The News Editorial Analysis 22 October 2021

The News Editorial Analysis 22 October 2021

Humayun’s Tomb illuminated in tricolour to mark India’s 100 crore vaccination milestone.

India achieved yet another milestone as the country’s cumulative COVID-19 vaccination coverage crossed 100 crore doses on Thursday.

The News Editorial Analysis 22 October 2021

To mark the achievement Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi was illuminated in tricolour.  A special aircraft of Spice jet was also unveiled with posters of one billion vaccines with images of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and healthcare workers on the occasion at IGI Airport, in New Delhi.

The largest COVID-19 vaccination drive was launched on January 16, 2021. Initially, the vaccination was opened specifically for Health Care Workers (HCWs). From February 2, front-line workers were administered the vaccination. The vaccination drive was expanded from March 1 and included people above 60 years of age and those above 45 years. Finally, from May 1, people above 18 were made eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.

Heritage plaque unveiled at Ramappa.
Hyderabad, Oct 21 (IANS) Four historic places in Telangana were illuminated on Thursday to highlight India reaching a milestone of 100 crore Covid-19 vaccinations.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) illuminated Charminar and Golconda Fort in Hyderabad.

Warangal Fort and Ramappa temple, which was inscribed as the World Heritage Site of UNESCO in July, were also lit up.

Warangal Fort and Ramappa temple, which was inscribed as the World Heritage Site of UNESCO in July, were also lit up.

Earlier in the day, Union Culture and Tourism Minister G. Kishan Reddy visited Ramappa temple in Mulugu district and unveiled the World Heritage Site plaque.

Accompanied by Telangana’s Tourism Minister Srinivas Goud, he also inaugurated public amenities at the 13th century temple.

n remarks on the occasion, Reddy noted that this temple is the first World Heritage Site from Telangana. He said this inscription was recognition of the ingenious brilliance and architectural prowess of the Kakatiyas.

He said the temple stands as a testimony to the highest level of creative, artistic and engineering talents of the Kaktiya era.

The central minister also visited Thousand Pillar Temple at Hanamkonda. He said the temple is a testament to the greatest arts of the Kakatiyas.

He tweeted that a huge monolith Nandi made up of black basalt stone is noteworthy and described the site as an iconic destination for tourism in Telangana.

EC order to defer Dalit Bandhu scheme challenged in HC.

Two PIL petitions have been filed before the Telangana High Court challenging the Election Commission of India’s October 18 order that defers implementation of Dalit Bandhu scheme in Huzurabad Assembly constituency, till the completion of the by-election.

The PIl filed by journalist Mallepalli Laxmaiah, and social workers, says that welfare schemes shall not be stopped on account of elections while the other one filed by AICC member Bukka Judson says that the order was to protect the ruling party given the state’s precarious financial position.

Laxmaiah argues that singling out Dalit Bandhu while leaving out other state and central welfare schemes exposes the mala-fide intention and discrimination against the downtrodden lot. The EC has issued the order without acknowledging the fact that Dalit Bandhu was an ongoing welfare scheme and had no specific relevance to Huzurabad.

Judson said the order was intended to further the interests of the ruling party and to bail itself out of the financial mess created by the populist scheme.

“A cursory reading of the impugned order shows that it is bereft of any pragmatism. At whose instance was such a decision taken. What are the grounds on which the EC has arrived on such a decision? It is not indicated whether the office of the Governor had communicated any such letters containing objection to the implementation of Dalit Bandhu scheme to the EC”,  Judson mentioned in the petition.

India considering strategic reserves for gas, imported coal.

India is considering maintaining strategic reserves of natural gas and imported coal to address future supply shocks, a senior power ministry official said on Thursday, as the energy hungry nation battles a crippling coal shortage.
A surge in power demand combined with a fall in imports due to high global coal prices have led to supply disruptions and power cuts lasting up to 14 hours a day despite record supplies from state-run Coal India, the world’s biggest coal miner.Alok Kumar, India’s power secretary, said countries increasingly meet their own needs first when there is a supply crunch, citing the example of Russia curtailing supplies to European nations because they wanted more gas locally.
“So let us start thinking and discussing about keeping a strategic reserve of gas and imported coal, so that economies are able to tide over these supply shocks for about a month or so,” Kumar said at the South Asia Power Summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry. Most of India’s 135 coal-fired power plants have fuel stocks of less than three days. Coal accounts for over 70% of India’s electricity generation.

India, the world’s second largest coal importer with the world’s fourth largest reserves, must also compete for supplies with China, which too is under pressure to ramp up imports amid a severe power crunch.

