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Political participation by NC ruled out for now: Masoodi

Masoodi said the father-son duo is in good spirits and prepared to fight for restoring the rights of the people no matter how long that takes.



Hasnain Masoodi,

Srinagar, Oct 8 : After meeting with party President Farooq Abdullah and Vice President Omar Abdullah, National Conference MP Hasnain Masoodi, in an exclusive interview with IANS, said that political participation by the NC is ruled out at a time when the entire leadership of the party is detained.

“It is preposterous to talk about any kind of political process at this juncture when the entire leadership of the National Conference and all other political parties like the PDP and leaders like Sajjad Lone and Shah Faisal have been detained,” Masoodi said.

He said the government is inciting people to resort to violence and stone pelting by not appreciating the “dignified and non-violent” response shown by the people of Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370.

“How painful it is that the responsible government leadership is downplaying the kind of protest that is taking place in Kashmir, they are inciting people to resort to stone pelting and violence, they don’t appreciate that across the valley people are protesting in a very dignified manner in a Gandhian way of non violence,” Masoodi said.

“They are saying that not a single bullet has been fired, I want to ask, what do you mean by saying that? Do you think that bullets are the only indicators for a protest? Do you downplay and ridicule the Kashmir protests which are taking place without any call from anybody? They don’t understand this new kind of protest in Kashmir, indirectly they are telling people your protest will not be registered unless it is accompanied by violence.”

He said he and fellow NC MP Akbar Lone were seeking a meeting with detained party chief Farooq Abdullah for last two weeks to seek instructions from him on how to legally respond to his detention order.

“We are still examining how to counter the detention of Farooq Abdullah legally, we need further consultations and meetings with Farooq Abdullah in this regard,” he said.

Masoodi said the father-son duo is in good spirits and prepared to fight for restoring the rights of the people no matter how long that takes.

“Initially there was a sense of betrayal and letdown but now there is a firm resolve to secure the rights of the people unmindful of how long it takes,” Masoodi said, adding “I hope Farooq Abdullah rises to the occasion, he is alive as to what kind of assault has been made. He is alive to his duty and moral obligation he owes to the people.”

Masoodi said all the Kashmir-based parties and leaders have to come together to chalk out a common strategy after they are set free to deal with the evolving situation.

“The entire Kashmiri leadership will chalk out the future strategy after the detained political leadership is set free and the leaders get an opportunity to sit together. We are confronting issues which are of a grave nature,” Masoodi said.


Bill Gates is America’s biggest farmland owner

Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates owns the largest chunk of private farmland in the US across 18 states, a new report has revealed.



Biz Billgates

San Francisco: Bill and Melinda Gates amassed 242,000 acres of land in the US, with the largest holdings in Louisiana (69,071 acres), Arkansas (47,927 acres) and Nebraska (20,588 acres), according to The Land report.

Bill Gates also owns a stake in more than 24,800 acres of transitional land outside of Phoenix.

Research indicated that the lands across the US is held by Cascade Investment LLC, Gates’ private investment vehicle.

“Gates also backs online used-car seller Vroom through Cascade as well as the Canadian National Railway Company,” Geek Wire reported.

According to the Tri-City Herald, a 14,500-acre swath of choice Eastern Washington farmland in the Horse Heaven Hills in Benton County has just traded hands for almost $171 million – part of Gates’ holdings.

It is unclear why Gates has invested so heavily in farmland, but it could be connected to climate change.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched a new nonprofit group a year ago, focused on helping small-scale farmers in developing countries with the tools and innovations they’ll need to deal with the effects of climate change.

Bill Gates is currently at the third spot on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index with a net worth of $132 billion.

But even with his big new agricultural holdings, Gates still doesn’t rank in the Top 100 private landowners overall in the US, considering owners of land of all types.

The list is topped by Liberty Media’s John Malone, with 2.2 million acres of ranches and forests. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos makes that list at No. 25 with 420,000 acres.

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COVID vaccination drive: What people said

— Congress leader Manish Tewari: It’s all a bit puzzling India has no policy framework for authorising emergency use. Yet, two vaccines have been approved for restricted use in emergency situation. COVAXIN is another story — Approvals sans Due Process




New Delhi, Jan 16 : As India launched the world’s largest vaccination drive against the coronavirus pandemic, showing the light at the end of a 10-month tunnel that upended millions of lives, here are some of the quotes from people who took the jab and politicians:

— Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan: These vaccines are ‘sanjivani’ in our fight against this pandemic. We have won the battles against polio and small pox. Now, we have reached the decisive phase of winning the war against coronavirus

— Manish Kumar from Delhi: Many of them (staff) were scared. So, I went to my seniors and said I should be given the vaccine first. I wanted to prove to my colleagues that there is no need to be scared

— Bipasha Seth from West Bengal: It’s a great day for humankind. I feel elated to get the first dose

— Tamil Nadu Govt Doctors Association president K Senthil: We saw agony, pain and many deaths due to coronavirus. We have been waiting for the vaccine for the past 10 months and it arrived sooner than we expected. For me, this is both an opportunity and a luck to get the vaccine

— Telangana health worker K Jayamma: I had no fear of taking the vaccine. I wanted to take the vaccine first to allay apprehensions if any about the vaccination.

