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US envoy admires Dalai Lama for seeking freedom for Tibetans

The globetrotting monk lives in exile along with some 140,000 Tibetans, over 100,000 of them in India. Over six million Tibetans live in Tibet.

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Dalai Lama

Dharamsala, July 6 : Reaffirming Washington”s continued support to the Tibetan cause, US Ambassador to India, Kenneth Ian Juster, on Monday greeted Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on his 85th birthday by admiring his tireless efforts to seek freedom for Tibetans and bringing an end to strife and hostility around the world.

“Your Holiness, it is a special privilege to know you and to be the chief guest at this celebration of your 85th birthday,” Juster said in a video message.

“The esteem in which you are held by the people of the United States is a demonstration of the deep and enduring affinity between Americans and Tibetans, beginning with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who sent you the gift of a pocket-watch when you were a young boy.

“Successive US administrations of both political parties have admired your tireless efforts to seek freedom for Tibetans, preserve the Tibetan culture and bring an end to strife and hostility around the world,” Juster, who had called on the Dalai Lama at his official palace here in May 2018, said.

“The presentation to you in 2007 of the Congressional gold medal by your friend President George W. Bush stands as the preeminent demonstration of the high regard in which you are held in the United States of America.

“In the words of President Bush during the presentation ceremony in the US capital, ”You are a universal symbol of peace and tolerance. A shepherd for the faithful and the keeper of the flame for his people. This is why all of us are drawn to a noble and spiritual leader who lives a world away”,” the US Ambassador said.

“I believe the warm feelings between Americans and Tibetans spring in part from the recognition that your”s is a just and noble struggle. A struggle to secure for your people the same self-evident and unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that our founding fathers enshrined in the “Declaration of Independence”.

“You may have read these words on the walls of the Jefferson memorial when you visited that landmark in 1991.

“We like to think that these words may have had some influence on Your Holiness when you created a democratic framework for your own people. Your abdication in 2011 of temple authority in favour of the elected-Central Tibetan Administration extended to thousands of Tibetans around the world the right to chart their own destiny.

“We are proud of our longstanding relationship with the Central Tibetan Administration which helps support the health, wellbeing and prosperity of Tibetans who have sought refuge in India,” he said.

“For the American people, your work is in many ways a continuation of the legacy of Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

“Your unwavering sense of purpose calls to our minds the words of Dr. King in his letter from Bermingham jail when he wrote that human progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability, it comes through the tireless efforts and persistent work of leaders and you.

“Your Holiness epitomise this type of leadership. We are also proud of the role the US Embassy in New Delhi, in its own modest way, has played in nurturing the affinity between our peoples.

“This includes our reception in 1946 for the delegation of the Tibetan government that congratulated my country on the end of World War II. To the late Gene Smith whose work at the Embassy”s Library of Congress Office rescued thousands of priceless Tibetan texts from the depravations of China”s Cultural revolution,” Juster said.

“We know how much remains at stake for your people and we look forward to more years of your leadership in the service of freedom for Tibetans and their survival of Tibetan culture and identity.

“I would like to close by returning to President Roosevelt, whose gift to you in some manner may have led us here today. Confronting a different era when the world seems locked in conflict, President Roosevelt remarked in a final message to the American people, ”If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the signs of human relationships, the ability of all peoples of all kinds to live together and work together in the same world at peace”.”

“I can think of no one who better exemplifies these words than Your Holiness. Like the era of President Roosevelt, we too are living in challenging times, in our case due to the pandemic.

“Yet this celebration today of your 85th birthday and your life”s work gives us great hope for the future and the promise of a more peaceful world. Happy birthday to you, Your Holiness and many happy returns,” Juster added.

The Dalai Lama, who believes in the “middle-path” policy that demands “greater autonomy” for the people in Tibet, is viewed by the Chinese as a hostile element who is bent on splitting Tibet from China.

The globetrotting monk lives in exile along with some 140,000 Tibetans, over 100,000 of them in India. Over six million Tibetans live in Tibet.

The Tibetan exile administration, known as the Central Tibetan Administration and headed by democratically elected Lobsang Sangay, is based in this northern Indian hill town.

(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at [email protected])

Politics

No one was consulted, govt must agree to start on ‘clean slate’: Chidambaram on farm laws impasse

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Saturday hit out at the Centre over the impasse on the farm laws, alleging that no one was consulted for the legislations, and asserted that the only way out for the government was to agree to start on a clean slate.

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P Chidambaram

New Delhi: His remarks came a day after the Centre asked protesting farmers to form an informal group to prepare a concrete proposal about their objections and suggestions on the farm laws for further discussion at their next meeting on January 19 to end the long-running protest at various Delhi borders.

