A group of legislators from nations throughout Europe and the United States launched coordinated legislative activities, asking for a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, citing “grave breaches of human rights” by the Chinese government. The goal of this action is to put pressure on governments, elected officials, and heads of state to decline invitations to next year’s Olympics.
Last month, a number of human rights organisations called for a total boycott of the Winter Olympics, claiming that partaking would be “equivalent to sanctioning China’s genocide against the Uyghur people”.
According to a coalition representing Uyghurs, Tibetans, Hong Kong residents, and others, the Chinese government is committing genocide against the Uyghur people and waging an unprecedented campaign of repression in East Turkistan, Tibet, and Southern Mongolia, as well as an all-out assault on democracy in Hong Kong.
Washington maintained its aim to develop a “common approach” with allies on a possible boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics next year, as a rising number of US politicians have called for. “In terms of the Olympics, we’re engaging closely with allies and partners to look at the same concerns we all have and, ideally, to build a shared response,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington.
In fact, legislation has been drafted by lawmakers from both major US political parties that would penalise firms that agree to sponsor the Beijing Olympics. Another bipartisan bill introduced which called for the 2022 Winter Olympics to be rescheduled unless China’s leadership “ends its ongoing crimes against the Uyghur people.”
The United States is considering India as their possible ally. According to sources, the India Olympic Association is currently not mulling on boycotting the Winter Olympic Games. The US is looking to India as the possible ally as well and seek its support to boycott the games. Sources said that at the moment the IOA is not mulling to boycott the games, but is completely focusing on the Tokyo Summer Olympics. “All focus is on the Tokyo Olympics currently and we will discuss this later on what the US wants from its allies. We are not thinking about the Winter Olympics at this stage,” said one of the top IOA officials. However, China has accused the US of “politicising” sports”. “Politicising sports goes against the spirit of the Olympic Charter and undermines athletes’ interests as well as the international Olympic cause,” said Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry. “Relevant parties should immediately stop their use of the Olympic Games to engage in political manipulation,” he added.
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CONGRESS LOOKING FOR A NEW POLITICAL SPACE IN UP
The much-touted UP elections have tendered political parties to make instant changes with their strategies and called for stronger manifestos to compete with the parallel political parties, in order to attract the voters of different interests. Prior to the high-octane electoral battle starting next month, the Congress party on Friday released its manifesto for UP elections targetting “women and youth”, an effort to carve a new political space amongst the two dominant parties, BJP and SP, in the state.
“The vision that was committed by the BJP has failed now. If you look at India and want to propose a new vision to India, you have to start in Uttar Pradesh, every state is important but Uttar Pradesh carries weight like no other state occupies. So we are proposing a new way of doing things for Uttar Pradesh,” Rahul Gandhi said in a joint press conference with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
The manifesto, Rahul said, “is not hollow words but we have a strategy to implement what has been drafted after consulting youth whose views are reflected in the manifesto.”
In her remarks, party leader Priyanka said that the party is focusing on development and not on caste-based propaganda politics. This comes amidst the caste-based formation of the two big political parties (BJP and SP), who are the main claimants of the UP’s political win.
To be more clear, SP supremo Akhilesh Yadav adequately ventured to woo Dalit voters in recent times and his latest gain has been Swami Prasad Maurya, who was poached by him in the heat of elections. BJP responded to that by inducting Akhilesh’s sister-in-law in an attempt to gain the votes from the Yadav community.
A Congress functionary who handles the digital marketing campaign for the party in UP said that the party is getting huge responses from people as compared to recent elections. He added, “Priyanka is creating an appeal among women which will change the electoral dynamics of the state politics, we are expecting around 40 seats this time, we will be the kingmakers in UP.”
PM Modi to interact with Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar awardees on 24 Jan
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will interact with Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar (PMRBP) awardees on 24 January 2022, via video conferencing. Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Zubin Irani and Minister of State Munjpara Mahendrabhai will also be present on the occasion.
The event will be a webcast on https://pmindiawebcast.nic.in from 11:30 am onwards, said a press release by the Ministry of Women and Child Development. Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar is given as recognition to children residing in India, above the age of 5 years and not exceeding 18 years (as on 31 August of respective year) with exceptional abilities and outstanding achievement in six fields of Innovation, Scholastic achievements, Sports, Arts & Culture, Social Service and Bravery, which deserve recognition. Each awardee is given a medal, a cash prize of Rs 1,00,000 and a certificate, added the press release.
