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Negative sentiments about China’s moves in Myanmar rising among civilians

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Negative sentiments about China’s moves in Myanmar rising among civilians

The people of Myanmar doubt China’s capability to expedite the peace process in their country, as Beijing repeatedly chooses silence over the Myanmar military takeover and the suppression of its own people, especially democratic activists and protesters against the excesses of the military regime. There are widespread negative sentiments about China and its moves in Myanmar at a time when the military junta is becoming increasingly authoritarian and suppressive by using state power against its own people.

The Myanmar-based Institute for Strategy and Policy (ISP) conducted a survey in July 2022 to gauge the perceptions of Myanmarese policy communities about their relationship with China, The Singapore Post reported. The focus of the survey on Myanmar-China relations becomes important for two reasons.

First, to gauge whether Myanmarese people who have concerns about policies believe that China would be instrumental in the restoration of peace and democracy in the country or make bonhomie with the military Junta for its larger strategic goals and economic benefits in the region. Second, to gauge their perception of the utility and effectiveness of China’s development model and projects like CMEC. The people of Myanmar, according to the survey, doubt China’s capability to expedite the peace process in their country. Only 14 percent believed that China is capable of the same.

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All women, married or unmarried, entitled to abortion: Sc

Ashish Sinha

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All women, married or unmarried, entitled to abortion: Sc

In a landmark judgement, Supreme Court on Thursday held that all women-both married and unmarried-are entitled to safe and legal abortion.
A bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said that the meaning of the rape must include marital rape for the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MPT) Act. The Supreme Court said that the distinction between married and unmarried women for the purposes of the MTP Act is “artificial and constitutionally unsustainable” and perpetuates the stereotype that only married women indulge in sexual activities.
The rights of reproductive autonomy, dignity, and privacy under Article 21 give an unmarried woman the right of choice on whether or not to bear a child, on a similar footing of a married woman, the bench said.
Insisting on a “forward-looking” approach, the Supreme Court on 7 August opined that any discrimination between married and unmarried women in respect of the MPT law in India that does not allow a single woman to go for abortion after 20 weeks, violates her personal autonomy.
The top court had said that it will interpret the MTP Act and the related rules to see if unmarried women could be allowed to abort upto 24-week pregnancy on medical advice.
The upper limit for the termination of pregnancy is 24 weeks for married women, special categories–including survivors of rape and other vulnerable women such as the differently-abled and minors; the corresponding window for unmarried women in consensual relationships is 20 weeks.
The apex court in its August judgment had questioned if a married woman is allowed to terminate upto 24 weeks of pregnancy under the MTP Act, 1971, and the Rules framed under it, why denying the same to unmarried women, even though the risk is same for both.
The bench had said that it can strike down the restrictive clause “for being manifestly arbitrary”, which in turn would allow extending the benefit of terminating pregnancy above 20 weeks to unmarried women also.
The apex court in its August judgment had questioned if a married woman is allowed to terminate upto 24 weeks of pregnancy under the MTP Act, 1971, and the Rules framed under it, why denying the same to unmarried women, even though the risk is same for both.
The bench had said that it can strike down the restrictive clause “for being manifestly arbitrary”, which in turn would allow extending the benefit of terminating pregnancy above 20 weeks to unmarried women also.
It also held that a woman need not prove the commission of rape or sexual assault to seek termination of pregnancy under the MTP Act.
The top court also held that the marital status of a woman can’t be used to deprive her of her right to abort an unwanted pregnancy.
Interpreting the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, the Supreme Court said that whether single or unmarried, all women have the right to abort under the MTP Act and Rules until 24 weeks of pregnancy.
The upper limit for the termination of pregnancy is 24 weeks for married women, special categories include survivors of rape and other vulnerable women such as the differently abled and minors; the corresponding window for unmarried women in consensual relationships is 20 weeks.
The rights to reproductive autonomy give unmarried women similar rights as married women, the court held.
Holding that all women are entitled to safe and legal abortion, the top court said the distinction between married and unmarried women for the purposes of the MTP Act is “artificial and constitutionally unsustainable” and perpetuates the stereotype that only married women indulge in sexual activities.
“Law cannot create such artificial classifications based on narrow grounds… the decision to carry a pregnancy to full term or to abort it lies in the reproductive autonomy of a woman, which is rooted in bodily autonomy. Depriving her of this right will be an affront to a woman’s right to dignity,” the bench held in its ruling.
The verdict of the apex court came on a petition filed by a 25-year-old single woman, whose plea for termination of her 24-week pregnancy was denied by the Delhi high court, but the Supreme Court allowed her to abort the foetus if there was no risk to her life.
Earlier, the apex court had questioned why, if a married woman is allowed to terminate up to 24 weeks of pregnancy under the MTP Act and Rules framed under it, it should be denied to unmarried women, even though the risk is the same for both.
A woman had approached the apex court after the Delhi High Court declined to grant permission to abort her pregnancy, which had arisen out of a consensual sexual relationship, saying that it virtually amounted to killing the foetus.
On 15 July, the High Court ruled that allowing abortion at this stage would be tantamount to killing the foetus and advised the woman to place her child for adoption instead. 

