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Rahul Gandhi’s new video explaining 'China Border Conflict'


On Friday, Rahul Gandhi released a video with a sombre tune which looked to explain the current geopolitics and the India-China stand-off.

He wrote: “Since 2014, the PM's constant blunders and indiscretions have fundamentally weakened India and left us vulnerable. Empty words don't suffice in the world of geopolitics.”

 
 

IIn the video, with sombre funeral music in the background, a serious-looking Rahul Gandhi looked to explain the current Galwan standoff.

Gandhi, sounding and looking like a sombre university about to make tenure, claims that China is acting aggressive because the Modi government has failed on three counts – foreign policy, neighbourhood and the economy.

This he surmises is the reason China is acting more aggressive in the Galwan Valley, though one would wonder what the reasoning is for China to infuriate countries all across the globe, from Australia to Japan.

Gandhi goes on to explain that countries are protected by a ‘confluence of forces’. He laments that India’s relationship with Russia, US and the European Union had become ‘transactional’ while the Modi government had angered friendly neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka.

He goes on to lament that economic growth, India’s calling card across the globe, had stagnated, that unemployment was at an all-time high and that India’s strength had become its weakness.

The video was interspersed with graphics and a sombre tone showing with a dark background, which one commentator felt looked like a rehab video.

 
 
 



Rajasthan Political Crisis: 2 Congress MLAs suspended over tapes - what we know so far


Rebel Congress MLA from Rajasthan, Bhanwar Lal Sharma and Vishvendra Singh Bharatpur have been suspended based on a set of tapes that reportedly have former state deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot negotiating with the BJP.

Sharma for his part has accused a functionary in the Ashok Gehlot-led government in Rajasthan of forging the tapes that address horse-trading between him and BJP leaders.

A Huffington Post report added that on July 10, the SOG filed an FIR under Sections 124A (sedition) and Section 120B(criminal conspiracy) that led to the arrests of two men, allegedly associated with the BJP. Two politicians – an independent MLA from Kushalgarh, Ramila Khadiya, and Congress’ Mahendra Malviya, were also named. Pilot is named as a witness in the FIR, not an accused, the report added, prompting senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Sujrewala today to lash out at the BJP saying that the party had been conspiring to topple the Congress.

"It should also be probed whether money has been exchanged by any other person or MLA to bring down the government or change allegiance, apart from the persons named in the audio," Surjewala said.

 

While Surjewala, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi are keen on welcoming Pilot back to the Congress, Gehlot isn’t convinced, as he said that he has evidence to show that Pilot was conspiring with the BJP. "We have proof of horse-trading: Rs 20 crore was offered. Those who took the money are holed up at the hotel in Manesar. Our deputy chief minister and PCC chief (Pilot) himself was negotiating the deal and, at the same time, giving statements that no horse-trading was on. What clarifications are you giving when you yourself were involved in it," Gehlot charged.

Notably, on the same day after rebel Congress leader Sachin Pilot was vocal about the fact that he would not join the BJP, despite rumours doing the rounds, Mahesh Langa, a journalist from The Hindu claimed that a Special Operations Group (SOG) had tapes with records of Pilot negotiating with the BJP.


While nobody paid attention to this tweet on July 14, the tapes have suddenly become a hot topic. Pilot, of course, has rejected the allegations that there was any discussion with members of the BJP. These recordings were triggered by suspicion around the time of the Rajya Sabha elections that some Rajasthan MLAs were open to toppling the state government in exchange for money, the Huffington Post report said.

Gehlot sensing danger at the time had even shifted all his MLAs and other party functionaries to a resort on the Jaipur-Delhi Highway. And like Free Press Journal’s Sangeeta Pranvendra pointed out, Gehlot was ready for a rebellion within the Congress after Pilot repeatedly kept criticising the government, despite being the deputy Chief Minister.

