IAS aspirant MBA graduate kills self after being blackmailed by Facebook girl with nude videos

News Network
April 8, 2021

Bengaluru, Apr 8: A 26-year-old IAS aspirant allegedly killed himself in Karnataka’s capital after he was blackmailed by online fraudsters who took his nude video with a stranger.

Narendra (name changed), an MBA graduate from Bhaktarahalli near KR Puram, reportedly ended his life on March 23. Though the reason for his extreme step was not known initially as he did not leave a suicide note, his sister later learnt that he was blackmailed by fraudsters who befriended him on Facebook. 

The victim had become friends with a stranger who identified herself as Neha Sharma on Facebook. On seeing her picture, he accepted her friend request and began chatting with her. The woman made a video call and convinced him to undress. Some miscreants associated with the woman recorded him in the nude and blackmailed him. Narendra paid the miscreants Rs 36,000 by borrowing from his friends on March 22. 

Two days after his death, Narendra’s friend reported that he borrowed money and appeared tensed. Narendra’s sister took his bank statement and found six transactions on the same day. She also found a message from Sharma. 

On contacting the profile, Sharma asked her to send Mahendra’s mobile number. She gave her nephew’s number and introduced him as Mahendra. The miscreants tried to extort money once again, promising to delete the video if he pays Rs 21,000. 

The stranger who chatted introduced himself as Tejas Ramesh Bhai, Sharma’s manager. He also named three managers: Moin Khan, Javed and Robin. Police have registered an abetment case against all five individuals and are proceeding with the investigations.

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News Network
April 25,2021

April 25: Israeli forces have for the third consecutive night attacked Palestinian worshipers outside one of the gates leading to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.

The scuffles took place at Bab al-Amoud (Damascus) Gate overnight into Sunday, as the Israeli forces tried to prevent the Palestinians from holding their usual prayers during the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

The regime forces attacked the worshipers using teargas canisters, stun grenades and foul-smelling water cannons.

They also physically assaulted some of the Palestinians while attempting to forcefully evacuate them from the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

In response, the Palestinians threw rocks at the Israeli forces and burned tires.

No serious injuries were reported, but at least one worshiper was arrested, according to Wafa news agency.

"The police are causing the problems. People want to sit down here at Damascus Gate in Ramadan," said Fares, a young Palestinian from East Jerusalem al-Quds.

"Everywhere else is closed because of the coronavirus, everybody is at home. Damascus Gate is very important to Palestinians, it's in the name and it's the way to our holy places."

Across the West Bank, Palestinians held protests in solidarity with the al-Quds residents.

Israeli forces launched a crackdown on the demonstrations, leading to clashes in the cities of al-Khalil (Hebron) and Tulkarm as well as the town of al-Ram and al-Quds at-Tur neighborhood.

In Jenin north of the West Bank, a child was injured by live Israeli gunshots at al-Jalama military checkpoint.

Additionally in Deir Sharaf west of the city of Nablus, several cases of injury from tear gas inhalation  were reported.

Solidarity protests also took place in the Gaza Strip along the fence separating the Israeli-blockaded enclave from the occupied territories.

Gaza tensions

On Saturday evening, a rocket fired from Gaza landed near a place of gathering for Israeli troops in the community of Kibbutz Nirim east of southern Gaza, causing alert sirens to go off.

Between Friday and Saturday, Gaza resistance fighters launched almost 40 rockets into the occupied lands.

Only seven of the rockets were intercepted by Israel, whose tanks and warplanes targeted Gaza.

Israeli army chief of staff Aviv Kohavi held a security assessment meeting with senior officers as well as prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, minister of military affairs Benny Gantz and Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, among others.

After the meeting, Gantz warned that Gaza “will be seriously hit” if rocket fire resumes.

“At the moment there is calm in the south, but if the calm is not maintained, Gaza will be seriously hit… and those responsible will be the leaders of Hamas,” he said in a statement, adding that the Israeli military “is prepared for the possibility of an escalation and will do what is necessary so the calm is preserved.”

Similarly, Netanyahu said that he had instructed security chiefs in the meeting to prepare for all scenarios with Gaza. 

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News Network
May 3,2021

India’s unemployment rate rose to a four-month high of nearly 8% in April, and the outlook remains weak thanks to the poor handling of the second wave of covid-19 by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi led government coupled with state administrations extending lockdowns to curb a record surge in virus cases.

