Day: October 18, 2020

None to be charged with murder of three Sikhs in London

LONDON: Not one person will be charged with the murder of three British Sikh builders from Punjab who were stabbed to death in an East London alleyway in January this year, a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police confirmed to TOI on Sunday. “There is no further investigation at this time in respect of this matter,” the spokesperson added.
Narinder Singh Lubhaya, 29, from Hoshiarpur, Malkit Singh Dhillon (known as Baljinder Singh), 37, from Sultanpur Lodhi, and Harinder Kumar (known as Honey), 30, from Patiala, all illegal Punjabi immigrants working in the building trade and living in Ilford, were all pronounced dead at the scene of the brawl near Seven Kings station on 19 January.
Gurjeet Singh, aged 30, from Ilford, killed the three men on 19 January using a knife in an act of self-defence, Snaresbrook Crown Court was told on August 5.
Gurjeet had originally been arrested on January 20 on suspicion of the murders, but the next day he was instead charged with possessing an offensive weapon in a public place and no murder or manslaughter charges were pursued. He appeared at Snaresbrook Crown Court on February 19, where he pleaded not guilty.
Gurjeet appeared for trial on August 19; the jury found him not guilty of the offensive weapon offence.
Gurjeet was left with a number of lacerations and crush injuries on his head and a wound on his hand. He was taken to hospital where he was treated for his injuries under police custody. He too was an overstayer who was served with a notice to leave in May 2015. He had been in the UK on a student visa which had expired in November 2013 and made a failed application to remain under the Human Rights Act.
The court said that the three dead men, together with fellow builders Harpreet and Sandeep Singh, from Romford, had plotted to attack Gurjeet with hammers and knives in revenge for a row that had taken place at the celebration of the birth of a Sikh baby the night before, at which there had been a brawl between Narinder and Gurjeet leading to Narinder’s earring being pulled off leaving him with a bleeding ear.
CCTV was shown to the court which showed Gurjeet leaving the gurudwara at 7.30pm and being set upon by Narinder Balkinder and Sandeep in a dark alleyway. He ran in the opposite direction and was confronted with Harinder. Gurjeet took out a knife to defend himself, the court was told, and then fled. Gurjeet and Sandeep were the only two to survive the brawl.
Sandeep, 29, an overstayer, was sentenced to four years in prison on 5 August after pleading guilty to wounding Gurjeet with intent to cause him grievous bodily harm. He will be deported to India once he has served his sentence.
His brother Harpreet, 27, was sentenced to 12 months in jail after pleading guilty to conspiracy with others to assault Gurjeet. Harpreet had driven Harinder to the scene but did not participate in the violence.

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BJP leaders attacking me at Nitish’s behest, claims Chirag Paswan | India News

NEW DELHI: Barely days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first election rally in Bihar, Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief, Chirag Paswan on Sunday said the PM is free to say anything against him for the satisfaction of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar. Chirag also alleged that the CM was fielding BJP leaders to speak against him.
Senior BJP leaders have repeatedly charged Chirag for trying to create confusion by claiming he remains committed to alliance with BJP and of taking senior leaders name, particularly Modi. Even home minister Amit Shah on Saturday said the BJP will keep its commitment to make Nitish Kumar chief minister irrespective of poll tally in the NDA and that the “LJP president should not harbour any illusions”.
Sources in LJP said the regional outfit has accommodated more than two dozen BJP leaders including some former MLAs in its list of candidates to drive home the point that LJP will support the BJP in the state. “Whatever votes our candidates will get will only damage JD(U) and its allies, not BJP. We don’t sense any animosity of BJP workers against us,” an LJP leader claimed.
In a series of tweets on Sunday, Chirag alleged that the CM could even pursue the PM to speak against him. “I don’t want that due to me, Prime Minister Narendra Modi falls in a situation of a dharmsankat. He should go ahead and fulfill his duty towards the alliance. For CM Nitish Kumar’s satisfaction, the PM is free to say anything against me.”
Attacking the CM, Chirag said, “Our vision of Bihar First Bihari First has become something that the JD(U) can’t handle. Our mission is committed to the PM’s mantra of development.”
He tweeted that the CM should thank the BJP colleagues that despite all the resentment against him, they are playing coalition religiously and everyday they give certificates to him that they are not with the LJP leader.
Chirag repeated that he was thankful to Modi for supporting him during his tough phase when his father was unwell and inspired him to bring out Bihar First Bihari First vision document.

