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India demands Taliban keep commitment to not harbour terrorists

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United Nations, Sep 10: Warning that terrorism continues to threaten Afghanistan, India has demanded the Taliban to keep its commitment to not allow the country to be used by terrorists.

Citing last month’s “deplorable” attack on the Kabul Airport that killed 13 American soldiers and more than 170 Afghans, India’s Permanent Representative T.S. Tirumurti said on Thursday that “terrorism continues to pose a serious threat to Afghanistan”.

He said that the resolution adopted last month when India presided over the Council “noted the commitment of the Taliban not to allow the use of the Afghan soil for terrorism, including from terrorists and terrorist groups designated” by the UN.

The resolution took into account the “collective concerns” on terrorism and “underlined that Afghan territory should not be used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter or train terrorists, or to plan or to finance terrorist acts”, he said at the Council meeting on Afghanistan.

“It is therefore important that commitments made in this regard (by the Taliban) are respected and adhered to.”

Tirumurti said that he hoped that the Taliban will also respect its commitment to allow Afghans to travel abroad and ensure secure departure for them and all foreign nationals.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Deborah Lyons, raised the issue of Taliban’s leadership being on the UN’s list of terrorists.

Of the 33 members of the interim government announced by the Taliban, many are on the UN sanctions list, including Prime Minister Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, the two deputy prime ministers, and Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, she said.

“All of you will need to decide which steps to take regarding the sanctions list, and the impact on future engagement,” she told the Council.

Lyons added that the protest around the country “show that the Taliban have won power, but not yet the confidence of all Afghan people”.

Afghanistan’s Permanent Representative Ghulam Isaczi, who has defied the Taliban regime, said that the Security Council should reevaluate exempting the insurgent leaders from UN sanctions since they have failed to resolve the conflicts through peaceful means.

“The Council must use all its diplomatic tools, including the full implementation of existing multilateral sanctions to ensure that the Taliban is sincere and genuine in finding a comprehensive settlement,” he said.

He urged all countries to withhold recognition of any government in Afghanistan “unless it’s truly and formed on the basis of free will”.

“I further urge you to draw a red line, regarding Taliban treatment of women and girls, and respect for the rights of all.”

He said that the protests in his country, which the Taliban is brutally suppressing, are a sign that that the people will not accept a totalitarian system imposed upon them and will demand their freedom.

Isaczi added that the Taliban was committing atrocities, and possible war crimes, in the Panjshir Valley with the support of foreign terrorist fighters and foreign intelligence and military.

Malala Yousafzai, who was attacked by extremists in Pakistan for advocating girls’ education, reminded the Security Council of its commitment to protect the rights and dignity of women and girls.

“We must support education for Afghan girls, because it is a human right and because it is vital to a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.

“So today I’m here to call on the Security Council to protect Afghan girls and women,” and “send a clear and unequivocal message to the Taliban” that a fundamental condition for a working relationship is giving girls their right to education, she added.

Tirumurti appealed to the international community “to come together, rising above any partisan interests, to stand together with the people of Afghanistan in their desire for peace, stability and security in the country”.

“We reiterate the need for the voices of Afghan women to be heard, aspirations of Afghan children to be realised and the rights of minorities to be protected. We call on humanitarian assistance to be provided urgently and underline the need to provide unhindered access to the UN and other agencies in this regard.”

He said that India has contributed significantly to the development of Afghanistan through more than 500 development projects in each of the 34 provinces of the country in critical areas of power, water supply, road connectivity, healthcare, education, agriculture and capacity building.

India also sent 75,000 metric tonnes of wheat last year to Afghanistan as humanitarian aid, he said.

“We hope that these developments projects and the education and human resource development imparted by India over the years will help in contributing to the development of an inclusive and progressive polity.”

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Air India goes to Tata Sons, Ratan Tata tweets, Welcome Back!

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New Delhi: Finally, Air India has gone to Tata Group which emerged the highest bidder. This was a much-awaited deal for the Government of India which wanted to sell this national career from a very long time. Welcome back, Air India, tweets Ratan Tata on Tata Sons winning the bid for Air India.
An SPV of Tata Sons – the holding company of conglomerate – has emerged as successful bidder, Tuhin Kanta Pandey, secretary to the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) — the government department responsible for privatisation, said.

