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ICU BEDS FULL AS DELHI SEES COVID SURGE, DIWALI SPREAD A BIG WORRY

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Delhi Covid Cases

With Diwali round the corner and a massive surge in Covid-19 cases in the national capital, government authorities are a worried lot today. To add to their concern is the deteriorating air pollution in the city which, many health experts warn, will further raise the risk posed by the virus.

In the last 24 hours, Delhi recorded 7,053 fresh Covid-19 cases on Thursday, a day after its daily Covid-19 tally breached the record 8,000-mark. The city also recorded 107 deaths due to Covid-19—the highest ever since the pandemic broke out, pushing the total death toll to 7,332. This is the first time that the toll breached 100-mark.

With rising Covid numbers, ICU facilities in the city are in such short supply that some hospitals are squeezing more beds into existing wards ahead of the weekend. “We are firefighting because Diwali is looking like a super spreader event in front of us and the public just doesn’t see the threat,” Reuters quoted a senior health department official in Delhi as saying.

The city’s bazaars have been buzzing with people ahead of Diwali and the wedding season after the government relaxed regulations in a bid to breathe life into the lockdown-hit economy. Mask-wearing is common but social distancing is not, and infections may spike in coming days, Reuters said.

The Centre has asked the AAP government to prepare resources to handle as many as 15,000 cases a day and test more aggressively.

As per a Reuters report, over half of the city’s 16,511 Covid hospital beds were occupied as of Wednesday, government data showed, with more than 24,000 other patients isolating at home. There is no separate data for ICU beds.

The Delhi government said hundreds of more beds have been reserved for Covid-19 patients in nearly two dozen private and government hospitals. More than 100 ICU beds are also being added in government setups.

“Most of the cases are coming from working class people, those aged between 20 and 50, those who are very active,” Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain told ANI, indicating these victims may not need critical care.

All ICU beds at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, one of the top private hospitals in the city, are now occupied, said Dhiren Gupta, a senior pulmonologist. In government-run Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, doctors have packed beds into ICU wards to the closest permissible limit. “We have increased the number of beds but there are limitations of distancing and ventilation,” said Desh Deepak, a senior pulmonologist told Reuters. “We’re operating at almost full capacity in ICUs.”

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Centre trying to crush Tamil culture, language and history: Rahul Gandhi

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Kanyakumari (Tamil Nadu) [India], March 1 (ANI): Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday attacked the Central Government and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for attempting to humiliate and crush Tamil culture, language and history.
“This election is about giving a message. First is, that our country is a country of different religions, cultures, languages, histories and we respect all that. We do not accept Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s and RSS’ attempt to humiliate and crush Tamil culture, language and Tamil history,” said Rahul Gandhi on the second day of his visit to poll-bound Tamil Nadu.
“I was told that when Kamaraj Ji died, his entire belongings were in one small suitcase. A leader like him truly represents Tamil people and their aspirations. He had fought for his people, and that is the kind of leader you need as Chief Minister,” he said during a roadshow in Kanyakumari.

During the roadshow, the Wayanad MP also aimed at Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister EK Palaniswami along with RSS, saying that Palaniswami has been acting on the directions of the Centre and does not represent the state.
“He (CM) must not let Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) insult Tamil culture. Modi says ‘1 nation, 1 culture, 1 history’. Is Tamil not an Indian language? Is Tamil history not Indian or is Tamil culture not Indian? As an Indian, it’s my duty to protect Tamil culture,” Gandhi said.
He further alleged that the government in Delhi does not respect Tamil Culture.
“Government in Delhi does not respect Tamil culture. They have a Chief Minister who does everything they say. CM (E.K. Palaniswami) does not represent the state, he represents what Modi wants him to do. A person who bows before only Prime Minister Narendra Modi can’t represent Tamil Nadu,”

Earlier, the Congress leader recalled former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Kumaraswami Kamaraj for his leadership quality and said that when it came to implementing the mid-day meal in the state, the leader did not care about the economists’ opinion that it would be a bad idea he only listened to the people and introduced the scheme.
Tamil Nadu assembly elections will be held in a single phase on April 6 and the counting of votes will be done on May 2, the Election Commission of India (ECI) announced on Friday.
Polls will be held for 234 seats in Tamil Nadu with the Congress-DMK and BJP-AIADMK alliance being the major groups contesting against each other. (ANI)

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Centre trying to crush Tamil culture, language and history: Rahul Gandhi

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Kanyakumari (Tamil Nadu) [India], March 1 (ANI): Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday attacked the Central Government and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for attempting to humiliate and crush Tamil culture, language and history.
“This election is about giving a message. First is, that our country is a country of different religions, cultures, languages, histories and we respect all that. We do not accept Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s and RSS’ attempt to humiliate and crush Tamil culture, language and Tamil history,” said Rahul Gandhi on the second day of his visit to poll-bound Tamil Nadu.
“I was told that when Kamaraj Ji died, his entire belongings were in one small suitcase. A leader like him truly represents Tamil people and their aspirations. He had fought for his people, and that is the kind of leader you need as Chief Minister,” he said during a roadshow in Kanyakumari.

