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Coronavirus updates in Mumbai: Despite order from Maha government, some theatres still open in Mumbai

Despite the order to close all cinema halls, theatres and gyms in Mumbai, Pune, Thane and Navi Mumbai, several theatres were functioning in the city of Mumbai.

The Free Press Journal found that that Vile Parle’s Suncity Cinema and Juhu’s PVR theatre was still open.

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Despite ban on movie theatres by @CMOMaharashtra @OfficeofUT

Mumbai : Vile Parle Suncity theatre is still open despite govt announcement to close down all theaters. Photo BL Soni

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Despite ban on movie theatres by @CMOMaharashtra @OfficeofUT

Mumbai : Vile Parle Suncity theatre is still open despite govt announcement to close down all theaters. Photo BL Soni

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Mumbai : Juhu PVR   theatre is still open despite govt announcement to close down all theatres.

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The Maharashtra Government on Friday invoked the Epidemic Act which empowers the state to forcibly admit a person with coronavirus symptoms to a hospital wherein tests are required.

The Chief Minister said that in light of the rising threat that the virus poses, all gyms, swimming pools and drama and cinema theatres in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Pune, Pimri Chinchwad and Nagpur would remain shut midnight on Friday.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday also announced the closure of schools for students belonging to Class 1 to Class 9 in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. Schools in Mumbai will remain operational.

The Chief Minister said that these schools would remain closed until further notice.

Exams for 10th and 12th standard students however will continue as normal.

The number of coronavirus cases in the state has now risen to 17. This includes 10 people in Pune, three in Nagpur, three in Mumbai and one person in Thane.

Coronavirus helplines and testing centres as given by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare:

Helpline number: 011-2398046

Email address:

Testing centres in Maharashtra:

Kasturba Hospital for Infectious Diseases in Mumbai

Indira Gandhi Government Medical College in Nagpur

Pakistan channel issues notice to GEO TV

Islamabad: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory (PEMRA) has issued a show-cause notice to Geo News for discussing "under investigation/trial matters" and also for airing "unipolarity of views in its news bulletins and programmes".

The notice issued on Friday called on Geo News' CEO or any authorised representative of the channel to appear for a personal hearing regarding the matter on March 20, reports The News International.

The development comes a day after the National Accountability Burea (NAB) arrested Editor-in-Chief of the Jang Geo Media Group, Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman for illegal possession of a piece of land.


Despite giving the channel a week to respond to its notice, PEMRA has already started issuing directives to cable operators to shut down GEO News' broadcast in several cities across Pakistan and push the channel back to the last numbers.

"This is being done at a time when the Editor-in-Chief of the Jang Group/Geo has been arrested by NAB," The News International quoted Geo News Director News Rana Jawad as saying.

"This (censorship) is a manifestation of the conspiracy to shut down, silence and end media," he added.

Jawad further said said that Shakil-ur-Rahman's arrest and the subsequent censorship of Geo shows that the two events were linked to each other so that the largest media group in the country could be silenced and its voice should not reach the masses,


Latest coronavirus update in India: US Embassy, Consulates in India cancels all visa appointments from March 16

In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, the US Embassy and Consulates in India have cancelled all visa appointments from March 16.

A statement issued by the US Embassy, "US Mission India posts, in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, are cancelling immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments from March 16, 2020, onward." "Your visa appointment stands as cancelled. Once Mission India resumes regular consular operations, appointments will be made available and you will be able to reschedule," it said.

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in India rose to 82. Out of the confirmed cases, 65 of them Indian nationals while 17 are foreign nationals, according to the official website of the ministry.

The highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases were recorded from Kerala (19). Maharashtra, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi recorded 14, 14, 10, and seven cases, respectively. So far, two deaths due to the lethal infection have been reported in the country.

The development comes after a 68-year-old woman, who had tested positive for coronavirus, died due to co-morbidity -- diabetes and hypertension -- at a Delhi hospital on Friday. India had on Thursday reported its first death from coronavirus.

