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French Soldiers March Down Rajpath On Republic Day

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French soldiers on Tuesday took part in the Republic Day parade at the Rajpath, creating history as it was for the first time that a foreign army contingent took part in the celebrations.

The soldiers of the 35th Infantry Regiment, which was deployed in India between 1781 and 1784, was led by Lieutenant Colonel Paul Bury.The battalion has varied combat experiences, having served in Algeria, Africa, Iraq and Afghanistan, amongst other places.

French President Francois Hollande is the chief guest for the Republic Day parade this year, marking the boost in Indo-French ties .

The French contingent marched on the Rajpath and they followed Lt. Gen. Rajan Ravindran, General Officer Commanding, Delhi Area. They were preceded by a band, including 48 musicians, led by Major Jean-Claude Leberruyer.

The infantry contingent had 75 soldiers.French contingent  was in India  for joint exercise on counter-terrorism and counter insurgency with Indian soldiers as a part of “Shakti 2016” in Rajasthan.The 35th Infantry Regiment’s origin dates back to its raising in 1604 at Lorraine, France.

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Protesters take to streets against Chinese anthem law in Hong Kong

According to local media reports, security forces were preparing to deploy some 3,000 anti-riot officers in the city in the face of calls for mass protests by pro-democracy organizations.

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Hong Kong Protest

Hong Kong, May 27 : Hundreds of protesters on Wednesday gathered on the streets here against a contentious law criminalizing disrespect towards the Chinese national anthem, leading to the police making arrests and using tear gas on demonstrators.

State media RTHK said the protesters raised slogans such as “Disband the police immediately,” and “Five demands not one less,” one of the most repeated ones since the protests began last year.

They also tried to block traffic on the streets with items such as trash cans, amid the riot police warning them that they risked being arrested for illegal assembly if they did not disperse, Efe news reported.

Some shops in the area decided to ask their customers to leave and closed down over fears of the unrest escalating.

Shortly after 2 p.m. (local time), police issued a statement that the protesters were disrupting traffic and urged them to leave as soon as possible, while warning it would use minimum necessary force to enforce the law.

The Legislative Council (the Hong Kong parliament) on Wednesday was scheduled to debate a draft law seeking to penalize “disrespect” to the March of the Volunteers, or the Chinese national anthem.

If approved, anyone found to be misusing or showing disrespect to the anthem would face sentences of up to three years in prison and fines of up to HK$50,000.

According to local media reports, security forces were preparing to deploy some 3,000 anti-riot officers in the city in the face of calls for mass protests by pro-democracy organizations.

Earlier during the day, a few hundred protesters came out on the streets in different parts of the city, leading to the arrest of at least 16 people, and three of them were carrying Molotov cocktails.

Unrest has been fostering again in Hong Kong in recent days due to Beijing’s announcement that it was preparing a national security law for the semi-autonomous city, which is likely to be passed on Thursday.

According to Chinese National People’s Congress (legislature), the national security law will prohibit “any act of treason, secession, sedition and subversion” against the central government, in addition to the “theft of state secrets and the organization of activities in Hong Kong by foreign political organizations,” terms that the Chinese Executive has previously used to curb dissent.

This move comes after nearly a year of pro-democracy mobilizations that have severely jolted Hong Kong’s economy and also resulted in clashes between the police and several violent protesters.

Article 23 of the Basic Law (which governs Hong Kong) stipulates that the city must endorse legislation on security made by Beijing, something that has always been extremely controversial among the population for fear that it would result in a reduction of freedoms.

Hong Kong has been gripped for several years by political unrest and demonstrations, which had been gaining momentum in the months leading up to the coronavirus outbreak, which led to them being suspended.

The territory was returned to Chinese control in 1997 after a century and a half of British rule, after London and Beijing signed a joint declaration in 1984 under which the UK renounced its last Asian colony.

This deal established a series of freedoms in the city for 50 years, many of which do not exist on mainland China.

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Covid-19 corollaries on the dairy sector: CRISIL

Overall, demand for milk and dairy products would be lukewarm in the near term, so prices are unlikely to boil over, according to the report.

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New Delhi, May 26 : Supply chain disruptions in the early weeks of the nationwide lockdown, and bread-and-butter issues for hotels, restaurants and cafes, have materially reduced demand for dairy products.

This is despite supply of most dairy products continuing during the lockdown, since they are categorised as essentials.

The shuttering of hotels and dine-ins has also dried up off-take of skimmed milk powder and khoya.

According to report by CRISIL Research on the state of dairy industry and supply chains, products that can’t be made at home easily – such as cheese, flavoured milk and also khoya – haven’t found their way back to the dining table in the same quantities as before the lockdown.

Demand for ice creams, which usually peaks in summer (accounting for 40 per cent of annual sales) has just melted away. Rural areas, which are feeling the income pinch more, seem to be staying off butter and ghee, the report by global analytics firm has said.

To be sure, since the third week of April, supply chains have turned smoother, so demand for staples such as milk, curd, paneer and yogurt are expected to see a quick rebound, leading to on-year expansion in sales, CRISIL said.

The pandemic, however, may sour the business for unorganised dairies because of pervasive contamination fears.

Conversely, as consumers shift, revenues of organised dairies and packaged products should fatten.

Overall, demand for milk and dairy products would be lukewarm in the near term, so prices are unlikely to boil over, according to the report.

Large brands such as Amul and Mother Dairy had already hiked retail milk prices by 4-5 per cent last fiscal. They may not serve an encore.

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McDonald’s reveals plan to open more UK branches

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London, May 25 (IANS) Fast-food giant McDonald’s revealed a plan to open all of its drive-thru restaurants in the UK in the coming weeks and has”not forgotten” about people in the north of England, it was reported on Monday.

The company reopened 39 restaurants in England and Ireland last week as it prepared to get back up and running with new safety measures in place, but all of the English locations were in the south east, reports the Metro nwespaper.

In a message to customers, McDonald’s Chief Executive Paul Pomroy said: “To help us test the new procedures and to slowly restart our supply chain, the pilot restaurants in the UK are all located close to our head office and to one of our distribution centres in the south east.

“I promise I have not forgotten about any part of the UK or Ireland. We are taking our time to test the new ways of working in our restaurants, ensuring that we can continue to help our teams to work safely, and to get back to the communities we have proudly served for so many years.”

Pomroy further said that McDonald’s will make a further announcement this week about reopening more restaurants and expanding its delivery service.

Last week, Police were called to a drive-thru McDonald’s in Peterborough on the first day it reopened after easing of the COVID-19 lockdown because the queue at the outlet went out of hand.

Six of the 30 new drive-thrus that have opened across the country were in Peterborough.

The fast-food giant has brought in social distancing measures to keep workers safe, with staff receiving temperature checks before each shift.

The number of workers on each site will be reduced to ensure safety, the company has said.

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