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IRCTC to open another executive lounge at New Delhi Railway Station

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Railways to gradually resume 15 passenger train services

To offer an enhanced travel experience to the railway passengers, IRCTC is all set to open a new world-class executive lounge at the New Delhi Railway Station.

This new lounge has been set up on the first floor of platform number 1 of New Delhi Railway Station and would be started soon. An IRCTC official said, “The new state-of-the-art executive lounge aims to provide all services and facilities required for comfortable wait for the passengers during pre-departures and post arrivals. The lounge has been designed on the looks of airport lounges with much more space and serene environment.”

According to the official, “The new executive lounge will be offering the visitors with a wide range of complementary and paid services such as channel music, wi-fi, TV, train information display, types of beverages and multi-cuisine buffets. It will also provide recliners, spacious luggage racks, restrooms with wash and change facilities, shoe shiners, newspapers and magazines on display and a fully operational business centre with computer, printer, Photostat and fax facility for the passengers.”

To access this newly commissioned executive lounge, passengers would have to pay entry charges of Rs 150 plus taxes for the first hour and Rs 99 for each extra hour. The lounge will be operational 24×7 and the entry charges will include a host of services such as comfortable seating facilities, Wi-Fi internet facility, retailing of books and magazines, complimentary tea or coffee or beverages.

With the aim of offering clean and hygienic wash and change experience to the visitors during the journey, separate bath facilities for men and women will be made available to them at a charge of Rs 200 including taxes with high-quality toiletries that will include laundered towels, soap, shampoo, shower caps and dental kits.

In this lounge, IRCTC will also be offering a range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals in the form of Buffets ranging at prices from Rs 250 to Rs 385 per person. The company is also offering an all-inclusive package for the passengers for using the executive lounge at a one-time charge of Rs 600, which will include two hours stay, wash and change facility along with one buffet meal.

This is the second executive lounge to be set up by IRCTC at New Delhi Railway Station that will provide world-class services to the railway passengers. The first executive lounge has already been in operation since 2016 on the ground floor at platform number 16.

IRCTC is also operating its executive lounges at railway stations of Agra, Jaipur, Sealdah, Ahmedabad, and Madurai. It is also planning to set up such lounges to all important and state capital stations in the near future. 

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US not seeking new Cold War: Biden at UNGA amid tensions with China

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In his first speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) since taking office, US President Joe Biden said that the world stands at an “inflection point in history” and must move quickly and cooperatively to address the festering issues of the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change and human rights abuse. Amid growing China tensions Biden also declared the US is “not seeking a new Cold War.”

The high-level segment of the 76th UNGA began in New York on Tuesday.

Without mentioning China directly, Biden acknowledged increasing concerns about rising tensions between the two nations. But he said, “We are not seeking a new Cold War or a world divided into rigid blocs.”

“We’ve ended 20 years of conflict in Afghanistan and as we close this era of relentless war, we’re opening a new era of relentless diplomacy,” U Biden said, making his first appearance as president at the UN General Assembly. The President noted his decision to end America’s longest war last month, in Afghanistan, and set the table for his administration to shift US attention to intensive diplomacy with no shortage of crises facing the globe. He said he is driven by a belief that “to deliver for our own people, we must also engage deeply with the rest of the world.”

“We’ve ended 20 years of conflict in Afghanistan,” Biden said. “And as we close this period of relentless war, we’re opening a new era of relentless diplomacy of using the power of our development aid to invest in new ways of lifting people up around the world.”

“We meet this year in a moment intermingled with great pain and extraordinary possibility. We have lost so much to this devastating pandemic that continues to claim lives around the world and impact so much on our existence. We’re mourning more than 4.5 million people, people of every nation, from every background. Each death is an individual heartbreak,” he said.

He went on to say this is “a decisive decade for our world” which will “quite literally determine our futures.”