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PM Modi declares 36th National Games open in Ahmedabad

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PM Modi declares 36th National Games open in Ahmedabad

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday declared the 36th National Games open at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.
Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister said, “At the world’s largest stadium, such a young country in the world, and the biggest sports festival in the country! When the event is so wonderful and unique, its energy ought to be so extraordinary.”
He recited the Key Words of the National Games Anthem ‘Judega India – Jeetega India’ to the rousing accompaniment of everyone present in the stadium and said that the confidence shining on the face of athletes is a precursor of the coming golden age of Indian sports. Recalling the grand drone show that took place in Ahmedabad on Wednesday, the Prime Minister said that everyone is astonished and proud to see such a spectacle.

“Such careful use of technology, like a drone, will take Gujarat, India to new heights, ‘’ the Prime Minister added.
Remarking on the official mascot for the National Games 2022 is Savaj, the Asiatic lion, the Prime Minister said that the mascot reflects the mood of India’s youth, a passion for fearless entry into the sporting arena. This is also a symbol of rising India in a global scenario.

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Congress President will work under Gandhi family, says Digvijaya Singh

Uday Pratap Singh

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Congress President will work under Gandhi family, says Digvijaya Singh

A day before the filing of the nomination for the Congress presidential race, Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh on Thursday made it clear that the Gandhi family will remain the leader whosoever becomes the president of the party.
Digvijaya Singh said, “The Nehru-Gandhi family will remain our leader. Whoever becomes the party president will work under their leadership. Our priority is to see how the situation in the country improves, won’t let the country divide or the constitution weaken,” he said.
The Daily Guardian on Thursday exclusively talked to Digvijaya Singh to understand his point of view. Here is an excerpts:
TDG Reporter: So, you have officially taken the plunge…..
Digvijaya: What is the meaning of ‘officially’? There is nothing ‘official’ about it. Congress is a democratic party and all PCC delegates have rights to fight in the elections. The party constitution has given us that right. So, I am also contesting the election.
TDG Reporter: Some say that you have blessings of the Gandhi family…that’s why you are contesting the election.
Digvijaya: This is completely wrong. This is my own decision.
TDG Reporter: Why have you taken this decision?
Digvijaya: Reason is simple. I think I am a fit candidate to fight in the Congress Presidential election. I had been MLA for five times, won Lok Sabha elections twice and was in Rajya Sabha twice. I was also delegate of Pradesh Congress Committee. Rajiv Gandhi ji made me the state party chief in Madhya Pradesh. In 1992, I once again became the President of the state unit and in 1993, I became the Chief Minister. From 2004 to 2017, I have been AICC general secretary. So, I have enough experience and I think I am a capable candidate.
TDG Reporter: Did you have any discussion with Rahul Gandhi or Sonia Gandhi?
Digvijaya: No, I did not have any discussion with anybody. Sonia Gandhi has clearly said anybody can contest the poll. So, I am here.
TDG Reporter: What is the feedback you are getting? How are you feeling?
Digvijaya: Oh, I am feeling damn good.
TDG Reporter: Sashi Tharoor is in the fray. Did you have any interaction with him?
Digvijaya: Sashi is a candidate who is young, attractive, articulate and has huge international experience. He is in the fray…and that’s a good news. I think we both have many similarities, we both like Gandhi-Nehruvian ideology. We fight for ideology and continue to do that.
TDG Reporter: There is no internal fight?
Digvijaya: No, there is none. We are here to fight an election which is everybody’s right. That’s it.
TDG Reporter: You have said that Congress Presidential election is crucial one. What are the issues you want to bring on the table?
Digvijaya: My first responsibility is to make the ‘Bhart Jodo Yatra’ a great success. I have put my heart and soul here. I will continue to work for that till the Yatra reaches Srinagar.
TDG Reporter: As you earlier told the party needs a solid fighter. Do you think you will rise to the occasion?
Digvijaya: Well, the party decides on this who is what. I am a small worker of the party. Let party workers decide on it.
TDG Reporter: BJP is also reacting to your candidature….
Digvijaya: Oh, that’s quite natural.
TDG Reporter: You have said that you will make ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ a success? As you are a candidate now, how would you do that?
Digvijaya: I will not leave the Yatra. I need not to go anywhere for campaign. Through various modes of communication, I will try to campaign even while in Yatra. That’s possible.
TDG Reporter: When you joined Congress, had you ever thought that you would file your nomination for Congress President?
Digvijaya: I am a very small worker of Congress. This party had Presidents like Motilal Nehru, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Lajpat Rai, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Gandhiji. So, when you are also a candidate for the same post, it is quite natural that you too have a great feeling. I am nowhere as compared to them. However, I will try my best.

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Gehlot apologises, Sonia to decide on Rajasthan CM

Ashok Gehlot opts out of Congress Presidential election indicating that he prefers to be in Jaipur as the CM. In another development, Sachin Pilot too met the party chief.

