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Barring few incidents, Bharat Bandh passes off peacefully in western UP


All districts of the Meerut region, viz Hapur, Bulandshahr, Gautam Budh Nagar, Ghaziabad, Baghpat, Muzzaffar Nagar, Shamli, Saharanpur and Meerut were divided into zones and sectors for monitoring by respective district administration and police.

The ‘Bharat Bandh’ on the call of farmers’ organisations agitating against the farm bills passed by peacefully in the nine districts of Meerut zone on Tuesday and no untoward incident was reported. Though the police house arrested a few political leaders including Bheem Army Chief Chandrashekhar in Saharanpur.

All districts of the Meerut region, viz Hapur, Bulandshahr, Gautam Budh Nagar, Ghaziabad, Baghpat, Muzzaffar Nagar, Shamli, Saharanpur and Meerut were divided into zones and sectors for monitoring by respective district administration and police. Meerut district was divided in nine zones and thirty-one sectors and each zone was kept under the vigil of a magistrate and police force in order to maintain law and order.

ADG of Meerut Zone Rajeev Sabharwal said, “Farmers were allowed to protest peacefully but those trying to take political mileage out of it were prevented from doing so. He informed that in each of the nine districts of the zone at least two to three persons were put under house arrest. About 80 persons were also taken into custody at different places.

“The police was well prepared in advance and heavy deployment of force was made at different prominent locations in the zone and also on the highways.”

Leaders of different political parties which had supported the Bandh, like Congress, Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal were arrested from across the districts of zones when they tried to protest and block roads. Many prominent leaders were also put under house arrest. Bheem Army Chief  Chandrashekhar and Congress city president were prominent amongst those put under house arrest.

Most of the senior leaders of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan, BKU (Bhanu) and other farmer organizations participated in the protest at Ghazipur border near Delhi. The leaders had appealed to farmers to block highways near their villages only. The farmers were instructed by BKU President Naresh Tikait to allow ambulances, barats (wedding parties) and people in an emergency.

All important highways were blocked by the farmers under the aegis of BKU, BKU(Tomar), BKU (Bhanu ) and other farmers organisations. Delhi- Pauri, Delhi- Hardwar, Delhi- Saharanpur, Meerut- Karnal, Meerut- Garh, Panipat-Khatima highways were all blocked until late afternoon.

A delegation of transporters led by Gaurav Sharma, president of Meerut Transporters Association, participated in farmers protest at Singhu Border in Delhi. Since the transport association had extended its support to the farmers’ agitation and bandh, transport vehicles were not seen on the roads.

Meerut regional office of roadways that operates 767 buses on different routes every day and officials said the bandh affected the plying of over 400 buses and the passengers were stranded at different locations.




With help of mobile technology, we will embark on COVID-19 vaccination drive: PM Modi


PM also said mobile technology has enabled benefits worth billions of dollars to reach the deserving and also helped the poor and vulnerable during the pandemic.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday addressed the virtual India Mobile Congress (IMC) 2020 today through video conference.

Addressing the event, PM gave a call to work together to make India a global hub for telecom equipment, design, development and manufacturing.

PM also said mobile technology has enabled benefits worth billions of dollars to reach the deserving and also helped the poor and vulnerable during the pandemic.

“It is also with the help of mobile technology that we will embark on one of the world’s largest COVID-19 vaccination drive,” he said.

He cautioned, due to technological upgradation, we have a culture of replacing handsets and gadgets frequently. He asked the delegates to ponder whether the industry can form a task-force to think of a better way of handling the electronic waste and create a circular economy. He urged to work together to ensure a timely roll-out of 5G to leapfrog into the future and empower millions of Indians.

The theme for IMC 2020 is “Inclusive Innovation – Smart, Secure, Sustainable”. It aims to align to the Prime Minister’s vision to promote ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat’, ‘Digital Inclusivity’, and ‘Sustainable development, entrepreneurship & innovation’. It also aims to drive foreign and local investments, encourage R&D in the telecom and emerging technology sectors.

Prime Minister said it is important to think and plan how to improve lives with the upcoming technology revolution. He added that Better healthcare, Better education, Better information and opportunities for our farmers, Better market access for small businesses are some of the goals that can be worked on.

He lauded the delegates from the telecom sector that the world was functional despite the pandemic due to their innovation and efforts. He added that due to their efforts that a son was connected with his mother in a different city, a student learnt from his teacher without being in the classroom, a patient consulted his doctor from his home and a trader connected with a consumer/ from a different geography.

