Afghan: Stampede kills 11 women seeking visas to leave country, 13 injured

Agencies
October 21, 2020

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Kabul, Oct 21: At least 11 women were trampled to death when a stampede broke out Wednesday among thousands of Afghans waiting in a soccer stadium to get visas to leave the country, officials said.

Gov. Attaullah Khogyani said another 13 people, mostly women, were injured at the stadium in the eastern Nangarhar province, where they were trying to get visas to enter neighbouring Pakistan.

He said most of those who died were elderly people from across Afghanistan.

In a separate incident, at least 34 Afghan police were killed in an ambush by Taliban militants in northern Afghanistan, according to a local hospital official.

Rahim Bakhish Danish, the director of the main hospital in the Takhar province, confirmed receiving 34 bodies and said another eight security forces were wounded.

An Afghan security official said the forces were in a convoy that was ambushed.

The official, who was not authorised to brief media on the event and so spoke on condition of anonymity, said several police Humvees were set ablaze.

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Agencies
November 21,2020

Washington, Nov 21: Joe Biden on Saturday reached the two-week mark since becoming president-elect, with President Donald Trump stinging from back-to-back setbacks in his desperate, unprecedented bid to undo his election defeat.

Biden, a Democrat, is preparing to take office on January 20, but Trump, a Republican, has refused to concede and is seeking to invalidate or overturn the results through lawsuits and recounts in a number of states, claiming — without proof — widespread voter fraud.

That effort, which critics call an unparalleled push by a sitting president to subvert the will of voters, has met with little success. Trump's campaign has suffered a string of legal defeats and appears to have failed to convince key fellow Republicans in states that he lost, such as Michigan, to buy into his unfounded conspiracy theories.

Trump's bid to cling to power appeared ever more tenuous on Friday after Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced a manual recount and audit of all ballots cast in the southern state had confirmed Biden as the winner there.

A pair of Michigan Republican leaders delivered another blow when they declared on Friday night after a White House meeting with Trump: "We have not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan."

Trump, in his first public comments in days about the election outcome, again asserted "I won't" during a White House event on lowering drug prices earlier on Friday.

After a series of court defeats, the Trump team is resting its hopes on getting Republican-controlled legislatures in battleground states won by Biden to set aside the results and declare Trump the winner, according to three people familiar with the plan.

It is a long-shot effort focusing on Michigan and Pennsylvania for now, but even if both those states flipped to the president he would need to overturn the vote in another state to vault ahead of Biden in the Electoral College.

Such an event would be unprecedented in modern US history.

Pressure to start formal transition

Biden, who became president-elect on Nov. 7 after his win in Pennsylvania prompted major television networks to call the election, was due to spend Saturday meeting with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and transition advisers.

Trump will participate virtually this weekend in the last summit of the 20 biggest world economies (G20) of his term.

Trump's nationalistic "America First" approach has often created waves at multilateral summits like the G20, and many US allies have quietly welcomed the coming change of leadership in Washington.

Pressure for Trump to start the formal transition process has mounted, with a few more Republicans voicing doubts over his unsubstantiated claims of fraudulent voting.

There is a "right way and a wrong way" for Trump to contest what he sees as election irregularities, Susan Collins, the Maine Senator, said in a statement. "The right way is to compile the evidence and mount legal challenges in our courts. The wrong way is to attempt to pressure state election officials."

The General Services Administration, run by a Trump appointee, still has not recognized Biden's victory, preventing his team from gaining access to government office space and funding normally provided to an incoming administration.

Critics say Trump's refusal to concede has serious implications for national security and the fight against the coronavirus, which has killed more than 250,000 Americans.

Shut off from government funds, Biden's team on Friday ramped up their fundraising for the transition. Having taken in more than an initial $7 million target largely from wealthy donors, they turned to their campaign's vast mailing list of small donors, asking — according to a fundraising note — for contributions as small as $25.

Even as the Biden team remains unable to access resources and government experts to help assume management of the $4 trillion US government on Inauguration Day, Trump officials have been making unexpected changes to programs, policies and agencies that could affect the incoming administration.

The Treasury Department's surprise demand that the Federal Reserve return hundreds of billions of dollars in credit designed to back loans to businesses drew a sharp response from Biden's team on Friday, who called it "deeply irresponsible," given the country's accelerating Covid cases and new lockdowns.

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News Network
November 20,2020

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Bengaluru, Nov 20: In a surprise submission, the Karnataka government on Thursday told the High Court that it has no intention to prosecute Bangalore South Member of Parliament Tejasvi Surya and other political leaders for not wearing a mask while in public space.

In an affidavit, the government said it does not intend to pursue further action against violators of the mask and physical distancing rule under the Karnataka Epidemic Diseases Act as it is the uniform policy to not inflict 'harsh punishment'. A fine of Rs 250 for urban areas and Rs 100 for rural areas is deemed as sufficient punishment.

But the bench headed by Chief Justice AS Oka was not impressed. The bench observed that once a person furnishes the fine amount, they admit to committing the violation, and the state government’s failure to prosecute them has serious consequences. The state government has been urged to put its statement on record on the next date of hearing.

The government’s refusal against prosecuting violators was intended only to protect politicians, the bench said. Even opposition leaders like Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President DK Shivakumar were also found guilty of the same violations.

The bench is hearing a petition filed by advocate Ramesh Puthige raising allegations that directives for Covid-19 management laid down by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) were not followed or implemented in Karnataka.

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Agencies
November 22,2020

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New Delhi, Nov 23:Petrol price on Monday was hiked by 7 paise per litre and diesel by 18 paise for the fourth straight day as the international oil rates broke a nearly two-month-long hiatus in price revision.

Petrol price in Delhi on Monday was hiked to Rs 81.53 a litre from Rs 81.46 per litre, according to a price notification from oil marketing companies.

Similarly, diesel prices rose to Rs 71.25 a litre in Delhi from a level of Rs 71.07 a litre on Sunday.

State-owned fuel retailers started raising fuel prices from Friday.

In four days, petrol price has gone up by 47 paise and diesel rates have risen by 79 paise per litre.

Petrol prices had been static since September 22, and diesel rates hadn't changed since October 2.

Though retail pricing of petrol and diesel has been deregulated and oil marketing companies were following a daily price revision formula, the same was suspended for almost two months to prevent volatility in international oil markets from impacting fuel prices regularly during the pandemic.

But with crude on the boil again on news of a successful coronavirus vaccine launch soon, the OMCs have finally resorted to price increase again to cover for their under recovery on the sale of two petroleum products.

The benchmark Brent crude has crossed $45 a barrel on Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). It has remained at over $43 a barrel for most part of November.

The OMCs need almost 40 paise per litre increase in retail price of petrol and diesel to cover for $1 increase in crude. Going by this yardstick, product prices would have to be increased by upto Rs 2 per litre to cover under recovery on its sale.

n the incidence of local sales tax or VAT.

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