, Ghatkopar, Santacruz and Dadar, among others who witnessed moderate rainfall.

"Due to strong westerly winds along the west coast, Mumbai, received rainfall- 50 mm at Colaba and 25 mm at Santacruz till 8.30am and these rains are expected to continue for a couple of hours," the IMD said.

 
 
 



George Floyd Murder: NYT staff furious after Op-Ed asks for troops to 'take care' of protesters


Journalists at The New York Times have expressed dismay after an opinion piece by Republican senator Tom Cotton from Arkansas called for ‘sending the troops’ to curb the Black Lives Matter protests and riots in several parts of the country.

The riots are the result of the murder of George Floyd, an African American person, at the hands of an police officer working with the Minnesota Police.

“The rioting has nothing to do with George Floyd, whose bereaved relatives have condemned violence. On the contrary, nihilist criminals are simply out for loot and the thrill of destruction, with cadres of left-wing radicals like antifa infiltrating protest marches to exploit Floyd’s death for their own anarchic purposes.

“These rioters, if not subdued, not only will destroy the livelihoods of law-abiding citizens but will also take more innocent lives. Many poor communities that still bear scars from past upheavals will be set back still further,” Cotton wrote in his opinion piece.

The staff members at the New York Times – both in the opinion and news sections – expressed dismay at the piece getting published, with a bunch of them tweeting that black staff members weren’t safe at the New York Times.


Kwame Opam

@kwameopam
Running this puts Black @nytimes staff in danger.

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Mara Gay

@MaraGay
Running this puts black people in danger. And other Americans standing up for our humanity and democracy, too. @nytimes

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Kathleen McLaughlin

@kemc
June 3, 1989, the troops started clearing Tiananmen Square. QUITE an anniversary for a US senator to drop this.

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The News Guild of New York also put out a statement saying, "The moments that are hardest to bear witness to are also the moments that none of us can afford to look away from. Read our statement on the racist policing targeting Black people and the shameful and brazen attacks on the civil rights and liberties of protestors and journalists.”

This is the detailed statement.

George Floyd Murder: NYT staff furious after Op-Ed asks for troops to 'take care' of protesters
News Guild of New York
Meanwhile, New York Times opinion editor James Bennet put out a series of tweets, defending his stance on putting up the piece. “The Times editorial board has forcefully defended the protests as patriotic and criticized the use of force, saying earlier today that police too often have “responded with more violence — against protesters, journalists and bystanders. We’ve also crusaded for years against the underlying, systemic cruelties that led to these protests. As part of our explorations of these issues, Times Opinion has published powerful arguments supporting protests, advocating fundamental change and criticising police abuses. Times Opinion owes it to our readers to show them counter-arguments, particularly those made by people in a position to set policy. We understand that many readers find Senator Cotton's argument painful, even dangerous. We believe that is one reason it requires public scrutiny and debate.” (sic)

Interestingly, the New York Times Op-Ed has been known to have controversial Op-Eds in the past. Last year, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan wrote a piece, claiming that he had called for peace with India, and that India was responsible for the violence in Jammu & Kashmir. In February this year, they even published an article written by the deputy head of the terrorist organisation, The Taliban.




Missing the intimacy Scott Morrison gets nostalgic about the infamous 'Modi hug'


Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday said that he wished he could be in India for the famous 'Modi hug'.

During the first-ever India-Australia virtual summit, Scott Morrison said, "I wish I could be there for what has become the famous 'Modi hug' and share my samosas. Next time, it will have to be the Gujarati Khichdi. I will try that in the kitchen before next time we meet in person."


ANI

@ANI
#WATCH: Australian PM Scott Morrison says, "I wish I could be there for what has become the famous 'Modi hug' & share my samosas. Next time, it will have to be the Gujarati Khichdi. I will try that in the kitchen before next time we meet in person."

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To which, PM Narendra Modi replied, "I am pleased to know about your offer. The samosas you made is being talked about a lot here in India. Now that you’ve mentioned khichdi, it will make Gujaratis very happy. Many Gujarati families live in Australia."

PM Modi has gained a reputation of being a 'big hugger' ever time he meets foreign dignitaries. His signature bear hug is now world-famous.

After Scott Morrison said he is missing the 'famous Modi hug', netizens took to Twitter and expressed what they felt about it. The tweets that have been doing rounds have been are hilarious.