Prime Minister said for a lot of young techies it is the Code which makes a product special, for some entrepreneurs it is Concept which matters more, investors suggest that Capital is more important to scale a product. He stressed that often what matters the most is the Conviction the youngsters have on their product. Sometimes conviction is all that stands between just a profitable exit and making of a unicorn.

He stressed that it is because of mobile technology that we are able to provide benefits worth billions of dollars to millions of Indians, we were able to help the poor and vulnerable quickly during the pandemic and we are seeing billions of cashless transactions which boost formalisation and transparency and we will also enable a smooth contactless interface on toll booths.

The Prime Minister expressed satisfaction on achieving success in mobile manufacturing in India. He said India is emerging as one of the most preferred destinations for mobile manufacturing. He added the Production Linked Incentive scheme was introduced to promote telecom equipment manufacturing in India. He said that the Government aims to bring high speed fibre-optic connectivity in every village over the next three years. He said that towards this end, focus is made exclusively on places which can make the best out of such connectivity – Aspirational Districts, Left wing extremism affected districts, North Eastern states, Lakshadweep Islands etc. He added that greater spread of fixed line broadband connectivity and public Wi-Fi hotspots will be ensured.




Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal ‘under house arrest’ after visiting farmers, alleges AAP


Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s house has been barricaded and no one is allowed to enter or leave the premises.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Tuesday has alleged that Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has been placed under house arrest by the Delhi Police after he visited the protesting farmers at the Singhu border on Monday and the Bharat Bandh called by the protesting farmers on Tuesday against the farm laws.

The AAP has alleged that under Union Home Ministry’s order, the Delhi Police have got three mayors of different Delhi municipalities to protest at CM Kejriwal’s residence and under that pretext detain hm. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s house has been barricaded and no one is allowed to enter or leave the premises.


AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj alleged that MLAs who has a meeting with CM yesterday were beaten by the police. He said, “Workers are not allowed to meet him either. BJP leaders are being made to sit outside his residence,”

He further added, “CM met farmers at Singhu border yesterday. He had said that we’ll serve them like ‘Sevadars’ and support them. After he returned, Delhi Police barricaded his residence from all sides, putting him in a house-arrest like situation, at the behest of Home Ministry.”

All the official meetings have been cancelled for the day said the AAP leader.

The Delhi Police Deputy Commissioner for North District have denied this claim saying that they are ‘lies and baseless’. DCP North Delhi tweeted, “This claim of CM Delhi being put on house arrest is incorrect. He exercises his right to free movement within the law of the land. A picture of the house entrance says it all.”


Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal along with his cabinet ministers had visited the Singhu border on Monday to meet the farmers and enquire about their welfare. The farmers from various states who are protesting gainsay the farm laws passed are agitating near the Delhi borders.

“I have not come here as a chief minister. I have come here as a sevadar (one who does service). We support all demands of the farmers. Their issue and demands are valid. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and I have stood in support of the farmers right from the start,” Kejriwal told reporters during his visit.

The protesting farmers are seeking that the Centre repeal all the three laws and the Bharat Bandh called by the farmers have been supported by various political parties including the Congress, Left, BSP and SP.

In Uttar Pradesh, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav has allegedly been put under house arrest or detained on Mondau after he tried to break barricades and leave for protest rally in Kannauj.




‘Bharat bandh’ today from 11 AM to 3 PM; Police issue travel advisory


Transport services, offices and shops – particularly those selling fruits and vegetables – in some states and cities likely to be affected.

In order to mark their protest against the three farm bills, after days of agitation, the protesting farmers mark “Bharat bandh” today from 11 AM to 3 PM.

Transport services, offices and shops – particularly those selling fruits and vegetables – in some states and cities likely to be affected.

Police in Delhi and Haryana have issued advisories to re-route traffic where possible or warn commuters of delays.

Delhi Police have provided the details of the routes affected today.

 


Social activist Anna Hazare also sat on a day-long hunger strike to support agitating farmers.

Hazare also said the agitation should spread across the country so that the government comes under pressure to act in the interests of cultivators.

In a recorded message, Hazare appreciated farmers’ protests at the borders of Delhi saying no violence has taken place in the last 10 days of the agitation.

“I appeal to the people of the country that the agitation which is going on in Delhi should spread across the country. The situation needs to created to create pressure on the government, and to achieve this, farmers need to hit streets. But no one should resort to violence,” said Hazare who began his fast in Ralegan Siddhi village in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra.

