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Amit Shah holds high-level meeting with Defence, Agriculture Ministers over farmers protest


The 2-hour long meeting comes after the reports said that agitating farmers are planning to block five entry points to Delhi.

A day after the farmers rejected the proposal of talks from Amit Shah, the Home Minister along with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar met last night at BJP chief JP Nadda’s Delhi house, NDTV reported citing its sources.

The 2-hour long meeting comes after the reports said that agitating farmers are planning to block five entry points to Delhi.

Yesterday, the protesting farmers had rejected home minister Amit Shah’s proposal for an early discussion on their grievances.

The farmers said the government should have approached with “an open heart” and not put preconditions. The farmers’ decision came after a meeting this morning to discuss the Home Minister’s offer.

It is to be noted that Amit Shah had said that if the farmer unions want talks with the government before December 3, they have to shift to the grounds at Burari to hold their protest in a structured manner.

The farmers’ decision comes hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his Mann ki Baat show said, “The new farm laws have opened the doors of opportunity for the Indian farmers.”

He said that the demands that the framers ‘made over the years’ which every government had promised to meet has ‘finally been met.’

Before the PM’s address, state president of Punjab Kisan Union, Ruldu Singh had said, “We will discuss on how to engage in talks with the centre. We are ready for talks with the centre only if they invite us for the same.”

He added that apart from the farm laws, they also want withdrawal of electricity amendment bill (2020).

“We firmly know that the union government will not agree to all our demands. While getting the three farm laws revoked is our primary demand, we also want withdrawal of electricity amendment bill (2020). If government insists on farm laws, then we will push for legalising MSP for the purchase of every crop,” he said.

A group of farmers, walking with tractors carrying stocks of food and essential supplies, tried to enter Delhi from multiple points, defying barricades.

Haryana police had dug trenches at various crossing points in order to stop the marching farmers.

Delhi Police used water cannon and tear gas shells to disperse protesting farmers at Tikri border near Delhi-Bahadurgarh highway.

Farmers were seen clashing with security forces, as they tried to head towards Delhi as part of their protest march.

Delhi Police had seek permission from Delhi Government to convert nine stadiums into temporary prisons, in view of ongoing protest. However, the permission by denied.

Protesting farmers were allowed to enter the national capital. They will have the permission to protest at the Nirankari Samagam Ground in the Burari area, Delhi Police Commissioner had said.




Rajasthan BJP MLA Kiran Maheshwari, who tested Covid positive, dies; PM Modi condoles demise


The 59-year-old leader was shifted to the Medanta Hospital in Haryana’s Gurugram after her condition worsened after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Rajasthan BJP leader Kiran Maheshwari, who had tested positive for coronavirus earlier this month, succumbed to the virus last night at Medanta Hospital in Haryana’s Gurugram.

The 59-year-old leader was shifted to the hospital after her condition worsened after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the death of the leader and said that she had made numerous efforts to work towards the progress of the state, and empower the poor and marginalised.

Taking to Twitter, PM said he was “pained by the untimely demise” of Kiran Maheshwari who, the prime minister said, made numerous efforts to work towards the progress of Rajasthan and empower the poor as well as marginalised.

PM Narendra Modi said, “Pained by the untimely demise of Kiran Maheshwari Ji. Be it as MP, MLA or Cabinet Minister in the Rajasthan Government, she made numerous efforts to work towards the progress of the state and empower the poor as well as marginalised. Condolences to her family. Om Shanti.”

“She made numerous efforts to work towards the progress of the state and empower the poor as well as marginalised,” tweeted PM Modi.




China to build major hydropower project on Brahmaputra river: Report


Yan Zhiyong, chairman of the Power Construction Corp of China, said China will implement hydropower exploitation in the downstream of the Yarlung Zangbo River.

China will build a major hydropower project on Brahmaputra river in Tibet and a proposal for this has been clearly put forward in the 14th Five-Year Plan to be implemented from next year, the official media on Sunday quoted the head of a Chinese company tasked to build the dam as saying.

Yan Zhiyong, chairman of the Power Construction Corp of China, said China will “implement hydropower exploitation in the downstream of the Yarlung Zangbo River” (the Tibetan name for Brahmaputra) and the project could serve to maintain water resources and domestic security, the Global Times reported.

Speaking at a conference on Thursday, Yan said the project was clearly put forward in the proposals for formulating the country”s 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) and its long-term goals through 2035 made by the Central Committee of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), it quoted an article on the WeChat account of the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League of China on Sunday.

“There is no parallel in history… it will be a historic opportunity for the Chinese hydropower industry,” Yan told the conference organised to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the founding of the China Society for Hydropower Engineering.

The 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) and National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035 were adopted by Plenum – a key policy body of the CPC – last month.

