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‘Don’t be afraid of Covid’: Trump returns to White House, removes mask


President Donald Trump checked out of hospital on Monday after four days of emergency treatment for Covid-19, pulling off his mask the moment he reached the White House and vowing to quickly get back on the campaign trail.

Shortly beforehand, Trump had tweeted that Americans, who have lost nearly 210,000 people to the virus, have nothing to fear.

A series of made-for-TV moments allowed Trump to squeeze the maximum from his medical discharge, starting by exiting alone from the large gold-colored front doors of the Walter Reed military hospital just outside Washington.

Live on television, he then walked in a mask to a limousine, giving the thumb’s up, before boarding the nearby Marine One helicopter for the quick flight to the White House — which he left on Friday after falling ill.

Landing, he walked up the steps onto the South Portico’s stately balcony and demonstratively removed his mask, saluting the departing Marine One.

With less than a month until November 3 election day, polls show Trump behind Democrat Joe Biden and left scrambling even harder by his hospitalization to catch up.

The return to the White House was minutely stage managed to show he is physically fit, while a series of striking tweets demonstrated Trump’s coming angle of political attack — that he personally beat Covid and will now lead the country to its own comeback.

“Will be back on the Campaign Trail soon!!!” he said in one tweet.

“Don’t be afraid of Covid,” he said in another, claiming to be feeling rejuvenated after his illness.

But the 74-year-old Republican’s display of bravado came the same day as his own chief spokeswoman tested positive for the virus — the latest in an outbreak raging within the White House.

And despite his claims to be in good health again, a combination of White House secrecy, conflicting information from officials and the viral spread among his own circle, damaged his credibility.

In a briefing from the hospital, presidential physician Sean Conley said Trump is “back” but also said he would not be “entirely out of the woods” for another week.

It wasn’t clear how free Trump will be to move about in the White House’s crowded corridors and small office spaces. The facility, however, has a medical team of its own which will monitor the president in case of relapse.

Sickness around Trump

Despite Trump’s characteristic claim that Covid-19 should not be of major concern, polls show it is a huge worry for Americans. His widely panned handling of the crisis this year is also reckoned to be the main reason Biden, 77, is surging in polls.

The United States has the biggest reported toll of any country in the global pandemic.

Illustrating the divide between the reality described by health experts and the Trump White House’s defiance, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany became the latest to announce a positive test result on Monday.

Other positive cases close to Trump now include his wife Melania, his close aide Hope Hicks, his campaign manager Bill Stepien, two of McEnany’s assistants according to US media, and more than half a dozen others from the president’s circle both inside and outside the White House.

Trump singlehandedly ‘defeats’ Covid?

Beset by revelations that he avoids paying almost any income tax and a slew of other scandals, Trump was already behind Biden when he fell ill.

But the biggest liability in his scramble for a second term was always his handling of the pandemic.

For months, Trump has given the appearance of trying to wish away the catastrophe and get back to his reelection narrative of a strong economy.

Trump now looks poised to try and claim that in getting quickly out of hospital he has personally vanquished the virus — and will go on to do the same for the rest of the country.

An unofficial White House themed gift shop announced Monday it will sell a commemorative coin titled “President Donald J. Trump Defeats COVID” for $100.

And in the New York Post, a supportive columnist described Trump as an “invincible hero, who not only survived every dirty trick the Democrats threw at him, but the Chinese virus as well.”

Trump retweeted the comments.

Biden gets advantage

For all of Trump’s determination to reassert himself, he has already lost several precious days of a campaign that revolves heavily around his large-scale rallies and image of personal strength.

On the day he announced his positive test he had been due to hold a rally in Florida. The next day he was to have flown to another important battleground, Wisconsin, ignoring the fact he was to gather crowds in one of the worst coronavirus hotspots in the country.

Biden meanwhile has maintained his slow-but-steady campaign which has always emphasized health precautions — a pared-back style that Trump calls weakness and mocked as recently as last week. The Democrat was in Florida on Monday.

The upheaval has led to unusual interest in this Wednesday’s televised debate between the vice presidential candidates — Republican Mike Pence and Biden’s pick, Kamala Harris — who will be separated by a plexiglass barrier for the event.




PM Modi, Xi Jinping to come face-to-face at BRICS annual summit for first time since Ladakh standoff


For the first time since the standoff between Indian and Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to come face-to-face virtually at the BRICS annual summit to be held on November 17.

Russia, the chair of the five-nation BRICS, announced on Monday that the annual summit of the bloc will be held on November 17 via video conference.

The BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) is known as an influential bloc that represents over 3.6 billion people, or half of the world’s population.

The BRICS countries have a combined GDP of USD 16.6 trillion.

