Hindustan Times national political editor Sunetra Choudhury reports the latest in Ayodhya from the banks of the Saryu river, which have been illuminated ahead of the grand foundation laying ceremony of the new Ram temple.With just a day to go for the event, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is emerging as a key concern for the authorities. Another priest has tested positive, leading the head priest, Satyendra Das, to express his 'worry'. Another priest and three fire officials had earlier been found to be infected with the Covid virus. Adherence of social distancing norms by crowds in the temple town is also emerging as a big concern for authorities. Seeing the large crowds on the banks of the Saryu river, the administration has decided to close the area from August 4 afternoon to the general public. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be presiding over the festivities on August 5, which will also be attended by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat, and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, among a few other dignitaries. The guest list is comparatively short given the pandemic. Watch the full video for more details.
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From another Ayodhya priest testing positive days ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit, to the government issuing guidelines for gymnasiums and yoga centres ahead of their reopening from August 5 - here are the top news updates on the Covid-19 pandemic. The World Health Organisation has reportedly completed the groundwork in China for an investigation into the origin of the virus which causes the Covid-19 illness. WHO Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, also warned the world that although there is hope of development of an effective vaccine, there is also the possibility that we might never have a 'silver bullet' against the disease. Meanwhile, South Korean envoy to India, Shin Bong-kil, said that India has always been important when it comes to vaccines and the country also has a strong pharmaceutical industry. A controversy has broken out over the admission of Union Home minister Amit Shah to a private hospital in Gurugram after he tested positive for Covid infection. Congress' Shashi Tharoor said that patronage of the powerful is important to maintain public faith in government institutions. India also crossed a milestone in its fight against the virus. The country passed the landmark of 2 crore total tests on August 2. Watch the full video for the other updates regarding the spread of the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus.
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Republic of Korea's Ambassador to India, Shin Bong-kil, on August 03 stated that the South Korean government is thinking to establish Korean language institute in Delhi. His statement comes after India's new National Education Policy offered several languages at secondary level including the Korean language. Bong-kil said, "Happy to hear Korean language will be offered at secondary level, it was reported heavily in Korean media. Korean government is thinking of giving extensive help and establishing Korean language institute in Delhi." Earlier, the new NEP passed by the cabinet and did away with the 34-year-old education policy and brought with it a number of changes.
The prayers were being offered to Lord Shiva by devotees across nation on August 03. Devotees offered prayers at Gauri Shankar Temple in Delhi's Chandni Chowk on the last Monday of 'sawan' month and Raksha Bandhan. Temperature of devotees was also being checked with thermal gun, as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of coronavirus. On the other side, devotees offered prayers to Lord Shiva from outside the Augarnath Temple in Uttar Pradesh's Meerut. The doors of temple are closed for devotees since the beginning of COVID-19 lockdown. Devotees also offered prayers at Baidyanath Temple to Lord Shiva in Jharkhand's Deoghar. The Baidyanath Temple is one of the 12 'Jyotirlingas' in the country and attracts lakhs of devotees every year.
The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has given approval to Serum Institute of India (SII), Pune, to conduct Phase II and III clinical trials of Oxford University. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a number of vaccines are now in phase-3 clinical trials. Meanwhile, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan on August 03 again tested positive for COVID-19 on the 10th day of his admission to hospital. Today, Andhra Pradesh reported 7,822 new COVID-19 cases, taking the total number of coronavirus cases in the state 1,66,586. Uttar Pradesh reported 4,473 new COVID-19 cases and 50 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking active cases to 40,191 and death toll to 1,778. Tamil Nadu reported 5,609 new COVID-19 cases and 109 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking total cases to 2,63,222 including 2,02,283 discharges and 4,241 deaths.
A bright 'Halo' around the sun was spotted in the sky around noon in Tamil Nadu's Rameswaram on August 03. Locals enjoyed the spectacle in the sky for more than half an hour. 'Halo' looked as colourful as the colour of a rainbow.
A huge language war has erupted over the Modi government's New Education Policy 2020. The AIADMK and the DMK have raised the red flag over the three language policy in the NEP. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami has said that Tamil Nadu will not implement the 3 language policy and will stick to the dual language policy. He also called the three language formula painful and saddening and urged the Prime Minister to reconsider the three language formula. Meanwhile, DMK chief MK Stalin also attacked the Modi government over the issue. He also slammed PM Modi's assertion that the NPE would ensure education is provided to all sections of society. Stalin said that the NPE would result in education becoming a privilege of the select few in the next 10 years. Though the three-language policy gives powers to states to decide on what that language would be taught, political parties in Tamil Nadu see this as a tacit attempt by the centre to impose Hindi. Earlier, Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank has said that the Centre does not wish to impose any language on any state. Watch the full video for all the details.
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A couple, Migza and Faiyaz Sheikh who run a small-scaled school at Mumbai's Malad area waived off the fees of their students when they found that their parents couldn't afford to pay the fees amid the lockdown. But they didn't just stop here...when they got to know that the people living in the area could barely afford two square meals a day, they decide to donate rations to them. Fourth months down the line, the couple has spent around four lakh rupees from their personal savings and distributed food items to about 1,500 people, no matter which caste or community they belong to. Meanwhile, a specially-abled person in Rameswaram town of Tamil Nadu is providing door to door service of distributing 'Kabasura Kudineer' among the people. It is an herbal concoction, comprising dry ingredients of ginger, pippali, clove, cirukancori root, mulli root, kadukkai, ajwain and many other herbs. The ingredients are powdered and mixed with water, then boiled to make a decoction of one-fourth of its initial volume. As it has proved effective in managing COVID-19 cases, Deena started serving it to the general public. At present, when the whole country is reeling due to coronavirus, in such a situation, its people like Migza and Deena who are coming forward and extending their support in the fight against the pandemic.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on August 03 said that Mumbai Police is capable of conducting the probe on its own. "If Mumbai Police is already investigating the case, so anyone not related to Maharashtra govt and not related to the case should not comment on it as Mumbai Police is capable of conducting the probe on its own," said Raut on Sushant Singh Rajput's death case.
Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh dodged question on Patna Superintendent of Police Vinay Tiwari forcibly quarantined in Mumbai. Later, when he was questioned on investigation carried out by Mumbai Police in Sushant Singh Rajput's death case, Home Minister said, "Mumbai Police investigation is progressing in the right direction, and in a professional manner."
IPS office Vinay Tiwari, who reached Mumbai on Sunday afternoon, has allegedly been forcibly quarantined. The allegation was made by another top Bihar officer on Twitter. The officer alleged that Tiwari was not even provided accommodation in the IPS mess despite a request being made. This comes amid an escalating blame game between police of the two states over the probe into the death of Sushant Singh Rajput. Earlier, Bihar police had alleged that they have not even been provided with basic documents like the post mortem report etc by their Mumbai counterparts. The matter has also taken a political turn with several top leaders from Bihar slamming the Uddhav Thackeray led government in Maharashtra. Many of them have also called for a CBI probe into the death of the actor who originally hailed Bihar. Sushant Rajput's father had filed an FIR in Patna and leveled serious allegations against the actor's girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty and her family members. The actor was found dead in his apartment in Bandra on June 14. Watch the full video for all the details.
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With some of the top political leaders, including home minister Amit Shah and Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa testing positive for the novel coronavirus, the focus is back on the spike in the number of infection which have now crossed the 18-lakh mark. Meanwhile, a blame game has ensued between the Mumbai and Bihar police after a top cop from the eastern state was sent into quarantine in Mumbai. Top stories with Vikram Chandra in this Editorji evening playlist.
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The father of Sushant Singh Rajput released a video message over a month after the actor's death. KK Singh claimed that he had alerted Mumbai police about a threat to Sushant's life in February 2020. He says that after the actor died on June 14, he again approached police, seeking action against those whom he had named in February. However, Mumbai cops didn't take any action for 40 days, claims Singh. Then, he filed a complaint with Patna police, who immediately began investigation after lodging an FIR. Sushant's father also thanked Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for 'standing with the truth'. In his complaint, Singh had accused Sushant's girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty of wrongfully confining the actor, putting mental pressure on him, and also trying to usurp his assets. Watch the full video for more.
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The Commissioner of Police, Mumbai held a press conference to provide an update on the progress in investigation regarding actor Sushant Singh Rajput's death. Param Bir Singh revealed that during the probe, police found that the late actor suffered from bipolar disorder and was taking medications. He was also consulting a psychiatrist for treatment. Mumbai police have so far recorded statements of over 55 people. Mumbai police chief also spoke on the possible conclusions of the investigation. If the investigators don't find any criminality in Sushant's death, then they will approach a magistrate to file a closure report. However, if criminality is found, then charges under the Indian Penal Code would be filed, and the probe would continue. PB Singh also revealed the various angles which the probe team is following up on, including professional rivalry, financial transactions, and health. Meanwhile, controversy has broken out over a parallel investigation being conducted by Bihar police following a complaint against Sushant's girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty by the late actor's father. A senior officer sent to Mumbai was 'forcibly quarantined' as per Bihar police chief, Gupteshwar Pandey. Watch the full video for more.
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Mumbai Commissioner of Police on August 03 informed that no direct transfer from Sushant's account to Rhea Chakraborty's account found so far. "Bihar Police FIR says Rs 15 cr were siphoned off from Sushant's account. During the probe, we found he had Rs 18 cr in his account of which around Rs 4.5 cr are still there. Till now no direct transfer to Rhea Chakraborty's account found, still probing," said Singh.
India's Union Home minister Amit Shah tested positive for Covid-19 infection on August 2. He tweeted about the positive diagnosis, saying that he got tested after showing initial symptoms of the disease. The minister said that he was getting hospitalised on the advice of doctors, although he was feeling fine. Shah also appealed to people who met him recently to get tested. A day earlier, Shah had attended an event in honour of freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak's 100th death anniversary. He was seen wearing a mask at the event in which he also gave a virtual address. Shah's ministry has been at the centre of managing the Covid pandemic in India, along with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The Ministry of Home Affairs has been coordinating the implementation of first the lockdown, and now Unlock, with the various states and Union territories. India's Covid tally has reached 17.5 lakh with over 37,300 deaths so far. The country has over 5.67 lakh active cases of Covid infection.
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India on August 02 reported a spike of 54,736 cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, taking the confirmed number of infections to 17,50,724. According to the data of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the deadly disease claimed the lives of 853 people in the last 24 hours, and now the casualties have reached the figure of 37,364. 5,67,730 cases of coronavirus are active in the country, whereas, 11,45,630 people have overcome the invisible virus. According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, 4,63,172 samples were tested for COVID-19 on August 02. The total samples till August 02 are 1,98,21,831.
Veteran BJP leaders LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi will not visit Ayodhya for the ground-breaking ceremony for building of a temple there. The two leaders will instead attend the August 5 event via..