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LIVE: Give us 5 more years, will make Assam bullet-free, says Amit Shah

Tensions rose in May when New Delhi detected incursions by Chinese troops in Ladakh.

Image BS Web Team New Delhi
Kolkata: Union Home Minister Amit Shah addresses a press meet, in Kolkata, Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. (PTI Photo/Ashok Bhaumik)

Union Home Minister Amit Shah

Indian and Chinese military leaders on Sunday discussed for the ninth time disengaging along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh where thousands of troops have been in a faceoff since May 2020.

Lt General PGK Menon, commander of the Leh-based 14 Corps that oversees the Ladakh sector, will lead the Indian delegation to talks. Major General Liu Lin, commander of the South Xinjiang Military Region, will lead the Chinese side. The meeting will be held at the Border Personnel Meeting (BPM) point in Moldo on the Chinese side of the LAC near Chushul.

Tensions rose in May when New Delhi detected incursions by Chinese troops in Ladakh along with a massive deployment of Chinese military personnel. India quickly moved in its troops to counter further incursions.

Follow our updates on the meeting and other news.

2:40 AM

Thousands take to streets protesting Brazil's Bolsonaro

Thousands of Brazilians took the streets for a second day on Sunday to call for the impeachment of President Jair Bolsonaro, who is under fire for his government's response to rampant cases of Covid-19, which has claimed more than 216,000 lives in the country.
Horn-honking cars paraded through the streets of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and a dozen or more other cities as other protesters marched on foot, some calling, “Get out Bolsonaro!” Sunday's protests were called by conservative groups that had once backed the president, while those on Saturday had come from the left.
"When Bolsonaro arrived, we voted for him for his proposals that we found interesting, but the situation now with the pandemic is terrible”, said Meg Fernandes, a 66-year-old engineer who joined a protest in Rio on Sunday.
She said she was especially alarmed by the situation in the northern city of Manaus, where there's a waiting list for hospital intensive-care beds and a shortage of medical oxygen.
“I had already been disappointed last year, but now with the situation in Manaus, I think (this government ) has to stop," she said. "Bye, Bolsonaro.” Thomaz Favaro, a political analyst at consultancy Control Risks, said Bolsonaro faces little risk of impeachment, though that could change if his allies lose a Feb. 2 vote for leadership of the lower house.
“Bolsonaro's base in congress is unstable, but it is robust," he said, though it could be dented by the president's flagging popularity.
But he said impeachment would be "a nuclear option that changes the country's political trajectory.” Bolsonaro — who is midway through his four-year term — has faced renewed criticism in recent weeks both for the crisis in Manaus and for delays in launching Brazil's immunization campaign against Covid-19. The president has long resisted lockdown measures against the new coronavirus, arguing economic damage would be worse than the disease.

Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, protests
Demonstrators stand around a banner reading "impeachment" during a protest against Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro and his handling of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Sao Paulo, Brazil

2:30 AM

Saudi Arabia names Fahad al-Mubarak as new central bank governor

Saudi Arabia's king appointed Fahad al-Mubarak as central bank governor, his second stint in one of the most sensitive positions in the kingdom replacing Ahmed al-Kholifey, a decree carried on state media on Sunday said.
Mubarak, who had helmed the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) from 2011-2016, was previously chairman and managing director of Morgan Stanley, Saudi Arabia, and has also served as chairman of the Saudi stock exchange.
He was succeeded as governor in 2016 by Kholifey, who guided SAMA during a sharp economic contraction last year caused by lower crude prices and COVID-19. Kholifey will become an adviser at the royal court, the decree said.
SAMA last March launched a 50 billion riyal ($13.3 billion)stimulus package to support the private sector in the world's top oil exporter. In June, it announced the injection of another 50 billion riyals into the banking sector to support liquidity.
In September, as coronavirus restrictions eased and the Saudi economy showed early signs of recovery, Kholifey said he was confident in the country's financial stability but that caution was needed in decreasing monetary support to avoid a deterioration of assets.
The central bank last year transferred $40 billion to the sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, to boost its firepower in overseas investments. That contributed to a sharp drop in Saudi central bank foreign assets when the Saudi economy was being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
2:23 AM

