Afghanistan Situation: Working To – Latest news headlines

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Doing All To Evacuate Indians In Afghanistan: Centre At All-Party Meet

Afghan Crisis: Control over Kabul airport has been split between occupying Taliban forces and US troops.

The government has told 31 opposition parties that the immediate priority is the evacuation of all Indians stranded in Afghanistan, sources said on Thursday afternoon. This was after an all-party meet called by Prime Minister Modi to brief the opposition on the “critical” Afghanistan situation.

Around 15,000 people have contacted the government seeking assistance in fleeing from Afghanistan, sources said, adding that Foreign Minister S Jaishankar had also briefed the opposition about evacuation steps being taken by other nations, such as the United States, Russia and China.

India is trying to evacuate as many people as possible from Afghanistan, Mr Jaishankar was quoted as saying by news agency PTI. He underlined that evacuating Indians is the “top priority”.

“We have undertaken evacuation operations in extremely difficult conditions, especially at the airport. Our immediate concern and task is evacuation, and the long-term interest is the friendship for the Afghan people,” Mr Jaishankar tweeted after the meeting.

Sources also said the government had told opposition leaders the Taliban broke promises made to the United States and its allies in Doha in the weeks up to its occupation of Kabul.

Last week – before the Taliban took control of Kabul – news agency Reuters said the Islamist group had agreed to a two-week cease-fire in exchange for President Ashraf Ghani’s resignation and the start of talks on setting up a transitional government.

Apart from Mr Jaishankar, the meeting was attended by Union Minister and Rajya Sabha MP Piyush Goyal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi.

Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge (Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha) and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury (party chief in the Lok Sabha) were among the opposition leaders present, as were NCP chief Sharad Pawar, the DMK’s TR Baalu, and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda.

India, which has been allowed to operate two flights per day from Kabul, has evacuated over 300 of its citizens so far. A similar number of citizens from other nations have also been brought back.

However, evacuations have been slowed by the volatile security situation in and around the airport in Kabul, control of which is split between occupying Taliban forces and the United States.

The Foreign Ministry has said the government is committed to their safe return, adding that the main challenge is the operational status of the airport. Evacuations have also been affected by the fact that some Indians had not registered on arrival in Kabul, making it difficult to locate them.

The last batch of evacuation flights from Kabul landed in India on Sunday – a special Air Force plane carrying around 168 people, including 107 Indian citizens, was among those flights.

The evacuees also included some Indian Sikhs who had taken refugee at a gurudwara in Kabul.

An Afghan woman who was on the Air Force flight told ANI the situation in her country was “deteriorating”, and that the Taliban had burned down her house.

Indians were also flown in on three other flights – operated by Air India, IndiGo and Vistara. These flights were routed via Tajikistan and Qatar, due to safety concerns over some flight paths.

On August 17, the Prime Minister chaired a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security to monitor the safe evacuation of Indians stranded in Afghanistan.

The Taliban took control of Afghanistan 10 days ago, after President Ashraf Ghani fled and the group walked into Kabul with no opposition. This was after a staggeringly fast rout of major cities, and following two decades of war that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.

Since then at least 20 people have died at Kabul airport as thousands rush to flee the country, according to a report by Reuters that quoted an unnamed NATO official.

With input from PTI, Reuters



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Latest News Today – PM Modi Meets Jammu And Kashmir Leaders In Big Outreach,

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PM’s All-Party Meeting: 14 J&K leaders from 8 parties were invited for the meet with PM Modi

New Delhi:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with top political leaders of Jammu and Kashmir at his Delhi residence today in the first such meeting after the region’s special status was scrapped in 2019.

Here’s your 10-point cheatsheet to this big story:

  1. Fourteen mainstream Jammu and Kashmir leaders from eight political parties, including four Chief Ministers, attended the meeting aimed at setting on course the political process in the region, which has been under President’s Rule since 2018 when the BJP withdrew support from then Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s government.

  2. Union Home Minister Amit Shah and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval flanked PM Modi as the meeting took place in a large hall at the Prime Minister’s residence.

  3. While no specific agenda had been revealed, reports suggested the discussions could include delimitation or redrawing of constituencies as the first step towards assembly polls after Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into two Union Territories.

  4. The Gupkar Alliance, a group of seven parties led by Ms Mufti and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, had said they would press for restoration of full statehood and special status at the meet. The Congress also echoed the demand.

  5. “I am going to the meeting. I will keep the demands there and then I will talk to you,” Farooq Abdullah told reporters before the meeting. “We have not been given an agenda. We will be attending the meeting to know what the Centre is offering,” added CPI(M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, who is also a spokesman of the Gupkar alliance.

  6. The government says while restoration of statehood will be considered “at an appropriate time”, that time has not come yet.

  7. This is the Centre’s first major outreach since August 2019, when it scrapped special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution. Several political leaders, including Ms Mufti, Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah, were detained amid massive security restrictions to prevent any protests over the sweeping changes.

