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Chilean Prez sacks entire Cabinet amid protests

“I’ve asked all of the Ministers to resign in order to create a new cabinet to confront these new demands,” he said from the La Moneda presidential palace.

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Chile curfew clashes

Santiago, Oct 27 : Chilean President Sebastian Pinera has sacked his entire and an end to the state of emergency in the country amid the anti-government protests that have claimed the lives of 19 people since it began on october 18.

On Saturday, Pinera said that he “heard the profound message from citizens, from the Chilean men and women asking for and demanding a more just society” during the march on Friday, which mobilized around 1.2 million people in Santiago alone, the largest popular mobilization in Chile since the end of the Pinochet dictatorship in 1990, reports Efe news.

“I’ve asked all of the Ministers to resign in order to create a new cabinet to confront these new demands,” he said from the La Moneda presidential palace.

Justice Minister Hernan Larrain said: “We are all at the disposal of the President and as ministers we have told him to have our posts so that he can structure with those he deems fit.”

Labor Minister Nicolas Monckeberg noted that Chile had “changed” over the past week and hoped that these changes were positive.

The opposition acknowledged that Pinera had decided to renew his Cabinet, although it called for wider changes, such as a new Constitution.

“This Cabinet was already worn out. It must have a Cabinet with new ideas, with changes (and that) summon a new Constitution,” said Senator Guido Girardi of the progressive Party for Democracy.

Left-leaning Social Convergence party lawmaker Gabriel Boric stressed that the public had been calling for deeper structural reforms, and advocated a referendum as the best way to achieve a new Constitution.

The President also denounced the “brutal and destructive violence” perpetrated by some opponents of the government and defended his decision to declare a state of emergency and deploy the army.

Pinera intends to lift the state of emergency around the country from Sunday midnight.

His statement followed announcements by the military commanders administering the state of emergency in Santiago, Coquimbo, La Serena and Concepcion that no curfews would be in effect in those jurisdictions on Saturday.

On Saturday, five Santiago metro lines and almost all of the bus service reopened. Although many large supermarkets were closed, restaurants and shops reopened and the atmosphere returned to normal in the streets.

As evening approached, demonstrations began again in the Plaza Italia and other places, although not as big as those over the past week.

Incidents arising from the demonstrations have left at least 19 dead, including five people allegedly killed by police and soldiers, while 582 others have suffered injuries, more than half of them from the impact of rubber bullets or tear-gas canisters.

The National Human Rights Institute (NHRI), an autonomous public agency that monitors the actions of security forces, put the number of arrests at 2,840 and said that it has verified reports of torture and other abuses by police and soldiers.

The NHRI has so far filed 70 complaints: 15 for sexual violence, five for homicides, 50 for torture, and others for cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. It has asked the government to clarify the number of deaths.

A UN mission will arrive in Chile next week to investigate possible human rights violations during the protests.

Long-simmering discontent over growing economic inequality boiled over last week after the Santiago metro raised fares to the equivalent of more than $1 a ride, a level that could have forced minimum-wage workers to spend up to a quarter of their monthly income on transportation.

Though Pinera moved quickly to rescind the fare increase, the protests continued, driven by anger over low pensions and salaries and the high cost of electricity, gas, university education and health care.

Election

Former minister Shahnawaz Hussain is BJP’s MLC candidate in Bihar

National general secretary Arun Singh said the BJP’s central election committee has approved the names of candidates for the MLC elections in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

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New Delhi, Jan 16 : The BJP on Friday announced the names of six candidates for the member of legislative council (MLC) elections for Uttar Pradesh and one in Bihar.

For the only MLC seat in Bihar, the party has given the ticket to former Union minister and present-day spokesperson Syed Shahnawaz Hussain.

According to the official list issued by the BJP on Saturday, Kunwar Manvendra Singh, Govind Narayan Shukla, Salil Bishnoi, Ashwini Tyagi, Dr Dharamvir Prajapati and Surendra Chaudhary have received the ticket from Uttar Pradesh.