These awards are conferred by President Ram Nath Kovind in a ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhawan. The Prime Minister also interacts with these awardees every year. The awardees of PMRBP also take part in the Republic Day parade every year, as per the statement.
However, in view of the Covid-19 situation in the country, it has not been possible to organise the award ceremony in New Delhi this year. On the occasion of National Girl Child Day on 24 January and as part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, Prime Minister Narendra Modi would interact virtually with the winners of PMRBP-2022, according to the statement.
The children along with their parents and concerned District Magistrate of their respective district would join the event from their district Head Quarters.
During the function, the Prime Minister would give digital certificates to winners of PMRBP 2022 using Blockchain Technology. The certificates would also be given to winners of PMRBP-2021, who could not be given the certificates last year due to the Covid situation. Blockchain Technology is being used for the first time for giving certificates to awardees of PMRBP.
BASIC INCOME TAX EXEMPTION LIMIT OF RS 2.5 LAKH MAY BE RAISED IN BUDGET
NEW DELHI: Basic income tax exemption limit, which currently stands at Rs 2.5 lakh, is likely to be raise in the Union Budget 2022-23, according to a pre-budget survey conducted by KPMG.
“On the individual tax front, most respondents i.e. 64 per cent expect an enhancement in the basic income tax exemption limit of Rs 2.5 lakh,” KPMG said in the survey report. When asked about the most anticipated change for individual taxpayers, 29 per cent wanted that the government to enhance the income limit of Rs 10 lakh at which the maximum marginal rate of 30 per cent tax is triggered, while 36 per cent hoped for an increase in the 80C deduction limit of Rs 1.5 lakh.
A small number of respondents i.e. 19 per cent are expecting an increase in standard deduction limit of Rs 50,000 for the salaried class, while 16 per cent expect tax-free allowances/ perquisites for salaried individuals keeping in mind work from home arrangement – provision of internet connection/ furniture/ ear-phones, etc.
SC refuses to censor Kangana’s social media posts
The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a plea filed against actor Kangana Ranaut seeking censoring of all her future social media posts in order to maintain law and order in the country.
A Bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud declined to pass an order on the plea. The plea was filed by advocate Charanjeet Singh Chanderpal who also sought direction to transfer all FIRs against the actor across India to Khar police station in Mumbai, and a charge sheet should be filed in a period of six months along with an expeditious trial within a period of two years.
The advocate said that Ranaut’s remarks and posts on social media “are not only outrageous and blasphemous but also intend to cause riots”.
“The remarks are not only outrageous and blasphemous but also intend to cause riots, hurt religious sentiments, they are defamatory as well as portray Sikhs in a totally anti-National manner. It also justifies the innocent killing of Sikhs. The remarks are totally against the unity of our country and the actress deserves a serious punishment in law. They cannot be brushed aside or excused,” the plea read.
The plea filed through advocate Anil Kumar stated that the Union Home Ministry and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India should be directed by the Court to take certain prohibitions and preventive measures regarding social media posts of Ranaut.
None of her posts on social media should be allowed without amendment, deletion, modification or censoring in order to maintain law and order in the Country, advocate Chanderpal stated in the plea.
In terms of the recent comments made by Ranaut regarding farmers’ agitation vis a vis its irrelevant reference as a ‘Khalistani Arm twisting tactic’, all complaints received and FIRs registered all over India may be sent to the Khar Police Station at Mumbai, it added.
Referring to Ranaut’s social media posts, the plea said that her posts infer that all Sikh farmers are separatist and are aspirants of a separatist state of Khalistan and that the farmer issue was nothing but a Khalistan versus State.
“Such kind of irresponsible statements can spread hatred amongst the Indians resulting in the disunity of the Country,” plea further stated.
“Khalistan issue not at all related to the farmer’s issue and racking up this issue in association with an unrelated topic is only intended to not only gain cheap publicity but also to misrepresent a good number of Sikh Farmer as separatist Khalistani,” said the advocate.
It also stated, “The farmers who had objected to the three Farm Laws and the farmer policy were from all faiths, various states of India and not only from Punjab or only from the Sikh Community.”
Ranaut further attacked directly on the worshipers of the Sikh faith by saying that the Sikh must acknowledge Indira Gandhi as their Guru, lawyer added.
PM stresses on development of Northeast
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday extended his greetings to the three Northeast states on their statehood day. “Greetings to the people of Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura on their Statehood Days. These states are making vibrant contributions to India’s development. Praying for their constant progress,” the Prime Minister tweeted. Virtually addressing the poll-bound state of Manipur on the occasion of their 50th statehood day, he said that development is reaching every corner of Manipur.
