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India’s Covid cases cross 65-lakh mark; recoveries toll surpass 55-lakh


India which remains the second worst affected nation by the pandemic,coronavirus case tally now stands at 65,49,373 cases, including 9,37,625 active Covid-19 cases.

With 75,829 new coronavirus cases recorded in the last 24 hours, India’s Covid-19 case tally has crossed 65 lakh mark, according to Ministry of Health.

India which remains the second worst affected nation by the pandemic,coronavirus case tally now stands at 65,49,373 cases, including 9,37,625 active Covid-19 cases.

In the last 24 hours, the country has recorded 82,260 recoveries  taking the total number of recoveries to 55,09,966. With a recovery rate of 84.13 per cent, India continues to occupy the first position globally in the number of Covid-19 recoveries.

Union Health Ministry on Saturday said the country accounts for 21 per cent of the global recovered cases and its share in total cases stands at 18.6 per cent.

In the last 24 hours, India has reported 940 fatalities,  taking the total deaths to 1,01,782. The fatality rate of India stands at 1.55 per cent, which is lowest in the world.

Maharastra, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu remain the worst affected states by the pandemic.  Maharashtra has recorded 14,348 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours taking the state’s total to 14,30,861 cases and 37,758 fatalities.

Delhi’s total coronavirus case load after daily spike of 2,258 cases now stands at 2,87,930 Covid-19 cases and 5,472 fatalities.

India has conducted a total of 11,42,131 tests, taking the total tally of Covid-19 tests conducted to 7,89,92.534




IPL 2020: Shreyas Iyer, Anrich Nortje help Delhi Capitals beat KKR in high-scoring drama


Delhi Capitals now have six points from four matches while KKR are placed sixth with four points from four games in the IPL 2020 points table.

Shreyas Iyer played a captain’s knock — 88 not out off 38 balls — to guide Delhi Capitals (DC) to a thrilling 18-run win, but not before Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) gave them some anxious moments towards the end of the 16th IPL game on Saturday night.

Shreyas was adjudged the Man of the Match, and the win lifted DC to the top of the points table. They now have six points from four matches while KKR are placed sixth with four points from four games.

Despite some explosive batting by Eoin Morgan (44 off 18) and Rahul Tripathi (36 off 16) towards the end of the KKR innings, they failed to overhaul the massive 229-run target as the two-time champions fell short of the target.

Earlier, KKR won the toss and opted to bowl. Besides Shreyas, opener Prithvi Shaw scored a half-century (66 off 41 balls) and Rishabh Pant hammered a 17-ball 38 to take their team to 228 for four wickets in 20 overs. In reply, KKR made 210 for eight wickets in 20 overs, after once threatening to run away with the game. Nitish Rana was their top scorer with 58 off 35 balls and Eoin Morgan smashed 44 off 18 balls, but in vain.

Chasing the target, KKR opener Sunil Narine once again failed to fire as he fell cheaply after managing just three runs. Shubhman Gill (28) and Rana then took command of the proceedings as they took their side past the 50-run mark in 5.2 overs.

Just when everything was going KKR’s way, Amit Mishra dismissed Gill in the ninth over with KKR scorecard reading 72/2. Andre Russell (13), too, didn’t spent much time in the middle and KKR were reduced to 94/3 in 9.5 overs.

Rana continued to kept the fight on, but he couldn’t convert it as Harshal Patel dismissed him in the 13th over. Rana’s innings contained four boundaries and as many sixes.

Within five runs, KKR lost their skipper Dinesh Karthik (6) and Pat Cummins (5), and DC strengthening their grip on the contest. The fall of Cummis left KKR reeling at 122/6.

There was, however, another twist in the story as Tripathi and Morgan added 78 runs in the next 31 balls, courtesy some massive hits into the stands, which saw KKR making a comeback in the match.

Anrich Nortje, however, didn’t let the KKR duo succeed as he dismissed a dangerous looking Morgan in the 19th over before Marcus Stoinis, who bowled an exceptional final over, accounted for the wicket of Tripathi with a toe-crushing yorker.

Despite the phenomenal batting by Morgan and Tripathi, KKR failed to cross the line by 18 runs.

For DC, Nortje was the wrecker-in-chief as he returned with figures of 3/33 while Patel bagged 2/34.

Earlier, opener Prithvi Shaw’s blistering 66 followed by Shreyas’s (unbeaten 88 off 38) carnage propelled DC to a mammoth 228/4 in the allotted 20 overs.

Apart from the duo, DC stumper Rishabh Pant also took full advantage of the short boundaries as he blasted 38 off 17 balls with the help of five boundaries and a six.

