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Bengaluru, Jan 25: A call for 12-hour shutdown on Thursday in Karnataka has been given by several Kannada organisations and regional outfits for the Mahadayi river water from the neighbouring Goa state in the northwest.

“We are forced to shut down across the state from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Thursday for the Prime Minister’s intervention in getting the Mahadayi water to meet the drinking needs of the people in the state’s four northern districts,” Kannada Rakshana Vedike (Protection Forum) Narayana Gowda told reporters here on Wednesday.

With many associations across sectors and regional outfits like Kannada Chalavali Vatal Paksha led by Vatal Nagraj extending support to the shut down, normal life is likely to be affected in cities and towns across the state.

Though a holiday has been declared for schools and colleges in Bengaluru as a pre-cautionary measure, they may remain open in some districts in the state’s northern and coastal regions to complete the syllabus.

“Essential services like ambulance, hospitals, milk supply, sale of vegetables and fruits and drugs through medical shops will be available to avoid inconvenience to the public,” noted Gowda.

Government offices, hospitals, banks and post offices will function normally, while trains and flights will operate normally.

“Inter-state and intra-state services from Bengaluru, Mysuru, Mangaluru, Hubballi, Belagavi and Kalaburgi will depend on the situation during the shutdown to prevent damage to public property and injury to commuters,” a state official told IANS here.

Hotels, restaurants, bars, malls, theatres and multiplexes may remain shut as a precautionary measure to prevent a untoward incident.

If public and private transport, including cabs, autos and buses are not available due to the shutdown, IT firms are likely to declare holiday and work on Saturday.

“We will take a call on the situation on Friday morning though 24×7 services will be maintained for our global customers,” a IT firm official said.

In a related development, Bengaluru Police Commissioner Suneel Kumar warned anti-social elements and miscreants of stringent action if they create trouble, cause nuisance or damage public property.

“We have deployed about 15,000 police personnel across the city, especially in vital areas where sensitive installations are present for safety and security of the people,” asserted Kumar.

The 77km-long Mahadayi or Mandovi river originates at Bhimgad in the Western Ghats in Belagavi district of north-west Karnataka and flows into the neighbouring Goa and eventually joins the Arabian Sea off the west coast.

Though the river flows runs 29km in Karnataka and 52km in Goa, its catchment area is spread over 2,032km in the southern state as against 1,580km in the western state (Goa).

Karnataka has been asking Goa since 2001 to release 7.6 tmcft (thousand million cubic feet) of the river water to meet the drinking needs of its people in the drought-prone four districts and irrigating their farmlands.

The districts are Belagavi, Bhagalkote, Dharwad and Gadag in the northwest.

Karnataka plans to build two canals at Kalasa and Banduri, which are the tributaries of the river in the state, to divert and supply the water to the four districts.

The Mahaydai Water Disputes Tribunal, headed by J.N. Panchal, on July 28, 2016 rejected the state’s petition for releasing the river water, citing various grounds, including ecological damage the twin canal projects may cause.

IANS

 

India

Mr PM stop robbing public, be self reliant, says Rahul Gandhi

Mr Prime Minister, Quit robbing the public, Stop giving money to your friends, Be Self-Reliant, tweeted Rahul Gandhi

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Rahul Gandhi Farmers

Mr Prime Minister,
Quit robbing the public,
Stop giving money to your friends,
Be Self-Reliant, tweeted Rahul Gandhi.

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India

India, US need to jointly confront China’s threats to security: Pompeo in New Delhi

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday in the national capital said that India and the US need to jointly confront China’s threats to security in the Indian subcontinent and the Indo-Pacific

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mike pompeo

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday in the national capital said that India and the US need to jointly confront China’s threats to security in the Indian subcontinent and the Indo-Pacific.

Speaking at the third India-US 2+2 ministerial dialogue in New Delhi, amidst the ongoing face-off between Indian and Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, Pompeo discussed several issues from “cooperating on defeating the pandemic that originated in Wuhan, to confronting the Chinese Communist Party’s threats to security and freedom, to promoting peace and stability throughout the region”.

As per an official statement of the US government, Indian Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar at the meeting raised the issue of security threat India is facing from China. “In the area of defence we are challenged by reckless aggression on our northern borders,” he said at the bilateral dialogue.

The meeting assumes significance because the US secretaries of the Trump administration travelled to New Delhi amidst Coronavirus pandemic even as an intense ongoing campaigning for the Presidential elections due on November 3 was underway in the US.

