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Watch: Mark Zuckerberg talks about Facebook's Rs 43,574 cr deal with Reliance Jio


Reliance-owned Jio Platforms and Facebook announced the signing of binding agreements for an investment of ₹ 43,574 crore by Facebook into Jio Platforms. This investment by Facebook values Jio Platforms at ₹ 4.62 lakh crore pre-money enterprise value. Facebook’s investment will translate into a 9.99% equity stake in Jio Platforms on a fully diluted basis.

The partnership between Facebook and Jio is the largest investment for a minority stake by a technology company anywhere in the world and the largest FDI in the technology sector in India. The investment values Jio Platforms amongst the top 5 listed companies in India by market capitalization, within just three and a half years of launch of commercial services, validating Reliance Industries’ capability in incubating and building disruptive next-generation businesses, while delivering market defining shareholder value.

The partnership assumes special significance for India in the wake of the severe disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic in the Indian — and the global — economy. In the post-COVID era, comprehensive digitalisation will be an absolute necessity for revitalisation of the Indian economy. It is our common belief and commitment that no Indian should be deprived of the tremendous new opportunities, including opportunities for new employment and new businesses, in the process of India’s 360-degree digital transformation.


Arun Sharma
@ArunSharmaLive
????  Mark Zuckerberg On Deal With #RelianceJio  Worth Rs 43,574 Crore

????India Has More Than 6 Crore Small Business Which Will Get Tools & New Ways To Communicate So That They Can Grow

????Small Businesses Are At The Core Of Any Economy

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Mark Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook, "There's a lot going on in the world right now, but I wanted to share an update on our work in India. Facebook is teaming up with Jio Platforms -- we're making a financial investment, and more than that, we're committing to work together on some major projects that will open up commerce opportunities for people across India.

India is home to the largest communities on Facebook and WhatsApp, and a lot of talented entrepreneurs. The country is in the middle of a major digital transformation and organizations like Jio have played a big part in getting hundreds of millions of Indian people and small businesses online.

This is especially important right now, because small businesses are the core of every economy and they need our support. India has more than 60 million small businesses and millions of people rely on them for jobs. With communities around the world in lockdown, many of these entrepreneurs need digital tools they can rely on to find and communicate with customers and grow their businesses. This is something we can help with -- and that's why we're partnering with Jio to help people and businesses in India create new opportunities.

I want to thank Mukesh Ambani and the entire Jio team for their partnership. We're looking forward to getting started."




Trump’s former White House chief strategist hails PM Modi for standing up to China – who exactly is Steve Bannon?


On Tuesday, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, White House chief strategist and advisor Steve Bannon, who was also editor-in-chief of conservative polemicist website Breitbart, praised PM Modi’s response to China.

Bannon is a long-time Modi admirer who even called him a ‘Trump before Trump’. In fact, Ambassador to US Harsh Singala once called Bannon a Dharma warrior, before deleting his effusive tweet.

Speaking to Times Now, Steve Bannon called PM Modi a hero who stood against ‘predatory’ capitalism, calling him someone who ‘understands history and can’t be bought off’, calling him a symbol of the world!


BJP

@BJP4India
“PM Modi is a model for the world. India as world’s largest democracy is allowing the voices of the little guys to be heard.

India’s decision to move out of RCEP is in the interest of the Indian people, Indian economy & the world.”, says Stephen Bannon, War Room Pandemic Host

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BJP

@BJP4India
“PM Modi is a hero, he has stood up to the predatory capitalism. He understands history and can’t be bought off! He is a symbol for the world.”

Stephen Bannon, War Room Pandemic Host and Political Strategist notes.

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On April 18, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) had revised its foreign investment policy, making it much difficult for companies from countries sharing a land border with India, including China, to invest in the country.

China said earlier the additional barriers set by India for investors from specific countries violate World Trade Organisation's principle of non-discrimination, and go against the general trend of liberalisation and facilitation of trade and investment.

"More importantly, they do not conform to the consensus of G20 leaders and trade ministers to realise a free, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent, predictable and stable trade and investment environment, and to keep our markets open," said a statement issued by the Chinese Embassy.

Who is Steve Bannon?

