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Modi to inaugurate 5th edition of Global Conference on Cyber Space

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Ravi Shankar Prasad
Ravi Shankar Prasad briefing the media on the importance of the Global Conference on Cyber Space, Photo PIB

New Delhi, Nov 16 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the fifth edition of the Global Conference on Cyber Space (GCCS), one of the worlds largest such, on November 23, an official statement said on Thursday.

The theme of the two-day conference is Cyber4All: A Secure and Inclusive Cyberspace for Sustainable Development.

“This is a historic moment for all of us to host the Fifth edition of the Global Conference of Cyberspace in India. I believe it is a recognition of India’s emerging role as a massive cyber power, accelerated by the Digital India push, which has acquired international acknowledgment,” said Ravi Shankar Prasad, Electronics & IT and Law & Justice Minister.

“The GCCS 2017 is certainly in accord with the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision to transform India into a digitally empowered country. GCCS 2017 will give the world’s cyber community a unique opportunity to learn from global experience and expert insight, and discover more about the technology led transformation being engineered in India,” he added.

Incepted in 2011 in London, second GCCS was held in 2012 in Budapest with focus on relationship between internet rights and internet security, which was attended by 700 delegates from nearly 60 countries. The third edition of GCCS was held in 2013 in Seoul with commitment to Open and Secure Cyberspace. The fourth version GCCS 2015 was held on April 16-17, 2015 in The Hague, Netherlands which saw participation from 97 countries.

“The GCCS 2017 is going to be four times bigger than its previous edition in terms of its magnitude. The last conference held in The Netherlands saw about 1800 delegates, and I am happy to announce that we have over 10,000 delegates who will participate in person. There will also be virtual participation from over 2,800 locations across the world will be connected in an interactive mode,” Prasad said.

“We have had over 40 Run-up events around the world since March 2017 to precede the main event that received an unprecedented response from the policy makers, industry, academia, civil society and think tanks. We look forward to cooperation and knowledge sharing among countries to implement and replicate successful initiatives as one of the major expected outcomes of this conference,” the minister added.

The statement said representatives from 124 countries will participate in the two-day event.

“Thirty-three ministers from various nations dealing with the subject matter of cyber space (ICT or similar ministries in some countries and Foreign Ministry in others) have already confirmed. Prime Minister of Sri Lanka also is expected to come for the inaugural ceremony,” it added.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will deliver the keynote address at the valedictory function.

IANS

India

Malegaon Blast Case: MP Pragya Thakur Fails To Appear In NIA Court

The court has directed all the accused, including Pragya Thakur, to be present before it on December 19.

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Pragya Singh Thakur

A special NIA court here on Thursday said the trial in 2008 Malegaon blast case will resume from Friday and directed all the seven accused to remain present in the court on December 19.

Special NIA court judge P R Sitre had earlier directed all the accused in the case, including BJP MP Pragya Singh Thakur and Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit, to remain present in the court on Thursday.

However, Pragya Thakur, Ramesh Upadhayay, Sudhakar Diwedi and Sudhakar Chaturvedi did not appear in the court.

Thakur had appeared before the court in June last year after it ordered the seven accused to remain present once a week. She later sought exemption from appearance on various occasions since then.

Lt Col Purohit, Sameer Kulkarni and Ajay Rahikar were present before the judge on Thursday.

The lawyers of the other four accused told the court that their clients were absent due to the Covid-19 situation.

The court then directed all the accused to be present before it on December 19.

It said the trial in the case, which is being probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), will resume from Friday.

Six people were killed and over 100 others injured when an explosive device strapped on a motorcycle went off near a mosque in Malegaon, a town about 200 km from Mumbai in north Maharashtra, on September 29, 2008.

The court had framed terror charges against Purohit, Thakur and five other accused in October 2018.

The trial in the case could not proceed since March this year as the normal functioning of the courts was hampered due to the Covid-19 situation.

Responding to a plea seeking day-to-day trial in the case, the probe agency had earlier told the court that it was making all efforts to expedite the case.

