US body wants India on 'red list' for rights violation; says religious freedom worsened under BJP govt

News Network
April 26, 2022

Washington, Apr 26: A US commission has said that religious freedom has deteriorated "significantly" in India under the BJP government as it again recommended targeted sanctions over abuses.

It was the third straight year that the US Commission on International Religious Freedom asked that India be placed on a ‘red list’ of "countries of particular concern" — a recommendation that has angered New Delhi and is virtually certain to be dismissed by the State Department.

In an annual report, the panel — which is appointed to offer recommendations but does not set US policy — voiced wide concern about South Asia and also backed the State Department's inclusion of Pakistan on the blacklist.

In India, the commission pointed to "numerous" attacks on religious minorities, particularly Muslims and Christians, in 2021 as Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government promoted "its ideological vision of a Hindu state" through policies hostile to minorities.

"Religious freedom conditions in India significantly worsened," the report said.

It pointed to a "culture of impunity for nationwide campaigns of threats and violence by mobs and vigilante groups" and arrests of journalists and human rights advocates.

The Indian government in previous years has angrily rejected the commission's findings, accusing it of bias.

President Joe Biden, like Donald Trump before him, has sought to increase ties with India, seeing common cause in the face of a rising China.

Biden is expected to meet Modi next month in Tokyo as part of a four-way summit of the "Quad" with Japan and Australia.

The commission also recommended adding Afghanistan to the blacklist following the triumph of the Taliban and relisting Nigeria, which was removed by the Biden administration.

The countries on the State Department's religious freedom blacklist, which can trigger sanctions, are China, Eritrea, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

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sunil
 - 
Friday, 29 Apr 2022

Who are they . First let them see what is happening in their country about racism then comment to our Modiji goverment.

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News Network
January 26,2023

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Mangaluru, Jan 26: Dakshina Kannada district has so far not gained pace in the administration of booster dose of covid-19 vaccine, according to in-charge DHO Dr Rajesh. 

Only 16 per cent of the targeted population have been administered with the booster dose of vaccine in the coastal district, he told media persons. 

The district has 9,000 doses of Covaxin vaccine which will expire on January 31. There are 38,000 doses of Covishield vaccine which will expire on February 9.

Vaccination camps are held in various places in addition to a vaccine mela on every Wednesday in the district, taluk hospitals, CHCs and PHCs in the district.

Not many people have come forward for the booster dose vaccine in the district, he said.

Among the 16 per cent who were administered with the booster dose are above 60 years old, frontline workers and healthcare workers, he said.

The department has given a few doses for private hospitals for administering it to their healthcare workers. 

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News Network
February 7,2023

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Istanbul, Feb 7: Rescuers struggled to save people trapped under the rubble as the death toll from the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria reached almost 5,000, according to reports. 

Since the first 7.8 magnitude quake, the region has seen five major temblors that have toppled entire apartment blocks, wrecking hospitals, and leaving thousands more people injured or homeless.

As rescue operations continued, freezing winter weather hampered search efforts for survivors through the night. Temperatures fell close to freezing overnight, worsening conditions for people trapped under rubble or left homeless, news agency Reuters reported. 

The earthquake on Monday in Turkey and Syria was the biggest recorded worldwide by the US Geological Survey since a tremor in the remote South Atlantic in August 2021.

Through the night, survivors used their bare hands to pick over the twisted ruins of multi-storey apartment blocks -- trying to save family, friends and anyone else sleeping inside when the first massive 7.8-magnitude quake struck early Monday.

"Where is my mum?" asked a distraught seven-year-old girl who was pulled -- her face, hair and pyjamas covered in dust -- from a collapsed building in Hatay, on the Turkish side of the border.

The sense of disbelief was widespread, as residents struggled to comprehend the scale of the disaster.

"We thought it was the apocalypse," said Melisa Salman, a 23-year-old reporter in the southeastern Turkish city of Kahramanmaras.

Some of the heaviest devastation occurred near the quake's epicentre between Kahramanmaras and Gaziantep, a city of two million where entire blocks now lie in ruins under gathering snow.

