Cinemas to reopen at 50% capacity, states to decide on schools - The Daily Guardian
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Cinemas to reopen at 50% capacity, states to decide on schools

Rakesh Singh



The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA)
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA)

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued “reopening guidelines” on Wednesday, directing the opening up of more activities in areas outside the containment zones, which will come into effect from 1 October 2020. The new guidelines are based on feedback received from states and Union Territories, and extensive consultations held with related Central ministries and departments. 

The MHA guidelines have allowed cinemas, theatres and multiplexes outside the containment zones to reopen with up to 50 per cent of their seating capacity from 15 October. The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting will soon issue an SOP in this regard. The use of Aarogya Setu mobile application will continue to be encouraged. 

Business to Business (B2B) exhibitions will be permitted to open, for which, SOP will be issued by the Department of Commerce.

 Swimming pools being used for training of sportsman will be permitted to open, for which the standard operating procedure (SOP) will be issued by Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports (MoYA&S). 

Social, academic, sports, entertainment, cultural, religious, political functions and other congregations have already been permitted with a ceiling of 100 people, outside containment zones only. Now state and UT governments have been given the flexibility to permit such gatherings beyond the limit of 100 people, outside containment zones, after 15 October.

 In closed spaces, a maximum of 50% of the hall capacity will be allowed, with a maximum of 200 people. Wearing of face masks, maintaining social distancing, provision for thermal scanning and use of hand wash or sanitizer will be mandatory. In open spaces, one has to keep the space in view, and with strict observance of social distancing, mandatory wearing of face masks, provision for thermal scanning and hand wash or sanitizer. 

To ensure that such gatherings do not spread Covid-19 cases, state and UT governments will issue detailed SOPs to regulate such gatherings, and strictly enforce the same. All activities, except international air travel of passengers, will be permitted by the MHA. 

The states and UTs have been allowed to decide on reopening schools, colleges and coaching institutes after 15 October in a graded manner. 

Under the current rules, students from classes 9 to 12 are allowed to visit their schools voluntarily and higher education institutions can be opened only for research scholars and post-graduate students of technical and professional programmes. States and UT governments have been given the flexibility to take a decision after 15 October, in a graded manner. People above 65 years of age, co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years are advised to stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes. 

Lockdown shall continue to be implemented strictly in the containment zones till 31 October 2020. Containment zones shall be demarcated by the district authorities at the micro level after taking into consideration the guidelines of the MoHFW with the objective of effectively breaking the chain of transmission. Strict containment measures will be enforced in these containment zones and only essential activities will be allowed. Within these zones, strict perimeter control will be maintained and only essential activities allowed. These zones will be notified on the websites of the respective district collectors and by the states and UTs and information will also be shared with the MOHFW. 

State and UT governments will not impose any local lockdown outside the containment zones, without prior consultation with the Central government. There shall be no restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement. There shall be no restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement of persons and goods. No separate permission, approval, epermit will be required for such movements. National Directives for Covid-19 management shall continue to be followed throughout the country, with a view to ensure social distancing. Shops will need to maintain adequate physical distancing among customers. The MHA will monitor the effective implementation of National Directives.

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India on Tuesday outright and unequivocally rejected the “farcical resolution” passed by Pakistan’s National Assembly over the delimitation exercise in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. India did not stop here only, but it went beyond that and hit out at Pakistan’s leadership as well. In what is being described as a clear message to Pakistan’s premier Shehbaz Sharif, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “It is regrettable that instead of putting their own house in order, the leadership in Pakistan continues to interfere in India’s internal affairs and engage in baseless and provocative anti-India propaganda.”

The diplomatic sources told The Daily Guardian, now the message to Pakistan from India is clear that the new government under PM Shehbaz Sharif is no different from previous regimes. “So, in view of this, Sharif should not also expect that India would open any window of opportunity to restore normal diplomatic ties with Pakistan even now,” sources said. “It’s a well calculated reaction that India came up with, hitting out at Pakistan’s leadership against the backdrop of Pakistan’s National Assembly passing resolution on delimitation in J&K,” sources added. PM Sharif has already on many occasions signaled his Kashmir-centric approach. Pakistan’s National Assembly on last Thursday unanimously passed a resolution introduced by its Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari denouncing the delimitation

exercise in Jammu and Kashmir.

