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First Rafale jets to be seen in Indian skies in May 2020

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New Delhi: The chief of Indian Air Force (IAF) Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria on Friday said the first Rafale fighter jets will be seen in Indian skies only by the end of May 2020.

Bhaduaria was addressing a press conference here ahead of the IAF Day that will be observed on October 8.

Responding to a query by IANS, Bhadauria said that India will receive the first four of the 36 Rafale fighter jets by May 2020.

“By May 2020, we will be receiving four Rafale fighter jets. It will be only then that we will see the aircraft in the Indian skies. The advantage of getting the Rafale in May next year will be that our pilots will be substantially trained by then,” said Bhadauria.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will be receiving the first Rafale fighter aircraft in France on October 8 when he is also scheduled to fly a sortie on a two-seater trainer version.

“A pre-delivery inspection team was in France last month to complete the handover formalities. That was when the documentation took place and the aircraft was ‘technically accepted’ by the IAF. It will be formally handed over to the defence minister next week,” added Bhadauria.

He also said that there are no separate plans to acquire another 36 Rafale jets in a separate bid. India is planning to acquire 114 fighter jets to make up for its depleting strength of fighter aircraft.

“There are no plans to acquire 36 more Rafale jets separately. The RFI for 114 aircraft has already been received. We have started the process for AON,” he said.

The initials of the air chief RB-01 have been imprinted on the tail fin of the first Rafale jet that India is set to receive in honour of the key role that he played in the negotiations on behalf of India.

The IAF will be phasing out its ageing fleet of MiG 21s later this year.

“The non-Bison versions of the MiG 21 aircraft will be phased out between December and March. The Bison fleet will be phased put as per their technical life,” he said.

India

ED under some pressure, says Ahmed Patel after third grilling

A team of ED on Thursday grilled Ahmed Patel at his residence for the third time in less than a week”s time in connection with its probe into multi-crore bank fraud case by the Gujarat-based Sterling Biotech.

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Ahmed Patel

New Delhi, July 3 : After hours of grilling by Enforcement Directorate (ED) on links with fugitive Sterling Biotech promoters, Congress treasurer Ahmed Patel said the financial probe agency is working under some pressure as no proof has been found against him despite answering 128 questions.

This is the third time the ED questioned Patel under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 . Earlier he was first questioned on June 27 and then on June 30.

“I was asked 128 questions based on allegations but yet no proof was found against me. The agency was satisfied by my replies but the questioning is a result of political vendetta. I don”t know under whose pressure they are working,” Patel told mediapersons.

Patel said he is ready to answer more questions.

A team of ED on Thursday grilled Ahmed Patel at his residence for the third time in less than a week”s time in connection with its probe into multi-crore bank fraud case by the Gujarat-based Sterling Biotech.

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Cities

Biggest single-day jump takes Telangana Covid tally to 18,570

Officials said 987 people recovered during the last 24 hours. The number of recoveries rose to 9,069.

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Coronavirus outbreak

Hyderabad, July 2 : In the biggest surge since the outbreak of Covid-19, Telangana on Thursday registered 1,213 cases, taking the tally to 18,570 cases.

With this, Telangana overtook Rajasthan and climbed to the seventh spot in the list of states with most cases.

The state also saw eight more deaths during the day, pushing the death toll to 275.

Under fire from different quarters for low testing, the state authorities ramped up the testing. According to the director of public health and family welfare, 5,356 tests were conducted.

This is the first time the state has conducted more than 5,000 tests. The cumulative number has mounted to 98,153, still far lower than many other states.

Hotspot Greater Hyderabad witnessed the highest single-day jump with 998 cases. Neighbouring Rangareddy and Medchal districts recorded 48 and 54 cases respectively.

Indicating the virus spread across the state, cases were reported from 26 out of 33 districts.

Officials said 987 people recovered during the last 24 hours. The number of recoveries rose to 9,069.

As many as 9,226 patients are currently undergoing treatment in hospitals or at home.

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Cities

All Nagaland declared ”disturbed area”, AFSPA extended 6 mths

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had signed a “framework agreement” with its leadership in 2015.

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AFSPA Armed Forces Special Act

Kohima, July 3 : The Union Home Ministry (MHA) has extended the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in Nagaland for another six months, officials said here on Thursday.

According to an official of the Nagaland Home Department, the mountainous state, bordering Myanmar, has been under the AFSPA for the past several decades.

In a notification, Joint Secretary, MHA, Satyendra Garg said that the Central government is of the opinion that the area comprising the whole of Nagaland is in such a disturbed and dangerous condition that the use of armed forces in aid of civil power is necessary.

“Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (No. 28 of 1958), the Central Government hereby declares that whole of the said state to be a ”disturbed area” for a period of six months with effect from June 30, 2020 for the purpose of that Act,” said the notification, issued on Tuesday.

The Nagaland government official said that the state has been requesting the Central government to resolve the long-ending Naga issues, involving the numerous outfits. The National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah), which had several rounds of negotiations with the Indian government in Delhi as well as outside India after signing a ceasefire pact in August 1997, is one of the most influential rebel groups in the northeastern region.

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had signed a “framework agreement” with its leadership in 2015.

Nagaland Governor R.N. Ravi is also the Centre”s interlocutor to hold talks with NSCN-IM and other Naga outfits.

Recently, Ravi had written to Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on the “deterioration of law and order in the state”.

The Nagaland government, however, in a series of statements, claimed that the state is in a normal situation.

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