DC were off to a flying start, thanks to openers Shikhar Dhawan (26) and Shaw, who made sure that their side cross the 50-run mark in just 4.4 overs.

However, while trying to go for a maximum, Dhawan became a victim of Varun Chakravarthy in the sixth over with DC being on 56/1.

The dismissal didn’t affect DC much as incoming batter and Shaw kept going at a decent pace.

The duo steered their side to the three-digit mark in the 11th over before Shaw was packed back by Kamlesh Nagarkoti in the 13th over.

Shaw’s knock contained four boundaries and as many sixes.

Iyer and Pant then added 72 runs in the next 31 balls as they clobbered every KKR bowler who came in their way.

Andre Russell, finally, gave KKR some respite as he accounted for the wicket of Pant in the 18th over, which saw DC’s scorecard reading 201/3.

Iyer, on other hand, kept his lusty blows going before Russell struck again, this time in the final over to send back Marcus Stoinis (1). However, the damage was already done as DC posted a challenging target before their opponents with ease.

Iyer’s sparkling innings was decorated with seven fours and six massive hits into the stands.

Brief scores: Delhi Capitals 228/4 wkts in 20 overs (Shreyas Iyer 88 not out, Prithvi Shaw 66; Andre Russell 2/29) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 210/8 wkts in 20 overs (Nitish Rana 58, Eoin Morgan 44; Anrich Nortje 3/33) by 18 runs




‘Daughters should be given good values, upbringing in cultured environments to avoid rape’: UP BJP MLA


‘Such incidents (like rape) can be stopped only with sanskar (culture), not with shasan (good governance) or talwar (referring to sword or might,’ he said.

Amid the nationwide outrage over the Hathras gang rape and murder incident, a shocker comes from a BJP leader from UP’s Ballia who said that in order to control over the rape cases, it’s the duty of all mothers and fathers to imbibe good values in their daughters and bring them up in cultured environments.

“I am a teacher along with being an MLA. Such incidents (like rape) can be stopped only with sanskar (culture), not with shasan (good governance) or talwar (referring to sword or might),” BJP MLA Surendra Singh said on Saturday while talking to a reporter.

The reporter had asked him a question: “Why do you think rape cases are continue even as is people say this is Ram Rajya?”

“It’s my dharma, government’s dhrama but family’s dharma too… While government is committed to protect, the family should be committed too to imbibe good values in their children. Sanskar and sarkaar can make India beautiful, there is no other alternative,” he answered.

MLA’s shocker comes at a time when the nation is protesting against the death of 19-year-old girl who scummed to her injuries on Tuesday night.

The victim had suffered from multiple fracture, paralysis and had difficulties in breathing by a neck injury in the assault. The police have also said that there was a gash in her tongue as she had bitten it when then four assaulters tried to strangle her.

The incident has triggered public anger and the Yogi Adityanath led UP government has come under attack from the opposition over recent crimes against women.




Government readies to waive-off ‘interest on interest’ on loans up to Rs 2 crore during moratorium


It added that it will seek parliament’s permission for grants to enable the move.

A huge relief comes for the borrowers as the government has told the Supreme Court that it is ready to waive interest on the repayment of loans of up to Rs 2 crore, frozen by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in a six-month moratorium granted because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Under pandemic conditions, the only solution is for the government to bear the burden of waiving of interest,” the government has said in an affidavit submitted yesterday.

It added that it will seek parliament’s permission for grants to enable the move.

The interest waiver will apply for loans taken by MSMEs, for educational, housing, consumer goods and auto loans and for credit card dues.

The waiver on interest will be irrespective of whether the borrower has availed of the moratorium.

Finance Ministry has said that waiving off interest on loans to every category would amount to a burden of Rs 6 lakh crore for banks.

“If the banks were to bear this burden, it would necessarily wipe out a major part of their net worth, rendering most of the banks unviable and raising a very serious question mark on their survival,” it said.

The government’s change of stance is based on the recommendation of a government panel headed by former Comptroller and Auditor General Rajiv Mehrishi, which was tasked with examining the effects of the coronavirus and the lockdown on various sectors.

Government had argued in earlier court hearings that waiving interest on deferred EMIs during the moratorium period would be against “the basic canons of finance” and unfair to those who repaid loans on schedule.

But the Supreme Court had made it clear that the government needs to find a solution and not “hide behind the Reserve Bank”.




Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurates strategically important Atal Tunnel in Himachal Pradesh


‘It has several salient features and will further ‘Ease of Living’ for local citizens. Will also join public programmes in Sissu in Lahaul Spiti and at Solang Valley,’ PM said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched the Atal Tunnel in Himachal Pradesh.