(Inputs from Agencies)


Latest coronavirus update in India: Malls, theatres, pubs to remain shut in Karnataka for a week amid virus scare

Bengaluru: Fear gripped Karnataka a bit too late on Friday the Thirteenth as a 76-year-old man from Kalaburagi became the first Covid-19 fatality in India and the virus started its spread among techies who work in a cloistered air-conditioned atmosphere making them more vulnerable.

Though the senior citizen had died on March 10, it was only late Thursday night that the results of his samples came in confirming that he was infected.

Soon after Karnataka got the dubious tag of recording the first Covid 19 death in India, the Yediyurappa government scrambled to announce a slew of measures including shuttering all revenue generating centres including malls, theatres, pubs and exhibitions across Karnataka for a week beginning Saturday.

This ban also applies to nightclubs, swimming pools, play areas, music festivals, club events, summer camps, sporting events, weddings, conferences, parties like birthdays and engagements. Dine-in restaurants will also be closed, and only home deliveries will be allowed. Colleges and universities too will shut down for a week.

Further, all Information Technology firm employees have been advised to work from home. The government is keeping a close watch on the IT offices as the virus can spread rampantly in a closed airconditioned atmosphere. The decision will be reviewed in a week, the Chief Minister told the media.

Kalburgi has been isolated and the city is under complete lockdown with tight travel restrictions. The move has stranded many students from across India who are at the Medical College pursuing their studies. Meanwhile, Google in India has confirmed that an employee at their Bengaluru office has tested positive for coronavirus.

"We can confirm that an employee from our Bangalore office has been diagnosed with COVID-19. They were in one of our Bangalore offices for a few hours before developing any symptoms. The employee has been on quarantine since then and we have asked colleagues who were in close contact with the employee to quarantine themselves and monitor their health, said Google India in a statement on Friday.

Out of an abundance of caution, we are asking employees in that Bangalore office to work from home tomorrow. We have taken and will continue to take all necessary precautionary measures, following the advice of public health officials, as we prioritize everyone's health and safety, the statement added.

In another development, two employees of tech giants Mindtree and Dell also tested positive for coronavirus. Karnataka has till now confirmed five other cases in the state. A Bengaluru Dell employee who returned from Austin in America via New York and Texas was the first person to be confirmed in the state. Later, his wife and 13-year-old daughter too were tested positive. Another techie who had travelled from US to Bengaluru via London, was tested positive next.

A 26-year old who had returned from Greece via Dubai to Mumbai was the fifth case. He had been to Greece on a honeymoon and returned to Mumbai in the first week of March. Later, he came to Bengaluru and worked for a day out of his office. The government is trying to trace all the people who came in contact with him.

Meanwhile, sources said the 76-year-old patient who died had arrived from Covid-hit Saudi Arabia on February 29. Though he had arrived from a Covid-19-affected country, his symptoms were misleading and tests for coronavirus were delayed due to old age-related complications such as breathing difficulty, asthma and hypertension.

His throat swab samples reached a Bengaluru lab only on March 11. Five days after his arrival, he developed complications and was admitted to a private hospital in Kalaburagi. Against medical advice, his family shifted him to a hospital in Hyderabad on March 9.

The next day he was brought back in an ambulance from Hyderabad. “He died on way to Kalaburagi, we don’t know when or where exactly,” an official said. All protocol related to the pandemic was followed during the man’s last rites on Wednesday afternoon in Kalaburagi, officials said.

Mumbai: Abusing wife would amount to outraging modesty

Mumbai: In what can spell trouble for 'abusive' husbands, the Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court has held that abusing a wife would amount to outraging her modesty. The court has said that such a husband can be prosecuted as per law.

The significant ruling was pronounced by a division bench of Justices Tanaji Nalawade and Mukund Sewlikar while disposing of a plea seeking to quash an FIR registered against the husband, who had abused his wife.

The husband was booked for abusing his wife and calling her a prostitute. The police, however, did not invoke the provisions that penalise outraging modesty of a woman. In fact, the FIR only mentioned charges of criminal intimidation and obscenity at public place along with defamation, as he had sent abusive messages to his wife on her WhatsApp.