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Gehlot apologises, Sonia to decide on Rajasthan CM

In a day full of political drama, two important protagonists in Rajasthan politics, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot, on Thursday called on Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi to break the deadlock that has been going on for the last few days. However, at the end of the day the most crucial question remained unanswered: Will Gehlot be able to keep chief minister’s post in Rajasthan?
Amid the political tension in Rajasthan that antagonized the high command, Gehlot reached 10 Janpath to meet the party supremo. After the meeting, Gehlot made two important points: One, he will not fight for the post of Congress chief, and two, Sonia Gandhi will take a call on the chief ministership in Rajasthan in a few days.
“I met Rahul Gandhi in Kochi and requested him to fight the polls (for Congress President). When he didn’t accept, I said I’ll contest but now with that incident (political crisis in Rajasthan), I have decided not to contest the elections,” CM Gehlot said.
“I won’t contest these elections in this atmosphere, with moral responsibility,” he added.
Gehlot also apologised for the ruckus in Rajasthan triggered by his loyalists over a possible leadership change in the state after Gehlot was set to file his nomination papers for the Congress chief polls.
Gehlot said that whatever happened in the state in the past two days had shocked everyone. “I had a conversation with Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi. Whatever happened two days ago shocked us. It gave a message that all of it happened as I wanted to be CM. I apologised to her,” said Gehlot addressing the media persons after meeting Sonia.
On being asked if he will remain Rajasthan CM, Gehlot said, “I won’t decide that, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi will decide that.”
“One-line resolution is our tradition. Unfortunately, a situation arose that resolution wasn’t passed. It was my moral responsibility (to pass the resolution), but despite being a CM I couldn’t get it passed,” he added.
Talking to reporters, Gehlot said the party works under the Congress president and decisions will be taken in the time to come.
Hours after Sonia-Gehlot meeting, Sachin Pilot met the party’s interim chief and later said: “It is often debated that BJP and Congress government keeps coming every five years in Rajasthan. I don’t see any reason why Congress cannot return for a second consecutive term in Rajasthan in 2023. We will work towards this.”
As regards Rajasthan development, MLAs have not yet changed their stand. In what went down in political history of the state, more than 90 legislators opposed “the one line resolution” from the high command on Sunday. They were under the impression that Sachin Pilot who led rebels against the government two years ago would be appointed CM. They are still in a mood to oppose any such decision. Several legislators are saying that they would prefer a mid-term poll if the decision to give CM post to Sachin was thrust on them. So, the high command will find it difficult to take a call on Rajasthan leadership. General Secretary in-charge of organisation, KC Venugopal has said that the scene will be clear in next two days.  All eyes are on what steps Sonia takes for Rajasthan.

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Saudi Arabia introduces yoga in universities

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A virtual introductory lecture on yoga was organised for all Saudi university representatives across the kingdom to spread awareness and motivate its practice as a lifestyle for all segments of society.
The lecture, organised on Monday, aimed to introduce both traditional yoga and yogasana sports to Saudi universities and give a variety of options to the students on university campuses to practice yoga, the Saudi Gazette reported. The lecture covered both mental and physical health and plans to attend professional yoga sports training to be part of competitions locally and internationally.
In cooperation with the Saudi Universities Sports Federation (SUSF), the Saudi Yoga Committee organised the event in Riyadh.
The Saudi Gazette reported that the event came within the framework of an integrated system of programmes and initiatives of the Saudi Committee for Yoga, under the title “Yoga for University Students of Both Genders.”
The event coincided with the arrival of the first yoga delegation to the Kingdom from the Asian Yogasana Sports Federation in India for the qualification course for the first Saudi batch of yoga referees, the report added.
The event included issues concerning the benefits of yoga for health and physical well-being in youth, yogasana sports for tournaments and competitions, and requirements for professional yoga training. It also included the technical regulations of the Saudi Yoga Committee for Championships and Competitions in Saudi Universities.
The lecture, which motivated the youth to join professional yoga training, also shed light on the system of professional yogasana competitions within university sports and the university league.
Nouf Almarwaai, President of the Saudi Yoga Committee, said that the committee seeks to achieve its vision of spreading yoga on a large scale within Saudi society. “Therefore it took the initiative to cooperate with the Saudi Universities Sports Federation in order to build a generation of yoga lovers, especially young people, to enjoy physical and mental health.”
 Almarwaai said that the committee seeks to increase the number of practitioners and build yoga teams that participate in local and regional yoga championships.  

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Astronomers map distances in the largest-ever catalog to 56,000 galaxies

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Astronomers have assembled the largest-ever compilation of high-precision galaxy distances, called Cosmicflows-4.
Galaxies, such as the Milky Way, are the building blocks of the universe, each comprised of up to several hundred billion stars. Galaxies beyond our immediate neighbourhood are rushing away, faster if they are more distant, which is a consequence of the expansion of the universe that began at the moment of the Big Bang. Measurements of the distances of galaxies, coupled with information about their velocities away from us, determine the scale of the universe and the time that has elapsed since its birth.
“Since galaxies were identified as separate from the Milky Way a hundred years ago, astronomers have been trying to measure their distances,” said Tully, adding, “Now, by combining our more accurate and abundant tools, we are able to measure the distances of galaxies and the related expansion rate of the universe and the time since the universe was born.”

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