“Experts say that the pace at which Atal Tunnel was being constructed during UPA regime were to continue, it would be completed by 2040! Our govt increased the pace of construction from 300 meters/year to 1400 meters/year and completed the project in 2020,” PM said.

Yesterday in a tweet, PM had said, The Atal Tunnel will solve a major problem of connectivity in the region. It has several salient features and will further ‘Ease of Living’ for local citizens. Will also join public programmes in Sissu in Lahaul Spiti and at Solang Valley.”

 

It is the longest highway tunnel in the world built at an altitude of 3000 meters. The 9.02 Km long tunnel connects Manali to Lahaul-Spiti valley.

The tunnel is built to ultra-modern specifications in the Pir Panjal range of Himalayas.

“It is a horse shoe-shaped, single-tube, double lane tunnel with a roadway of eight metres and has an overhead clearance of 5.525 metres,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

The south portal of the tunnel is located at a distance of 25 km from Manali and at an altitude of 3,060 metres. The north portal (NP) is located near the Teling village in the Lahaul Valley at an altitude of 3,071 metres.




‘No power can stop me’: Rahul Gandhi to visit Hathras to meet victim’s family today


‘I won’t accept the behavior of the UP government towards the family of the Hathras victim. None of any Indians will accept it,’ he said.

Two days after being manhandled followed by arrest on his way to hathras, senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will go again to meet the family of the Hathras gang rape victim today.

Early morning in a couple of tweets in Hindi, Rahul Gandhi said: “I won’t accept the behavior of the UP government towards the family of the Hathras victim. None of any Indians will accept it.”

“No power in the world can stop me from meeting and sharing the pain of the victim’s family of Hathras,” he added.

On Thursday, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra were arrested by the police and taken to the police station while they were on their way to Hathras to meet the family of gang rape victim.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has alleged that he was pushed to the ground and lathi-charged, when he and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra were marching towards Hathras after their convoy was stopped at the highway between Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on the act of police said, “We were stopped from going to Hathras. When we along with Rahul ji took foot-march then we were stopped repeatedly and were lathicharged. But our will power is strong and the lathis of the high and mighty cannot stop us.”

“I wish these lathis were for the protection of Dalit daughter of Hathras,” she said.

The 19-year-old girl who scummed to her injuries on Tuesday night and whose dead-of-night cremation has sparked nation wide protest. The Gandhis along with other Congress volunteers sat on road after Uttar Pradesh police refused to let them continue to Hathras. Gandhis’ SUV had crossed the border, but their convoy was stopped at Greater Noida, which is about 142 km to Hathras. Rahul Gandhi targeting the Prime Minister said, “Just now police pushed me, lathicharged me and threw me to the ground. I want to ask, can only Modi Ji walk in this country? Can’t a normal person walk? Our vehicle was stopped, so we started walking,”

The UP administration has put a ban on all  large gathering and has set up barricades at border, ahead of the Congress visit. The district administration in Hathras has imposed Section 144 in the area and has banned the entry of all ‘outsiders’ including media persons, in the Boolgarhi village where the 19-year-old Dalit girl was gang-raped and has died.

The victim had suffered from multiple fracture, paralysis and had difficulties in breathing by a neck injury in the assault. The police have also said that there was a gash in her tongue as she had bitten it when then four assaulters tried to strangle her.

The incident has triggered public anger and the Yogi Adityanath led UP government has come under attack from the opposition over recent crimes against women.




‘Doing very well’: Donald Trump hospitalized, given experimental Covid-19 treatment


In an 18-second video recorded inside the White House and released on Twitter, Trump broke his silence, saying he was being hospitalized but ‘I think I’m doing very well.’

President Donald Trump was hospitalized Friday and given an experimental Covid-19 treatment, but said he was “well,” following bombshell news that the Republican had contracted the virus, knocking him off the campaign trail a month from the US election.

After having not been seen in public since his shock announcement that he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for the coronavirus, the president walked out of the White House Friday evening, wearing a mask, and flew by helicopter to the Walter Reed military hospital outside Washington.

In an 18-second video recorded inside the White House and released on Twitter, Trump broke his silence, saying he was being hospitalized but “I think I’m doing very well.”


“We’re going to make sure that things work out,” he said, adding that the first lady was also “doing very well.”

Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement that medical experts recommended Trump “be working from the presidential offices at Walter Reed for the next few days.”

The hospitalization indicated an intense effort to make sure the president’s reportedly “mild” symptoms do not deteriorate.