“Will we work together to save lives, defeat Covid-19 everywhere, and take the necessary stem to prepare ourselves for the next pandemic, because there will be another one. Or will we fail to harness the tools at our disposal as more virulent and dangerous variants take hold?”

More than 100 heads of state and government will attend the UNGA in-person including UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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UNGA address: PM Modi to speak on terrorism, Afghanistan situation

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During his address at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on 25 September, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will speak on various important issues including cross-border terrorism, regional situation, especially the Afghan crisis, and US Security Council (UNSC) reforms.

Speaking at a press conference in New Delhi, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said, “The Prime Minister will speak on various important issues including the regional situation, cross-border terrorism, global efforts to combat Covid-19, climate change and the need to reform multilateral institutions.”

Regarding India’s permanent membership at the UNSC, Shringla said that PM Modi will lay emphasis upon the UNSC reforms during his address. “India’s Amrit Mahotsav and the 75th-anniversary of the UN are coinciding. And on this occasion, the prime minister during his address, will definitely speak on UN reforms, about why it is needed and how it can be achieved.”

The high-level session of the UNGA is scheduled to begin on Tuesday (local time) in New York. Top leaders from across the world have already started converging in New York for UNGA high-level debate week. The UNGA meeting this year is in a hybrid format but a large number of leaders are expected to arrive in New York.

PM Modi is scheduled to leave for the US on Wednesday morning. Apart from the UNGA address, he will participate in the Quad leaders’ summit in Washington and will have the first in-person meeting with US President Joe Biden.

The PM will be accompanied by a high-level delegation including the External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

To push India’s diplomatic agenda, Jaishankar will hold around 15 bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday including those with Iran, Australia, Egypt and Indonesia.

The theme of this year’s general debate is “Building resilience through hope to recover from Covid-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to planet’s needs, respect people’s rights and revitalise UN”. Top leaders from across the world have already started converging in New York for UNGA high-level debate week. The UNGA meeting this year is in a hybrid format but a large number of leaders are expected to arrive in New York. WITH AGENCY INPUTS

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POST TALIBAN TAKEOVER, NEW TERROR CAMPS COME UP IN POK

According to an Intelligence Bureau report, seven new terror camps have been activated in PoK, due to which now the number of terror camps has increased from 13 to 20.

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According to information received from security agencies, after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, there has been a stir in the terrorist camps located in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), and the masterminds engaged in these conspiracies are planning to infiltrate terrorists into India. According to an Intelligence Bureau (IB) report, seven new terror camps have been activated in PoK, due to which now the number of terror camps has increased from 13 to 20.

According to an official from a security agency, after the India-Pakistan ceasefire in February, Pakistan›s intelligence agency is once again involved in conspiracies to infiltrate terrorists into Jammu and Kashmir. According to the IB, after receiving information about the infiltration of six terrorists in Uri along the Line of Control in the intervening night of 18-19 this month, the army has been engaged in the search operation against the terrorists continuously for the last 30 hours. Information has been received about these terrorists that they are being trained in a training camp to enter Jammu and Kashmir and are planning a major attack in the area.

Security agencies fear that the weapons that are in the hands of the Taliban are being given to Lashkar and Jaish terrorists. Not only this, Pakistan›s intelligence agency ISI is constantly engaged in conspiracies to attack Indian security forces in Kashmir. According to the IB, the number of terrorists is increasing on the launching pad built on the Line of Control and they are engaged in continuous attempts to infiltrate India. Terrorists are also trying to infiltrate through the international border adjacent to Jammu so that Jammu can be targeted.

Currently, ISI is troubled by the lack of youth involvement in terrorist organizations and now they are involved in methods of online radicalisation through social media to push the youth into the path of terror. The videos of the Taliban are being shared through social media in which the Taliban captured Afghanistan by defeating American forces and Afghan security forces.

They are trying to radicalize the youth and push them into the path of jihad so that they can be brainwashed and prepared for a terrorist attack on India. Indian security agencies are constantly monitoring social media to thwart Pakistan›s jihadi plan. Several Twitter accounts related to Wilayah-al-Hind, Voice of Hind are being monitored.