According to the wife, the husband often called her a prostitute and accused her of engaging in the activity for earning money.


Having noted the contentions, Justice Nalawade said, “It appears that the husband has called his wife a prostitute. To call a woman -- even if she is one’s own wife -- a prostitute and to tell her that she earns money by indulging in prostitution amounts to insulting the modesty of a woman.”

“Therefore, there is prima facie evidence to indicate that the offence falls under section 509, which penalises a man for outraging modesty of women. In view of this, the prosecution is at liberty to carry out investigation to ascertain whether the offence under section 509 is made out,” Justice Nalawade held.

The bench then referred to the charges pertaining to obscenity at public places, which was invoked for sending WhatsApp messages. “The alleged obscene messages are sent on WhatsApp and these messages sent on personal accounts are strictly personal. Nobody has access to those messages except the sender and the receiver,” the bench noted while referring to the terms of WhatsApp.

The bench accordingly said WhatsApp cannot be a public place if messages are exchanged on personal accounts of two persons.

“However, if messages are posted on WhatsApp Group, in that case the same can be called a public place because all the members of the group will have access to those messages,” the bench said, while quashing the FIR against the husband to the extent of obscenity at public place charge.


Market Update: Sensex down by over 3,000 points; trading halted for 45 mins

Market Benchmark index Sensex halted trading for 45 mins as the stock market crashed by 3,090 points at 29,687.52 during the opening session on Friday. The broader Nifty was down by 966.10 points -10.07% at 8,624.05 in the opening session.

The trading has been halted for the first time after May 2008.

The markets will resume for pre-open at 10.05 am.

Indian equity market continued to be in the bear phase with the BSE Sensex ending 2,919 points lower during the closing session after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared coronavirus as a global pandemic. Broader Nifty ended 868.25 points lower during the closing trade on Thursday.

Sensex ended at 32,778.14 down by 2919.26 -8.18% while Nifty ended at 9,590.15 points down by 868.25 -8.30% during the closing session on Thursday.

India's stock market was down by 8.1%, indicating that Indian markets were the most affected.


Latest coronavirus update in India: 76-year-old Karnataka man dies, becomes India's first victim of COVID-19

Bengaluru: Karnataka Health Minister B. Sriramulu on Thursday confirmed that a 76-year-old man from Kalaburgi in the state's northern region died of Coronavirus.

"The 76-year-old man from Kalaburgi who passed away and was suspected to be a COVID-19 patient has been confirmed for COVID-19," tweeted state Health Minister B. Sriramulu late on Thursday night. A Government statement from New Delhi late on Thursday night said the old man died due to comorbidity and has also tested positive for COVID-19.

Karnataka Health and Family Welfare Department's joint director for Communicable Diseases Prakash Kumar said all the protocols are being followed with regard to the safe disposal of the old man's body. Kumar said the body has been disinfected completely and disposed as per Central government's guidelines. He shared the guidelines to be followed on how to handle a corpse in a coronavirus situation, detailing the general principles, tips for corpse handlers, storage or mortuary services, identification and release of body to relatives.


Sriramulu said the health department has initiated the contact tracing and isolation measures. According to the Central government statement, the old man visited Saudi Arabia on January 29 and returned to India a month later on February 29. "He was a known case of hypertension and asthma. He reached back to Hyderabad on February 29 and went to Kalaburgi. While he was asymptomatic on his return, he developed symptoms of fever and cough on March 6. One private doctor visited him at his home and treated him there,a said the statement.

However, on March 9, the Kalaburgi man's health deteriorated with aggravated symptoms and a private hospital in the town provisionally diagnosed his case as mid zone viral pneumonia and suspected COVID-19. On March 9th itself, Viral Research Diagnostic Laboratory, Gulbarga Institute of Medical Sciences (GIMS), Kalaburgi collected his sample and dispatched it to VDRL, Bangalore Medical College & Research Institute, Bengaluru to rule out Coronavirus.