Plane crash kills 4 soccer players, club president in Brazil

Four players and the president of Brazilian soccer club Palmas died in a plane crash on Sunday in the northern state of Tocantins, the team said.
The accident occurred when the plane suddenly plunged to the ground at the end of the runway while on takeoff, the club reported in a statement.
The players were on their way to Goiania, in the central region of the country, to play a match against Vila Nova.
The victims were identified as president Lucas Meira and players Lucas Praxedes, Guilherme Noé, Ranule and Marcus Molinari, as well as the pilot. There were no survivors, the club said.
Palmas Futebol e Regatas was founded in 1997 and plays in Brazil's fourth division.
The cause of the accident was not immediately known. The statement didn't identify the type of plane.
12:22 AM

Syria floats new bank note amid soaring inflation

A new, 5,000 Syrian Lira bank note goes into circulation Sunday, the largest denomination in the country reeling from a decade of conflict and a crippling economic crisis.
Syria's currency has been on a downward spiral since the conflict began in 2011. Trading that year at 47 liras to the dollar, it's now officially up to trading at 1,250 liras to the dollar. On the black market, the dollar is trading at nearly double the official value.
The currency crash has sent prices of food and basic goods soaring.
Syria's Central Bureau of Statistics reported an average inflation rate of 200 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019, with goods inflation reaching 300 per cent. The prices of key food items, such as lentils and vegetable oil, have increased by around 15 per cent.
The economic hardship has been made worse by the pandemic restrictions, increased Western sanctions on the Syrian government and its allies for their role in the war, and years of corruption and mismanagement.
The United Nations estimates that nearly 80 per cent of Syrians live under poverty line.
12:16 AM

WEF's online Davos summit begins; Modi to address on Thursday, Jinping on Monday

The World Economic Forum's online Davos Agenda Summit began on Sunday night with the premier of a concert filmed during the coronavirus pandemic in different parts of the world and the event will see top global leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, speak on the state of the world over the next five days.
After a welcome address by WEF Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Shwab, Swiss President Parmelin delivered a special address, followed by annual Crystal Awards and the premier of 'See Me: A Global Concert'.
The concert was presented as a shared expression of trust, connection and hope and it features orchestras and choirs in Beijing, Drakensberg, Florence, Kabul, Philadelphia, Vienna and Sao Paulo, with the cellist Yo-Yo Ma and music director Marin Alsop. The concert was filmed on location despite the Covid-19 challenges.
In what could be the first major global summit of the year, the event will see more than 1,000 global leaders, including heads of state and government, CEOs and chairmen of big companies, heads of multilateral organisations as also members of academia and civil society, discuss economic, environmental, social and technological challenges following the Covid-19 pandemic.
The WEF said there would be 15 special addresses from G20 heads of state and government and international organisations during the summit that will continue till January 29. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will deliver his address on Thursday.
Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and Petroleum and Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, as also business leaders such as Anand Mahindra, Salil Parekh and Shobana Kamineni would be among other speakers from India.
12:10 AM

Repeal farm laws immediately: Left parties

Left parties on Sunday reiterated their support for the farmer groups protesting against the Centre's new agri laws and demanded that the government immediately repeal the legislations.
In a joint statement, the CPI(M), CPI(ML), CPI, Revolutionary Socialist Party and the All India Forward Bloc also said that they hail the unity and determination displayed by farmers.
Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, are protesting against the laws at various Delhi border points since November 28 last year and on Republic Day, they will take out tractor parades that will pass through the national capital.
"The Left parties demand that the central government must stop being obstinate and immediately convey to the farmers' unions that these agri laws will be repealed in the forthcoming budget session of Parliament that is meeting this week. Already the government has conveyed its willingness to suspend these laws for 18 months," the statement said.
"Acts that are legislated by Parliament, signed by the President of India and notified by the Gazette are law of the land. They cannot be suspended. Unless they are repealed, they are enforceable. Hence, the government must be reasonable, repeal these laws, hold discussions regarding agrarian reforms with the farmers and other stakeholders including state governments and then bring proposals before Parliament for their consideration and due deliberations," it said.
Hailing the unity and determination displayed by the farmers, the parties also said that the protests were gaining strength.
12:10 AM

