NAMASKAR ! A warm welcome to ‘World News: an Indian perspective’, on All India Radio. This is NISHIT KUMAR and with me is RESHMA TIWARI bringing glimpses of the major developments of the day from across the globe. Over the next half an hour, we shall bring you the latest from the world of politics, economy, sports, entertainment and more.
⦁ Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds meeting to review COVID-19 and vaccination situation in the country.
⦁ Number of deaths worldwide due to Covid-19 pandemic surpasses three million.
⦁ External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar speaks to his Afghanistan counterpart Mohammed Haneef Atmar; says, India will stand with the people of Afghanistan.
⦁ US and Japan re-affirm commitment to work with QUAD partners to ensure free and open Indo-Pacific.
⦁ Raul Castro steps down as Cuban Communist Party Chief; Signals change in leadership to younger generation.
⦁ And, in IPL Cricket, Mumbai Indians take on SunRisers Hyderabad in Chennai.
As the number of Covid cases are on the rise again, we appeal to our listeners not to lower the guard, follow all the precautions and all those above 45 years to get vaccinated without any hesitation.
Stay safe and protected by following these three simple steps –
⦁ Wear a face mask.
⦁ Maintain Do Gaz Ki Doori for social distancing &
⦁ Focus on hand and face hygiene.
And now, the news in detail:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is holding a meeting in New Delhi to review the COVID-19 and vaccination situation in the country.
Top officers across various ministries are participating in the ongoing meeting.
The Prime Minister had interacted with Governors on 14th of this month and Chief Ministers on 8th of this month on Covid-19 situation in the country.
Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan has exhorted the States to plan in advance and increase COVID hospitals, beds with oxygen supply facilities and other relevant infrastructure to deal with the surge in COVID cases. He requested the States to give special focus on the prominent 5 to 6 cities in their administration, map medical colleges to either these cities or adjoining 2 to 3 districts. Dr Vardhan chaired a high-level review meeting with the Health Ministers of 11 States and Union Territories to review measures taken by them for prevention, containment and management of the recent surge in COVID-19 .
These States include Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, West Bengal, Delhi, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
Detailing the number of beneficiaries vaccinated in each targeted segment of the population, Dr. Harsh Vardhan also addressed the perceived issue of vaccine shortage. He said, the total consumption of vaccines so far including wastage has been approximately 12 crore 57 lakh 18 thousand doses against the 14 crore 15 lakh doses provided by the Centre to the States.
During the meeting, Dr Vardhan also assured a fresh supply of the lifesaving machines and said that 1 thousand 121 ventilators are to be given to Maharashtra, 1 thousand 700 to Uttar Pradesh, 1 thousand 500 to Jharkhand, 1 thousand 600 to Gujarat, 152 to Madhya Pradesh and 230 ventilators to Chhattisgarh.
Duirng the meeting, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan informed the States on the steps taken for providing medical grade oxygen and augmenting Remdesivir stocks in the country.
EVE DELHI – WEEKEND CURFEW
The National Capital Delhi is under weekend curfew in view of the surge in COVID 19 cases. It came into force from 10 PM yesterday. The weekend curfew will be lifted at 5 AM on Monday. Only essential services are exempted from the restrictions. Police pickets have been placed at various places in the city for checking vehicles and movement of people. Earlier, a seven-hour night curfew from 10 PM to 5 AM was imposed in Delhi which will remain there in the week days till 30th of this month. Delhi Police has started a helpline to facilitate the movement pass for eligible persons. The helpline number is – 011-23469900. In case persons involved in essential services face any difficulty or inconvenience in getting their movement passes from police authorities or seek any clarifications, they can call for assistance on this number.
During the curfew, movement of persons for marriage related gatherings upto 50 persons and funeral related gatherings upto 20 persons will continue to be allowed. Government officials involved in emergency services like health, Police, Fire and emergency Services as well as all other essential services are allowed on production of valid Identity cards. All private medical personnel will also be allowed. People coming from or going to airports, railway stations and bus stations have been exempted from production of valid tickets.
The number of people who have died worldwide in the Covid-19 pandemic has surpassed three million. According to Johns Hopkins University almost 140 million cases have been recorded since the pandemic began. According to Media reports, last week saw an average of 12,000 deaths a day reported around the world.
Bangladesh reported 101 deaths for the second consecutive day even as hard lockdown in the country entered its fourth day on Saturday. This is the highest death toll two days in a row, since the first Corona positive case was reported in Bangladesh on March 8 last year. With this the COVID 19 death toll in the country has gone up to 10,283.
