WEDNESDAY www.thestatesman.com 18 NOVEMBER 2020 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |`5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR NITISH ALLOCATES CABINET PORTFOLIOS Mainly clear sky. Mist fog in the morning. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 26 and 11 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max: 96% Min: 53% Max: 26.0°C (-2) SUN RISES 06:47 hrs MOON RISES 11:00 hrs SNS & PTI Min: 13.0°C (+1) SUN SETS 17:27 hrs MOON SETS 20:28 hrs THUMBNAILS A migrant from New Zealand stages a silent protest against New Zealand government, demanding work visa extension as they are stuck in India due to Covid-19 pandemic, in the DEEPAK Capital on Tuesday. Centre caps withdrawal from Lakshmi Vilas Bank: The Central government on Tuesday placed Tamil Nadu-based private sector lender Lakshmi Vilas Bank under a moratorium, capping withdrawals from its customers' accounts at ` 25,000 a month, the Ministry of Finance said in a statement. However, depositors will be allowed to withdraw more than ` 25,000 with permission from the Reserve Bank of India for purposes such as medical treatment, payment of higher education and P8 marriage expenses. NEW DELHI, 17 NOVEMBER T he number of new coronavirus infections reported in a day dropped below 30,000 after four months, taking India's COVID-19 caseload to 88.74 lakh, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Tuesday. The last time India reported less than 30,000 COVID-19 cases was on July 15. The total coronavirus cases mounted to 88,74,290 with 29,163 infections being reported in a day while the death toll climbed to 1,30,519 with 449 new fatalities, the data updated at 8 a.m. showed. India has conducted 12.65 crore tests for detection of COVID-19 so far with 8.44 lakh tests being done on Monday. Since November 14 less than 9 lakh tests have been conducted per day for detection of the disease in the country. On November 13, 9,29,491 samples SC refuses to entertain plea on Epidemic Act: The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to entertain a plea challenging the constitutional validity of the Epidemic Act and questioned the petitioner as to why he has not moved the high court on the issue. The apex court said high courts have all the power to strike down Central Acts, like the Epidemic Act, and the petitioner should go there first. were tested. Before that India on an average was conducting over 11 lakh tests per day. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 82,90,370 while the number of active cases remained below 5 lakh for the seventh consecutive day. There are 4,53,401 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country as on date which comprises 5.11 per cent of the total caseload, the data stated. The total recoveries have surged to 82,90,370 pushing the national recovery rate to 93.42 per cent, while the COVID-19 case fatality rate stands at 1.47 per cent. India’s COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 30 lakh STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE Soon after cementing its position to continue as the ruling party in Madhya Pradesh by winning the Assembly by-elections, the BJP state government has said it is working on bringing a strict law against ‘Love Jihad’, making it a cognisable non-bailable offence with a provision of five years imprisonment. MP home minister Narottam Mishra told media persons Tuesday that the proposed law would cover cases of religious conversion in the name of marriage. He said 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 and crossed 80 lakh on October 29. According to the ICMR, a cumulative total of 12,65,42,907 samples have been tested up to November 16 with 8,44,382 samples being tested on Monday. The 449 new fatalities include 99 from Delhi, 60 from Maharashtra, 53 from West Bengal, 26 from Chhattisgarh, 22 from Punjab and 21 from Uttar Pradesh.The health ministry stressed that more than 70 per cent of the deaths occurred due to comorbidities. Delhi adds 6,396 fresh virus c a s e s , 9 9 d e a t h s : The national capital today reported 6,396 new coronavirus infections (Covid19), which pushed the cumulative tally of such cases to 4,95,598, according to the Delhi government’s latest health bulletin. The count of the tests PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 17 NOVEMBER be prepared for a long struggle rather than look for short cuts to get back into power. Citing the last Mughal ruler's couplet which talks about looking within for flaws that would make one not see others as flawed, he said Bahadur Shah Zafar's words might be a useful companion for many of our party colleagues who suffer “peri- done for the purpose was 49,031. The positivity rate rose to 13.04 per cent from yesterday’s 12.73 per cent. Delhi recorded 99 fresh Covid fatalities, which pushed the death toll to 7,812, the health bulletin (SEE ALSO PAGE 2) said. 88,74,290 4,53,401 29,163 40,791 1,30,519 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. TUESDAY 17 NOVEMBER 2020 Asserting that terrorism is the “biggest problem” facing the world, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said there was a need to ensure that countries supporting and assisting terrorists are held guilty, in an oblique reference to Pakistan. Addressing the summit of five-nation grouping BRICS via videoconferencing, the prime minister also said there was a need to tackle the problem of terrorism in an organised manner. The 12th BRICS summit, hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin, was also attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. “Terrorism is the biggest problem the world is facing. We have to ensure that the countries that support and assist the terrorists are also held guilty,” the Prime Minister said. Though, Modi did not name any country, his reference is seen as directed at Pakistan. NEW DELHI, 17 NOVEMBER incidents of inter-religion marriage where religious conversion takes place through coercion, false promises and entrapment would be covered under the