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49% Jump In Stubble Burning Cases In Punjab This Paddy Season: Data


Many farmers in Punjab continue to set paddy straw on fire despite a ban. (FILE)


Punjab has witnessed 49 per cent more stubble burning incidents from September 21 to November 2 as compared to the corresponding period last year, according to official data.

The overall count of incidents of stubble burning in the state during this paddy season so far — from September 21 to November 2 — has reached 36,755 as against 24,726 in 2019, according to the data of the Punjab Remote Sensing Centre.

The state had seen 29,156 and 24,428 incidents of paddy residue in 2017 and 2018 respectively, it said.

Many farmers in the northern state continue to set paddy straw on fire despite a ban on the practice.

Punjab on Monday reported 3,590 incidents of farm fires with the highest number of such incidents recorded in Sangrur district at 696, as per the data.

Sangrur is also the epicentre of the farmers’ protest over the central government’s new farm laws.

Bathinda, Ferozepur, Mansa and Patiala districts reported 425, 307, 301 and 287 stubble burning incidents, respectively.

Small farmers have been maintaining that it is economically unviable for them to buy farm machinery like happy seeders, rotavators and super straw management systems on combine harvesters to manage crop residue.

Farmers are demanding Rs 200 per quintal of bonus on paddy and Rs 6,000 per acre for stubble management.

The Punjab government has been seeking from the Centre Rs 100 per quintal as compensation to enable farmers to manage paddy straw without burning it.

Punjab alone generates 20 million tonnes of paddy stubble annually.

Meanwhile, Punjab Pollution Control Board chairman A S Marwaha said rather than pointing at Punjab for pollution in the national capital, the Delhi authorities should check internal sources of pollution.

The chairman, in a statement, said the air quality index (AQI) is ”satisfactory” to ”moderate” in Punjab, while in Delhi it is ”very poor”.

He questioned how a state with better AQI could create pollution in another state.

Marwaha said cities like Panipat, Sonepat, Jind and Karnal in Haryana have ”poor” AQI as compared to Punjab’s Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Khanna, Mandi Gobindgarh and Patiala.

He said the contribution of stubble fire in Punjab could not be the major contributing factor in the deteriorating air quality of NCR, especially Delhi.

Rather, he said, it is due to the internal polluting sources of the national capital region and climatic conditions that develop during the month of October till March every year, which deteriorate the atmosphere in Delhi.

Marwaha added that if stubble burning would have been the major reason for deteriorating air quality, the ambient air quality of Punjab would have also shown similar trends.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Coronavirus News: Air India As 19 Test Positive On China Flight: Lab Reports Say Negative


Overall, around 58 persons have been transferred to Covid hospitals in China’s Wuhan (File)

New Delhi:

Air India has reacted to reports that 19 Indians who flew to China’s Wuhan – where the Covid pandemic originated in December last year – on a “Vande Bharat” flight on Friday tested positive for the virus on arrival. In a statement to NDTV Air India said it “strictly adheres to all safety protocols” and that all passengers on its Wuhan flight held negative Covid test reports from certified labs.

“All our passengers to Wuhan boarded the flight from Delhi with negative Covid reports from certified labs. Air India strictly adheres to all safety protocol laid down by regulatory bodies and conforms to requirements at destination airports,” the statement said.

“There is no question of passengers boarding any of our flights without valid Covid reports,” the airline stated. According to the rules, all Indian passengers need to undergo two Covid tests before being permitted to board flights.

According to reports 39 others are asymptomatic but Chinese officials suspect they too have contracted the illness. All 58 are believed to have been transferred to COVID-19 hospitals.

News of the reported positive case comes days before the first of four more “Vande Bharat” flights to China, starting November 13. Friday’s flight was the sixth to China and the first to Wuhan.

This is not the first time that outbound passengers on Air India flights to other countries have tested positive on arrival at their destinations.

On Wednesday Hong Kong banned all Air India flights till November 10 after a few passengers on a flight in from Mumbai tested positive upon arrival. That was the fourth time the Hong Kong government banned Air India flights from the country.

Bans were also placed on Air India Express by Dubai after a passenger tested positive on arrival.

Regularly scheduled international passenger flights have been suspended by the Indian government since the coronavirus lockdown was enforced on March 23.

However, airlines have been permitted to operate special flights – under the “Vande Bharat” umbrella – and under bilateral “air bubble” pacts signed with around 18 countries since July.