Steve Bannon was a founding member of Breitbard News, a right-news website which has been accused of being ‘racist, sexist, xenophobic’ and a voice of the ‘alternative right’. He was the chief executive of Trump’s presidential campaign, he famously said: “Darkness is good: Dick Cheney, Darth Vader, Satan. That’s power. It only helps us when they get it wrong. When they’re blind to who we are and what we are doing.”

Bannon was Trump’s chief executive officer during his presential bid, served on the board of Cambridge Analytica, and was the White House chief strategist.

Bannon has often been effusive of his praise for Modi, comparing him to former US President Reagan. He also is something of an avid Gita fan claiming that the world was amid a moral crisis and looking forward to a ‘dharma war’. He had said: ““We’re at the very beginning stages of a very brutal and bloody conflict… (and we) need to fight for our beliefs against this new barbarity that’s starting, that will completely eradicate everything that we’ve been bequeathed over the last 2,000-2,500 years.”

After Modi won in 2019, Bannon had said: “Well, look, I, when Modi first won five years ago, I was very proud of the fact that Breitbart which is a conservative kind of right-wing site in the United States. We covered that election very closely and the reason was the day he won we put a headline that he was India's Reagan; and I have been incredibly impressed since the first day I heard of him I started following him in Indian politics and I would tell the people in India what I believe just happened is... exactly like Ronald Reagan second win in 1984.”

He noted that the Western media was stunned by the victory.

He was removed from power after the Charlottesville United the Right rally in 2017. There were also murmurs that Trump didn’t take kindly to ‘President Bannon jibes’ which seemed to insinuate that Steve Bannon was calling the shots.

Since leaving the White House, Bannon has appeared as a disparate figure, not quite able to understand the grammar of politics in Europe, though he did serve as unofficial political advisor to Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro.




Milind Deora hails Facebook-Jio partnership; says global tech giant could enable India to be a world leader in AI innovation


Congress leader Milind Deora on Wednesday hailed the tie-up between Facebook and Reliance Jio that took place earlier in the day.

“Welcome respite from our daily doom & gloom. Mukesh Ambani always envisioned @reliancejio as a global internet company, not merely an Indian telco. As we consume more & more data, Jio’s partnership with @Facebook could enable India to become a world leader in AI innovation (sic),” he tweeted.


Milind Deora मिलिंद देवरा

@milinddeora
Welcome respite from our daily doom & gloom. Mukesh Ambani always envisioned @reliancejio as a global internet company, not merely an Indian telco.

As we consume more & more data, Jio’s partnership with @Facebook could enable India to become a world leader in AI innovation https://twitter.com/cnnnews18/status/1252804202184630273 …

CNNNews18

@CNNnews18
Facebook has announced an investment of ₹ 43,574 cr in Reliance Jio for a 9.99% stake, making this the largest technology sector FDI in India. 

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO & Founder, Facebook, talks about the #FacebookJioDeal

LIVE Updates: https://www.news18.com/news/business/facebook-jio-deal-live-updates-reliance-ril-share-price-mark-zuckerberg-mukesh-ambani-whatsapp-jio-mart-2587359.html …

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Reliance-owned Jio Platforms and Facebook announced the signing of binding agreements for an investment of ₹ 43,574 crore by Facebook into Jio Platforms. This investment by Facebook values Jio Platforms at ₹ 4.62 lakh crore pre-money enterprise value. Facebook’s investment will translate into a 9.99% equity stake in Jio Platforms on a fully diluted basis.

Earlier, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote a detailed post on the acquisition. “here's a lot going on in the world right now, but I wanted to share an update on our work in India. Facebook is teaming up with Jio Platforms -- we're making a financial investment, and more than that, we're committing to work together on some major projects that will open up commerce opportunities for people across India.


"India is home to the largest communities on Facebook and WhatsApp, and a lot of talented entrepreneurs. The country is in the middle of a major digital transformation and organizations like Jio have played a big part in getting hundreds of millions of Indian people and small businesses online.

This is especially important right now, because small businesses are the core of every economy and they need our support. India has more than 60 million small businesses and millions of people rely on them for jobs. With communities around the world in lockdown, many of these entrepreneurs need digital tools they can rely on to find and communicate with customers and grow their businesses. This is something we can help with -- and that's why we're partnering with Jio to help people and businesses in India create new opportunities.

I want to thank Mukesh Ambani and the entire Jio team for their partnership. We're looking forward to getting started."




