NAMASKAR ! A warm welcome to ‘World News: an Indian perspective’, on All India Radio. This is NISHIT KUMAR, bringing glimpses of major developments of the day from across the globe.
⦁ India begins dry runs as it prepares to unroll massive COVID vaccination campaign.
⦁ Donald Trump signs 900 Billion Dollar Coronavirus relief package into law.
⦁ Saudi Arabia extends ban on commercial flights amidst concern over new COVID variant.
⦁ European Union Ambassadors give a go ahead to EU- UK Post BREXIT trade deal.
⦁ 8 Indian beaches claim the coveted Blue Flag recognition.
⦁ In Cricket, Indian Captain Virat Kohli wins the ICC Player of the Decade award.
INDIA-COVID DRY RUN
India has begun preparations for its COVID vaccination campaign on Monday. A dry run for the vaccination in four states – Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab and Assam got underway today. The two day exercise will help assess the readiness for the vaccination and provide a hands-on experience to programme managers at various levels. Health Ministry said, the aim of the exercise is to identify challenges and make required changes in the plan so that the final process becomes foolproof. An important focus of the dry run will be on management of any possible adverse events following immunisation. The mock drill will include concurrent monitoring and review at the block and district levels, and preparation of feedback to be shared with the State and Union Health Ministry.
Last week, an exercise was undertaken to identify 300 Million most vulnerable population to prioritize the vaccine delivery.
The President of the United States, Donald Trump has signed into law a coronavirus relief and spending package bill, averting a partial government shutdown. The relief package worth 900 billion dollar was approved by Congress after months of negotiation. President Trump had initially refused to sign the bill, saying he wanted to give people bigger one-off payments.
The delay meant that millions of Americans temporarily lost unemployment benefits. A statement from the White House read that Mr. Trump was signing the bill to restore unemployment benefits, return airline workers back to work and add substantially more money for vaccine distribution.
The statement also said that the House and Senate have agreed to focus strongly on the very substantial voter fraud which took place in the November 3 Presidential election.
Sino-US ties have taken a hit with the US President Donald Trump enacting a law further cementing the US-Taiwan ties. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said China was “resolutely opposed” to the Taiwan Assurance Act of 2020 and Tibetan Policy and Support Act TPSA of 2020. He claimed that both contain language objectionable to China.
The US President has also signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, authorizing a 3 Million Dollar partnership with Taiwan. The Taiwan Foreign Ministry in a tweet hailed the passage of the bill as a reaffirmation of the broad US support for Taiwan.
The TPSA, passed by the US Congress earlier in the week, recognizes the Central Tibetan Administration’s exclusive authority to determine the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama and other matters internal to Tibet. It warns China of sanctions in case of interference.
President of the United Arab Emirates, UAE, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, issued a decree to form the Board of Directors of the Supreme Council for Financial and Economic Affairs on Sunday. The body will be chaired by the President. The Supreme Council for Financial and Economic Affairs is responsible for all important matters related to the economy and finance of the UAE including petroleum and natural resources affairs and investment. With this, the current Supreme Petroleum Council, which regulates petroleum-related policies, will be merged with the new council.
The Prime Minister of the UAE, has approved the Government of Dubai’s general budget for the fiscal year 2021 on Sunday. Dubai government stated that it is pursuing an expansionary fiscal policy to attract more direct investments. It added that the government is launching initiatives to diversify the economic base.
Infrastructure and transportation has been allocated 41 per cent of total spending to the sector. There has been an emphasis on developing reading and coding initiatives also in the budget.
Saudi Arabia has extended its suspension of commercial passenger flights by at least one week amid concerns over a new variant of the Coronavirus. Quoting the Interior Ministry Spokesman, official Saudi Press Agency yesterday said, Saudi Arabia will however, allow flights in exceptional cases. It also said, foreigners will be allowed to depart the kingdom and cargo movement will be permitted.
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman suspended passenger flights and banned entry and exit via their land and sea borders last week after a new strain of the Novel Coronavirus appeared in Britain.
External Affairs Minister of India, Dr. S. Jaishankar called on the Prime Minister and Interior Minister of Qatar Mr. Al Thani. He thanked him for the care given to the Indian community in Qatar during COVID times and discussed strengthening bilateral economic and security cooperation. Calling on the Amir of Qatar, Mr. Tamim Bin Hamad, Dr. Jaishankar handed over a personal communication from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He also visited the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium at Al Rayyan, the venue for the FIFA World Cup in 2022 and congratulated Indian company Larsen & Toubro and their Qatari partners on an impressive project.
Earlier, he virtually interacted with the Indian community in Qatar. In a tweet, he appreciated their contribution to meeting the COVID challenge and said he urged their participation in the development of New India.
Indian Ambassador to Kuwait hailed Indo-Kuwait relations as the two nations look to celebrate 60 years of friendship at the turn of the year 2020. In an interview with Kuwait TV, the ambassador underlined the excellent relations between the two nations in the field of medicine and healthcare. He said that the Indian doctor and nurses living in Kuwait comprise the cream of the diaspora in Kuwait. He lauded the role played by them in the difficult times of the pandemic in saving lives.
Ambassador George also highlighted India’s successes in handling the Covid 19 pandemic and reaffirmed its credentials as the ‘Pharmacy of the World’.
General MM Naravane, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) of India has proceeded on a three day visit to the Republic of Korea (ROK) from 28 to 30 December 2020. During the visit, he will be meeting senior military and civilian leadership of the Republic of Korea.
General Naravane will lay a wreath at the National Cemetery and War Memorial at Seoul. He is scheduled to call on with the Minister of National Defence and other senior officials and discuss avenues for enhancing India-ROK defence relations
India and Vietnam today concluded the two-day naval passage exercise PASSEX in the South China Sea as part of efforts to boost maritime cooperation between the two countries on Monday. Indian Navy informed that Indian Naval Ship Kiltan, carrying humanitarian assistance, reached Vietnam’s Nha Rong Port, Ho Chi Minh City on Thursday to deliver 15 tonnes of relief material for flood-affected people.
The assistance is as a part of Mission Sagar-III, India’s Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) assistance to Friendly Foreign Countries during the ongoing pandemic.
India on Monday unfurled eight Blue Flags on its beaches which showcased a national level campaign to safeguard its coastal region. Terming it a proud moment for the country, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said the certification is a global recognition of India’s conservation and sustainable development efforts.
With this, India becomes the first country in the world to receive the Blue Flag Certification for eight beaches simultaneously. Blue Flag certification is a globally recognised eco-label accorded by Foundation for Environment Education in Denmark based on 33 stringent criteria.
Ambassadors from 27 European Union (EU) Member States today unanimously approved the EU-UK post-Brexit trade deal. The deal is likely to become law on 1st January, as the UK Parliament is expected to approve it on Wednesday. Under EU rules, it can take effect provisionally, though the European Parliament will vote on it in January. The deal sets the framework for trade once the UK leaves the EU single market and customs union in four days’ time.
The Indian and UAE business representatives shared messages congratulating both governments on the India-UAE Food Security Summit 2020 which concluded earlier this month. Retired Major General Sharafuddin Sharaf, Chairman of the UAE-India Business Council expressed his pleasure at interacting with the delegates from the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir on the sidelines of the event
India’s Captain Virat Kohli has won the Sir Garfield Sobers Award for ICC Male Cricketer of the Decade. MS Dhoni has bagged the ICC spirit of cricket award of the decade.