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Cops thrashed by hoodlums outside minister's house'

Four policemen, including an assistant sub inspector, were injured when a group of men attacked them in Pratapgarh district of Rajasthan on Friday night. The incident occurred in Chhoti Sadri area near the house of the state Cooperative Minister Udai Lal Anjana with the BJP alleging that Anjana too slapped a policeman, a charge denied by the minister. A former up-sarpanch Kanhaiya Lal had a spat with some youths in Kesunda village over some petty issue. After some time, the youths caught Kanhaiya Lal and thrashed him, police said. On information, a team of four policemen, led by ASI Shishupal Singh, rushed to the spot where the members from Kanhaiya Lal hit them. The policemen got injured. The ASI has received critical injuries, Chhoti Sadri police station's SHO Ravindra Pratap Singh said. Leader of Opposition Gulab Chand Kataria wrote a letter to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Saturday alleging that the minister, Udai Lal Anjana slapped a police constable after which the mob present .


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TN further eases curbs, allows private firms to resume work

Easing curbs further in non-containment zones with riders like social distancing, the Tamil Nadu government on Saturday allowed private sector firms to resume work with 33 per cent work force and also permitted reopening of tea stalls to offer take away services from May 11. The government also extended the timings for groceries and vegetable shops from the present 5 pm till 7 pm, effective Monday, throughout Tamil Nadu. These outlets can start work from 6 am as usual. As regards standalone and neighbourhood shops in Chennai, they can function from 10.30 am till 6 pm as against the present cut off time of 5 pm, an official release here said. In all other parts of the state, these categories of shops can be open between 10 am and 7 pm. In Chennai city and suburbs, all private sector companies can resume work and operate between 10.30 am and 6 pm. In the rest of Tamil Nadu, the firms can work from 10 am to 7 pm. However, the workforce shall be confined to 33 per cent of the ..


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Two fresh COVID-19 cases in Kerala, total goes up to 505

Two fresh cases of COVID-19 were reported from Kerala on Saturday, both being foreign returnees who reached the state from Dubai and Abu Dhabi on May 7 and were among the expatriates airlifted by the Centre as part of its mission to bring back stranded Indians abroad. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said with the two new patients, the total number of cases in the state has gone up to 505 and there are currently 17 under treatment. "One patient from Idukki, who was under treatment, has been cured today.The two new cases are now under treatment in Kochi and Kozhikode. They reached the state on May 7 in the Abu Dhabi- Kochi andDubai-Kozhikode flights, respectively," Vijayan told reporters. "There are 23,930 people under observation in the state out of which 334 are in isolation wards of various hospitals," he said. Out of the total 505 infected, Kerala has till now cured 485,Vijayan added. The state has reported three deaths.


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NSD introduces 'theatre for all' with webinar series

The National School of Drama (NSD) is planning to take theatrical knowledge and experience to "every nook and corner" of the country" through an online series of lectures, demonstrations, master classes and hands-on training sessions. The webinar series, starting from Sunday, will offer one of a kind experience to those "who are not in physical contact with the regular theatre practice" given to the nation-wide lockdown during the COVID-19 crisis, Suresh Sharma, Director In charge, NSD announced on Saturday. "Due to this ongoing pandemic we feel that the artists are feeling very abandoned as they are not getting the chance to perform. Since we all know the act of theatre is all about a working together in a group, but due the ongoing situation this has become impossible. "National School of Drama has initiated an online platform where the people who are sitting at home can connect with us and utilize their time to grab the knowledge. This not only will help to enhance their skills ...


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COVID-19 challenges: TN forms panel under ex-RBI Guv Rangarajan to improve fiscal position

The Tamil Nadu government on Saturday set up a high-level committee headed by former Reserve Bank of India governor C Rangarajan to examine fiscal challenges facing the state owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and suggest the way forward to improve its fiscal position. The committee, which will also consist of Finance Secretary S Krishnan as coordinator, will submit its report to the government within three months, according to a Government Order. The committee, with 21 members, would assess the overall immediate and medium term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on different sectors of the state's economy including the impact of lockdown, additional costs and implications due to social distancing and their precautionary measures. Also, it would assess the opportunities and threats in the short and medium term, suggest measures required to help the important sectors of the economy to overcome the impact of the virus pandemic. Apart from identifying specific reform measures to ..


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Bihar despatches 28 ambulances to AES-affected districts

Bihar Health minister Mangal Pandey on Saturday flagged off 28 ambulances to seven districts of the state affected by Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES). Of the 28 ambulances, eight were despatched to the most-affected Muzaffarpur district. East Champaran, West Champaran got five each, Sitamarhi four while Samastipur, Gopalganj and Siwan districts got two ambulances each, an official release said. With this, the total number of ambulances has increased to 426 in 11 districts affected by AES in the state, it said. As many as three children have lost their lives in over a month due to AES at Sri Krishna Medical College hospital in Muzaffarpur which accounted for about 120 deaths due to the same disease last year. The minister flagged off the ambulances at a function held at the State Institute of Health and Family Welfare (SIHFW) here. Over 700 AES kits were sent in the 28 ambulances to 366 health institutes in the AES-affected districts, it said. The kits comprise 11 types ..


