Metrovaartha http://www.metrovaartha.com/ en-us Sat, 23 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0530 Leopard killed, meat consumed; 5 arrested http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/32829/leopard-killed--meat-consumed--5-arrested http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/32829/leopard-killed--meat-consumed--5-arrested Sat, 23 Jan 2021 19:32:10 +0530 ]]>A full-grown leopard was trapped, killed and portion of its meat consumed by five villagers. The five, hailing from Mankulam in the high-range Idukki district, were arrested. The animal's skin, teeth and claws have been recovered from the arrested. Idukki | A full-grown leopard was trapped, killed and portion of its meat consumed by five villagers here, police said.
The five, hailing from Mankulam in the high-range Idukki district, were arrested on Friday, forest officials said.
The animal's skin, teeth and claws have been recovered from the arrested, Mankulam Range Forest officer V B Udayasooryan, told PTI.
The incident is said to have occurred on Wednesday.
The animal, believed to be 6-7 year-old, was trapped by laying a snare by the accused.
The leopard used to strayinto their farm, harming their cattle.
The accused have been charged under various sections of the Wildlife Protection Act, produced before a court and remanded to custody.

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Dubai-based Indian student makes special Modi portrait as Republic Day gift  http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/32828/dubai-based-indian-student-makes-special-modi-portrait-as-republic-day-gift- http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/32828/dubai-based-indian-student-makes-special-modi-portrait-as-republic-day-gift- Sat, 23 Jan 2021 18:36:31 +0530 ]]>The six-layered stencil portrait made by Saran Sasikumar from Kerala was handed over to Minister of State for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs V Muraleedharan on the concluding day of his three-day visit to the UAE. Dubai | A 14-year-old Indian student in Dubai has made a special portrait of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a gift for the Republic Day.
The six-layered stencil portrait made by Saran Sasikumar from Kerala was handed over to Minister of State for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs V Muraleedharan on the concluding day of his three-day visit to the UAE on Thursday.
"Happy to meet in #Dubai the talented young artist Saran Sasi Kumar from Kerala, now a resident in #UAE. He presented this beautiful portrait, a 6 layered stencil painting, to our PM @narendramodi ji as a Republic Day gift. Truly inspiring! My best wishes to him," Muraleedharan tweeted on Friday, sharing a photograph of him accepting the portrait from the boy and his parents.
In the portrait, Prime Minister Modi is seen saluting, wearing a wide-brimmed cavalry hat with the logo of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).
According to a Gulf News report, the portrait measures 90 cm by 60 cm.
It took around six hours to draw the picture with layers of six colour shades, said Saran, who has drawn 92 portraits including those of top UAE leaders during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is not the first Modi picture that Saran has drawn.
The grade nine student of Dubai-based New Indian Model School had also made a five-layered stencil portrait of Modi — which measured 1.5m by 1m — in October last year. He has bagged a grandmaster certification from Asia Book of Records and another certificate from India Book of Records for that stencil art portrait, the report said.