Take pledge for free, fair elections in Bengal on Republic Day: Dhankhar

West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Sunday urged people to take a pledge on Republic Day to ensure free and fair elections in the state.
Elections to the 294-member state assembly are due in April-May.
"Our State can flourish only when Democracy blossoms.
For this free and fair elections @MamataOfficial administration @HomeBengal & police @WBPolice have to be politically neutral. Let's pledge on this Republic Day to achieve in State free & fair elections, shun of violence," Dhankhar tweeted. 
12:09 AM

Israel opens embassy in UAE, expanding new relations

Israel on Sunday said it has opened its embassy in the United Arab Emirates, following through on last year's US-brokered agreement to establish full diplomatic ties with the Gulf country.
Israel's Foreign Ministry said the embassy would be in a temporary office while a permanent location is prepared. Eitan Na'eh, a veteran Israeli diplomat, will serve as the head of mission.
Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said the opening of the new embassy would allow the broadening of what already are warm ties between Israel and the UAE.
Since formally establishing ties in September, the two countries have already established direct flights and exchanged numerous trade delegations, while thousands of Israeli tourists have visited the UAE.
The UAE was the first of four Arab countries to establish or renew ties with Israel under a series of agreements brokered by the Trump administration.
The Foreign Ministry said Israel would soon open an interest section in Morocco and a consulate in Dubai. It also said an embassy in Bahrain has been operating for several weeks.
9:38 PM

Ozil says he leaves Arsenal for Fenerbahce with no grudges

Mesut Ozil has thanked Arsenal for an “amazing journey” after his departure to Fenerbahce was confirmed, saying he goes with no grudges despite not playing for nearly a year.
Ozil said goodbye to his Arsenal teammates a week ago and his move to Turkey has now been wrapped up.
“I'd like to thank the club for this amazing journey over the past seven-and-a-half years,” Ozil said Sunday.
The former Germany international has not played for Arsenal since March and his contract was due to expire at the end of the current season.
“The support I have felt from the team and fans during my time here has been truly incredible and something I will always be grateful for," Ozil said.
“Together we won trophies for the first time in years and created memories that will last a lifetime. The Arsenal fans will forever remain in my heart.
“I'd like to thank Edu Gaspar for helping bring about a professional and dignified solution in the past few days, and I wish everyone at the club the best in their attempt to continue to bring Arsenal back to the top, where we belong.” Having started the first 10 games under Mikel Arteta following his appointment in December 2019, Ozil has not featured since a 1-0 win over West Ham before the coronavirus pandemic saw football halted.
He was omitted from Arsenal's Premier League and Europa League squads.
9:38 PM

IFFI: Hybrid-mode movie gala concludes with Danish film 'Into the Darkness' winning top honour

Danish World War II epic "Into The Darkness" won the top honour of Golden Peacock Award at the closing ceremony of the 51st International Film Festival of India (IFFI), which was pared down considerably due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Director Anders Refn's "Into the Darkness" chronicles the complex, emotional turmoil of the Danish people during the Nazi occupation of the country.
The award consists of a cash prize of RS 40 lakh, to be shared equally between Refn and producer Lene Borglum. The duo, however, were not present.
Mandarin drama, "The Silent Forest", bagged two top honours- best actor male and best director.
Taiwanese actor Tzu-Chuan Liu, 17, was honoured with 'Silver Peacock for Best Actor' for his role of a hearing impaired in the film while Taiwanese filmmaker Chen-Nien Ko won the best director award for her "heart-wrenching exposition of the systemic sexual abuse" happening in a school for children with special needs.
The Silver Peacock for best actor – female was awarded to Polish actor Zofia Stafiej, for her role in director Piotr Domalewski's "I Never Cry" at the ceremony held at the .
9:37 PM