"Without waiting for the test results, the attendees insisted and the patient was discharged against medical advice (DAMA) and the attendees took him to a private hospital in Hyderabad," said the statement. Kalaburgi is 232 km west of Hyderabad. Though Kalaburgi District Health Officer met the patient's relatives and requested them to shift the patient to an isolated ward within GIMS, according to the instructions of the Deputy Commissioner of the district, the relatives didn't heed them and moved the patient without the officer's knowledge to Hyderabad.

"The patient was admitted in a private hospital in Hyderabad and treated. Later he was discharged and while he was being brought back he died on the way to GIMS, Kalaburgi on Tuesday,a said the statement. Currently, all precautionary measures as per protocol such as contact tracing, screening and home quarantine of the contacts have been initiated by the Kalaburgi district health and family welfare department and being monitored continuously.

Sriramulu said the old man was a coronavirus suspect after his death on Wednesday and confirmed the cause of death on Thursday. Following his death in a private Hyderabad hospital, state health department's Information, Education and Communication (IEC) special officer Suresh Shastri said Telangana government has also been informed of the development.


Petty much? After joining BJP, state EOW reopens land forgery case against Jyotiraditya Scindia

The Madhya Pradesh Economic Offences Wing (EOW) on Thursday decided to verify facts afresh in a complaint against former Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia and his family, in which they are accused of falsifying a property document while selling land.

The development came after Scindia quit the Congress and joined the BJP on Wednesday. 22 MLAs who belong to his camp also resigned, threatening the survival of the Kamal Nath government in the state.

"Yes, an order has been given for re-verification of facts in the complaint filed by Surendra Shrivastava," an Economic Offences Wing official told PTI.

An EOW release said Mr Shrivastava on Thursday filed a new complaint against Mr Scindia and his family, alleging that by falsifying a registry document, they sold him a piece of land at Mahalgaon which was smaller by 6,000 sq feet than the original agreement in 2009.

He had lodged the complaint first on March 26, 2014. But it was investigated and closed in 2018, the EOW official said. "As he again petitioned us today, we will re-verify the facts," the officer said.

Jyotiraditya Scindia's close aide Pankaj Chaturvedi alleged that it was political vendetta.

"The case had been closed for want of evidence. Now for vengeance, it is being reopened. We have full faith in the Constitution and law. We will get justice and Kamal Nath government a befitting reply," Chaturvedi said.

On Wednesday, Jyotiraditya Scindia finally joined the BJP in the presence of JP Nadda and other senior leaders. Interestingly, PM Modi and Amit Shah were missing in action but it was homecoming of sorts for the scion.

However, as expected, Scindia's exit did go well with the Congresss.

Addressing the topic of defection from the party to BJP, Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said that said there is a difference between what Scindia is saying and what is in his heart.

"I studied with Jyotiraditya. I know him very well," Gandhi added, calling Scindia's shift a "battle of ideology".

Gandhi alleged that Jyotiraditya was scared for his political future and hence he kept his ideology in his pocket and joined the RSS.

Gandhi also said that he will not earn respect in the BJP.

Scindia haS been considered a close associate of Gandhi's and many had even considered him a viable candidate for becoming the party President, should the Gandhis step aside. Though Gandhi said that Scindia is allowed at his home anytime, it would be interesting to look out for what happens between the Gandhi's and Scindia's in the future.

In the wake of Jyotiraditya Scindia joining the Bharatiya Janata Party, former Chief Minister and Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Thursday took a jibe at his former party colleague, stating that "may God keep him safe in BJP".

Taking to Twitter, Singh said that nothing in the Gwalior Chambal division moved without his consent in the last 16 months.

"No question he was not at all sidelined. In fact, please ask any Congress Leader from MP particularly from Gwalior Chambal Division and you would come to know nothing moved in this area without his consent in the last 16 months. Sad. But I wish him well under ModiShah Tutelage!" Singh tweeted.

Other Congress leaders also expressed rage after Scindia quit the party to join BJP.

'Dangerous innuendo', 'outright lies': Indian Police Association slams New York Times' 'biased' article on Delhi riots

The Indian Police Service Association on Thursday strongly condemned an article written in the New York Times, critisising the conduct of the police during the Delhi riots.

