Unlock1: Centre Issues Guidelines To Exit Lockdown

The Ministry of Home Affairs on Saturday issued national directives for coronavirus management, including compulsory use of face masks and social distancing norms.

The guidelines for the phased re-opening — Unlock 1 — of the nationwide lockdown will come into effect from June 1, 2020, and will be effective till June 30, 2020.

“Face coverings are compulsory in public places, workplaces and during transport. Individuals must maintain a minimum distance of 6 feet in public places. Shops will ensure physical distancing among customers and will not allow more than 5 persons at a time,” read the directives.

While large public gatherings and congregations continue to remain prohibited, the MHA has ordered that not more than 50 people can attend marriage related gatherings and only 20 people will be allowed for funerals.

Additional rules and regulations have been issued for workplaces.

“As far as possible the practice of Work from Home should be followed. Staggering of work/business hours will be followed in offices, workplaces, shops, markets and industrial and commercial establishments. Provision for thermal scanning, hand wash and sanitizer will be made at all entry and exit points and common areas,” read the directives.

The MHA said that frequent sanitisation should be conducted for entire workplace, common facilities and all points which come into human contact, including between shifts.

“All persons in charge of workplaces will ensure adequate distance between workers, adequate gaps between shifts, staggering the lunch breaks of staff, etc,” the directives read.

Continuing with its earlier order, the MHA said that spitting in public places will be punishable with fine and consumption of liquor, paan, gutka, tobacco etc in public places is prohibited. (ANI)

Monsoon To Hit Kerala On June 1, Says Weatherman

The southwest monsoon is likely to hit Kerala on June 1 with “heavy to very heavy rainfall” expected over the state and Lakshadweep from May 30 to June 1, Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Saturday.

“Under the influence of likely formation of low-pressure system over the southeast-eastcentral Arabian Sea, conditions will become favourable from June 1, 2020, for the onset of southwest monsoon over Kerala,” the IMD said in a tweet.

A bulletin issued by IMD said that “heavy to very heavy rainfall” is likely at isolated places parts of south peninsular India with “isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall over Kerala and Lakshadweep” during May 30 to June 1.

An IMD official said that Kerala is likely to witness pre-monsoon showers before arrival of monsoon.

IMD also said in the bulletin that a low-pressure system over the southeast-eastcentral Arabian Sea is likely to form during the next 48 hours.

“A low-pressure area would form over Southeast-eastcentral Arabian Sea during next 48 hrs. To intensify into depression during subsequent 48 hours with possibility of further intensification. To move north-northwestwards towards Gujarat and north Maharashtra coasts till June 3,” the IMD said in tweet.

The bulletin advised fishermen not to venture into southeast and eastcentral Arabian Sea from May 31 to June 4. (ANI)

Delhi To Launch App For Covid-19 Beds In Hospitals

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said that an app will be launched on Monday which will provide information related to the availability of COVID-19 dedicated beds in hospitals.

Kejriwal said that a few incidents have come to light where people had to suffer due to lack of knowledge.

“On Monday, an app will be launched, which will provide data related to hospitals like how many beds are there in a particular hospital. Out of that, how many beds are unoccupied,” Kejriwal said.

“Those who do not have smartphones can check data on the webpage and information can be obtained from helpline number ‘1031’,” he added.

Referring to alleged fake videos being circulated on social media, Kejriwal said that at this time we have to leave politics behind and work together for the country.” (ANI)

Widespread Protests In US Over Death In Police Custody

Protesters, outraged over the death of George Floyd, ibreached the complex of the Treasury Department here and spray painted the area, a law enforcement source informed CNN on Friday (local time).

Some of the protesters were briefly detained by the US Secret Service but were eventually released.

The agitators also threw some sort of firecracker at the police holding a barricade inside the CNN Center.

Live images on social media from the standoff inside the CNN Center showed several more police officers joining the barricade as protesters continued to throw objects from the Marietta Street entrance.

A video from CNN-affiliate WGCL showed protesters mounting at the CNN signage at the network’s headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, and raising a Black Lives Matter flag.

The death of Floyd, 46, an African-American man, has sparked outrage across the country. Floyd was detained and subsequently died in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday.

A video recorded by a bystander showed a cop kneeling on Floyd’s neck for at least eight minutes, while Floyd was saying that he could not breathe. Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer allegedly involved in the death of Floyd has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

In New York City, hundreds of people protesting peacefully wearing face masks could be seen gathering outside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, CNN reported.

In Kentucky, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer asked for protestors to be peaceful in his city, following Taylor’s death in March.

Protesters also arrived at Pennsylvania Avenue/Lafayette Park to show their anger against the incident.

The lockdown has been lifted at the White House and the United States Secret Service has reopened entrances and exits to the White House campus for both staff and media.

An attorney for Kellie Chauvin, the wife of ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, has filed for a dissolution of marriage.

Meanwhile, several police officers in Houston and Detroit were also hospitalised after protests over Floyd’s death broke out in the city Friday, according to Houston Police Officer’s Union President Joe Gamaldi. “Our officers who were attacked are in the hospital, patrol cars ruined, businesses damaged,” he said in a tweet.

