With spike of 19,148 cases, India's COVID-19 tally crosses 6 lakh mark

News Network
July 2,2020

New Delhi, Jul 2: India's COVID-19 tally breached the 6 lakh cases mark with 19,148 new coronavirus cases being reported in the last 24 hours, informed the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Thursday.

The total cases now stand at 6,04,641 of which there are 2,26,947 active cases while 3,59,860 patients have been cured/discharged/migrated.

434 deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours taking the number of COVID-19 deaths in the country to 17,834.

Maharashtra, the worst-hit state, has a total of 1,80,298 cases including 8,053 fatalities. Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu has 94,049 cases inclusive of 1,264 deaths.

Delhi has 89,802 coronavirus cases including 2,803 deaths.

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India, Israel join hands to develop rapid testing for Covid-19 in under 30 seconds

Agencies
July 23,2020

Jerusalem, Jul 23: Merging Israel's technological expertise with India's mass production capabilities, experts from the two countries have joined hands to develop rapid testing for Covid-19 in under 30 seconds.

Israel will soon send a high-level research delegation to India to conduct a series of "final stages of testing" as part of the joint effort to develop the rapid testing kits for Covid-19 .

A high ranking team from the Directorate of Defence Research and Development (DDR&D), in the Ministry of Defense, which has been working with India's DRDO to develop rapid testing for Covid-19 in under 30 seconds, is to leave from Tel Aviv to New Delhi on a special flight in a few days, Israel's Ministry of Defence said in a statement on Thursday.

Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and Ministry of Health are also involved in this unprecedented cooperation between the two countries which aims at "merging Israeli technology with Indian development and production capabilities to allow a swift resumption of normal life alongside the virus".

The DDR&D team will conduct a series of "final stages of testing" to determine the effectiveness of a number of rapid diagnostic solutions with their Indian counterparts.

Since the start of the pandemic, the DDR&D has tested dozens of diagnostic technologies. Some of them have matured and passed initial trials in Israel, however in order to complete testing and prove their effectiveness, these must be tested on a wide range of patients, IMoD said.

The four tech systems that will be tested are - voice test, breathalyzer test based on terra-hertz waves, isothermal test, and polyamino acids test.

"What they all have in common is the ability to detect the presence of the virus in the body quickly- usually within minutes. Developing diagnostic capabilities is a goal for the State of Israel and of many additional countries around the world. It is the most effective way to cut off 'chains of infection', prevent prolonged quarantine and enable the reopening of the global economy," the statement said.

"We hope that the research and development led by the DDR&D together with our excellent industries and academic institutions, will lead to a breakthrough that will change the way we diagnose and fight the virus, while giving the boost necessary to 'restart' our economy," Defense Minister Benny Gantz said.

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi noted that this cooperation provides a unique opportunity for scientific and technological cooperation that can assist Israel, India and the world in coping both with the pandemic and with the economic crisis that came with it.

The cooperation between Israel and India will enable the delegation and its Indian counterparts, to collect tens of thousands of samples in just ten days, and analyze them using computer systems based on artificial intelligence. This massive sampling will shorten processes and advance the approval of effective technology. All tests will be validated using PCR tests.

"The cooperation between India and Israel on Covid-19 is a good example of harnessing the scientific and technological strengths that the two countries have for larger, common good. It will also further deepen our strategic ties,” India's Ambassador Sanjeev Singla told PTI.

The flight will be carrying some breakthrough emerging Israeli technologies for combatting Covid-19, which have been donated by the Israeli foreign ministry and the private sector, in order to bolster India’s response to the virus outbreak.

The plane will also deliver mechanical ventilators which were given special permission by Israel for export to India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu have held three telephonic conversations since the outbreak of the pandemic and promised mutual assistance in dealing with the virus, committing to joint technological and scientific research between the countries.

The Israeli media widely reported that Modi lifted a ban on the export of Hydroxychloroquine at Netanyahu's request.

"The past few years have cemented the strategic relations between India and Israel and have included two historical visits of the Prime Ministers in Israel and in India," a press statement from the ministry of defence said.

"India seeks to integrate advanced technologies in its hospitals as they prepare to treat massive waves of Covid-19 patients on an Indian scale. The Israeli companies chosen by the MFA, MOD and Israel Defence Forces to be sent to India are potentially given unique access to one of the largest economies in the world to provide monitoring and treatment technologies while significantly reducing contact between the patients and the medical staff," it said.

"By opening the door to India’s market with its development and production capabilities, these Israeli technologies can be mass produced at a lower cost and could in future be jointly exported to third countries," it said.

"The COVID-19 pandemic is a global challenge, so it is only right that the solution be a global scientific cooperation between countries. India and Israel’s military R&D cooperation is well known for its success. I have no doubt the same will be seen in the private sector joined by brilliant scientific minds from both countries to introduce a breakthrough in swift and simple testing procedures,” said Prof. Nati Keller, an infectious diseases specialist from Sheba Medical Center, who is leading the medical side of the delegation.