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Kerala HC dismisses habeas plea of 'spiritual guru' for release of woman from parents custody http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/32827/kerala-hc-dismisses-habeas-plea-of--spiritual-guru--for-release-of-woman-from-parents-custody http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/32827/kerala-hc-dismisses-habeas-plea-of--spiritual-guru--for-release-of-woman-from-parents-custody Sat, 23 Jan 2021 18:20:23 +0530 ]]>Kerala High Court has dismissed a habeas corpus plea filed by a 52-year-old man claiming to be a "spiritual guru" seeking release of a 21-year-old woman from the custody of her parents terming her as his "spiritual live-in-partner". Kochi | The Kerala High Court has dismissed a habeas corpus plea filed by a 52-year-old man claiming to be a "spiritual guru" seeking release of a 21-year-old woman from the custody of her parents terming her as his "spiritual live-in-partner".
A Division Bench of the High Court, comprising justices K Vinod Chandran and M R Anitha, dismissed the plea observing that the "antecedents" of the man are "not such as to trust him with the custody of a young girl of 21" on mere statement of she being tutored, by him, in spirituality.
"This is especially so when the parents of the subject had initially approached the petitioner with their daughter for psychiatric consultation and their trust in him as a doctor and therapist was breached to the extent of the petitioner declaring his patient to be a live-in partner; when he himself was married with two children," the court said in its January 20 order.
In his plea, the man alleged illegal detention of the woman by her own parents on the ground that he had a live-in relationship with her for the last two and half years.
The man moved the court as the live-in spiritual partner of the woman and does not speak of any marriage between them.
The court, which interacted with the woman, also found that she was "incapable of taking a decision for herself" and directed her to be retained with her parents at her parental home.
"We in fact found nothing to remove the subject from the custody of her parents; in her present mental state, which they are the best persons to address." "We are not satisfied that the parents are in any manner incapable of or dis-entitled from retaining custody of their daughter who though a major was showing signs of mental disturbance," said the judgement authored by Justice Vinod Chandran.
The man is said to have completed MBBS from Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram and after his marriage to a woman in 2001, proceeded to the UK for post graduation in Psychiatry.
After returning, he initially pursued the medical profession, but later proclaimed himself to be a Vedic Yogacharya/Instructor.
The court noted that the man is also stated to have not cooperated for a direct and detailed inquiry and was unwilling to disclose his personal and professional details.
The petitioner claimed that he was getting fees and gifts from his followers and he had no other regular means of income.
"On local inquiry it is reported that there is no information of the petitioner having any followers. It is reported that the petitioner is not leading a socially acceptable life and has difficulty in explaining the means and goals of his spirituality," the court said.
In his plea, the man asserted he had a live-in relationship with the woman for the last two-and-a-half years as spiritual partners.
The court observed that there was no allegation that the parents had illegally removed the woman from the man's custody.
The man admitted he is married with two children but goes on to say that they are under the care and shelter of the petitioner, living separately, it said.
The court recalled its earlier interaction with the woman wherein she categorically denied she was married and asserted the relationship with the man to be divine.
The court offered her assistance for counselling and tried to persuade her to at least, at its behest, to interact with a psychiatrist or psychoanalyst for it to get an expert opinion, which she refused point blank, it said.
"We attempted such a course of action since the subject, on our assessment, was incapable of taking a decision for herself and the parents too had raised serious concerns of her obsessive behaviour which we too witnessed during our interaction," the court said.
In its judgment, the court cited the Supreme Court's judgment in the Hadiya case holding that its interactions with the woman suggested that she was having "vulnerability occasioned by mental disturbance." The court also referred to a passage from the Hadiya case where the Supreme Court observed that there was nothing to suggest that Hadiya suffered from any kind of "mental incapacity or vulnerability".

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Kerala prepares action plan for second phase COVID vaccination drive http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/32826/kerala-prepares-action-plan-for-second-phase-covid-vaccination-drive http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/32826/kerala-prepares-action-plan-for-second-phase-covid-vaccination-drive Sat, 23 Jan 2021 18:16:58 +0530 ]]>Kerala Health Department has prepared an action plan to expand the COVID-19 vaccination in the state and to commence the next phase of the drive meticulously. Currently, 144 centres were ready for vaccination and it was proposed to increase it to 249 at this stage. Thiruvananthapuram | The Kerala Health Department has prepared an action plan to expand the COVID-19 vaccination in the state and to commence the next phase of the drive meticulously, Health Minister K K Shailaja said here on Saturday.
A total of 133 vaccination centres were allotted in the southern state in the initial phase which were being increased with the availability of more doses of vaccines.
Currently, 144 centres were ready for vaccination and it was proposed to increase it to 249 at this stage, she said.
As part of this, there would be at least 14 centres in a district, she said, adding that 38 centres would be set up in Ernakulam district and 30 centres in Thiruvananthapuram.
"It is time for the healthcare workers to get their second dose of vaccine by February 13. Therefore the plan is to complete the first phase of vaccination by February 15 and commence the second phase of the drive after that," she said.
After healthcare workers, the next priority would be the frontline COVID fighters.
So far, a total of 4,87,306 people, including health workers and frontline fighters, have registered for vaccination in the southern state.
Registration for frontline fighters was currently underway which so far comprised 75,572 home department employees, 6,600 municipal workers and 8,824 revenue staff in Kerala.

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Singhu Border: Local eateries facing tough time due to free langars http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/32825/singhu-border--local-eateries-facing-tough-time-due-to-free-langars http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/32825/singhu-border--local-eateries-facing-tough-time-due-to-free-langars Sat, 23 Jan 2021 17:04:30 +0530 ]]>When the owner of Rajputana restaurant, a humble roadside eatery at the Singhu border, began to feel that he had survived the worst economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, the farmers protest started. New Delhi | When the owner of Rajputana restaurant, a humble roadside eatery at the Singhu border, began to feel that he had survived the worst economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, the farmers protest started. Two months later his restaurant is still empty even though the highway this time is packed.

