US violates agreement again, strikes Taliban targets in Afghanistan

News Network
July 24, 2021

Kabul, July 24: US military aircraft struck a number of Taliban positions this week in support of faltering Afghan government forces, in one of the first significant American reactions to the anti-occupation forces’ blistering advance across Afghanistan as US troops withdraw.

At least one of the strikes was against Taliban positions in the key southern city of Kandahar, slowing an advance that threatened to take over the city.

The Taliban called the strikes “disobedience” to last year’s withdrawal agreement with the Americans, and they warned of unspecified “consequences” — an indication that the airstrikes had an impact on Taliban.

The scale and pace of the Taliban advance has provoked alarm among top US military and civilian officials in recent days. The Taliban now emerged stronger in most of Afghanistan’s 34 provincial capitals and even Kabul, the national capital. The group has overrun more than half of the country’s 400-odd districts, in many cases seizing them without a fight, since it began its offensive in earnest in May.

This week’s airstrikes, which took place Wednesday and Thursday, reflect both the level of American worry and the Afghan military’s continued need for US air support, as Washington attempts to end nearly 20 years of war in the country.

Afghan forces have been reeling in the face of the Taliban offensive, as the United States nears completion of a pull-out of its remaining forces. The United States and other major powers are pushing for a peace deal between the Taliban and the Afghan government, but the Taliban believe they are winning the war, leaving little incentive to negotiate.

Several Pentagon officials confirmed that additional bombing raids around Kandahar and other contested areas are likely in the coming days. “We’ve been doing it where and when feasible, and we’ll keep doing it where and when feasible,” one official said, speaking anonymously to describe operational planning.

Pentagon officials confirmed the recent US strikes but were tight-lipped about specifics. They have been similarly ambiguous for weeks about the scale and scope of continued US military involvement in Afghanistan’s war, though they indicated earlier this month that it could continue at least until the withdrawal was completed at the end of August.

The Taliban said the airstrikes were carried out in Kandahar and in the neighboring province of Helmand.

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News Network
September 6,2021

Bengaluru, Sep 6: It was a sweet and sour day for the BJP on results day of the municipal corporation polls held in three cities of Karnataka.

While the party registered a historic win in Belagavi municipal corporation election, the party failed to get a clear majority in Hubballi-Dharwad and Kalaburagi municipal corporations.

The BJP emerged as the single-largest party in Hubballi-Dharwad corporation by winning 39 seats out of 82 seats and came a close second to the Congress in Kalaburagi civic body by winning 23 seats out of 55 seats.

However, the BJP is satisfied with its performance in Kalaburagi as the party had just won seven seats in the last elections.

This election, it put up a ground breaking performance by tentatively winning 23 seats. The Congress won 26 seats and the remaining seats were won by others.

However, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai exuded confidence of sewing up majorities in Hubballi-Dharwad and Kalaburagi city corporations, with the support of other candidates, including JDS.

"The municipal corporation elections were almost a sample test for me after one month of my taking over as the chief minister. Out of the three municipal corporations, we have got a majority in two of the municipal corporations," he told reporters here.

"In the third one also (Kalaburagi), we are going to make the majority. We are in a very close race, but we are going to make the majority there also. So, all three corporations will have BJP mayors," he added.

Bommai also said it is a clean sweep for the party and a drubbing for the Congress.

These polls were a litmus test for Bommai, more so in Hubballi-Dharwad, which is his hometown. It also is the hometown of Union Minister Pralhad Joshi and senior BJP leader Jagadish Shettar.

Despite the presence of these leaders, the party failing to get a clear majority is a setback for Bommai as some voices within the party would target him, questioning his electoral leadership.

For BJP, Hubballi-Dharwad has been its stronghold for more than two decades and it was looking to complete a hat-trick this election, but could not as factionalism played spoilt sport.

Ahead of the election, the BJP had expelled 16 leaders for anti-party activities. The rebels had raised voice against the party for not giving them tickets.

Out of these rebel candidates, two of them won their respective wards. The party fell three short of the required majority of 42 out of the toral 82 seats.

The Congress managed to get the second largest share of 33 seats while the remaining went into the kitty of Independents, two of them were revel BJP aspirants.

