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Sushma Swaraj to brief Parliament on resuming Indo-Pak talks




External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is set to make a statement in Parliament on Thursday on the proposed ”composite dialogue” between India  and Pakistan and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the neighbouring nation for SAARC in 2016.

Sushma will brief the parliament how Modi government is progressing to resume “Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue” on all issues, including Jammu and Kashmir to bring peace in the entire region.Foreign secretaries of both the countries will draw up the schedule of the talks.

“The two nations have decided to resume talks… It will be a new comprehensive bilateral dialogue,” announced Swaraj, with Adviser to Pakistan Prime Minister Sartaj Aziz.

The discussions will involve “peace and security, CBMs, Jammu & Kashmir, Siachen… Economic and Commercial Cooperation, Counter-Terrorism.. Humanitarian Issues, People to People exchanges and religious tourism,” said a joint statement.

“The Indian side was assured of the steps being taken to expedite the early conclusion of the Mumbai trial,” the joint statement read.

Sushma and Aziz addressed a joint press conference : “Both sides have decided to begin composite dialogue. It will have all the pillars of the composite dialogue and some other aspects. The foreign secretaries of both sides are to draw up the schedule and at what level the talks are to be held,” Sushma said.

Both sides agreed to a “Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue and directed their foreign secretaries to work out the modalities and the schedule of the meetings under the Dialogue, including Peace and Security, CBMs, Jammu and Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek,  Wullar Barrage/Tulbul Navigation Project, Economic and Commercial Cooperation, Counter-Terrorism, Narcotics Control, Humanitarian Issues, People to People Exchanges and Religious Tourism.

wefornews bureau


No decision yet on extending curfew: Punjab CM




Amarinder Singh

Chandigarh, April 8 (IANS) Hours after issuing an advisory that also talked on extending the statewide curfew to tackle the coronavirus pandemic till April 30, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday clarified that there was no decision to extend it.

Terming media reports as purely speculative and unfounded, he categorically stated that the state government was yet to take a decision in the matter.

A decision in this regard would be taken after the Cabinet meeting scheduled for April 10, he added.

The Chief Minister clarified that the speculation on curfew extension had been triggered by an advisory to employees from the General Administration Department on a series of matters relating to the current situation.

The said advisory had subsequently been withdrawn by the Chief Secretary on his directives, Amarinder Singh added.

The state government was continuously assessing and reviewing the evolving situation, which was changing day to day, and any decision would be taken in the context of the conditions prevailing around mid-April, keeping in mind the overall interest of the state and its people, he said.

Though the pandemic was currently in control in Punjab, nothing could be predicted at the moment, given the ever-changing dynamics of the situation, said the Chief Minister, adding all the factors would be taken into account before coming to a final decision on extending or lifting the curfew, either fully or partially.

“We are keeping a close arch on the situation, not just in Punjab but across the country. We are also taking into account the way the pandemic is behaving in other countries so that we can imbue their learning and act accordingly,” he said.

The early clampdown in India had helped and while the situation was somewhat better than the more advanced nations, one could not get complacent, and the next few days would be critical to any decision on the way forward, he added.

Amarinder Singh reiterated that saving lives was the top priority of his government at the moment and whatever decision is taken will be centred around that, seeing how the pandemic shapes up in the state in the coming days.

The Punjab government had imposed a statewide lockdown on March 23, even a day before the Prime Minister announced the 21-day national lockdown.

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India records 773 new corona cases, 32 deaths: Ministry





New Delhi, April 8 (IANS) India recorded 773 coronavirus positive cases and 32 deaths in the past twenty-four hours, according to the Union Health Ministry on Wednesday.

India’s total count of corona positive cases stands at 5,194 with total deaths at 149. As many as 1.21 lakh tests have been conducted so far, the Ministry said, adding the country has sufficient stock of ‘hydroxychloroquine’ (a key salt said to be effective against coronavirus), said the Union Health Ministry on Wednesday.

Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary Union Health Ministry, said that 773 coronavirus cases and 32 deaths have been recorded since Tuesday. As many as 402 people have recovered.

Agarwal said in the backdrop of the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country, the response and preparedness of the government is intensifying.

He said the Ministry of Human Resources has launched a field-level orientation program — COVID management training module — to build capacity of the frontline workers involved in the fight against the coronavirus. This includes doctors, paramedics, nurses, ANMs, volunteers and Red Cross.

A Ministry of Home Affairs official said effective lockdown measures have been placed in areas identified as hotspots, and community leaders have been engaged to build awareness campaigns on the infection.

An Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) official said 121,271 cases have been tested so far and 13,345 tests are done in a day through 139 labs under ICMR and 65 private labs.

The Health ministry said even stadiums can be converted into facilities for treatment of the COVID-19 patients, especially for patients having mild and very mild symptoms.

He said that to break the chain of transmission, action plans have been made for each district in the country.

He cited door-to-door surveys conducted in Pune to identify people having symptoms, and people with hypertension and diabetes were also included in the survey.

In hospitals, focus is on infection prevention. Control measures are followed so that health workers don’t contract the infection, he said.

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14 more test positive in J&K, tally mounts to 136




Coronavirus News

Jammu, April 8 (IANS) Fourteen more persons tested positive for Covid-19 in J&K on Wednesday, taking the total number of cases in the Union Territory to 136.

Government spokesman Rohit Kansal tweeted, “14 new cases today; 11 in Kashmir, 3 in Jammu. 136 cases in all now; 130 active cases; 27 in Jammu Division, 103 in Kashmir. Good news too: 2 patients discharged from SKIMS.”

Of the 11 new cases in Kashmir division on Wednesday, four are from Bandipora district with history of contact with previous patients.

Five are from Srinagar district with travel history to Nigeria. One is from Kupwara district and one is from Baramulla district.

Three cases from Jammu district also have contact history with previous patients.

Of the 136 positive cases, three have died while three have recovered fully.There are 130 active cases in J&K now of whom 27 are in Jammu division and 103 in Kashmir division.

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