MEA spokesman Bagchi was quick to bring up the issue of terrorism, demanding that Pakistan immediately cease anti-India cross-border terrorism and shut down its infrastructure of terrorism. “Stop the grave and persistent human rights violations in Pakistan occupied Jammu, Kashmir & Ladakh, refrain from effecting any further material changes in the status of PoJKL, and vacate the Indian territories that are under your illegal and forcible occupation,” he said.

Sources said that the Modi government is not going to compromise on the issue of terrorism is an unambiguous message that Shehbaz should understand.  In this context, Jaishankar’s views expressed in the book “Modi@20: Dreams Meet Delivery” need to be recalled.  Jaishankar in the book wrote, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been crystal clear that he will never allow terrorism, especially of the cross-border nature, to be normalized, and this determination has shaped India’s policy towards Pakistan since 2014.” “Is there any clearer message needed by Pakistan regarding India’s policy towards cross-border terrorism and for that matter towards Islamabad,” ask diplomats. “PM Modi will neither overlook nor tolerate terrorism,” they add. “Before any bid to internationalise Kashmir, the Shehbaz government should think twice about the Modi government’s determined approach with regard to terrorism in the region,” officials say.  

On 12 May, the National Assembly of Pakistan passed a resolution rejecting the Delimitation Commission’s report which was released earlier this month. Reacting to the resolution, MEA spokesman Bagchi said, “Pakistan has no locus standi to pronounce on or interfere in matters that are internal to India, including the Indian territories under Pakistan’s illegal and forcible occupation.” Asserting that the entire territory of the UTs and Ladakh “has been, is and shall always remain an integral part of India”, Bagchi added that the delimitation exercise is a “democratic exercise based on the principles of extensive stakeholder consultation and participation”.


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CBI books Karti Chidambaram for ‘bribery’ to provide visa to Chinese firm



The Central Bureau of Investigation has registered a case against five accused including private persons based in Chennai, Mumbai, private companies based in Mumbai, Mansa (Punjab), etc and unidentified public servants and private persons. The accused include Congress leader Karti P. Chidambaram.

As per the CBI, the case has been registered on certain allegations including bribery to facilitate the issuance of visas to a Chinese company beyond the ceiling. The other four accused in the case have been identified as S. Bhaskararaman (close associate) based in Chennai, Vikas Makharia, representing Mansa (Punjab) based private company, M/s Talwandi Sabo Power Limited, Mansa (Punjab), M/s Bell Tools Limited, Mumbai (Maharashtra), and other unidentified public servant(s) and private person(s).

“It has been alleged that the private company based at Mansa was in the process of

establishing a 1980 MW thermal power plant at Mansa (Punjab) and establishing of the plant was outsourced to a Chinese company. It has been further alleged that the project was running behind its schedule. In order to avoid penal actions for the delay, the said private company of Mansa was trying to bring more and more Chinese persons/professionals for their site at District Mansa (Punjab) and needed Project VISAs over and above the ceiling imposed by the Ministry of Home Affairs,” the security agency said in a press release.

Further, the CBI informed that as per allegation, the representative of the said private company approached a person based in Chennai through his close associate/frontman, and thereafter they devised a back-door way to defeat the purpose of the ceiling (maximum of Project VISAs permissible to the company’s plant) by granting permission to re-use 263 Project VISAs allotted to the said Chinese company’s officials. “It has been alleged that in pursuance of the same, the said representative of Mansa-based private company submitted a letter to Ministry of Home Affairs seeking approval to re-use the Project VISAs allotted to this company, which was approved within a month, and permission was issued to the company. A bribe of Rs 50 lakh was allegedly demanded by said private person based in Chennai through his close associate/Frontman which was paid by the said Mansa based private company,” the release stated. As per the release, it has also been alleged that the payment of said bribe was routed from Mansa based private company to said private person of Chennai and his close associate/Frontman through a Mumbai based company as payment of false invoice raised for Consultancy and out of pocket expenses for Chinese VISAs related works whereas the private company based at Mumbai was never in any kind of work relating to VISAs rather it was in an entirely different business of industrial knives.

