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UN Secretary General Guterres invokes ‘spirit of Gandhi’ to ask for community reconciliation

Guterres has been following the situation and is “saddened by the reports of death that we have seen over the past few days in New Delhi”, he said.

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Antonio Guterres

United Nations, Feb 28 : UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Thursday invoked the “spirit of Gandhi” to ask for community reconciliation in Delhi that has been wracked by communal violence, according to his Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.

“Throughout his life, the Secretary General has been deeply inspired by the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and today the spirit of Gandhi is needed more than ever and it is essential to create conditions for true community reconciliation,” Dujarric said.

Guterres has been following the situation and is “saddened by the reports of death that we have seen over the past few days in New Delhi”, he said.

The Secretary General “again reiterates, as he has done in other places, his calls for maximum restraint and violence to be avoided,” Dujarric added.

As per the latest figures, at least 37 people have been killed in the violence this week sparked by protests against and counter-protests over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act designed to open an expedited pathway for victims of religious persecution from neighbouring Islamic or Muslim majority countries.

Mosques, residences and businesses have been attacked.

(Arul Louis can be contacted at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @arulouis)

India

Containment, contact tracing key to Covid mgmt: Modi

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Narendra Modi

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday held a review meeting with Chief Ministers or representatives of 10 states badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and advised that containment, contact tracing, and surveillance were key to effective management of the virus infections in the country.

In his address during the video conference meeting, the Prime Minister said that the states with less testing of samples had more coronavirus cases and advised testing to be increased in states like Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar, West Bengal, and Telangana.

He said that 80 per cent of the Covid-19 cases in India were reported in these 10 states.

The meeting was held to discuss the current coronavirus situation in India and to plan ahead to tackle the pandemic.

The Prime Minister recounted how Union Home Minister Amit Shah prepared a roadmap to tackle the coronavirus pandemic in cooperation with Delhi and nearby states.

“The main pillars of this strategy were segregation of containment zones and focus on screening, especially of those in high-risk categories. The results of these steps are there for all to see,” he said, adding that steps like better management in hospitals and increasing ICU beds also proved very helpful.

Modi pointed out that daily tests in the country had reached almost 7 lakh and were increasing continuously, which had helped in early identification of corona infections and their containment.

The average fatality rate in the country is among the lowest in the world and is continuously going down.

“The percentage of active cases is reducing, while the recovery rate is increasing,” he said.

“Our efforts have given better results, which has increased the confidence of the people and brought down the fear factor.”

The Prime Minister said that the target of bringing down the fatality rate below 1 per cent can be achieved soon.

“With the Aarogya Setu app, we can do our work better; due to this, home quarantine facility is being implemented in a better way,” he added.

The country has so far reported a total of 22,68,675 coronavirus cases, including 15,83,489 patients who have recovered. As many as 2,52,81,848 samples have been tested.

The states that participated in the meeting included Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Punjab, Bihar, Gujarat, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh.

The Chief Ministers requested further guidance by the Health Ministry for conducting sero-surveillance, while also suggesting the setting up of an integrated medical infrastructure in the country.

They also provided feedback on the ground situation in their respective states. They praised Modi’s leadership in the successful management of the pandemic and thanked him for his constant guidance and support.

They informed the Prime Minister about corona tests conducted, steps taken to increase testing, use of telemedicine and efforts to ramp up the health infrastructure.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Health Minister Harsh Vardhan were among those present in the meeting.

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ISKCON Temple in Vrindavan sealed after 22 test COVID-19 positive

The famous temple dedicated to Lord Krishna has been closed to devotees since the lockdown was imposed in March.

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ISKCON Temple in Vrindavan

VRINDAVAN : After 22 persons associated with the temple were found infected with coronavirus, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) has decided to seal the temple in Vrindavan and restrict movement. The announcement comes a day ahead of the Janmashtami festival which will be celebrated in the country on August 12.

“Earlier, one person had tested positive, so more testing was conducted and now 22 people tested positive. After that, contact tracing was conducted and sampling is being done; we will isolate those who test positive. Movement of people have been restricted and the temple has been sealed,” an ISKCON official said. He said the 22 people includes priests at the temple.

In the temple town of Vrindavan, authorities of Banke Bihari temple have also decided to keep the shrine closed till September 30. The decision was taken due to repair work on the temple premises, said the authority in a notice.

It also stated that the repair work will be taken up by engineers. Earlier, the temple was closed in the view of COVID-19.

The famous temple dedicated to Lord Krishna has been closed to devotees since the lockdown was imposed in March.

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India

SC calls 4G restoration on trial basis in Jammu and Kashmir ‘fairly good start’

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Postpaid Mobile in Kashmir

New Delhi, Aug 11 : The Centre on Tuesday informed the Supreme Court that the special committee constituted to examine restoration of 4G services in Jammu and Kashmir has agreed to provide the high speed Internet access on a trial basis in limited areas.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal appearing for the Centre before a bench headed by Justice N.V. Ramana said that restrictions on Internet will be lifted on trial basis at certain geographical locations. It will be at one location in each district.

The Centre informed the court that the relaxation from August 16, in one district each of Jammu and Kashmir division will be assessed after two months. The government also said that blanket restoration of 4G in the UT would not be possible due to threats to security.

The apex court remarked “this is a fairly a good start”, and commended the Centre’s decision. The bench also observed that it hoped the situation would improve and the access could later be expanded.

The Centre submitted that the special committee held its meeting on August 10, and explored multiple options in the backdrop of security situation in the union territory. They recommended opening up of 4G in specified areas of low intensity terrorist activities, not on international border even in the trial basis.

Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, appearing for the petitioner NGO, said: “Today is a good and a step forward at least some limited restoration has been made.”

Justice Ramana then closed the contempt case following the Centre’s submission.

The bench had given two weeks time to the Centre to file a reply on the intervention application. The contempt petition was filed by the NGO alleging that the Centre has not formed a special committee to review Internet restrictions in the UT despite the apex court’s order.

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