The strict lockdown in the country entered its 4th day on Saturday. In the capital city Dhaka, the impact of the lockdown was visible with very few vehicles and people seen on the road. Shops were also closed. However, compared to Friday, the number of vehicles and people on the road was larger on Saturday. Police were seen enforcing the lockdown at various places in the town.
Reports from places outside Dhak like Chattogram, Barisal, Noakhali say that the lockdown is being observed in most of the places with very few vehicles seen on the road, shops closed and number of people being small on the streets.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said the number of new Covid-19 cases per week worldwide has nearly doubled over the past two months, approaching the highest infection rate seen so far during the pandemic.
At a special ministerial meeting yesterday, the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said cases and deaths are continuing to increase at worrying rates.
He said some countries that had previously avoided widespread transmission are now seeing steep increases in infections.
He attributed the alarming increase to rapidly spreading variants, inconsistent use and premature easing of public health measures, fatigue of populations with social restrictions, and dramatic inequity in vaccine coverage.
The WHO chief said vaccine equity is the challenge of the time and as WHO statistics have shown that of more than 832 million vaccine doses that have been administered globally, over 82 per cent have gone to high- or upper middle-income countries, while low-income countries have received just 0.2 per cent.
He also urged all countries to implement an evidence-based combination of measures, including surveillance, testing, contact tracing, supportive quarantine, and compassionate care to stop the virus.
US President Joe Biden has said that getting the pandemic under control and helping friends and neighbors throughout the Indo-Pacific region to recover is on the top of his agenda. Speaking at a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga remarked on the QUAD partnership.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Suga said that the two leaders held serious talks on China’s influence over the Indo-Pacific and the world at large. He said that they agreed to oppose any attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion in the East and South China Seas, and intimidation of others in the region. Mr. Suga added that Japan and the US will work with partners including India to promote the vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific with concrete efforts.
In another development, Japan has urged Iran to comply with the JCPOA, and refrain from provocative measures that undermine the agreement. Japan was referring to Iran’s decision to enrich Uranium upto 60%. On Tuesday Iran informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that it would start producing enriched uranium up to 60%.
In a statement, Japan said it supports the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA which contributes to the international non-proliferation regime and thereby to the stability of the Middle East.
Two Russian warships transited the Bosphorus en route to the Black Sea today and 15 smaller vessels completed a transfer to the sea as Moscow beefs up its naval presence at a time of tense relations with the West and Ukraine.
The reinforcement coincides with a huge build-up of Russian troops near Ukraine, something Moscow calls a temporary defensive exercise, and follows an escalation in fighting in eastern Ukraine between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian government forces.
Moscow expelled 10 American diplomats yesterday in retaliation for the expulsion of the same number of Russian diplomats from the United States over alleged malign activity.
MEA – US SHOOTING
External Affairs Minister of India, Dr S Jaishankar has said, he is deeply shocked by the shooting incident at FedEx facility in Indianapolis in the USA. He said the victims include persons of Indian American Sikh community and Indian Consulate in Chicago is in touch with the Mayor and local authorities in Indianapolis as well as the community leaders. He added that the government will render all possible assistance.
Four members reportedly belonging to the Sikh religious community were killed in a shooting incident at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis on Thursday that claimed the lives of eight workers.
Meanwhile, President of the United States, Joe Biden took a series of executive actions last week to reduce what he called, the epidemic of gun violence. A report:
India has expressed deep concern about the increase in violence and targeted killings in Afghanistan and has called for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire. The Ministry was responding to media queries on the announcement by the US of withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan.
The Ministry in a statment noted the decision of the United States to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan and to end its military operations there. It added that it is closely following the ongoing intra-Afghan peace process. India is of the view that an Afghan peace process should be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled. Any political settlement must be inclusive and should preserve the socio-economic and political gains of the past 19 years. India supports a united, democratic and sovereign Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar on Saturday had a telephonic conversation with Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Mohammed Haneef Atmar on recent developments. During the conversation, the Ministers discussed the role of neighbours in the Afghan peace process. In a tweet, Dr Jaishankar said, India will stand with the people of Afghanistan. Mr Atmar said, both discussed post-withdrawal cooperation with US and international allies and the growing partnership with neighbours and regional partners, including valued friend, India.
Dr. Jaishankar on Friday at the Raisina Dialogue 2021 affirmed that India will do whatever is in her power to ensure protection of Afghanistan’s interests.