“High prices will make energy security very challenging if we don’t have a well thought out strategy,” Kumar said.It was not immediately clear if potential strategic reserves would primarily be for power plants or would also address coal demand from consumers such as steel plants and aluminium smelters.
India on an average imported nearly 21 million tonnes of thermal coal every month before the coronavirus pandemic, out of which the power sector directly accounted for about 6 million tonnes.
The country mainly imports coal from Indonesia, Australia and South Africa. India’s Adani Enterprises-owned Carmichael mine in Australia has said it is on track to export its first coal in 2021.

Curbs on international flights unlikely to be lifted soon; not much demand for overseas routes: Official

Scheduled international passenger flights to and from India remain suspended since March last year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The government is unlikely to lift the restrictions on international flights immediately, a senior civil aviation ministry official has indicated, saying current frequencies under air bubble arrangements are adequate to meet the demand.

Scheduled international passenger flights to and from India remain suspended since March last year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

India has air bubble arrangements with more than 25 countries for operating international flights.

Civil Aviation Secretary Rajiv Bansal told PTI that the current frequencies available under the air bubble arrangements are adequate to meet the demand and there is not much demand for international routes as the visa regime is very restrictive.

He also noted that on certain sectors such as US and Canada, airlines have 30 to 40 per cent load factors for mid-December 2021.

“We can surely consider opening once demand nears pre-COVID levels.”

Speaking on the sidelines after the inauguration of the Kushinagar international airport in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday, Bansal also said that if there is a need, then air bubble arrangements can be expanded.

Under an air bubble arrangement between two countries, international passenger flights can be operated by their respective carriers into each other’s territories subject to certain conditions.

Currently, India has air bubble arrangements with 28 countries, including the US, the UK, Germany and Japan.

To a query on when fare bands are likely to be removed, Bansal said a call would be taken “once demand returns to pre-COVID levels”.

Domestic air services resumed after two months on May 25, 2020.

Mariya Didi says country’s relationship with India today is stronger than ever.

In a recorded video message played during a defence conclave, Mariya Didi appreciated India’s support to the Maldives in all areas of development.

The relationship between the Maldives and India today is “stronger than ever” and New Delhi has been the first and best responder to Male in all times of need, the island nation’s Defence Minister Mariya Didi has said. In a recorded video message played during a defence conclave here on Thursday, Didi also appreciated India’s support to the Maldives in all areas of development.

“Today, the relationship between the Maldives and India is stronger than ever. It’s not anchored by our shared values, history and perspectives alone, India is and has been our first and best responder in all times of need,” she said.

From extending help after the 2004 tsunami disaster to recently assisting in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, India’s helping hand was “the most immediate and visible,” she added.

In September last year, India provided financial assistance of USD 250 million to the Maldives to help it mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic.

Later, the Maldives thanked India for what it said was the “single-largest financial assistance from a donor during this pandemic”.

“On behalf of the president and the people of the Maldives, I express my deepest appreciation to the government and people of India for the long-standing tradition of assistance and support extended in all areas of our nation’s development,” Didi said.

In February this year, India had reaffirmed its commitment to the Maldives’ security and signed a USD 50 million defence Line of Credit agreement with the strategically vital Indian Ocean island nation to boost its maritime capabilities.

“We wish India all the best in its efforts to build an ‘Atmanirbhar India’, a beacon of self-reliance and a hinge of stability in our neighborhood and beyond,” Didi said.

The defence conclave was held at the Constitution Club of India here and attended by defence experts, industry leaders and military attaches of various foreign countries among others.

Defence Secretary of Sri Lanka Gen (retd) Kamal Gunaratne also sent a video message for the event, while Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar joined via a video link from Bangalore.

“The large and diverse Indian Ocean Region, through which two-thirds of global oil trade and one-third of global cargo trade passes faces multiple trans-border security challenges in the form of non-traditional threats. This includes piracy, arm robberies at sea, terrorism, trafficking in narcotics, illegal fishing and the dangers posed by natural and man-made disasters and climate change,” Gunaratne said in his video message.

All neighbouring countries in the region should enhance collaboration on maritime safety and security in order to ensure peace, stability and sustainable economic growth in the Indian Ocean Region, he said.

He touched upon the massive global implications of the COVID-19 pandemic and urged that it called for collaboration among the countries in the region.

Friendly countries in the IOR must enhance their collaboration to discover different avenues in redefining the aspects of environmental security as well, he added.

India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives had participated in the fourth National Security Advisor-level trilateral meeting in Colombo last year and “intense deliberations” were held on enhancing maritime security cooperation in the IOR, the Lankan defence secretary said.

Didi, in her address also, said the defence conclave was a “testament to India’s unmistakable leadership in fostering collaboration and cooperation in IOR” under her robust SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) policy.

