NAMASKAR ! A warm welcome to ‘World News: an Indian perspective’, on All India Radio. This is ADITI LOOMBA, bringing glimpses of major developments of the day from across the globe.
- Government of India issues SOP for new variant of SARS- CoV 2 virus.
- Indian Cabinet approves signing of revised Air Service Agreements with Philippines and Afghanistan.
- In Nepal, Supreme Court forwards writ petitions against Parliament’s dissolution to Constitutional bench.
- US President-elect Joe Biden calls cyber breach grave risk to national security .
- Israel to hold snap polls next year as Parliament fail to meet deadline to pass Budget
- And in sports, Tokyo Olympics assigns 900 million dollar on coronavirus measures.
Government of India has issued Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Epidemiological Surveillance and Response for a new variant of SARS- CoV 2 virus. The new variant of COVID 19 has been reported by the Government of United Kingdom to World Health Organization (WHO). This variant is estimated by European Center for Disease Control (ECDC) to be more transmissible and affecting younger population. This variant is defined by a set of 17 changes or mutations. One of the most significant mutation is in the spike protein that the virus uses to bind to the human ACE2 receptor. Changes in this part of the spike protein may result in the virus becoming more infectious and spreading more easily between people.
The SOP describes the activities to be undertaken at the point of entry and in the community for all International passengers who have travelled from or transited through UK from 25th November to till date. Any reference to testing in this SOP implies RT-PCR testing only. The flights from UK are suspended temporarily from 23rd December till 31st December or till further orders. All the passengers travelling from or transiting through airports in UK and disembarking in India during the intervening period from 21st to 23rd December would be subjected to RT-PCR test on arrival. Passengers testing positive will be isolated in an institutional isolation facility in a separate isolation unit coordinated by the respective State Health Authorities.
WN-CABINET AIR SERVICE AGREEMENT
The Indian Cabinet today gave its nod for signing the revised Air Services Agreement between India and Philippines. It also gave its approval for signing the revised Air Services Agreement between India and Afghanistan.
The revised Air Services Agreements have the potential to spur greater trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchanges between the two countries bringing it in tune with the developments in the civil aviation sector.
WN- ODISHA – TEST FIRE
Defence Research and Development Organisation DRDO of India today conducted the successful trial of the Medium Range Surface to Air MR-SAM missile from Chandipur off the Odisha coast. This was the army version of the MR-SAM missile which has been designed jointly by India and Israel.
Defence Minister of India Rajnath Singh lauded the efforts of DRDO and associated team members involved in the mission. The minister said that India has attained a high level of capability in the indigenous design and development of advanced weapon systems.
External Affairs Minister of India Dr. S Jaishankar today held a virtual meeting with his Spain counterpart Arancha González. Both Ministers exchanged notes on the pandemic situation. During the meeting, there was detailed review of bilateral relations including cooperation in energy, climate change and infrastructure. The Ministers discussed regional issues and reformed multilateralism.
Nepal Supreme Court has today forwarded the writ petitions against President’s decision to dissolve the Parliament to the Constitutional Bench.
This comes after the bench of Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher JB Rana heard writ petitions filed in the Supreme Court against the dissolution of the House of Representatives.
A 5-member bench led by Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher JB Rana will hear the matter on Friday.
A total of 12 writ petitions on challenging President’s decision to dissolve the Parliament have been filed in the Apex Court .
WN-FREE BALOCH MOVEMENT
The Free Balochistan Movement (FBM) has expressed grave concerns over the sudden death of Banuk Karima Baloch, the former chairperson of Baloch Student Organisation-Azad .
The FBM in a statement said that the disappearance and murder of Karima Baloch, in Canada is a matter of grave concern and shock for all.
The statement further said that due to the atrocities of the Pakistani state, Baloch refugees were forced to migrate to neighbouring Afghanistan. It urged the international organisations, including the UNHCR, to take steps to protect and assist the Baloch refugees in Pakistan.
WN- INDIAN SHIP -CHINA
The plight of 23 crew members of Indian ship Jag Anand is far from over as Chinese govt today reiterated its unwillingness to allow a crew change citing epidemic control requirements at ports. The ship MV Jag Anand laden with huge consignment of Australian coal is stuck at China’s Jingtang port since June. China is not allowing the ship to unload the cargo from Australia with which it is locked in a political tussle. In response to a question on whether China would allow the change of the crew of ‘Jag Anand’ on humanitarian grounds, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian did not give any clear reply, instead he cited the epidemic prevention measures.
The Indian Embassy in Beijing is in regular communication with the local Chinese authorities to find a way out on the matter.
WN-BIDEN CYBER ATTACK
US President-elect Joe Biden has said that a widespread data breach of the government poses a grave risk to national security. Mr. Biden said, he had seen no evidence that a massive cyber attack against the United States is under control. He warned that the breach will not go unanswered once he takes office on January 20. Mr. Biden said, his administration will take meaningful steps to respond to the cyber breach. He faulted Trump for stripping U.S. defenses against cyber attacks.
WN-US – RELIEF PACKAGE
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has asked the Congress to amend the coronavirus relief bill. The president said, it should be amended to increase the amount in the stimulus checks.
Earlier, both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate had passed the legislation of 892 billion Dollar COVID-19 relief package.
Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, was dissolved after the two main parties in its unity government failed to meet a deadline in a row over state budgets last night.
Israel will now hold its fourth elections in two years in March next year, just 12 months after the last round. Two previous elections were inconclusive, resulting in a rare government of national unity.
Now, the Coronavirus s from around the world,
The British government has said that it will review its decision on Wednesday whether to impose strictest COVID-19 restrictions in more areas of the country. The government also said that it will not change Christmas rules as a highly infectious variant continues to spread across the country.
The French prime minister’s office has said that French and EU citizens will again be allowed to enter France from Britain provided they have a negative COVID-19 test that is less than 72 hours old.
Earlier, France and several other countries closed their borders to Britain over fears of a highly infectious new coronavirus strain.
The Vatican said on Tuesday that Pope Francis will read his Christmas message from inside the Vatican instead of from the outdoor central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica due to new coronavirus restrictions in Italy.
Moving on to sports now,
The organisers of the Tokyo Olympics has said, they will spend 900 million dollar on measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus at the 2021 Olympic Games. Announcing the budget for the event, Tokyo Olympics Chief Executive Toshiro Muto said that , they want to build the best possible system to prevent COVID 19.
WN CLOSING 23.12.2020
India is celebrating the 151st birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Before we end, let us listen to his favourite bhajan VAISHNAV JAN, by artists from FRANCE.
AND WITH THAT, WE END THIS BULLETIN. SEE YOU AT SAME TIME TOMORROW WITH THE NEXT EDITION OF WORLD NEWS.