Today's Headlines

Excessive use of hand-sanitisers may boost antimicrobial resistance, warns AIIMS

Posted on 10 Oct 2020 15:32:36 GMT - today-s-headlines

Increased usage of antibiotics during Covid-19 can lead to more antimicrobial resistance, health experts of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences said, adding that the widespread use of hand-sanitisers and antimicrobial soaps can further worsen the situation.

Antimicrobial resistance is the ability of a pathogenic microbe to develop a resistance to the effects of an antimicrobial medication. It has been estimated that by 2050, about 10 million human lives could be at risk every year if drug resistance is not managed.

Various aspects of antimicrobial resistance were discussed in a two-day international webinar on antibiotic resistance jointly organised by All India Institute of Medical Sciences and American Society for Microbiology.

The webinar was organised by Dr Rama Chaudhry, Professor and Head of AIIMS's Department of Microbiology, International Ambassador of American Society for Microbiology to India and her team Dr Bimal Kumar Das, Dr Sarita Mohapatra, Dr Gagandeep Singh, Dr Hitender Gautam and Dr Nishant Verma.

In the webinar, the health experts talked about how the Covid-19 pandemic has jolted the entire world and significantly impacted the focus of health facilities towards antimicrobial resistance.

"It has been estimated that as we reach the year 2050, about 10 million human lives could be at risk every year if we do not manage the increasing drug resistance. The widespread use of hand sanitisers and antimicrobial soaps which has especially increased multifold during the Covid-19 pandemic can worsen the situation," the experts said.

They went on to say that antibiotic-resistant organisms have become rigidly established in our environment with many infections failing to respond to currently available antimicrobials. The antimicrobial resistance has outpaced the development of newer antimicrobials.

The health experts added that there is an urgent need to explore the alternative therapies. "The importance of these non-conventional and alternative therapeutic approaches like bacteriophages, endolysins, nanoparticles, probiotics and antimicrobial peptides are needed."

Antimicrobial resistance is one of the biggest challenges of modern medicine. It mounts problems beyond the geographical as well as species barriers and can transmit from animals to humans.

The webinar was inaugurated by the Guest of Honour and AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria, and Chief Guest Dr Sujeet Kumar Singh, Director of National Centre for Disease Control. It also covered a vast range of topics from esteemed speakers from Centre for Disease Control, World Health Organisation, Indian Council of Medical Research, PGIMER Chandigarh, and IIT Roorkee.

Various aspects of antimicrobial resistance were discussed including surveillance, one health approach, role of whole genome sequencing, including alternative therapies. Both the days concluded with very interesting and informative panel discussions moderated by Dr Pallab Ray from PGIMER, Chandigarh and Dr Rama Chaudhry from AIIMS.

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Narendra Modi to launch rural property cards' distribution on Oct 11

Posted on 10 Oct 2020 13:55:31 GMT - today-s-headlines

In a move likely to transform rural India and empower millions of Indians, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch via video conferencing on Sunday the physical distribution of property cards under the 'SVAMITVA' scheme.

"The launch will enable nearly one lakh property holders to download their property cards through the SMS link delivered on their mobile phones. This will be followed by physical distribution of the property cards by the respective state governments," said a Union government statement.

The beneficiaries belong to 763 villages across six states, including 346 from Uttar Pradesh, 221 from Haryana, 100 from Maharashtra, 44 from Madhya Pradesh, 50 from Uttarakhand and two from Karnataka. The beneficiaries from all these states except Maharashtra will receive physical copies of the property cards within a day -- Maharashtra has a system of recovering the nominal cost of the property card so it will take a month, the statement added.

The government hopes this move will pave the way for using property as a financial asset by villagers for taking loans and other financial benefits. This is also the first time that such a large-scale exercise involving modern technology is being carried out to benefit millions of rural property owners.

Prime Minister Modi will also interact with some of the beneficiaries during the event. Union Minister for Panchayati Raj and Rural Development Narendra Singh Tomar will also be present.

SVAMITVA is a Central scheme of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj and Rural Development which was launched by Modi on National Panchayati Raj Day in April this year. The scheme aims at providing the 'record of rights' to village household owners in rural areas and issue them property cards.

The scheme will be implemented across the country in a phased manner over a period of four years (2020-2024) and would eventually cover nearly 6.62 lakh villages. Nearly one lakh villages in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Karnataka, and a few border villages of Punjab and Rajasthan will be covered in the pilot phase (2020-21).