proposed new law. He said it would be necessary for the victim or family members to lodge a complaint in such matters. Mishra said all those who assist or help in such cases would also be made co-accused. In case of voluntary conversion and inter-religion marriage, that person would have to compulsorily apply to the collector a month in advance for permission of the same. odic pangs of anxiety”. Some senior Congress leaders including Kapil Sibal have called for introspection after the party's dismal performance in the recently held Bihar assembly polls, after which the ruling NDA returned to power in the state despite the main member of the grand opposition alliance, Rashtriya Janata Dal, putting up a strong show and emerging as the single largest party. Quite a few leaders from the RJD as well as the Congress have blamed the grand old party's below-par performance for the opposition alliance missing the majority mark in the Bihar assembly elections. Tariq Anwar, party's general NEW DELHI, 17 NOVEMBER INDO-ASIAN NEWS SERVICE The BJP on Tuesday asked why defence deals inevitably ended in bringing up names of Congress leaders, as the party launched a scathing attack over new revelations in the alleged AgustaWestland scam. “What does the Congress have to say when its leaders are being named in kickback cases in defence deals again? Why do we always get names of Congress leaders whenever a defence deal is referred?" asked Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, while addressing the media on Tuesday. Pangs of anxiety: Khurshid on Sibal criticism Amid questions being raised by some Congressmen over the party's Bihar poll performance, senior leader Salman Khurshid on Tuesday took a dig at such party colleagues calling them “doubting Thomases” who suffer periodic “pangs of anxiety”. In a Facebook post that started with an Urdu couplet of Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, former Union minister Khurshid, who is among the leaders considered close to the Gandhi family, said if the mood of the electorate is resistant to the liberal values the party has espoused and cherished, it should SNS& PTI 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 $16.6 trillion. In his address, Modi also underlined the need for reform of the United Nations Security Council as well as multilateral bodies like the World Trade Organisation and the International Monetary Fund. Talking about the COVID19 crisis, Modi said India's vaccine production and delivery capabilities will work in the interest of humanity. The Prime Minister highlighted reform initiatives undertaken by his government under the 'selfreliant India' campaign. “We have started a com- BJP resurrects Agusta ghost to slam Cong MP govt mulls law against ‘love jihad’ BHOPAL, 17 NOVEMBER Plea for waiver of exam fees quashed: The Supreme Court Tuesday refused to entertain a plea seeking direction to the CBSE and the Delhi government to waive exam fees for students of classes 10 and 12 in the current academic year in view of COVID-19 and financial problems being faced by some parents. The petition was filed by NGO 'Social Jurist'. P12 New Covid cases drop Hold countries that aid below 30,000 in India terrorism guilty: Modi The last time India reported less than 30,000 Covid-19 cases was in July TEMPERATURE WHY BIG BASH WON’T NEED AL HASAN P10 P5 P4 WEATHER ‘MORE PEOPLE MAY DIE AS TRUMP TRANSITION STALLS’ SHAH SOUNDS POLL BUGLE AHEAD OF J&K LOCAL BODY POLLS secretary and a veteran leader from Bihar, had earlier this week acknowledged that there were shortcomings due to which the Congress performed worse than other 'Mahagathbandhan' constituents in the Bihar polls and asserted that the high command was serious about introspection as well as a thorough analysis of the results. “When we do well, admittedly somewhat infrequently they take it for granted. But when we underperform, not even do badly, they are quick to bite their nails. By the looks of it there would be little of the nails left for future disappointments. Is it really a case of bad workmenquarreling with their tools?” Khurshid said. Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad addresses a Press SNS meet at his residence, in the Capital on Tuesday. The Union minster also quoted Rajiv Saxena to have said on Ratul Puri, Kamal Nath’s nephew that “I have been sent messages by him since the time he came to Dubai instructing me not to give any document/informa- tion/statement linking his father or his uncle in any matter”. “Saxena alleges that “name-dropping” by Gupta and Khaitan was “legendary”. They frequently dropped names of leading political figures in their conversations with a view to impress upon their influence in the corridors of power. They often mentioned the names of Salman Khurshid and Kamal uncle which I deduce was a reference to Mr Kamal Nath,” alleged Prasad. Quoting Saxena, Prasad further alleged that the name AP cropped up repeatedly. He said that whenever one thinks of a kickback in a military deal, one ends up thinking of Congress leaders. “From Jeep scandal to Bofors to Submarine scandal to several more and AgustaWestland helicopters, no work was done without kickbacks benefiting Congress leaders,” the BJP leader charged. Apex court asks Centre to use its power to tackle ‘fake news’ STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 17 NOVEMBER Expressing displeasure at Centre’s affidavit in a case related to media reporting on Tablighi Jamaat congregation during the onset of Covid-19 pandemic, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the government “to consider evolving a mechanism to address issues with content on TV, or else, the court may entrust it to an outside agency". A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that the court is not happy with Centre's affidavit in the matter, as it skirts the powers of government under the Cable TV Network Act to hear such complaints. The bench asked the Centre to specify how the Act can be used to control the content of Cable TV network. "Your affidavit is