He said this was the “right time” for farmers to come out on streets and get their issues resolved.

“I had backed this cause earlier also, and will continue to do so,” he said.

The Centre has asked all states and Union Territories to tighten security during Tuesday’s ‘Bharat Bandh’ called by the farmers’ unions and supported by the Opposition parties while asserting that peace and tranquillity must be maintained on that day, officials said.

In a countrywide advisory, the Union Home Ministry also said the state governments and UT administrations must ensure that the Covid-19 guidelines issued concerning health and social distancing are strictly followed.

The states and UTs were told that peace and tranquillity must be maintained during the bandh and precautionary measures taken so that no untoward incident takes place anywhere in the country, a Home Ministry official said on Monday.




Active Covid caseload falls below 4-lakh mark, recoveries surge to 91.39 lakh


The total coronavirus cases mounted to 96,77,203 with 32,981 new infections being reported in a day, while the death toll rose to 1,40,573 with 391 new fatalities.

The active Covid caseload fell below 4 lakh and the recoveries surged to 91.39 lakh, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Monday. The total coronavirus infections rose to 96.77 lakh.

The total coronavirus cases mounted to 96,77,203 with 32,981 new infections being reported in a day, while the death toll rose to 1,40,573 with 391 new fatalities, the data showed.

There are 3,96,729 active coronavirus infections in the country which comprises 4.10 per cent of the total caseload, the data stated.

India showed the recovery rate of 94.45 per cent and the number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 91,39,901.

The COVID-19 case fatality rate stands at 1.45 per cent.

India’s COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 30 lakh on August 23 and 40 lakh on September 5. It went past 50 lakh on September 16, 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, and surpassed 90 lakh on November 20.

According to the ICMR, 14,77,87,656 samples have been tested up to December 6 with 8,01,081 samples being tested on Sunday.




US lawmakers voice support for agitating farmers in India; urge they must be allowed to protest peacefully


India has called the remarks by foreign leaders on protests by farmers as “ill-informed” and “unwarranted” as the matter pertained to the internal affairs of a democratic country.

Several US lawmakers have voiced their support for farmers agitating in India against the new farm laws and urged that they be allowed to protest peacefully.

India has called the remarks by foreign leaders on protests by farmers as “ill-informed” and “unwarranted” as the matter pertained to the internal affairs of a democratic country.

“I stand in solidarity with the Punjabi farmers in India protesting for their livelihoods and protection from misguided, manipulative government regulations,” Congressman Doug LaMalfa said on Monday.

“Punjabi farmers must be allowed to protest peacefully against their government without fear of violence,” said the Republican lawmaker who represents Californian’s first Congressional district.

Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and several other states have been protesting on various borders of Delhi since November 26, seeking repeal of three farm laws enacted in September.

Dubbing these laws as “anti-farmer”, these farmers claim that the newly enacted legislations would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporations.

However, the government has maintained that the new laws will bring farmers better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture.

“India is the world’s largest Democracy – they owe it to their citizens to allow peaceful protest. I encourage these folks and PM (Narendra) Modi to have peaceful, productive discussions,” Democratic Congressman Josh Harder said.

Congressman T J Cox said India must uphold the right to peaceful demonstration and ensure their citizens” safety.

The rights of farmers protesting must be respected and meaningful dialogue is the way forward, the Democratic leader asserted.

Congressman Andy Levin said he is inspired by the movement of farmers in India.

“I see it as a harbinger of a people power year in 2021,” the Democratic lawmaker said.

The farmers protest has also caught the attention of the mainstream US media.

“The protests have spread beyond New Delhi. Farmers marched and waved banners in the southern states of Kerala and Karnataka and in the northeastern state of Assam. Sugarcane farmers in Uttar Pradesh, who would be less affected by the farm overhaul, set up a protest camp in solidarity, clogging a central artery on the state’s border with Delhi,” The New York Times reported.

According to a CNN report, “Tens of thousands of farmers have swarmed India’s capital where they intend to camp out for weeks to protest new agricultural laws that they say could destroy their livelihoods.




Joe Biden choses retired General Lloyd Austin as secretary of defense, first African-American to take post


A veteran of conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the retired four-star army general, 67, beat out the favorite for the job, former under-secretary of defense Michele Flournoy, amid pressure on Biden to nominate more minorities for positions in his cabinet.