Here’s what netizens had to say:


????
@Boby18442318
https://twitter.com/ANI/status/1268421826234871808 …

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ANI

@ANI
#WATCH: PM Modi laughs as Australian PM Scott Morrison says,"It doesn't surprise me, this is how (virtually) we'd continue to meet in these circumstances. You are the one who started hologram in your campaigning many years ago, maybe next time we can have a hologram of you here."

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Dwain Adam Michael ???? (IG:MCKILLUMINATI69)
@Mckiluminati69
That's a thug laugh.... https://twitter.com/ANI/status/1268421826234871808 …

ANI

@ANI
#WATCH: PM Modi laughs as Australian PM Scott Morrison says,"It doesn't surprise me, this is how (virtually) we'd continue to meet in these circumstances. You are the one who started hologram in your campaigning many years ago, maybe next time we can have a hologram of you here."

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UTKARSH उत्कर्ष اتکرش ????????
@uk_2911
Get a YouTube channel guys ???? https://twitter.com/ANI/status/1268421826234871808 …

ANI

@ANI
#WATCH: PM Modi laughs as Australian PM Scott Morrison says,"It doesn't surprise me, this is how (virtually) we'd continue to meet in these circumstances. You are the one who started hologram in your campaigning many years ago, maybe next time we can have a hologram of you here."

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Biswajeet
@singh_biswajeet
Chat show live streaming....????

this shows, govt and its minions are totally bankrupt of narrative...https://twitter.com/ANI/status/1268421826234871808 …

ANI

@ANI
#WATCH: PM Modi laughs as Australian PM Scott Morrison says,"It doesn't surprise me, this is how (virtually) we'd continue to meet in these circumstances. You are the one who started hologram in your campaigning many years ago, maybe next time we can have a hologram of you here."

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Earlier, Scott Morrison had shared photos of Samosas he had made, disappointed that he wasn't able to share them with his Indian counterpart.

“Sunday ScoMosas with mango chutney, all made from scratch - including the chutney! A pity my meeting with @narendramodi this week is by videolink. They’re vegetarian, I would have liked to share them with him,” Morrison posted on Twitter and tagged PM Modi.


Scott Morrison

@ScottMorrisonMP
Sunday ScoMosas with mango chutney, all made from scratch - including the chutney! A pity my meeting with @narendramodi this week is by videolink. They’re vegetarian, I would have liked to share them with him.

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PM Modi replied saying, "Connected by the Indian Ocean, united by the Indian Samosa! Looks delicious, PM @ScottMorrisonMP! Once we achieve a decisive victory against COVID-19, we will enjoy the Samosas together. Looking forward to our video meet on the 4th."


Narendra Modi

@narendramodi
Connected by the Indian Ocean, united by the Indian Samosa!

Looks delicious, PM @ScottMorrisonMP! 

Once we achieve a decisive victory against COVID-19, we will enjoy the Samosas together. 

Looking forward to our video meet on the 4th. https://twitter.com/ScottMorrisonMP/status/1266952463464071171 …

Scott Morrison

@ScottMorrisonMP
Sunday ScoMosas with mango chutney, all made from scratch - including the chutney! A pity my meeting with @narendramodi this week is by videolink. They’re vegetarian, I would have liked to share them with him.

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This was the first virtual summit between the two leaders. Morrison was scheduled to visit India earlier this year but his trip was cancelled due to the bushfires in Australia.




PM Modi tells Australian PM Scott Morrison that COVID-19 crisis is an opportunity for both nations to work together


Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said that India is committed to strengthening its relations with Australia.

"India is committed to strengthening its relations with Australia, it is not only important for our two nations but also for the Indo-Pacific region and the whole world," PM Modi said during first ever 'India-Australia Virtual Summit'.

In his opening remarks, Modi said he believed that it is the "perfect time and perfect opportunity" to further strengthen the relationship between India and Australia.

"We have immense possibilities to make our friendship stronger," Modi said, adding: "How our relations become a 'factor of stability' for our region and for the world, how we work together for global good, all these aspects need to be considered." The prime minister said India was committed to expand its relations with Australia on a wider and faster pace, noting that it is important not only for the two countries, but also for the Indo-Pacific region and the world.