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Varavara Rao To Stay At Private Hospital Till December 14: Bombay High Court

The 81-year-old activist was admitted to Nanavati hospital on November 18.

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Varavara Rao

The Bombay High Court on Thursday said the condition of poet-activist Varavara Rao, arrested in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, had improved but he will continue to remain at a private hospital till December 14.

A division bench of Justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik perused a medical report submitted by the Nanavati hospital here where Rao was admitted on November 18.

“There is some slight improvement. He shall continue to remain admitted there till December 14,” the court said.

The HC will hear the petition filed by Rao seeking bail on medical grounds and another filed by his wife Hemalata seeking that he be shifted to Nanavati hospital from jail for medical treatment on December 14.

On November 18, the High Court had noted that Rao was 81 years old, suffered from neurological ailments and also needed post-Covid-19 care after recovering from the viral infection.

A person was on death bed and in such circumstances, the state government cannot say that he should be treated in the jail, the Court had said.

Following the court’s observations, the Maharashtra government had on November 18 agreed to shift Rao from Taloja prison in Navi Mumbai to the Nanavati hospital and also to bear the expenses of his treatment.

The HC on Thursday said that the lawyers of the petitioners as well as the National Investigation Agency (NIA) — which is probing the case — shall go through the medical report, and posted the matter for further hearing on December 14.

Rao had been in and out of the state-run JJ hospital in the city and the Taloja prison hospital since his arrest in June 2018.

On July 16 this year, he tested positive for coronavirus and was shifted to the Nanavati hospital. He was discharged on July 30 and sent back to the prison.

His and his wife’s petitions claimed that he was suffering from several ailments.

Rao and a few other left-leaning activists were arrested for alleged links with Naxals following the Elgar Parishad conclave in Pune on December 31, 2017.

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Health

AIIMS Director Pins Hopes On Five Covid-19 Vaccine Candidates

At least one locally-tested vaccine could get emergency use authorisation by the end of this month or early 2021, Dr Guleria says.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria on Thursday pinned his hopes on the five Covid-19 vaccine candidates which are in advanced stages of clinical trial in India, stating they are logistically feasible for distribution in both urban and rural areas.

His assertion comes amid Pfizer-BioNTech’s anti-coronavirus vaccine getting emergency clearance in the UK, paving the way for mass vaccinations against the deadly novel coronavirus from as early as next week.

Dr Guleria expressed hope that by the end of this month or early next month, at least one of the five vaccines being locally-tested should get emergency use authorisation from the drug regulator to be administered to the public starting with priority groups.

According to sources, global pharma giant Pfizer had talks with the Indian government late August, but since then there has been no development.

During a briefing last month, NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr V K Paul, who also heads the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration, said that sufficient doses of the Pfizer vaccine as required for the Indian population will not be available but the government is examining the possibilities and will work out a strategy (for its procurement and distribution) in case the vaccine gets regulatory approvals.

The requirement of extremely low temperature of -70 degree Celsius for storing the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer poses a big challenge for its delivery in a developing nation like India, especially in its smaller towns and rural areas where maintaining such cold chain facilities would be very difficult, Guleria said.

“Five vaccine candidates are in advanced stages of clinical trial in India and no significant serious adverse effects have been seen so far. Also, they are logistically feasible for distribution in a large country like India, both in its urban and rural parts.

“Hopefully, by the end of this month or early next month, at least one of them should get emergency authorisation from the Indian drug regulator for its distribution among Indian population,” he said.

The five vaccines are under different phases of clinical trials in India with the Serum Institute of India conducting phase-3 trial of the Oxford-Astrazeneca Covid-19 vaccine, while the indigenously developed vaccine by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with ICMR has already started the phase-3 clinical trial.

Another indigenously-developed vaccine by Zydus Cadila has also completed phase -2 clinical trial in the country.

Dr Reddy’s Laboratories and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) on Tuesday announced the start of adaptive phase 2 and 3 clinical trials for Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V in India.

Also, Biological E. Ltd has started early phase 1 and 2 human trials of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate.

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