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Headley’s deposition adjourned till tomorrow

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The deposition of American-Pakistani terrorist David Coleman Headley on Wednesday has been adjourned till tomorrow due to a technical snag in the video conference.Headley was to depose for the third consecutive day before a court here in connection with 26/11 terror attack case.

Deposing from an undisclosed location for the past two days, Headley had told the special judge G.A. Sanap that ISI was helping different terror outfits in Pakistan by providing financial, military and moral support.

He also revealed that plans to target Mumbai had started over a year before November 26, 2008 and that LeT initially wanted to attack a conference of Indian defence scientists at Taj Mahal Hotel for which even a dummy of the hotel was prepared.

But the plan to target scientists was dropped because of logistical reasons, like difficulty in smuggling in weapons and personal and lack of details about the schedule of the meet, he said.

About plan to target Siddhivinayak Temple, Headley said that Sajid Mir (Headley’s handler in LeT) specifically asked him to make video of it.

Headley also said that he also used to work for ISI and met many Pakistan army officials.

1     Lashkar operative David Headley named Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief and 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed as the head of the Lashkar-e-Taiba.
2     Notably, Headley named Major Ali and Major Iqbal of the ISI and Lashkar commander Sajid Mir as his contacts in Pakistan.
3     He also said the 10 people involved in the 26/11 attacks had made two previous attempts on Mumbai. The first, in September 2008, failed as the boat, which started from outside Karachi, ran into some rocks and sank. The weapons and explosives were lost in the sea. The second attempt took place a month later. It was Mir who informed Headley of the two attempts.
4     Headley said he had joined the Lashkar-e-Taiba in 2002 “for a course” in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan, the outfit’s headquarters. He underwent Daura-e-Am (preliminary training) and Daura-e-Khas (advanced training in weapons and explosives). Another camp called Daura-e-Ribbat (intelligence course) was held in Mansehra, 40 miles from Abbottabad, where Saeed and Lakhvi were present.
5     Headley described Lashkar as “a militant organisation in Pakistan whose goal is to fight the Indian Army and assist the people of Kashmir.” Saeed and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi would give religious speeches and speak of ‘jihad,’ defined as “fight against enemies of Islam.” They, Headley said, treated India as their enemy.
6     In October 2003, Headley met Maulana Masood Mazhar, the chief of Jaish-e-Mohammed, about three hundred miles away from South Lahore. Headley also met with Zakir Ul Rehman Lakhvi in 2003 at Muzzafarbad.
7     Headley admits that LeT, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen are working under United Jihad council, and that all these are terrorist organisations in Pakistan working against India.
8     Headley says he was asked by LeT to gather military intelligence in India and also recruit someone from Indian military for spying.
9     Headley then says he was asked to make a general video and recce of Mumbai by Major Iqbal from the ISI.
10     In the deposition, Headley reveals that in the Spring of 2006, a meeting was held where LeT members Muzzabil Butt, Sajid Mir and Abu Khaffa were present. It was then decided that from Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi, Mumbai was chosen to set up an office.

India

Ensure last-mile outreach through regional languages: PMO

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New Delhi, April 10 The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Friday directed the Empowered Groups to ensure last-mile outreach through communication in regional languages amid the Union government’s ongoing efforts to fight the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Steps taken to ensure timely information dissemination throughout the country were also stressed by the PMO, which reviewed the preparations to counter the impact of the pandemic.

The issues related to supply chain and logistics management for availability of necessary items, efforts undertaken for the benefit of stakeholders involved, steps to assist farmers harvest their produce while maintaining social distancing, necessary confidence building measures required, and need to ensure percolation of guidelines of the Ministry of Home Affairs to the ground level were discussed.

Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary P.K. Mishra discussed these issues while chairing a meeting of the Empowered Groups of Officers to tackle the challenges emerging as a result of the spread of COVID-19 in India.

The meeting was the latest in a series of periodic reviews at various levels by the PMO to monitor the situation in which the Principal Secretary reviewed the efforts undertaken by the Empowered Groups.

The participants reviewed and expressed satisfaction on the detailed testing protocol and procedure, under which (as on date) 1,45,916 samples have been tested.

Noting that the production of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is being ramped up and capacity building for healthcare personnel ensured and that NGOs and civil society groups are also being mobilized, Mishra suggested that coordination with NGOs at district level be done to avoid overlaps and ensure efficacious utilization of resources.

The meeting was told that all state Chief Secretaries were instructed to arrange for shelters for vulnerable groups like migrants and homeless.

The progress of the welfare measures rolled out through an economic relief package under PM Garib Kalyan Yojana was also reviewed.

The Principal Secretary underlined that data sanctity was important to ensure that the benefits reach to all intended beneficiaries.

On the technology and data management front, he expressed satisfaction on the rollout of Aarogya Setu app and said that the user engagement with the app needs to be enhanced.

The Centre on March 29 constituted 11 empowered groups for planning and ensuring implementation of Covid-19 response activities.

Each group will be handled by a group of senior government officials empowered to identify the problem areas and provide effective solutions, delineate policy, formulate plans, strategise operations and take necessary steps for effective and time-bound implementation of these plans, policies, strategies, decisions in their respective areas.

A total of 80 senior civil servants have been deputed in the 11 groups which may seek the guidance of the Cabinet Secretary.

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India

Let’s fight corona jointly, Modi tells Netanyahu, Bolsonaro

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New Delhi, April 10 Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday told President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro and Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu that the country is committed to jointly fight the coronavirus pandemic.

The PM’s remark came after the two leaders thanked him for clearing the export of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), a drug said to be effective against the deadly disease.

“Thank you, my dear friend @narendramodi, Prime Minister of India, for sending Chloroquine to Israel. All the citizens of Israel thank you!” Netanyahu tweeted on Thursday.

In response, PM Modi said, “We have to jointly fight this pandemic. India is ready to do whatever is possible to help our friends. Praying for the well-being and good health of the people of Israel.”

Similarly, Bolsonaro also thanked PM Modi for timely help to Brazil, adding that the raw material will help to continue production of hydroxychloroquine to treat patients of COVID-19 as well as of lupus, malaria, and arthritis.

“Thank you, President Jair Bolsonaro. The India-Brazil partnership is stronger than ever in these challenging times. India is committed to contribute to humanity’s fight against this pandemic,” PM Modi said.

The drug has been identified by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as potential treatment for the coronavirus and was touted repeatedly by President Trump as a “game changer”. India had earlier put a hold on its export, but later allowed it on Trump’s request.

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Cities

Four more corona cases in Odisha

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Bhubaneswar, April 10 (IANS) Odisha has reported four more COVID-19 positive cases, taking the total number of coronavirus patients to 48, officials said on Friday.

The Health Department has shared the development on its website.

However, it has not shared the details of the fresh cases.

The department said that 408 samples were tested on April 9, out of which six tested positive for COVID-19.

While the active cases stand at 45, one person has succumbed. Meanwhile, two have been discharged from hospital.

The Odisha government on Thursday extended the lockdown period till April 30 to contain the spread of coronavirus.

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