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Karnataka favours lockdown for 2 more weeks: CM

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Yediyurappa

Bengaluru, April 9 (IANS) The Karnataka Cabinet is in favour of extending the 21-day nationwide lockdown by two weeks to fight the coronavirus scare, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa said on Thursday.

“All the ministers are in favour of continuing the lockdown for two more weeks to contain Covid-19 spread in the state, which has recorded 191 positive cases and 6 deaths till date,” Yediyurappa told reporters after an emergent Cabinet meeting here.

Though a panel of eminent doctors on Wednesday recommended continuing the lockdown — set to end on April 14 — till April 30 only in hotspots like Bengaluru and Mysuru, the Cabinet did not want to take any chance by lifting the lockdown in districts not affected by the virus.

“The lockdown should continue for two more weeks to ensure that the number of coronavirus cases do not spike as was the case in some states and to prevent community spread,” said Yediyurappa.

The panel, headed by eminent doctor Devi Shetty, and C.N. Manjunath, Nagaraj, Ravi and Sudarshan as members, was set up by the state in March to assess the pandemic and advise measures to contain its fallout across the southern state.

“The lockdown should not be lifted in the hotspots or relaxed in the districts with less or zero cases so as to contain the virus and control the situation, especially physical distancing,” asserted the Chief Minister.

Of the 30 districts in Karnataka, 18 districts have reported corona cases, including two hotspots.

“A final decision on the lockdown will be taken on Sunday or Monday after our videoconference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday and as per his advice for the welfare of all,” added Yediyurappa.

Modi had advised the states to suggest if the nationwide lockdown should be extended beyond April 14 or eased with curbs in areas that were free from the infection so far.

Though the 21-day lockdown was clamped on March 24 midnight across the country, nine districts of Karnataka have been under shutdown since March 14 on the panel’s advice to contain the virus fallout.

In a related development, the Cabinet decided to deduct 30 per cent from salaries and allowances of all legislators, amounting to Rs 15.3 crore, for fiscal 2020-21 through an ordinance, as the Assembly is not in session.

Governor Vajubhai Vala and Yediyurappa have already pledged their salaries for this year to the CM relief fund for spending on tackling coronavirus.


India

Govt must come clean on border tension with China: Rahul Gandhi

“GOI must come clean and tell India exactly what’s happening,” further said Rahul Gandhi in the tweet.

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Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi, May 29 : Amid reports of growing tension with China at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday questioned the government’s silence on this issue and demanded that the government should come clean on it.

“The government’s silence about the border situation with China is fuelling massive speculation and uncertainty at a time of crisis.” tweeted Rahul Gandhi.

“GOI must come clean and tell India exactly what’s happening,” further said Rahul Gandhi in the tweet.

The government on Thursday invoked a plethora of bilateral agreements signed by India and China to resolve border related issues. Praising the defence forces, the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Anurag Srivastava, at a virtual media briefing said that the Indian troops take a very responsible approach towards border management and strictly follow the procedures laid out in various bilateral agreements and protocols with China to resolve any issue that may arise in the border areas.

The two sides, he said, have established mechanisms, both at the military and diplomatic levels, to resolve situations which may arise in the border areas peacefully through dialogue, and continue to remain engaged through these channels. At the same time, India, he said, remains firm in its resolve to ensuring the country’s sovereignty and national security.

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India

Congress attacks Centre for SG’s ‘prophets of doom’ statement in Supreme Court

Kapil Sibal also lashed out on the SG and tweeted, “Sad but true. A law officer in the Supreme Court dealing with the plight of migrants epitomised by the images in the public domain said: Journalists are vultures and High Courts are running parallel governments. This is politics not law!”

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Tushar Mehta

New Delhi, May 29 : A day after Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta told the Supreme Court that there were a handful of people — “prophets of doom” — who were always sceptical about everything, the Congress on Friday questioned the apex court’s silence and alleged that the government was autocratic in its functioning.

Randeep Surjewala, Congress chief spokesperson, said, “Modi Govt’s ‘New Definitions’ in SC – 1)’Some High Courts are running a parallel Govt’ 2) Those criticising the govt are ‘prophets of doom’ 3) Cites instance of a journalist as ‘vulture’.”

“A prelude to complete ‘Autocracy & Abdication of Constitution’!” added Surjewala in his tweet.