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Close shave for Jharkhand workers walking on railway tracks

A group of 20 migrant workers returning to Jharkhand from West Bengal's Birbhum district by walking along railway tracks had a narrow escape when an inspection van stopped in front of them on a river bridge, officials said on Saturday. The labourers had managed to reach the temple town of Tarapith from Purba Bardhaman district during the lockdown and started on foot from there towards neighbouring Jharkhand on Friday night. When they were on a bridge over the river Brambhani around 9.30 PM, an inspection van came from the opposite direction, from Pakur in Jharkhand, officials said. The driver of the inspection van applied emergency brake after he noticed the people, who included women and children, on the track. After the driver informed the control room, a GRP team reached there and brought them to Nalhati in Birbhum district, officials said. Efforts are on to send the 20 people, who are now sheltered in the Nalhati I BDO's office, to Jharkhand. The incident occurred ...


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Entrepreneurs in rural belts switch to making face masks amid COVID-19 crisis

A number of entrepreneurs based in rural areas of the country have taken to manufacturing face masks amid dwindling demand for their regular produce in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, an official said on Saturday. Around, 500 rural entrepreneurs have so far produced and sold 3.5 lakh such masks under the Start-up Village Entrepreneurship Programme (SVEP), he said. They produce around 2,500 masks per day for health professionals, policemen, media personnel and cleaning staff, the official said. In West Bengal, 38 entrepreneurs manufacture nearly 600 masks a day in blocks of Dinhata, Pathar Pratima and Manikchak in different districts of the state. The entrepreneurs, trained under SVEP -- under the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) -- have sold 49,000 masks in the state till date, he said. Apart from West Bengal, the programme is active in the rural belts of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand and Haryana, he added. The masks are made in hygienic ..


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After death, special trains took them to their home districts

They had started their journey on foot from Maharashtra hoping to reach Madhya Pradesh, but it was their bodies that reached their home districts of Shahdol and Umaria by special trains on Saturday afternoon. The bodies of sixteen migrant labourers who were mown down by a goods train in Maharashtra's Aurangabad district were brought to Jabalpur by two bogies attached to a special train. From Jabalpur, the coaches were further sent to Shahdol and Umaria, said a police officer. A bogie with five bodies reached Umaria around 3 pm, where district officials received them and sent them to their villages in ambulances, he said. The five deceased belonged to two villages Chilhari and Maman. Another bogie with 11 bodies reached Shahdol around 4 pm. Local Member of Parliament Himadri Singh and senior officials were present at the railway station. These 11 deceased belonged to the villages of Antoli and Shahargarh of Shahdol district. In both the districts, officials accompanied ...


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1.5 lakh migrant workers want to return to Haryana: Home Minister Vij

In a bright sign for resumption of economic activities amid the Covid-led lockdown across the country, the migrant workers, who left various states for their native places amid the shutdown, have begun expressing willingness to return to work, indicate developments in Haryana. Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij on Saturday said over 1.5 lakh migrant workers have applied on government portal, expressing their willingness to return back to work in the state. Vij said most of these 1.5 lakh workers, who have registered themselves to return, belong to Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. He also said on the same portal nearly 8 lakh migrant workers, however, have registered themselves for leaving the state. Nearly 1.5 lakh migrant workers want to return to Haryana while 8 lakh of them have registered themselves for leaving the state for their native states, Vij said. Most of the 1.5 lakh who want to come back are from Bihar, UP and MP. They want to come here as commercial activities have .


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Exemption from labour laws in Guj for new industrial units

The Gujarat government on Saturday announced exemption from certain labour laws for 1,200 days to firms that want to set up new units in the state in order to "boost economic activities" post-lockdown. Earlier, governments of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh had offered concessions from labour regulations in their states to attract investment. The government also announced relief amid coronavirus pandemic for industries which use natural gas supplied by Gujarat Gas, a subsidiary of state-owned Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation, by giving more time to pay gas bills. "Companies in Gujarat, India and abroad willing to bring new projects and set up new units in the state will be freed from labour laws for 1,200 days, except those related to the minimum wages and industrial safety," said Ashwani Kumar, secretary to Chief Minister Vijay Rupani. Local MSME owners willing to set up new units will also get this exemption, he said. In a tweet, Chief Minister's Office said that ...


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AP to reduce retail liquor outlets to 2,934 by May end

After hiking liquor price by 75 per cent early this week, the Andhra Pradesh government has decided to reduce the number of retail liquor outlets, by a further 13 per cent, to 2,934 by this month end to curtail alcohol consumption and help people "move towards a better life." According to Special Chief Secretary (Revenue) Rajat Bhargava,the government has also taken a number of steps to check illicit distillation of liquor and inter-state trade of non-duty paid liquor. Now, the state government has also decided to constitute an independent Special Enforcement Bureau to deal with illicit liquor, with special focus on districts bordering neighbouring states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Odisha and Telangana. Retail liquor business in the state is currently run by the government, through the AP State Beverages Corporation Limited, and the number of outlets was brought down to 3,500 from 4,380 in August last year. With the latest decision, the number will drop further to ...