“The theme of the meeting of the leaders of BRICS countries is ”BRICS Partnership for Global Stability, Shared Security and Innovative Growth”,” the Russian government said in a statement.

Both Prime Minister Modi and President Xi have attended all summit meetings of the BRICS in the last few years.

PM Modi and Chinese President Xi are attending the virtual summit, said a diplomat, involved in the arrangements for the multilateral event.

Last year, the BRICS summit had taken place in Brazilia, the capital city of Brazil. PM Modi and Chinese PresidentXi also held a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the summit.

India and China are locked in a bitter border standoff in eastern Ladakh since early May that has significantly strained the bilateral ties.

Both sides have held a series of diplomatic and military talks to resolve the row. However, no breakthrough has been achieved to end the standoff.

The Russian statement also said, “this year the five countries have continued close strategic partnership on all the three major pillars: peace and security, economy and finance, cultural and people-to-people exchanges.”

Anton Kobyakov, Adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin, said despite the current global situation due to the spread of the coronavirus infection, the activities under Russia’s BRICS chairmanship were consistent.

“Since January, more than 60 events have been organized, including via videoconferencing. The BRICS Summit will be the jewel-in-the-crown event of the Russian BRICS chairmanship, which will provide impetus for further strengthening cooperation together with our partners to ensure the well-being of BRICS countries,” Mr Kobyakov said.




Naga rebel group says it wrote to PM Modi offering to hold talks ‘abroad’


The National Socialist Council of Nagaland (IM) revealed on Monday that it had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in February and had offered to hold talks abroad if its “stay in India is no more welcome”.

As per the reports, the group had also pressed for its demands of having separate Naga flag and constitution. The outfit claims it hasn’t received a response from the Prime Minister’s Office.

“Seven (7) months back, Muivah (general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah) dispatched a letter to the Prime Minister of India. We deliberately withheld the letter from releasing to the media for public consumption as we waited with all confidence that the Prime Minister of India will respond positively. Today, NSCN(IM) being accountable to the Naga people hereby released the letter to inform of the delay and the lack of response from the office of the Indian Prime Minister to our people,” an NSCN(IM) statement read.

“Today, we bring to your notice matters of serious concern regarding the activities of the ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and its agencies including NIA and Assam Rifles. As you are well aware, 22 years of political negotiation had started at the highest, i.e Prime minister-level talks without precondition and talks outside India in third countries. We had come to India on the invitation of the Government of India. We are totally shocked and surprised that even after more than two decades of political negotiation, the MHA and its agencies have become obnoxious,” Thuingaleng Muivah had written, reported NDTV.

“The latest episode of the MHA, which through a missive to the Nagaland government, questioned our presence in Dimapur. We are in Nagaland to meet our own people vis –a vis peace process…if our stay in India is no more welcome, all necessary arrangements must be made for us to leave India and the political talks be resumed in a third country,” he had added.

Last month, the Nagaland’s armed rebel group which is involved in the peace talks, said in a meeting that without a separate flag and constitution, the peace deal with the central government will not lead to an honourable solution.

A meeting was held at the central headquarters in Hebron near Dimapur in Nagaland deliberated on the historical and political rights of the Naga people and how the Indo-Naga political talks reached this far.

The hardened stand of the NSCN-IM comes at a time when the peace talks have been hit a deadlock because of differences between the group and the interlocutor RN Ravi, the governor of Nagaland

“The house had unanimously adopted the resolution to reiterate the stand of NSCN-IM that the ‘Naga national flag and Yehzabo (constitution) must form a part of the Indo-Naga political solution in order to qualify the Naga deal as honourable and acceptable,” NSCN-IM said in a press note.




CM Mamata Banerjee ignored my 10:47 pm ‘urgent call’ over death of BJP leader: Jagdeep Dhankhar


West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Monday accused the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of ignoring his late night message to “speak urgently” over the death of a BJP leader at Barrackpore.

Last evening, BJP leader Manish Shukla was shot dead at Barrackpore, about 20 km from Kolkata. As per the initial reports, he was speaking with some locals and party workers near a police station when the incident happened.

“Alarming nosediving law and order scenario @MamataOfficial. Targeted political killings in spite of alert by Constitutional Head. Neither ACS (Additional Chief Secretary) Home nor DGP Bengal Police responded. To CM (Chief Minister) at 10.47 PM “Would like to speak to you urgently!” Only silence that speaks volumes,” Dhankhar tweeted.

Later the governor in a tweet said, “Conveyed my concern of the present alarming scenario @MamataOfficial to the new Chief Secretary. Am sure Chief Minister would be indicated all these critical aspects that run down democratic governance and lawlessness. Political violence and targeted killings must stop.”

Last evening, Manish Shukla a member of the BJP’s Barrackpore organisational district committee was shot by men on bikes.