Lloyd Austin, who led US troops into Baghdad in 2003 and rose to head the US Central Command, has been chosen by President-elect Joe Biden to be the first African-American secretary of defense, US media reported Monday.

A veteran of conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the retired four-star army general, 67, beat out the favorite for the job, former under-secretary of defense Michele Flournoy, amid pressure on Biden to nominate more minorities for positions in his cabinet.

CNN, Politico and the New York Times cited unnamed sources familiar with the decision, after Biden said earlier Monday that he had made his choice and would announce it on Friday. Austin would require Senate confirmation to take up the post.

He spent four decades in the army, graduating from the West Point Military Academy and following a career with a wide range of assignments, from leading platoons to running logistics groups and overseeing recruiting, to senior Pentagon jobs.

In March 2003 he was the assistant division commander of the 3rd Infantry Division when it marched from Kuwait into Baghdad in the US invasion of Iraq.

From late 2003 to 2005, he was in Afghanistan commanding the Combined Joint Task Force 180, the principle US-led operation seeking to stabilize the security situation in the country.

In 2010 he was made commanding general of US forces in Iraq, and two years later became the commander of the Central Command, in charge of all Pentagon operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

Few African Americans in command jobs

Austin retired from the military in 2016, and joined the board of directors of Raytheon Technologies, one of the Pentagon’s largest contractors.

He would require special approval from the Senate due to federal law that requires military officers to wait seven years after retirement before serving as the Pentagon chief.

The waiver has happened twice — most recently for general Jim Mattis, the first defense secretary in the administration of President Donald Trump.

But members of the Senate agreed begrudgingly, amid concerns over Trump’s views on the military, and several said at the time that they wouldn’t want to do it again.

“He shouldn’t be considered for the same reason that Sec. Mattis shouldn’t have been,” said Congressman Justin Amash in a tweet.

“The law prohibits recently retired members of the Armed Forces from serving in this civilian capacity. Biden would be the second president in a row to violate this norm.”

Austin would take responsibility for the 1.2 million active service members, of which about 16 percent are Black.

But Blacks serve disproportionately in the lower ranks and few have achieved high command positions.

The issue became more clear over the past year when African American servicemen and women expressed support for the national Black Lives Matter movement against police racism and abuse.

Former defense secretary Mark Esper said he held numerous listening sessions to make White soldiers understand what the Black colleagues felt.




Arvind Kejriwal to visit Delhi-Haryana border today, will review arrangements for protesting farmers


Kejriwal is among the several opposition leaders who have extended support for “Bharat bandh”, which has been called for by the thousands of protesting farmers.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is likely to visit the Delhi-Haryana border today to review arrangements made for protesting farmers camping there, officials said.

Delhi CM will visit the Singhu border along with his cabinet members at 10 am, they said.

Kejriwal is among the several opposition leaders who have extended support for “Bharat bandh”, which has been called for by the thousands of protesting farmers.

“The Aam Aadmi Party fully supports the Bharat Bandh call made by farmers on 8 December. AAP workers across the country will support it peacefully. There is an appeal to all countrymen that everyone should support the farmers and participate in it,” Kejriwal had tweeted.

Yesterday, Congress had also expressed its whole-hearted support to the ‘Bharat Bandh’ called on December 8 by farmer unions.

The representatives of thousands of agitating farmers have said their call for a ‘Bharat Bandh’ on December 8 would be observed with full force.

Coming out in support of the farmers, the Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera while addressing the media at the AICC headquarters said, “I would also like to announce that the Congress party extends its whole-hearted support to the Bharat Bandh on December 8.”

Protests are underway at both the Singhu and Tikri borders, where farmers had gathered from Punjab and Haryana for more than 10 days.

The protesting farmers and the centre will meet for the sixth round of talks on Wednesday as the successive rounds of talks failed to bring out any conclusive results.

After the Saturday’s meeting, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had said that a new proposal would be placed before the farmers after discussions within the government.

The centre has offered to amend sections of the laws, but the farmers, thousands of whom are camped out around Delhi’s borders and have threatened a blockade of the national capital – insist they must be scrapped.




Thousands of people protest in central London in support of farmers in India, several arrested


Several police officers in face masks asked people to disperse from the “We stand with farmers of Punjab” demonstration, having warned that strict regulations remain in place.

The agitating farmers in India got support from London as thousands of people protested in central London on Sunday over the Indian government’s agricultural reforms that have triggered a massive demonstration by farmers. Several people were arrested by the police for violating COVID-19 rules, news agency PTI reported.

