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Experts welcome India’s tobacco control pledge made in Dhaka

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Public health experts have welcomed India’s commitment to tobacco control made in the first South Asian Speakers’ Summit on Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that concluded in Bangladesh last week.

India has endorsed the ‘Dhaka Declaration on SDG Action in South Asia’ that has set the agenda for making the region tobacco free by 2030.

“As the country is grappling with shrinking health budgets, India’s strategy to reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases through controlling tobacco use is a welcome step,” said K.R. Thankappan, the head of Achutha Menon Centre for Health Science Studies here.

He said the need of the hour was to make “multi-sectoral efforts” to reduce tobacco use which killed one million Indians a year.

Endorsement of Dhaka Declaration has committed India to developing, strengthening and enforcing tobacco-control policies, legislation and regulations in line with the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

India has also agreed to work towards decreasing the affordability of all tobacco products by increasing tobacco taxes and endeavour to set aside revenue generated from tobacco taxes to support tobacco control efforts.

The Dhaka Declaration emerged after two days of deliberations by the parliament speakers of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, and Sri Lanka on January 30 and 31, 2016.

C.P.John, member, Kerala State Planning Board said tobacco use in different forms was a major threat to public health and development.

“The state should come forward in controlling tobacco use by strong enforcement and regular monitoring while the responsible citizenry should take the lead in educating the masses through wide public awareness programmes,” he added.

Tobacco control has been included as a target under Goal 3 – Health and Well-being – of SDGs 2015-30.

It’s notable that Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had termed tobacco as an “epidemic” in her address to the speakers’ summit.

She had observed that in South Asia (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Myanmar and Sri Lanka) the estimated total number of tobacco users is 384 million, which accounts for over a third (34.8 percent) of the total tobacco users in the world (about 1.1 billion).

India will host the second meeting of South Asian Speakers’ Forum in 2017.

 

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Disaster

ISKCON Temple in Vrindavan sealed after 22 test COVID-19 positive

The famous temple dedicated to Lord Krishna has been closed to devotees since the lockdown was imposed in March.

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ISKCON Temple in Vrindavan

VRINDAVAN : After 22 persons associated with the temple were found infected with coronavirus, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) has decided to seal the temple in Vrindavan and restrict movement. The announcement comes a day ahead of the Janmashtami festival which will be celebrated in the country on August 12.

“Earlier, one person had tested positive, so more testing was conducted and now 22 people tested positive. After that, contact tracing was conducted and sampling is being done; we will isolate those who test positive. Movement of people have been restricted and the temple has been sealed,” an ISKCON official said. He said the 22 people includes priests at the temple.

In the temple town of Vrindavan, authorities of Banke Bihari temple have also decided to keep the shrine closed till September 30. The decision was taken due to repair work on the temple premises, said the authority in a notice.

It also stated that the repair work will be taken up by engineers. Earlier, the temple was closed in the view of COVID-19.

The famous temple dedicated to Lord Krishna has been closed to devotees since the lockdown was imposed in March.

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India

SC calls 4G restoration on trial basis in Jammu and Kashmir ‘fairly good start’

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Postpaid Mobile in Kashmir

New Delhi, Aug 11 : The Centre on Tuesday informed the Supreme Court that the special committee constituted to examine restoration of 4G services in Jammu and Kashmir has agreed to provide the high speed Internet access on a trial basis in limited areas.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal appearing for the Centre before a bench headed by Justice N.V. Ramana said that restrictions on Internet will be lifted on trial basis at certain geographical locations. It will be at one location in each district.

The Centre informed the court that the relaxation from August 16, in one district each of Jammu and Kashmir division will be assessed after two months. The government also said that blanket restoration of 4G in the UT would not be possible due to threats to security.

The apex court remarked “this is a fairly a good start”, and commended the Centre’s decision. The bench also observed that it hoped the situation would improve and the access could later be expanded.

The Centre submitted that the special committee held its meeting on August 10, and explored multiple options in the backdrop of security situation in the union territory. They recommended opening up of 4G in specified areas of low intensity terrorist activities, not on international border even in the trial basis.

Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, appearing for the petitioner NGO, said: “Today is a good and a step forward at least some limited restoration has been made.”

Justice Ramana then closed the contempt case following the Centre’s submission.

The bench had given two weeks time to the Centre to file a reply on the intervention application. The contempt petition was filed by the NGO alleging that the Centre has not formed a special committee to review Internet restrictions in the UT despite the apex court’s order.

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Disaster

India records 53K new Covid-19 cases, tally crosses 22.68L

The US accounted for the world’s highest number of infections and fatalities at 50,89,416 and 1,63,425, respectively, according to the CSSE.

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COVID-19 pandemic

New Delhi, Aug 11 : India, the third country worst hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, recorded a spike of 53,601 coronavirus cases on Tuesday, pushing the total tally to 22,68,675. The country tested a record over 871 deaths in a single day.

The number of recoveries mounted to almost 16 lakh, more than twice the active cases. Out of the total cases, 6,39,929 are active cases while 15,83,489 have recovered from the disease and 45,257 people have lost their lives in the fight against the deadly virus.

Notably, India recorded the highest number of recoveries in a single day at 47,746. The recovery rate has gone up to 69.79 per cent.

On Monday, the government tested 6,98,290 samples. A total of 2,52,81,848 samples have been tested so far.

Maharashtra remained the worst-hit state with a total of 5,15,332 cases and 17,757 deaths, followed by Tamil Nadu with 2,96,901 cases and 4,927 deaths. The southern state is followed by Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Delhi, and Uttar Pradesh.

Globally, the overall number Covid-19 cases has surpassed the 20 million mark, while the deaths have increased to over 7.34 lakh, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

As of Tuesday morning, the total number of cases stood at 2,00,11,186 and the fatalities rose to 7,34,664, the University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

The US accounted for the world’s highest number of infections and fatalities at 50,89,416 and 1,63,425, respectively, according to the CSSE.

Brazil came in the second place with 30,57,470 infections and 1,01,752 deaths.

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