Taking to Twitter, the IPS Association called the article a 'combination of biased reporting', 'dangerous innuendo', and 'outright lies'.

IPS Association

1/3 We strongly condemn the article in @nytimes on the conduct of Police in Delhi riots, which is a combination of biased reporting, dangerous innuendo and outright lies.

The article is clearly a concerted effort to denigrate and defame Indian Institutions. @PMOIndia @HMOIndia

8:29 AM - Mar 12, 2020
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Adding that all the police forces in India were professional bodies that do their duties without fear or favour, the IPS Association added, "Our personnel are neither Hindus nor Muslims. They are Indians, serve Indians and during critical times they have also sacrificed their lives for Indians."

IPS Association

3/3 It is easy to cast aspersions on Police but here is a reminder that 2 security personnel have lost their lives in the riots and more than 70 were injured.

India’s Police forces will keep doing their duty and ensure every Indian is protected. @toi @IndiaToday @IndianExpress

8:33 AM - Mar 12, 2020
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The New York Times article titled 'How Delhi’s Police Turned Against Muslims', claimed that the Delhi police "concertedly moved against Muslims and at times actively helped the Hindu mobs that rampaged in New Delhi in late February, burning down Muslim homes and targeting Muslim families."

Earlier on Wednesday, while speaking to Lok Sabha, Union Home Minister Union Home Minister Amit Shah admitted in Parliament that the Central government has identified 1,100 people who participated in the Delhi riots that killed over 50 people, including a head constable and severely injuring others.

During his speech, Shah said that government data of its citizens, has been linked with facial recognition technology to identify the accused.

Donald Trump says India is 'ahead of the curve' in tackling coronavirus, greets Ireland's Leo Varadkar with Namaste

US President Donald Trump praised India's efforts in tackling the coronavirus pandemic by telling people to employ a non-contact namaste greeting, a Hindustan Times report said.

Trump was meeting Ireland Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Instead of shaking hands, both of them greeted each other with a 'namaste'.

Press Trust of India

US President Donald Trump, visiting Irish PM Leo Varadkar greet each other in traditional Indian way of 'namaste' at White House, say it's necessary in times of #coronavirus

11:21 AM - Mar 12, 2020
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I just got back from India and I did not shake any hands there and it was very easy because they go like this,” Trump went on to say, putting his hands together in namaste. And he bowed to show how they greet in Japan.

“They are ahead of the curve,” he added.

Nitendra Singh नितेन्द्र सिंह
US President Donald Trump does a Namaste. Recalls his India visit, saying, "just got back from India. And I didnt shake any hands."#CoronavirusPandemic

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Chandra R. Srikanth

Namaste is India's most significant contribution to a world trying to be polite in an era of #CoronavirusPandemic. So far seen visuals of Prince Charles, Emmanuel Macron, Donald  Trump & Leo Varadkar go ????????

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However, if you may recall, Trump's visit to India did not only have namastes, as he claims. These two pictures from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Instagram are proof of that


Trump's statements come on the same day British economist Jim O'Neil said that the world was lucky that the virus started in China and not India.

“Thank God this didn’t start in somewhere like India, because there’s absolutely no way that the quality of Indian governance could move to react in the way that the Chinese have done, that’s the good side of the Chinese model, and I think you could probably say the same about Brazil too,” he said.

Earlier on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that no minister of the Central Government would be travelling abroad "in the upcoming days".

Modi also urged citizens to "avoid non-essential travel" and eschew large gatherings.

"The Government is fully vigilant about the situation due to COVID-19 novel coronavirus. Across ministries and states, multiple steps have been proactively taken to ensure safety of all. These steps are wide-ranging, from suspension of Visas to augmenting healthcare capacities," the Prime Minister tweeted, urging people to "say no to panic" and "yes to precautions".

A few world leaders have already employed namaste as a greeting. The past week saw UK's Prince Charles, and France's President Emmanuel Macron greet people with a namaste.