Sources said the case is related to foreign remittances received by Karti Chidambaram between 2010 and 2014. As per sources, Karti had allegedly received Rs 50 lakh from a person named Sabu. The CBI on Tuesday conducted coordinated raids on at least 10 premises of Rajya Sabha MP Chidambaram and his son, Karti, across multiple locations, including their Delhi’s official residence and Chennai house, on Tuesday. A CBI team visited the official residence of P. Chidambaram at Lodhi Estate in Delhi and conducted searches for around six hours. Soon Karti took to Twitter saying, “I have lost count, how many times has it been? Must be a record.”

P. Chidambaram also tweeted that a CBI team searched his house in Chennai and official residence in Delhi, during which the search team found and seized nothing. “The team showed me an FIR in which I’m not named as an accused… I may point out that timing of the search is interesting,” said Chidambaram.

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Wheat consignments awaiting customs clearance can be exported: Govt

US envoy to UN urges India to reconsider wheat export ban.



The Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry on Tuesday said that wheat consignments that have been examined by the customs authorities and registered on their system on or before 13 May would be allowed to be exported from India. The development came even as US Ambassador to UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Tuesday said that they hope to convince India to reconsider its decision to limit exports of wheat due to possible shortages in future amid excessive heat in the Indian subcontinent.

The Centre last week amended the country’s export policy of wheat by putting its export under the “prohibited” category. The order that was rolled out by the Ministry of Commerce stated that the government has banned the wheat exports with “immediate effect”. Speaking at a press briefing in New York on Global Food Security, AmbassadorThomas-Greenfield said that they have seen the report on India’s decision and that they are ensuring India reconsiders its decision. “We’re encouraging countries not to restrict exports because we think any restrictions on exports will exacerbate the food shortages. But you’ve—again, India will be one of the countries participating in our meeting at the Security Council, and we hope that they can, as they hear the concerns being raised by other countries, that they would reconsider that position,” she said on India prohibiting wheat export.

India on Saturday made its position clear saying that decision to restrict wheat exports will control food prices and strengthen the food security of the country and countries facing a deficit. India also made it clear that it remains a reliable supplier as it is honouring all contracts.

Speaking at a press conference with Sudhanshu Pandey, Secretary Department of Food and Consumer Affairs, and Manoj Ahuja, Secretary Agriculture, the Commerce Secretary said that all exports orders where the letter of credit has been issued would be fulfilled. He added that directing the wheat exports through government channels would not only ensure fulfilling the genuine needs of our neighbours and food-deficit countries but also control inflationary expectations.

Talking about the availability of wheat, Commerce secretary Subrahmanyam said, “Apart from the food security of India, the Government is committed to ensuring food security of neighbours and vulnerable countries,” he said. He said that the control order serves three main purposes: “It maintains the food security for the country, it helps others who are in distress, and maintains India’s reliability as a supplier,” he said.

The government on Tuesday announced some relaxation to its order dated 13 May issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), Department of Commerce, on restricting wheat exports. It has been decided that wherever wheat consignments have been handed over to Customs for examination and have been registered into their systems on or prior to 13.5.2022, such consignments would be allowed to be exported, the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry said in a statement on Tuesday. The government also allowed a wheat consignment headed for Egypt, which was already under loading at the Kandla port. This followed a request by the Egyptian government to permit the wheat cargo being loaded at the Kandla port. M/s Mera International India Pvt. Ltd., the company engaged for export of the wheat to Egypt, had also given a representation for completion of loading of 61,500 MT of wheat of which 44,340 MT of wheat had already been loaded and only 17,160 MT was left to be loaded. The government decided to permit the full consignment of 61,500 MT and allowed it to sail from Kandla to Egypt.

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Decade lost in 2G scam, India moving towards 5G, 6G: PM Modi

PM Modi launches 5G Test Bed, says 5G technology will contribute $450 billion to the Indian economy.