Round-the-clock langar service, complete shut-down of industries, and no movement of people and vehicles are proving to be a death knell for several eateries dotting the stretch on both sides of the Delhi-Haryana national highway.

Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, are demonstrating at the national capital's border points since November 26 demanding that the three contentious farm laws be repealed.

"Why would people come to have food here when they can get it for free in langars outside?" asked a frustrated and tense Om Prakash Rajput, the owner of the eatery.

"What business? No one comes at all. I am paying Rs 35,000 as rent for this shop and have eight employees. For how long can I manage to pay the salaries and rent without any income? If it continues like this, I will have no option but to shut it," said the 40-year-old, who also runs a private security agency.

Mohammad Ehsaan, 23, who hails from Bihar and works as a cook in the restaurant, said Rajput told him that he will close the eatery next month. Ehsaan, with his salary reduced from Rs 17,000 to Rs 14,000, is already hunting for a new job.

With chairs placed on tables, cooks and waiters lying idle, and prospective customers busy langar-hopping, for the owners of food businesses at Singhu -- the nerve-centre of the farmers' agitation -- the monetary situation is worsening by the day.  Punjabi Zaika, a small eatery, for instance, with sales less than Rs 1,200 per day is not certain about its future.

Situated adjacent to the main stage of the protest site, they stopped cooking their best-selling non-vegetarian dishes because customers would be afraid to have it in the vicinity of the stage which also serves as a platform for prayers and kirtans.

"We open our shops, sit here and leave. It is empty for most part of the day. Everyone eats their meal at langar only. Since most of them are from villages they don't have an appetite for snacks anyway," said Sahab Singh, owner.  "Throughout the day, hardly three-four people come. I am paying Rs 30,000 rent and salaries of my three employees from my own pocket," he added.

Things are equally bad, if not worse, for the big restaurants. In most of these outlets, their employees have been outnumbering the customers since the protest began.

Shree Makhan Bhog, a one-stop shop for bakery, sweets and vegetarian snacks, has seen at least 50 per cent dip in the sales since the start of the protest.

"The demand is mostly of cold-drinks or packet mixture or other snacks. No one is coming here to have a full meal," said Radhey Shyam, manager at Shree Makhan Bhog.

While some eateries are staring at a sad ending of their once flourishing ventures, Anshu Kumar rented out space for his cafe just two days before the protest started and hasn't seen a single day of good business.   His hole-in-the-wall eatery, which mostly serves fast-food, is right next to the Kisan Andloan office which hosts kisan union meetings and press conferences. Though the proximity to the office has helped him gain some footfall, it's just enough to break even.

"The highway is supposed to be a good place for an eatery but then who knew about the farmers' protest. The owner of this place told me he won't take rent for the time being. But I know I owe him some amount for sure," said Kumar, who started the joint after he faced losses in his clothing business during the coronavirus-induced lockdown.         In the past when it rained, he said his sale for the day didn't even cross Rs 100. Kumar drives a two-wheeler and the fuel expenses alone are over Rs 300 a day.

"The most I have earned so far in a day is Rs 3,000," said the 53-year-old, who lives in Burari. The most expensive dish on his cafe's menu costs Rs 400.   At his wits end, Rajput urged the government to vacate the space sooner than later. He alleged that most of the protestors camping here are "arthiyas, businessmen and not farmers".

His employee Ehsaan, however, begs to differ on. "They all are farmers fighting for their survival. I support them. And one more thing, their langar is 'ek number' (first-class)," said Ehsaan, who impishly admitted to cherishing the langar meal many times himself.

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Shashi Tharoor to meet people, incorporate their views in UDF manifesto http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/32824/shashi-tharoor-to-meet-people--incorporate-their-views-in-udf-manifesto- http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/32824/shashi-tharoor-to-meet-people--incorporate-their-views-in-udf-manifesto- Sat, 23 Jan 2021 17:00:19 +0530 ]]>Congress MP Shashi Tharoor has been given the crucial task of meeting people from various walks of walksof life, including the youth, and incorporate their views while drawing up the "People's manifesto" of the UDF opposition in poll-bound Kerala.  Thiruvananthapuram | Congress MP Shashi Tharoor has been given the crucial task of meeting people from various walks of walksof life, including the youth, and incorporate their views while drawing up the "People's manifesto" of the UDF opposition in poll-bound Kerala.

A decision in this regard was taken at the first meeting of theElection Management and Strategy Committee held here on Saturday.