  8. Home ministry officials have said with terrorism at a low in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic, the timing is right to begin the political process.

  9. There was talk of assembly elections alongside the Lok Sabha elections in 2019, but the Election Commission flagged concerns about security expressed by the Jammu and Kashmir administration.

  10. In December, local body elections were held in Jammu and Kashmir, in which Gupkar Alliance won more than 100 seats and the BJP emerged as the single largest party with 74 seats.

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Latest News Today – International Yoga Day 2021: When Covid Hit, No Country

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Several studies are taking place around the world on the benefits of yoga, PM Modi said.

New Delhi:

Yoga became a source of inner strength among people amid the novel coronavirus pandemic and inculcated faith in them that they could fight the virus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today. “Yoga shows us the road from stress to strength and from negativity to creativity,” PM said as he addressed the nation on the occasion of the 7th International Yoga Day.

“When Covid emerged, no country was prepared. At this time yoga became a source of inner strength. Yoga helps in self-discipline, it inculcated faith in people that they could fight this virus. Frontline warriors told me that they made yoga a tool in fighting the virus,” PM Modi, who was dressed in an orange kurta, said.

PM Modi also said that India, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), will launch the M-Yoga application, which will have many videos of yoga training based on Common Yoga Protocol available in different languages of the world.

This will help us in making the ”One World, One Health” motto successful, he said.

“For most of the countries of the world, Yoga Day is not their age-old cultural festival. In this difficult time, people in so much trouble could forget it, ignore it. But on the contrary, people’s enthusiasm for yoga has increased, love for yoga has increased,” PM said.

Yoga often gives us a way of holistic health, he said, adding that several studies are taking place around the world on the benefits of yoga on our body and immunity.

“Yoga not only focuses on physical health but also mental health. During Covid, several studies are going on, researching the benefits of yoga on our body and immunity. We see that yoga and breathing exercises are being done at the beginning of online classes. This is helping children in fighting the virus,” PM Modi said.

Highlighting the importance of yoga on one’s overall wellbeing, he said, “Yoga shows us the road from stress to strength and from negativity to creativity. Yoga tells us that so many problems might be out there, but we’ve infinite solutions within ourselves. We’re the biggest source of energy in the universe,” PM said in a televised address to the nation.

Many schools now begin their online classes with yogic exercises like pranayam, he said, adding that this prepares children physically to deal with Covid.

International Yoga Day is celebrated every year on June 21. The UN General Assembly in 2014 overwhelmingly adopted a draft resolution, declaring June 21 as International Yoga Day. A record 177 countries supported the resolution.

As per the UN website, the theme for Yoga Day this year is “Yoga for Well-Being” and how the practice of yoga can promote the holistic health of every individual.

(with inputs from PTI)

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Latest News Today – PM Modi On Mann Ki Baat Says, Navy, Air Force, Army

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PM Modi on Mann Ki Baat said that the nation is fighting COVID-19 with all its strength (File)

New Delhi:

The production of liquid medical oxygen, a key component in the treatment of Covid patients, has gone up by ten times, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today on his monthly radio programme “Mann Ki Baat”.

“In the normal course, we were producing 900 metric tonnes of liquid medical oxygen in a day. Today, the production has gone up to 9,500 metric tonnes a day – an increase of almost 10 per cent,” said the Prime Minister underlining the government efforts in fighting coronavirus.

A few weeks ago, there were multiple SOS from hospitals, with many saying they were left with just a few hours’ of medical oxygen. Social media catalogued oxygen demands from citizens across the country.

Emergency medical aid arrived from foreign donors to alleviate a dire oxygen shortage even as government directed states that all liquid oxygen, including stock existing with private plants, be used for medical purposes only. Special Oxygen Express Trains were started in response to states’ demand for urgent supply.

“During second wave of COVID-19, a major challenge was to supply medical oxygen to remote areas. To counter challenges that the country faced, drivers of Cryogenic oxygen tankers helped by working on war footing and saved lives of lakhs of people,” said the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister also highlighted the efforts of the armed forces in making sure oxygen supplies reach the far corners of the land.

“This fight (against COVID-19) is so big that like Railways, our country is working through all three routes, water, land, sky (Navy, Army and Air Force). Work of transporting empty tankers to oxygen plants by Air Force planes is being done, while the work of making new oxygen plants is also being completed,” said PM Modi.

Reminding listeners that today also marks the completion of seven years of BJP government at the centre, PM Modi reiterated the guiding philosophy of his government: “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vishwas”.

The Prime Minister underscored that the nation is fighting COVID-19 with all its strength.

In the beginning of the pandemic there was only one testing lab in the country, noted the Prime Minister, adding, that today more than 2,500 labs are working.

“Initially, a few hundred tests could be done in a day, now more than 20 lakh Covid tests are being conducted in a day. Till now, more than 33 crore samples have been tested in the country,” said PM Modi.