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New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern Wins Second Term in Landslide Election Victory

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern won a landslide victory in New Zealand’s general election Saturday, leveraging success battling Covid-19 to gain an unprecedented outright majority and the chance to implement her reform agenda.

With two thirds of the vote counted, Ardern’s centre-left Labour Party was on 49.2 percent and forecast to take around 64 seats in the 120-member parliament.

No leader has achieved an absolute majority since New Zealand adopted a proportional voting system in 1996, leading to a succession of multi-party governments.

Ardern thanked New Zealanders for delivering the landslide victory. “Thank you to the many people who gave us their vote, who trusted us to continue leading New Zealand’s recovery,” she told cheering supporters, adding that her centre-left Labour Party had seen its highest level of support in at least 50 years.

While the count has not been finalised, the figures were enough for opposition leader Judith Collins to concede after phoning Ardern.

“Congratulations on your result because it is, I believe, an outstanding result for the Labour Party. It has been a tough campaign,” Collins told cheering supporters in Auckland.

Her conservative National Party was expected to take around 35 seats in what appears to be its worst result in nearly 20 years.

Ardern’s performance beat pre-election opinion polls and put Labour on course for its strongest showing since 1946.

Party president Claire Szabo praised the campaign of the charismatic leader, who sparked a wave of support dubbed “Jacinda-mania” when she took over the party in 2017 as it was languishing in the polls.

“There’s no doubt the strong, great leadership we’ve had from Jacinda Ardern has been a massive factor in all this,” she told NZ.

Ardern had dubbed the vote “the Covid election” and campaigned on her government’s success in eliminating community transmission of the virus, which has caused just 25 deaths in a population of five million.

The pandemic is just one of a string of crises that showed Ardern’s leadership qualities during a torrid first term.

She displayed both empathy and decisive action on gun control after a white supremacist gunman killed 51 Muslim worshippers in the Christchurch mosques attack last year.

Ardern again found herself comforting a shocked nation when a volcanic eruption at White Island, also known as Whakaari, killed 21 people and left dozens more with horrific burns.

“No matter what crisis is thrown my way, you will always be assured I will give my everything to this job, even if that means a huge sacrifice,” she said this week.

– ‘Extraordinary win’ –

Ardern faced criticism during her first term for failing to deliver on some key promises such as improving housing affordability and countering child poverty.

Greens co-leader Marama Davidson, whose party governed in coalition with Labour during the first term, said the prime minister now had a mandate to implement change.

“I want to congratulate Jacinda Ardern and her team on an extraordinary win,” she said.

“The results show how much New Zealanders want a strong, truly progressive government.”

Collins focused on the spectre of the Greens forcing Ardern to adopt a wealth tax aimed at the aspirational middle class.

But her attacks failed to find traction and the party looks set to fall well short of the vote it recorded at the last election in 2017.

The conservative leader, known as “Crusher” for her hardline policies when police minister in a previous government, has vowed to stay on as leader regardless of the result.

About 3.5 million people are registered to vote, with 1.9 million, or well over half, casting their ballots early — a much higher figure than previous elections.

The vote was originally set for September 19 but was delayed by a virus outbreak in Auckland that has now been contained.

Collins, who took over the National Party in July after a period of turmoil when the party had three leaders in three months, said the false start had cost her campaign momentum.

Voters also cast ballots in two referendums, one on legalising recreational cannabis and the other on legalising euthanasia, although the results of those votes will not be known until October 30.

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Defence Security Corps jawan dies of gunshot wound in Mumbai, suicide suspected | Mumbai News – Times of India

MUMBAI: A sepoy with the Defence Security Corps (DSC) platoons allegedly shot himself inside the peripheral of the Indian Navy Material Organisation‘s Naval store depot in Ghatkopar (west) late on Sunday.
The defence PRO said a board of inquiry has been initiated and the cause of the suicide is unknown. The official said the Ghatkopar police are conducting the probe.
The incident occurred after sunset when sepoy Raipal Pal Singh (who could be in mid-40s), of the 106 DSC platoon attached to Material Organisation, Ghatkopar, Mumbai was found dead, at his duty post on Sunday, due to gunshot injury. His service rifle with two rounds discharged was found next to him, said the defence official.
The official said that the Civil Police from Ghatkopar reached the spot and the body has been taken to the nearby Rajawadi Civil hospital by naval ambulance. The deceased hailed from village Amargarh, Sangrur district in Punjab. He is survived by his wife and two children. “The cause of the act is yet unknown,” said the official.
The official said that normally a person after retiring from army joins the DSC platoons.
Ghatkopar police is probing the case and prima facie a case of accidental death has been registered.