The international service was among the first public-private partnerships in India, with the government holding 49 per cent, the Tatas keeping 25 per cent and the public owning the rest. In 1953, Air India was nationalised. The government is selling 100 per cent of its stake in the state-owned national airline, including Air India’s 100 per cent shareholding in AI Express Ltd and 50 per cent in Air India SATS Airport Services Private Ltd.

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Powerful earthquake in Japan injures 32, disrupts train services

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Tokyo, Oct 8: Authorities in Japan said on Friday that a powerful earthquake which jolted the country the previous day left 32 people injured, while also disrupting train services in the Tokyo area, affecting around 368,000 passengers in total.

The earthquake that struck the capital region at 10.41 p.m. on Thursday night reached upper 5 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7 in parts of Tokyo and Saitama prefecture, reports Xinhua news agency.

The last time that people in central Tokyo faced such an intense jolt was during the massive quake of March 11, 2011, which devastated northeastern Japan and triggered a tsunami and nuclear disaster.

According to East Japan Railway Co. (JR East), the strongest earthquake for the Japanese capital in a decade caused services on the Shinkansen bullet train and 16 local train lines cancelled or delayed from late night Thursday to about 3 p.m. (local time) on Friday, resulting in many late-night train passengers stranded and a commuter disruption in the morning.

JR East have resumed train services, but many passengers were forced to wait at stations due to delays.

After a train derailed in Tokyo’s Adachi Ward, one of the areas hit hardest by the temblor, the operation of the Nippori Toneri Liner, a driverless guideway transit system in Tokyo, might remain suspended for several days, according to its operator.

The Japan Transport Safety Board has sent officials to investigate the derailment.

According to a tally by the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, two in Saitama Prefecture and one in Chiba Prefecture sustained severe injuries among the 32.

Around 250 houses in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward briefly experienced power outages due to the earthquake, and water stoppages and leaks were reported in central Tokyo.

The earthquake also caused 28 cases of people being trapped in elevators in Tokyo and three neighbouring prefectures, but all cases have been cleared according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism.

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India to showcase its art, culture, tradition and business prospect in Dubai

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Dubai: India is out to showcase to the world its arts and culture, rich history and tradition and opportunities that exist for individuals and corporates with its biggest pavilion of the 192 participating countries in the Expo 2020 Dubai.

The six-month-long Expo kicked off on October 1 with Dubai expecting a large number of visitors despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With the number of daily infections now well below 200 for the past week, the city has opened itself to the world. Most of the visitors are allowed to travel with a valid negative RT-PCR test within 72 hours.

However, India is still in the category that requires a valid negative PCR test certificate (with a QR code) for a test conducted within 48 hours, and a rapid PCR test report with a QR code for a test conducted at the departure airport within six hours of departure. The pavilion features a kinetic facade of 600 individual colourful blocks. The panels rotate and the facade presents a different look with each rotation, a unique representation of the country’s theme at the Expo, ‘India on the Move’.

The Indian pavilion was officially inaugurated by Piyush Goyal, Minister for Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, and Textiles who said the Pavilion “shows an India on the move, it describes a new India rejuvenated, reinvented and revitalised, which can convert any adversity into an opportunity”.

As the country comes out a deadly second wave of the pandemic, India is eager to make an impression on the world and the Expo is a great platform. Aman Puri, Consul-General of India in Dubai, said: “India at Expo 2020 Dubai will present a new and dynamic India with its never-ending opportunities.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given us a clarion call for action to all stakeholders to give a renewed push to boosting exports and Expo 2020 will provide an important platform in driving forward this national agenda.”

While art and culture has always been a staple of India’s exhibitions in foreign countries, there is a big push for innovation and industries in Dubai. The India Innovation Hub, a specially designed mobile platform, was recently launched. It showcases innovations by Indian startups and corporates across various cutting edge fields like artificial intelligence, machine learning, mobility, robotics and space. As many as 15 states and eight Union Territories are taking part in the Expo, most of them displaying food, art & culture and business opportunities. Also, present and various ministries, like textile, space and energy, as well as some of the leading business houses like Tata, Reliance, L&T and Adani.

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