The protesting farmer unions, however, stuck to their main demand of a complete repeal of the three legislations.

In a series of tweets, Chidambaram said that as expected, another round of talks between the farmers and government has failed.

The fault lies with the government because it will not agree to get rid of the disputed laws, the former Union minister said.

”RTI responses have exposed as a lie the government’s claim that there were extensive consultations before the Farm Laws Ordinances were promulgated. The truth is that no one was consulted. In particular, state governments were not consulted,” he alleged.

The only way out of the impasse is for the government to admit its mistake and agree to start on a clean slate, Chidambaram said.

Thousands of farmers, mostly from Haryana and Punjab, have been protesting at several border points of Delhi since November 28 last year, demanding a repeal of the three laws and a legal guarantee to the minimum support price (MSP) system for their crops.

Enacted in September last year, the three laws have been projected by the Centre as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove middlemen and allow farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country.

However, the protesting farmers have expressed their apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of the MSP and do away with the ”mandi” (wholesale market) system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.

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Election

Former minister Shahnawaz Hussain is BJP’s MLC candidate in Bihar

National general secretary Arun Singh said the BJP’s central election committee has approved the names of candidates for the MLC elections in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

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shahnawaz hussain

New Delhi, Jan 16 : The BJP on Friday announced the names of six candidates for the member of legislative council (MLC) elections for Uttar Pradesh and one in Bihar.

For the only MLC seat in Bihar, the party has given the ticket to former Union minister and present-day spokesperson Syed Shahnawaz Hussain.

According to the official list issued by the BJP on Saturday, Kunwar Manvendra Singh, Govind Narayan Shukla, Salil Bishnoi, Ashwini Tyagi, Dr Dharamvir Prajapati and Surendra Chaudhary have received the ticket from Uttar Pradesh.

National general secretary Arun Singh said the BJP’s central election committee has approved the names of candidates for the MLC elections in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

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If vaccine is reliable, why no govt functionary took shot: Manish Tewari

“While Covishield has not drawn ire of eminent medical experts, the Covaxin has been questioned, and by not allowing people to choose the vaccine that to take it militates the doctrine of informed consent that lies at the heart of medical ethics,” he added

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New Delhi, Jan 16 : Soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the world’s biggest vaccination drive in the country, the Congress launched its attack on the Centre saying vaccines were being allowed to be used without the mandatory trials of Phase 3.

Speaking to IANS Congress leader and MP from Anandpur Sahib Manish Tewari asked if the vaccine is so reliable then why no important government functionary has taken the shot?

He said that in the every country of the world the head of the government has taken the vaccine, in US, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have taken the vaccine shots. In UK, Queen Elizabeth and Prime Minister Boris Johnson have taken it and other countries there respective heads of state have done the same thing.”

“In India, why has no responsible functionary of the government taken the vaccine shots first if it is so safe and reliable,” Tewari asked.

He said, “As the vaccine has been rolled out, there are certain disturbing and obfuscated questions with the government using a soaring rhetoric of the vaccine nationalism. The first question about the efficacy… is that in the absence of a regulatory architecture — requiring licencing of the drugs and vaccines for the emergency use… It is perplexing that same has been permitted by the Drug Controller.

“While Covishield has not drawn ire of eminent medical experts, the Covaxin has been questioned, and by not allowing people to choose the vaccine that to take it militates the doctrine of informed consent that lies at the heart of medical ethics,” he added

Modi earlier launched the vaccination drive aimed at ending the pandemic which so far has killed 1,52,093 people in the country and ravaged the economy.

Addressing the country digitally, the Prime Minister said that India managed to make two ‘Made-in-India’ vaccines in a very short period which usually takes years.

Modi said that avoid “rumours” as the Drug Controller General of India has approved the vaccines for emergency use.

Lauding the efforts of scientists who are involved in vaccine research, Modi said they deserve special praise for making these vaccines and that “the vaccines will provide us a decisive victory against the deadly pandemic”.

The Prime Minister further reminded people to get two doses of the vaccine, explaining that “there should be a gap of almost one month between the first and second dose”.

“Only two weeks after the second dose, your body will develop the necessary strength against coronavirus,” the Prime Minister said.

Noting that this kind of vaccination campaign on such a large scale has never been done in history, Modi said: “India is vaccinating three crore people in its first phase of vaccination starting today and the government will bear the cost of the vaccination to be administered to healthcare workers”.

In the second phase, the Prime Minister said, “We have to take it to 30 crore”.

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