Details of the plan were expected to be released after the formal ratification by National People’s Congress (NPC) early next year.

Proposals for dams on the Brahmaputra have evoked concerns in India and Bangladesh, the riparian states, and China has downplayed such anxieties saying it would keep their interests in mind.

As a lower riparian State with considerable established user rights to the waters of the trans-border rivers, the Indian government has consistently conveyed its views and concerns to the Chinese authorities and has urged them to ensure that the interests of downstream States are not harmed by any activities in upstream areas.

China has already operationalised the USD 1.5 billion Zam Hydropower Station, the largest in Tibet in 2015.

About the new dam, the Global Times report said that speculation about China planning to build a “super hydropower station” in Medog county, where the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon is located, have circulated for years.

Medog is the last county in Tibet which borders Arunachal Pradesh.
In his address, Yan said that the hydropower exploitation of the Yarlung Zangbo River downstream is more than a hydropower project. It is also meaningful for the environment, national security, living standards, energy and international cooperation.

According to the report, the mainstream of the Yarlung Zangbo River has the richest water resources in Tibet Autonomous Region, about 80 million kilowatt hours (kWh), while the 50-kilometer section of the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon has 70 million kWh that could be developed with a 2,000-meter drop, which equals more than three Three Gorges power stations in Hubei province.

Tibet has about 200 million kWh of water resources, accounting for 30 per cent of the total in China.

The 60 million kWh hydropower exploitation at the downstream of the Yarlung Zangbo River could provide 300 billion kWh of clean, renewable and zero-carbon electricity annually. The project will play a significant role in realising China”s goal of reaching a carbon emissions peak before 2030 and carbon neutrality in 2060, he said.

“It is a project for national security, including water resources and domestic security,” he said, noting that the project will also smooth cooperation with South Asia.

The hydropower station could generate income of 20 billion yuan (USD three billion) annually for the Tibet Autonomous Region, he said.

India and China established Expert Level Mechanism (ELM) in 2006 to discuss various issues related to trans-border rivers.

Under existing bilateral Memorandums of Understanding, China provides hydrological information of Brahmaputra River and Sutlej River to India during the flood seasons.

Under the arrangement, China provides flood season data of the Brahmaputra river between May 15 and October 15 every year.




Actor Urmila Matondkar to join Shiv Sena tomorrow, says party leader


Harshal Pradhan, a close aide of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, said that Matondkar will join the party in the chief minister’s presence.

Actor Urmila Matondkar, who had contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as a Congress candidate and quit the party later, will join the Shiv Sena on Tuesday, a party functionary said.

Harshal Pradhan, a close aide of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, on Sunday said that Ms Matondkar will join the party in the chief minister’s presence.

Urmila Matondkar’s name has been forwarded to Maharashtra Governor BS Koshyari by the Shiv Sena for nomination to the Legislative Council from the governor’s quota. The names of 11 others have also been forwarded by the three-party Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government for their nomination from the governor’s quota.

The governor is yet to approve the list of 12 names.

Urmila Matondkar had unsuccessfully contested the 2019 Lok Sabha election from Mumbai North constituency as a Congress candidate. However, she later quit the party over the functioning of Congress’ Mumbai unit.

Recently, she had criticised actor Kangana Ranaut for comparing Mumbai with Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and on the nepotism issue.




‘Won’t change my mind’: Donald Trump doubles down on election fraud claim


“This election was rigged. This election was a total fraud,” he claimed, again without backing this up. “We won the election easily.”

In the first TV interview since losing his re-election bid, President Donald Trump indicated Sunday that he will never concede to Joe Biden and abandon his conspiracy theory about mass ballot fraud.

“It’s not like you’re gonna change my mind. My mind will not change in six months,” Trump told Fox News interviewer Maria Bartiromo.

“This election was rigged. This election was a total fraud,” he claimed, again without backing this up. “We won the election easily.”

The 45-minute interview, Trump’s first on television since the November 3 election, was mostly a monologue of evidence-free claims concerning election fraud, virtually unchallenged by Bartiromo.

Despite Trump’s unprecedented attack on the validity of the US election system, his legal team has yet to provide any evidence that stands up in court.

Case after case has been rejected by judges around the country. The latest rebuff came from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which on Saturday turned down a lawsuit filed by Trump supporters seeking to contest Biden’s win in the state.

“We’re trying to put the evidence in and the judges won’t allow us to do it,” Trump said. “We are trying. We have so much evidence.”

Ignoring the usual boundaries between his office and the judicial and law enforcement system, Trump complained that the Department of Justice and FBI were not helping him.

They are “missing in action,” he said, also questioning the point of the Supreme Court if it doesn’t intervene.

“We should be heard by the Supreme Court. Something has to be able to get up there. Otherwise, what is the Supreme Court?” he asked.

The 2020 election was not especially close.