In a veiled attack on Congress, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that the country is making rapid strides in the telecom sector as 5G and 6G will help boost growth in every sector after “losing a decade of policy paralysis and corruption of the 2G”. Addressing the silver jubilee celebrations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Prime Minister Modi said, “The country has made rapid strides from 3G to 4G and now 5G and 6G, out of the despair, frustration, corruption, policy paralysis of 2G era. Our telecom sector is a great example of how self-reliance and healthy competition create a multiplier effect in society and the economy.”

PM Modi launched a 5G Test Bed, developed as a multi-institute collaborative project by a total of eight institutes led by IIT Madras. “5G Test Bed is an important step towards the country’s self-reliance on critical and modern technology in the telecom sector. 5G technology is also going to bring positive changes in the governance of the country, ease of living and ease of doing business. This will boost growth in every sector including agriculture, health, education, infrastructure and logistics. This will also create many employment opportunities,” said the Prime Minister. He said connectivity will determine the pace of progress of the country in 21st century. He stressed on the modernization of connectivity at every level.

PM Modi further said that every village in the country today is being connected with optical fiber. “Before 2014, even 100-gram panchayats in India were not connected to optical fiber connectivity. Today broadband connectivity has reached about 2.5 lakh gram panchayats. To make mobile accessible to the poorest of the poor families, we have emphasized on manufacturing of mobile phones in the country itself. The result was that the mobile manufacturing units increased from 2 to over 200,” he said. Prime Miniter said that India is the fastest expanding country in the world in terms of teledensity and internet users. “Now the country is marching ahead with the ‘whole of the government’ approach by moving beyond the thinking of silos. In the last 8 years, we have infused new energy in the telecom sector with the Panchamrita of Reach, Reform, Regulate, Respond and Revolutionize. TRAI has played a very important role in it.” According to the Prime Minister’s Office, the Test Bed project has been developed at a cost of more than Rs 220 crore. The Test Bed will enable a supportive ecosystem for Indian industry and startups which will help them validate their products, prototypes, solutions and algorithms in 5G and next-generation technologies. TRAI was established in 1997 through the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997.

Prime Minister Modi said 5G technology will contribute $450 bn to the Indian economy while adding that by the end of this decade, the country will be able to launch 6G services. “It is estimated that in the coming time, 5G will contribute USD 450 bn to the Indian economy. This will not only accelerate internet speed but also boost development and employment. By the end of this decade, we will be able to launch 6G services, our task force is working on it. Our efforts will help our start-ups become global champions in the telecom sector and 5G technology,” he said.

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Varanasi civil court grants two more days to submit Gyanvapi mosque survey report, removes advocate-commissioner from panel formed to survey the mosque.



The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the District Magistrate of Varanasi to protect the area of the Gyanvapi Mosque complex where a “Shivling” has been claimed to have been found. After the survey conducted on Monday, Sohan Lal Arya, a petitioner in the case, had claimed that the survey had found a “Shivling” in the complex. Arya had accompanied the court commission for the mosque survey.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday clarified that the Varanasi court order shall confine to the protection of the “Shivling” reportedly found, but there won’t be any restrictions on the entry of Muslims and offering namaz in the Gyanvapi mosque. The top court adjourned the hearing till Thursday. Hearing the plea filed by the Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Committee to stop the survey of the disputed site, the Supreme Court ordered and issued notice to the Varanasi District Magistrate to protect the area of the mosque where Shivling is claimed to have been found but with a rider: without hindering access to Muslim devotees there for offering namaz.

Arguing their case before the bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and P.S. Narasimha, Senior Advocate Ahmadi, representing Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Committee, told the bench that the lower court had ordered sealing of the mosque premises without hearing Muslims who are party to the dispute. The lower court has not received the survey report and yet its findings have been made public. The entire exercise of the survey should have been kept confidential. “It is unfortunate that the civil court ordered sealing

of the area on the basis of the claim that they had found a Shivling there,” Ahmadi observed. Giving a breakdown of the case in the lower court to the Bench, Ahmadi said that they challenged the appointment of the court commissioner, which was rejected by the civil court. They asked the court to change the commissioner, but that prayer was also rejected saying that “you cannot choose the commissioner”. The petitioners (Hindus) are demanding to change the very character of the mosque, he said. The petitioners have sought the right to offer pooja and darshan of Maa Shringar Gauri, Ganesha and other deities. They are demanding the right to conduct pooja, arati and bhog. This would alter the character and status of this place which is a mosque at present.

