Today Picture



PM Modi to chair all-party meet ahead of Budget Session


A total of 18 Opposition parties boycotted the Presidential address on Friday on the commencement of the Budget Session of Parliament the first of the new decade.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to chair an all-party meeting on Saturday through video conferencing ahead of the Budget Session for smooth functioning of Parliament.

Leaders of all parties have been invited to attend the meeting that is scheduled to be held in the backdrop of the ongoing farmers’ agitation against the agricultural legislations passed in September and have kept the government and opposition at loggerheads.

The government has not shown any inclination towards repealing the farm laws which is the prime demand of the protesting farmers.

On Friday, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla presided over a meeting of the floor leaders.

After the meeting, Birla said he has requested leaders of all parties in Lok Sabha to respect the dignity of the House, and sought their cooperation for the smooth conduct of the proceedings.

A total of 18 Opposition parties boycotted the Presidential address on Friday on the commencement of the Budget Session of Parliament the first of the new decade.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has been repeating that the government should find solutions regarding the farmers’ agitation.

Along with the Congress, 17 opposition parties had announced boycott of Kovind’s address to express solidarity with farmers, who have been protesting since November 26 in Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders along Delhi, and other places to press for their demands.




Haryana govt suspends Internet services in 17 districts


The spokesperson said the suspension in these 14 districts will be imposed till 5 p.m. on 30 January, while the suspensions of mobile internet services Sonipat, Palwal and Jhajjar has been extended for next 24 hours till 5 p.m. on 30 January.

The Manohar Lal Khattar government on Friday shut down Internet services in 14 districts of Haryana till 5p.m.

on 30 January, taking the number of districts with Internet shut down to 17.

The Haryana government’s order said the Internet services’ shutdown would be implemented with immediate effect.

These 14 districts include Ambala, Yamuna Nagar, Kurukshetra, Karnal, Kaithal, Panipat, Hisar, Jind, Rohtak, Bhiwani, Charkhi Dadri, Fatehabad, Rewari and Sirsa. Earlier, after the Centre shut down internet in Singhu, Ghazipur, Tikri, Mukarba Chowk and Nangloi and adjoining areas in the National Capital Territory of Delhi following violent farmers’ protests rocked the national Capital, the Haryana government had on Tuesday followed suit suspending mobile internet services, SMS and dongle services provided on mobile networks in Sonepat, Jhajjar and Palwal districts till 5 p.m. on Friday.

An official spokesperson said Haryana government has suspended mobile internet services (2G/3G/4G/CDMA/GPRS), all SMS services (excluding banking and mobile recharge) and all dongle services etc. provided on mobile networks except the voice calls in the territorial jurisdiction of districts of Ambala, Yamunanagar, Kurukshetra, Karnal, Kaithal, Panipat, Hisar, Jind, Rohtak, Bhiwani, Charkhi Dadri, Fatehabad, Rewari and Sirsa besides Sonepat, Jhajjar and Palwal.

The spokesperson said the suspension in these 14 districts will be imposed till 5 p.m. on 30 January, while the suspensions of mobile internet services Sonipat, Palwal and Jhajjar has been extended for next 24 hours till 5 p.m. on 30 January.

This order is issued to prevent any disturbance of peace and public order in the jurisdiction of these districts of Haryana and will be in force with immediate effect. Any person who will be found guilty of violation of aforesaid order will be liable for legal action under relevant provisions.

The spokesperson said the suspension have been ordered under Rule 2 of Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. All telecom service providers of Haryana including the Head of BSNL (Haryana jurisdiction) are hereby directed to ensure the compliance of this order.

The spokesperson said the state government has decided to impose this suspension of Internet services in order to stop the spread of disinformation and rumours through various social media platforms, such as WhatsApp, Facebook Twitter, etc on mobile phones and SMS, for facilitation and mobilization of mobs of agitators and demonstrators who can cause serious loss of life and damage to public and private properties by indulging in arson or vandalism and other types of violent activities.




After Delhi blast, security tightened in Mumbai, Maharashtra


Police and other armed units have also increased patrolling in sensitive or crowded areas in Mumbai, Pune, Aurangabad, Nagpur and other places.

In a precautionary measure after the mystery blast in New Delhi near the Israeli Embassy, the Maharashtra Police has tightened security across the state, top officials said here late on Friday.