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Dalai Lama lauds World Food Programme for Nobel prize

Posted on 10 Oct 2020 12:59:05 GMT - today-s-headlines

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Saturday congratulated the World Food Programme (WFP) for being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, saying hunger and poverty can only be eliminated on the basis of international cooperation.

In a letter to WFP Executive Director David Beasley, the Dalai Lama, winner of Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, said, "This is a recognition of the organisation's vital role in reducing hunger in the world.

"Through its actions to address poverty, hunger and malnutrition, whether they arise due to conflict or natural disasters, the WFP is bringing help to the most vulnerable and needy. It brings peace and comfort where often there is only desperation.

"The Nobel committee's honouring of WFP is also a reminder to all of us of our responsibility to do what we can to narrow the gap between rich and poor."

He further said: "As the current global health crisis reminds us, threats to the whole human family have to be addressed by us all, since we all want to be happy and free from suffering.

"Hunger and poverty can only be eliminated on the basis of international cooperation. As a firm believer in the oneness of humanity, it is my fervent hope that the award of this year's Nobel Peace Prize to the World Food Programme will inspire an intensification of efforts to ensure that nobody is left to die of hunger anywhere."

The Dalai Lama ended by taking the opportunity to express his personal gratitude to the many members of the WFP, people on the ground, as well as officials, for the tremendous humanitarian work they do.

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Farm laws: AAP to 'gherao' Manohar Lal Khattar's Karnal residence on Sunday

Posted on 10 Oct 2020 12:25:58 GMT - today-s-headlines

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Saturday announced it would hold a protest outside Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar's residence in Karnal on Sunday morning over the new farm laws.

AAP Rajya Sabha MP and Haryana affairs incharge Sushil Gupta said that his party's farmers' cell would 'gherao' Khattar's residence around 11 am.

He said that the AAP was fighting against the "anti-farmer and anti-labour laws" got passed by the central government in Parliament, adding that party volunteers were arriving in Haryana to participate in this protest.

Gupta alleged that Khattar had always taken "anti-farmer stands".

"Today, the farmers are facing difficulties in selling their paddy crop. In Haryana, around 1,500 to 2,000 kg millet is produced in one acre of land but the farmers are not getting more than Rs 850 per kg due to the BJP government's anti-farmer policies.

"Farmers are constantly harassed in the name of portals, e-payment, registration, gate pass of mandis and in other ways. In the last 15 days, farmers had to take the streets."

The AAP leader pointed out that Haryana and Punjab were agrarian states where more than 70 per cent people were directly and indirectly connected to agriculture.

"These are the only states where the farmers get 60 per cent of the Minimum Support Price on crops. At the same time, in other states, only six per cent of the grain is sold at MSP. But now, through these new laws, the central government wants to end the mandi system in Haryana and Punjab," the member of Parliament claimed.

Noting that farmers in Bihar own good land, get water for irrigation and also produce good crops, Gupta said they come to Haryana and Punjab to work just because of lack of remunerative MSPs on their crops in their native states.

"The BJP-led central government also wants to bring a similar situation in Haryana and Punjab," the MP alleged.

"The government wants to benefit the industrialists... Farmers are protesting against this conspiracy of the government and the Aam Aadmi Party is with the farmers."

Gupta also accused the Haryana government of failure in checking crimes, saying it has become a state "full of criminals".

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Four militants killed in two separate encounters in J&K

Posted on 10 Oct 2020 12:19:04 GMT - today-s-headlines

Four militants were killed on Saturday in two separate encounters with security forces in Kulgam and Pulwama districts of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), police said.

Security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Chingam area of Kulgam district of south Kashmir late Friday night following specific inputs about the presence of militants there, a police official said.

He said the search operation turned into an encounter after militants fired upon a security forces party, which retaliated.

In the exchange of fire, two militants were killed, the official said.

They have been identified as Tariq Ahmad Mir, resident of Zangalpora Divsar Kulgam; and a Pakistani national identified as Sameer Bhai alias Usman, resident of Punjab Pakistan, and an "A" category militant, the official said.

He said both militants were affiliated with Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit.