Senior BJP leaders in the state accused Mamata Banerjee’s TMC of a role in the attack and called for a 12-hour bandh today.

The Trinamool Congress has rubbished the charges and alleged that the killing was a result of the party’s internal dispute.

There have been many such incidents of clashes between the members of the two parties have been reported in last few months.




CBI raids Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar’s premises in alleged corruption case


The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday morning raided the Bangalore house of Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar in connection with an alleged corruption case.

As reported by news agency ANI, apart from Bengaluru, raids are being carried out at 15 locations including Mumbai.

The alleged corruption case was registered by the CBI based on the inputs shared by the Enforcement Directorate over a money-laundering probe linked to the tax evasion proceedings by the Income Tax Department, NDTV reported citing its sources.

Last year in September, the Enforcement Directorate had arrested the Karanataka Congress chief based on a chargesheet filed by the Income Tax Department against him.

Former Karnataka chief minister and Congress leader Siddaramaiah slammed the government for the raids on Sivakumar’s house by calling it an attempt to ‘mislead public’.

“@BJP4India has always tried to indulge in vindictive politics & mislead public attention,” Siddaramaiah tweeted.

“The latest CBI raid on @KPCCPresident @DKShivakumar’s house is another attempt to derail our preparation for bypolls,” he added.

 

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also attacked on the government over the raids saying, “The insidious game of intimidation & machinations of Modi-Yeddyurappa duo being executed by a puppet CBI by raiding @DKShivakumar won’t deter us. CBI should be unearthing the layers of corruption in Yeddyurappa Govt. But, ‘Raid Raj’ is their only ‘Machiavellian Move’!”

“Let Modi & Yeddyurappa Govts & BJP’s frontal organizations i.e CBI-ED-Income Tax know that Congress workers & leaders will not be cowed down nor bow down before such devious attempts. Our resolve to fight for people & expose BJP’s maladministration only becomes stronger,” he added.

Back in September 2018, the ED had registered a case against Shivakumar and his associates on the basis of the I-T investigations, and complaint to the court of tax evasion and criminal conspiracy to evade tax under Section 120 B of the Indian Penal Code.

 




‘No signs suggestive of intercourse’: FSL report dismisses rape claim in Hathras incident; doubt persists


The final report of the FSL (Forensic Science Laboratory) in connection with the Hathras gang rape case says that there were “no signs suggestive of intercourse”.

The report backs the claims of Uttar Pradesh Police which has contended that there was incident of rape happened and the girl died due to assault resulting in shock.

But the doubt persists as the victim’s samples were sent to the forensic lab in Agra 11 days after incident and experts point that sperms would not be present by that time.

On September 22, the investigative team had collected the sample of the victim at a hospital in Aligarh. On the same day, the woman had already recorded her statement from her hospital bed, as confirmed by the UP police.

The samples were sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory in Agra three day later, on September 25, according to the forensic report.

Experts believe that the statement is equally important in the investigation.

Amid the ongoing rift over the gang rape followed by the death of the 19-year-old Dalit girl in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras, Uttar Pradesh ADG (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar, citing the forensic report, on Thursday had said that the girl was not raped.

He contended that the girl died due to an injury on the neck and trauma resulting due to assault by four upper-caste men as per a post mortem report of Safdarjung Hospital.

“The report of the FSL has also come. It says clearly that samples did not have sperm. It makes clear that there was no rape or gang rape,” he said.

“Even the woman in her statement to police did not mention about rape but talked about ‘marpeet’ (beating) only,” he added.

ADG alleged that some people “distorted facts” in the media to disturb social harmony and create caste violence.

“For disturbing social harmony and create caste violence, some persons wrongly presented facts. Police took immediate action in the case and now we will identify those who tried to disturb social harmony and create caste violence,” the ADG said.




BJP plans to take fresh look at its candidates list in Bihar after LJP’s withdrawal


After a pre-poll setback for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Bihar as ally Chirag Paswan’s LJP decided to go solo, BJP is planning to set a fresh look at its candidates in the state, reports suggest.

It added that Bihar in-charge Devendra Fadnavis and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi along with other senior leaders are set to meet at the party chief JP Nadda home today in this regard.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Nadda and other top leaders had met to discuss the plan for the upcoming Bihar elections.

Maintaining a balance, as LJP is part Modi government at centre, Chirag Paswan announced yesterday that he would not contest the polls as part of the National Democratic Alliance as it had problems with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar but there was “no bitterness” with the BJP.

Chirag’s father, Ram Vilas Paswan, who is a minister in Modi government, said his party and the BJP would form government post-Bihar election.

He further declared that he would put up candidates opposite Nitish Kumar’s party Janata Dal-United (JDU) but avoid seats being contested by the BJP.




