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BRICS one of the most valuable and working partnership: Javadeker

Sixth BRICS Environment Ministers’ meet calls for joint efforts to improve the environment and promote the Circular Economy

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Javadekar

The Environment Ministers of the five BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China & South Africa) participated in the 6th BRICS Environment Ministers’ Meeting on 30 July 2020 via videoconference under the presidency of Russia. 

Representing India, Union Environment Minister, Prakash Javadekar, said that India attaches great importance to the grouping. The Environment Minister said that the aspiration of BRICS countries are similar and called for sharing of best practices among the BRICS nation towards attainment of Sustainable Development Goals.

The Union Minister, stressed upon the need to implement the various initiatives under the BRICS and for the speedy implementation of the BRICS MoU.  The Minister also offered that India could provide the platform wherein all the best practices in environmental management in BRICS countries could be showcased. 

Javadekar also elaborated on the efforts made by India in areas relating to sustainable urban management, tackling marine litter, air pollution and the cleaning of rivers. 

The Minister said that India believes that Equity, Common but differentiated responsibilities, finance and technology partnerships are key pillars towards attainment of global goals of climate change mitigation and adaptation and India is walking the talk on Paris Agreement and its Climate commitments.

Highlighting the efforts made by India in controlling Air pollution Javadekar said that in 2015 India launched the Air Quality index monitoring in 10 cities, today it has been extended to 122 cities. He also informed that India in 2019 launched the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), the goal of which is to reduce particulate pollution by 20-30 percent relative to 2017 levels by 2024.

During the meeting the need for all the BRICS nations to work as a group for the post 2020 Biodiversity framework was also emphasised. The meeting was preceded by the BRICS Working Group meeting. 

India will assume the BRICS Presidency in 2021.  Shri Javadekar extended invitation to the BRICS nations to participate in the BRICS environment meetings. The meeting adopted BRICS Environment Ministers’ Statement .It was welcomed by all countries, as an action oriented and progressive statement which shows BRICS countries eagerness to both work mutually and fruitfully.

For the Joint Statement Click here.

India

PM Modi in Ayodhya for Ram Temple Bhumi Pujan

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Ayodhya Aug 5 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reached Ayodhya from Lucknow for the “Bhoomi Pujan” or groundbreaking ceremony for a Ram temple.He first visited the 10th-century Hanuman Garhi temple for special prayers for his health.


The Prime Minister was received by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on his arrival here.
After landing at the KS Saket PG College Ground Helipad, PM Modi left for Hanumangarhi- a first-ever visit by any prime minister to this temple.
Later, PM is scheduled to arrive for Bhoomi Pujan (ground-breaking) of Ram Temple, marking the first visit to the Ram Janmabhoomi site by any Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister will first perform ‘pooja’ of ‘Bhagwan Shree Ramlala Virajman’ after reaching the site at around 12 pm.
Modi will also plant a ‘Parijaat’ sapling in the temple premises. He is likely to use the traditional natural drip irrigation method, achieved by placing an unglazed clay pot filled with water parallel to the roots of the plant thereby providing water to the plant for about a week, while planting the auspicious ‘Parijaat’ sapling.
Subsequently, at 12.30 pm, the Prime Minister will perform the much-awaited ‘bhoomi pujan’ for Ram temple.
After the ‘bhoomi pujan’, PM Modi will address a public function on the foundation stone-laying ceremony of Ram Temple.
The Prime Minister is also scheduled to unveil a plaque to mark the occasion and also release a commemorative postage stamp on ‘Shree Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir’.
Sanitisation work was carried out at the Hanuman Garhi temple on Wednesday morning ahead of the PM’s visit. The Saryu Ghat was also decorated.
Over 11,000 diyas are set to be lit across the city of Ayodhya, illuminating every street and all houses will be celebrating with a ‘deepotsava’, a festival of lights.
Apart from PM Modi, the ceremony will be attended by Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) Chief Mohan Bhagwat, Uttarakhand Tourism Minister Satpal Maharaj, Senior BJP leaders LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, Iqbal Ansari (former litigant in Ayodhya land dispute case) and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

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India’s Covid-19 testing rate lower than other nations, says WHO Chief Scientist

The Chief Scientist of WHO, Soumya Swaminathan, in an interactive session through video conference said,as of now about 28 vaccine candidates for Covid-19 are under clinical trial, of which five are entering Phase-II and over 150 candidates are in pre-clinical trials across the globe.