"As per the police records, both the killed terrorists were part of groups responsible for carrying out terrorist attacks. They were involved in many terror crimes and civilian atrocities, including killing of police official Khursid Ahmad at Furah Mirbazzar and attack on sarpanch Aarif Ahmad at Akhran Mirbazzar in which he was critically injured," the official said.

An Army official said an M4 rifle and a pistol have been recovered from the site of the encounter.

In another operation in Dadoora area of Pulwama district of south Kashmir, two militants were killed, police said.

The police said the encounter started after security forces cordoned off the area and launched a search operation there following information about the presence of militants.

Two AK rifles have been recovered from the encounter site, they added.

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Bhima Koregaon: 'Navlakha met ISI agents through common friend in US'

Posted on 10 Oct 2020 11:58:57 GMT - today-s-headlines

Activist Gautam Navlakha, arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with the Bhima Koregaon Elgar Parishad case, had met Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agents through a common friend in the United States (US).

The NIA has filed its first chargesheet in the special NIA court in Mumbai on Friday against eight people. Besides Navlakha, the investigating agency named Hany Babu, Stan Swamy, Anand Teltumbde, Sagar Gorkhe, Ramesh Gaichor, Jyoti Jagtap and Milind Teltumbde under several sections of the Indian Penal Code and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The 10,000-page chargesheet has details of each of the accused on how they planned violence on the basis of caste. An NIA source in Delhi related to the probe said, "Navlakha during one of his visits to the US met the ISI agents through a common friend." The source said that he was approached by the ISI agents in US seeking help from Navlakha to find them suitable spies in India. The source, however, did not reveal any further details when enquired about the year in which he travelled to the US and for how many times he communicated with the ISI agents.

The NIA source also remained tightlipped on whether Navlakha met ISI agents later.

The investigating agency in its chargesheet has claimed that Navlakha was in touch with the ISI and was assigned the task to unite intellectuals against the government.

The NIA chargesheet also claimed that during the probe Navlakha's name also came up in the secret communications with CPI (Maoist) cadres. "Navlakha was assigned the task to unite intellectuals against the government. He was part of some fact-finding committees and was assigned the task to recruit cadres for guerrilla activities of CPI (Maoist)," the agency claimed in its chargesheet.

Besides Navlakha, the NIA claimed that Teltumbde, who normally resides in Goa, was one of the conveners of 'Bhima Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerna Abhiyan' and was present at Shaniwar Wada, Pune on December 31, 2017 where Elgar Parishad Programme was organised.

"Teltumbde played an active role with other Maoist cadres and received funds from them for carrying out the activities. Incriminating documents revealing his deep involvement with CPI (Maoist) activities also came to the fore," the agency said in its chargesheet. The NIA registered a case on January 24 this year and arrested Navlakha in April this year. The case pertains to inciting people and giving provocative speeches during the Elgar Parishad organised by the activists of Kabir Kala Manch at Shaniwarwada in Maharashtra's Pune on December 31, 2017, which promoted enmity between various caste groups and led to violence resulting in loss of life and property and state-wide agitation in Maharashtra.

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TRP scam: Republic TV CFO moves Supreme Court against Mumbai Police summon

Posted on 10 Oct 2020 11:25:03 GMT - today-s-headlines

Republic TV's CFO Shiva Sundaram has moved the Supreme Court against the summons issued by Mumbai Police to the news channel in connection with the alleged Television Rating Point (TRP) scam.

The plea in the apex court has challenged the October 9 summons, issued to the CFO of Republic Media Network, in connection with the investigation in an FIR. The CFO citing the plea in the top court has urged the Mumbai Police to pause its probe in the role of the network and its employees, as a request has been made before the court for an early hearing in the matter.

Sundaram and the heads of two prominent advertising agencies had been asked to report at the Crime Branch office at 11 a.m. on Saturday to record their statements.

The development came a day after the Mumbai Police sent the country's television industry into a tizzy by unearthing a suspected mega scam of fraudulent TRP estimated to be worth over Rs 30,000 crore.

The police have named Republic TV, India Today TV, Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema among the accused after an investigation conducted in the past few days.

Hitting out at the police probe, Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami has denied all the allegations, claiming a witch-hunt against his channel for questioning the police and the Maharashtra government. He also threatened to file a criminal defamation case against Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh.

While at least two persons have been arrested in connection with the case so far, the police teams are probing the involvement of more people connected to the TV industry and the ad world who are suspected to be involved in the TRP fraud with an eye on a bigger piece of the advertising revenue cake.

