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Covid-19: One more dies in TN, 50 more test positive; total cases 621

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New Delhi, With one more person succumbing to COVID-19, the death toll in Tamil Nadu due to coronavirus increased to six while 50 more positive cases reported on Monday took the total such cases in the state to 621, the Health Secretary said on Monday.

Speaking to reporters here, Beela Rajesh said a 57-year-old women died at the government hospital here. Her contacts are being traced. As for people who attended a Tablighi Jamaat meet in Delhi in mid-March, she said 1,475 persons were tested, of which around 570 tested positive.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister K. Palanswami said orders have been placed for 1 lakh rapid testing kits from China to hasten the testing process. He said Rs 500 crore financial assistance has been received from the central government in this regard.

Palaniswami said permission has been sought from the central government to set up 21 more coronavirus sample testing centres. Currently, the state has 17 centres — 11 government and six in private sector.

According to him, the rapid test kits are expected to reach the state on April 8 and will be put to use from the next day onwards.

Stressing that isolation is the only solution to check coronavirus spread, he said the hospitals in Tamil Nadu have 3,371 ventilators.

He said about 2.10 lakh passengers have been screened at the airports in the state. According to Palaniswami, the government is planning to introduce mobile vegetable shops in Chennai.

A total of 94,873 cases were registered for violation of prohibitory orders and 94,152 persons arrested and let out on bail. The Chief Minister said based on the impact of coronavirus in the state a decision on holding the 10th standard exams will be taken.

India

Congress attacks Centre for SG’s ‘prophets of doom’ statement in Supreme Court

Kapil Sibal also lashed out on the SG and tweeted, “Sad but true. A law officer in the Supreme Court dealing with the plight of migrants epitomised by the images in the public domain said: Journalists are vultures and High Courts are running parallel governments. This is politics not law!”

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Tushar Mehta

New Delhi, May 29 : A day after Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta told the Supreme Court that there were a handful of people — “prophets of doom” — who were always sceptical about everything, the Congress on Friday questioned the apex court’s silence and alleged that the government was autocratic in its functioning.

Randeep Surjewala, Congress chief spokesperson, said, “Modi Govt’s ‘New Definitions’ in SC – 1)’Some High Courts are running a parallel Govt’ 2) Those criticising the govt are ‘prophets of doom’ 3) Cites instance of a journalist as ‘vulture’.”

“A prelude to complete ‘Autocracy & Abdication of Constitution’!” added Surjewala in his tweet.

The Congress leader also questioned the transfer of the bench in the Gujarat High Court. “No wonder the High Court Bench holding Gujarat Govt accountable for abdication of duty & turning the hospital into a ‘dungeon’ is suddenly changed. Can there be a greater ‘travesty of justice’?” Surjewala said.

“Why is SC silent on such rank subversion of justice?” he asked.

Kapil Sibal also lashed out on the SG and tweeted, “Sad but true. A law officer in the Supreme Court dealing with the plight of migrants epitomised by the images in the public domain said: Journalists are vultures and High Courts are running parallel governments. This is politics not law!”

Referring to the activists spreading negativity on the measures taken by the Centre to provide relief to migrant workers during lockdown, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the Supreme Court on Thursday that “there were a handful of people — ‘prophets of doom’ — who are always sceptical about everything”.

Mehta submitted before a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, S.K. Kaul and M.R. Shah that these people have been squabbling on social media, have been giving interviews, and writing articles against every institution and have not even acknowledged the humongous efforts made by the government.

Mehta said this has become a trend and the court, as an institution, has to prevent its spread. He added that the trend is that a handful of people give “certificates” to judges of neutrality only if judges abuse the Executive.

He submitted that none of these “prophets of doom” have shown any courtesy to the nation during the pandemic. “The government and ministers are working overnight to see that there is the minimum spread of the virus. All these armchair intellectuals and so-called public spirited people have done nothing to contribute”, Mehta told the Supreme Court.

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Akbaruddin isolated Pakistan at UN, engineered India’s ICJ win over UK

The Fund also distinguishes itself from China’s controversial aid programmes by providing assistance multilaterally through the UN.

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Syed Akbaruddin United Nations

United Nations, May 29 : Having deft diplomacy to successfully isolate Pakistan on the Kashmir issue at the UN and engineered India’s unprecedented victory for the judgeship of the World Court over a Security Council permanent member, Syed Akbaruddin has wound up his term as India’s Permanent Representative to the world body.

Akbaruddin, who retired after a 35-year career in the Indian Foreign Service this month, helped create history when the members of the UN overwhelmingly voted for the re-election of Dalveer Bhandari in 2017 rebelling against the hegemony of the permanent members and forced Britain to withdraw its candidate Christoper Greenwood, who had the majority support in the Security Council.