“Our friendship and commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific was clearly, clearly highly on display when we were in Tokyo this past week and a half for the Quad meeting that Minister Jaishankar and I had with our Australian and Japanese friends earlier this month,” Pompeo told his counterpart.

The US secretary of state said, “Today is real opportunity for two great democracies like ours to grow closer, as I said on my trip to India last year when I called for a new age of ambition in our relationship. I think we’ve delivered on that over this past year. There is much more work to do for sure.”

Together, India and the US are building a better future for “our people based on our shared set of values and our cultures, our defence ties, our scientific collaboration, and mutual prosperity. I thank you for your leadership to each of you to build what ought to be a defining partnership of democracies in the 21st century,” he added.

Jaishankar, at the 2+2 Dialogue said that as the global economy has taken a massive hit due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Indian government has to quickly make up for the losses as economic downturn will have both domestic and external consequences.

According to the US Department of State statement, Secretary of Defence Mark T. Esper, at the meeting with his counterpart Defence Minister Rajnath Singh pointed out that Tuesday marked the 15th anniversary of the first US-India Defence framework.

“We have strengthened our defence and security partnership considerably since then, especially over the past year, during which we advanced our regional security, military-to-military, and information-sharing cooperation. Our focus now must be on institutionalizing and regularizing our cooperation to meet the challenges of the day and uphold the principles of a free and open Indo-Pacific well into the future,” he said.

The two sides discussed key opportunities to expand their efforts on “regional security concerns” and to advance their “defence priorities”, to include increasing information sharing and mutual logistics operations between their militaries.

Jaishankar in his remarks said that at a time when it is particularly important to uphold a rules-based international order, the ability of India and the US to work closely in defence and foreign policy has a larger resonance. “Together we can make a real difference when it comes to regional and global challenges, whether it is in respecting territorial integrity, promoting maritime domain awareness, counterterrorism, or creating prosperity,” he added.

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Health

Air pollution ups COVID-19 deaths by 15% worldwide: Study

In a major global study, researchers have revealed that long-term exposure to air pollution may be linked to 15 per cent of COVID-19 deaths worldwide

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Delhi Pollution

In a major global study, researchers have revealed that long-term exposure to air pollution may be linked to 15 per cent of COVID-19 deaths worldwide.

According to the study, published in the journal Cardiovascular Research, in Europe the proportion was about 19 per cent, in North America it was 17 per cent, and in East Asia about 27 per cent.

“Since the numbers of deaths from COVID-19 are increasing all the time, it’s not possible to give exact or final numbers of COVID-19 deaths per country that can be attributed to air pollution,” said study author Jos Lelieveld from Max Planck Institute in Germany.

“However, as an example, in the UK there have been over 44,000 coronavirus deaths and we estimate that the fraction attributable to air pollution is 14 per cent, meaning that more than 6,100 deaths could be attributed to air pollution,” Lelieveld added.

The researchers used epidemiological data from the previous US and Chinese studies of air pollution and COVID-19 and the SARS outbreak in 2003, supported by additional data from Italy.

They combined this with satellite data showing global exposure to polluting fine particles known as ‘particulate matter’ that is less than or equal to 2.5 microns in diameter (known as PM2.5) to create a model to calculate the fraction of coronavirus deaths that could be attributable to long-term exposure to PM2.5.

The results are based on epidemiological data collected up the third week in June 2020 and the researchers said that a comprehensive evaluation will need to follow after the pandemic has subsided.

Estimates for individual countries show, for example, that air pollution contributed to 29 per cent of coronavirus deaths in the Czech Republic, 27 per cent in China, 26 per cent in Germany, 22 per cent in Switzerland, 21 per cent in Belgium, 19 per cent in The Netherlands, 15 per cent in Italy and 14 per cent in the UK.

Referring to previous work that suggests that the fine particulates in air pollution may prolong the atmospheric lifetime of infectious viruses and help them to infect more people. Lelieveld said: “It’s likely that particulate matter plays a role in ‘super-spreading events’ by favouring transmission.”

According to the researchers, the particulate matter seems to increase the activity of a receptor on cell surfaces, called ACE-2, that is known to be involved in the way COVID-19 infects cells.

“So, we have a ‘double hit’: air pollution damages the lungs and increases the activity of ACE-2, which in turn leads to enhanced uptake of the virus by the lungs and probably by the blood vessels and the heart,” the authors wrote.

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