The Congress leader also questioned the transfer of the bench in the Gujarat High Court. “No wonder the High Court Bench holding Gujarat Govt accountable for abdication of duty & turning the hospital into a ‘dungeon’ is suddenly changed. Can there be a greater ‘travesty of justice’?” Surjewala said.

“Why is SC silent on such rank subversion of justice?” he asked.

Kapil Sibal also lashed out on the SG and tweeted, “Sad but true. A law officer in the Supreme Court dealing with the plight of migrants epitomised by the images in the public domain said: Journalists are vultures and High Courts are running parallel governments. This is politics not law!”

Referring to the activists spreading negativity on the measures taken by the Centre to provide relief to migrant workers during lockdown, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the Supreme Court on Thursday that “there were a handful of people — ‘prophets of doom’ — who are always sceptical about everything”.

Mehta submitted before a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, S.K. Kaul and M.R. Shah that these people have been squabbling on social media, have been giving interviews, and writing articles against every institution and have not even acknowledged the humongous efforts made by the government.

Mehta said this has become a trend and the court, as an institution, has to prevent its spread. He added that the trend is that a handful of people give “certificates” to judges of neutrality only if judges abuse the Executive.

He submitted that none of these “prophets of doom” have shown any courtesy to the nation during the pandemic. “The government and ministers are working overnight to see that there is the minimum spread of the virus. All these armchair intellectuals and so-called public spirited people have done nothing to contribute”, Mehta told the Supreme Court.

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Legendary socialist, press baron M.P. Veerendra Kumar passes away

A voracious reader and also an award-winning writer, he was a highly respected politician not just in Kerala but also in Delhi.

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MP Veerendra Kumar

Thiruvananthapuram, May 29 : One of Kerala’s tallest socialist leaders M.P. Veerendra Kumar passed away at a private hospital here on Thursday, said family sources. He was 83.

Veerendra Kumar, a sitting Rajya Sabha member, succumbed to a cardiac arrest.

His last political appearance was when he took part in the meeting, via video conference, called by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to discuss Covid 19 issues with all lawmakers from Kerala two days back.

Member of the Loktantrik Janata Dal and President of its Kerala state unit, Veerendra Kumar was also the Managing Director of the second-largest circulated Malayalam daily ‘Mathrubhumi’.

A voracious reader and also an award-winning writer, he was a highly respected politician not just in Kerala but also in Delhi.

He was in the Kerala Assembly from 1987-1991 and was sworn in as Forest Minister in the cabinet of Left Democratic Front leader E.K. Nayanar but resigned after five days due to differences in his party.

He later contested the Lok Sabha polls and won the Kozhikode Lok Sabha seat in 1996 and became Union Minister of State for Finance and later of Parliamentary Affairs from 1997 to 1998.

Winning the Lok Sabha polls again in 2004, Veerendra Kumar and his then party Janata Dal-United remained part of the LDF till 2009, but shifted to the Congress-led UDF camp after he was denied a chance to recontest the Kozhikode LS seat in the general elections that year.

A nominee of his party was given a Cabinet post when the Oommen Chandy-led UDF government assumed office in 2011.

Veerendra Kumar lost the 2014 Lok Sabha polls by over one lakh votes and since then he was unhappy with the UDF. However, the UDF kept him happy by offering him a Rajya Sabha seat in 2016 and when he had decided to quit it late next year, he put in his resignation from the Upper House.

Later, he rejoined the CPI-M-led Left Democratic Front, who allowed him to contest the Rajya Sabha polls and he became a member again in 2018.

Former Defence Minister A.K. Antony said he has lost a close friend and a “teacher”.

“When I was the President of the Kerala Students Union in 1964, I met him first and thus began a long journey with him, even though we belonged to different parties. It was just two days back I spoke to him and he looked cheerful. Now the reality is he is no more, I have lost a close friend,” said Antony.

Chandy said that Veerendra Kumar was a multifaceted personality and excelled in whatever roles he played.

“He had several caps and in every field he was a shining star and was a hugely successful person.. We, in our political journey, at times were together and at times, we were in the opposite camps, but I had the highest regards for him always,” he added.

Veerendra Kmuar’s son M.P. Shreyams Kumar, a former two-time legislator, is the joint Managing Director of the Mathrubhumi Group.

Kumar hailed from the hilly district of Wayanad and was a Jain by religion.

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