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ICICI Bank Q4 consolidated profit up 6.91 pc to Rs 1,251 cr; sets aside Rs 2k-cr for virus impact

ICICI Bank on Saturday reported a 6.91 per cent growth in March quarter net at Rs 1,251 crore on a consolidated basis, after setting aside over Rs 2,000 crore in provisions for potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. On a standalone basis, the second largest private sector bank's profit grew 26 per cent to Rs 1,221 crore as against Rs 969 crore in the year-ago period. For fiscal year 2019-20, it reported a 135 per cent jump in standalone profit to Rs 7,930.81 crore. From an asset quality perspective, the bank reported an improvement in gross non-performing assets (NPAs) ratio to 5.53 per cent as against 6.70 per cent in the year-ago period and 5.95 per cent as of December 2019, despite over Rs 5,300 crore in fresh slippages during the reporting quarter. ICICI Bank President Sandeep Batra said it had slippages of Rs 4,300 crore in the preceding December quarter, and the additions on this front can be attributed to two accounts -- a West Asian healthcare company and a Singaporean oil


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Strict restrictions reimposed after traffic jam in J&K's Bhadarwah

Police and paramilitary personnel were deployed in greater strength on Saturday to curb free movement, a day after some people under quarantine were caught in a traffic jam in Bhadarwah of Jammu and Kashmir's Doda district, officials said. Out of the total 20 districts in the Union territory, Doda and Poonch in Jammu division are coronavirus free with no reported case till date. Doda district was recently declared a green zone by the administration and simultaneously some relaxations in lockdown restrictions were announced following which people started resuming their normal activities and vehicles also started plying in different areas, including Bhadarwah town. However, alarm bells started ringing when a group of labourers, who are under administrative quarantine after being brought back from outside Jammu and Kashmir this week, were caught in a massive traffic jam in the middle of the main market while being taken to a hospital in the hilly town for COVID-19 testing on Friday, the .


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RCF logs 35% rise in sales of complex fertilisers in April

State-owned Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers Ltd on Saturday said it reported a 35 per cent increase in sales of complex fertilisers, marketed under Suphala brand, last month. "Despite enormous logistic and other challenges posed by COVID-19 lockdown, Rashtriya Chemicals Fertilizers Ltd (RCF)...registered an increase of 35.47 per cent in sale of its NPK fertilizers SUPHALA in the month of April, 2020 as compared to April 2019," an official statement said. Chemicals and Fertilizers Minister D V Sadananda Gowda congratulated the RCF for this sale performance. He expressed satisfaction that different fertiliser PSUs under his ministry are working hard to assist Indian farmers in overcoming difficulties of the lockdown announced to curb COVID-19 spread, the statement said. RCF chairman and managing director S C Mudgerikar said the company is ensuring continuous supply of fertilisers to the farmers, with adequate safety and hygiene. RCF has contributed Rs 83.56 lakh to PM-CARES Fund and


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Testing capacity for COVID-19 scaled up to 95,000 per day: Vardhan

The testing capacity for COVID-19 has been scaled up to around 95,000 tests per day and a total of 15,25,631 tests have been conducted so far across 332 government and 121 private laboratories, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Saturday. The minister, who reviewed the status of COVID-19 in the northeastern states along with the measures taken for its containment and management, also stressed on the need to take concrete action to check the use of non-smoking tobacco and prohibiting spitting in public places which shall help in preventing the spread of the infection, according to a statement. During the high-level meeting with Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim, Vardhan appreciated the dedication of all the states in combating COVID-19. "It is a huge relief and very encouraging to see green zones in most northeastern states. As of date, only Assam and Tripura have active COVID-19 cases. Other states are all in the green zone. ..


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Youth held on rape charge in UP's Muzaffarnagar

A youth was arrested in connection with the rape of a 15-year-old girl in Muzaffarnagar's Kidwai Nagar on Saturday, police said. He was arrested after almost four months of the incident. Police said the girl was raped by the accused, identified as Nadeem, on January 16. He has been on the run since then, they said.


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JD(U) trashes Delhi govt's claim of bearing migrant labourers train fare

The ruling JD(U) on Saturday slammed AAP for claiming that it bore the cost of ferrying migrant workers from Delhi to their home in Bihar, saying the party was speaking "half-truth" as the Arvind Kejriwal government has sought reimbursement of the payment. The Janata Dal (United) headed by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar accused the Aam Admi Party (AAP) of resorting to "cheap politics to gain popularity". The JD(U) also came down heavily on Leader of Opposition in the Bihar Assembly, Tejashwi Yadav for lapping up the issue to attack the NDA dispensation, asking him to stop the rhetoric and do something good for the people of Bihar. The AAP had on Friday claimed that the Kejriwal government paid for the migrant labourers travelling home after the Bihar government left them in the lurch. The train carrying 1,200 migrant labourers left for Muzaffarpur, Bihar today. The Arvind Kejriwal government will bear their full travel cost, Delhi minister Gopal Rai had tweeted on Friday. In a ...