While addressing the media on July 15, Gehlot said, “We love the young generation of leaders, but if they indulge in horse-trading, then won’t they ruin the country? Can’t the media see this for themselves?”

 

Pilot, who is camping in Delhi since Saturday, however, did not seek any appointment either with Congress President Sonia Gandhi or Rahul, even though AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and organising general secretary K C Venugopal are in touch with him.

Insiders say his group's strength has swelled to 22, with three more MLAs checking in a private Gurgaon hotel where the other rebels are camping.In fact, on Thursday morning, he moved the Jaipur Bench of the Rajasthan High Court to stall the Chief Minister's attempt to get all 19 MLAs, including Pilot, disqualified as members of the Assembly on the ground of "anti-party activity" and for their reluctance to attend the CLP meeting.

The hearing on the petition is listed on Friday, which is also the deadline set by the Rajasthan Assembly Speaker for the response of the rebel MLAs to the notice served on them under the Anti-Defection Law.Senior advocate Harish Salve, who was engaged by the Pilot faction to secure a stay on the Assembly Speaker’s notice asking rebels to respond by Friday, vetted the petition filed by MLA Prithviraj Meena and others.

Pilot’s most notable supporter is sacked Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha, who has been suspended from for ‘anti-party’ activities. While Jha has been quite vocal about the happenings in the Congress, other Congress leaders such as Kapil Sibal, Shashi Tharoor, and Karti Chidambaram have been subtle in what they feel about the Congress’ future. With the Rajasthan drama unfurling the way it is, it will be interesting to see how the next 48 hours play out.




Latest coronavirus update: COVID-19 cases cross 10 lakh in India; Rahul Gandhi warns of numbers doubling by August end


With India crossing 10 lakh-mark, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday warned that India would record twenty lakh coronavirus cases by the second week of August.

Taking to Twitter, Rahul Gandhi wrote: "10,00,000 figures exceeded. If #COVID19 spreads at the same speed, more than 20,00,000 will be infected in the country by August 10." “The government must take concrete, planned steps to stop the epidemic,” he added.


Rahul Gandhi also attached his tweet from July 14 in which he had talked about the country’s COVID-19 tally crossing the 10 lakh-mark during that week. “This week the figure will cross 10,00,000 in our country,” he had tweeted.

India recorded the highest single-day spike of 34,956 COVID-19 cases and 687 deaths in the last 24 hours, pushing the tally to 10,03,832 cases with a death total of 34,956 cases the Health Ministry's data stated on Friday. According to Health Ministry data, as many as 6,35,757 patients have recovered, almost twice the number of active patients at 3,42,473.

Gandhi also had tagged a news report quoting the WHO chief who had said that if concrete steps were not taken, the coronavirus situation in the world would turn from bad to worse.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday slammed some government leaders for eroding public trust by sending mixed messages on coronavirus and warned that their failure to stop their countries spiralling outbreaks meant there would be no return to normal for the foreseeable future.




With highest single day spike of 8,641 new COVID-19 cases, Maharashtra's tally rises to 2,84,281


Mumbai: For the second time this week, there were more than 8,000 new corona cases reported in the state on Thursday, with 8,641 cases and 266 fatalities in the last 24 hours, for a total positive count of 2,84,289, with 11,194 deaths so far. This is the highest number of single-day cases and deaths reported so far, the previous high being 8,139 cases and 248 deaths reported on July 11 and June 23 respectively. The overall count of cases in Maharashtra is expected to cross the three-lakh mark by the weekend.

Meanwhile, Pune Municipal Corporation reported 1,584 cases on Thursday, slightly more than Mumbai, taking its progressive count to 33,680, with 957 deaths so far. In Mumbai, there were 1,498 cases - the highest number in 14 days - and 56 deaths in the last 24 hours. The total positive count increased to 97,751, with 5,520 deaths until now.

The number of those recovered in the state has increased to 1,58,140 lakh, with 5,537 patients being sent home on Thursday.