As residents tried to clear a mountain of masonry, plasterboard and furniture that had been a multi-story building, another collapsed nearby -- sending crowds screaming and clamouring for safety.

With aftershocks continuously rattling the area, many terrified and exhausted survivors spent the night outdoors, too afraid to go home.

Some huddled under bus shelters, some wrapped themselves in plastic to repel the freezing rain and others burned debris to keep warm.

Mustafa Koyuncu packed his wife and their five children into their parked car.

"We can't go home," the 55-year-old told AFP. "Everyone is afraid."

Turkey's relief agency AFAD put the latest death toll at 3,381 in that country alone -- bringing the confirmed tally in both Turkey and Syria to 4,890.

There are fears that the toll will rise inexorably, with World Health Organization officials estimating up to 20,000 may have died.

"There is a family I know under the rubble," said 20-year-old student Omer El Cuneyd in the Turkish city of Sanliurfa.

"Until 11:00 am or noon, my friend was still answering the phone. But she no longer answers. She is down there."

Overwhelmed medics struggled to treat the estimated 20,000 injured.

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- All and any -

The US Geological Survey said Monday's first earthquake struck at 4:17 am (0117 GMT) at a depth of about 18 kilometres (11 miles).

The initial earthquake was so powerful it was felt as far away as Greenland and was followed by a series of aftershocks, including a 7.5-magnitude tremor that struck in the middle of search and rescue work on Monday.

The impact was devastating and sparked a global response, with dozens of nations from Ukraine to New Zealand vowing to send help.

But a winter blizzard has covered major roads into the area in ice and snow and officials said three major airports have been rendered inoperable, complicating deliveries of vital aid.

Much of the quake-hit area of northern Syria has already been decimated by years of war and aerial bombardment by Syrian and Russia forces that destroyed homes, hospitals and clinics.

The conflict is already shaping the emergency response, with Syria's envoy to the United Nations Bassam Sabbagh seemingly ruling out reopening border crossings that would allow aid to reach areas controlled by rebel groups.

The Syrian health ministry reported damage across the provinces of Aleppo, Latakia, Hama and Tartus, where Russia is leasing a naval facility.

Even before the tragedy, buildings in Aleppo -- Syria's pre-war commercial hub -- often collapsed due to the dilapidated infrastructure.

Officials cut off natural gas and power supplies across the region as a precaution, and also closed schools for two weeks.

The UN cultural agency UNESCO expressed fears over heavy damage in two cities on its heritage list -- Aleppo in Syria and Diyarbakir in Turkey.

At a jail holding mostly Islamic State group members in northwestern Syria, prisoners mutinied after the quakes, with at least 20 escaping, a source at the facility told AFP.

The United States, the European Union and Russia all immediately sent condolences and offers of help.

President Joe Biden promised his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the United States will send "any and all" aid needed to help recover from a devastating earthquake.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also offered to provide "the necessary assistance" to Turkey, whose combat drones are helping Kyiv fight the Russian invasion.

Chinese state media said on Tuesday that Beijing was sending rescuers, medical teams and other supplies.

Turkey is in one of the world's most active earthquake zones.

The country's last 7.8-magnitude tremor was in 1939, when 33,000 died in the eastern Erzincan province.

The Turkish region of Duzce suffered a 7.4-magnitude earthquake in 1999, when more than 17,000 people died.

Experts have long warned a large quake could devastate Istanbul, a megalopolis of 16 million people filled with rickety homes.

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- Election test for Erdogan -

The quake struck at 04:17 am (0117 GMT) at a depth of about 17.9 kilometres (11 miles) near the Turkish city of Gaziantep, which is home to around two million people, the US Geological Survey said.

Turkey's AFAD emergencies service centre put the quake's magnitude at 7.7, updating an initial estimate of 7.4.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who will be under intense pressure to oversee an effective response to the disaster heading to a tightly-contested May 14 election, conveyed his sympathies and urged national unity.

"We hope that we will get through this disaster together as soon as possible and with the least damage," the Turkish leader tweeted.

Washington, the European Union, and Russian all immediately sent condolences and offers of help.