The Prime Minister said that Manipur youth was doing great work in the field of start-ups. “Manipur deserves peace and freedom from closures and blockades. I am happy to know that they earned it after years of struggle. Development is reaching every corner of Manipur. Not just sports, Manipur youth are doing great work in the field of start-ups,” the Prime Minister said.
“Under the ‘double-engine’ government, Manipur is getting long-awaited facilities like Railways. Thousands of crore rupees worth of connectivity projects are underway in the state including the Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal railway line. Similarly, with Imphal airport getting international status, connectivity of North-Eastern states with Delhi, Kolkata and Bengaluru has improved. Manipur will also benefit from India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway and upcoming 9 thousand crore natural gas pipeline in the region.”
“The government is committed to make Manipur the sports powerhouse of the country. Sons and daughters of Manipur have brought laurels in the sports field and in the light of their passion and potential India’s first sports university was established in the state,” he added.
PM Modi also said that Meghalaya was becoming an attractive destination for the country and the world. “Over the past 50 years, the people of Meghalaya have cemented their identity of being close to nature. To see the beautiful waterfalls, to experience the clean and serene environment, to connect with your unique tradition, Meghalaya is becoming an attractive destination for the country and the world.” “Meghalaya is full of talent. In the last seven years, the Central Government has sincerely tried to accelerate the development journey of Meghalaya. The central government is fully committed specially to ensure better road, rail and air connectivity in the state,” he said.
He further said that Meghalaya has achieved a lot, but it still has a lot to achieve.
Talking of Tripura, the Prime Minister said, “Today Tripura is becoming a land of opportunities. The double engine government is working continuously to meet the small needs of the common people of Tripura. That is why Tripura is performing well today on many parameters of development.” PM Modi said that Tripura is also one of the six states in the country where new technology is being used in housing construction.
Under the North-Eastern Areas (Re-organisation) Act, 1971, Tripura, Manipur and Meghalaya attained statehood on 21 January 1972.
Cases dip in Delhi, but weekend curfew to continue
Delhi’s Arvind Kejriwal government on Friday recommended the lifting of weekend curfews in the national capital in view of declining COVID-19 cases. Delhi reported 10,756 new cases of the disease during the last 24 hours, said the state government on Friday.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal sent a recommendation to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal to end the weekend curfew. In the proposal, the CM also sought the removal of the odd-even system in the markets and to allow private offices to operate at 50% capacity, the sources added. However, sources say that Baijal rejected the government’s proposal to lift the weekend curfew and ease COVID-19 restrictions. According to the sources, Baijal agreed to a 50% attendance in private offices but said that the status quo be maintained with regards to weekend curfew and opening of markets. A decision will be taken on the subject once the COVID situation improves further, the sources said.
Later on Friday, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority allowed all private offices in the National Capital Territory of Delhi, outside of containment zones, to function with up to 50% attendance with immediate effect. The DDMA has, however, advised private offices to stagger office timing, presence and quantum of staff. “They’re further advised to follow work from home, as far as possible,” it said in its order. Notably, the DDMA clarified that the night curfew and weekend lockdown will continue to in the national capital. “It is also clarified that Night Curfew from 10 PM to 5 AM every day and Weekend Curfew from 10 PM of Friday till 5 AM of subsequent Monday, on the movement of individuals in NCT of Delhi shall also remain in force till further order,” said the DDMA in its order.
In a recent update on the CoWIN portal to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said that up to six members can now register using a single mobile number. The Ministry, in a press release said, “Instead of the existing limit of 4 members, now 6 members can be registered using one mobile number on Co-WIN.”
As per the update, a new utility feature has been introduced to raise an issue in Co-WIN account through which a beneficiary can revoke its current vaccination status from fully vaccinated to partially vaccinated or unvaccinated status and also partially vaccinated to unvaccinated status.
“The vaccination status can be corrected by the beneficiaries, where in occasional isolated cases, the vaccination certificates are generated due to inadvertent data entry errors by the vaccinator in the updation of vaccination data of beneficiaries,” the release said.
The Ministry also said that the changes may take three to seven days after submitting the online request through raising an issue utility.
“Such beneficiaries can get their due vaccine dose, maybe at nearest vaccination centre, as per the existent standard guidelines once new vaccination status is successfully updated in the system,” the Ministry appraised.
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