The case fatality rate of the state too dipped marginally on Thursday, dropping below 4 per cent for the first time in two months; however, Mumbai’s fatality rate continued to be close to 6 per cent.

Of the 266 deaths, 181 were from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), 38 in Pune, 20 in Nashik division, 10 in Latur, nine in Akola, five in Aurangabad division and three in Kolhapur.

State Surveillance Officer Dr Pradeep Awate attributed this rise to the increased Covid testing and lockdown relaxation. Currently, there are 126 diagnostic labs, resulting in increased daily testing, currently at 36,000, double that in the first week of July. “There has been a growth of 40 per cent in Covid testing. On Thursday, we conducted 36,500 tests across the state, following which the total number of tests is now over 14 lakh,” he said.

Civic officials said that tertiary hospitals have begun floor meetings and rigorous discussions on critical cases, to bring down deaths. “The aim is to bring down the rate to 3 per cent and subsequently, to 1 per cent,” said an official.

So far, a total of 14.46 lakh tests have been conducted in the state, of which nearly 20 per cent were positive. There are 7.10 lakh people across the state who are in home quarantine and over 43, 000 are in institutional quarantine. There have been directions from the Central government asking the state to increase the number of people in institutional quarantine so that a large number of high-risk contacts can be tested and treated early.

MUMBAI

CASES: 97,751

DEATHS: 5,520

Discharged: 68,537

Mortality Rate: 5.64 per cent

Recovery Rate: 70.11 per cent

MAHARASHTRA

CASES: 2,84,298

DEATHS: 11,194

Discharged: 1,58,140

Mortality Rate: 3.93 per cent

Recovery rate: 55.62 per cent

 
 
 



Remembering Neela Satyanarayan - no nonsense diplomat who feared no one


Maharashtra's first State Election Commissioner and retired IAS officer Neela Satyanarayan died battling COVID-19. She was 72.

A great human being, and a no nonsense bureaucrat, Satyanarayan was always ready to listen and find a solution to any problem. She was a writer, poet and thinker and on top of it she was an officer who gave 100 per cent to her job.

I have known her for over 25 years. As Principal Secretary Textile during the first Shiv Sena-BJP government led by CM Manohar Joshi, she handled the contentious issues related to textile mill lands. Despite pressure, she took a consistent stand that the workers affected by closure of mills must get justice, but not at the cost of Mumbai's development.

She was brave enough to tell the CM and ministers that if the government fails to attend to the problems of textile mill workers, it may result in adverse consequences. And, she was not scared to write her observations in the files. The government then set up more committees, including the Charles Correa committee, to study the mill land issue and suggest recommendations which will not just benefit mill owners, but the workers in particular.

 
 

As the Director General of Information and Public Relations, she took efforts to increase the connect between the various government departments and the Press. That was quite essential to get an access to the source.

When she was additional Chief Secretary Revenue she had to interact with former revenue minister Narayan Rane on a regular basis. Although, Rane being an able administrator with a full command on his department, Satyanarayan had the guts to tell her boss that she will not succumb to pressure and write on the file what is permitted as per the stipulated norms. During her tenure as additional CS, she never hogged headline for wrongdoing, rather received praise from ruling and opposition members for redressal of grievances keeping the public interest in mind.

Although termed as side posting, Satyanarayan as the MD Film City Development Corporation emerged as a strong advocate of film and cultural development. Her role there subsequently came quite handy to pen script for Hindi and Marathi films.

After retirement, the State Election Commissioner post was waiting for her, literally. The Congress-NCP government appointed her as the first woman State Election Commissioner. Although it was completely different from her previous posts, Satyanarayan established a good rapport with all political parties.

After her tenure ended, she devoted her time to her family and also took up writing. As an officer sensitive to current issues, she wrote articles for newspapers and authored several books and poems.