External Affairs Minister of India, Dr. S Jaishankar will visit Abu Dhabi on Sunday at the invitation of his counterpart. In a tweet, Spokesperson of the External Affairs Ministry Mr. Arindam Bagchi said that the discussions will focus on economic cooperation and community welfare.
CASTRO ERA ENDS
Raul Castro confirmed he was handing over the leadership of the Cuban Communist Party to a younger generation at its congress on Friday. The move ended six decades of rule by himself and older brother Fidel.
He already handed over the presidency in 2018 to protege Miguel Diaz-Canel, 60, who ran the party in two provinces before joining the national government
In a speech opening the four-day event, Castro, 89, said the new leadership would be party loyalists with decades of experience working their way up the ranks and were full of passion and anti-imperialist spirit.
The transition comes as Cuba faces the worst economic crisis since the collapse of former benefactor the Soviet Union, while there are signs of growing frustration, especially among younger Cubans.
The United States and the UK strongly condemned the arrest of Pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong on Friday. In separate statements on Saturday both countries expressed disapprobation of the Hong Kong authorities’ decision to target leading pro-democracy figures for prosecution. The Foreign Office of the UK said that the actions were unacceptable and must stop. It added that the right to peaceful protest is fundamental to Hong Kong’s way of life and it was protected in both the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law and it should be upheld. The Sino-British Joint Declaration is a binding international agreement which accords Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy. People in Hong Kong are entitled to the rights and freedoms under the Joint Declaration and Basic Law.
Meanwhile the United States condemned the sentencing of seven pro-democracy leaders and called it politically-motivated. It added that Beijing and Hong Kong authorities are targeting Hong Kongers for exercising protected rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of speech.
On Friday, Hong Kong sentenced pro-democracy media figure Jimmy Lai to 14 months in prison after being found guilty of unauthorised assembly. He was one of several activists in the court who were earlier found guilty of charges relating to large pro-democracy demonstrations in 2019.
The opponents of the military government in Myanmar under the banner of the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) announced the formation of a National Unity Government (NUG) on Friday. The government will be headed by the deposed president U Win Myint as President and Aung San Suu Kyi as the State Counsellor. The CRPH also announced the portfolios of other ministers of the government. The government includes the members of parliament who were elected in the November 8th national elections last year led by the National League of Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Prasar Bharti Special Correspondent in Dhaka reports that people in several towns of Myanmar welcomed the formation of the NUG by clapping, lighting candles and singing revolutionary songs.
The International Cooperation Minister of the Unity Govt reportedly said that they are the democratically elected leaders of Myanmar. The leaders of the NUG said that they intended to form a federal army and were in talks with the ethnic minority forces in Myanmar.
Meanwhile, protests continued in Myanmar even as six people were shot dead on Thursday at the Kani township in the Sagaing region. According to Irrawaddy, the killings happened during a shootout between the regime’s security forces and a civilian protection group formed by anti-regime protesters.
India’s Foreign Secretary Mr. Harshvardhan Shringla has said that globalization must ensure the benefit of all. Delivering the concluding address at the Raisina Dialogue 2021, Mr. Shringla highlighted India’s partnership with other countries over green energy and climate action.
Asserting that Globalization and Multilateralism is the reality of today’s world, Mr. Shringla underlined the need to strenghten multilateralism.
Five people were killed and more than 15 injured in police firing during a clash with workers at the under construction Banshkhali power plant in Chattogram district of Bangladesh on Saturday. The workers of the Banshkhali coal-fired power plant were agitating for payment of overdue salary, half day work on Fridays, time for Iftar and hike in salary. Prasar Bharti Special Correspondent in Dhaka reports that the injured have been taken to Chittagong Medical College Hospital. A few of the workers are in critical condition with bullet wounds. The Contractor for the project is a Chinese company.
Tension has been prevailing since Friday reportedly over non-payment of workers’ dues. The agitated workers allegedly indulged in arson and vandalism inside the plant when the management called the police. Altercation took place between the police and the workers which escalated into a clash in which 5 workers were killed. Three policemen were also injured, said the police officials.
On Friday, India marked a milestone in its scientific endeavour in Antarctica with the return of the 40th Scientific Expedition to Antarctica in April 2021. A report:
The 40th Scientific Expedition to Antarctica 40-ISEA hosted by the Ministry of Earth Sciences successfully returned to Cape Town on April 10, 2021, after completing a journey of about 12 thousand nautical miles in 94 days, including stopovers. The 40-ISEA was onboard the MV Vasiliy Golovnin, a chartered ice-class vessel. It made stopovers at Cape Town for picking up helicopters and replenishing fuel and provisions and at the Indian research bases Bharati and Maitri for resupply and changeover of winter crew. The Ocean observing systems deployed during the onward journey and retrieval during the return voyage will help to fill in the gaps in information in the Indian Ocean sector of the Southern Ocean. After accomplishing several scientific objectives, changeover of winter crew, and Bharati and Maitri’s resupply,the 40-ISEA Indian contingent returned to Cape Town on April 10. This achievement concludes four successful decades of India’s scientific endeavour in the continent of peace and cooperation.