Turkey also received a message of support from its historic rival Greece, whose relations with Ankara have suffered from a spate of border and cultural disputes.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky offered to provide "the necessary assistance" to Turkey, whose combat drones are helping Kyiv fight the Russian invasion.

And Iran, which together with Russia is trying to help Ankara restore its relations with Damascus following its efforts to help oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, sent separate messages of condolence to both sides.

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- 'People under rubble' -

Images on Turkish television showed rescuers digging through rubble across city centres and residential neighbourhoods of almost all the big cities running along the border with Syria.

Some of the heaviest devastation occurred near the quake's epicentre between Kahramanmaras and Gaziantep, where entire city blocks lay in ruins under the gathering snow.

Kahramanmaras Governor Omer Faruk Coskun said it was too early to estimate the death count because so many buildings were destroyed.

"It is not possible to give the number of dead and injured at the moment because so many buildings have been destroyed," Coskun said. "The damage is serious."

A famous mosque dating back to the 13th century partially collapsed in the province of Maltaya, where a 14-story building with 28 apartments housed 92 people also collapsed.

In other cities, social media posts showed a 2,200-year-old hilltop castle built by Roman armies in Gaziantep lying in ruins, its walls partially turned to rubble.

"We hear voices here -- and over there, too," one rescuer was overheard as saying on NTV television in front of a flattened building in the city of Diyarbakir.

"There may be 200 people under the rubble."

"This makes search and rescue efforts dangerous."

Turkey is in one of the world's most active earthquake zones.

The Turkish region of Duzce suffered a 7.4-magnitude earthquake in 1999, when more than 17,000 people died --including about 1,000 in Istanbul.

Experts have long warned a large quake could devastate Istanbul, a megalopolis of 16 million people filled with rickety homes.

The last 7.8-magnitude tremor shook Turkey in 1939, when 33,000 died in the eastern Erzincan province

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News Network
February 1,2023

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New Delhi, Feb 1: Presenting her fifth annual Budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday said that the government is adopting seven priorities to guide India through the Amrit Kaal. Major announcements for taxpayers were also made in the Budget.

"The budget adopts following seven priorities -- inclusive development, reaching the last mile, infrastructure and investment, unleashing the potential, green growth, youth power and financial sector," the Finance Minister said. Amrit Kaal is described by the government as the 25-year period culminating in the centenary of India's independence. The finance minister said seven priorities of the budget complement each other.

She said four transformative opportunities can be used in Amrit Kaal for enhancing economic empowerment.

Here are the highlights of the Budget Speech:

* The FM proposed to increase income tax rebate limit from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 7 lakh under the new tax regime

* The new tax rates are 0 to Rs 3 lakhs - nil, Rs 3 to 6 lakhs - 5%, Rs 6 to 9 Lakhs - 10%, Rs 9 to 12 Lakhs - 15%, Rs 12 to 15 Lakhs - 20% and above 15 Lakhs - 30% under the new tax regime

* An individual with annual income of Rs 9 lakh will have to pay only Rs 45,000 as tax as opposed to Rs 60,000 earlier, she said. 

* Outlay for capital spending increased 33% to Rs 10 lakh crore in FY24

* The capex allocation is higher than the Rs 7.5 lakh crore budgeted for in the previous year and the highest on record

* Budget allocations increased to Rs 79,000 crore for affordable housing in FY24 under the PM Awaas Yojana

* Rs 35,000 crore to be provided for energy transition

* The FM proposed a cut in customs duty on lab-grown diamonds

* Incentives to replace old, polluting vehicles used by the central and state governments also proposed by teh government

* Revamped scheme for credit guarantee for small and medium businesses from April 1

* Collateral free credit of Rs 2 lakh crore under revamped scheme to be provided

* Increase in public capex key to crowding in private investments

* Integrated IT portal will be set up for reclaiming unclaimed shares and dividends

* Govt proposes to cap deductions from capital gains on investments in residential houses to Rs 10 cr

* Highest surcharge rate reduced from 37% to 25% in new tax regime

* Taxes on cigarettes hiked by 16%

* Basic customs duty hiked on articles made from gold bars

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