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India lifts partial ban on hydroxychloroquine after Trump’s request

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New Delhi, April 7 The government has decided to lift a partial ban on hydroxychloroquine after US President Donald Trump requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to export the drug to aid America’s fight against the deadly Covid-19 disease.

Official sources told IANS that the government will clear the existing orders immediately on humanitarian grounds. The Centre, sources said, will not ban but restrict the export of hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol depending on the availability of stock after meeting domestic requirements.

The Ministry of External Affairs and pharma industry will decide on such allocations depending on the humanitarian crisis, sources said.

President Trump had called Prime Minister Modi, requesting him to supply the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine that is being used to treat Covid-19 patients and as prophylactic by the frontline health care workers deployed in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. The Modi government had imposed a ban on export of the drug since the coronavirus outbreak hit India.

The US as of now has the highest number of the novel coronavirus cases in the world, with over 367,000 cases of infections and over 10,800 deaths. Relatively, India has managed to contain the pandemic with 136 deaths and over 4,700 cases of infections.

On Monday, the Donald Trump administration provided $2.9 million in aid to India to help fight against the novel coronavirus disease.

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‘Recommend your case for reinstatement’: SC to MP woman judge

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Madhya Pradesh High Court to reconsider the issue of reappointment of a former woman judicial officer who had resigned following an inquiry into her allegations of sexual harassment against a Madhya Pradesh High Court judge.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said it “would strongly recommend” the case of the judicial officer to the high court for reconsidering the appointment.

The bench also comprising Justices R Subhash Reddy and A S Bopanna assured senior lawyer Indira Jaising, appearing for the former judicial officer, that it would hear her plea in case the present order of the reconsideration does not yield result.

The apex court, on February 12, had observed that it may consider reappointing the former woman judicial officer and had asked the high court to deliberate on it.

Senior advocate Ravindra Srivastava, appearing for the High Court, said the issue of re-appointment was placed for the third time before the full bench of the High Court in February this year and it was turned down.

“She is seeking to be reinstated in MP with seniority and then transfer. The Full Court had held the acceptance of her resignation in 2014 as final,” he said.

“Why is the High Court not open to our suggestion. You (lawyer) please communicate our views,” the bench observed and granted four weeks’ time to the parties for taking a decision which has to be communicated to it in a month’s time.

Earlier, the Madhya Pradesh High Court had told the top court that the former woman judicial officer cannot be reinstated.

The high court judge, against whom sexual harassment complaint was made by her, was later given a clean chit in December 2017 by a Rajya Sabha-appointed panel which had probed the allegations.

In the hearing conducted on Tuesday through video-link, Jaising said that she was seeking an early hearing on the plea as her client was willing to work and should be accommodated in some other state on the same post and with same seniority.

The counsel for the High Court said that it was the case of voluntary resignation which was accepted in 2014 and besides the job, she also wanted the seniority.

The apex court then suggested Srivastava to consider the case as a fresh appointment. However, the suggestion was opposed by Jaising.

“She was a direct recruit in 2011, I do not remember her age…she aspires to be a HC judge and then become SC judge. How can I ask her to give up her aspirations,” Jaising said.

In response to the bench”s suggestion that she should be willing to give up seniority if the priority was work, the senior lawyer said, “she is 48, how can she start from bottom”.

Earlier, the top court had asked the MP High Court to mull over the possibility of reinstating the former woman judicial officer within four weeks.

The woman had moved the apex court seeking that the administrative order of January 11, 2017, passed by the Madhya Pradesh High Court dismissing her application for reinstatement into the Madhya Pradesh Higher Judicial Services, should be set aside. PTI SJK ABA MNL MNL RKS RKS

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Assam’s Kaziranga park flooded, 51 animals killed, 102 rescued

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Guwahati, July 14 (IANS) Flood in different parts of Assam inundated large swathes of land in Kaziranga National Park, a World Heritage site, killing at least 51 wild animals though 102 animals have been rescued, officials said on Tuesday.

They said many tigers and rhinos had strayed into the nearby villages due to flooding of their habitats.

Officials of the Kaziranga National Park and the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) said 95 per cent of the national park’s 430 sq km area was now flooded, with traffic movement on the National Highway-37 near Kaziranga now suspended.

According to the officials, 45 hog deer, three wild boars and one rhino, one wild buffalo and a swamp deer perished in the floodwater. Of the rescued animals, 86 were hog deer.

Park Director P. Sivakumar said that rising water level in the park areas had forced three sub-adult tigers to stray into a goat-shed in Kandolimari village and nearby areas.

“Two of the tigers have already been driven back into the park area and efforts are on to locate the third tiger,” Sivakumar told IANS over phone.

Formed in 1908, the Kaziranga National park, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1985, is home to more than 2,200 one-horned Indian rhinoceros, approximately two third of the total world population.

Each year, the monsoon floods inundate the National Park, located on the edge of the Eastern Himalayan biodiversity hotspots of Golaghat and Nagaon district, forcing a large number of the wild animals to leave the park and head towards the nearby hills in Karbi Anglong district by crossing National Highway-37 that passes near the park’s boundary.

According to the officials, 45 animals, mostly hog deer, were injured due to flood and one by vehicle hit.

Of the 223 camps of forest personnel guarding the park, 173 have been inundated and 14 others vacated due to rising water levels.

Heavy monsoon rains over the past few weeks have led to massive flooding of the north-eastern state, inundating 2,763 villages and affecting around 24 lakh people and 103,806 hectares of crop area in 27 of its 33 districts.

According to ASDMA officials, with six more deaths in Assam on Monday, the death toll in the flood has risen to 50.

–IANS

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T’gana govt, Coursera to upskill 50K jobless youth during Covid-19

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 US-based online education company Coursera on Tuesday announced its partnership with the Telangana government and non-profit organisation — Telangana Academy for Skill and Knowledge (TASK) — to train 50,000 unemployed youth during the Covid-19 crisis.

The Telangana government, through TASK, has been proactive in improving the employability of its youth by investing in skills of the future.

With this partnership, TASK is making 3,800 courses on Coursera available to 50,000 unemployed youths across the state.

“We are excited to work with the world’s leading online learning platform to train our youth in the latest digital skills, taught by instructors from the best universities and companies around the world,” Shrikant Sinha, CEO, TASK, said in a statement.

The programme aims to develop high-demand skills like data science, cloud computing, blockchain, AI, computer science, and the Internet of Things (IoT). It will also include access to highly sought after professional certificates like the Google IT Support Professional Certificate, designed to train people with no tech background for IT jobs.

According to the company, learners can enrol in the courses offered through the initiative by September 3 this year and will have access until the end of the year to complete the courses.

“We are honoured to work with the Telangana state, known for its inspiring vision, innovative policies, and commitment to creating a workforce of the future, as our first government partner in India,” said Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO Coursera.

The partnership is part of Coursera’s global roll-out of the ‘Workforce Recovery Initiative’, where any state and country can provide unemployed workers with free access to online learning. The workforce initiative is part of the Coursera-for-government offering launched in 2017 to equip government employees and citizens with in-demand skills. With this launch, the Telangana state joins many US states and countries around the world that are using Coursera to offer job relevant online learning to unemployed workers.

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