As per the reports, several police officers in face masks asked people to disperse from the “We stand with farmers of Punjab” demonstration, having warned that strict regulations remain in place to help prevent the spread of coronavirus and therefore demonstrations of larger than 30 risk arrests and fines.

“Our High Commission has been coordinating closely with the authorities concerned and we will, together with them, address the issues that have come up – for example how this gathering of thousands could take place without specific permission,” an Indian High Commission spokesperson was quoted as saying by PTI.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is likely to visit the Delhi-Haryana border today to review arrangements made for protesting farmers camping there, officials said.

Delhi CM will visit the Singhu border along with his cabinet members at 10 am, they said.

Kejriwal is among the several opposition leaders who have extended support for “Bharat bandh”, which has been called for by the thousands of protesting farmers.

“The Aam Aadmi Party fully supports the Bharat Bandh call made by farmers on 8 December. AAP workers across the country will support it peacefully. There is an appeal to all countrymen that everyone should support the farmers and participate in it,” Kejriwal had tweeted.

Yesterday, Congress had also expressed its whole-hearted support to the ‘Bharat Bandh’ called on December 8 by farmer unions.

The representatives of thousands of agitating farmers have said their call for a ‘Bharat Bandh’ on December 8 would be observed with full force.

Coming out in support of the farmers, the Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera while addressing the media at the AICC headquarters said, “I would also like to announce that the Congress party extends its whole-hearted support to the Bharat Bandh on December 8.”

Protests are underway at both the Singhu and Tikri borders, where farmers had gathered from Punjab and Haryana for more than 10 days.

The protesting farmers and the centre will meet for the sixth round of talks on Wednesday as the successive rounds of talks failed to bring out any conclusive results.

After the Saturday’s meeting, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had said that a new proposal would be placed before the farmers after discussions within the government.

The centre has offered to amend sections of the laws, but the farmers, thousands of whom are camped out around Delhi’s borders and have threatened a blockade of the national capital – insist they must be scrapped.




Donald Trump says his lawyer Rudy Giuliani has tested positive for ‘China virus’


It was unclear whether Giuliani was experiencing symptoms, but at age 76 the former New York mayor is considered part of a high-risk group.

Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani has tested positive for Covid-19, the president said Sunday, the latest member of his inner circle to contract the disease.

It was unclear whether Giuliani was experiencing symptoms, but at age 76 the former New York mayor is considered part of a high-risk group.

He has been seen frequently without a mask — CNN showed film of him Thursday in Atlanta walking maskless down a hall chatting with several other people whose faces were uncovered — and other members of his legal team presumably have been exposed.

“Giuliani, by far the greatest mayor in the history of NYC, and who has been working tirelessly exposing the most corrupt election (by far!) in the history of the USA, has tested positive for the China Virus,” Trump tweeted, using a term he applies to the coronavirus that has outraged Beijing.

Giuliani’s diagnosis comes as he has been leading the president’s defiant — and unsuccessful — effort to undo Joe Biden’s victory in the November 3 presidential election.

If the legal tean hews to health guidance, anyone thus exposed should self-quarantine for at least a week, which could cripple Trump’s already fading efforts to challenge his election loss.

The diagnosis was also a day after Trump, who long played down the severity of the pandemic and even mocked those who wore masks, held his first big political rally since the election — before a tightly packed crowd of thousands of largely unmasked supporters in Georgia.

The United States — the country with the most coronavirus cases and deaths in the world — has seen a dramatic resurgence in its epidemic in recent weeks.

For the third day in a row, the United States on Saturday notched a record number of coronavirus cases in 24 hours, reaching nearly 230,000 new infections, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

A series of members of Trump’s inner circle have contracted the disease since the president himself caught it weeks before the election.

They include his wife Melania, his son Donald Jr., his son Barron, his press secretary, some of his advisors, his campaign manager as well as several Republican members of Congress.

Many of them, including Giuliani, followed Trump’s example, often ignoring health experts’ guidance and attending White House and political events without masks.

Giuliani’s son Andrew, who works in the White House, tested positive for the virus late last month.

David Gergen, a senior advisor in four US administrations, noted on CNN that while dozens of people around Trump had now contracted the virus, only one or two in Biden’s camp had done so.

The lesson, Gergen said: “The cavalier attitude taken by the Trump people is only going to get you closer to catching this stuff…

“It’s just as plain as it can be.”





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