05 May 2021
A) West Bengal post-poll violence: NCW takes suo motu cognisance of attacks on women.
A team of the National Commission for Women (NCW) headed by its chairperson, Rekha Sharma, will visit West Bengal to investigate attacks on women during the post-poll violence seen in the State. A statement issued by the NCW said that it was taking suo motu cognisance of such attacks after videos were shared on Twitter of women being beaten up in Nandigram. The Commission is deeply perturbed and has viewed this incident seriously as it concerns the safety and security of women in the State, the statement added. On May 3, BJP leaders Kailash Vijayvargiya and Sambit Patra shared videos of the party office in Nandigram being ransacked as well as women supporters of the party being physically assaulted. The Commission has also written to DGP West Bengal to investigate instances of violence and arrest the accused persons. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday called up West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar and expressed serious anguish over reports of post poll violence in the State. Various political parties, including the BJP, the CPI(M) and the Congress have alleged that their cadre were being attacked by victorious Trinamool Congress members. CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury also condemned the violence, tweeting, Are these reports of gruesome violence in Bengal TMC’s ‘victory celebrations’? Condemnable. Will be resisted and rebuffed. Instead of focusing on combating the pandemic TMC unleashes such mayhem. CPI(M), as always will be with the people to protect, assist, providing relief. BJP president J.P. Nadda is expected to visit the homes of the party cadre who have allegedly been victims of violence. The Trinamool Congress leadership rubbished the allegations as baseless and false. TMC leader Firhad Hakim said that the BJP is trying to spread a false narrative when in certain places it is the TMC supporters who are at the receiving end of the violence.
B) Foreign aid for Covid-19 mostly went to Central hospitals.
Around 40 lakh items, comprising medicines, oxygen cylinders and masks received in foreign aid have been distributed to 86 institutions and hospitals, mostly run by the Central government in 31 States and Union Territories, according to a statement issued by the Union Health Ministry on Tuesday. Amid the second wave of Covid-19, with over 3 lakh cases being reported daily, India for the first time in 17 years decided to accept foreign aid. Emergency aid continued coming into the country from various countries. Seven tankers with 20 metric ton Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) each arrived at the Mundra port in Gujarat from United Arab Emirates (UAE), which is the first such shipment of LMO to India, according to the Ministry of External Affairs. In a joint effort by the U.K. with the Indian Air Force (IAF), an IAF transport aircraft ferried 450 oxygen cylinders to Chennai, while the fifth in a series of consignments carrying medical equipment, including 545 oxygen concentrators, arrived from the U.S. Also, a shipment from Kuwait arrived in India with 282 oxygen cylinders, 60 oxygen concentrators, ventilators and other medical supplies. Out of the eight hospitals in Delhi, six that received the aid sent from foreign countries are run by the Central government. Delhi is one of the worst affected States hit by oxygen shortage, with the Central government and the Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government sparring over the oxygen allocation. Oxygen allocation is being centrally controlled by an empowered group of officers. The Lady Hardinge Medical College, Safdarjung Hospital, Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), and National Institute of Tuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases in Delhi have received the foreign aid, the Ministry said. Two other hospitals in Delhi and a hospital run by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) in Noida have also received such aid. The 24 categories of items that have been received from foreign countries include BiPAP machines, oxygen concentrators and cylinders, PSA oxygen plants, pulse oximeters, drugs such as Flaviparivir and Remdesivir, PPE coveralls, N-95 masks and gowns, the Ministry said.
C) Both SP and BJP claim victory in U.P. panchayat polls.
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday claimed that the party had been the first preference of voters in the Uttar Pradesh panchayat polls, counting for which has been going on since May 2. The victory of the Samajwadi Party in large numbers is a clear indication that it has acceptability among the farmers, youth and in villages, Yadav said in a statement. However, the BJP on Monday evening claimed that it was ahead of the other parties and candidates linked to it had won 918 zilla panchayat member seats while on 557 others they enjoyed a decisive lead. Parties do not issue their symbols for the three-tier panchayat polls but indicate the candidates they support in the zilla panchayat election. The SP did not mention the specific number of candidates supported by it who had won. Party spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary, however, claimed that the BJP received a jolt in both Gorakhpur and Varanasi, the political home ground of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, respectively. The SP also received huge success in Lucknow, he said, adding that the BJP’s tricks had failed to work even in Prayagraj, Etawah and Azamgarh. The State Election Commission on Monday evening said that so far 2.32 lakh gram panchayat members, 38,317 gram panchayat pradhans, 55,925 kshetra panchayat members and 181 Zilla Panchayat members have been elected.