To get a clear majority, the BJP will either have to get support from three Independents including two rebel BJP aspirants who won the election.

In Kalaburagi, JDS has emerged kingmaker as it won four seats, which has almost decided to lend support to the BJP, which garnered 23 seats.

Also, one rebel BJP candidate is expected to support the saffron party, which would take the total to 28 seats, which is a majority mark for any party to win an election.

BJP registers historic win in Belagavi

However, BJP registered a historic win after the party got a clear majority in the Belagavi city corporation election.

BJP got a clear majority in Belagavi city corporation elections, which has attracted the attention of the entire Maharashtra including Karnataka.

According to the results so far, the BJP won 39 wards, while Congress won ten out of the total 58 wards. Other parties managed to bag 13 seats, out of which, MES won just two seats.

The BJP had campaigned vigorously and aggressively in this election, which bore fruits for the party.

On the resounding win in Belagavi corporation polls, senior BJP leader and minister KS Eshwarappa said he was sure of the party winning in Belagavi because people there are staunch nationalist supporters.

Also, Belagavi has been BJP's stronghold in general and assembly elections, he said.

Asked if the results were in favour of BJP in two corporation polls, Eshwarappa said the victories suggest that the people of the two cities have acknowledged the good work carried out by Bommai in ministerial capacities.

However, BJP's politics does not revolve around individual politics, but around party, sangh parivar and leadership, he stated. "Because of these three factors, the party wins most of the elections. People have tremendous faith in the party, leadership and sanghatane," he added.

On Kalaburagi poll results, Eshwarappa said though people are benefiting from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas, Muslims have not been voting for the party.

"Looking at what is happening in Afghanistan which is under Taliban's control, Muslim voters one day pin faith in PM Modi's Sab Ka Saath Sabka Vikas, and they will vote for BJP," he said.

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News Network
September 3,2021

Bengaluru, Sept 3: The government of Karnataka has decided to hold a low-key Mysuru Dasara celebrations with a ban on street celebrations in view of Covid situation.

"How the Mysuru Dasara celebrations were held last year, this year too, it should be celebrated as such. This has been announced by the chief minister in the meeting," Mysuru district-incharge minister ST Somashekhar told reporters here on Friday.

On October 7, Dasara celebrations will be inaugurated at Chamundi Hills and chief minister Basavaraj Bommai has been given the power to decide on who should inaugurate the event, he said.

"At an appropriate time, the chief minister announced the guest who would inaugurate the celebration at Chamundi Hills. The inauguration event will be conducted between 8.15 am to 8.45 am," Somashekhar said.

Public entry has been banned, he said. Every year, Dasara attracts a huge number of tourists from all over the world to the heritage city.

He said the jumbo ride will be conducted on Mysuru Palace premises, between 2.45 pm to 3.15 pm, he said.

Somashekhar said the state government has paid the 2019 Dasara festival's Rs 8.09-crore arrears.

For this year's Dasara to be held in Mysuru, Srirangapatna and Chamrajnagar, the government has sanctioned Rs 6 crore, he said.

Mysuru Dasara is a grand 10-day spectacle that culminates on the day of Vijayadashami.

Scientists and other experts have predicted a possibility of a third wave hitting Karnataka in the last week of September or October and as such they are against mass gatherings that have potential to be super-spreaders.

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News Network
September 5,2021

A 12-year old boy in Kozhikode in Kerala died of Nipah virus infection, state health minister Veena George said on Sunday. 

The Centre has rushed the NCDC team to the southern state to provide technical support.

The samples of the boy, which were sent to the Pune National Institute of Virology, confirmed the presence of Nipah virus.

The team will provide technical support to the state, the ministry said.

Some immediate public health measures have been advised by the Centre which include active case search in the family, families, village and areas with similar topography especially in Malappuram.

The measures also include active contact tracing for any contacts in the past 12 days, strict quarantine of the contacts and isolation of any suspects and collection and transportation of samples for lab testing, the ministry said.

Nipal virus is spread by saliva of the fruit bats.

In 2018 also, there was a Nipah outbreak in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts of Kerala.

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