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Woman, mother, publicly thrash mom-in-law, video goes viral

Posted on 10 Oct 2020 10:25:24 GMT - today-s-headlines

A woman was publicly thrashed by her daughter-in-law and the latter's mother over a domestic dispute. The incident, which occurred in Mallepally area of Hyderabad, was caught on CCTV camera and the footage has gone viral on social media.

Police said Uzma Begum dragged 55-year old Tasneem Sultana by hair on the street and repeatedly slapped her after an altercation. It was Uzma Begum's mother Asifa Begum who first attacked Sultana while Uzma joined later to thrash her mother-in-law.

The incident occurred under the limits of Humayun Nagar police station on Thursday but came to light after the CCTV footage went viral. A young boy is also seen filming the incident on a mobile phone. The police have booked Uzma and her mother and took up further investigations.

According to police inspector Korani Sunil, the incident occurred after electricity and water supply to Uzma's flat was stopped by her in-laws who live on the ground floor in the same house. "This led to an argument. Uzma's mother also joined the altercation and started thrashing Sultana," he said.

Uzma and her mother-in-law had earlier lodged police complaints against each other. The police had also conducted counselling for them. The investigations revealed Sultana's son Ubaid Ali Khan, who lives in Saudi Arabia, married Uzma last year. This was the second marriage for both.

The young woman had accused her mother-in-law of ill-treatment. She told police that in-laws were neither allowing her to join her husband in Saudi nor permitting her to speak to him over phone regularly. There used to be frequent quarrels between them and on Thursday when electricity and water supply was stopped to Uzma's flat this enraged her.

"We have registered a case under section 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) against Uzma and her mother and taken up further investigation," the police officer said.

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Rajasthan priest burned: Family refuses to cremate body as protests erupt

Posted on 10 Oct 2020 09:06:06 GMT - today-s-headlines

Thousands of people gathered in Rajasthan's Bukna village on Saturday to protest against the brutal murder of temple priest Babulal Vaishnav as the victim's family refused to perform the last rites, seeking action and financial assistance.

The priest was burnt alive by the land mafia while trying to stop them from encroaching upon the temple land.

The victim's family has demanded financial aid of Rs 50 lakh, a government job, security to them and the immediate arrest of the accused.

The villagers have threatened that the last rites of the priest will not be performed till the demands are met.

At the time of filing this report, Rajya Sabha MP Kirori Lal Meena had reached Bukna village and staged a dharna in support of the villagers' demands, seeking justice for the victim's family.

Meena said that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi should come to Bukna and meet the victim's family.

The priest, Babulal Vaishnav of the Radha Gopal Ji temple in Bukna village in Karauli district, died in SMS Hospital in Jaipur on Thursday while being treated for burn injuries.

Around six people had allegedly poured petrol on the temple priest and set him on fire when he tried to stop them from encroaching on the temple land. The priest was rushed to the local hospital from where he was shifted to the Jaipur hospital. He breathed his last on Thursday evening.

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Mandatory police action in crime against women: MHA's new advisory

Posted on 10 Oct 2020 07:21:00 GMT - today-s-headlines

Taking cognisance of recent crimes against women in Uttar Pradesh's Hathras and other states, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued an advisory to all states and Union Territories (UTs) directing them for "mandatory" and "time-bound" police action in such cases with compulsory registration of First Information Report (FIR).

It has further warned that any failure on the part of the police to adhere to the mandatory requirements in crime against women will be inquired and necessary action will be taken immediately against the concerned officers responsible for the lapses.

The advisory says, "It is requested that states and UTs may suitably issue instructions to all concerned to ensure strict compliance with the provisions in the law. However, even with stringent provisions in law and several capacity building measures undertaken, any failure of police to adhere to these mandatory requirements may not augur well for the delivery of criminal justice in the country, especially in context of women safety. Such lapses, if noticed, need to be investigated into and stringent action taken immediately against the concerned officers responsible for the same."

The states and the UTs have also been requested to monitor the cases on the Investigation Tracking System for Sexual Offences (ITSSO) to ensure that suitable follow up action is taken on the chargesheet of the guilty in a timely manner as required in the law.