Tharoor, who is also a member of the 10-membercommittee, constituted by Congress President Sonia Gandhi recently,will be meeting people inThiruvananthapuram, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Palakkad and Kozhikode districts, Committee Chairman Oommen Chandy told reporters after the meeting.

He will be holding talks with various sections of the people on the problems being faced by them which would be reflected in the manifesto.

The manifesto should reflect the needs of the people, Chandy, a former chief minister said.

More seats would be given to youth, women and the criteria of selecting candidates would be based on their winnability, he added.

Leader of Opposition, Ramesh Chennithala will be leading a Kerala yatra ahead of the assembly polls, which would be flagged off by Chandy from Manjeswaram in Kasaragod district on January 31.

Asked about reports of a miffed K V Thomas eyeing the LDF camp if denied ticketin the coming polls, Chandy said Thomas was a senior Congress leader and was very much in the party.

"He is in the Congress and will continue to be in the party. There is no doubt", he said.

Thomas, who had reached the state capital from Ernakulam and is understood to have held talks with senior AICC leaders,later told reporters that he had lodged his"genuine complaints"with the party leaders.

I am a congressman, he said when asked if he was eyeing the rival camp.

On selection of candidates, Chennithala said informal discussions are going on with coalition partners.

The committee, which includes KPCC President, Mullapally Ramachandran, Leader of Opposition, Ramesh Chennithala, AICC Organisational secretary, K C Venugopal and AICC Secretary in charge of Kerala, Tariq Anwar will be meeting frequently to discuss matters related to electioneering, coordination and formulation of election strategies.

Besides Tharoor, MPs K Muraleedharan, K Sudhakaran and Kodikunnil Suresh and former KPCC president, V M Sudheeran, are the other members of the panel. 

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WHO chief Ghebreyesus thanks PM Modi for 'continued support' to global COVID-19 response http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/32823/who-chief-ghebreyesus-thanks-pm-modi-for--continued-support--to-global-covid-19-response http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/32823/who-chief-ghebreyesus-thanks-pm-modi-for--continued-support--to-global-covid-19-response Sat, 23 Jan 2021 16:57:27 +0530 ]]>WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Saturday thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his continued support to the global COVID-19 response, saying acting together, including sharing of knowledge, will help in combating the novel coronavirus that has claimed over 2 million lives and infected more than 96 million people across the world. Geneva | WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Saturday thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his continued support to the global COVID-19 response, saying acting together, including sharing of knowledge, will help in combating the novel coronavirus that has claimed over 2 million lives and infected more than 96 million people across the world.

India this week announced that it will send COVID-19 vaccines under grant assistance to Sri Lanka and seven other countries - Bhutan, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Seychelles, Afghanistan and Mauritius.

Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and the Maldives have already received India's COVID-19 vaccines under grant assistance in sync with its "Neighbourhood First” policy.

"Thank you, India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for your continued support to global Covid-19 response. Only if we act together, including sharing of knowledge, can we stop this virus and save lives and livelihoods," tweeted Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of World Health Organization.

Prime Minister Modi has said India's vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used for the benefit of all humanity to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said last week India was ready to do everything possible for a healthy planet.

On January 19, India announced its grant assistance of vaccines to the neighbouring countries. A day after, 1.5 lakh doses of vaccines were supplied to Bhutan and one lakh doses to the Maldives as grant assistance. Over 2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were provided to Bangladesh and 1 million doses to Nepal.

India, one of the world's biggest drugmakers, has already rolled out a massive coronavirus vaccination drive using two vaccines, Covishield and Covaxin.

Covishield has been developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University and is being manufactured by Serum Institute of India. Covaxin is an indigenous vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with Indian Council of Medical Research.

India on Friday began commercial exports and sent two million doses of domestically manufactured Covishield vaccine to Brazil.

India has undertaken contractual supplies of coronavirus vaccines to Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Brazil, Morocco, Bangladesh and Myanmar, the Ministry of External Affairs said in New Delhi on Friday.

Several countries have already approached India for procuring the coronavirus vaccines.

Earlier, India had supplied hydroxychloroquine, Remdesivir and paracetamol tablets, as well as diagnostic kits, ventilators, masks, gloves and other medical supplies to a large number of countries to help them deal with the pandemic.

According to Johns Hopkins University, the current global COVID-19 caseload and death toll stood at 98,129,394 and 2,105,056, respectively. 

