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Thiruvananthapuram, July 18 (IANS) After recording over 700 new Covid cases in the past two days, Kerala on Saturday recorded 593 new cases, said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

As of date, 6,416 positive cases are there in the state.Even though Saturday’s number is high, we can take a slight relief that it’s not the same as in the past two days. Three zones in the capital district will still be critical containment zones and they will be sealed from midnight for the next 10 days,” said Vijayan while speaking to the media.

The three zones are all fishing hamlets and there was a sudden spike in the cases in these areas in the past two days and hence new guidelines have been put into effect.

Vijayan said the real issue is the sudden increase in the number of local infectees — 364 of the 593 new cases being recorded on Saturday, of which 173 are in the state capital district.

A complete lockdown was imposed in the 100 wards of the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation on July 5 while a slight relaxation was given a week before. Vijayan said the status quo will continue till further notice.

Experts have advised that Covid positive patients can remain at home provided they have access to a hospital nearby their home, said the Chief Minister.

He pointed out that so far over 2.85 lakh Covid tests have been conducted in the state and there are 299 hotspots.

India

PM Modi present in LS on last day of Monsoon Session

The House, which began its proceedings on September 14, curtailed its proceedings eight days ahead of its scheduled conclusion on October 1.

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Modi in Parliament Monsoon Session

New Delhi, Sep 23 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday was present in the Lok Sabha on the concluding day of the Monsoon Session amid the spike in the number of Covid-19 cases.

Modi joined the house an hour after it assembled for the day at 6 p.m.

The Speaker and other parliamentarians welcomed the Prime Minister after he entered the House when a debate was going on at Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020.

The House, which began its proceedings on September 14, curtailed its proceedings eight days ahead of its scheduled conclusion on October 1.

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India

CAG pulls up Rafale jet maker for not meeting offset commitment

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Rafale deal scam

New Delhi, Sep 23 : The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has pulled up the Rafale fighter jet’s French manufacturer and its weapons producer for not fulfilling their offset commitment to transfer technology to India as part of the 2016 contract for 36 combat jets.

In an audit report on Management of Defence Offsets, tabled in Parliament on Wednesday, the government auditor flagged that foreign vendors made various offset commitments to qualify for the main supply contract but, later, were not earnest about fulfilling these commitments.

“..in the offset contract relating to 36 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA), the vendors M/s Dassault Aviation and M/s MBDA initially proposed (September 2015) to discharge 30 per cent of their offset obligation by offering high technology to the DRDO,” it said.

Noting that the Defence Research and Development Organisation wanted to obtain technical assistance for the indigenous development of the engine (Kaveri) for the Light Combat Aircraft, it said: “Till date, the vendor has not confirmed the transfer of this technology.”

India has procured 36 Rafale combat aircraft from Dassault Aviation in government to government contract. The Rafale is a 4.5 generation aircraft and has latest weapons, superior sensors and fully integrated architecture. It is an omni-role aircraft which means it can carry out at least four missions in one sortie.

The fighter aircraft have HAMMER missiles, and will also be armed with beyond visual range missiles like Meteor, SCALP and MICA, increasing their ability to take on incoming targets from a distance.

On September 10, five Rafale aircraft were inducted in the IAF’s 17 Squadron at Ambala Air Base in Haryana amid fanfare. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was present during the induction ceremony, along with his French counterpart Florence Parly, who had stated that the deal was a stellar achievement for both countries.

“Rafale means gust of wind if you are poetic and can also means burst of fire in a battlefield,” she had said.

More of these advanced combat aircraft are set to arrive in India in November.

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Cities

Delhi Police gear up for ‘snap demos’ by farmers, tighten security

After the passing of the farm Bills, opposition MPs staged protest in the Parliament premises, marching from the Gandhi statue to the Ambedkar statue.

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New Delhi, Sep 23 : The Delhi Police have geared up for ‘snap demonstrations’ by farmers’ bodies, especially in the national capital, amid the ongoing protests against the Centre’s farm bills.

The security in the national capital, especially in the border areas, has been tightened and senior Delhi Police officers are themselves monitoring the situation. Section 144 has already been imposed in the New Delhi area.

Snap demonstrations are random unnotified demonstrations that pop up at a particular place.

“We have made ample arrangements in the area and are registering cases under IPC Section 188 and other relevant sections against those found flouting the orders,” said Eish Singhal, DCP, New Delhi.

The Delhi Police had earlier said that no demonstrations would be allowed in the national capital till September 30, citing an earlier order of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA).

The missive came as political parties as well as farmers’ bodies have intensified their agitation against the three agriculture Bills passed by the Parliament recently.

On Monday, the DDMA had clarified that all social, cultural and political functions involving large gatherings are prohibited in Delhi till September 30.

But despite the orders, the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee held a protest against the farm Bills at Janpath. The police detained over 41 Congress leaders and workers, including state president Anil Kumar, while they were marching towards the Parliament.

After the passing of the farm Bills, opposition MPs staged protest in the Parliament premises, marching from the Gandhi statue to the Ambedkar statue.

The Opposition and the government are on loggerheads ever since the farm Bills were passed amid ruckus in the Upper House of the Parliament.

Meanwhile, the border areas of Delhi, especially the Singhu border and Karnal road, saw massive deployment of police and para military personnel even as the Youth Congress workers and farmers took out a tractor rally on Wednesday. Barricades and water cannons were deployed at strategic locations.

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