"The role of our comprehensive strategic partnership will be more important in this period of global epidemic. The world needs a coordinated and collaborative approach to get out of the economic and social side effects of this epidemic," he said.

The Prime Minister pointed out that the visit of his Australian counterpart had been cancelled twice this year and urged on him to plan a family visit soon. "As a friend, I urge you to plan a family visit to India soon after the situation improves and accept our hospitality," he told Morrison.

"I believe that this is the perfect time, the perfect opportunity to further strengthen the relations between India and Australia. We have infinite possibilities to make our friendship stronger. How our relationships become a 'factor of stability' for our region and for the world, how we work together for global good, all these aspects need to be considered," the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister pointed out that India is committed to expanding its relations with Australia on a wider and faster pace. This is important not only for our two countries but also for the Indo-Pacific region and the world, stressed Modi, adding further that Australia is one of India's friends. "So the criteria for the pace of development in our relations should also be ambitious," he said.

The Prime Minister also expressed his heartfelt condolences to all the people and families affected by COVID-19 in Australia on behalf of the people of India.

This is the first virtual summit between the two leaders. Morrison was scheduled to visit India earlier this year but his trip was cancelled due to the bushfires in Australia.

The two Prime Ministers earlier had a telephonic conversation on 6th April 2020, where they discussed the ongoing COVID-19, including facilitation and support for citizens stranded in each other's country.

The virtual summit provides an opportunity for the two leaders to review the broad framework of the relationship, in the context of growing ties between India and Australia, and to discuss their respective responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 
 
 



Cyclone Nisarga: Mumbai Police imposes Section 144 till Thursday afternoon


The Mumbai Police on Wednesday imposed Section 144 in the city from midnight to Thursday afternoon in the wake of impending Cyclone Nisarga.

"Prohibitory orders issued under Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), in view of cyclonic conditions in the city to ensure that there is no danger to human life, health or safety," Office of Mumbai Police commissioner said in a statement. The police also banned citizens from visiting places like beaches, parks and promenades along the coastline.


ANI

@ANI
Prohibitory orders issued under Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), in view of cyclonic conditions in the city to ensure that there is no danger to human life, health or safety: Office of the Commissioner of Police, Greater Mumbai. #CycloneNisarga

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Even the BMC advised people to stay home in wake of Cyclone Nisarga. "While it’s best that you stay at home during heavy rainfall; but if, for some unavoidable reason, you need to drive your car, please ensure that you carry hammer or objects that can help you break glass in case your car doors get jammed," BMC said in a statement.

With an expected increase in wind conditions up to 120 kilometres, cyclone Nisarga is likely to make landfall on the north coast of Maharashtra later today. As per the India Meteorological Department (IMD), cyclone Nisarga is expected to affect the city today between 11 am to 7 pm.

"Wind conditions will further increase up to 100-110 gusting to 120 kmph as conditions are favourable for intensification. The higher sea surface temperature and low vertical wind shear favoured the intensification of severe cyclonic circulation," said IMD in a series of tweets.

Explaining the nature of wind speed, IMD further tweeted, "Eye diameter is about 65 km as observed through Radar. Thus the diameter has decreased during past 01 hours indicating intensification of the system. Hence wind speed has increased from 85-95 kmph to 90-100 kmph gusting to 110 kmph."




George Floyd Murder: Facebook engineer resigns, slams Mark Zuckerberg's 'inaction' over Trump's 'call for violence'


A software engineer from Facebook put out a lengthy post on social media on Tuesday evening, explaining to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg why he was resigning.

Slamming Zuckerberg for his silence over US President Donald Trump’s repeated statements on social media that are deemed ‘newsworthy’, Timothy J Aveni wrote, “For years, President Trump has enjoyed an exception to Facebook’s Community Standards; over and over, he posts abhorrent, targeted messages that would get any other Facebook user suspended from the platform. He’s permitted to break the rules, since his political speech is ‘newsworthy.’”

 
 

Critical of Zuckerberg’s inability to take a stand despite repeated claims that ‘Facebook would not tolerate hate speech’, Aveni added, “Mark always told us that he would draw the line at speech that calls for violence. He showed us on Friday that this was a lie. Facebook will keep moving the goalposts every time Trump escalates, finding excuse after excuse not to act on increasingly dangerous rhetoric. Since Friday, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand and process the decision not to remove the racist, violent post Trump made Thursday night, but Facebook, complicit in the propagation of weaponised hatred, is on the wrong side of history.”