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BJP leaders condemn rumours about Shah's health

BJP leaders on Saturday reacted strongly to rumours about Home Minister Amit Shah's health, with party president J P Nadda terming these as "inhuman" comments which are "extremely condemnable". Several leaders of the ruling party took to Twitter to express their anguish at the rumours on social media after Shah put out a statement to assert that he was "totally healthy" and rejected speculation of his ill-health. They also wished Shah, Nadda's predecessor as party president, a long and healthy life. BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya said spreading such rumours could be a "political ploy" of those who are rattled by Shah's working style and decisions. Party spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain claimed that people behind them are "enemies of the nation". In his tweet, Nadda said, "Making inhuman comments about the health of Home Minister Amit Shah is extremely condemnable. Spreading such misleading remarks about anyone's health shows the mindset of people doing so. I strongly condemn


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Couple held for snatching mobile phones in Delhi

Police have arrested a couple for allegedly snatching mobile phones from people in central Delhi, officials said on Saturday. Following reports about a couple on white scooter snatching mobile phones, Arjun (22) and Vaishali Kaushal (20) were arrested near Railway Colony, Kishanganj, they said. The woman riding pillion on the scooter used to snatch the mobile phones from people, a senior police officer said. Arjun had been involved in 31 cases. Three months ago, he married Vaishali, a tattoo artist, and both are addicted to drugs, police said. Vaishali had also allegedly snatched the mobile phone of a jewellery showroom security guard in Karol Bagh, they added.


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62-yr-old man becomes second COVID-19 fatality in UP's Gautam Buddh Nagar

A 62-year-old man died due to coronavirus in Noida, becoming the second COVID-19 fatality in Uttar Pradesh's Gautam Buddh Nagar district, officials said on Saturday. The man, a resident of sector 66, died on Friday but the report of his COVID test came out as positive on Saturday, they said. "He expired yesterday (Friday) evening. The cause of the death was cardio-respiratory failure," District Surveillance Officer Sunil Dohare said in a statement. Another person who tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday is a 52-year-old man residing in sector 45's Khajoor Colony, the officer said. "Total 100 reports have been received in the last 24 hours of which two were positive and the rest negative for COVID-19. The cumulative positive cases of coronavirus in Gautam Buddh Nagar are now 216," Dohare said. On the brighter side, two patients were discharged after recovering from the disease on Saturday, according to the statement. The two men, aged 23 and 40, were undergoing treatment at the ...


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224 new COVID-19 cases recorded in Delhi, total tally 6,542

With 224 new instances of the novel coronavirus infection, the total number of cases reported in the national capital climbed to 6,542, the Delhi government said on Saturday. The fresh cases were reported between 4 pm to midnight of May 8. No fresh death due to the virus was reported in this period. Delhi has so far reported 68 deaths. Of the total cases reported in the city, 4,454 are active while 2,020 patients have been cured of the disease, the health bulletin stated.


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21-year-old married woman commits suicide in Rajasthan's Bundi

A 21-year-old married woman allegedly committed suicide by hanging at her house in a village in Bundi district on Saturday, police said. The deceased woman was identified as Uma Jangid (21), wife of Dinesh Jangid and a resident of Nayagaon village of Kapren town in Bundi district, SHO of Kapren police station Budhiprakesh Nama said. The woman allegedly committed suicide by hanging from the ceiling fan of her room on Saturday early morning while other members of the family were asleep, the SHO said. Prima facie, it appears that the woman took the extreme step due to family reasons, he opined. However, no suicide note was recovered from her possession. Uma got married to Dinesh in 2017. Her parents who had reached here after the death said their daughter did not have any complaints about her in-laws, the policeman said, adding that the couple did not have any child. The body was handed over to her family members after a post-mortem was conducted later in the day, Nama said. A case was ..


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Accused of being coronavirus carrier, man thrashed in UP's Aligarh; six booked

A 25-year-old man was thrashed and left unconscious with serious injuries on suspicious of being a coronavirus carrier' in Uttar Pradesh's Aligarh. The incident took place on Friday evening outside a chemist shop in the Shivpuri locality of Aligarh. Police have booked six people in this regard. Abdul Samad fell unconscious after the accused attacked him, alleging that he was a coronavirus carrier', police said on Saturday. He was rushed to Malkhan Singh District Hospital by members of his family who arrived at the spot after people raised an alarm. According to the victim's father Laiqur Rehman, Samad was feeling dizzy after his Ramzan fast on Friday night. He had gone to a chemist shop in the neighbourhood to purchase some medicine where he was accosted by some people, who abused and beat him up without any provocation. Had not the family rushed him to the hospital, the injuries could have been fatal, the father claimed. Samad is now out of danger and has been referred to Jawaharlal .


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Sikkim govt rolls out austerity measures to tide over fiscal impact of COVID-19

The Prem Singh Tamang government in Sikkim has decided to reduce the salaries of the chief minister and ministers by 35 per cent for the next one year to mitigate the adverse impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the state's economy. As per decisions taken at a cabinet meeting presided over by the chief minister on Friday, utilisation of discretionary funds of the ministers have also been put on hold. The state government has decided to impose a ban on appointments under regular/work-charged/muster roll/adhoc/consolidated pay/ temporary basis for six months, a press release issued by the Information and Public Relations department said. The state government has also decided to impose a ban on replacement and purchase of new vehicles, computers and peripherals while the allocation under revenue expenditure in all departments will be curtailed by ten per cent. Among other things, there will be restrictions on advertisement or publication of notice inviting tender except ..