The development also highlighted the uncharted waters for the US election on November 3, with Trump — who is well behind his Democratic opponent Joe Biden in the polls — having to freeze much of his campaign.

At first, aides gave rosy assessments, with Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows saying the president, 74, had only mild symptoms, was in “good spirits” and feeling “very energetic.”

Later Friday, a letter issued by White House physician Sean Conley indicated something more serious.

Conley said Trump received a single dose of Regeneron’s antibody cocktail, a treatment undergoing clinical trials but not yet approved by regulators.

“He’s being evaluated by a team of experts, and together we’ll be making recommendations to the President and First Lady in regards to next best steps,” Conley wrote.

Biden out on his own

Trump’s illness upended the White House race, with Biden suddenly finding himself alone on the campaign trail — and able to argue that his distinctly more cautious approach to Covid-19 had been vindicated.

Biden has made Trump’s frequent downplaying of the pandemic and mixed messaging on mask-wearing a central campaign theme, arguing the president is to blame for the scale of the crisis in the United States, where more than 200,000 people have died.

Trump has tried repeatedly to shift the narrative to areas where he feels stronger, like the economy, only to find himself drawn back into the coronavirus catastrophe in which he is now the country’s highest-profile patient.

Biden, who stood in close proximity to Trump for 90 minutes during their ill-tempered first debate Tuesday in Cleveland, announced that he and his wife Jill took tests Friday and were negative.

Underlining his sudden advantage in the bitter race, Biden, 77, traveled to Grand Rapids, Michigan, going ahead with a previously scheduled campaign stop.

Biden said he was praying for Trump and his family, and his campaign announced it would take down all negative ads.

However, Biden also reminded Americans that he has pushed consistently for taking coronavirus seriously, unlike his opponent who has repeatedly mocked the Democrat for his rigorous use of masks yet now finds himself infected.

“Be patriotic,” Biden told supporters in Michigan through a blue surgical mask. “It’s not about being a tough guy. It’s about doing your part.”

Campaign grounded

Trump’s shock diagnosis was a huge blow to his reelection effort, triggering a freeze on plans to barnstorm the country in an attempt to catch up in the polls with Biden.

The Trump campaign said all planned events involving the president were either being postponed or going virtual — starting with the cancellation of a rally Friday in Florida, one Saturday in Wisconsin and others in western states like Arizona next week.

Even the second Trump-Biden debate, scheduled for October 15, is now in some doubt.

Rallies are such a key part of the Trump brand that his sudden inability to travel leaves the campaign scrambling to reinvent its strategy. In addition, Trump has made his argument that coronavirus dangers are overblown a central plank in his reelection platform.

How he can recover momentum will depend first on his health but then how quickly he can come up with a convincing new message in the waning days before November 3.

Contact tracing

News of Trump’s infection came after one of his closest advisors, Hope Hicks, tested positive — sparking fears of a cluster of cases emanating from the heart of the White House.

Trump met with dozens of people through the week and reportedly went to a fundraiser in New Jersey after it was known that Hicks had contracted the virus.

The White House said it was carrying out contact tracing, while Melania Trump’s spokeswoman said the couple’s 14-year-old son Barron had tested negative.

Vice President Mike Pence and other senior figures were tested and announced to be negative. The White House said Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett was a negative too.

Technically obese and in his 70s, Trump is in a higher-risk category.

Daniel Griffin, an infectious disease specialist in the New York area, told AFP Trump had an estimated 20 percent chance of developing severe disease requiring oxygenation.

As the news rattled global stock markets, leaders including Germany’s Angela Merkel and Britain’s Boris Johnson wished the president and first lady a speedy recovery — while Russia’s Vladimir Putin predicted Trump’s “vitality, good spirits and optimism” would see him through.

 

 




Hathras horror: 5 policemen, including Superintendent of Police, suspended amid nationwide outrage


The Special Investigation Team probing the incident in its initial report called for their suspension over allegations of mismanagement.

Days after the nationwide outrage over the gang rape and death of a 20-year-old Dalit girl in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras, the UP government has suspended five policemen, including the Superintendent of Police.

The Special Investigation Team probing the incident in its initial report called for their suspension over allegations of mismanagement.

It has also asked for a narco-analysis, also known as lie-detector tests, of all those involved including the arrested suspects and the family of the victim.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Friday had claimed that his government was “committed to the safety, security and development of all mothers and sisters”.

Not only the Hathras, Balrampur, Azamgarh and Bhadohi rape cases are also under scanner of the people sending the Yogi government at the back foot.