Compulsory registration of FIR in case of cognisable offence under subsection (1) of section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) was advised to the states and the UTs. The law also enables the police to register FIR or a "Zero FIR" (in case the crime is committed outside the jurisdiction of police station) in the event of receipt of information on commission of a cognisable offence, which includes cases of sexual assault on women, says the advisory.

"Section 166 A(c) of the Indian Penal Code 1860 (IPC) provides for punishment to a public servant for failure to record FIR in relation to cognisable offences punishable under section 326A, Section 326B, Section 354, Section 354B, Section 370, Section 370A, Section 376, Section 376A, Section 376AB, Section 376B, Section 376C, Section 376D, Section 376DA, Section 376DB, Section 376E or Section 509 in IPC." Besides, the advisory said Section 173 of CrPC provides for completion of police investigation in relation to rape in two months.

"In order to facilitate the state police to monitor compliance, in this regard MHA has provided an online portal called Investigation Tracking ITSSO for monitoring the same. This is available exclusively to law enforcement officers. Section 164-A of CrPC provides that in rape or sexual assault investigation the victim shall be examined by a registered medical practitioner under consent within 24 hours from the time of receiving the information relating to the commission of such offence," it said.

"In order to facilitate the State Police, Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) has issued Sexual Assault Evidence Collection (SAEC) kits to every state and UT. It is necessary to use these SAEC kits in every case of sexual assault reported."

The ministry issued the advisory on Friday -- days after a 19-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly gangraped by four men in Uttar Pradesh's Hathras leading to her death. As similar crimes were reported in Jharkhand and Rajasthan and other states leading to widespread protests and political outcry, the ministry took the step to issue the fresh advisory.

In the advisory, it referred to its May 16, 2019 advisory on a "failure to record information under sub-section (1) of Section 154 of CrPC punishable under 166A of the Indian Penal Code". The MHA took reference of its another advisory dated December 5, 2019 regarding timely and proactive action by the police in cases of crimes against women.

The ministry also mentioned Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for the investigation and prosecution of rape against women issued by the BPR&D, and added points regarding distribution of the Sexual Assault Evidence Collection kits to states and UTs by BPR&D as described in MHA's letter dated October 5 this year.

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Pak bid to smuggle AK-74 rifles into Kashmir foiled by Army

Posted on 10 Oct 2020 07:19:01 GMT - today-s-headlines

The Army has foiled an attempt by terrorists from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to smuggle weapons into India and seized arms and ammunition on the LoC in Karen Sector, officials said on Saturday.

"The Army noticed 2-3 men sending something in a tube tied to a rope across the Kishanganga river. Troops immediately reached the spot and seized four AK-74 rifles, eight magazines and 240 rounds," said an Army official. 

The Army said that the area has been cordoned off and search was in progress.

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After 17 years of wait for degree, Delhi man writes to Narendra Modi to get it 'without bribe'

Posted on 10 Oct 2020 06:00:18 GMT - today-s-headlines

Delhi resident Amit Kumar was 23-year-old when he cleared his B.Ed exam with flying colours from the Agra university's RBS College. Back then, Kumar thought that his association with the college was over, however, it wasn’t. Today, at 40, Kumar, who has been married for the last 17 years and is a father of three children, still visits the campus to get his degree.

Also Read: Student dies after her hair gets entangled in go kart wheel

Over the years, Kumar didn't lose hope and was "adamant on getting the degree without greasing the palm" of varsity officials, reports Times of India. The quadragenarian, who is a resident of Haiderpur area of Delhi, has now written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In his letter, Kumar 'dared' PM Narendra Modi to get his Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) degree from the varsity "without paying any bribe." He has also threatened to kill himself if he doesn't get the degree. Kumar claimed that he has sent a complaint letter to Uttar Pradesh governor Anandiben Patel, the chancellor of the university and also to chief minister Yogi Adityanath. "I am yet to get a response," he said.

"It has been 17 years now. After exhausting all the options, I have written a letter to the Prime Minister in the hope of justice. I cannot afford to pay Rs 20,000 bribe which the employees at the varsity had been demanding to issue my degree certificate," Kumar said. "Somehow I am bearing the expenses of the family by giving tuitions. I couldn't land any job in the absence of the degree," he added.

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Responding to Kumar's complaint, vice-chancellor Ashok Mittal said, "I know about the case of Amit Kumar. We are now upgrading the system to issue degrees on time. Kumar will also get his degree soon." According to sources, over 50,000 students of the previous session are yet to get their degrees.

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