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Bulk of COVID-19-related fact-checks in Apr related to communal rumours, claims BOOM Live

A bulk of the COVID-19-related fact-checks in April were related to communal rumours, most of which were false allegations against Muslims of purposefully spreading the virus, claimed a report by BOOM Live. BOOM Live, a fact-checking platform that works with social media companies like Facebook, said its study analysed 178 fact-checks on COVID-19 related to misinformation/disinformation around the pandemic from January to May this year. "During April, a new trend was observed communally charged disinformation targeting Muslims became more frequent," the report said. By the end of April, a bulk of BOOM Live's fact-checks (34 unique fact checks) were on communal rumours, it claimed. The report further noted that after several members of the Tablighi Jamaat an Islamic missionary group tested positive, "Islamophobic rumours around them purposefully spreading the virus became viral on the internet". Other trends also witnessed in April were: spike in fake news related to politics, more .


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Tamil Nadu moves SC against HC order for closure of liquor outlets

The Tamil Nadu government on Saturday moved the Supreme Court challenging a Madras High Court order for closure of state-run liquor outlets on grounds of violations of COVID-19 guidelines, arguing that it would lead to "grave losses" in revenue and complete halt in commercial activities. The Madras High Court had on Friday ordered closure of liquor outlets noting that there were huge crowds and no social distancing was being maintained by tipplers. It, however, allowed doorstep delivery of booze through online mode. The state government, in its appeal, termed the HC order a case of "judicial overreach" and said online sale and home delivery of alcohol were not possible in the entire state. "It is pertinent that online modes of effective liquor sales are not even available in the vast majority of state at present and can only be implemented after following the due procedures under law," said the appeal filed by government firm Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC) which sells


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Social distancing while making films and in movies? Insiders wonder how to make it work

The making of a movie without large crews and outdoor shoots and movies themselves sans party scenes, background dancers or even the staple romantic clinches that could be the existential crisis facing mainstream cinema in the immediate post-corona world. Bollywood, after all, has always been about people, whether on screen or off it, in front of the camera or behind it, say industry insiders as they grapple with the uncertainties of life and work after lockdown and contemplate the dimensions of a radical makeover. Filmmaking has always been a collaborative effort with hundreds of people working in tandem to translate the written word into images but that may change. Producers and directors also wonder how they will manage social distancing with a large crew once they are back on sets. According to actor-producer Sanjay Suri, there will be behavioural changes on the sets and "cinematic intimacy will take time to return". "Not because of lack of ideas but purely behavioural changes on


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Evaluation for class 10, 12 board exams to be done at home by teachers

The evaluation for class 10, 12 board exams will be done by teachers at their homes and 3,000 schools have been identified as exam centres to deliver the answer sheets to them, Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' said on Saturday. He said 1.5 crore answer sheets of already conducted class 10, 12 exams will be delivered to teachers. "From the 3,000 schools, these copies will go the evaluators and evaluation will begin tomorrow. Teachers will evaluate from home and we will be able to complete the process in 50 days," he added. The evaluation of the answer sheets has been delayed due to a nationwide lockdown imposed to contain the coronavirus outbreak. The pending board exams will be held from July 1 to 15.


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13 more test positive for COVID-19 in J-K, tally rises to 836

The number of COVID-19 cases in Jammu and Kashmir climbed to 836 on Saturday as 13 more people, including two nurses, tested positive for the disease, officials said. While 12 of the fresh cases are from the Kashmir Valley, one is from Jammu, they said. "Thirteen new COVID-19 cases were detected in the union territory on Saturday," the officials said. The total number of cases in Jammu and Kashmir has now reached 836, they said. "Of these, 767 are in Kashmir, while 69 are in the Jammu region," they added. Among the fresh cases detected on Saturday, three are from Super Speciality Hospital, Shireen Bagh here -- including two staff nurses and an attendant of a patient from Shopian, said Dr Salim Khan, COVID-19 nodal officer at Government Medical College, Srinagar. According to the officials, there are 459 active cases in the union territory -- 446 in Kashmir and 13 in Jammu -- and 368 patients have recovered. A total of nine COVID-19 patients have died in Jammu and Kashmir.


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5 special trains to bring back 5,000 stranded Odias

Five special trains will start journey from three states on Saturday to bring back 5,000 stranded Odia people, a day after the Supreme Court allowed the return of migrants to Odisha, officials said here. The Supreme Court on Friday stayed an interim order of the Orissa High Court which had asked the state government to ensure that only those tested negative for COVID-19 were allowed to return to Odisha. Three trains will come from Gujarat and one each from Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, the officials said, adding that about 5,000 people will return to Odisha by these five trains. A senior East Coast Railways official said one of the five trains has already left from Surat for Odisha's Ganjam district. Two trains will leave from Ahmedabad in Gujarat for Khurda Road in Odisha, one train from Panvel station in Mumbai will start the journey to Odisha's Titlagarh in Bolangir district and another will leave from Chennai for Jagannathpur in Ganjam district, the official said. Meanwhile, Odisha .


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Thane: Fire breaks out in dumping ground, no injuries reported

A huge fire broke out in the Aadharwadi dumping ground in Kalyan in Thane district on Saturday afternoon, an official said, adding that no injuries had been reported so far. The fire broke out at 1:30pm and heavy smoke along with a pungent smell was emanating from the site, said Kalyan Dombivali Municipal Corporation Chief Fire Officer Dileep Gund. "Ten fire engines and ten water tankers have been deployed to douse the blaze. There are no casualties. The fire may have been caused by excessive heat," he added. The wind was making it difficult to control the blaze and it may take up to two days to completely put it out, he said, and informed that there was no shortage of water for dousing operations.