China wonders if US paid compensation for AIDS, Twitter wonders if the propaganda machine is running low on cash


The novel coronavirus outbreak that began in China's Wuhan, has now spread to 185 countries and affected more than 2.5 million people globally. As per data provided by the COVID-19 live tracker maintained by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, more than 171,800 people have died.

Against this backdrop, many countries have criticised China for not taking adequate measures, and for endangering people's lives in other countries.

US President Donald Trump for example, recently said that there would be consequences if China had been "knowingly responsible" for the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Describing the novel coronavirus as a plague, he had also said on Sunday said that he was too pleased with China. The US has launched an investigation into whether the deadly virus "escaped" from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and Trump on Sunday said that America wants to "see what's going on".

"We spoke to them (Chinese) a long time ago about going in. We want to go in. We want to see what's going on. And we weren't exactly invited, I can tell you that," Trump told reporters.

China however has shut down this chain of thoughts. Reacting to Trump's comments, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a media briefing here that "the virus is the common enemy for all mankind".

He also drew a parallel with previous viruses and diseases that had affected the world wondering why nobody has asked the US to "take the consequences".

"Did anyone ask the US to offer compensations for the 2009 H1N1 flu, which was first diagnosed before breaking out on a large scale in the US and then spread to 214 countries and regions, killing nearly 200,000 people?" Geng Shuang asked.

He added that AIDS "was first reported in the US in the 1980s" before it affected the rest of the world and caused "untold sufferings to countless victims".

"Did anyone come forward and ask the US to be held accountable?" he asked again, this time talking about AIDS.

It must however be mentioned that the US does indeed fund initiatives to combat these health crises.

Geng Shuang also quoted a professor from the National University of Singapore, Kishore Mahbubani, to say that the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers had led to the global financial crisis.

"In addition, Kishore Mahbubani, a professor at the National University of Singapore, said in an interview the other day that the financial turmoil in the US triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 turned into a global financial crisis. Did anyone ask the US to take the consequences?" he asked.

Naturally, Twitter ridiculed China's conspiracy theory and asked if the nation is cost cut its propaganda machine


Mark Hemingway

@Heminator
AIDS originated in Africa. 

And by the way, China Daily is the outfit that the Washington Post takes money from and runs their "special advertising section" full of propaganda. https://twitter.com/ChinaDaily/status/1252212123490562048 …

China Daily

@ChinaDaily
Replying to @ChinaDaily
AIDS was first discovered in the US in the 1980s and spread to the world, causing great agony for the world, has anyone held the US accountable? he said. (2/3)

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Meghna Girish
@megirish2001
Factually incorrect! 

The origin of HIV was traced by scientists to West Africa. When people tested positive for HIV in the US, they did not hide the spread of infection. In fact, they helped the world in strengthening infection prevention, control, care & support for PLHIV. https://twitter.com/ChinaDaily/status/1252212123490562048 …

China Daily

@ChinaDaily
Replying to @ChinaDaily
AIDS was first discovered in the US in the 1980s and spread to the world, causing great agony for the world, has anyone held the US accountable? he said. (2/3)

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John Noonan

@noonanjo
Is it just me or is Chinese propaganda getting lazier? 

Maybe they don't realize our internet isn't censored by Communists, and that Americans are perfectly capable of spending 11 seconds on Google and learning AIDs' origin in the Belgian Congo nearly a century ago. https://twitter.com/ChinaDaily/status/1252212123490562048 …

China Daily

@ChinaDaily
Replying to @ChinaDaily
AIDS was first discovered in the US in the 1980s and spread to the world, causing great agony for the world, has anyone held the US accountable? he said. (2/3)

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Yusuf Unjhawala ????????

@YusufDFI
Typical Chinese propaganda to confuse ppl. The virus that caused AIDS was "discovered" in the US, its origin was traced to Africa. Wuhy's origin is China and spread from there. And China lied to save its image and put the whole world in trouble. THAT is the problem. https://twitter.com/ChinaDaily/status/1252212123490562048 …

China Daily

@ChinaDaily
Replying to @ChinaDaily
AIDS was first discovered in the US in the 1980s and spread to the world, causing great agony for the world, has anyone held the US accountable? he said. (2/3)

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Joe Moschella
@joemosch
To the contrary, AIDS was first discovered in and spread from Africa. And the United States provided tens of billions of dollars to African nations under PEPFAR and literally changed life expectancies in those nations in under a decade.