“This is not who we are as a city and as a community. We will protect your right protest, but we will not allow our city to decay into chaos,” he said further.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner urged citizens to go home in a tweet on Friday night after protests flared in downtown over George Floyd’s death.

“For the safety of everyone, I am asking you to go home,” Turner tweeted after issuing statement to close the city’s downtown area.

The protesters also took over portions of the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada on Friday night. Aerials from CNN affiliate KTNV show a crowd of people peacefully walking down the middle of the street. There was no vehicle traffic.

However, a bail for ex-Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin has been set at USD500,000, according to the criminal complaint filed in the 4th Judicial District Court of Minnesota. According to the document, there have been no conditions set for his release.

Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray sent an email to employees on Friday night saying people’s trust in law enforcement is eroded when officers fail to protect and serve everybody.

“Like most of you, I’ve watched the video images this week that ended in the death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police officers. These images are profoundly troubling, to say the very least. And it is difficult to see our communities across the country in such understandable pain,” Wray wrote. (ANI)

Cyclone Amphan

‘As If Virus Wasn’t Bad Enough, Down Came A Cyclone’

Sweata Jaiswal Singh, 37, says she hasn’t seen a bigger disaster than Amphan in her entire life in Kolkata. Singh says her three-year-old son is still not over the trauma

I have been born and brought up in Kolkata but never in the 37 years of my life have I witnessed the state of destruction as brought on by cyclone Amphan. I live in one of the busiest areas of Kolkata, i. e. Howrah and we suffered big time. There was water logging everywhere and our electricity supply got disrupted. The motor in our society malfunctioned and we had to use water drawn by boring pumps. But that was also difficult because of the erratic power supply. We had somewhat normal electricity and water supply only on the third day, i. e around May 22.

The past two months have proved to be quite difficult for us. I have a 7 year old daughter and a 3 year old son and both have been cooped up in our home for two months now due to coronavirus. Both my husband and I are in the banking sector and both don’t have the luxury of working from home and thus we have finally agreed upon a schedule where we go to our respective offices on alternate days.

ALSO READ: PM Announces Cyclone Relief For Bengal

Most kids have both their parents at homes and my kids see both of us going to work. They have their online classes going on as well. We find it very difficult to adjust to so many changes all at one go, first we adjusted to the lockdown, then having to go to office during lockdown, then working from home on alternate days during lockdown, then having no access to household help and managing both home and work, as well as helping the kids adjust to these changes.

Would you believe it: my parents live in the nearby society, but it has been two months since I have seen them? My kids are so used to seeing their Nana-Nani regularly that they now wonder when they will be able to see their grandparents again.

My son is still scared from what he saw on Wednesday and asks me many times:  “Mumma, will the storm come again and again?” He was scared of both the sights and sounds during Amphan’s landfall. I don’t have an answer to his questions but bigger and bigger cyclones have been hitting India for the past few years.

ALSO READ: 72 Killed As Cyclone Batters Orissa, Bengal

I got ready to go to office the next day after the cyclone, but since the roads were all blocked because of water logging and because trees had fallen, I had to come back to my home. Internet services are a lifeline in these times and they have been affected as well.

Thankfully our society had managed grocery and all beforehand so there is no shortage of food items. But 2020 has turned out to be such an uncertain year that one wonders what is going on. It feels as if no matter how prepared we are nature is proving to be smarter than us. Hope we learn from all this and also learn to respect nature.


Troops Seize 20-Kg IED Meant For Pulwama-Type Attack

By Ankur Sharma

The security forces on Thursday prevented a massive 2019 Pulwama type car bomb attack in Jammu and Kashmir after they stopped a vehicle carrying over 20 kg of an improvised explosive device (IED), enough to carry out a major attack in Pulwama.

Nearly 400 jawans of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were the target of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in the failed terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama on Thursday, suspect senior security officials.

The CRPF convoy of nearly 20 vehicles was supposed to start from Srinagar on Thursday morning and reach Jammu when security forces seized and destroyed an IED-laden car on the convoy’s route in Pulwama.

The plan had similarities with the 2019 Pulwama attack, which left more than 400 CRPF personnel killed as a suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden car into their convoy.

“This convoy was supposed to start from Bakshi Stadium camp at around 7:00 am and was supposed to reach Jammu. The convoy had almost all rank officials and personnel of CRPF which were close to 400. It is suspected that terrorists wanted to target this convoy through a Santro Car seized and destroyed by Jammu and Kashmir police along with CRPF and Indian Army,” a top CRPF official involved in the operation told ANI.

But this time, a couple of days ago, an intelligence input about a possible attack was communicated verbally, keeping in mind the gravity of the information, to all the forces. Jammu and Kashmir Police further developed it.

Finally, during the early hours of Thursday, security forces caught the vehicle full of IED and destroyed it.