Veteran film actor and comedian Vivek passed away in Chennai on Saturday at the age of 59. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed grief over the demise of noted actor Vivek. In a tweet, Mr Modi said, his comic timing and intelligent dialogues entertained people. Prime Minister said, both in his films and his life, his concern for the environment and society shone through.
Born at Kovilpatti in Tuticorin district in 1961 he came to Chennai for joining as a government employee after passing through his post graduate education at Madurai. A report from our Correspondent.
“Actor Vivek was a multi-faceted personality who loved to act in theatre, films and was a musician too. His comedy was famous because it had a real content to think about. He made fun of superstitions and heavy topics which enlightened the masses. He was interested in social welfare activities and climate conservation. One of his famous dialogues was that life is to do something for the future and it would be meaningless if one doesnt plant even a single tree. He was attracted to the life and ideals of Dr. Abdul Kalaam and followed him. He had thousands of youth in his movement of planting trees. His motive was to plant atleast one million trees and he was partly successful in that. He won many accolades including Padmashri for his contribution to film industry. The actor was aggrieved of his son in 2017 which did affect his life. But still he continued with his career by acting in films. He has acted in more than 200 films. Kollywood actors say that his death has created a great void which cannot be filled. His objective to protect the environment by planting trees will continue to inspire youngsters. Because he planted a tree just a couple of days back when he vaccinated himself against Covid . Joy, AIR News, Chennai”
In IPL Cricket, chasing victory target of 151, Sun Risers Hyderabad were 119 for 5 in 16 overs against Mumbai Indians at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai when reports last came in. Earliar, Mumbai Indians won the toss and elect to bat first and posted 150 for 5 in stipulated 20 overs. Quinton de Kock scored 40 for Mumbai while Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Vijay Shankar picked up 2 wickets each for Hyderabad.
Moving onto sports,
In Cricket, the sport’s governing body in India, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has got the approval for visas for the Pakistan cricket team as well as the touring media for the upcoming T20 World Cup that is scheduled to begin in India in October this year. It was announced at BCCI’s Apex Council meeting on Friday.
The BCCI has informed the apex council that the Indian government has agreed to issue visas to the Pakistan cricketers and the touring media for the T20 World Cup.
In the other sports news:
India won three gold medals on Friday at the ongoing Asian Wrestling Championships in Almaty.
Vinesh Phogat won her first gold in the Asian championships beating Meng Hsuan Hsieh of Taiwan in the 53-kg category final.
Anshu Malik in 57-kg and Divya Kakran in 72-kg category won their respective finals as India ended the competition with four gold, one silver and two bronze medals.
Indian tennis star Ankita Raina took a set off 2017 French Open winner, Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko, before going down 6-2, 5-7, 7-5 in the opening match of the Billie Jean King Cup World Group play-off tie last night.
Raina lost the first set 6-2 to world No. 52 but came back strongly to win the second and stretch the Latvian before going down 5-7 in the third.
In the second tie, world No. 621 Karman Kaur Thandi lost to her much superior World No. 47 opponent, Anastasija Sevastova 4-6, 0-6.
Now let us take a look at the major developments around the world, as reported in the foreign press:
⦁ Washington Post writes Members of Britain’s royal family are gathering for the funeral of Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II and the longest-serving consort in the history of the monarchy.
⦁ The Globe and Mail writes Royal Family to wear masks at Prince Philip’s funeral, hymns will not be sung.
⦁ South China Morning Post US-China tensions ‘raise risk’ of nuclear reaction to cyberattacks
⦁ The Globe and Mail writes former FedEx employee who killed 8 at Indianapolis facility was interviewed by FBI last year.
⦁ Reporting on the Women’s FA Cup, the Guardian writes that Kelly hits hat-trick as Manchester City thrash Aston Villa.
India is celebrating the 151st birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Before we end, let us listen to his favourite Bhajan VAISHNAV JAN, by artists from FRANCE.
AND WITH THAT, WE END THIS BULLETIN. WE’LL BE BACK AT THE SAME TIME TOMORROW WITH THE NEXT EDITION OF WORLD NEWS.