10 August 2020
A) Kerala rains: Idukki landslip death toll crosses 40.
With the recovery of 16 more bodies from the landslip-hit estate area of Pettimudy near Rajamala on August 9, the total number of deaths crossed 40. As per the official data 24 more persons are still missing from the accident spot where a major landslip on Thursday buried four estate ‘layams, ( living quarters of estate workers). Despite the adverse climate, including rains and mists hampering the search operation in the hilly terrain, the efforts to drive out water from the area began on 9 August. About 200 members of NDRF were searching the area where three acres of land are completely under the debris.
The access to the earthmovers was difficult as the area was water-logged. A dog squad of the district police also joined the search operation. The sniffer dogs helped in tracing many bodies from the accident area. Drones were also used to search the area and eight bodies were retrieved from the stream which flowed close to the ill-fated layams where the water stream from the landslip joined. Seven earthmovers were engaged in removing the debris to search the area.
B) CISF orders inquiry after DMK MP was asked ‘are you Indian’
The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) on 9 August ordered an inquiry soon after DMK MP Kanimozhi’s complained that a woman officer of the paramilitary agency at the Chennai airport had asked her if she was Indian for not speaking in Hindi. Soon after she encountered the experience while proceeding to New Delhi, the Thoothukudi MP had tweeted, “Today at the airport a CISF officer asked me if I am an Indian when I asked her to speak to me in Tamil or in English as I did not know Hindi. I would like to know that from when being an Indian is equal to knowing the language Hindi.”
Soon the CISF headquarters responded promising appropriate action. “We sincerely acknowledge your unpleasant experience. Kindly DM journey details; the name of the airport, location, date, and time of the incident for appropriate action in the matter,” the agency said.
C) MoD introduces import embargo for Make in India push.
On 9 August the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announced that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) would introduce import embargo on 101 items beyond given timeline to boost indigenization of defense production. The policy change comes in the wake of Chinese transgressions and buildup along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh. China has refused to pull back forces from several areas. It massed troops since April-May and has refused to vacate areas along the border that were traditionally patrolled by the Indian Army.
D) Zomato introduces ‘period leaves’ for employees.
Online restaurant guide and food ordering platform Zomato on 8 August said that it is introducing up to 10 days of ‘period leaves’ for all women employees to build a more inclusive work culture in the organization. In a blog post, the Founder and CEO of Zomato Mr. Deepinder Goyal said that at Zomato, they want to foster a culture of trust, truth, and acceptance. Starting from 9 August, all women (including transgender people) at Zomato can avail up to 10 days of period leaves in a year. They should feel free to tell people on internal groups, or emails that they are on their period leave for the day.
E) Covid Watch: Numbers and Developments.
The number of coronavirus cases reported from India stands at 22,11,342 with the death toll at 44,435. India on 9 August recorded 64,399 new cases. The Health Ministry continues to play up positive numbers. The number of recoveries has increased to 14,80,884 with 53,879 coronavirus patients having recovered and discharged in 24-hours, the highest in a single day. The recovery rate is now 68.78%. The fatality rate has further dropped to 2.01 percent.
F) PM launches the farm Infra scheme.
On 9 August, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched a new financing scheme under the ₹1akh crore Agriculture Infrastructure Fund meant for setting up storage and processing facilities, which will help farmers get higher prices for their crops. PM Modi launched the scheme via videoconferencing and interacted with farmers across the country. He also released the sixth installment of funds under the PM-KISAN, which amounted to ₹17,000 crores to about 8.5 crore farmers. The first ₹1,000 crores was sanctioned on 9 August to over 2,280 farmer societies under the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund, which was approved by the Cabinet a month ago.
A) Mahinda Rajapaksa was sworn in as the PM of Sri Lanka.
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa on 9 August took the oath of office as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, following the ruling party’s landslide victory in the August 5 general election. Mr. Rajapaksa, 74, polled a record-breaking share of preferential votes over five lakh this election, reflecting his popularity in the electorate 50 years after he first entered Parliament. The swearing-in ceremony was held at the Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara, at a revered Buddhist temple near Colombo, where his younger brother and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa administered the oath, after he bowed and took Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa’s blessings. The inaugural session of the new Parliament is scheduled for August 20.
B) Nepal, India in the war of words over Buddha.
Nepal is the land of origin of Lord Buddha, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kathmandu asserted on Sunday after External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar described the founder of Buddhism as one of the greatest Indians ever. Former Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal said Mr. Jaishankar’s comments about Lord Buddha were “objectionable”. “It is a well-established and undeniable fact proven by historical and archaeological evidence that Gautama Buddha was born in Lumbini, Nepal. Lumbini is one of the UNESCO world heritage sites,” said the official spokesperson of the Ministry.
C) Amid pandemic, India & Pak. spar over Indus water talks.
India has refused a request by Pakistan to hold a meeting on issues around the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) at the Attari check post near the India-Pakistan border. In March India had suggested a virtual conference but Pakistan had insisted on a physical meeting but because of restrictions on movement in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, traveling to the border for a meeting isn’t advisable. The last such meeting between the two countries was in October in Islamabad, and, as per the agreement in the Indus Water Treaty (IWT), a meeting was to be scheduled in India before March 31. India has called for the appointment of a ‘neutral’ party while Pakistan favors a Court of Arbitration to agree upon a final resolution on the design parameters of this hydropower project.
D) U.S. Health Secretary visits Taiwan, angering China.
A senior member of the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump had visited Taiwan on 9 August for the highest level visit of Washington since switching diplomatic recognition to China in 1979. During the 3 day visit, the Health Secretary will meet the President of Taiwan, Ms. Tsai Ing-wen. He advocates that Taiwan should be recognized as a sovereign nation and is loathed by the leaders of China. The office of Ms. Tsai said that the meeting would take place on the morning of 10 August. The health secretary of the US is the most senior Cabinet member who visits Taiwan in decades. His visit comes as relations between the two biggest economic powers of the world stabbed to historic lows.