It marked a clear shift in the balance of power at the UN, from old colonial powers of the last century to the emerging nations of this.

“I was lucky to represent India when our global image was on the rise,” Akbaruddin told IANS, attributing the nation’s successes during his tenure to that and an appreciation of how New Delhi engaged with countries around the world.

Pakistan’s persistent, intensive diplomacy to internationalise the Kashmir issue was checkmated with 189 of the 193 members repudiating it.

Besides Pakistan, only Malaysia and Turkey have raised it in the General Assembly, and even that only once and giving up after being isolated.

China tried twice to bring it up in the Security Council but couldn’t even get a statement acknowledging that it had been discussed in closed-door consultations.

He helped rip China’s protective mantle over Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar and have him listed as a global terrorist by the UN Security Council.

Of his diplomacy, Akbaruddin said: “The only way to succeed here is through partnerships.”

And partnerships he had built aplenty winning the regard of fellow-diplomats and UN leaders.

General Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande described him as a “great diplomat”.

He told IANS: “Syed Akbaruddin was one of the very best. I can tell you, I cannot imagine anyone of us who has worked with Syed who will say anything differently. He is a very wise man, very, very sincere, very knowledgeable.”

Muhammad-Bande added that he would congratulate India for producing diplomats like him.

Akbaruddin projected India’s soft-power at the UN, organising grand concerts by maestros A.R. Rahman and Amjad Ali Khan at the General Assembly chamber.

The UN issued a stamp honouring the classical Carnatic singer MS Subbulakshmi in 2016, commemorating her UN concert 50 years earlier that year in 1966.

And during the International Yoga Days he literally had ‘asanas’ projected on the UN headquarters building and for Diwali a greeting, the image of which became the backdrop for a Diwali stamp set issued by the UN postal system.

Quick to seize opportunities for India’s image-building, he promoted the construction of the 50-kilowatt Gandhi Solar Park on a UN building to provide clean electricity to the UN complex as Secretary-General Antonio Guterres prioritised a global move away from fossil fuel-generated power.

Akbaruddin’s tenure also saw the launch of the UN-India Partnership Fund that provides aid to small developing countries. Starting in 2017 with a project to provide a climate early warning system for seven island nations in the Pacific region, the programme has grown into a 10-year programme with a goal of $150 million.

Currently there are 40 projects covering 39 countries.

The Fund also distinguishes itself from China’s controversial aid programmes by providing assistance multilaterally through the UN.

An avid user of social media, who pushed its multimedia use by the mission, Akbaruddin was ranked the diplomat at the UN with the second-highest number of Twitter followers after then-US Permanent Representative Nikki Haley.

A second generation diplomat – his father Syed Bashiruddin was India’s Ambassador to Qatar – Akbaruddin joined the foreign service in 1985. Among his many diplomatic assignments was that of the spokesperson of the External Affairs Ministry and acting as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s spokesperson on his travels abroad.

(Arul Louis can be contacted at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @arulouis)

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India records highest single-day spike, surpasses China toll

India is currently in the fourth phase of lockdown which is till May 31. Cases spiked at record rate during the lockdown 4.0 that allowed much relaxation.

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Keralites Middle East Corona

New Delhi, May 29 : India on Friday not only recorded its largest jump in new cases as it added 7,466 new Covid patients in 24 hours, emerging as the ninth worst-hit country in the world by pandemic, but it also surpassed China’s toll of 4,638 so far as it recorded 4,706 deaths.

While China was the first country to report disease last December and recorded over 84,000 total cases so far, India that reported its first case in January end, now has 1,65,799 cases that is more than Turkey’s (1,60,979).

The only good news for India is that it has shown a 42.88 per cent recovery with 71,105 of the patients who contacted the disease being cured and sent back home. In the past one day, 175 deaths were also reported.

Delhi and Tamil Nadu showed jump of around 1,000 cases as Maharashtra continued to contribute a lion’s share, it was still the worst hit state that reported 59,546 cases so far. Tamil Nadu now has 19,372 and Delhi 16,281 cases.

Gujarat reported 15,562 cases, Rajasthan 8,067, Madhya Pradesh 7,453 and Uttar Pradesh 7,170.

Kerala which had almost flatten the curve, is witnessing a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases, there are now 1,088.

Number of cases have spiked in the North East, with Assam having 856 cases.

Other States and UTs have also reported steady increase and West Bengal now has 4,536 cases, Telangana (2,256), Punjab (2,158), Jammu and Kashmir (2,036), Bihar (3,296) and Andhra Pradesh(3,251).

India is currently in the fourth phase of lockdown which is till May 31. Cases spiked at record rate during the lockdown 4.0 that allowed much relaxation.

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