Scotland''s leader vows to push for second independence vote

Scotland's leader said on Sunday that she intends to hold a “legal referendum” on independence from the UK if she wins Scottish elections scheduled for May.
Such a move would put First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on a constitutional collision course with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who opposes another secession vote.
Scotland voted to remain in the U.K. by a margin of 55 per cent-45 per cent in a 2014 referendum that was billed as a once-in-a-generation event. A new binding referendum requires the U.K. government's approval, and Johnson insists he'll say no.
Sturgeon argues that Brexit has transformed the situation by dragging Scotland out of the European Union against its will. A narrow majority of U.K. voters opted to leave the EU in a 2016 referendum, but a large majority in Scotland voted to stay.
A string of recent opinion polls suggests a small majority now supports Scotland becoming an independent country. Sturgeon says her Scottish National Party will run in May's election “to seek the authority of the Scottish people” for a new referendum.
“If the SNP win the Scottish election in a few months' time on a proposition of giving the people that choice, then what democrat could rightly stand in the way of that? Boris Johnson just clearly fears the verdict and the will of the Scottish people,” Sturgeon told the BBC.
The SNP says that if it wins a majority in the Scottish Parliament in May it will pass legislation allowing for a new referendum once the coronavirus pandemic is over. If Johnson's government refused to agree, the issue would likely end up in the courts.
9:35 PM

Rahul Gandhi slams PM Modi, says Chinese troops occupying Indian territory

Continuing to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his second day of campaign in Tamil Nadu, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday alleged Chinese troops have occupied Indian territory and the man with "56 inch-chest" cannot even utter the name of the neighbouring country.
Addressing meetings here and in neighbouring Erode district as part of three-day campaign tour of Tamil Nadu for the assembly elections to be held in the next few months, he also repeated his charge that Modi governed the country for just five or six business people.
"For the first time, the Indian people can see that Chinese troops have occupied Indian territory. As we speak today, thousands of Chinese troops are occupying our territory and the man with a 56-inch chest cannot even say the word China. That is the reality of our country," he said.
The Chinese understood that Modi was "weak and destroyed the nation's economy and that is why they are inside our territory," he alleged.
Without any doubt, he said he could tell the people that China would have never had the 'guts' to step inside 'Indian territory' if the economy, farmers and small and medium enterprises had been strong and if the 'nonsensical GST' and demonetisation had not been implemented.
9:07 PM

Country's economy is gradually recovering, says Montek

The country's economy, which contracted in the first two quarters of the current fiscal, has started recovering at a gradual pace, former deputy chairman of erstwhile Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia said on Sunday.
The economy contracted by a massive 23.9 per cent in the first quarter and 7.5 per cent in the second quarter on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We had jumped off a cliff in the first quarter of this financial year because of the lockdown, which was necessitated by the pandemic. The economy is now climbing back. I think it's a gradual recovery but it is a clear recovery," Ahluwalia said at a virtual event.
7:58 PM

Arnab chats: Republic Media Network hits back at Congress

The Republic Media Network on Sunday hit out at the Congress over its allegations that the purported WhatsApp chats of Arnab Goswami point to breach of national security and violations of the Official Secrets Act, and claimed that the party was peddling "falsehoods".
In a statement, the Republic media group also accused rival TV channel Times Now of manipulating TRPs, suppressing facts and misleading the public on the alleged TRP scam.
The statement comes after Times Network, under which Times Now operates, said it is contemplating all possible legal actions against Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) for its unacceptable and unpardonable" failure to act on complaints of large-scale manipulation of TRPs to favour Republic TV.
7:57 PM

President Kovind to address nation on the eve of Republic Day

President Ram Nath Kovind will address the nation on Monday on the eve of the 72nd Republic Day, according to an official communique.
The address will be broadcast from 1900 hrs on the entire national network of the All India Radio (AIR) and telecast over all channels of Doordarshan in Hindi followed by the English version, it said.
"Broadcast of the address in Hindi and English on Doordarshan will be followed by broadcast in regional languages by regional channels of Doordarshan," said the statement issued on Sunday by the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

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First Published: Jan 23 2021 | 6:53 AM IST

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