Recently, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) warned of the danger of online radicalization, saying that terrorist organizations are trying to implicate these innocent youths through social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. After this, such youths are asked to contact online handlers. The NIA has urged people to share information about any such activity on the Internet with the agency. According to a report by Indian security agencies, till 31 August this year, 110 terrorists have been killed in separate encounters. The ISI is furious about this and instructions are being given to the terrorists present in the valley to carry out major attacks in the Valley.

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NEED FOR FAMILY OFFICES TO WORK TOGETHER UNDER A CO-INVESTMENT STRUCTURE: JAHNAVI KUMARI MEWAR

Jahnavi Kumari Mewar, CEO and Senior Portfolio Manager at Auctus Fora, talks about her business firm along with insights on internationalism, effective global governance practices and the way forward in the post-Covid world.

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Jahnavi Kumari Mewar recently joined NewsX for an exclusive conversation as part of NewsX India A-List. In the exclusive conversation, she spoke to us about her business firm along with insights on internationalism, effective global governance practices and the way forward for the post-Covid world.

Jahnavi commenced her talk by speaking about the creation of Auctus Fora and its uniqueness. She said “Auctus fora was born with a need to work with family offices (preferably) without a fund structure in place. If I take a small step back, I initially worked for JP Morgan from where I decided to set up a boutique investment bank and as that business developed and progressed, I had developed very meaningful relationships with family offices globally. We found that there was a significant need for family offices to work together under a co-investment structure rather than that of a fund. Moving on we decided to set up a co-investment platform, entirety focused on private acuity and private structure credit working with family offices globally. It’s a unique model because we work on the ‘reverse origination methodology’ developed in 2011. We use this methodology to make investment decisions and direct our investment philosophy.”

When asked about how pandemic months have been for her and her firm, she responded “I think based on facts that firstly we are directed to an asset. Secondly, we don’t do listed securities and are a private acuity focused and private structure credit that organically gives you a lot more control over your investment decisions. I am very rigid when it comes to the investment decision making process. For example, we’ll never chase dues or get into a bidding war as I believe that if you get your buying price wrong then you already made a big mistake in terms of capital allocation and investment process. In such disruptive times when others have faced upheavals, we have ramped up because of our decent decision making. Based on that what we have done over the past 15 months is that the assets which we felt will continue to give long term returns and are relatively resilient to the disruptions caused by global pandemic and lockdown, we have reinvested capital or added additional capital into those assets and portfolios. So, at a macro level, we have reinvested capital into our portfolios and at a micro level, into select asset portfolios. I mean not to say that we haven’t felt pain but we have been more resilient.”

Explaining the post-Covid global economic changes, she expressed, “What we are seeing globally is an unprecedented crisis for which a lot of nations have lacked institutional memory because they have never experienced something like this before. In the absence of institutional memory, there is institutional unpreparedness. I think that the responsibility and accountability of this crisis don’t solely sit with the current government because there have been decades of under-investment in the public healthcare infrastructure. Instead, the present government has put concentrated efforts towards formulating new public policies. It is my personal opinion that unfortunately, the government lacks sophistication in its policymaking. Therefore they come across significant opposition to their policies.”

When it comes to changing global supply chains, Jahnavi described “let’s look at global supply chains from both political and economic perspectives. Politically speaking, we have fallen short on collective action and there has been a crisis of global governance. Supply chains and global governance can work hand in hand. A good small scale example is of QUAD members who have been working together and have been multilaterally more effective. So when we talk of re-engineering global supply chains, we have to look at from the perspective that are we going to create an incentivising engagement that affects better global governance practices.”