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Soumya Swaminathan

Noting that lockdown was a temporary measure to contain the spread of coronavirus, a senior official of the World Health Organisation on Tuesday said India has a low testing rate when compared to some of the countries that are successfully trying to curb it.

The Chief Scientist of WHO, Soumya Swaminathan, in an interactive session through video conference said,as of now about 28 vaccine candidates for Covid-19 are under clinical trial, of which five are entering Phase-II and over 150 candidates are in pre-clinical trials across the globe.

“India as a whole, the testing rates are much lower compared to some of the countries, who have done well like Germany, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan.

Even the United States is testing a huge number of people. So we need to have some benchmark and every public health department needs to have benchmarks on what is the rate of testing per lakh or per million, what is the test positivity rate,” she said.

Without adequate number of tests, fighting the virus is like “fighting fire blindfolded,” she pointed out.

According to Swaminathan, the number of tests being conducted is not adequate if the Covid-19 test positivity rate is above five per cent.

Governments need to constantly monitor the availability of beds, quarantine facilities, ICUs and oxygen supplies in district hospitals.

“So there is a set of 8 to 10 indicators that the government needs to keep a close watch on. And you can ramp up or ramp down based on what you are seeing on the ground,” she said.

Observing that the scientists’ community was still studying the body’s immune response to coronavirus and the next 12 months were crucial to put in place the public health and social measures, she said the virus has spread to every country in the world and “established community transmission”.

“We know that lockdowns are temporary measures or a temporary measure which reduces the spread because it prevents people from getting closer together and the idea of the lockdown is to buy time for the government to put in place the system needed to tackle the virus,” the WHO official said.

On the ongoing vaccine trials, she said the WHO has issued guidelines on it and if the efficacy rate of the vaccine is 70 percent, then it is considered to be a good one.

On the COVAX facility, a mechanism designed to guarantee rapid, fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide, Swaminathan said by the end of 2021 it is aimed to deliver two billion doses of safe, effective vaccines that have passed regulatory approval and/or WHO prequalification.

All the 194 member countries of the WHO need to come together and take a decision on the way they want to proceed for the equitable and fair distribution of vaccine (once successfully comes out) and other products that are being developed for Covid-19, she opined.

Krishna Ella, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Biotech, which is into developing Covaxin, a vaccine candidate for Covid-19,said the Centre needs to decetralise some of the regulating authorities such as Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO for faster approvals.

Telangana Minister for IT and Industries KT Rama Rao acted as a moderator for the session titled The Vaccine Race- Balancing Science and Urgency.

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India rubbishes Pakistan’s new map as ‘obsession with territorial aggrandisement’

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Pakistan Kashmir Map

New Delhi/Islamabad, Aug 4 : India on Tuesday slammed Pakistan, saying it is obsessed with territorial aggrandisement after the Imran Khan government issued a new political map which includes parts of Gujarat and the Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan released its official “political map” which includes the erstwhile princely states of Junagadh and Jammu & Kashmir, which acceded to India in 1947 when the India subcontinent was Partitioned. However, Islamabad left the map open-ended in the UT of Ladakh, a part of which is under the Chinese occupation and where China has been locked in a faceoff with India along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The move comes a day ahead of the first anniversary of the reorganisation of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state, which resulted in the nullification of its special status and creation of two UTs — Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir — last year.

Reacting sharply to Islamabad’s offensive, the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi in a statement rubbished it is as a “so-called political map” of Pakistan released by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Describing it as “an exercise in political absurdity”, the government said that Pakistan was laying untenable claims to territories in the Indian state of Gujarat and the Indian Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

“These ridiculous assertions have neither legal validity nor international credibility. In fact, this new effort only confirms the reality of Pakistan’s obsession with territorial aggrandisement supported by cross-border terrorism,” the government said.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan while releasing the new political map said that it is “the most historic day in Pakistan’s history”. He said the map represented the aspirations of the entire nation and all the political parties in Pakistan.

The Imran Khan-led government has called for observing August 5 as ‘Yaum-i-Istehsal’ (day of exploitation) in Pakistan.

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