Biden won the electoral college vote — the state-by-state competition deciding the winner — by 306 to 232. In the popular national vote, which does not decide the result but still has political and symbolic heft, Biden won by 51 to 47 percent.

Losers of US presidential elections traditionally concede almost immediately.

But whether or not Trump ever acknowledges defeat, the Electoral College is all but certain to go through the formal motions of confirming Biden when it meets on December 14 and the Democrat will be sworn in on Inauguration Day January 20.

Even as the clock runs down on his single term, Trump declined to say on Fox News whether he sees an expiry date for his unsuccessful legal campaign.

“I’m not going to say a date,” he said.

Asked if he saw a path to victory, he said: “I hope so.”




PM’s vaccine Review: 1st stop at Zydus facility in Gujarat


The PM was also given a brief inspection of the plant where the corona vaccine is being developed.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his three-city vaccine tour on Saturday starting with pharma major Zydus Cadila’s plant in Gujarat to review the development of the much-awaited coronavirus inoculation and its manufacturing process.

The PM’s visit to the Changodar facility followed his arrival at the Ahmedabad airport at around 9.20 a.m. on Saturday, where he was welcomed by the Chief Secretary of Gujarat Anil Mukim.

His three city tours will also include Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh where pharmaceutical companies are into preparation of the vaccine against Covid-19, Pune’s Serum Institute of India (SII) and Hyderabad’s Bharat Biotech being the next two destinations.

From the Ahmedabad airport he was flown to Changodar by the Indian Air Force chopper. From Changodar, he was taken to Zydus Cadila pharma company’s Biotech plant via road.

At the Zydus Cadila Biotech plant, the PM was welcomed by the pharmaceutical company’s chairman Pankaj Patel and his son and the company’s MD Sharvil Patel.

Modi also had a chat with Sharvil Patel’s children.

Before a detailed meeting with the company’s chairman, MD and scientists, Modi watched the presentation about the coronavirus vaccine development.

Vaccine trials and distribution were discussed during the almost half an hour meeting at the Biotech plant.

The Zydus company is into its second phase of clinical trials of the vaccine called the ZyCov-D. Shortly, the third phase clinical trials are expected by the company in December.

The PM was also given a brief inspection of the plant where the corona vaccine is being developed.

A special Helipad was prepared at Changodar for the PM’s chopper to land. More than 500 police personnel were deployed at Changodar to oversee and maintain security, including 4 Superintendent of Police (SP), 10 DySP, 12 Police Inspector (PI) and 40 Police Sub Inspectors (PSI). Apart from that, the BDDS, SOG and LCB personnel were also there.

His other stop in Hyderabad is for Bharat Biotech which is into its third phase of trials of it’s vaccine, ‘Covaxine’, which is being developed in collaboration with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to be carried out in many parts of the country, including Ahmedabad.

PM will be in Pune’s Serum Institute of India also in its second phases of trials of the vaccine, which is being developed in collaboration with the Oxford university.

 




PM Modi to visit three top vaccine hubs today, will review development of coronavirus vaccine


As per the Prime Minister Office, PM will visit the Zydus Biotech Park in Ahmedabad, Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad and Serum Institute of India in Pune.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit India’s top vaccine hubs today to review the development of coronavirus vaccine and the manufacturing process.

As per the Prime Minister Office, PM will visit the Zydus Biotech Park in Ahmedabad, Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad and Serum Institute of India in Pune.

As India enters a decisive phase of the fight against COVID-19, The Prime Minister’s visit to these facilities and discussions with the scientists will help him get a first-hand perspective of the preparations, challenges and roadmap in India’s endeavour to vaccinate its citizens.

From Ahmedabad, PM will fly to Pune’s Serum Institute of India (SII). PM Modi is likely to review the status of the vaccine, including its launch, production and distribution mechanisms during the visit.

Later, he will travel to Hyderabad and visit Bharat BioTech, which is working on Covaxin, pitched as India’s first indigenous vaccine candidate.

Prime Minister had chaired a high-level meeting with Chief Ministers of States and UTs on Tuesday via video conferencing to review the status and preparedness of COVID-19 response and management with special emphasis on eight high focus states.

The Prime Minister remarked that the country has faced the pandemic through concerted efforts and in terms of both recovery rate and fatality rate, the situation in India is better than most other countries.

He said that efforts are on to make medical colleges and district hospitals self-sufficient in terms of oxygen generation and informed that the process for establishing more than 160 new oxygen plants is underway.




Day after getting permission for protest in Delhi, farmers still camping around border


The protesters have said they have enough essentials to continue their protests for up to six months. At least three highways that lead to Delhi remain blocked amid the protests.

A day after the Delhi government allows farmers to protest in the national capital, a large number of farmers are still camping around the Delhi border.