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I rejected Sachin Pilot’s Rs 35-cr offer to join BJP: Congress MLA

coastaldigest.com web desk
July 20,2020

Jaipur, Jul 20: In a startling revelation, Rajasthan Congress MLA Giriraj Singh Malinga has claimed that rebel leader Sachin Pilot offered him Rs 35 crore to switch to the BJP but he refused. 

Speaking to the media in Rajasthan capital Jaipur, Malinga, who represents Bari constituency, said he had informed Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot about Pilot’s “offer”.

“I, too, had offers but I refused. I had spoken to Sachin ji, he asked me to switch sides and I refused. This is a wrong thing, I will not do it for money,” Malinga said.

“I said that when we left Bahujan (BSP, in 2008), where one has to give money to get a ticket, whereas in Congress and BJP, that is not the system. I was offered a lot of money. Sachin Pilot had said money is not an issue, you ask what you want and you will get… Rs 35 crore or more, but I said it is wrong,” he added.

Malinga said he had had the conversation with Pilot 2-3 times, first in December during the panchayat delimitation, and later before the Rajya Sabha elections last month.

He added that the BJP had never reached out to him, and neither had he spoken to them. “I have no animosity with Pilot but I am speaking the truth,” he said.

The state plunged into a political crisis after former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot declared rebellion on 12 July, claiming to have the support of 30 MLAs. By the next day, however, he could not prove the support of more than 18 legislators.

On 14 July, 19 MLAs, including Pilot, were served notices by Speaker C.P. Joshi, who asked them to respond by Friday after a petition filed by the chief whip of Congress sought their disqualification from the state assembly. The party also sacked Pilot and two Rajasthan cabinet ministers from their respective posts the same day.

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Rajasthan Crisis: BJP Files Complaint Against Randeep Surjewala, Others Over "Fake" Audio Clips

News Network
July 18,2020

Jaipur, Jul 18: BJP leader Laxmikant Bhardwaj filed a complaint against Congress leaders including Randeep Surjewala and Govind Singh Dotasra for associating Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat's name with an alleged audio clip related to "conspiring to topple" the elected government led by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan.

"Mahesh Joshi, Randeep Surjewala, and other accused have regularly been giving false and inflammatory statements against the BJP to criminally damage its reputation so that the blame for the current sorry state of affairs of the Congress can be pinned on the BJP. With the ill-intention of damaging the BJP''s reputation, a conspiracy was formed at the Chief Minister''s residence situated at 8 Civil lines," read the letter written by BJP Rajasthan spokesperson Bhardwaj to the Station Officer of Ashok Nagar police station read.

"From there (CM's residence) imitation of (voices) of people were falsely told to be of that of reputed leaders from the BJP and a fake phone conversation was created through which the false narrative of crores of rupees being offered to buy off Congress MLAs was created. The accused involved in this conspiracy have severely misused their position and power and the whole crime has been conducted by one named Lokesh Sharma, who calls himself an OSD of the Chief Minister," the letter further stated.

The complaint letter also said that Lokesh Sharma had "released three audio tapes to media workers on July 16, 2020, somewhere around 8:25 pm through WhatsApp so that the defamatory material can be circulated on a large scale to fulfill the criminal intent."

Mr Bhardwaj said that a news report in the Jaipur edition of a Hindi newspaper, published on July 17, 2020, had conveyed that the audiotape was released by Mr Sharma.

He further said that Congress leaders Randeep Surjewala, Govind Singh Dotasra, in a press conference held on Friday read out the conversation in the audio tapes publically and "using them as a basis accused the BJP of throttling democracy, sabotaging the mandate, and toppling the government."

Through this conspiracy, Mr Bhardwaj said that hateful and insulting comments are being made on the BJP and its supporters, and "on the basis of this the Special Operation Group (SOG) has filed fake lawsuits under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code and is also threatening BJP leaders of arrest."

The BJP leader has urged the police officer to file a complaint against Mr Sharma, Mr Surjewala, Mr Dotasra, and others involved in the alleged conspiracy and take necessary action and recover the equipment used by them.

On June 17, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala had accused Union Cabinet Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Congress legislator Bhanwarlal Sharma of conspiring to topple the elected government led by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan and subvert the voters' mandate.

"Yesterday, shocking tapes were aired by the media in which Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, BJP leader Sanjay Jain and Congress MLA Bhanwar Lal Sharma spoke about bribing MLAs and bringing down Rajasthan government. Congress has suspended MLAs Bhanwar Lal Sharma and Vishvendra Singh from the primary membership of the party. The party has also issued show-cause notices to them," Mr Surjewala had said.

"We demand Rajasthan government and Special Operations Group (SOG) to register FIR and arrest the culprits as plenty of evidence has surfaced now," he had further stated.

Mr Surjewala had read out a transcript of an audio of alleged horse-trading between rebel MLAs and BJP, stating, "BJP has breached the trust of people. The audio clip reveals a horse-trading deal. This is a dark chapter in the history of democracy."

"This time the Narendra Modi government has challenged the wrong state," the Congress leader had said. He had alleged that the BJP has been "conspiring to topple Rajasthan government and buy legislators' allegiance."

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