The initiative also signifies India’s keen interest towards building a “free, open and rules-based Indo-Pacific” as part of the QUAD grouping comprising, Japan, India, Australia and the United States, she said.

There is no doubt that India, given its size, geography, wealth and vitality is “central to creating an atmosphere of confidence and goodwill in the Indian Ocean Region and beyond”, she said.

“And, we cannot overstate how important maritime security is for the Maldives. The ocean has been our life blood since as far as back of our history reaches,” Didi said and underlined that the Indian Ocean is to the Maldives, what the Ganges has been for the Indian subcontinent for millennia.

The Maldivian defence minister also highlighted the problems faced in the region such as illicit maritime activities, including piracy, smuggling of migrants, human trafficking, narcotics trafficking and the need to ensue safeguarding of Maldives’ essential fish stocks from encroachment by foreign vessels in the form of “illegal unreported and unregulated fishing”.

“We continue to implement measures internally to increase our maritime domain awareness while partnering with neighbouring military for joint patrol and exercises, India being the foremost among them.

“We are also strengthening our response and preparedness against terrorism and violent extremism, which has become a regular threat in the 21st century, as seen in Christchurch attacks in New Zealand, Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka and May 6 terror attack in Male,” she added.


Former US President Donald Trump announces launch of his own social media site ‘Truth Social’

Trump says his goal in launching the Trump Media & Technology Group and its “Truth Social” app is to create a rival to the Big Tech companies that have shut him out.

Nine months after being expelled from social media for his role in inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, former President Donald Trump said Wednesday he’s launching a new media company with its own social media platform.

Trump says his goal in launching the Trump Media & Technology Group and its “Truth Social” app is to create a rival to the Big Tech companies that have shut him out and denied him the megaphone that was paramount to his national rise.

We live in a world where the Taliban has a huge presence on Twitter, yet your favorite American President has been silenced,” he said in a statement. “This is unacceptable.”

Conservative voices actually do well on traditional social media. On Wednesday, half of Facebook’s 10 top performing link posts were from conservative media, commentators or politicians, according to a daily list compiled by a New York Times technology columnist and an internet studies professor using Facebook’s own data.

Trump has spoken about launching his own social media site ever since he was barred from Twitter and Facebook. An earlier effort to launch a blog on his existing website was abandoned after the page drew dismal views.

TMTG has not set its sights low. In addition to the Truth Social app, which is expected to soft-launch next month with a nationwide rollout early next year, the company says it is planning a video-on-demand service dubbed TMTG+ that will feature entertainment programming, news and podcasts.

One slide in a TMTG presentation on its website includes a graphic of TMTG’s potential competitors, which range from Facebook and Twitter to Netflix and Disney+ to CNN. The same slide suggests that over the long term TMTG will also become a power in cloud computing and payments and suggests it will go head-to-head with Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Stripe.

TMTG also takes some jabs at Trump’s previous favorite social network. Slides accompanying the Truth Social preorders listing in Apple’s app store depict a social network that strongly resembles Twitter, right down to short messages and user handles preceded by “@” signs.

The same graphics also feature a user named Jack’s Beard, who in one image fumes when an employee pushes back on an order to delete a user and its posts, calling it “kinda an overreach.” The Jack’s Beard account uses the handle @jack, which is Jack Dorsey’s handle on the real Twitter; Dorsey’s long scraggly beard has also drawn attention during the his congressional appearances over Zoom.

Truth Social’s terms of service, meanwhile, bar users from annoying any of the site’s employees and from statements that “disparage, tarnish, or otherwise harm, in our opinion, us and/or the Site.” It was not immediately clear who the “us” in that statement refers to.

In a release, the new venture announced it had been created through a merger with Digital World Acquisition Corp., and said it seeks to become a publicly listed company.

DWA, based in Miami, is a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. Such publicly traded companies are designed to list the shares of a private company more quickly than a traditional initial public offering. In practice, that means the SPAC acquires a private firm and then changes its name and other details to those of the acquired firm.

SPACs pay for their acquisitions with cash provided by investors who bought into the SPAC’s initial public offering. DWA’s Sept. 8 IPO raised $287.5 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

DWA said it has raised roughly $293 million in cash, which it will use to grow TMTG’s ventures. Among the company’s biggest shareholders are several institutional investors, including Lighthouse Investment Partners, D. E. Shaw & Co., and Radcliffe Capital Management, according to an SEC filing. DWA said more details about the deal will be disclosed in upcoming filings.

The deal has an initial enterprise value, a measure that takes into account a company’s total debts and assets, of $875 million, according to the release. It still requires the approval of shareholders of both DWA and TMTG, as well as regulators.

Shares of Digital World Acquisition soared 94% to $19.32 in morning trading.




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