After hearing him, the Bench said, “What we can do? We can ask the lower court to decide your petition on a priority basis.” Advocate Hari Shakar Jain, representing the Hindu petitioners, had taken ill and was not present in the Court on Tuesday. Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General of India, represented the government of Uttar Pradesh in the dispute. After hearing the parties, the bench deferred the case to Thursday and said: “We will protect part of this area where Shivling was found. But rest of the order in points 1, 2 and 3 is STAYED.”

Protesting the order, Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General of India, told the bench that there is apprehension that the “Shivling” may be harmed to which the bench said that they would issue orders to protect the “Shivling”. Mehta said that he would like to discuss that in the next hearing. All what he wanted was that their order does not have an undesired consequences.

Meanwhile, the Varanasi civil court on Tuesday removed the Advocate-Commissioner Ajay Kumar Mishra from the panel formed to survey the Gyanvapi mosque. The court-appointed special Commission has also received two more days to submit the survey report. “Court has granted two days time to submit the report. He (Advocate-Commissioner Ajay Kumar Mishra) was not cooperating,” Assistant Court Commissioner Ajay Pratap Singh said. The Commission had sought two days’ time to submit the survey report. “We had sought two days’ time from the court. The Court has granted us two days’ time for submission of the report,” Advocate Vishal Singh, the Court-appointed special assistant commissioner said. According to Ajay Pratap Singh, only 50% of the report was complete by Tuesday morning. Meanwhile, president of Hindu Sena, Vishnu Gupta, on Tuesday filed an intervention application seeking directions for dismissal of the petition filed by Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Management Committee challenging videography survey of the mosque complex.

(With agency inputs)

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Satellogic Inc. (NASDAQ: SATL), a leader in sub-meter resolution Earth Observation (“EO”) data collection, announced today that it has agreed with UP42, a geospatial developer platform and marketplace enabling direct access to Satellogic’s satellite tasking high-resolution multispectral and wide-area hyperspectral imagery via the UP42 API-based platform. The agreement includes the archive of high-frequency, high-resolution Satellogic data.

The companies made the announcement today at the Geospatial World Forum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, where UP42 CEO Sean Wiid and Satellogic Business Development & Sales Director Eldridge de Melo are featured, speakers.

“This exciting new collaboration gives UP42 customers a distinct advantage in rapidly creating geospatial solutions,” said UP42’s CEO Sean Wild. “Users can now derive insights from Satellogic data using algorithms and data fusion via our developer-first platform.”

Direct API access to Satellogic’s multi- and hyperspectral data – with intraday updates – supports rapid, timely, and frequent monitoring of critical assets in diverse sectors, such as energy, utilities, local government, and security. The UP42 platform’s REST API and Python SDKs can be fully customized, allowing UP42 users to build cost-effective solutions and quickly deliver end products to their clients.

“Our mission of democratizing access to critical Earth Observation data means making our data available where it’s convenient for end-users,” said Thomas VanMatre, VP of Global Business Development at Satellogic. “UP42 is a leading geospatial marketplace with value-added capabilities, enabling its customers to access and analyze data without extensive expertise. It is collaborations like this alliance with UP42 that will increase adoption of EO data across new markets, driving better decision making and outcomes.”

The growing Satellogic constellation currently consists of 22 operational small satellites, capable of acquiring 4-band (RGB NIR) multispectral data at 70 cm (1m native) spatial resolution over a 5km swath and up to 29-band (460-830nm) hyperspectral imagery at 25m resolution over a 125km swath.

During pre-processing, Satellogic imagery is optimized for analysis by Machine Learning (“ML”) and Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) applications – a significant benefit for UP42 users who will have access to more than 75 ML/AI algorithms on the UP42 platform.

UP42 users will be able to apply Satellogic data sets and extracted knowledge to support projects in a range of applications spanning the public and private sectors, including Agriculture and Forestry, Energy and Sustainability, Critical Infrastructure Management, Finance, and Insurance, Environment and Climate, and Government.

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