In a tweet in Hindi, CM said, “Those who even think of harming mothers and daughters in UP, their destruction is assured. They will get such punishment that will set an example for the future. The govt of UP is committed to the safety and security and development of all mothers and sisters. This is our commitment and promise.”

‘UP is committed to safety, security of women’: CM Adityanath amid nationwide protest against Hathras incident

Yesterday, Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien was pushed to the ground in a confrontation with police while on his way to Hathras to meet the voctim’s family.

He and three other party leaders tried to enter the village to meet the family of the 20-year-old Dalit girl who died at Delhi’s Safdarjung hospital two weeks after being gang raped by a group of four upper-class men.

The incident has been recorded in a video in which a man in a white shirt and a helmet, who is reported to be UP Joint Magistrate Prem Prakash Meena, has shoved Derek O’Brien and grabbed MP Pratima Mandal by the shoulders to prevent her from walking to the village.




Lucknow gears up for Babri demolition verdict


The early winter air hangs heavy and the smell of fresh paint mixes with that of bleaching powder, used extensively to sanitise disinfect the campus.

Almost four years after the Lucknow High Court shifted out to the new building on Faizabad road, the old High court building in Kaiserbagh is buzzing with activity again.

It is here that the special CBI court will pronounce its verdict in the Babri mosque demolition case on Wednesday.


Former Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani, former union ministers, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh, former MP Vinay Katiyar and several other VHP leaders are among the 32 accused whose fate will be decided in the case on Wednesday.

Ahead of the court verdict, a high alert has been sounded across the state for Wednesday.

According to sources, more than 2,000 police personnel, half of them in civil clothes, have been deployed to ensure the security of the area.

SP Traffic Purnendu Singh said that all vehicular traffic has been banned the area and only ambulances, fire brigades and hearse vans will be allowed to move in the area. This will remain in force till the court verdict is announced.

“There will be other diversions too and barricades will be put up at some places,” he said.

Besides, security has been beefed up in 25 districts that are known to be communally sensitive in Uttar Pradesh.

Special security arrangements have been made in Ayodhya also where police personnel have been deployed in adequate numbers.

Rapid Action Force personnel have also been deployed in Lucknow and Ayodhya.

The CID, Lucknow intelligence unit and the CRPF are manning the complex and dog squads have also been deployed in the court that has been fitted with new CCTV cameras.

Additional district and session judge (Ayodhya matters), SK Yadav, who has been hearing the case on a day-to-day basis since May 2017, has asked all the 32 accused persons to be present in the court when he pronounces the judgment on Wednesday.

The verdict will be announced in Court room number 18, and it has been decided that only five out of 32 accused will be inside the courtroom at any time. The rest will be seated outside in the lobby.

There were 49 accused in the case apart from lakhs of ‘kar sevaks’ named in two separate FIRs lodged at the Ram Janmabhoomi (RJB) police station on the day of the demolition.

Seventeen named accused, including Bal Thackeray, Ashok Singhal, Mahant Avaidyanath, Giriraj Kishore and Vijayaraje Scindia passed away during the course of the trial, leaving 32 accused in the case.

Sources said that L K Advani, Uma Bharti, MM Joshi and Mahant Nritya Gopal Das are unlikely to be present when the court announces its verdict. Their applications for exemption are likely to be moved by their counsel before the court and they will seek exemption on health grounds.

Uma Bharti has been found Covid positive and admitted to a hospital while Kalyan Singh was also hospitalised after testing positive for Covid.




Jaishankar to visit Japan for Quad FMs meet on 6-7 Oct


In the midst of ongoing tensions with China, external affairs minister S Jaishankar will visit Japan on 6-7 October to participate in the 2nd ministerial meeting of the ‘Quadrilateral Security Dialogue’ that brings India, Japan, Australia and the US on a common platform.

Jaishankar is visiting Tokyo for bilateral consultations with his Japanese counterpart Toshimitsu Motegi and the two ministers are expected to discuss bilateral and regional issues of mutual interest, the External Affairs Ministry said today.

The foreign ministers of the Quad, which was upgraded to the ministerial level in September last year, will discuss the “post-Covid-19 international order and the need for a coordinated response to the various challenges emerging from the pandemic”, the foreign office said.

The ministers will also discuss regional issues and “collectively affirm the importance of maintaining a free, open and inclusive IndoPacific”.

Jaishankar will also hold bilateral consultations with Australian foreign minister Marise Payne and US secretary of state Mike Pompeo during the visit. The Quad meet assumes significance against the backdrop of China’s aggressive actions against its neighbours, including India and Japan. Both Australia and the US also have serious differences with China over trade and other major issues.





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