During the roadshow, the Wayanad MP also aimed at Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister EK Palaniswami along with RSS, saying that Palaniswami has been acting on the directions of the Centre and does not represent the state.
“He (CM) must not let Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) insult Tamil culture. Modi says ‘1 nation, 1 culture, 1 history’. Is Tamil not an Indian language? Is Tamil history not Indian or is Tamil culture not Indian? As an Indian, it’s my duty to protect Tamil culture,” Gandhi said.
He further alleged that the government in Delhi does not respect Tamil Culture.
“Government in Delhi does not respect Tamil culture. They have a Chief Minister who does everything they say. CM (E.K. Palaniswami) does not represent the state, he represents what Modi wants him to do. A person who bows before only Prime Minister Narendra Modi can’t represent Tamil Nadu,”

Earlier, the Congress leader recalled former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Kumaraswami Kamaraj for his leadership quality and said that when it came to implementing the mid-day meal in the state, the leader did not care about the economists’ opinion that it would be a bad idea he only listened to the people and introduced the scheme.
Tamil Nadu assembly elections will be held in a single phase on April 6 and the counting of votes will be done on May 2, the Election Commission of India (ECI) announced on Friday.
Polls will be held for 234 seats in Tamil Nadu with the Congress-DMK and BJP-AIADMK alliance being the major groups contesting against each other. (ANI)

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Narayanasamy threatens Shah with defamation suit after corruption allegation

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Puducherry [India], March 1 (ANI): Former Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy on Monday threatened to file a defamation lawsuit against Union Home Minister Amit Shah after the latter accused him of misappropriating Rs 15,000 crore sent by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the union territory.
“Home Minister Amit Shah said that PM Modi sent Rs 15,000 crores to Puducherry and I took a cut and gave part of the money to the Gandhi family. This is a very serious allegation against me. If he doesn’t prove it, I will file a criminal defamation suit against him for giving a false statement to damage my image and that of the Gandhi family,” the Congress leader said.
He further demanded an apology to him and the people of the UT if Shah did not substantiate the allegations.
“If he doesn’t prove it, he has to apologise to the nation and to the people of Puducherry. I challenge him to prove it,” he said.
Earlier on Sunday, the Home Minister lambasted Narayanasamy’s government and alleged that he was engaged in rampant corruption in Puducherry.
“At least 15,000 crore was sent by the Central government for the development of the Union Territory. The Chief Minister took a cut and gave part of the money to the Gandhi family,” he said while addressing a rally in the UT.
Narayanasamy also hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the chaotic episode in the union territory and alleged that Union Home Minister Amit Shah was responsible for the toppling of the government.
He further slammed present governor Tamilisai Soundarajan, saying that the situation worsened after she was appointed.
“Former Governor Kiran Bedi was appointed as Lieutenant Governor by the Prime Minister with the President’s nod. Daily she used to return, delay and reject our files. She constantly spoke against our government. Home Minister Amit Shah rejected whatever we sought for the good of our state. We protested and after Kiran Bedi was changed, Tamilisai Soundarajan took charge. After she came, the government was toppled in a much more speedy manner,” Narayanasamy said.
“BJP leaders came from Chennai and camped in Puducherry and took money bags with them and bought our MLAs. The minister next to me, Namachivayam was in touch with the BJP for the last one year before he joined. Amit Shah led to the toppling of the Puducherry government. He offered Income tax exemption,” he alleged.
“Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MLA Venkatesan was also threatened and made to join the BJP, he added.
Earlier on February 23, President Ram Nath Kovind accepted the resignation of Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy and his council of ministers.
The resignations were submitted after the Narayanasamy-led Congress government lost the floor test held in Puducherry Assembly.
Assembly Speaker VP Sivakolundhu announced that the Chief Minister has failed to prove his majority and adjourned the house sine die.
Polling for 30 assembly seats in Puducherry will be held on April 6, the Election Commission of India (ECI) announced. (ANI)

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Defence Ministry secretaries to give detailed presentations to PM in Kevadia