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150 people infected with UK variant of COVID-19 in India: Govt http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/32822/150-people-infected-with-uk-variant-of-covid-19-in-india--govt http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/32822/150-people-infected-with-uk-variant-of-covid-19-in-india--govt Sat, 23 Jan 2021 16:54:04 +0530 ]]>The number of people who have tested positive for the UK variant of COVID-19 in India has climbed to 150, the Union Health Ministry said on Saturday. New Delhi | The number of people who have tested positive for the UK variant of COVID-19 in India has climbed to 150, the Union Health Ministry said on Saturday.

All of them have been kept in single room isolation in designated health care facilities by the respective state governments, the ministry had said earlier.

Their close contacts have also been put under quarantine. Comprehensive contact tracing has been initiated for co-travellers, family contacts and others.

Genome sequencing on other specimens is going on, the ministry said.

The situation is under careful watch and regular advice is being provided to the states for enhanced surveillance, containment, testing and dispatch of samples to INSACOG (Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium) labs.

"The total number of persons found infected with the UK strain of COVID-19 is 150," the ministry said.

The presence of the new UK variant has already been reported by several countries, including Denmark, the Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon and Singapore. 

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Sri Lanka to receive COVID-19 vaccines from India next week: President http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/32821/sri-lanka-to-receive-covid-19-vaccines-from-india-next-week--president- http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/32821/sri-lanka-to-receive-covid-19-vaccines-from-india-next-week--president- Sat, 23 Jan 2021 16:49:47 +0530 ]]> Sri Lanka will receive COVID-19 vaccines free from India next week, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said on Saturday, a day after the country approved emergency use of Oxford AstraZeneca's Covishield vaccine. Colombo | Sri Lanka will receive COVID-19 vaccines free from India next week, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said on Saturday, a day after the country approved emergency use of Oxford AstraZeneca's Covishield vaccine. "We do not have to wait longer than the 27th of this month to receive a quantity of free vaccines from India," the president said, addressing the presidential mobile service at Walallawita south of here this morning.

Front-line health workers, the Army and the police and the most vulnerable elderly will be given the vaccine as a priority, the president said, amid warnings from doctors that front-line health workers should be quickly inoculated to prevent the medical system from collapsing.

"We will also buy COVID-19 vaccines from Russia and China," the president said.

The president's comments came as the health authorities conducted three dry runs of the vaccination process.

India this week announced that it will send COVID-19 vaccines under grant assistance to Sri Lanka and seven other countries -- Bhutan, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles, Afghanistan and Mauritius.

Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and the Maldives have already received India's COVID-19 vaccines under grant assistance in sync with its “Neighbourhood First” policy.

While the Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covishield is being manufactured by the Serum Institute, the Covaxin doses are being produced by Bharat Biotech.

India on Friday welcomed Sri Lanka's emergency use approval of Covishield vaccine which is being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.

“Welcome emergency use approval of COVISHIELD vaccines by Government of Sri Lanka. This clears the way for scheduling delivery of the vaccine from #India to #lka,” India's High Commission here said in a tweet.

Sri Lanka has witnessed a fresh outbreak of the disease in October when two clusters - one centered on a garment factory and the other on the main fish market - emerged in Colombo and its suburbs.

Sri Lanka has reported 52,964 cases with 278 fatalities.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka's Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, who faced criticism for endorsing a local concoction supposedly a cure for the virus promoted by an indigenous medicine practitioner, has tested positive for COVID-19.

The health minister became the fifth member of Parliament to have been found COVID-19 positive.

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PM Modi arrives in Kolkata to take part in Bose's birth anniversary celebrations http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/32820/pm-modi-arrives-in-kolkata-to-take-part-in-bose-s-birth-anniversary-celebrations http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/32820/pm-modi-arrives-in-kolkata-to-take-part-in-bose-s-birth-anniversary-celebrations Sat, 23 Jan 2021 16:47:46 +0530 ]]>Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Kolkata on Saturday afternoon to take part in the 125th birth anniversary celebrations of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Kolkata | Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Kolkata on Saturday afternoon to take part in the 125th birth anniversary celebrations of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.

The prime minister's aircraft landed at the NSC Bose International Airport around 3 pm, from where he took a helicopter for the city.

State minister Purnendu Basu received him at the airport.

Modi's copter landed at the RCTC Ground in the heart of the city at 3.25 pm.

The prime minister was received there by Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and state minister Firhad Hakim.

Modi will deliver the valedictory address in an international seminar on Bose at the National Library, following which he will participate in a programme at the Victoria Memorial.

He will also visit Netaji Bhavan, Bose's residence.

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