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Would NC, PDP vanish because top leadership is in detention?

Political activity by the rival parties of the NC and the PDP have already started with the BJP taking the lead in both the Valley and the Jammu region.

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After the recent detention of former chief ministers – Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti under Public Safety Act (PSA, it is time for other leaders to decide whether they can wait long enough to allow the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to vanish from the political arena of Jammu and Kashmir.

Asked whether the NC would start its political activity in the Valley as the harsh winter nears its end, a senior party leader said, “How can genuine and credible political activity be started by us unless our top leaders, Dr Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Ali Muhammad Sagar are released”, said a senior leader of the NC.

Similar reaction was shown by a senior leader of the PDP when asked whether the party would resume normal political activity in the absence of Mehbooba Mufti.

Under the stringent PSA, a person can be detained without trial for two years and the authorities can invoke the Act against persons inimical to peace and security in the union territory.

Interestingly, the Act was passed during the rule of NC founder, late Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah in 1978 and it was originally intended to be used against timber smugglers.

Buub Khan of north Kashmir’s Ganderbal district was the first person to be detained under the Act for being involved in timber smuggling in 1978.

It was during the NC, PDP and coalition governments by the two parties with the Congress that PSA came to be used against political adversaries.

Local offices of the NC and the PDP in different districts of the Valley seem to be hibernating while the party rank and file wait for the release of their top leaders.

Ironically, the decimation of the PDP that started when Mehbooba Mufti was the chief minister still continues as Mufti languishes in detention.

Encouragingly for the NC, there has so far been no flight of party men.

The writ of Dr Abdullah and his son, Omar runs in the party, but that is no guarantee that flight of party men can be checked for long.

“We have to address the basic problems of our followers. Their troubles cannot wait for long. For this, it is very important that we start our political activities despite the handicap of having our top leadership in detention”, said a senior NC leader on the condition that his name would not be revealed.

The fact that no senior or middle rung leader of the NC is prepared to attract the wrath of the Abdullahs clearly indicates that there is no evolving alternative to the Abdullahs so far.

In sharp contrast to this, the PDP seems to be overloaded by leaders who would willingly replace Mufti.

“The only thing that keeps other leaders from coming out in the public to replace Mehbooba Mufti is that they do not want to make her a political martyr of any kind”, said a dissident PDP leader who deserted the party even when Mufti was the chief minister.

Political activity by the rival parties of the NC and the PDP have already started with the BJP taking the lead in both the Valley and the Jammu region.

The Congress has also started holding meetings and mobilising its rank and file.

The writing on the wall is very clear for both the NC and the PDP. Will other leaders and party men allow these two parties to vanish because their top leadership is unlikely to be released soon?

Analysis

China develops nanomaterial to combat coronavirus: Report

“Nanotechnology can be used to design pharmaceuticals that can target specific organs or cells in the body such as cancer cells, and enhance the effectiveness of therapy,” said NIH.

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Beijing, March 29 : A team of Chinese scientists has reportedly developed a novel way to combat the new coronavirus that causes the Covid-19 disease which has killed over 32,000 people globally.

According to Global Times, the new weapon is not a drug or a compound but some nanomaterial.

“Chinese scientists have developed a new weapon to combat the #coronavirus,” the news portal tweeted on Sunday.

“They say they have found a nanomaterial that can absorb and deactivate the virus with 96.5-99.9 per cent efficiency,” it added.

Nanomaterials are used in a variety of manufacturing processes, products and healthcare including paints, filters, insulation and lubricant additives.

In healthcare, Nanozymes are nanomaterials with enzyme-like characteristics.

According to the US NIH, scientists have not unanimously settled on a precise definition of nanomaterials, but agree that they are partially characterized by their tiny size, measured in nanometers.

“Nanotechnology can be used to design pharmaceuticals that can target specific organs or cells in the body such as cancer cells, and enhance the effectiveness of therapy,” said NIH.

However, while engineered nanomaterials provide great benefits, “we know very little about the potential effects on human health and the environment. Even well-known materials, such as silver for example, may pose a hazard when engineered to nano size,” according to NIH.

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Analysis

Covid-19 cases cross 700,000 mark; toll over 33,500

The COVID-19 is affecting 132 countries and territories around the world.

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Patients infected with the novel coronavirus

New Delhi, March 30 : The number of coronavirus cases around the world crossed the 700,000 mark near midnight on Monday, with the US comprising over a seventh of them, while the death toll crossed the 33,500 mark, with Italy (10,779) and Spain (6,606) accounting for over half of them, as the Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Centre.

Of the 704,095 total cases, the US led with 132,637 and was followed by Italy with 97, 689 cases, China with 82,122, Spain with 78,799, Germany with 60,659 and Iran with
38,309.

As far the death toll was concerned, China’s Hubei was third with 3,182 deaths, followed by Iran with 2,640, France with 2,606, and the UK with 1,228. US had also reported over 2,000 deaths across the country, the maximum of them in New York City (678).

Meanwhile, 148,824 Covid-19 patients have recovered, with over half (75,582) of them from China, followed by 14,709 in Spain, 13,030 in Italy, 12,391 in Iran and 9,211 in Germany.

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Global pandemic warning was given last year: WHO ex-Chief

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London, March 29: World Health Organisation’s (WHO) former Director General Gro Harlem Brundtland has expressed concern over the global lack of “preparedness” for a worldwide pandemic despite a warning being made in September last year, reports said on Sunday.

“….Disease thrives in disorder and has taken advantage–outbreaks have been on the rise for the past several decades and the spectre of a global health emergency looms large. If it is true to say ‘what’s past is prologue”, then there is a very real threat of a rapidly moving, highly lethal pandemic of a respiratory pathogen killing 50 to 80 million people and wiping out nearly 5 per cent of the world’s economy. A global pandemic on that scale would be catastrophic, creating widespread havoc, instability and insecurity. The world is not prepared….,” Brundtland, the first-ever woman Norwegian Prime Minister, said in the foreword of the September 2019 report of the WHO and World Bank’s Global Preparedness Monitoring Board.

“For its first report, the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB) reviewed recommendations from previous high-level panels and commissions following the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic and the 2014–2016 Ebola outbreak, along with its own commissioned reports and other data. The result is a snapshot of where the world stands in its ability to prevent and contain a global health threat. Many of the recommendations reviewed were poorly implemented, or not implemented at all, and serious gaps persist. For too long, we have allowed a cycle of panic and neglect when it comes to pandemics: we ramp up efforts when there is a serious threat, then quickly forget about them when the threat subsides. It is well past time to act…,” it said.

Brundtland is co-chair of the GPMB along with Alhadj Es Sy, the Co-Chair Secretary-General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Speaking to BBC’s Radio 4, she said: “What we have now is a warned catastrophe.

“We saw big alarming gaps in the preparedness of the world and found compelling evidence of a very real threat.”

“It’s not too late but we have to deal with the fact we are already in this now, which means putting emphasis on mobilising funding and (placing) attention on getting the equipment that is needed,” she added.

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