National general secretary Arun Singh said the BJP’s central election committee has approved the names of candidates for the MLC elections in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

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If vaccine is reliable, why no govt functionary took shot: Manish Tewari

“While Covishield has not drawn ire of eminent medical experts, the Covaxin has been questioned, and by not allowing people to choose the vaccine that to take it militates the doctrine of informed consent that lies at the heart of medical ethics,” he added

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New Delhi, Jan 16 : Soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the world’s biggest vaccination drive in the country, the Congress launched its attack on the Centre saying vaccines were being allowed to be used without the mandatory trials of Phase 3.

Speaking to IANS Congress leader and MP from Anandpur Sahib Manish Tewari asked if the vaccine is so reliable then why no important government functionary has taken the shot?

He said that in the every country of the world the head of the government has taken the vaccine, in US, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have taken the vaccine shots. In UK, Queen Elizabeth and Prime Minister Boris Johnson have taken it and other countries there respective heads of state have done the same thing.”

“In India, why has no responsible functionary of the government taken the vaccine shots first if it is so safe and reliable,” Tewari asked.

He said, “As the vaccine has been rolled out, there are certain disturbing and obfuscated questions with the government using a soaring rhetoric of the vaccine nationalism. The first question about the efficacy… is that in the absence of a regulatory architecture — requiring licencing of the drugs and vaccines for the emergency use… It is perplexing that same has been permitted by the Drug Controller.

“While Covishield has not drawn ire of eminent medical experts, the Covaxin has been questioned, and by not allowing people to choose the vaccine that to take it militates the doctrine of informed consent that lies at the heart of medical ethics,” he added

Modi earlier launched the vaccination drive aimed at ending the pandemic which so far has killed 1,52,093 people in the country and ravaged the economy.

Addressing the country digitally, the Prime Minister said that India managed to make two ‘Made-in-India’ vaccines in a very short period which usually takes years.

Modi said that avoid “rumours” as the Drug Controller General of India has approved the vaccines for emergency use.

Lauding the efforts of scientists who are involved in vaccine research, Modi said they deserve special praise for making these vaccines and that “the vaccines will provide us a decisive victory against the deadly pandemic”.

The Prime Minister further reminded people to get two doses of the vaccine, explaining that “there should be a gap of almost one month between the first and second dose”.

“Only two weeks after the second dose, your body will develop the necessary strength against coronavirus,” the Prime Minister said.

Noting that this kind of vaccination campaign on such a large scale has never been done in history, Modi said: “India is vaccinating three crore people in its first phase of vaccination starting today and the government will bear the cost of the vaccination to be administered to healthcare workers”.

In the second phase, the Prime Minister said, “We have to take it to 30 crore”.

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Govt should admit its mistake on farm laws: Chidambaram

The ninth round of talks between the government and the agitating farmers ended inconclusively on Friday and the next round of meeting has been scheduled for January 19.

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New Delhi, Jan 16 : A day after the ninth round of talks between the government and the protesting farmers ended without a breakthrough, former Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram urged “the government to admit its mistake and agree to start on a clean slate” with the farmers.

Chidambaram said as expected the talks failed, and it is the government which is to be blamed because it will not agree to get rid of the disputed laws even after the RTI responses have exposed the government’s “lie” about its claims that there were extensive consultations before the farm law ordinances were promulgated.

“The truth is that no one was consulted. In particular, state governments were not consulted,” he said.

“The only way out of the impasse is for the government to admit its mistake and agree to start with a clean slate,” he added.

The ninth round of talks between the government and the agitating farmers ended inconclusively on Friday and the next round of meeting has been scheduled for January 19.

The meeting of the farmer leaders with the government went on for around five hours on Friday over the three contentious farm laws and the demand for minimum support price (MSP), but ended in a stalemate.

This was the first meeting between the two sides after the Supreme Court order on January 12, which stayed the implementation of the three farm laws and also formed a four-member committee to look into the farmers’ issues.

However, on Thursday, farmer leader Bhupinder Singh Mann, one of the four members on the committee, had recused himself from the panel constituted by the top court.

Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh have been agitating against the three farm laws. They have been protesting at several Delhi borders since November 26. Their main demand is that the government must repeal the three farm laws enacted in September last year.

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