05 August 2020
A) Leave BJP hospitality first, Congress tells rebel MLAs
On August 4,Congress national spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said that the party could hold talks with rebel MLAs of the Sachin Pilot camp if they leave the hospitality of the Khattar government in Haryana and they come back to their home as well. When he was asked that whether doors are open for the dissidents, Surjewala said the legislators should first hold a dialogue with the party on the pre-condition that have to give up the security provided to them by the Haryana police in Manesar as well as the hospitality and friendship of the BJP too. Only then the dialogue can take place.
B) Lord Ram belongs to everyone, says Priyanka ahead of Ayodhya ceremony.
Breaking the silence of Congress party on the ground-breaking ceremony of the Ram temple in Ayodhya scheduled for 5 August, Congress general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on 4 August said that the occasion should symbolise national unity, fraternity and cultural harmony. She said that the character of Lord Ram is the thread that connects everyone in the Indian sub-continent, from North to South, East to West. After holding a recitation of Hanuman Chalisa at his Bhopal residence on 4 August,Kamal Nath announced that the Congress would send 11 silver bricks to Ayodhya for the temple on behalf of the people of Madhya Pradesh and he give the credit for former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi for opening the lock of the earlier temple at the disputed site in 1985.
C) Vivo likely to pull out as IPL sponsor
Chinese mobile phone company Vivo is likely to pull out as the IPL’s title sponsor for this year. It is in talks with the BCCI for an “amicable separation” amid rising Sino-India diplomatic tensions. The IPL will be held in the UAE from September 19 to November 10, 2020. The discussions are going on between BCCI office-bearers and the representatives of the company. There is a possibility that Vivo will not be a sponsor for 1 year.
D) SC reserves orders in decade-old Prashant Bhushan contempt case.
On 4 August, the Supreme Court has reserved for orders a decade-old contempt case against noted civil rights lawyer Prashant Bhushan, whose office said that he refused to apologize but he has agreed to issue a statement that his remarks about judicial “corruption” in an interview to Tehelka magazine in 2009 were not meant to hurt judges’ families or tarnish the judiciary. A two-page judicial order published later said that the court was yet to receive the explanation/apology which is to be submitted by Bhushan and Tarun Tejpal, the then editor-in-chief of Tehelka.
E) Covid Watch: Numbers and Developments.
The number of reported coronavirus cases from India stood at 19,01,856 with the death toll at 39,811. India on Tuesday recorded 52,050 new cases. It is interesting to note that at a time when India reported the highest one-day count of Covid-19 positive cases in the world, the Health Ministry in a presentation to the Parliamentary Committee on Health has claimed that the extended lockdown helped save nearly 78,000 lives. It also claimed that India imposed lockdown on the 55th day from the first case, while a majority of the countries waited till stage three with cases ranging from 4,000-12,000.
F) Heavy rainfall in Mumbai leading to flood is recorded.
Mumbai has recorded its heaviest rainfall since 2005, leading to flooding all over the city and travel chaos. The BMC urged residents to stay indoors. The BMC also said that the people of Mumbai are requested not to step out unless it is extremely necessary. The India Meteorological Department issued a red alert with a forecast of “extremely heavy” rainfall in Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Raigad and Ratnagiri districts in Maharashtra over the next 48 hours.
A) Trump signs order against hiring of H1B visa holders for federal contracts.
On 3 August, the President of US Mr. Donald Trump has signed an executive order which prevents the federal agencies from hiring foreign workers mainly those on H-1B visa – for federal contracts. The decision came over 1 month after the Trump administration suspended the H-1B visas, along with other types of foreign work visas, until the end of 2020 to protect American workers in a crucial year. The new restrictions took effect from June 24.
B) Eid ceasefire opens window for Indian hostages return.
The ceasefire of Eid between Taliban and the Afghan forces that has also included prisoner exchanges, has given a ray of hope that all 3 Indian hostages who were kidnapped back in 2018 will return their home soon. The negotiations for the release of two hostages have been completed, while Afghan officials are hopeful of resolving issues for the release of the third as well. A Loya Jirga (a grand tribal council) called by President Ashraf Ghani on August 7 in order to advise him on the fate of about 400 Taliban convicted of heinous crimes could also prove crucial in securing the release. The 3 hostages were employees of KEC International that was developing a power project in Northern Baglan province in Afghanistan.
C) China asks India to avoid politicising normal cooperation
On August 4, China has called upon India to avoid politicizing normal cooperation by reviewing the ongoing cooperation for language training between Indian universities and Chinese government-run programs. The Ministry of Education (Ministry of Human Resource Development) has also put several institutes that offer Chinese language training under the scanner by following the decision to drop Mandarin from the list of suggested languages under the National Education Policy (NEP). Part of this review extends to the Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms jointly established by China’s Confucius Institute and seven Indian universities and colleges.