Morocco quake death toll nears 3,000 as rescuers search for survivors

News Network
September 13, 2023

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Morocco finds itself reeling from the aftermath of a devastating earthquake that struck the country last Friday. The disaster has left a trail of destruction, with at least 2,901 lives lost and 5,530 individuals injured.

The earthquake’s impact has been most acutely felt in the form of collapsed buildings, which have claimed the lives of many victims. The Moroccan government has reported that a significant number of the deceased were trapped under the rubble, adding to the scale of the tragedy.

According to reports, the rural communities lining with the valleys and peaks of the Atlas Mountains, situated in close proximity to Marrakesh, are the most affected.

The village of Tafeghaghte, located approximately 60 kilometers (37 miles) from Marrakesh, has borne the brunt of this seismic catastrophe. Virtually every structure in this mountainous village has been razed to the ground as a result of the earthquake’s destructive force. In the aftermath of the disaster, both survivors and the bodies of the deceased are being actively sought by civilian volunteers and Moroccan military personnel, reflecting a collective effort to respond to this tragedy.

In response to the crisis, an international effort has been mobilized to aid in search and rescue operations. Teams from countries including Britain, Spain, and Qatar have joined forces with the Moroccan military in a race against time.

The earthquake occured at 03:41:01 (UTC+05:30) at a depth of 18.5 km. The magnitude of the earthquake caused pulses to travel from Sidi Ifni in the south to Rabat in the north and beyond.

Residents are being cautioned by authorities to remain vigilant in the coming days as the area continues to experience aftershocks, with a 4.2 magnitude tremor occurring on Sunday. 

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News Network
June 8,2024

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London: Maharashtra followed by Karnataka and Delhi are the top three states of India bringing in foreign direct investment (FDI) into the UK, according to a new joint report produced by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the High Commission of India in the UK.

Indian Assets: Charting the Journeys of Indian Companies in the UK, launched in London earlier this week, revealed that companies headquartered in Maharashtra brought in the highest amount of FDI into the UK at 20 per cent in 2023, followed by Karnataka (12 per cent) and Delhi (8.6 per cent).

Completing the top 10 tallies are the states of Gujarat (7.1 per cent), Tamil Nadu (6.7 per cent), Telangana (6.5 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (5.9 per cent), Haryana (4.5 per cent), West Bengal (3.14 per cent) and Kerala (3.05 per cent) -- making up 78 per cent of the total FDI from India into the UK.

“As India and the UK continue to evolve and navigate the complexities of a rapidly changing global landscape, I believe that our businesses reimagining the India-UK corridor will realise our shared vision and aspiration for a secure and sustainable future prosperity,” said  Vikram Doraiswami, the Indian High Commissioner to the UK, who launched the report in London.

The analysis finds the leading sector bringing in FDI from India in terms of the number of companies and employees is IT and software, highlighting the achievements of Indian companies in the UK across sectors such as automotive, electric car batteries, diagnostics and healthcare, and technology.

It also spotlights the positive impact Indian companies can have on heritage British brands and how the value of these legacy brands is retained and protected when acquired by Indian companies.

“Today, Indian companies with operations in the UK have integrated themselves into the British economy, making their mark in industries in almost all leading sectors. Their ability to adapt, innovate, and forge meaningful partnerships has not only propelled their growth but has also enriched the economy of the UK and its regions, promoting job creation, driving investment, and fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion,” said CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee.

Among some of the other findings of the report, new Indian students cumulatively contributed an estimated GBP 4.3 billion (Rs 45,611 crore) to UK universities against the backdrop of a 5 per cent increase in UK student visas last year.

It also showcases the robust relationship that Indian companies have across different UK regions, with the West Midlands, London and the north-west being the top recipients of Indian FDI in the UK across the fields of automotive, software and IT services and energy.

According to the latest official data from the UK’s Department of Business and Trade, total trade in goods and services (exports plus imports) between the UK and India was GBP 39.0 billion (Rs 4.1 lakh crore) in the four quarters to the end of Q4 2023, an increase of 4.8 per cent or GBP 1.8 billion (Rs 19,093 crore) in current prices from the four quarters to the end of Q4 2022.

India was the UK’s 12th-largest trading partner and the second-largest source market for the UK, bringing in 118 new projects and creating 8,384 jobs.

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News Network
June 4,2024

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Yusuf Pathan, the swashbuckling all-rounder from Baroda, will soon be rubbing shoulders with the bigwigs in the Lok Sabha. 

The 41-year-old former cricketer, who made his electoral debut on a Trinamool Congress ticket from West Bengal's Baharampur, has upset Congress heavyweight Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury. 