 
 

Saying that he could not keep excusing Facebook’s behaviour, Aveni said, the social media site is providing a platform that enables politicians to radicalise individuals and glorify violence. “We are watching the United States succumb to the same kind of social media-fuelled division that has gotten people killed in the Philippines, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. I’m scared for my country and I’m done trying to justify this,” he added.


The death of George Floyd, 46, an African-American man has sparked debates regarding police brutality and institutional racism in the United States of America yet again.

In Minneapolis, where the incident occurred, widespread protests have broken out and protesters even set fire to a police precinct on Thursday night.

In reaction to this, US President Donald Trump took to Twitter to condemn the inaction of the Mayor Jacob Frey, whom he referred to as 'radically left'. He also warned Frey to "get his act together and get the city under control" or else he would send in the National Guard "to get the job done right".

In a follow-up tweet which has now been blocked by Twitter , the POTUS also mentioned that he spoke to the Minneapolis Governor, Tim Walz and assured him that the "military was with him all the way". However, in the same tweet, he described the protesters as 'thugs' and accused them of dishonouring the memory of George Floyd. He said that if there was anymore difficulty, they would assume control and warned that "when the looting starts, the shooting starts."

This remark has resulted in Twitter flagging this tweet of the President. Jack Dorsey, Twitter founder and CEO took to Twitter on Thursday to fact-check Trump, where he said that the platform would continue to point out incorrect information pertaining to elections.

Jack also said that this does not make Twitter the 'arbiter of truth' and they they merely aim to "connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves. More transparency from us is critical so folks can clearly see the why behind our actions."




Cyclone Nisarga to intensify into 'severe cyclonic storm' and make landfall close to Alibaug today afternoon


Mumbai: The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Tuesday predicted that Cyclone Nisarga is likely to intensify into a 'severe cyclonic storm' over the next 12 hours and will make landfall close to Alibaug on Wednesday afternoon. The storm surge is expected to be one to two metres above the astronomical tide and is very likely to inundate low-lying areas of Mumbai, Thane and Raigad districts at the time of landfall, according to IMD officials.

Palghar, Pune, Thane, Mumbai, Raigad, Dhule, Nandurbar, and Nashik are expected to receive heavy rainfall on Wednesday.

The cyclone is expected to make landfall just 110km north of Mumbai on June 3, and is likely to trigger flash floods all along Maharashtra's coast, including in the metropolitan region. Wind speeds could reach 115kmph, with gales of up to 125kmph, said officials.

Roxy Mathew Koll, a climate scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, said, "Cyclone Nisarga is about to scrape around Mumbai on June 3. If that happens, it will be the first-ever cyclone in recorded history to hit the Maharashtra coast in June." The reason for Mumbai’s low risk lies in the weather dynamics of the Arabian Sea. On average, the sea sees one or two cyclonic formations every year — far fewer than in the Bay of Bengal, according to experts.

 
 

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday evening addressed the state via video conferencing. "Live safe and help those in need during cyclone which is expected to strike on June 3 afternoon. Take all precautions," he said, urging them to be prepared to tackle the storm in the same way they had responded in the fight against the pandemic.

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called up Thackeray and assured all possible help from the Centre. Mahesh Palawat, head of the private weather forecasting organisation Skymet, said any storm takes several hours to move from the coast. "Its effects can be seen for 3-4 hours. Due to this, with the wind speed being 100 to 120 km, there could be 200 mm or more rain. The effect is likely to be most pronounced in Palghar. This storm will move towards South Gujarat via North Mumbai,” he said.

Over 21,000 residents of 22 villages in Palghar district are being evacuated. On the radar are Vasai, Dahanu and Talasari talukas, district collector Dr Kailas Shinde said.

Fishermen have been warned to not venture in the sea. 31 NDRF teams have also been deployed to carry out rescue operations. Widespread damage is expected. The Navy has kept five flood teams and three diving teams on stand-by in Mumbai, a defence spokesperson said. These teams, trained and equipped for rescue operations, are stationed at various naval areas across Mumbai and can provide early response over a larger area. Thackeray in his address urged people to avoid taking shelter in temporary structures, dilapidated buildings and the like. He also urged them to switch off power, if necessary, especially in rural areas, and store drinking water. "We have set up jumbo facilities for COVID patients at BKC," he added.