The country today recorded less than 2 lakh Covid cases for the third consecutive day with 1.65 lakh fresh infections, taking overall case count to 2.78 crore. The positivity rate remained below 10 per cent for sixth straight day.

Last evening, PM Modi announced that his government will provide support to children who have lost their parents to Covid. Free education will be ensured for them and they will get help in seeking higher education loans, an official statement read.

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Latest News Today – Contesting Another Seat? PM’s Jibe At Mamata Banerjee

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Bengal Assembly Election: PM Modi also mocked Mamata Banerjee’s letter to various opposition leaders

New Delhi:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, campaigning in West Bengal today as parts of the state voted in the second round of elections, said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was nervous about losing in Nandigram – the most high-profile constituency to vote in this phase – and suggested that she was desperate enough to consider a second constituency.

Didi, is there any truth in the rumour that you are going to file your nomination from another constituency? First you went there (Nandigram) and people gave you an answer. If you go somewhere else, people of Bengal are ready to give you the right answer,” said PM Modi, campaigning in Joynagar at South 24 Paraganas in Bengal .

About 60 km away in Nandigram, Mamata Banerjee had a tense day as she was confined at a polling booth for nearly two hours because of a face-off between supporters of her Trinamool Congress and the BJP.

The Chief Minister faces one of her toughest poll contests in Nandigram, where her BJP rival is her former aide Suvendu Adhikari.

PM Modi said Mamata Banerjee was “afraid of losing”, so was forced to camp in Nandigram. “Didi left Bhawanipore (her constituency in Kolkata) to go to Nandigram. Then she realised her mistake in coming here. Didi is forced to camp in Nandigram for three days,” he jibed.

Responding to the PM’s comments, Trinamool sources said the question of Ms Banerjee contesting another seat did not arise. “She is winning Nandigram comfortably,” said the sources.

PM Modi also mocked the Bengal Chief Minister’s letter to various opposition leaders on Wednesday calling for a united fight against the BJP, saying she “calls everyone outsiders, now she is appealing to them”.

He went on to accuse Mamata Banerjee of “not liking the Jai Shri Ram chant, the tilak and saffron clothes” and having a “problem” with the immersion of Goddess Durga.

“Trinamool is not cool, it is shool (thorn). Didi says thanda thanda cool cool. The khela (game) of blood will not work,” said PM Modi, once again raising allegations of a Trinamool role in the killing of BJP workers in Bengal. A BJP wave was blowing across Bengal, he said, adding that the party would win over 200 of the state’s 294 assembly seats.

Responding to the PM’s comments on Mamata Banerjee contemplating fighting from another seat because she was nervous about Nandigram, Trinamool sources said the question of another seat did not arise. “She is winning Nandigram comfortably,” said the sources.

The Prime Minister also responded for the first time to the Trinamool Congress accusing him of violating the poll code with his recent trip to Bangladesh in the middle of elections. The Trinamool has complained to the Election Commission that the PM’s visit to Bangladesh, where he prayed at an iconic Kali temple and addressed members of the Matua community, was “unethical” and aimed at influencing voters in neighbouring Bengal. The Matuas, a Dalit community, are said to have considerable influence in several districts of West Bengal.

Didi did not like me praying at the Ma Kali temple in Bangladesh. Our faith in Gods is not seasonal like it is for Mamata Banerjee. We always take pride in our faith and tradition,” said the PM.

“I visited one of the 51 Shaktipeeth Jeshoreshwari Kali temple in Bangladesh. TMC has taken offence. Is it wrong to pay obeisance to Shri Harichand Thakur (founder of the Matua sect) at Orakandi?”

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“Credit To India, Not Any Government For Win In Covid | Sidnaz Blog

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Credit for winning the fight did not go to any government, but the entire country, PM Modi said.

New Delhi:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said India had fought an unknown enemy in the form of the coronavirus to save its citizens and the credit for winning the fight did not go to any government or individual, but the entire country.

“Corona was an unknown enemy. But India, to save its citizens, fought an unknown enemy. The glory of winning that fight does not go to any government or individual. But the credit does go to India,” PM Modi said in parliament, replying to a debate on the President’s speech at the start of the Budget session.

“What is the harm in taking pride in that achievement? Opposition is good, but at least don’t break the nation’s confidence, don’t undermine the contribution of corona warriors and others.”

PM Modi said the world had acknowledged that India had played a big role in saving mankind.

“The world was very worried about India – that if India could not handle the pandemic, crores would be infected, lakhs would die.”

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Describing India as the land of opportunities, he said the world’s eyes were on the country and there was a belief that if India took the lead, it would solve many problems of the world.

“We are carrying out the world’s biggest vaccination drive. It’s a proud moment for us. We sent medicines in Corona times to 150 nations,” he said.

Members of the Trinamool Congress walked out of the Rajya Sabha when the Prime Minister started his reply.

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