India amends laws to allow people from outside Jammu and Kashmir to buy land there

News Network
October 27, 2020

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Srinagar, Oct 27: The Centre has paved the way for people from outside Jammu and Kashmir to buy land in the union territory by amending several laws, over a year after the nullification of Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution.

In a gazette notification, the Centre has omitted the phrase "permanent resident of the state" from Section 17 of the Jammu and Kashmir Development Act that deals with disposal of the land in the union territory.

Before the repeal of Article 370 and Article 35-A in August last year, non-residents could not buy any immovable property in Jammu and Kashmir. However, the fresh changes have paved the way for non-residents to buy land in the union territory.

Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha told reporters that the amendments did not allow the transfer of agricultural land to non-agriculturists.

However, there are several exemptions in the Act which enable the transfer of agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes, including setting up of educational or health care facilities.

Former Advocate General Mohammad Ishaq Qadri said the amendments have opened floodgates for people from outside Jammu and Kashmir to buy lands. "Now there is no legal bar on purchase of land here by outsiders," he said.

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said the amendments were "unacceptable".

"Unacceptable amendments to the land ownership laws of J&K. Even the tokenism of domicile has been done away with when purchasing non-agricultural land & transfer of agricultural land has been made easier. J&K is now up for sale & the poorer small landholding owners will suffer," Omar tweeted.

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News Network
November 30,2020

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The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is assisting an inquiry into an alleged adverse reaction during AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine trial, but has found no reason to recommend halting it, a senior official at the regulator said on Sunday.

A 40-year-old man said in a complaint seen by Reuters that he had suffered serious "neurological and psychological" symptoms after receiving the vaccine in a trial being run by the British drugmaker's partner Serum Institute of India (SII).

"There was no immediate cause of concern at this stage," Samiran Panda, head of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases at the ICMR, the research body involved in trials, told Reuters.

"It doesn't mean that long term assessment will not happen, it is still happening. I am aware of the activity," Panda said.

AstraZeneca did not respond to a request for comment.

Law firm N.G.R. Prasad & R. Rajaram Advocates sent the complaint by the unnamed volunteer, who is seeking 50 million rupees ($676,288) in compensation and a suspension of testing, manufacturing and distribution of the vaccine, to ICMR, SII, AstraZeneca and the Drugs Controller General of India.

"While the Serum Institute of India is sympathetic with the volunteer's medical condition, there's absolutely no correlation with the vaccine trial," SII said.

"(The) volunteer was specifically informed by the medical team that the complications he suffered were independent of the vaccine trial he underwent," it added.

The Drugs Controller General of India, who is responsible for drug and vaccine approval, could not immediately be reached for comment on Sunday.

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News Network
November 24,2020

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Washington, Nov 24: The global coronavirus caseload has surpassed 59 million, just two days after it crosses the 58 million mark, according to John Hopkins University's data.

As of 8:23 am New Delhi time on Tuesday, there are 59,124,016 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide. Meanwhile, the global death toll from the virus, which originated from the Chinese city of Wuhan, stands at 13,95,519, with a maximum number of deaths reported in the United States.

So far, 37,848,542 people, who had tested coronavirus positive, have recovered. India tops the list in the number of recoveries reported with 85,62,641 people recovered from the virus.

The US, India and Brazil remain the top three countries in terms of the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases, followed by France and Russia.

The US has registered more than 12 million COVID-19 cases and has the largest COVID-19 death toll of all the countries in the world (more than 257,500).

With 37,975 new COVID-19 infections, India's total count has surged to 91,77,841, according to Indian Health Ministry on Tuesday.

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News Network
November 29,2020

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Kabul, Nov 29: Afghan officials said Sunday at least 34 people were killed in two separate suicide bombings that targeted a military base and a provincial chief.

In eastern Ghazni province, 31 soldiers were killed and 24 others wounded when the attacker drove a military humvee full of explosives onto an army commando base before detonating the car bomb, according to an official in Afghanistan’s national security council, who spoke anonymously because he was not permitted to speak directly to the media.

The attack was also confirmed by Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian, though he did not provide details on casualties.

In southern Afghanistan, a suicide car bomber targeted the convoy of a provincial council chief in Zubal, killing at least three people and wounding 12 others, including children.

The provincial council chief, Attajan Haqbayat, survived the Sunday attack with minor injuries, though one of his bodyguards was among those killed, said provincial police spokesman Hikmatullah Kochai.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attacks.

The bombings come as Afghan government representatives and the Taliban hold face-to-face talks in Qatar for the first time to end the country’s decades-long war.

There has been a sharp rise in violence this year and a surge of attacks by the Taliban against Afghanistan’s beleaguered security forces since the start of peace talks in September. There have also been deadly attacks this month claimed by Islamic State militants in Afghanistan, including a horrific attack on Kabul University that killed 22 people, most of them students.

The U.S., meanwhile, plans to withdraw another estimated 2,500 troops before the middle of January, leaving about 2,000 soldiers in Afghanistan as part of America’s longest war. Afghan officials, however, have expressed concerns that a rapid reduction in American troops could strengthen the negotiating hand of the Taliban.

The United States has been pressing in recent weeks for a reduction in violence, while the Afghan government has been demanding a cease-fire. The Taliban have refused, saying a cease-fire will be part of negotiations, though the group have held to their promise not to attack U.S. and NATO troops.

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