 
 
 



4 renowned Mumbai hospitals get show cause notices for not complying with admission norms of COVID-19 patients


Mumbai: In a significant move, the Maharashtra Government on Tuesday served show cause notices on leading private hospitals, including Bombay Hospital, Jaslok, Lilavati and Hinduja, for allegedly not complying with the recent norms on admission and treatment of COVID-19 patients.

By serving notices, the government has sent the four hospitals a signal to fall in line or face punitive action. The government also conveyed it to them that this is not the time to maximise profits, but to cooperate with the government, so that the maximum number of patients can be treated and cured.

Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope, until till 2 am on Tuesday, was doing the rounds of private hospitals to personally ascertain whether or not they were implementing the government order to keep 80% beds reserved for COVID-19 patients and 20% for non-COVID. However, to his surprise he found that some of them were brazenly flouting the government norms despite having only 50 per cent occupancy.


Tope told FPJ, "As per the government order, it is mandatory for hospitals to admit COVID-19 patients on 80% reserved beds, while on the remaining 20% beds they can treat non-COVID patients. In some of the hospitals it was not being done even though the government has clarified that COVID-19 patients in these hospitals will get free treatment under the state health insurance scheme titled Mahatma Phule Jan Aarogya Yojana. Also, hospitals had not displayed information relating to availability of beds, allotment of beds done thus far and the number of vacant beds." He reiterated that despite repeated appeals the hospitals were not admitting COVID-19 patients and some of them had to move helter-skelter in search of one.

Tope said nearly 12,000 beds would be available, if these private hospitals were to diligently reserve 80% beds for COVID-19 patients. "So, show cause notices have been served on four leading hospitals. Stern action will be initiated against other hospitals, too, if they fail to comply with the government order," he noted. An officer with the Public Health Department said that action can be taken under the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the Epidemic Act, 1897, and the Indian Penal Code, for which necessary powers were delegated to the district collectors and municipal commissioners.

Meanwhile, PD Hinduja Hospital and MRC have confirmed receipt of the government notice from the office of CEO, State Health Assurance Society. "We are in adherence with all the provisions laid down by the state health regulators and are in the process of replying to the notice. At PD Hinduja Hospital, we fully support the government in the fight against the pandemic and have built suitable facilities for COVID treatment, which are continuously being enhanced. We are doing very thing possible to ensure the safety and well-being of all our patients in these testing times," the spokesman said.




Cyclone Nisarga: BMC evacuates Worli Koliwada, Haji Ali Dargah residents ahead of severe cyclonic storm


Mumbai: As it is highly likely that cyclone Nisarga will inundate low-lying areas of Mumbai, the BMC asked about 200 residents of Worli Koliwada and Haji Ali Dargah areas to vacate their houses and shift to the Worli Koli Samaj Bhavan.

According to Sharad Koli, a local fisherman and resident of Worli, "several residents have moved to a BMC shelter and others to the homes of their friends or relatives." Koli was assisting Mumbai Police and civic officials with the evacuation.

Mamta Pawar, a resident of Worli village, told The Free Press Journal, "We left our house with all our belongings, including jewellery. I am very afraid my house might be affected. I am newly married and we had carried out a lot of interior designing work in the house. I can only pray that my house is spared."

 
 

More than two months ago, Worli village had been sealed to prevent the spread of coronavirus cases. Says Pawar, "For the last three months, we were not allowed to leave our homes and, now, due to the cyclone, the first thing we have been asked to do is to shift to a safer place."

According to stall-owner Mohmaad Ibrahim Shaikh, who sells artificial jewellery inside the Haji Ali Dargah, around 80 people were asked to leave the dargah, as it stands in the middle of the sea.

"The police have asked us to leave and take shelter in the nearby Haji Ali garden. But how can we stay there in the rain, without a roof over our heads? So, I decided to come to my relative's house at Lotus Cinema near Nehru Planetarium. First, in the lockdown, we lost our livelihoods; and, now, the cyclone is causing us to leave our shanties. I don't know how much more suffering is in store for poor folks like us," said a distressed Shaikh.

 
 
 



At least 20 killed in landslides in Southern Assam, several others injured


 




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