— Kochi surgeon Jose Chacko Periyappuram: This vaccination will definitely help boost our immunity. This message should be conveyed to society

— Gwalior sanitation worker Raghuvir Balmiki: Remove all kinds of illusions from your mind and trust Indian scientists. This vaccine is completely safe

— Abdul Qayoom, security guard at Era Medical College in Uttar Pradesh: There was always fear in mind because of close proximity to coronavirus patients. But now I am feeling much safer

— Delhi nurse Biji Tomy: It’s our moment of reckoning, I guess, which is very humbling

— Delhi nursing staff Vinish Kumar: My blood pressure went down for a while. They put me under observation for one hour. Now I am feeling normal and everything is fine

— Gujarat paediatrician Naveen Thacker: As you can see, I have not felt any adverse effect even an hour after getting inoculated…. This is the beginning of a final war

— Farah Husain, an anaesthesia specialist and one of incharges of COVID ICU ward in Delhi hospital: Pride is quite natural, and tremendous happiness, after all the hardships and deaths we have seen last year

— SMS Medical College principal Sudhir Bhandari in Jaipur: There’s a sense of happiness, excitement and well-being

— Naveen Kumar from LNJP Hospital’s administration department in Delhi: We owe our lives to these doctors and nurses, they are the true corona warriors, and we salute them

— J&K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha to COVID warriors: When pre and post pandemic history will be written, your contribution will be written in golden words.

— West Bengal Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim: We were in a state of depression for the last one year. From today, we will again relive our lives.

— Tamil Nadu CM K Palaniswami: Everyone should for sure get vaccinated. You and I have to get vaccinated. Those from your and my family too should get the vaccinated

— Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray: It is a revolutionary step we are taking today. I salute the corona warriors who selflessly treated the COVID-19 patients when there was no remedy available

— Congress leader Manish Tewari: It’s all a bit puzzling India has no policy framework for authorising emergency use. Yet, two vaccines have been approved for restricted use in emergency situation. COVAXIN is another story — Approvals sans Due Process

— SP leader Akhilesh Yadav: We have full faith in our doctors but not in the government; It’s good that coronavirus vaccine has come out, but only believe what the doctors say, not UP CM Yogi Adityanath

— Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi leader Prakash Ambedkar: The prime minister and Maharashtra CM should take the COVID-19 vaccine first and clear all doubts in the minds of the people

— Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawalla: It brings me great pride that Covishield is part of this historic effort and to endorse it’s safety and efficacy, I join our health workers in taking the vaccine myself

— M K Sudarshan, chairperson of Karnataka government’s COVID-19 technical advisory committee: Benefit of vaccination clearly outweighs the risk of disease

— NITI Aayog member V K Paul: I have taken Covaxin. Embrace the vaccine

— Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja: The pandemic is not going to end after this vaccine. We still need to make sure that we follow the health protocol

— Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat: The antibodies begin to form two weeks after the second dose, which is administered on the 28th day after the first. -PTI

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Strawberries to write a new chapter of development in Jhansi

According to the Jhansi District Magistrate, when the two families in Jhansi cultivated strawberries, we drew inspiration from them and decided to organise the ‘Strawberry Festival’ in Jhansi.





Lucknow, Jan 16 : Jhansi which is well-known as the land of valour is all set to write a new chapter and strawberry cultivation would play a pivotal role in transforming the region. The land of Jhansi in Utttar Pradesh is most suitable for the cultivation of strawberries and to promote its cultivation, a ‘Strawberry Festival’ is being organised in Jhansi.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath would inaugurate the ‘Strawberry Festival’ from January 17 to February 16. During this festival, the cultivation of strawberry would inspire people to take it up throughout Bundelkhand, including Jhansi.

According to Jhansi District Collector Andra Vamsi, farmers could earn better income through strawberry cultivation. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is personally taking a keen interest in the development of Bundelkhand, which is one of the backward areas of the state.

The CM said strawberry cultivation has been started for the first time in Bundelkhand. This region was never known for fruits. Jhansi district is known for its production of pulses, oilseeds and ginger. For the first time, two families in Jhansi without any help from the state government have successfully achieved the feat of cultivating strawberries. These families with the help of drip irrigation and sprinklers cultivated strawberries in the region showing that strawberries could be grown in Jhansi and Bundelkhand. If strawberry cultivation gets a boost in Jhansi, farmers would get a new source of earning a better income.

According to the Jhansi District Magistrate, when the two families in Jhansi cultivated strawberries, we drew inspiration from them and decided to organise the ‘Strawberry Festival’ in Jhansi. DM Andra Vamsi explained that people would be encouraged to cultivate strawberries by organising workshops during the Strawberry Festival. The people would be told how to cultivate strawberries and how it will increase their income.

Strawberry cultivator Happy Chawla told IANS that 1.5 acres have been used for sampling. It would produce an estimated 10,000 kg which would be available at a rate of Rs 100 per kg in the market. If the strawberries are produced and sold properly, then the farmers would get a fair price for their produce and earn a handsome profit.

According to Gaurav Garg, an expert on strawberry cultivation, strawberry farming could end the plight of farmers in Jhansi and Bundelkhand. One kilogram of strawberries from a strawberry plant is available for nearly Rs 70 to Rs 80. The strawberries grown in Jhansi have the same taste as the famous strawberries of Mahabaleshwar. If strawberry cultivation was encouraged in Jhansi and Bundelkhand, it would be in the interest of farmers.

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