25-year-old woman allegedly raped, brutally beaten up by four men in Gurgaon: Police


A 25-year-old woman was allegedly raped and brutally beaten up by four men in Gurgaon, resulting in severe head injuries, in the early hours of Sunday, the police said.

All the accused, aged between 20 and 25, were arrested within hours of the crime, they said.

The incident took place in Gurgaon’s DLF Phase 2, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), DLF, Karan Goyal said over the phone.

All the four accused, three of them delivery boys, have been arrested, he said.

Karan Goyal said one of the four accused met the woman on Saturday night near Sikanderpur metro station in Gurgaon and took her to a realtor’s office, where the crime took place.

The other three accused were present there. One of the accused worked at the realtor’s office and had the keys to the complex, he said.

The ACP said the accused beat up the woman when she resisted their attempts. Her head was smashed against a wall.

“She suffered a deep cut on her head and was hospitalised in Gurgaon,” he said.

The accused fled the spot after committing the crime. On hearing the woman’s cries, a security guard of the complex alerted the police who reached the spot and took her to the hospital, the police said.

A case has been registered against the accused, who were caught within hours of the crime, under relevant provisions of the law, another police official said.




Day after Gandhis, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad heads towards Hathras to meet victim’s family


Yesterday, in a tweet, Azad had said, ‘We demand that the country’s 20 lakh Dalits should be provided with arms license so that they can protect themselves.’

A day after the senior Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi’s visit, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad is heading towards Hathras to meet the family of 20-year-old Dalit girl who was allegedly gang raped and murdered by a group f four upper caste men.

Yesterday in a tweet in Hindi, Azad had said: “The Constitution has given the right to life to every citizen of India which includes right to self-defence. We demand that the country’s 20 lakh Dalits should be provided with arms license so that they can protect themselves. The government should also provide us with a 50% subsidy for purchasing arms.”

Two days after the brief detention, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had reached Hathras to meet the victim’s family.

After a brief halt at DND, officials allowed the duo to drive towards Hathras along with three others.

Hundreds of Congress workers gathered at the DND sloganeering in favour of their leaders.

Earlier in the day, the Uttar Pradesh police had resorted to lathi-charge at Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border at Noida’s DND when Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi and hundreds of Congress workers were on their way to Hathras to meet the family of the deceased.

After a brief scuffle, the officials allowed the duo to drive towards Hathras along with senior Congress leaders, namely Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, KC Venugopal and Randeep Singh Surjewala.

Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has recommended a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe in the Hathras gang-rape cum murder case.

Interestingly, the recommendation of the Adityanath government comes close on the heels of the visit by Priyanka Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to the family of the victim.

“The family couldn’t see their daughter for the one last time. UP CM Yogi Adityanath should understand his responsibility. Till the time justice is delivered, we’ll continue this fight,” Priyanka Gandhi said while addressing the media after meeting the family.

“No force can silence us, no one can stop us,” Rahul Gandhi told the media after meeting the bereaved family.




Much better, but next few days would be ‘real test’: US President Donald Trump


The 74-year-old assured the public of his progress hours after a source with knowledge of the president’s condition had warned his vital signs were worrying, with the next 48 hours critical.

US President Donald Trump said in a video released on Twitter Saturday night that he was feeling “much better” in his battle against the coronavirus — but the next few days would be “the real test.”

The 74-year-old assured the public of his progress hours after a source with knowledge of the president’s condition had warned his vital signs were worrying, with the next 48 hours critical.

“I came here, wasn’t feeling so well,” said Trump, who is being treated at Walter Reed military medical center near Washington following his Covid-19 diagnosis.

“I feel much better now, we’re working hard to get me all the way back.”


It was unclear whether the undated video, apparently filmed at Walter Reed, had been made before or after the dire warnings about his health, which US media later said came from White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

That message contrasted with a more optimistic assessment from his doctors, such as White House physician Sean Conley who characterized Trump as mobile, fever-free for 24 hours and with an improving cough and less nasal congestion and fatigue.

Sporting a blue blazer and white dress shirt, but more casual than usual without a tie, Trump predicted a quick recovery.

“I think I’ll be back soon and I look forward to finishing up the campaign the way it was started,” Trump said.

“We’ll be seeing what happens over those next couple of days,” Trump said, adding “I guess that’s the real test.”

The president added that he’d had “no choice” other than to work from his hospital suite rather than cocooning himself in his bedroom for his recovery.

Trump has all the capabilities of White House communications in a special suite at the hospital that allows him to carry out his normal duties.

“I was given that alternative: stay in the White House, lock yourself in, don’t ever leave. Don’t even go to the Oval Office, just stay upstairs and enjoy it,” Trump said.

Trump added that this would have involved seeing no one in person, which was not his approach to the presidency.

He also thanked global heads of state “for their condolences… they know what we’re going through.”





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