Unemployment increased to 7.97% from 6.5% in March, with more than seven million jobs lost last month, according to data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy Pvt., a private research firm.

“There is a fall in the jobs available. This could be due to the lockdowns,” CMIE Managing Director Mahesh Vyas said by telephone. “Since the virus is still quite intense and we are stressed on the medical health-services front, it’s likely that the situation will remain tense in May as well.”

Daily Covid-19 deaths in India hit a record 3,689 Sunday. The number of new cases slowed slightly Monday after India on Saturday became the first country to register more than 400,000 daily cases.

PM  Modi, who announced a strict lockdown in March 2020 that resulted in millions of lost jobs and a record contraction in economic output, now is urging states to use such measures only as a last resort. Local administrations have been forced to extend curbs as the nation’s creaky health infrastructure can’t cope with the flood of virus cases, jeopardizing a nascent economic recovery.

The weak employment outlook is a risk for India’s chances of reaching double-digit economic growth this year. Many economists already have lowered their projections, while several are warning of possible reductions if provincial curbs are extended further.

Barclays Bank Plc on Monday lowered its forecast by one percentage point to 10%, as “there is growing uncertainty around the number of cases and fatalities,” economist Rahul Bajoria wrote in a research note. “Slowing vaccinations are also hurting India’s recovery prospects.”

Double Whammy

The rise in unemployment comes amid a backlash against government handling of the world’s worst Covid-19 outbreak. Modi’s party lost an election in a key state, while foreign envoys are joining Indians on social media clamouring for help with few medical supplies available.

A separate survey Monday by IHS Markit showed the manufacturing sector was still losing jobs in April, though the rate of contraction was the weakest in the current 13-month sequence of job shedding. The CMIE data -- which economists track closely in the absence of real-time employment data from the government -- show joblessness is more acute in urban areas as labourers return to their villages.

The labour-force participation rate, which includes the number of people with jobs and those seeking work, declined to just below 40% in April.

“It’s a double whammy for the economy,” Vyas said. “Some people get disappointed and leave the labour market. The problem is the inability of the Indian economy to generate sufficient jobs for people who want them, so incomes are falling.”

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News Network
April 21,2021

New Delhi, Apr 21: The Serum Institute of India (SII) has announced that it will price its Covishield vaccine at Rs 600 per dose for private hospitals and Rs 400 per dose for state governments.

In a statement, SII has said, "For the next two months, we will address the limited capacity by scaling up the vaccine production. Going ahead, 50% of our capacities will be served to the Government of India's vaccination program, and the remaining 50% of the capacity will be for the state governments and private hospitals."

Comparing the prices with the other vaccines in the world, SII has stated that while American vaccines are priced at Rs 1,500, Russian and Chinese vaccines would cost Rs 750 per dose, making Covishield a cheaper option.

However, the vaccine price will remain at Rs 150 per dose for the Centre.

In an order earlier this week, the Centre said all above 18 years of age are eligible for vaccination from May 1. As it liberalised the vaccination drive, the government allowed states, private hospitals and industrial establishments to procure the vaccine doses directly from manufacturers.

Of the 12.76 crore vaccine doses administered so far, the Covishield comprises over 90% of the vaccine doses, according to government data on Wednesday. Of this, 15 states and union territories have only given Covishield.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday urged India's vaccine manufacturers to continuously scale up their production capacity to vaccinate all Indians in the shortest possible time. India on Wednesday recorded nearly 3 lakh fresh cases in its biggest jump so far. The death toll has also gone up by over 2,000 in a day.

Interacting with vaccine manufacturers from across the country via video conferencing, PM Modi said the private sector will play an even more active role in the vaccination drive in the coming days and that this will require better coordination between hospitals and the industry.

In another significant move, the Centre has approved advance funds of Rs 3,000 crore for the Serum Institute and Rs 1,500 crore for Bharat Biotech, which is producing the Covaxin shots.

On the other hand, Johnson & Johnson has applied to India's drug regulator seeking permission to conduct phase-3 clinical trial of its single-dose Covid-19 vaccine in India while also seeking an import licence.

They said the company has sought an early meeting of the subject expert committee on Covid-19 of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) to take a decision on its application.

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