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, along with top officials of the Home Department, reviewed the security situation after the incident in the national capital and ordered beefing up security measures in the state.

The security cover has been heightened near the Nariman House in Mumbai, where the Jewish prayer facility, Chabad House is located along with a memorial-cum-museum to the victims of the 26/11 Mumbai terror strikes, important consulates in Mumbai and offices of certain international organisations.

Besides, increased cover has been given to all airports, major railway stations, bus depots, government offices, vital installations, certain religious or pilgrimage sites and other important buildings to ward off any untoward incidents.

Police and other armed units have also increased patrolling in sensitive or crowded areas in Mumbai, Pune, Aurangabad, Nagpur and other places.

Pawar and Deshmukh have urged people to exercise similar precautions, refrain from touching any unknown objects and cooperate with the security agencies.




Blast near Israel embassy raises security concerns


Meanwhile, Delhi has been put on high alert and security at airports, railway stations and strategic buildings intensified.

A very low-intensity improvised explosive device went off at about 5.05 pm on Friday evening at APJ Abdul Kalam Road near the Embassy of Israel.

Window panes of several cars parked there were shattered with the impact.

Soon, the bomb disposal squad, Special Cell, intelligence agencies and the police visited the spot. The area was sealed as the forensic teams gathered evidence.

Entry of media was restricted as barricades came up at the road leading to the embassy. Senior police officials were themselves supervising the area.

The fire department got a call at 5:11 pm and three fire tenders were rushed to the spot.

“No injury to any person is there and nor any damage to property was witnessed except window panes of three vehicles parked nearby. Initial impressions suggest a mischievous attempt to create a sensation,” said a senior Delhi Police official.

The area is in proximity of Vijay Chowk where the Beating Retreat ceremony was still on. This raises security concerns about the motive behind an improvised device explosion.

“We are ascertaining the nature of the blast and the CCTV footage of the area and around is being scanned,” said a senior police officer.

Meanwhile, Delhi has been put on high alert and security at airports, railway stations and strategic buildings intensified.

The explosion has raised serious security concerns as multiple teams of Delhi Police are investigating the explosion and the timing of the blast.




Deep Sidhu, Lakha Sidhana named in Red Fort FIR


The Delhi Police on Wednesday issued notice to farmer leader Darshan Pal asking him to explain why legal action should not be initiated against him, post violence during the rogue rally on the Republic Day.

Punjabi actor Deep Sidhu and the gangster-turned-social activist Lakha Sidhana have been named by the Delhi Police in an FIR in connection with the unprecedented violence in the capital on Republic Day and the Red Fort incident on January 26.

The Delhi Police has registered the case at Kotwali police station of North district under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act and other legislations.

The premises of the historic monument was vandalized as the protesters went on a rampage destroying checking machines, ticket counters, furniture, and everything that came in their way. Some of the protesters climbed the walls of the fort and installed their flag at the flagstaff.

The Red Fort will remain closed for visitors from January 27 to January 31, according to an order issued by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

Delhi Police Commissioner S.N. Shrivastava said that police has taken serious note of the Red Fort violence and everyone found involved would be taken to task. He also said that face recognition system would be used to identify those found involved in the violence.

The Delhi Police have also named 37 farmer leaders, including Swaraj India President Yogendra Yadav, social activist Medha Patkar and Bharatiya Kisan Union’s Haryana unit President Gurnam Singh Chanduni, in the FIR filed in connection with the violence during the Republic Day tractor rally on Tuesday.

Avik Saha, Jai Kisan Aandolan and Bharatiya Kisan Union spokesperson Rakesh Tikait along with Darshan Pal Singh, Satnam Singh Pannu, Boota Singh Burjgil and Joginder Singh Ugraha have also been named in a an FIR filed in Outer North Delhi.

The Delhi Police on Wednesday issued notice to farmer leader Darshan Pal asking him to explain why legal action should not be initiated against him, post violence during the rogue rally on the Republic Day.

More than 25 criminal cases have been registered, 19 people arrested and as many as 50 protesters detained so far.




MHA issues Covid-19 guidelines for Feb


“It is, therefore, emphasised that to fully overcome the pandemic, there is need to maintain caution and to strictly follow the prescribed containment strategy,” the MHA said.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) today issued Covid- 19 guidelines for the month of February, which focus on Surveillance, Containment and Caution, and seek to consolidate the gains made against the pandemic.