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France teacher attack: Rallies held to support beheaded Samuel Paty


President Emmanuel Macron said

the attack bore all the hallmarks of an “Islamist terrorist attack” and the teacher had been murdered because he “taught freedom of expression”.



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House Speaker Pelosi says ‘I’m optimistic’ on coronavirus relief deal before US election

WASHINGTON: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Sunday differences remain with President Donald Trump‘s administration on a wide-ranging coronavirus relief package but she was optimistic legislation could be pushed through before Election Day.
Pelosi, the top elected Democrat, said she wanted a bill passed before the Nov. 3 presidential election between Republican Trump and Democrat Joe Biden but acknowledged an agreement would have to come within 48 hours for that to happen.
“I’m optimistic because, again, we’ve been back and forth on all of this,” Pelosi said in an interview with ABC’s “This Week.”
However, with her negotiating partner, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, in the Middle East until Tuesday, a deal appears to be a long shot.
The White House proposed a $1.8 trillion stimulus last week to help Americans struggling with the economic ravages of the coronavirus pandemic. Pelosi said the offer fell short in a range of areas including tax credits for poor people, aid to state and local governments, worker protections and rent help. She has stuck to her demand for a $2.2 trillion aid and stimulus package.
The Republicans who control the Senate, however, are loath to pass another giant relief bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate would vote next week on relief measures totaling more than $500 billion to target specific areas of need. Democrats have rejected so-called skinny bills with pared-down funding, saying much more is needed.
After Mnuchin said last week the White House broadly accepted Democrats’ language on testing, it was clear the devil was in the details.
“They took out 55% of the language that we had there for testing and tracing. And the tracing part is so important because communities of color had been disproportionately affected by this,” Pelosi said on ABC.
“We don’t have agreement on the language yet. But I’m hopeful.”

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Maryam Nawaz, Bilawal Bhutto hold second power show of joint oppn against PM

KARACHI/ PAKISTAN: Pakistani opposition leaders Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Maryam Nawaz, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Mehmood Khan Achakzai and Mohsin Dawar on Sunday arrived at Karachi’s Bagh-e-Jinnah for the second power show of the joint opposition front Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) against Prime Minister Imran Khan-led government.
Thousands of people assembled for the anti-government rally. People were seen waving opposition parties flag and raising slogans.
This is the second power show of the 11-party opposition alliance PDM. The first was held in Gujranwala in Lahore.
Heavy contingents of police have been deployed across the route of the rally. According to a statement by Karachi police, about 3,740 officials have been deployed along with 30 senior officials and 65 deputy superintendents of police to ensure foolproof security, Dawn reported.
About 112 female officials of the special security unit have also been posted in different spots and 284 commandoes of the SSU will be present at the venue.

Since several roads and main thoroughfares have been blocked due to the rally, Karachi police have released alternate traffic routes to facilitate residents.
Furthermore, 159 officials of the Rapid Response Force have also been deployed to provide security.
Earlier in the day, Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz‘s (PML-N) vice president MaryamNawaz arrived in Karachi and was welcomed at the airport by a large number of party workers.
Speaking to a private news channel later in the evening, Maryam said she was “grateful” for the enthusiastic welcome she had received in Karachi. She visited the Quaid’s Mausoleum and paid respects there. On her way to the venue, Maryam said that the PML-N’s narrative is based on principles.
The PML-N vice president said that PDM’s primary aim was to restore the sanctity of the masses’ vote which was “stolen” in the 2018 general elections.
“The public is now ahead of us. We (opposition) have gotten late in representing the masses but now we have gathered at the PDM platform,” she said.