silent on it. The other issue, what steps you can take to deal with such complaints. "The mechanism ~ your affidavit is silent on it. Please put all these in your amended affidavit. You (the Centre) have the power under the Act," added the bench. The Chief Justice told the Centre why should the court refer to NBSA (News Broadcasters Association), and others, when the Centre has the authority to look into it. "If it does not exist, then you create an authority, or else we will hand it over to an outside agency," added the Chief Justice. prehensive reform process under the 'Self-reliant India' campaign. The campaign is based on the belief that a self-reliant and resilient India post-COVID can be a force multiplier for the global economy and make a strong contribution to the global value chains,” he said. Modi’s remarks on terrorism were backed by Putin, who said some countries were like the “black sheep of the family” and the world cannot afford any complacency in dealing with problems such as terrorism and the Covid-19 pandemic. This was the second time in a week that Modi and President Xi Jinping were on the same virtual platform since the India-China border standoff emerged in the open in May. The theme for the BRICS Summit is “Global stability, shared security and innovative growth” and its agenda included intra-BRICS cooperation, key global issues such as reforming the multilateral system, measures to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, trade, health and energy. UP junior engineer in CBI net for alleged abuse NEW DELHI, 17 NOVEMBER The CBI has arrested a junior engineer of Uttar Pradesh irrigation department for alleged sexual exploitation of children for last 10 years and selling videos and photographs of nefarious acts on dark net to other paedophiles across the globe, officials said Tuesday. He is alleged to have victimised about 50 children in the age group of 5-16 years in the districts of Chitrakoot, Banda and Hamirpur. He was arrested from Banda and is likely to be produced before the competent court soon. During searches, the CBI has recovered eight mobile phones, cash around eight lakh, sex toys, laptop, and other digital evidence carrying huge amount of child sexual abuse material, they said. It is alleged that the junior engineer was operational for the last 10 years, mainly contacting and sharing child sexual abuse material with other paedophiles globally using dark net and cloud services abroad, they said. He is understood to have told the investigators that he used to bribe the children with mobile phones and other electronic gadgets to keep their mouth shut about his activities, they said. PTI Second phase of Malabar exercise begins in northern Arabian Sea PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 17 NOVEMBER The Navies of India, the US, Australia and Japan on Tuesday began the second phase of the Malabar naval exercise in the northern Arabian Sea involving two aircraft carriers and a number of frontline warships, submarines and maritime reconnaissance aircraft, officials said. The major highlight of the four-day exercise is participation of Indian Navy's Vikramaditya carrier battle group and the Nimitz strike group of the US Navy. The USS Nimitz is the world's largest warship. The first phase of the Malabar exercise took place in the Bay of Bengal from November 3 to 6 and featured a number of complex drills including antisubmarine and anti-air warfare operations. The Australian Navy has deployed its HMAS Ballarat, an Anzac-class frigate while the Japanese Navy has sent its leading destroyer JS Murasame for the exercise. The mega exercise is taking place at a time India and China are locked in an over six-month-long bitter border standoff in eastern Ladakh. This exercise is involving coordinated operations of War games The major highlight of the four-day exercise is participation of Indian Navy's Vikramaditya carrier battle group and the Nimitz strike group of the US Navy The Navy said the exercise will include cross-deck flying operations and advanced air defence exercises by MIG 29K fighters of Vikramaditya and F-18 fighters and E2C Hawkeye from Nimitz increasing complexity among the navies of the four countries which are part of the Quad or Quadrilateral Coalition, officials said. “The two carriers, along with other ships, submarines and aircraft of the participating navies, would be engaged in high-intensity naval operations over four days,” the Indian Navy said on Monday. A carrier battle group or carrier strike group is a mega naval fleet comprising an aircraft carrier, accompanied by a large number of destroyers, frigates and other ships. The Navy said the exercise will include cross-deck flying operations and advanced air defence exercises by MIG 29K fighters of Vikramaditya and F-18 fighters and E2C Hawkeye from Nimitz. Apart from Vikramaditya and its fighter and helicopter air-wings, the Indian Navy is also deploying destroyers Kolkata and Chennai, stealth frigate Talwar and fleet support ship Deepak in the exercise. The Indian contingent is being led by Rear Admiral Krishna Swaminathan, Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet. Last month, India announced that Australia will be part of the Malabar exercise which effectively made it a drill by all four member nations of the Quad which is primarily focusing on containing China's military expansionism in the Indo-Pacific region. China has been suspicious about the purpose of the Mal- abar exercise as it feels that the annual war game is an effort to contain its influence in the Indo-Pacific region. The invitation by India to the Australian Navy for the exercise came two weeks after foreign ministers of the 'Quad' member nations held extensive talks in Tokyo with a focus on enhancing their cooperation in the IndoPacific. The Malabar exercise started in 1992 as a bilateral drill between the Indian Navy and the US Navy in the Indian Ocean. Japan became a permanent member of the exercise in 2015.
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