Lastly speaking about the importance of institutions like QUAD as representative of the changing world over institutions like UN and WHO, she said “QUAD is a great example of a force for global good. WHO has been less effective than QUAD as it has been dispersing contradictory information globally, it along with the UN have failed to garner collective action for a global solution to the pandemic. QUAD is a representation of the way forward. We need to re-engineer a pragmatic form of internationalism which meets the needs for today and future.”

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INDIA-BORN SINGER FEATURES ON UK’S BBC RADIO

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The latest composition of the Indian born, London-based singer Saisha Hayes’s ‘One Way ticket’ was selected by UK’s BBC Radio to be played on its platform on Monday night.

At 20, she is among the youngest singer-songwriters to feature on BBC radio and her song was selected among the pool of well-established names.

BBC Radio 1 Leeds chose Saisha’s composition under the “Best modern Asian fusion music”. While the words of the song have been penned by her, the music has been composed by Rohit (Foenix). The song, sung by Saisha, had earlier featured on the coveted ‘Rolling Stones’ India hitlist.

She is a second-year student of King’s College, London and the granddaughter of Hindi literary giant and former IAS officer Bhagwati Sharan Mishra, who passed away last month.

The song is being played on all major music platforms including Spotify, Amazon Music, and YouTube.

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IT’S TOUGH FOR PLAYERS TO STAY IN A BIO BUBBLE, SAYS MURALI KARTIK

In an exclusive conversation with NewsX India A-List, former cricketer Murali Kartik talks about his lockdown experiences, how he felt being part of the IPL in a bio bubble, and much more.

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Murali Kartik, a former Indian cricketer and a popular figure in commentary, is well-known for his slow left-arm orthodox bowling. Having charmed cricket lovers across the world with his bowling skills, Murali Kartik recently got recognised by NewsX India A-List for excellence in Cricket. Joining us for an exclusive conversation, he spoke about his lockdown experiences, how he felt being part of the IPL in a bio bubble and much more.

Speaking about his emotions and experiences during the second wave of Covid-19, in the wake of which IPL was first postponed and later stopped in middle, Murli said, “Pandemic has been a tough one for everyone but more so for people on the ground. We were actually much protected as a commentary team. With that point of view, we didn’t have many problems but I can imagine teams travelling and engaging in contracts would have been tougher amid the pandemic.”

“Since last year, I got the feeling that as soon as a little bit of unlocking starts people got careless. It is our responsibility to make sure that we don’t go out till the time we aren’t needed to go out. Most important of all is we should all be happy in our homes and not feel entrapped into them. We can only control the controllable,” he added.

When asked about the concept of bio bubble, especially in cricket, which is a contact game, Murali responded, “People in bio bubble is never easy. We need to return to normalcy. We all are missing luxuries of life which are not to go around in expensive restaurants but to simply move around with freedom and without a mask; meet our people without the fear of either contacting with the virus or passing it to someone else. That is the normal luxury. From a sports point of view, it’s tough for players to stay in a bio bubble. There’s a life beyond a sport. Hopefully, we come back to normalcy soon.”

Speaking about what the players have missed out in almost past two years of time is very evident now, he said “Unfortunately, it’s same for everyone. People who had to write exams are unable to do it and are sitting home. For sportspeople, the Olympics has been postponed and rescheduled. So, imagine all the athletes, who worked so hard for it. We come back to the same thing that it’s for everyone. Now it is about mental strength and controlling the controllable. We need to be surrounded by positive people and thinking. We need to look inwardly because the easiest thing in these days is to get despondent.”

When asked about something new or novel he has picked up in the last few days, Murali shared, “To be honest, I have caught up in a lot of sleep these days at home. I am not someone who’ll sleep a lot. I have been the happiest being at home. The only thing I did in my 1st lockdown was to read Sai Suchadutta. I read it six to seven times. I have read books but apart from that I haven’t done any specific thing.”

Concluding the interview on a humorous note, he stated that he has been a couch potato watching many fun OTT programs during the lockdown. He added a funny but profound thing that we teach a dog to sit and stay but we are not able to do it ourselves.

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