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Narco-terrorist with links to Kashmiri terror groups nabbed by NIA in Haryana

After being on the run for nearly a year, the National Investigation Agency on Saturday nabbed Ranjit Singh, a notorious narco-terrorist, from Sirsa as he was acting as a conduit of Pakistan-based terror groups in pushing drugs into India, the proceeds of which were used for terror activities. The National Investigation Agency (NIA), along with the Punjab and Haryana police arrested Singh alias Cheeta, a resident of Amritsar, in an intelligence-based operation from Sirsa in Haryana, the agency said in a statement. The NIA had registered a case in June last year and filed the first charge sheet against 15 people, including Singh, and four companies, in December the same year. The NIA spokesman, said in the statement, that an investigation into a drug case had led to the fact that Pakistan-based terrorist organisations were using narcotic trade to generate funds for terror activities in India. The proceeds of narcotic trade are transferred to Kashmir valley through couriers and hawala ..


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Pawar request PM Modi for smooth repatriation of migrants

NCP chief Sharad Pawar has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to talk to chief ministers of those states who are not allowing migrant workers to come back home. Pawar spoke over phone to Railways Minister Piyush Goyal and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on the issue of repatriation of migrant workers to their home states during the coronavirus-induced lokdown period. "I humbly request our @PMOIndia Shri. Narendra Modi ji to intervene in this matter by talking to the CMs of the respective states who are not allowing these people to come back home," the NCP chief tweeted. Though he did not name any specific state, the NCP had recently accused the BJP-led Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka of not wanting to take back labourers hailing from the two states. "Had a telephonic conversation with Shri @OfficeofUT - Chief Minister of Maharashtra and Shri @PiyushGoyal - the Union Railway Minister regarding the issue of migrant workers," Pawar twitted. He said Thackeray has


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14 days institutional quarantine mandatory for returnees in Arunachal Pradesh

The Arunachal Pradesh government has made institutional quarantine for a period of 14 days mandatory for people returning to Arunachal Pradesh from across the country, a senior minister said on Saturday. Among the returnees, students will also have to go into institutional quarantine for the same duration, he said. Earlier a group of six students, lodged in a quarantine centre, was allowed to go home after five days when their swab samples had tested negative. People are coming back after the Centre allowed those stranded across the country in view of the lockdown to return to their respective states. The state cabinet headed by Chief Minister Pema Khandu at a meeting also decided to make RT-PCR test for detection of COVID-19 compulsory for the returnees, including the asymptomatic ones, state Home minister Bamang Felix told reporters here on Saturday. "We have decided to segregate returnees on the basis of green, orange and red zones and make arrangements ...


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Ship from Maldives with over 600 stranded Indians to arrive on May 10

Ahead of the arrival of a Naval ship here with stranded Indians from Maldives, a top police officer on Saturday said all arrangements were in place in the southern state to facilitate safe stay of those repatriated comprising over 400 Keralites and people from other parts of the country. INS Jalashwa, participating in Indian Navy's "Operation Samudra Setu" to bring home Indians stuck in foreign countries due to COVID-19 pandemic, has departed from Male port for Kochi with 698 Indian nationals on board on Friday night. This is the Indian Navy's first massive evacuation exercise during the COVID-19 lockdown. The ship is expected to arrive at the Cruise Terminal of the Cochin Port Trust on Sunday between 9.30-10 am, a Defence source said here. Inspector General of Police Vijay Sakhare said 440 people traveling via ship are from Kerala. Rest of the passengers are from other parts of the country including Tamil Nadu (187 people), Goa (1), Haryana (3), Andhra Pradesh (8), ...


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HLL Lifecare floats tender for over 1 lakh units of medical supplies for COVID-19 testing

Healthcare firm HLL Lifecare on Saturday said its arm HLL Infra Tech Services has floated a tender seeking supply of over 1 lakh units of medical supplies towards COVID-19 testing on behalf of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). "The tender is seeking quotations for 40,000 units of viral transport media, 33,000 RNA extraction kits and 29,000 Combo RT-PCR COVID-19 tests," HLL Lifecare Ltd said in a statement. The tender is closing by May 10, the state-owned company added. "The viral transport media is used for transport of swabs collected for testing, RNA extraction kits are used to draw out RNA, which are single strand genetic materials of viruses, from samples which are then converted into reverse-transcribed into DNA while Combo RT-PCR tests has proven to be the 'gold standard' of COVID-19 diagnosis,"it said. HLL Lifecare is the procurement agency for hospitals and healthcare organisations under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.


