What's happening is sad.. just bad: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on CAA

Agencies
January 14,2020

Microsoft's Indian-origin CEO Satya Nadella on Monday voiced concern over the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), saying what is happening is "sad" and he would love to see a Bangladeshi immigrant create the next unicorn in India.

His comments came while speaking to editors at a Microsoft event in Manhattan where he was asked about the contentious issue of CAA which grants citizenship to persecuted non-Muslim minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

"I think what is happening is sad... It's just bad.... I would love to see a Bangladeshi immigrant who comes to India and creates the next unicorn in India or becomes the next CEO of Infosys," Nadella was quoted as saying by Ben Smith, the Editor-in-Chief of New York-based BuzzFeed News.

In a statement issued by Microsoft India, Nadella said: "Every country will and should define its borders, protect national security and set immigration policy accordingly. And in democracies, that is something that the people and their governments will debate and define within those bounds.

"I’m shaped by my Indian heritage, growing up in a multicultural India and my immigrant experience in the United States. My hope is for an India where an immigrant can aspire to found a prosperous start-up or lead a multinational corporation benefitting Indian society and the economy at large".

The Centre last week issued a gazette notification announcing that the CAA has come into effect from January 10, 2020.

The CAA was passed by Parliament on December 11.

According to the legislation, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014, due to religious persecution will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.

There have been widespread protests against the Act in different parts of the country.

In Uttar Pradesh, at least 19 persons were killed in anti-CAA protests.

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With highest single-day spike of 55,079 cases, India's COVID-19 tally breaches 16 lakh mark

Agencies
July 31,2020

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New Delhi, Jul 31: With the highest single-day spike of 55,079 COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, India's coronavirus tally breached the 16 lakh mark on Friday, informed the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

With this latest spike, the total cases in the country stand at 16,38,871. Among these cases 5,45,318 are active. A total of 10,57,806 patients have been cured/discharged/migrated.

779 deaths due to COVID-19 have been reported in the country in the last 24 hours, taking the death toll to 35,747.

As per the Union Health Ministry, Maharashtra has a total of 1,48,454 active cases and recorded 14,729 deaths due to COVID-19.
Tamil Nadu has a total of 57,962 active cases and 3,838 deaths in the state.

Delhi has a total of 10,743 active cases and 3,936 deaths.

The Indian Council of Medical Research on Friday informed that a total number of COVID-19 samples tested up to 30th July is 1,88,32,970 including 6,42,588 samples tested yesterday.

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Covid-19 | Tamil Nadu extends complete lockdown, ban on public transport till Aug 31

Agencies
July 30,2020

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Chennai, Jul 30: Tamil Nadu government on Thursday extended the Covid-19 lockdown till August 31, giving only a few relaxations like allowing delivery of non-essential goods by e-commerce sites. The ban on public transport has been extended till August 31, while availing of e-pass for inter-district and inter-state travel will continue to be in force.

In a detailed statement, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami announced a “complete lockdown” during which only essential services would continue to be in force on all Sundays during the month of August across the state.  

In Chennai, restaurants will be allowed to open dine-in facilities at 50 percent of its total capacity from 6 am to 7 pm from August 1, while vegetable shops, grocery outlets and standalone commercial establishments will also be allowed to remain open from 6 am to 7 pm.

E-commerce sites have been allowed to begin delivery of non-essential goods from August 1, while the ban on public transport, temples in urban areas and towns, cinema halls, shopping malls, and gyms would continue till August 31.

It also said companies or factories in Chennai that have been allowed to function with 50 percent of staff can increase their strength to 75 percent from August 1.

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The government also asked companies to encourage its employees to work from home and advised commercial establishments to follow the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) as advised by it. Inter-state or inter-district travel will be allowed only with e-pass, while ban on metro and suburban trains continues.

The decision to extend the lockdown till August 31 comes as Tamil Nadu continues to grapple with an increasing number of coronavirus cases. The prevalence of the virus is no more limited to one city or region of the state with almost all districts reporting fresh cases, some of them over 200 new patients, every day.

On Thursday morning, Tamil Nadu’s Covid-19 tally was 2,34,114 including 1,72,883 discharges and 3,741 deaths. The active cases stood at 57,490.

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6 Gulf countries including UAE, Saudi Arabia back extending UN arms embargo on Iran

Agencies
August 10,2020

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Dubai, Aug 10: A six-nation bloc of Gulf Arab nations torn apart by internal strife endorsed on Sunday an extension of a United Nations arms embargo on Iran, just two months before it is set to expire.

The Gulf Cooperation Council said it sent a letter to the UN Security Council backing an extension of an arms embargo that’s kept Iran from purchasing foreign-made weapons like fighter jets, tanks and warships.

The GCC — comprised of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — alleged Iran had “not ceased or desisted from armed interventions in neighbouring countries, directly and through organisations and movements armed and trained by Iran.”

A Saudi-led coalition continues to battle Yemen’s Houthi rebels, whom the UN, the U.S. and armament experts have accused of receiving arms from Iran.

Tehran denies arming the Houthis, even as Iranian armaments and components have repeatedly turned up in Yemen.

As such, it is inappropriate to lift the restrictions on conventional weapons’ movement to and from Iran until it abandons its destabilising activities in the region and ceases to provide weapons to terrorist and sectarian organisations, the GCC said.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi condemned the GCC letter and called it an irresponsible statement that serves U.S. interests, Iranian state TV reported.

Mr. Mousavi also criticised the Gulf Arab countries for being among the “largest arms buyers in the region and the world,” even amid the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The UN banned Iran from buying major foreign weapon systems in 2010 amid tensions over its nuclear program.

That blocked Iran from replacing its ageing equipment, much of which had been purchased by the shah before the 1979 Islamic Revolution. An earlier embargo targeted Iranian arms exports.

Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal saw the UN agree to sunset the arms embargo this October.

President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from the deal in 2018, part of a maximum pressure campaign that’s hurt Iran’s already-ailing economy and led to a series of escalating incidents in the Middle-East.

That the GCC offered a unified statement on Iran comes as it remains torn by the ongoing Qatar crisis, which saw Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates cut diplomatic ties and launch a boycott of the nation beginning in 2017.

Kuwait has sought to mediate the crisis, though its 91-year-old emir now is hospitalised in the U.S. suffering from an undisclosed ailment.

Amid the crisis, Qatar has had warmer ties with Iran and used its airspace while sharing a vast offshore oil and gas field with Tehran.

The small nation is home to the massive Al-Udeid Air Base, home to the forward headquarters of the US military’s Central Command. Oman, which saw its long-serving sultan die earlier this year, long has had close ties to Iran and has served as an interlocutor between Tehran and the West.

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates long have viewed Iran far more suspiciously, accusing it of stirring up dissent among Shiite populations in the region.

The unified GCC statement comes after recent visits by outgoing U.S. special representative for Iran Brian Hook amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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