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SC directs no coercive action be taken against Facebook VP till October 15

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Supreme Court

Supreme Court issued notice on Facebook India’s VP and MD, Ajit Mohan and directed that no coercive action will be taken against him till 15 October, when it will take up the matter for further hearing in the case.

The Apex court was hearing the petition filed by Mohan against the notice issued by Delhi Legislative Assembly for deposing before it.

A 3-judge bench was headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul.

Moreover, the top court issued notice to Delhi Assembly, Centre on plea by Facebook VP on summons asking him to depose on Delhi riots. SC recorded that Delhi Assembly’s Peace and Harmony Committee will not hold a meeting, till further orders.

Earlier, Mohan moved Supreme Court against the summons of the Delhi Assembly Committee, a notice issued by Delhi Assembly’s Peace and Harmony Committee to appear before it for its alleged role in the Delhi violence in February.

Facebook, Mohan, and others had filed the plea in the top court against the Delhi Assembly panel. Since Facebook had refused to come on first summon, the assembly panel had to sent second summon.

The petitioners had moved the apex court challenging the two summons issued by the respondent, Legislative Assembly, NCT of Delhi and others, against them — on September 10 and 18 — on the grounds that they violated the fundamental rights of the petitioner under Article 19(1)(a) and Article 21, guaranteed under part III of the Indian Constitution, the petition claimed.

The petitioners had approached the top court to quash these two summons issued by the Legislative Assembly, NCT of Delhi and others, against them.

The petitioners said that the first summon and second summon issued by the Peace and Harmony Committee of Legislative Assembly, NCT of Delhi and others directed one of the petitioners, the Vice President and Managing Director to appear before the Committee on September 23, 2020.

Facebook provides a safe place for expression. Notably, the petitioners also provide easy-to-use tools that allow users to report objectionable content. The petitioners provide users with options to report content that violates its publicly available community standards, the petitioners claimed.

The Committee’s insistence on compelling Ajit Mohan, to speak, and its categorical threat to his non-appearance as a “breach of privilege of the Committee and [to take] necessary action as deemed fit”, gives rise to a clear and present danger to the fundamental rights and liberties of petitioners in the ultra vires proceedings before the Committee, they claimed.

Accordingly, the petitioners are compelled to approach this court to avoid imminent irreparable harm to themselves, they added.

Business

India extends $1 billion credit line to Central Asian countries for priority projects

Besides the $1-billion line of credit, India offered grant assistance for high impact community development projects to boost socio-economic development in Central Asia.

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India on Wednesday extended a $1-billion line of credit to Central Asian countries for priority projects in connectivity, energy, IT and health care, with the move being perceived as part of New Delhi’s efforts to boost its role as a transparent development partner.

The line of credit was welcomed by ministers of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyz Republic, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan during the second meeting of the India-Central Asia Dialogue held via video conference under the chairmanship of external affairs minister S Jaishankar. Acting Afghan foreign minister Haneef Atmar joined the meeting as a special invitee.

The meeting discussed cooperation in political and security matters, and all the countries called for settling the Afghan conflict on the principle of an “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled peace process”, according to a joint statement. The countries also condemned terrorism and reaffirmed their determination to destroy terrorist safe havens, networks, and funding channels.

In a tacit reference to Pakistan, the joint statement said: “They also underlined the need for every country to ensure that its territory is not used to launch terrorist attacks against other countries.”

Jaishankar told the meeting: “India and Central Asia share ancient historical and cultural linkages. We consider Central Asia as India’s ‘extended neighbourhood’.” He added, “We face common challenges of terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking… All these commonalities make us a natural partner in our developmental journey.”

Besides the $1-billion line of credit, India offered grant assistance for high impact community development projects to boost socio-economic development in Central Asia.

The ministers emphasised the importance of connectivity in increasing trade and commerce between India and Central Asia, and appreciated New Delhi’s efforts to modernise Chabahar port in Iran as an important link in trade and transport between markets in Central and South Asia, the joint statement said. The ministers agreed to promote joint initiatives to create regional and international transport corridors.

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India

ISRO adopts new satellite naming style, RISAT-2BR2 now EOS-01

The customer satellites are being launched under commercial agreement with NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL), the commercial arm of Department of Space.

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ISRO launch

Chennai, Oct 28 : The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has decided follow a new naming policy for its earth observation satellites, it is learnt.

Henceforth, the Indian space agency will be naming its earth observation satellites as EOS tagged with a serial number.

As a result, ISRO’s radar imaging satellite RISAT-2BR2 has been renamed as EOS-01, an official preferring anonymity told IANS.

The ISRO on Wednesday said its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C49) will launch EOS-01 as a primary satellite along with nine international customer satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota.

The launch is tentatively scheduled at 3.02 p.m. on November 7, subject to weather conditions.

EOS-01 is an earth observation satellite intended for applications in agriculture, forestry and disaster management support, the ISRO said.

The radar imaging satellite with synthetic aperture radar (SAR) that can shoot pictures in all weather conditions.

The satellite can take pictures day and night and will be useful for surveillance as well as civilian activities.

This time around, the ISRO will be using the PSLV rocket’s DL variant that will have two strap-on booster motors.

This rocket variant was used the first time to put into orbit Microsat R satellite on January 24, 2019.

The customer satellites are being launched under commercial agreement with NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL), the commercial arm of Department of Space.

Owing to Covid-19 pandemic norms, ISRO has decided to close the rocket launch viewing gallery for the public during this launch and gathering of media personnel at the Sriharikota rocket port is also not on the cards.

(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at [email protected])

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Disaster

Delhi records highest new Covid cases since pandemic began

The cases on Wednesday came out of the 60,571 tests conducted the previous day. The tally of active cases today rose to 29,378 from 27,873 the previous day.

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New Delhi : Delhi reported an unprecedented rise in the number of daily infections on Wednesday. According to a health department bulletin, the national capital recorded 5,673 fresh Covid-19 cases, the highest single-day spike till date, taking the total case-load to more than 3.7 lakh with 40 new fatalities pushing the death count in the national capital to 6,396.

This is the highest single-day figure that Delhi has reported since the pandemic struck the country. The national capital, which is battling the third wave of infections, has been logging more than 4,000 cases daily for the last six days.

With the onset of the festive season, the unprecedented spike has raised concerns, especially when the national Covid tally has shown a steady decline.

The Covid-19 figures in the national capital have been increasing rapidly.

On Tuesday, Delhi reported 4,853 new infections and 44 deaths, which was also its highest daily spike. The number of fresh cases recorded on Monday stood at 2,832, and 4,136 on Sunday, while the figures were 4,116 on Saturday and 4,086 on Friday.

The cases on Wednesday came out of the 60,571 tests conducted the previous day. The tally of active cases today rose to 29,378 from 27,873 the previous day.

The Health Ministry had expressed concern over the spike in Delhi’s cases and is expected to hold a meeting with top officials of the UT government on Thursday to chalk out a strategy for prevention of the Covid spread, the officials said on Tuesday.

The unwanted record spike coincides with an extended festive season and the onset of winter.

Medical experts have suggested that the Covid-19 virus could become even more potent and fatal as the temperature drops.

The increase in Covid cases has also been linked to the worsening pollution in the national capital, which is preparing for its annual bout with “severe” and “hazardous” air quality levels.

Meanwhile, the daily national Covid tally of India is on a constant decline for over a week, which had been reporting close to one lakh cases daily till last month.

Experts say the country has passed its peak but a surge is looming over in view of festivities and laxity observed by the public.

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