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Razorpay to hire over 50 people, says annual appraisal schedule on track

Fintech company Razorpay on Saturday said it will hire more than 50 people for critical roles across product and engineering teams, and is on schedule with appraisals, bonuses and promotions for its existing employees. With businesses seeing significant impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many startups have frozen hiring and slashed salaries. There have also been reports of layoffs by many firms. Razorpay said in view of the restrictions imposed due to the pandemic, an increasing number of businesses are considering adopting online payment methods. "As a company, we are sufficiently capitalised and are on schedule with appraisals, bonuses and promotions for our employees, which will be announced this month end. We have always believed in rewarding our employees with healthy merit increases," Razorpay Head - People Operations Anuradha Bharat told PTI. While she did not disclose the quantum of hikes to be given, Bharat said the wage increases have been typically higher than the average


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Karnataka govt conditionally permits garment units to operate in red zones

The Karnataka government has allowed garment units in red zone districts, but outside containment zones, to resume operations with one third of the workforce. Chief Secretary T M Vijay Bhaskar in the May 8 order, said all recognised garment factories having an Importer- Exporter Code (IEC) and those registered with the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) can start operations with one third of the total workforce in red zone districts, but outside containment zones. It said the permission is subject to following of the Standard Operating Procedures. Currently Bengaluru urban, Bengaluru rural and Mysuru are the red zone districts in the state. The government had recently allowed certain industrial activities other than in the containment zones to operate, while relaxing the COVID-19 induced lockdown in the state. During the earlier phases of lockdown, only those garments involved in the manufacture of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits for front line COVID ...


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Over 1 lakh migrants to return to UP on 114 trains by Saturday night: Official

Over 1 lakh migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh stranded in different parts of the country following the coronavirus-induced lockdown will return to the state by Saturday night on 114 trains, a senior government official said. Another 98 trains will reach the state on Sunday and Monday, while talks are on to allow 15 to 20 more, he said on Saturday. "Till Saturday morning, 97 trains have reached the state and another 17 will reach by the evening. With this, more than 1.20 lakh migrant workers and labourers will be back in the state," Additional Chief Secretary, Home, Awanish Awasthi said. These trains arrived at 36 railway stations of the state, with Lucknow and Gorakhpur receiving 11 trains each, he said. Awasthi said Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has stressed that no migrant should undertake the journey home on foot or bicycle. The government has also given permission for 98 more trains which will bring back migrants from other parts of the country on Sunday and Monday, he said, ...


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Active COVID-19 cases rise to 1,800 in UP; Recovery rate 43 per cent: Official

The number of active cases of coronavirus in Uttar Pradesh went up to 1,800 on Saturday, while nearly 1,400 people have been discharged so far, a senior official said. Principal Secretary, Health, Amit Mohan Prasad said the national recovery percentage was 30 per cent but the figure was 43 per cent in Uttar Pradesh. "It is a matter of satisfaction that people are recovering and returning home," he said. The number of active infection cases is 1,800 as against 1,761 on Friday, while the number of people who have fully recovered has risen from 1,387 to 1,399, the official said. Prasad stressed that community surveillance will play an important role in coming days with the return of tens of thousands of migrants. There was a need for the 'gram nigrani samitis' in rural areas and 'mohalla nigrani samitis' in urban areas to work strictly, he said. "All those returning (to the state) are being kept in 21 days' home quarantine and those returning from abroad are also being put in quarantine.


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62-yr-old becomes second COVID-19 fatality in UP's Gautam Buddh Nagar

A 62-year-old man died due to coronavirus in Noida, becoming the second COVID-19 fatality in Uttar Pradesh's Gautam Buddh Nagar district, officials said on Saturday. The resident of Sector 66 was among the two people who tested positive for coronavirus in the last 24 hours, the officials said. "He expired yesterday (Friday) evening. The cause of the death was cardio-respiratory failure, District Surveillance Officer Sunil Dohare said in a statement. The other person who tested positive for COVID-19 is a 52-year-old man residing in Sector 45's Khajoor Colony, the officer said. "Total 100 reports have been received in the last 24 hours of which two were positive and the rest negative for COVID-19. The cumulative positive cases of coronavirus in Gautam Buddh Nagar are now 216," Dohare said. A 60-year-old man from Sector 22 died on Friday due to respiratory failure, becoming the first COVID-19 casualty in Gautam Buddh Nagar, officials had said.


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Robot to lend helping hand at Chandrapur hospital

A robot has been inducted into service at the Chandrapur civil hospital, and it could be used for collecting swab samples for COVID-19 test with some modifications in near future, an official said. District collector Dr Kunal Khemnar handed over the "medi-rover robot", which can be used for handing food or medicines to patients, to the hospital on Saturday. It has been developed by Tata Technologies in association with the Government Engineering College, Chandrapur, Khemnar said in a statement. "The robot will help the medical staff in treating and nursing of patients at the hospital," he said. With some modifications, the battery-operated robot, which weighs about 30 kg, can even be used for collection of swab samples of suspected COVID-19 patients in the coming days, he added. So far, only one coronavirus positive case has been found in Chandrapur district.