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By Ajit K Dubey
New Delhi [India], March 1 (ANI): Five secretaries of the Defence Ministry will give a detailed presentation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the projects being carried out by them along with their future plans, at the Combined Commanders’ Conference.
The Combined Commanders’ Conference is the first meeting in the second tenure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and it is scheduled to be held this week in Kevadia, Gujarat.
National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat, Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Mukund Naravane, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh, Chief of Air Staff Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria, along with all the Commander-in-Chief rank officials from the three services will be attending the conference.
“Detailed presentations are being prepared by the Department of Military Affairs, Department of Defence, Department of Defence Production, Defence Research and Development Organisation and the Department of Ex-servicemen Welfare for the Prime Minister,” defence officials told ANI.
“In the presentations, the respective secretaries would be giving details of their ongoing and future projects,” the officials added.
The sources mentioned that the briefing by the Department of Defence Production Secretary Rajkumar is expected to give out a roadmap for the Aatmanirbhar Bharat projects in the field of the defence industry in the country.
The positive list for indigenisation being prepared by CDS General Bipin Rawat is also expected to come up for discussion.
The progress made by the defence space and cyber agencies along with the creation and timeframe of setting up the new air defence and maritime commands is also expected to be discussed by the top commanders with the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister is expected to give directions to the forces about future security challenges and the government’s views on them.
The ongoing military stand-off with China and how it is being dealt with by the forces is also expected to be discussed.
After the initial intrusion by the Chinese which caught the local troops by surprise, the Army headquarters and the Indian Air Force reacted with full might to retaliate against the Chinese aggression.
The issue was resolved to a large extent recently when the two sides disengaged from the front in the Pangong lake area but many friction points still exist and are yet to be resolved. (ANI)

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Harsh Vardhan praises PM Modi for leading by example, urges opposition to take COVID-19 vaccine

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New Delhi [India], March 1 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi has lead by example as he took the first jab of COVID-19 vaccine the day when the vaccination of people above 60 years began, said Union Health and Family Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Monday. He also urged opposition leaders to take the COVID-19 vaccine and help in ending the vaccine hesitancy.
Talking to ANI, the Union Minister said, “I have been saying from the beginning that both our vaccines are safe and perfect as far as immunogenicity is concerned. We are thankful to Prime Minister, he has always told us that you have to lead by example. He took the jab first when the vaccination of people above 60 years has begun.”
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Modi took the first dose of Covaxin, a coronavirus vaccine developed in India by biotechnology firm Bharat Biotech and the Indian Council of Medical Research.
“Took my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at AIIMS,” PM Modi had tweeted with his picture of receiving the jab. “Remarkable how our doctors and scientists have worked in quick time to strengthen the global fight against COVID-19,” the Prime Minister had added.
Meanwhile, the Union Health Minister added that now we must bury all misconceptions and apprehensions over Covaxin. “Prime Minister Modi took Covaxin, against which a lot of misinformation was spread even when it was scientifically perfect. I think the Prime Minister has given a clear message to the country. All misinformation and hesitancy should be buried once and for all,” the Minister said.
The Minister also called on the opposition leaders, elected representatives and common people to come forward and get vaccinated as soon as possible.
“I appeal to all citizens who are above 60 years of age, those above 45 years with comorbidities, all MPs-MLAs and even Opposition MLAs to get vaccinated. This would send a message to people that they should get vaccinated at the earliest,” he said.
“I will do the booking today and I plan to get vaccinated tomorrow,” the Minister added.
The second phase of the nationwide Covid-19 vaccination drive for age-appropriate population groups began on Monday with the Union Health Ministry calling out eligible people to get an appointment at respective hospitals in the country. (ANI)

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Bhima Koregaon case: Gautam Navlakha moves SC for bail

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New Delhi [India], March 1 (ANI): Gautam Navlakha, an accused in the Bhima Koregaon violence case on Monday moved the Supreme Court challenging the Bombay High Court order rejecting his plea for default bail.
A three-judge Bench of Justice UU Lalit, Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice KM Joseph will hear the plea of Navlakha on March 3.
The High Court had rejected Navlakha’s plea on February 8 saying that the period for which an accused is under illegal detention cannot be taken into account while computing the 90-day custody period for grant of default bail.
Navlakha, in the apex court, has sought bail on the ground that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) failed to file its chargesheet within the prescribed upper-limit of 90 days as per Section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
He stated that the period for which he was confined to his house under house arrest should be calculated as part of judicial custody and should be taken into account while deciding the custody period under Section 167(2).
He had sought bail from the High Court on the same grounds.
Navlakha, one of the several civil liberties activists in the Bhima Koregaon case, has been booked under stringent provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for an alleged conspiracy to topple the government. (ANI)

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