“The vehicle was destroyed around 6 am and around 7:30 am Thursday parts of the destroyed vehicle were removed from an area where forces destroyed it. The operation was done in a very coordinated manner,” a senior official claimed.

The police had said the car with a fake registration number was signalled to stop at a checkpoint but vehicle driver who was a terrorist accelerated and tried to escape with the vehicle.

“The security forces opened fire. The driver managed to escape, leaving behind the car laden with IED,” Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar said.


Take Migrants On Road To Shelter Homes, Give Foot: SC

The Supreme Court on Thursday directed that the migrant workers found walking home should immediately be taken to shelters and should be provided with food and all other basic facilities.

The apex court has directed that the migrant workers, who are stranded due to the ongoing coronavirus-induced lockdown, shall be provided food by the States at places, which shall be publicised and notified for the period that they are waiting for their turn to be taken home.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan and also comprising Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice MR Shah was hearing the matter pertaining to the plight of the migrant workers, on which it had taken a suo motu cognisance on Tuesday.

The top court directed that no fare, either for train or bus, shall be charged from migrant workers and the same shall be shared by the States and said that originating State shall provide meal and water at the station.

“The State shall oversee the registration of migrant workers and States to ensure that after registration, they are made to board the train or bus at an early date. All necessary details regarding the number of migrants, plan for transportation mechanism of registration and other details should be brought on record in the reply,” the court said.

The Supreme Court observed that due to the short time available, the States and the Centre could not file a complete report on the matter and some States have not even filed any reply.

With regard to the migrant workers from Bihar charged for their travel back home, the court observed that the fare has been reimbursed to the migrant workers.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, submitted before the court that all migrant workers do not intend to go back to their home States and added that some migrant workers are willing to work at different places.

“We are at present concerned with the miseries and difficulties of migrants trying to get to their native place. There are several lapses that we have noticed in the process of registration, transportation, and providing food water to the migrants,” the court said.

The top court said that it has heard the counsel for Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh and observed that coordinated steps between the States, Centre, and the Railways are being taken, and the States are being asked to increase the train facilities.

Mehta submitted that at least 3,700 Shramik special trains have been operated to ferry migrant workers back to their home between May 1 and May 27 and added that around one crore migrants have been transported so far. (ANI)

Covid-19: India’s Recovery Rates Rises To 42.75%

The Health Ministry said on Thursday that the recovery rate of COVID-19 patients in India has gone up to 42.75 per cent after 3,266 patients were cured in the last 24 hours.

“The number of cases under active medical supervision is 86,110. So far, a total of 67,691 people have been cured. In the last 24 hours, 3,266 patients were found cured. This takes our total recovery rate to 42.75 per cent,” a ministry release said.

It said the Centre is taking several steps along with the states/UTs for prevention, containment and management of COVID-19. “These are being regularly reviewed and monitored at the highest level,” the release said. (ANI)

Chinese Parl Okays Contentious HK Security Law

China’s parliament on Thursday passed the proposal to impose a new national security law for Hong Kong.

Thursday afternoon’s vote took place just before the closing of the annual session of the National People’s Congress (NPC), South China Morning Post reported.

In total, 2,878 lawmakers supported the resolution, while one voted against it and six others abstained.

The Standing Committee will need around two weeks to pass the legislation, which means it may come into force in August.

The passing of the proposal has prompted large demonstrations in Hong Kong and a warning from the United States.

The US has condemned the Chinese Communist Party’s proposal to “unilaterally and arbitrarily” impose national security legislation on Hong Kong, urging Beijing to reconsider its proposal, abide by its international obligations and respect Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy.

However, China has defended the proposal saying that such legislations are necessary to protect the country’s sovereignty from external forces determined to undermine the Communist Party.

Earlier today, China blocked the US attempt to hold a United Nations Security Council meeting on the issue of Beijing’s plan to impose new security legislation in Hong Kong. (ANI)

Differences Must Not Overshadow Ties: China To India

In the backdrop of growing tension along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, Chinese Ambassador to India Sun Weidong on Wednesday said the two countries need to view differences correctly and differences should not impact the bilateral cooperation.

“We should correctly view our differences and never let the differences shadow the overall situation of bilateral cooperation. At the same time, we should gradually seek understanding through communication and constantly resolve differences,” said Weidong in a webinar.

Talking about the allegation that China is hiding the epidemic situation and COVID-19 virus originated from Wuhan lab, the Chinese envoy said that all need to be highly vigilant of ‘political virus’ which seeks opportunity to attack China.

“As countries unite to fight the epidemic, many conspiracy theories also appear, such as ‘China concealing epidemic situation’ and ‘virus originating from Wuhan lab.’ We need to be highly vigilant that the ‘political virus’ is jumping at any opportunity to attack and slander China. We did not cover up anything, and did not delay any efforts,” he added.

The envoy emphasised that China and India are mutual opportunities and pose no threat to each other.

“We should adhere to the basic judgment that China and India are each other’s opportunities and pose no threat to each other. We need to see each other’s development in a correct way and enhance strategic mutual trust,” added Weidong.