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‘India reached Covid-19 peak in September, likely to have over one crore cases by February 2021’ | India News

NEW DELHI: Number of active symptomatic Covid-19 cases in India has already peaked at around 10 lakhs on September 17 and the cases, which are now declining, may reach the cumulative figure of 1.06 crore with negligible growth by the end of February next year, a government’s expert committee said on Sunday. It means the pandemic can be controlled by early next year with “minimal active symptomatic infections” in February, 2021.
Releasing its projection based on a mathematical model, the Committee, however, said this number would start rising again if proper practices of masking, disinfecting, tracing, and quarantine were not followed.
“This is not a reason for us to relax because this nice downward trend will continue only if we continue with the protective measures,” said chairman of the panel, M Vidyasagar of the IIT Hyderabad, while making a virtual presentation of the findings of the Committee.
According to this panel, comprising scientists from IITs, IISc Bangalore, ISI Kolkata and CMC Vellore, India has, in fact, reached its peak four days earlier than the peak projection (September 21) made by this “COVID-19 India National Supermodel”.
The Committee, appointed by the ministry of science & technology to collate the collective expertise of the Indian scientific community, and to arrive at the model, has found that 30% of the country’s population, at present, is projected to have antibodies as against 14% in August end – it’s double the ICMR survey that had, projected that 7% of the population had antibodies in August end.
“This number being at 30% of the population with antibodies at the moment is good news as that is what the explanation for the downturn in this pandemic. The other point is that the cumulative mortality projected to be less than 0.04% of total infected,” said Vidyasagar.
In addition to these projections, the Committee, based on temporal profiles of analyses done for Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, concluded that the impact of labour migration on the total number of infections in these states was minimal, indicating success of quarantine strategies adopted for the returning migrants.
The Committee also simulated what would have happened in hypothetical alternative scenarios with regard to the timing of lockdown regime and said with no lockdown, the pandemic would have hit India very hard, with a peak load of over 1.4 crore cases arriving in June.
“Had India waited until May to impose the lockdown, the peak load of active cases would have been around 50 lakhs by June,” it said, noting that the imposition of an early and comprehensive lockdown pushed the peak of cases far into the future and also reduced the peak load on the system.
It said the lockdown “flattened the curve”. Analysing the actual deaths from the pandemic with various alternative scenarios, the panel noted that without a lockdown the number of deaths in India would have overwhelmed the system within a very short timeframe, and would eventually have crossed 26 lakhs fatalities.
“Therefore, the imposition of an early and comprehensive lockdown pushed the peak of cases far into the future and also reduced the peak load on the system,” said Vidyasagar.
With making the projections, the Committee suggested that the fresh lockdowns should not be imposed on district and statewide levels, unless there is imminent danger of the healthcare facilities being overwhelmed.
It, however, emphasised that the existing personal safety protocols need to continue in full measure, noting that it does not yet know the weather-specific perturbations of this pandemic (in general, viruses tend to be more active in colder environment) and the effects of possible future mutations in the virus.
“Avoiding congestion especially in closed spaces and special care of those above 65 years and children is even more significant. Personnel with co-morbidities need to be extra cautious,” said the panel in its suggestions.
Doing a comparative analysis, the Committee noted that the imposition of various safety protocols such as wearing masks, social distancing etc., together with a comprehensive lockdown has allowed India to fare better than many other countries.
“India has one-sixth of the world’s population (one-fifth excluding China), and one-sixth of the reported cases. However, India accounts for only 10% of the world’s deaths, and its case fatality rate of less than 2% is among the lowest in the world. India’s fatality rate per million is about a tenth that of the European countries and the USA,” said the Committee.

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Flood situation grim in parts of Telangana, Karnataka | India News