D) Twitter permanently suspends Kangana Ranaut’s account.
Twitter on Tuesday permanently suspended actor Kangana Ranaut’s account following a series of controversial tweets over the prevailing situation in West Bengal, which triggered sharp reactions on social media. When contacted, a Twitter spokesperson, said: We’ve been clear that we will take strong enforcement action on behaviour that has the potential to lead to offline harm. The referenced account has been permanently suspended for repeated violations of Twitter Rules, specifically our Hateful Conduct policy and Abusive Behaviour policy. We enforce the Twitter Rules judiciously and impartially for everyone on our service. Kangana is still active on her Instagram handle, where she shared a video on how the violence in West Bengal has left her distressed and beyond words and called it the death of democracy. She posted the video stating that it was an important message for our government on the Bengal violence.
E) HC asks Centre why it should not face contempt for failing to supply oxygen to Delhi as ordered.
The Delhi High Court Tuesday directed the Centre to show cause as to why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against it for failing to comply with order on supply of oxygen to Delhi for treating Covid-19 patients, PTI reported. A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli also rejected the Centre’s submission that Delhi was not entitled to 700 metric tonnes of medical oxygen in light of existing medical infrastructure. We see grim reality everyday of people not able to secure oxygen or ICU beds in hospitals, which have reduced beds due to gas shortage, it said. The high court directed two senior central government officers to be present before it on Wednesday to respond to the notice. It said the Supreme Court’s April 30 detailed order shows direction to the central government to provide 700 MT of oxygen per day to Delhi, not just 490 MT. It further said that the Supreme Court has already directed and now the high court is also saying that the Centre will have to supply 700 MT oxygen daily to Delhi right away, by whatever means.
F) BCCI suspends IPL 2021 after players test positive for Covid-19.
The Indian Premier League’s (IPL) 2021 edition has been indefinitely suspended, according to IPL chairman Brijesh Patel. They have suspended the IPL for now. The new window will be worked out later on. A statement will follow soon, Patel told. BCCI was forced to take the call since at least four teams have been affected by Covid-19. Earlier in the day, Sunrisers Hyderabad wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha and Delhi Capitals leg-spinner Amit Mishra were diagnosed to have contracted the Covid-19 infection. Multiple members of biosecure bubbles of both the franchises confirmed to The Hindu that Saha and Mishra have tested positive for Covid-19.
A) India to invest £530 million, including £240 million by Serum Institute, and create 6,500 jobs in U.K. under Modi-Johnson deal.
Britain has finalised £1 billion worth of new trade and investment with India, creating over 6,500 jobs in the UK. The deal was signed at a virtual summit between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on Tuesday. The investments form part of an Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP), which will set the ambition to double the value of UK-India trade by 2030 and declare a shared intent to begin work towards a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Each and every one of the more than 6,500 jobs we have announced today will help families and communities build back from coronavirus and boost the British and Indian economies, Johnson said. The trade and investment package unveiled by Britain contains over £533 million of new Indian investment into the UK, covering areas such as healthcare and technology. This includes a £240 million investment by the Serum Institute of India in the U.K. into its vaccine business and a new sales office in the country, expected to generate new business worth over $1 billion. Serum’s investment will support clinical trials, research & development and possibly manufacturing of vaccines, to help the UK and the world defeat the coronavirus pandemic and other deadly diseases, Downing Street said. British businesses have also secured new export deals with India worth more than 446 million pounds, which is expected to create more than 400 British jobs. Last week, Johnson spoke to Indian business leaders from companies such as Infosys and HCL, and the software majors are among the Indian companies listed as part of a series of investment deals, set to create 1,000 jobs each in the UK. Some of the others on the list include the likes of biotech firm Global Gene Corp, TVS Motors and Goila Butter Chicken.
B) Bill and Melinda Gates announce they are ending marriage
Bill and Melinda Gates have said that they are divorcing but would keep working together at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the largest charitable foundations in the world. In identical tweets, the Microsoft co-founder and his wife said they had made the decision to end their marriage of 27 years. They have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives, they said in a statement. They ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life. Bill Gates was formerly the world’s richest person and his fortune is estimated at well over $100 billion. How the couple end up settling their estate and any impact on the foundation will be closely watched. The Gateses were married in 1994 in Hawaii. They met after she began working at Microsoft as a product manager in 1987. The Seattle-based Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the most influential private foundation in the world, with an endowment worth nearly $50 billion. It has focused on global health and development and U.S. education issues since incorporating in 2000.