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Maldives to deport arrested Indian, British journalist

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Male, Feb 10: Two journalists including an Indian national working for a global news agency, who were arrested in the Maldives amid the raging political turmoil, will be deported, the police said.

Indian citizen Money Sharma from Amritsar and India-born British national Atish Ravji Patel, both working for AFP, were in the crisis-hit Indian Ocean atoll nation to cover the state of Emergency, which was declared on February 6 by President Abdulla Yameen.

The pair were picked up on Friday and are now set to be deported as they were “working in the country on a tourist visa in violation of the immigration law.” However, no legal action will be taken against them, the Maldives government said in a press release.

“We would like to note that although they (the two journalists) have been asked to leave the Maldives, no other legal steps shall be taken against them,” the statement said.

“All foreign nationals intending to work in the country should obtain either a business or work visa and this applies to journalists as well,” it said.

The India’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday that it had received information about an Indian national, Money Sharma, working as a journalist, was detained by the Maldivian authorities.

“We have asked our Embassy to get in touch with the local authorities to ascertain more details of the case,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

The archipelago made international headlines after its President Yameen announced a 15-day state of Emergency last Monday and arrested the Supreme Court’s top two judges and former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

Yameen’s move came in the wake of a ruling by the apex court on February 1 to “release” exiled former President Mohamed Nasheed and other high-profile prisoners.

Nasheed, who has been living in self exile in Sri Lanka for the past few months, had made multiple appeals to India to intervene militarily in the archipelago country, saying that seeking an internal solution to the ongoing crisis could lead to chaos.

Amid the unrest, pro-opposition Maldives broadcaster RaajjeTV said on Friday it was going off the air because of threats from the country’s military that it would close down news outlets that were “threatening national security.”

The TV station said “it did not believe there was a safe environment for its journalists to report freely and independently”.

IANS

Health

Harsh Vardhan expresses hope that Covid-19 vaccine will be made available in country by January next year

Dr Harsh Vardhan also appealed to the people to follow Covid appropriate behaviuor to check the spread of virus in view of the coming festive seasons.

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Vaccine Covid

Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has expressed hope that Covid-19 vaccine will be made available in the country by January next year.

Speaking at a programme on DD News, Dr Vardhan said there are three vaccine candidates in India, out of which one is at the advanced stage of clinical trial of phase-3. Of the other two vaccine candidates, which are in clinical trial of phase-2, one has recently entered the third phase trial.

Dr Vardhan also said, if the preparations in this regard made so far progress well then 400 to 500 million doses of the Covid vaccine will be available in the country before June and July of next year.

Dr Harsh Vardhan also appealed to the people to follow Covid appropriate behaviuor to check the spread of virus in view of the coming festive seasons.

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Will visit Congress-ruled states, too, if they block justice: Rahul Gandhi

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New Delhi, Oct 24 : After coming under attack from BJP leaders for not visiting families of rape victims in Rajasthan and Punjab unlike Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi said that the two of his party-ruled states did not deny incidents of rape and didn’t block justice and “if they do” he will go there to fight for justice as well.

“Unlike in UP, the governments of Punjab and Rajasthan are not denying that the girl was raped, threatening her family and blocking the course of justice. If they do, I will go there to fight for justice,” Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet.

His remarks came after Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, Prakash Javadekar and Dr Harsh Vardhan questioned the Congress leader for not visiting Punjab and Rajasthan.

Rahul Gandhi, along with his sister and Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had visited Hathras to meet the family of alleged gang rape victim.

He was roughed up by Uttar Pradesh Police on Yamuna Expressway when he started to march towards Hathras.

Earlier in the day, Congress leader Sushmita Deb also slammed BJP leaders for politicising the issue ahead of Bihar assembly polls.

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India

Modi govt should bring white paper on demonetisation: Congress

Congress spokesperson Gourav Vallabh asked why is the government afraid to make public the names of entities involved in scams, the details of defaulters and transaction trails, since the Income Tax Department was probing all those with undisclosed incomes.

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Ahead of the 4th anniversary of demonetisation, the Congress demanded that the government bring a white paper on the benefits of its decision to ban notes of higher denomination.

Congress spokesperson Gourav Vallabh asked why is the government afraid to make public the names of entities involved in scams, the details of defaulters and transaction trails, since the Income Tax Department was probing all those with undisclosed incomes.

“In the next couple of weeks, when we will be commemorating the 4th anniversary, we demand that the government should come out with a white paper highlighting the cost and benefits of this ‘Tughlaqi decree’,” he said at a press conference.

The Congress leader said the government should answer how many such alleged defaulters has the Income Tax Department probed and what is the undisclosed income unearthed.

The Income Tax Department had announced that they would initiate assessment proceedings to check black money instances after demonetisation, but till date there has been no disclosure from the department.

“Demonetisation was an organised loot and legalised plunder,” he said.

“How much black money has the government recovered from such defaulters so far,” he asked.

Vallabh alleged that serious charges of tax evasion have come out in the wake of demonetization against a prominent jeweller of Surat, who made sales of Rs 96.3 crore post 8.30 pm on November 8, 2016, when noteban was imposed.

Subsequently, between November 10 and 12 the jeweller deposited close to Rs 110 crore cash in banks and the total tax paid as per allegations is only Rs 80 lakh.

He said what is surprising is that rather than acting on the complaint, the IT Department has been after the complainant itself, who is a former income tax officer.

“Why did the government decide to misuse the machinery to raid the whistleblower instead of instituting an inquiry against the alleged scam,” he asked.

Vallabh also accused the Modi government of being “autocratic in the garb of a democratic one”.

He said the Indian economy is still reeling with the aftershocks of this ill-advised move.

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