During the coronavirus lockdown, we used to speak almost everyday. She was concerned over the spurt in the cases and the problems faced by the public. Before her passing, she had penned her lockdown experiences.

We have lost a great human being and a people-friendly IAS officer.

 
 
 



Twitter mass-hack: Here’s how to keep your account safe to ensure you don’t end up like Barack Obama or Elon Musk


It was a shock for many to see the Twitter accounts of Barack Obama, Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos getting hacked. Three of the individuals whose accounts were hacked are also tech giants, which makes the compromise all the more shocking.

Twitter in a detailed thread explained how the accounts were compromised with CEO Jack Dorsey also issuing a personal apology to the verified account holders.

However, you could also face trouble with your Twitter account and you should take preventive steps to ensure that your account isn’t compromises.

Kathleen Reen, the Senior Director of Public Policy and Philanthropy, Twitter APAC, last year had put out a detailed blog to explain how you can prevent your account getting compromised.

In a five-point explainer, she shared the following

Do not reply to suspicious mails: According to Reen, Twitter will get in touch with you in-app or via email using a @twitter.com email address. Anything else that is sent i.e. twitter.co.uk, twitter.co.in are suspicious mails and should be immediately spammed. Furthermore, Twitter will not contact you via another social media platform such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp

Turn on login verification and password reset verification: Enabling a two-factor authentication will ensure that a one-time password will be sent to your registered email address or mobile number. This provides an additional layer of security, Reen adds.

Do not click suspicious links: Someone – even a known person you follow – may send you a suspicious link. Unless it looks like a familiar link, do not click it. This is particularly true for links with shortened links, as it’s difficult to determine the actual URL

Do not ignore mails sent by @twitter.com: Sometimes, you may receive an email from Twitter about your account security and it is essential that you read the. “For example, when you log in to your Twitter account from a new device for the first time, we will send you a notification via email as an extra layer of security for your account,” Reen explains

Use a strong password: Ensure it has all the key elements that make up a strong password. These include a capital letter, a number, a symbol and something unique that defines who you are as a person.




India asks Pakistan to give unconditional access to Kulbhushan Jadhav


India has asked Pakistan to give unconditional access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, reported ANI quoting sources. Earlier Pakistan had claimed that he had refused to file a review plea. India said that he had been coerced into doing that.


India had last Thursday said it is assessing all legal options in the case related to Indian national Kulbushan Jadhav, who is on death row in Pakistan and assured that it is committed to protecting the life of Indian nationals.

Pakistan had earlier claimed that Jadhav, a former Indian Navy officer, has refused to initiate review petition of his sentence and conviction.

"We had pointed out how Pakistan's claim that Kulbushan Jadhav has refused to initiate a review petition, is a continuation of the farce playing out for the last 4 years. We are assessing our legal options and we remain committed to protecting the life of our Indian nationals," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava had said during a media briefing.

India had also dismissed Pakistan's claims that Jadhav has refused to file an appeal in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against his conviction and stated that the Indian national was coerced by Islamabad to forego his rights to seek implementation of the judgment of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

India sought unimpeded access to Jadhav to discuss his remedies under the Ordinance that allowed the High Court to review the sentence awarded by Pakistan's military court.

"Pakistan's claim that Jadhav, who is incarcerated in Pakistan's custody, has refused to initiate review petition is a continuation of the farce that has been in play for the last four years. Jadhav has been sentenced to execution through a farcical trial. He remains under custody of Pakistan's military. He has clearly been coerced to refuse to file a review in his case," Srivastava had said in the statement.

Jadhav was purportedly "arrested" from Balochistan by Pakistani security forces on March 3, 2016, after he allegedly entered the country from Iran as claimed by Islamabad. India has rejected Pakistan's allegations about Jadhav's involvement in spying and subversive activities and said he was kidnapped from the Iranian port of Chabahar where he was running a business.