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Govt disburses Rs 18,253 cr to 9.13 cr farmers under PM-KISAN scheme during lockdown

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday said Rs 18,253 crore has been disbursed to 9.13 crore farmers under the PM-KISAN scheme during the ongoing nationwide lockdown. Under the PM-KISAN (Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi) scheme, each farmer gets Rs 6,000 in a year in three equal installments directly in bank account. Front-loading the release of the first installment under the PM-KISAN scheme was part of the Rs 1.70 lakh crore Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP) announced on March 26 to protect the poor from the impact of the coronavirus lockdown. The lockdown was imposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 25 to curb the spread of COVID-19, and since then it has been extended twice. With regard to further assistance to farmers, the finance minister said that 3 crore farm loan borrowers have opted for a three-month moratorium. "Since March 2020, 9.13 crore farmers have been paid Rs 18,253 crore under PM-KISAN during the #lockdown. About three crore farmers with


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Ensure dispensation of medicines from pharmacy resumes without delay: Delhi HC to AIIMS

The Delhi High Court has asked the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to ensure that dispensation of medicines from its pharmacy, which was functioning in limited capacity due to the coronavirus lockdown, resumes without any delay. A bench of justices Vipin Sanghi and Rajnish Bhatnagar asked AIIMS to work out the modalities and file a compliance report before May 14, the next date of hearing. The order came on a PIL claiming that outstation non-coronavirus patients who had come for treatment at AIIMS are not being provided medication from the hospital's pharmacy anymore due to the lockdown. The petitioner, Rachna Malik, further claimed that patients were unable to procure medicine as there was no endorsement on their OPD cards permitting dispensation of medicines as the OPD of AIIMS was closed due to COVID-19 lockdown. AIIMS told the court that its pharmacy has been made fully functional since May 6 and it operates from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm. It also told the court that it .


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'My ministerial post constitutional', says JD(U) leader as MLC tenure expires

Bihar Information and Public Relations Minister Niraj Kumar on Saturday hit back at the Congress for demanding his resignation due to the expiry of his MLC tenure, asserting he is holding his ministerial post as per constitutional provisions. Congress national spokesperson and Bihar MLC Prem Chandra Mishra Mishra had on Friday termed as "unethical and against constitutional norms" the continuance of Bihar ministers Niraj Kumar and Ashok Choudhary in their posts despite the expiry of their tenures in the legislative council earlier this week. Both the JD(U) leaders were sworn-in as ministers a year ago, during a Cabinet expansion by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar shortly after the NDA's stupendous victory in the Lok Sabha elections. They are among 17 members of the 75-strong legislative council whose tenure ended on Wednesday. The Election Commission is yet to announce a poll schedule for the Upper House. Building Construction Minister Ashok Choudhary and IPRD Minister ...


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Coronavirus: Young women on 'mission fogging' in J-K's Udhampur

Joining the efforts of the government to combat coronavirus, a group of young women equipped with a latest hi-tech machine is conducting fogging in Jammu and Kashmir's Udhampur district. The five women, aged between 18 and 22, have already covered six villages in the district and are also distributing masks and educating people about COVID-19. "We are volunteers of NGO 'Team Khalsa' and have managed to get the machine to conduct fogging, especially in remote areas which usually remain unattended," Gagan, the leader of the five-member group, told PTI. She said they have already covered Chhakhar, Vishal Jatta, Sambal, Sui and Kahjahir villages in the past one week. "We are targeting one village for sanitisation and awareness every day," Gagan said while distributing face masks in Cherry Swail village. Asked about the challenge and the response of their families, she said they are cooperating and appreciating their efforts. "We had a tough time convincing our parents for permission as ...


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Virat, Anushka donate Rs 5L each for Mumbai police welfare

Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh on Saturday informed that India cricket skipper Virat Kohli and his wife actor Anushka Sharma have contributed Rs 5 lakh each for police welfare amid the novel coronavirus outbreak. "Thank you, @imVkohli and @AnushkaSharma for contributing Rs. 5 lacs each towards the welfare of Mumbai Police personnel. Your contribution will safeguard those at the frontline in the fight against Coronavirus. #MumbaiPoliceFoundation," Singh tweeted from his official handle. Earlier, Kohli and Sharma had given undisclosed amounts to the PM CARES fund and Maharashtra Chief Minister's Relief Fund to support the fight against COVID-19. Maharashtra has the highest number of coronavirus positive cases in the country.


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Vadhan's new book deals with corruption, vigilantism, law

In Vadhan's new book, there is an anti-hero who takes law into his hands but the author says this is not meant to glorify vigilantism and the character's only agenda is to enforce law through a fiery and extreme form of justice system and not destabilize anything. The story of "Fear of God" weaves law, corruption, vigilantism and courtroom drama to follow the three central characters who are looking to achieve the same thing but through different means. A parliamentarian is brutally murdered. The vigilante's next target is a war hero and top constitutional lawyer. A top police officer has to race against time to stop the killings. The vigilante is as devious as he is effective in instilling the fear of God into those who think they are above the law. When asked whether the anti-hero taking law into his hands in a way glorifies vigilantism, Vadhan says, "But then, what is the goal of this anti-hero? Is he a voice against law? He only reiterates that one has to obey the law to be ...


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Migrant workers create ruckus after stopped in UP's Amroha

Stopped by police from proceeding further, hundreds of migrant workers going home on foot created a ruckus at a Ganga bridge on the National Highway-24 in Uttar Pradesh's Amroha district, officials said on Saturday. According to them, the workers started arriving at the bridge from the Delhi side on Friday afternoon and wanted to go home at the earliest. Dhanoura Circle Officer Monica Yadav said they had assured them that buses would be arranged for their journey but they were adamant on going home on foot. Amroha DM Umesh Mishra said they arranged buses for them but some of the workers on bicycles refused to go in these. They wanted to proceed on their bicycles, he said.


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