The protesters have said they have enough essentials to continue their protests for up to six months. At least three highways that lead to Delhi remain blocked amid the protests.

Yesterday, thousands of farmers were allowed to enter Delhi for their planned protest against farm laws.

The decision comes after a morning of clashes with the police at the Haryana border.

As per the reports, groups of farmers, walking with tractors carrying stocks of food and essential supplies, are trying to enter Delhi from multiple points, defying barricades.

Haryana police have dug trenches at various crossing points in order to stop the marching farmers.

Delhi Police used water cannon and tear gas shells to disperse protesting farmers at Tikri border near Delhi-Bahadurgarh highway.

Farmers were seen clashing with security forces, as they tried to head towards Delhi as part of their protest march.

Delhi Police had seek permission from Delhi Government to convert nine stadiums into temporary prisons, in view of ongoing protest. However, the permission by denied.

Protesting farmers will be allowed to enter the national capital. They will have the permission to protest at the Nirankari Samagam Ground in the Burari area, Delhi Police Commissioner said.

The Delhi Police Commissioner has appealed to the farmers to maintain order and demonstrate peacefully.

“After discussion with farmer leaders, the protesting farmers have been permitted inside Delhi to hold peaceful protest at Nirankari ground in Burari. Delhi Police appeals to them to maintain peace,” said Eish Singhal PRO Delhi police.

The agitating farmers earlier entered into a confrontation with the Delhi Police and there was mild lathi-charge and some rounds of tear gas shells used besides water cannons to push the farmers from Singhu and Tikri borders along Delhi-Haryana.




UP Governor gives assent to ordinance against forcible religious conversions


The state cabinet presided over by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had earlier this week approved the draft ordinance to curb forcible or “dishonest” religious conversions including those for the sake of marriage, which could land violators in jail for up to 10 years.

Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel on Saturday gave assent to an ordinance against forcible or “dishonest” religious conversions, an official said.

The Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020 has been issued with the approval of the Governor, the official said.

The state cabinet presided over by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had earlier this week approved the draft ordinance to curb forcible or “dishonest” religious conversions including those for the sake of marriage, which could land violators in jail for up to 10 years.

According to it, a marriage will be declared “null and void” if the conversion of a woman is solely for that purpose, and those wishing to change their religion after marriage need to apply to the district magistrate.

In recent weeks, BJP-run states like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh have revealed plans to enact laws to counter alleged attempts to convert Hindu women to Islam in the guise of marriage, which party leaders often refer to as ‘love jihad’.




First since abrogation of Article 370, polling for DDC in J-K begins today


There was lukewarm response to the polling in the valley due to the chilly weather, however, the turnout is expected to increase as the temperature would increase later in the day.

After the abrogation of Article 370, the first polling in Jammu and Kashmir for the District Development Council (DDC) has begun on Saturday.

The polls is being seen as a triangular contest between the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), including the National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which are seeking the restoration of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status revoked by the Centre last year, and the BJP, and Apni Party floated by former finance minister Altaf Bukhari.

Due to the cold weather, little enthusiasm was seen at the polling stations as the voting began at 7 am, officials said according to PTI.

However, the turnout is expected to increase as the temperature rises through the day, they said.

Campaigning for the first phase came to an end on Thursday, with elaborate arrangements having been made for the smooth conduct of the democratic exercise, especially in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said.

The polling has begun for the DDC polls and bypolls to panchyats and urban local bodies across Jammu and Kashmir for the first phase of the eight phase process, the officials said.

There was lukewarm response to the polling in the valley due to the chilly weather, however, the turnout is expected to increase as the temperature would increase later in the day, they said.

As many as 1,475 candidates are in the fray for the first phase of the polls, the officials said.

Out of these, 296 candidates are contesting the first phase of the DDC polls in the union territory, they said, adding 172 were from the Kashmir valley and 124 from the Jammu region.

In the first phase of the DDC elections, 43 constituencies will go to polls, including 25 in Kashmir and 18 in Jammu, the officials said.

For the bypolls to Panchayats, 899 candidates are in the fray for the Panch seats and 280 for the sarpanch seats, they added.

A total of 2,644 polling stations have been set up and there are 7,03,620 electors for this phase, the officials said.

The bypolls are also being held for four wards of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation and the municipal bodies of Pahalgam and Aishmuqam in Anantnag district. The voting for the first phase will end at 2 pm, they said.

There are 280 DDC seats in the Union Territory including 140 each in Jammu and Kashmir regions, the officials said. Fourteen constituencies have been earmarked in each of the 20 districts of the UT, they said.

The bypolls to the 12,153 Panchayat constituencies are also taking place along with the DDC polls. Out of these a major portion 11,814 are in the Kashmir valley, while 339 are in Jammu, they said.

(With inputs from PTI)





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