An MHA order said there was a steady decline in the number of active and new cases in the country over the last four months.

“It is, therefore, emphasised that to fully overcome the pandemic, there is need to maintain caution and to strictly follow the prescribed containment strategy,” the MHA said.

Cinema halls and theatres have already been permitted up to 50 per cent of seating capacity. Now they will be permitted to operate at higher seating capacity, for which a revised SOP will be issued by Ministry of Information & Broadcasting in consultation with MHA.

Now gatherings for different purposes outside the containment zones will be allowed subject to standard operating procedures (SOPs) of the State/UT concerned.

At present, social/ religious/ sports/ entertainment/ educational/ cultural/ religious gatherings are permitted up to a maximum of 50 per cent of the hall capacity, with a ceiling of 200 persons in closed spaces. In the open spaces, this is in keeping with the size of the ground.

For further opening up of international air travel of passengers, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MOCA) may take a decision in consultation with Ministry of Home Affairs based on the assessment of the situation, the order said.

Containment Zones, if required, shall be carefully demarcated by the district authorities at the micro level, taking into consideration guidelines prescribed.

Local district, police and municipal authorities shall be responsible to ensure that the prescribed Containment measures are strictly followed and State/ UT Governments shall ensure the accountability of the officers concerned in this regard, the MHA order said.

State/ UT Governments shall take all necessary measures to promote COVID-19 appropriate behaviour and ensure wearing of face masks, hand hygiene and social distancing.

Business to Business (B2B) exhibition halls have already been permitted. Now all types of exhibition halls will be permitted, for which a revised SOP will be issued by the Department of Commerce in consultation with MHA.

SOPs, as updated from time to time, have been prescribed for various activities. These include: movement by passenger trains; air travel; metro trains; schools; higher educational institutions; hotels and restaurants; shopping malls, multiplexes and entertainment parks; yoga centres and gymnasiums, etc.




Turkey vaccinates over 1.5mn citizens


Turkey reported its first Covid-19 case on March 11, 2020.

More than 15,22,000 people have been vaccinated in Turkey, according to figures on Wednesday, since the country started mass vaccination for Covid-19 on January 14 after the authorities approved the emergency use of the Chinese CoronaVac vaccine.

Turkey on Wednesday reported 7,489 new Covid-19 cases, including 675 symptomatic patients, as the total number of positive cases in the country reached 24,49,839, according to its Health Ministry.

The death toll from the virus in Turkey rose by 132 to 25,476, while the total recoveries climbed to 23,31,314 after 8,803 more cases recovered in the last 24 hours.

The rate of pneumonia in COVID-19 patients stands at 4.7 percent and the number of seriously ill patients is 1,765 in the country, the Xinhua news agency reported..

A total of 1,79,419 tests were conducted over the past day, with the overall number of tests in Turkey reaching 2,90,07,915.

Turkey reported its first Covid-19 case on March 11, 2020.




Indonesian President receives 2nd dose of Covid vaccine


The first period of vaccination from January to April is aimed at inoculating 1.3 million medical workers, 17.4 million public workers, and 21.5 million elderly people.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has received his second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by the Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta.

“Like two weeks ago, it is no pain,” Xinhua news agency quoted Widodo as saying on Wednesday after he was vaccinated.

The President received his first shot of the Covid-19 vaccine on January 13.

The Indonesian Covid-19 Task Force’s spokesperson Reisa Broto Asmoro said the first dose is aimed at introducing the vaccine to the immune system, while the second is to strengthen the immune response that has been formed beforehand.

“These antibodies will be optimal in 14-28 days after the second injection,” Brotoasmoro added.

Indonesia has set a target of vaccinating 181.5 million people until next year to create a herd immunity and end the pandemic.

The first period of vaccination from January to April is aimed at inoculating 1.3 million medical workers, 17.4 million public workers, and 21.5 million elderly people.

The second period from April 2021 to March 2022 will administer the vaccine to 63.9 million vulnerable people and 77.4 million others.

As of Thursday morning, Indonesia has registered a total of 1,024,298 coronavirus cases and 28,855 deaths.




Pakistani cross-border terror tunnels, drones are new challenge for security forces in J&K


India is also pushing hard to build its anti-drone capacities to check the menace.