Rejecting Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, its five-time MP from this so-called ‘Congress fortress’, voters elected Trinamool Congress candidate and former India all-rounder Yusuf Pathan by a comprehensive win margin of over 85,000 votes.

Owing to Chowdhury’s defeat in Baharampur, which remained among the last-standing perceived Congress fortresses of the state, the Trinamool Congress had its flag grafted and flying from the region for the first time ever.

Pathan was a member of the Indian cricket team that lifted the inaugural ICC World T20 trophy in 2007. Less than a year later, he excelled with both bat and ball to guide Rajasthan Royals to the Indian Premier League title in the marquee tournament's first edition. 

But Pathan's laurels did not end there. He was a member of the victorious Kolkata Knight Riders team that won IPL twice in 2012 and 2014. 

Despite being the elder of the two brothers, Yusuf made his international debut three years after Irfan.

His ability to turn matches around with his power-hitting and crucial wickets made him a vital player for India in shorter formats as he became a member of the MS Dhoni-led batch of 2011 that lifted the ODI World Cup.

Cut to 2024. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee picked Pathan as a surprise pick to take on Chowdhury, who belongs to the INDIA bloc ally Congress. 

Pathan said he has immense respect for the Congress leader. “I respect Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury a lot. He is a senior leader. I give my best wishes to him... I will open a sports academy to encourage children to represent the state and country... The people have given their support to me,” he was quoted by ANI as saying. 

Besides Chowdhury, Yusuf had to take on BJP's Nirmal Chandra Saha, a known doctor from the region and also deal with the "outsider" barbs from the opposition.

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News Network
June 7,2024

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New Delhi: Narendra Modi - to be sworn in Sunday as a three-term Prime Minister after Chandrababu Naidu's TDP and Nitish Kumar's JDU dragged his BJP past the 272-seat majority mark - mocked eternal rivals Congress for failing to win as many seats in this election. The Congress, he declared, had yet again failed to cross the 100-seat mark and won fewer seats in three elections than the BJP had in one.

Mr Modi - whose party finished with 240 seats, its lowest return in 15 years - also said "we were neither defeated nor are we defeated" and claimed, "Our values are such we do not develop frenzy during victory and do not mock the defeated. We do not have perversion of mocking the defeated."

Mr Modi then taunted his rivals over their poor electoral performance.

"Even after 10 years Congress could not touch the figure of 100 seats. If we combine the 2014, 2019, and 2024 elections... Congress did not even get as many seats as BJP got in this election. I can clearly see people of INDI Alliance (the BJP's jibe at the INDIA bloc) were sinking slowly earlier... now they are going to sink at a faster pace..." the Prime Minister-designate proclaimed.

The Congress, which led the INDIA opposition bloc in this election, finished with 99 wins from the 328 seats it contested. That was the party's best result in 15 years; it won 44 in 2014 and 52 in 2019.

The last time the party scored in the triple digits was in 2009 when it won 206 seats and propelled former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the United Progressive Alliance to a second term.

Mr Modi's jibe, though, may be premature, for the Congress could still hit the 100-mark if Vishal Patil, a party rebel who contested and won from Maharashtra's Sangli, re-joins the party.

In a post on X this morning, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge said, "Welcoming the support of elected MP from Sangli, Shri Vishal Patil to the Congress party".

In a lengthy speech that included multiple jabs and jibes at the Congress and the opposition, Mr Modi also made a pitch for governance by consensus and coalition politics. "Our alliance reflects the spirit of India and we are dedicated to upholding constitutional values. NDA is the most successful..."

"When I was speaking in this House in 2019 you chose me as the leader. Then I emphasised one thing... trust. Today, when you are giving me this role again, it means the bridge of trust between us is strong. This relationship is built on a strong foundation... and that is its biggest asset."

The remarks are seen as acknowledgement of his reliance on allies - new territory after enjoying brute majorities in 2014 and 2019. The BJP needs the support of Chandrababu Naidu and Nitish Kumar. Mr Naidu's TDP and the JDU of Nitish Kumar are seen as kingmakers after the TDP and JDU won 28 seats; take those away and the NDA does not have the numbers to form the government.

"The mandate of 2024 is strengthening one thing again and again - the country trusts only NDA. When there is such unbreakable trust, it is natural for expectations to increase. This is good...I said earlier past 10 years were a trailer. It was not an election statement, it was my commitment..."

"For me, all leaders of all parties are equal in Parliament. When we talk about 'sabka prayaas', for us, everyone is equal, whether from our party or not. This is why NDA is strong in past 30 years..."

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