Tell me more about your efforts in Africa. https://twitter.com/ChinaDaily/status/1252212123490562048 …

China Daily

@ChinaDaily
Replying to @ChinaDaily
AIDS was first discovered in the US in the 1980s and spread to the world, causing great agony for the world, has anyone held the US accountable? he said. (2/3)

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"Like any other country, China is attacked by this virus. China is a victim instead of the culprit. We are not co-worker for this virus," he had said, adding that China's efforts to contain the virus has provided "valuable experience for the international community" to deal with the challenged posed by the outbreak in their own countries.

Shuang also turned down Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne's call for an international inquiry into coronavirus including its origins in China.

(With inputs from agencies)




No Muslims among 101 accused for Palghar sadhu lynching: Maha Home Minister Anil Deshmukh


On Tuesday, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said that none of the 101 people who have been arrested in connection with the Palghar lynching is a Muslim. He accused the opposition of giving a communal colour over the incident.

Anil Deshmukh while addressing state via Facebook said, "A Special IG level officer in CID is investigating the matter. But I would like to mention that police arrested 101 persons within 8 hrs of the offence. We're releasing the names of accused via WhatsApp today. None of the accused arrested in connection with the incident is a Muslim. It is unfortunate that communal politics is being played following the incident."


ANI

@ANI
A Special IG level officer in CID is investigating the matter. But I would like to mention that police arrested 101 persons within 8 hrs of the offence. We're releasing the names of accused via WhatsApp today,there's no Muslim in that list:Maharashtra Home Min on Palghar incident

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Without naming anyone, he said, "Some people are seeing 'Mungerilal ke haseen sapne' (pipedream)...it is not the time to play politics, but fight coronavirus collectively," reported PTI.

He later shared the entire list of the 101 arrested in the Palghar incident. Taking to Twitter, Anil Deshmukh wrote: "The list of the 101 arrested in the Palghar incident. Especially sharing for those who were trying to make this a communal issue."


ANIL DESHMUKH

@AnilDeshmukhNCP
The list of the 101 arrested in the #Palghar incident. Especially sharing for those who were trying to make this a communal issue..

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The incident took place on the night of April 16 when three men - two seers and their driver - were going from Mumbai in a car towards Surat in Gujarat to attend a funeral. Their vehicle was stopped near a village in Palghar district where the three were dragged out of the car and beaten to death with sticks by a mob on suspicion that they were child-lifters.

The deceased were identified as Chikne Maharaj Kalpavrukshagiri (70), Sushilgiri Maharaj (35), and driver Nilesh Telgade (30). The Maharashtra government earlier ordered a high- level probe into the incident, and two policemen from Palghar were suspended on Monday for alleged dereliction of duty.

(Inputs from Agencies)




Maharashtra Home Minister urges CBI, ED to take Wadhawan family into custody as quarantine period ends today


On Wednesday, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh urged CBI and ED to take the Wadhawan family into their custody as their quarantine period in Mahabaleshwar ends today at 2 pm.

While addressing the state through Facebook Live, Anil Deshmukh said, "Today Wadhawan family is completing their quarantine period. So police have informed ED and CBI that they should come and take them in custody. We've requested them to take custody after 2 pm today. But if they don't, they will be in our custody till ED or CBI comes."


Sanjay Jog
@SanjayJog7
BREAKING 14 day quarantine of Wadhwan family at Mahabaleshwar school ends at 2 pm on Wednesday. Maha Home Minister Anil Deshmukh has urged CBI and ED to take their custody till that period they will remain in the police custody. No question of protecting the family@fpjindia

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Members of the Wadhawan Family of DHFL Group were placed under institutional quarantine by the local police in Mahabaleshwar on April 9 after they visited the town when the entire country is under lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Earlier, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had said that it will be inquired how 23 people of the Wadhawan family got permission to travel from Khandala to Mahabaleshwar.

DHFL promoters Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan had not appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) last month in connection with the probe against Yes Bank promoter Rana Kapoor and others for money laundering. Kapil Wadhawan had cited coronavirus pandemic as the reason for his inability to join the investigation.




From loss of jobs in the Middle East to rising unemployment back home, here's how the oil price crash will affect India


Oil prices have crashed. Just look at the chart below. It has plunged into negative territory because traders want to jettison the stocks they had hoarded hoping for an increase in oil prices. Now they are willing to pay other traders from taking this oil off their hands.