Srivastava had said: "Since 2017, when Military Court carried out a farcical trial, Pakistan has refused to hand over any relevant document, including FIR, evidence, court order, etc in the case to India. Clearly, Pakistan is attempting to create a mirage of compliance with the ICJ judgment".




Latest coronavirus update: India records highest single-day spike of 32,695 new cases, tally reaches 9,68,876


India registered a record single-day jump of 32,695 COVID-19 cases pushing its tally to 9,68,876 on Thursday, while the death toll climbed to 24,915 with 606 new fatalities, according to the Union Health Ministry data.

According to the Health Ministry, out of the total count, 3,31,146 are active cases and 6,12,815 are "cured/discharged/migrated".

As per the Ministry, Maharashtra -- the worst-affected state from the infection -- has a total of 2,75,640 COVID-19 cases and 10,928 fatalities. While Tamil Nadu has a tally of 1,51,820 cases and 2,167 deaths due to COVID-19.

Delhi has reported a total of 1,16,993 cases and 3,487 deaths due to COVID-19. Meanwhile, as per the information provided by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), 1,27,39,490 samples have been tested for COVID-19 till 15th July, of these 3,26,826 samples were tested yesterday.




India reports highest single-day spike of 29,429 new COVID-19 cases, tally rises to 9,36,181


India on Wednesday reported highest single-day spike of 29,429 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, informed the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

As per the Health Ministry, there are a total of 9,36,181 coronavirus cases in the country of which 3,19,840 patients are active cases. 5,92,032 patients have been cured/discharged, the Ministry informed further. 582 more deaths due to COVID-19 were reported in the last 24 hours in the country, taking the number of patients succumbing to the virus to 24,309.

The Centre further informed that India's recovery rate from COVID-19 stands at 63.20 per cent while the recoveries and deaths ratio stood at 96.05 per cent and 3.95 per cent respectively.

 
 
 



I will continue to raise issues that will help Congress; the battle has just begun, says Sanjay Jha


Sanjay Jha, who was suspended by the Congress party for alleged ‘anti party’ activities took to Twitter on Wednesday to say that the battle had just begun.

“My loyalty is to the Congress ideology. My fidelity is not to any individual or family. I remain a Gandhi-Nehruvian idealist ( a vanishing breed within Congress). I will continue to raise issues that are fundamental to the resurgence of my party. The battle has just begun,” he tweeted.


Jha, who was suspended on Wednesday following the sacking of Rajesh Pilot as Rajasthan’s Deputy Chief Minister, as well as from the party for starting a coup that has destabilised the Ashok Gehlot-led government in the state.

The former Congress spokesperson was interviewed by several television channels on Tuesday, as well as getting interviewed by Akash Banerjee, who goes by the pseudonym ‘The Desh Bhakt. During that interview, Jha went on to say that the Congress party was ‘Jurassic’.


While speaking to senior journalist Shiv Aroor, Jha on Tuesday where he said, “It isn’t just the usual suspects, I can tell you there are Congress leaders at all levels, including in the CWC, who are disillusioned and wondering what’s going on.”


Jha, earlier in the day had tweeted, "For five years Sachin Pilot gave his blood , tears, toil and sweat for the Congress party between 2013-18. The Congress came back from a wretched 21 seats to 100. We just gave him a performance bonus. We are so meritocratic. We are so transparent."

Jha's suspension comes hours after Sachin Pilot was sacked from his post as PCC chief and Deputy CM of Rajasthan.

Earlier, last month, Congress announced that it would be dropping Sanjay Jha as 'AICC spokesperson'.

After being removed as spokesperson, Jha had resigned as president of the Maharashtra unit of the All India Professionals Congress (AIPC).

Last Friday, he said the party should find a new president through democratic elections, and preferably not from Gandhi family.

While talking to Outlook India, Sanjay Jha said that “There is no dearth of outstanding talent within the party. The uncomplicated way forward is elections; not just for the post of the president, but also within the CWC.”





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