Cross-border tunnels on the India–Pakistan boundary for infiltration of terrorists and drones for dropping arms and ammunition on this side of the international border (IB) have become a challenge for the Indian security forces.

Tunnel after tunnel are being detected at the IB by the BSF.

Pakistani security agencies have started building tunnels and using Chinese drones to bypass the border fencing by India that had to a great extent helped curbing infiltration of terrorists and also dumping arms and ammunition for them by the ISI and Pakistani army.

The engineering wings of the Pakistani agencies appear to have professionaly built these tunnels about 30 ft deep from the surface.

BSF and the Army have already installed highly sensitive devises and night vision cameras on the IB and the Line of Control (LoC) to detect infiltration of terrorists. However to bypass such gadgets, the tunneling process has been done by the enemy. Similarly, drones are flown at a low height to just cross the border fence and drop arms and ammunition for terrorists. Several dumps of AK47 rifles, Chinese grenades and other explosives have been recovered along the IB and LoC.

Atleast ten cross-border tunnels have been detected on the IB during past some time in the three districts of Jammu division, Kathua, Samba and Jammu, where the soil is soft and as such digging tunnel is easy.

DG of BSF Rakesh Asthana and the J&K DGP Dilbag Singh had recently said that drones being used by Pakistan to drop arms and ammunition on this side of the border are a new challenge for security forces.

Pakistan and its Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) have started using bigger drones to enhance the capacity to smuggle arms and ammunition across the border in India’s Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.

During his tenure as Home Minister, Rajnath Singh inaugurated the pilot project of the laser technology based Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS) on the IB in Jammu.

The CIBMS aimed to provide high-tech surveillance system that would even during fog or snow storm create an invisible laser barrier on land, water, air and also underground to help BSF detect and foil infiltration bids even in difficult terrains.

This was expected to plug infiltration through vulnerable patches.
India is also pushing hard to build its anti-drone capacities to check the menace.

Air dropping of arms and ammunition was first reported in Punjab and subsequently extended to Jammu and Kashmir.

BSF shot down a Hexacopter drone with a payload of five-and-a-half kilograms including a sophisticated US-made M4 semi-automatic carbine and seven grenades at Rathua village in Kathua district in June last.

Three Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists were arrested few days ago along with a cache of weapons airdropped near the LoC in Rajouri district.

The BSF has launched a massive anti-tunneling drive on the entire IB. Due to its constant search and active domination BSF troops also detected 2 terror tunnels dug by Pakistan in Samba area on 28 August and 22 November last year.




Border stand-off: India, China hold 9th round of Corps commander level talks


India is believed to have insisted on setting in motion at the earliest the process of disengagement and de-escalation of troops by the two countries.

India and China today held the ninth round of senior commanders’ talks in a fresh bid to resolve the military standoff at eastern Ladakh.

India is believed to have insisted on setting in motion at the earliest the process of disengagement and de-escalation of troops by the two countries to restore peace and tranquility in border areas.

The talks were held at Moldo on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The Indian delegation was headed by Lt Gen P G K Menon, the General Officer Commanding of the Leh based 14 Corps which is in-charge of the security of Ladakh, sources said.

The last round of talks between the military commanders was held in November last year while senior diplomats of the two countries met on 18 December under the framework of the Working Mechanism for Coordination and Consultation (WMCC) in border areas.

The two sides then were said to be seriously considering the possibility of a phased mutual withdrawal of troops and equipment ranged against each other at eastern Ladakh for the last eight months. But there has been no progress on the proposal since then.

So far, the two sides have agreed to ensure they do not move more troops to the frontline and that they would “refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground.”

Chief of the Army staff, Gen M M Naravane had recently stated that the Indian Army was prepared to hold its positions for as long as it took to achieve “national objec-tives”. He had also indicated some redeployment of troops and strike elements from present positions to the northern border.

Tensions between the two countries began in April-May last year when New Delhi detected incursions by Chinese troops in Ladakh along with a massive deployment of Chinese military personnel. India too quickly moved in its troops to counter further incursions. Previous rounds of military talks have failed to yield any consensus on the pull back of troops, with both sides having some 50,000 personnel each along the LAC.

Relations between the two countries plummeted to a new low following a violent clash between their troops at the Galwan valley on 15 June, resulting in the death of 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of casualties on the Chinese side.





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