Source - Bloomberg
For weeks media was full of reports of oil tanker charter prices firming up. These tankers were being used to stock the excess oil produced. By last fortnight, empty crude oil tankers were hard to come by. Now the rentals of these oil tankers are beginning to hurt, and oil prices have been slipping sharply.

Clearly, demand for oil has collapsed thanks to Covid-19 lockdowns, and supply was still high. Among the countries that are likely to be most savagely hit are the US (The world’s largest oil producer, countries in the Middle East (particularly Saudi Arabia which is the second largest producer), Russia and other oil exporters. Iran and Russia may be less hurt because they were already coping with sanctions imposed by the US and had lost much of their oil income.

Beneficiaries are likely to be big oil importers – especially China and India. But for India it could be a double-edged situation. True, its oil bills will fall. But a drop of oil income in the Middle East will mean a slowdown on fresh recruitment, a slashing down of existing jobs, and stoppage of work on major (ambitious) civil contracts. War torn Iraq was viewed as a goldmine for Indian contractors. Even Abu Dhabi, usually seen to be rolling in surplus cash, opted to debut in the loans market with a request for $2 billion.

That could mean many Indians losing their jobs in the Middle East. India is one of the biggest recipients of remittances (see chart). There could be steep fall in remittances – it was $68.97 billion last year, which is a bit of a climbdown from a peak of $70.14 billion in 2014. Falling remittances and rising unemployment will hit India hard, offsetting some of the benefits accruing from the fall in oil prices.

One of the biggest losers could be US President Donald Trump who is known to have his vote banks in an around Texas. Falling oil prices have already meant the closure of several shale gas producers. Now it will hit the big oil producers too – headquartered mostly in Texas. Over the years, Texas has emerged as a major financier of US elections as well.

That could also explain why the US President worked hard to broker peace between Russia (which refused to abide by the OPEC suggested production cuts) and Saudi Arabia (a close ally of the US). However, just as peace talks began, Mexico refused to agree to production cuts.

The OPEC cartel is so fragile today – thanks also to the embargoes imposed by the US on Russia and Iran – that it just needed a renegade like Mexico to break the agreement between Russia and Saudi Arabia on oil cuts.

Expect some bleeding to continue. Will this lead to the abandonment of the sanctions on oil income imposed by the US over Russian and Iranian oil? Will this mean that OPEC will be allowed to emerge as the price guarantor of oil, bolstered by the US. The truth is that nobody knows.

The US is itself too weak – after being perceived as a wrecker of multilateral forums like the WHO, and arbitrarily breaking the accord over Iran, and being savagely mauled by the coronavirus epidemic – to crack the whip and get all oil producers to toe the line that OPEC draws. And the drop in oil prices could hurt it a lot more.

It may not be long, that the contagion will affect banks as well which had lent huge sums of money to oil producers. Already one major oil trading company in Singapore defaulted a day ago. More heads could roll soon.

 



Losses amid lockdown? This real estate firm just made sales worth Rs 252 crore


The nationwide lockdown, imposed since March 25 to control coronavirus outbreak, has affected housing demand badly, but sales have not come to a grinding halt and brokerage firms are able to close some transactions digitally with the help of freebies offered by developers.

Home-grown property brokerage firm Anarock on Monday said in a statement that it has sold properties worth Rs 252 crore since lockdown through digital transactions.

"Despite the coronavirus-induced nationwide lockdown and all on-ground activity halted since March 25, the Anarock group has successfully closed the digital sale of 240 homes worth Rs 214.6 crore and 62 office spaces collectively worth Rs 37 crore," it said in a statement.

Of the total number of housing sales closed post lockdown, at least 49 per cent (approx 117 units) worth over Rs 85 crore were sold in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).

"The first 10 days of the lockdown were a struggle to align sales, but Anarock quickly took up the slack and homed in on the emerging opportunity. Many of these sales were in the final leg of the deal and others were open but were all closed virtually," Anarock Chairman Anuj Puri said.

Noida-based property broker Investors Clinic, too, said in a statement that it "sold properties worth Rs 400 crore during the lockdown period in the month of March".

During the lockdown, the company has launched a campaign "Walk in Nahi, Log in Karona" for consumers to book homes digitally just by paying Rs 1 lakh.

