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Ahmed Patel welcomes cut in MPs’ allowances

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Ahmed Patel
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New Delhi, April 6 (IANS) After the Union cabinet decided to reduce allowances of members of Parliament by 30 per cent for one year, Congress leader Ahmed Patel welcomed the step and said in difficult times it was necessary.

“As a Member of Parliament, I welcome the government decision to cut salaries of MPs. In this difficult time, this is the least we can do to help fellow citizens,” Patel tweeted.

The cabinet approved an ordinance amending the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954, reducing allowances and pension by 30 per cent for a year from April 1, 2020.

The Congress leader said the government should also scrap the central vista project to save money. “Apart from cutting salaries of MPs and Ministers, the central government can save more than Rs 20,000 crore by scrapping the central vista redevelopment project & cutting down on non-Covid-19 publicity expenses,” Patel tweeted.

The Cabinet also approved temporary suspension of MPLADS for 2020-21 and 2021-22 to manage the adverse impact of the Covid-19 outbreak in the country.

The President, the Vice-President and the Governors have also voluntarily decided to take a pay cut.

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UK PM’s approval rating drops by 20 pts after aide scandal

At a press conference on Monday, Johnson admitted he regrets the “confusion and pain” the scandal has caused the British public.

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Boris Johnson

London, May 26 : UK Prime Minister Boris Johnsons approval rating has dropped 20 points to -1 per cent after he refused to sack his chief aide, Dominic Cummings for allegedly breaking coronavirus lockdown rules, it was reported on Tuesday.

According to Savanta, a coronavirus data tracker which looks at how the UK population is responding to the pandemic, the Prime Minister’s rating was previously +19 per cent just four days ago, the Metro newspaper reported.

It stated that the overall government approval rate is now at -2 per cent, having dropped 16 points in a day.

Johnson’s approval rating is now also the lowest of all the individuals examined, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s the second lowest at 4 per cent.

Cummings’ rating has not been tracked.

Labour leader Keir Starmer’s approval rating also lifted to 12 per cent on Monday, while Chancellor Rishi Sunak dropped from 35 per cent four days ago to 20 per cent.

Cummings has been accused of breaking lockdown rules he helped make after it emerged he travelled from London to his parents home in Durham when his wife fell ill with suspected coronavirus in March, reports the Metro newspaper.

The Prime Minister’s chief adviser has refused to step down over the allegations, admitting he never considered resigning and he doesn’t regret his actions.

At a press conference on Monday, Johnson admitted he regrets the “confusion and pain” the scandal has caused the British public.

But he said that he believed Cummings acted “legally” and “with integrity”.

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Goa returnees: Oppn demands white paper on state’s preparedness

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Vijai Sardesai

Panaji, May 26 : The opposition in Goa on Tuesday demanded a white paper on the preparedness of the state machinery to handle an expected influx of large number of stuck non-resident Goans and others into the coastal state.

A memorandum submitted to Chief Secretary Parimal Rai by a delegation of opposition MLAs led by former Deputy Chief Minister Vijai Sardesai demanded a customised SOP for Goa to allow stranded natives to be given priority to return as well as free quarantine facilities for seafarer, who have already returned or are expected to come back in the coming weeks.

“In the white paper we have demanded to know the state’s preparedness to handle stranded persons who are expected to return to Goa. It should detail the critical health infrastructure got ready in the state, including availability of ventilators and PPE, ICU facilities etc,” Sardesai, an MLA of the Goa Forward Party, told reporters at the state Secretariat.

Sardesai said that it was unfair that seafarers and other Goans expected to return were expected to stay in paid quarantine facilities, while persons not of Goan origins and allowed access to the coastal state were allowed to stay in home quarantine.

“The government claims this is as per the Ministry of Home Affairs guidelines. We have demanded that the state government formulate an SOP specific to Goa,” Sardesai said.

“There should be no discrimination. Currently, Goan seafarers have to compulsorily stay in paid quarantine facilities according to the standard SOP, while non-Goans visiting Goa are being given the option of home quarantine. This is unfair,” Sardesai said.

Goa currently has 48 active coronavirus cases.

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Biden emerges from quarantine on Memorial Day

“It feels good to be out of my house,” Biden told reporters, adding: “Never forget the sacrifices that these men and women made. Never, ever, forget.”

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Vice President Joe Biden

Washington, May 26 : Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden has made his first public appearance at a Memorial Day event after more than two months in quarantine amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the media reported on Tuesday.

Wearing a black face mask, the former Vice President accompanied by his wife Jill, on Monday presented a wreath of white roses at Delaware’s War Memorial Plaza, before observing a moment of silence to commemorate the military personnel who fought in World War Two and the Korean War, reports the BBC.

“It feels good to be out of my house,” Biden told reporters, adding: “Never forget the sacrifices that these men and women made. Never, ever, forget.”

Biden last made a public appearance about 10 weeks ago.

Shortly before defeating his Democratic rival Bernie Sanders in primary elections in Florida, Illinois and Arizona, the presidential nominee was forced to self-isolate because of the spread of coronavirus.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania also took part in a wreath-laying ceremony as part of Memorial Day commemorations on Monday.

The President visited Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia and then the historic Fort McHenry in Baltimore.

Trump, who has been reluctant to wear a face mask but said recently he would do so “where it’s appropriate”, appeared without any face coverings at both events on Monday.

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