HYDERABAD/KALABURAGI: The flood situation in parts of Telangana and Karanataka remained grim on Sunday as overnight spell of rains in Hyderabad battered the city yet again while the Army was pressed into service in four affected districts in Karnataka.
Incessant downpour since Saturday caused flooding in parts of Hyderabad, leaving three people dead in separate rain-related incidents.
The Telangana capital had witnessed one of the worst deluges in recent times following unprecedented downpour in over a century early this week, with about 20 cm of rains being recorded in the city and its surrounding areas.
The flood situation in Karnataka was equally a matter of concern in four districts with Krishna and Bhima rivers in spate as the Army, the national and state disaster response forces undertook rescue work, evacuating hundreds of marooned people, officials said.
In Hyderabad, rains since Saturday evening led to lakes and other water bodies overflowing with the water inundating several low-lying areas, including parts of the city affected last week, here and the outskirts, police and civic officials said.
A total of 37,409 families were affected in various localities that were inundated in the city due to the recent floods and ration kits and blankets were being distributed among them, a release from Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) said.
Disaster Response Force personnel, GHMC staff and police swung into action since Saturday night itself, evacuating those stranded.
At least three people, including two children died in rain-related incidents reported from different parts of the city over the past 24 hours here, police and civic officials said.
The state capital bore the brunt as a depression dumped the heaviest rains (nearly 20 cm) since 1916 for October on Tuesday and triggered flash floods.
The rains abated since Wednesday with the flood water receding in most parts while the government in a preliminary estimate had pegged the losses at over Rs 5,000 crore.
However, since Saturday night, several parts of the city and neighbouring districts again were battered by torrential rains with Saroornagar in adjoining Rangareddy district recording the maximum of 16.9 cm while Hyderabad Airport registered 7.2 cm.
On Sunday, GHMC Commissioner D S Lokesh Kumar said the civic body has launched steps to restore normalcy in areas affected by the latest spell and intensified relief works.
In view of forecast of heavy rains, as a precautionary measure, citizens staying in low lying areas were being evacuated, GHMC officials said.
Special drive on demolition of dilapidated structures continued by GHMC officials and citizens living in such structures were requested to vacate the buildings voluntarily to protect their lives from danger of collapse and cooperate with it in taking further action.
The India Meteorological Department has warned that thunderstorms accompanied by lightning were very likely to occur at isolated places over Telangana and heavy rain is very likely at isolated places from Sunday till October 21.
In Karnataka, which has been witnessing the monsoon fury for the past few days, many villages in Kalaburagi, Yadgir, Vijayapura and Raichur districts were either completely or partially submerged due to floods caused by heavy rains last week, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said.
He would undertake an aerial survey of the affected areas on October 21.
According to the Karnataka Disaster Management Authority (KDMA), a total of 20,269 people, including 15,078 in badly-hit Kalaburgi, have been evacuated so far by the personnel of the Army, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) besides local police and district authorities.
There was no loss to human lives anywhere in the flood- hit areas whereas two cattle died in Vijayapura, KDMA Commissioner Manoj Rajan said.
“Two NDRF, one SDRF and one Army column have been deployed in Kalaburagi while two Indian Air Force helicopters are on standby. Similarly, the NDRF and the Army personnel are deployed in other three districts. Situation is under control,” Rajan told PTI.
Yediyurappa said the floods have also resulted in damage to the crops.
Officials said river Bhima continued to remain in spate in Kalaburagi, Vijayapura and Yadgir districts while the surging Krishna river affected villages in Raichur.
Bhima, the major tributary of Krishna, has been in spate for the past one week due to heavy rains in neighbouring Maharashtra and in parts of Karnataka.
The river was flowing 4.45 metres above the danger level and 1.61 metres above its previous Highest Flood Level, the Central Water Commission in an update said.
Expressing solidarity with the flood-hit people, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured the state of cooperation from the Centre.
This is the third time Karnataka has been hit by floods in the past three months following heavy monsoon rains.

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Maharashtra: 9,060 new Covid-19 cases; 11,204 recover, 150 die | Mumbai News – Times of India

MUMBAI: Maharashtra reported a single-day rise of 9,060 coronavirus positive cases on Sunday, taking the state’s overall tally to 15,95,381, the health department said.
The death of 150 patients due to the pandemic pushed the toll to 42,115, it said in a statement.
As many as 11,204 patients were discharged during the day. With this, the state’s recovery count went up to 13,69,810.
There are 1,82,973 active cases in the state now.
According to the department, the recovery rate of the state is 85.86 per cent, while the fatality rate is 2.64 per cent.
In the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), which includes Mumbai, 3,132 cases and 59 deaths were reported during the day. With this, the number of positive cases in MMR reached 5,53,381 and death toll 17,293.
Mumbai reported 1,600 new cases on Sunday and 46 deaths, which took the city’s case count to 2,41,935 and fatalities to 9,785.
Nagpur city reported 1,082 new cases, Pune city 369, Pimpri Chinchwad 176, Aurangabad city 139 and Nashik city 118 cases, it said.
So far 81,39,466 people have been tested, the department said.

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