Separately, brokerage firm 360 Realtors said it has sold more than 112 units during the lockdown having a Gross Transaction Value (GTV) of more than Rs 105 crore through online bookings.

Ankit Kansal, MD, 360 Realtors, said, "The sector is showing resilience as most of the companies are working from home & trying to engage with customers through alternative mediums such as telephonic calls, video chats, online meeting platforms, etc." "Old funnel got converted and many of these deals were from the NRIs who are contributing in bigger numbers than the domestic buyers. Many expats are trying to leverage dip in the value of rupee. The closure of the financial year has also helped in pushing ahead," Kansal said.

Earlier this month, property brokerage firm Square Yards, which is backed by Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group and Times Group, had said it sold over 400 housing units worth more than Rs 200 crore in the last 10 days of March despite the lockdown.

Anarock has recently said that India''s residential real estate has been severely hit by nationwide lockdown and sales could fall by up to 35 per cent across seven major cities during the 2020 calendar year following the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country.

 
 
 



Donald Trump to suspend immigration into the US due to coronavirus outbreak


US President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced a plan to suspend immigration to the United States due to coronavirus outbreak.

Donald Trump made the announcement by a tweet and did not offer specifics, such as time frame and who would be affected. The US President said he would sign an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration.

“In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States,” Donald Trump tweeted.


Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump
In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!

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The announcement comes as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States crosses 780,000, nearly 42,000 people have died. According to Johns Hopkins University, there are 783,290 COVID-19 cases in the United States, while the death toll stands at 41,872. A total of 72,015 people have recovered.

President Donald Trump on Monday has said that one of the lessons to be learned from the novel coronavirus pandemic is that the United States should build the supply chains inside the country.

Trump's remarks assume significance amid the disruption in the supply chain and America's dependence on other countries on items of necessities and pharmaceuticals, including anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine that is cited by him as a viable therapeutic to the deadly COVID-19. The US imports a majority of its pharmaceutical products from India and China.

(Inputs from Agencies)




Kim Jong-Un in 'grave danger' after heart surgery, says US media; South Korea asks for detailed probe


North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un is in ‘grave danger’ following a heart surgery, a CNN report has revealed.

Kim recently missed the celebration of his grandfather, which raised speculation about his well-being the report added.

Interestingly, North Korea is the only country to not involve itself in the war against the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. No case has been reported from there, although South Korea has in excess of 10,000 cases in the country

Meanwhile, tThe South Korean government on Tuesday was looking into U.S. media reports saying North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was in fragile condition after surgery.

Officials from South Korea’s Unification Ministry and National Intelligence Service said they couldn’t immediately confirm the report. CNN cited an anonymous U.S. official who said Kim was in “grave danger” after an unspecified surgery.

The Unification Ministry, which deals with inter-Korean affairs, said it couldn’t confirm another report by Daily NK, which cited anonymous sources to report that Kim was recovering from heart surgery in the capital Pyongyang and that his condition was improving.

Kim's absences from official state media often spark speculation and rumors about his health. North Korea has no free press and is often a black hole when it comes to the country's leadership. Analysts are heavily reliant on scanning state media dispatches and watching propaganda videos for any semblance of a clue.

Kim last appeared in North Korean state media on April 11. April 15 -- North Korea's most important holiday, the anniversary of the birth of the country's founding father, Kim Il Sung -- came and went without any official mention of Kim Jong Un's movements.

Experts are unsure of what to make of Kim's absence from any festivities celebrating his grandfather. When North Korean leaders have not shown up to these important celebrations in the past, it has portended major developments. But it has also turned out to be nothing.

"There have been a number of recent rumours about Kim's health (smoking, heart, and brain). If Kim is hospitalized, it would explain why he wasn't present on the important April 15th celebrations," said Bruce Klingner, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation and former CIA deputy division chief for North Korea. "But, over the years, there have been a number of false health rumors about Kim Jong-un or his father. We'll have to wait and see." Kim Jong Il's absence from a parade celebrating North Korea's 60th anniversary in 2008 was followed by rumblings that he was in poor health. It was later revealed he had a stroke, after which his health continued to decline until his death in 2011.

Kim Jong Un disappeared from the public eye for more than a month in 2014, which also prompted speculation about his health. He returned sporting a cane, and days later South Korean intelligence said that he had a cyst removed from his ankle.





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