According to protocols in China all those who tested positive will be released only after they test negative. The rules also stipulate mandatory 14-day quarantine in designated hotels for all incoming passengers, irrespective of negative Covid test reports.

News agency PTI has said that there has been a surge in passenger air traffic to China after the government there lifted the ban on resident permit visas. Around 2,000 Indians – either students or professionals – want to return.

With input from PTI

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Man Steals Ornaments Worth Rs 60 Lakh From Girlfriend, Arrested: Cops


Man Steals Ornaments Worth Rs 60 Lakh From Girlfriend, Arrested: Cops (Representational)


A 29 year-old man was arrested from Jaipur for allegedly stealing his girlfriend’s ornaments worth over Rs 60 lakh, Oshiwara police in Mumbai said on Monday.

An official said accused Salman Zuber Parvez is involved in betting and the victim is a stage dancer with whom the former was staying in Mumbai.

“He stole the ornaments after changing the locks of the cupboard of their home. The woman filed a theft case on October 10 and has also accused him of raping her after promising to marry her. Further probe into the case is underway,” he added.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Rajasthan Government To Gujjars Agitating For Quota


Many youngsters are sitting on the tracks of the Delhi-Mumbai rail route


The Rajasthan government on Monday said that its doors were open for talks with the agitating Gujjar community members on their demands for reservation.

The government said the solution to the problem can only be achieved through dialogue.

State Health Minister Raghu Sharma and Speaker C P Joshi both appealed to the agitators to come and talk with the government and find a solution to the problem.

Earlier, Sharma apprised the House of the initiatives taken by the government so far on the issue.

He said a delegation of Gurjar Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti consisting of 80 villages and civil and public representatives held discussions with the Cabinet Sub-Committee in Jaipur on October 31 during which 14 points were agreed upon.

Mr Sharma said even after this, if the Sangharsh Samiti convener, Colonel Kirori Singh Bainsla, and his supporters feel that there are some issues which have been left out of the discussion, they should come and talk to the government.

Mr Sharma said the doors of the government are always open for dialogue and the solution to this problem cannot be achieved by sitting on railways tracks or blocking roads.

It can be achieved only through dialogue, he said, while making an appeal to the agitators to maintain peace and take care of the law and order of the state.

After this, Assembly Speaker C P Joshi too appealed to the agitators on behalf of the House to negotiate with the government and find a solution.

The Gujjar Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti started a movement in Bayana on Sunday with their demands.

Many youngsters are sitting on the tracks of the Delhi-Mumbai rail route. Many roadways have also been blocked.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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NDA Crosses 100-Mark In Rajya Sabha, Congress Drops To Lowest Ever Tally


The half-way mark is 121 in Rajya Sabha whose current strength is 242. (File)

New Delhi:

The ruling NDA dispensation further consolidated its position in Rajya Sabha crossing the 100-mark after nine BJP candidates, including Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, were elected unopposed to the Upper House on Monday.

On the other hand, the Congress, which dominated the Upper House for a long time, is now down to 38 seats – its lowest ever tally – in the 242-member House after it lost two more seats to the BJP in the current elections.

Out of the 11 Rajya Sabha seats up for grabs- 10 from Uttar Pradesh and one from Uttarakhand – nine were won by BJP candidates, including Union Urban Development Minister Puri, taking the party’s tally to 92 seats.

It was a gain of six as three of the candidates were re-elected. NDA constituent JD(U) has five seats.

The ruling alliance also has some smaller parties like RPI-Athawale, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), Mizo National Front (MNF), National People’s Party (NPP), Naga People’s Front (NPF), Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) and Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), which have one seat each, totalling seven seats.

The NDA tally will now be 104 and it can get the support of four nominated members. The half-way mark is 121 in Rajya Sabha whose current strength is 242.

The ruling alliance can also seek support on crucial bills from some friendly parties like the AIADMK with nine MPs, BJD with nine MPs, TRS with seven MPs and YSRCP which has six MPs in Rajya Sabha.

These parties have been extending issue-based support to the NDA.

The Samajwadi Party has lost three seats in these RS polls in Uttarakhand and UP and the BSP lost one seat.

With the ruling combine further strengthened, it will be easier for the government to push its legislative agenda in the Upper House, where the NDA did not enjoy a majority.

Those elected unopposed today included BJP’s Neeraj Shekhar, Arun Singh, Geeta Shakya, Haridwar Dubey, Brijlal, BL Varma and Seema Dwivedi; Samajwadi Party’s Ram Gopal Yadav; and BSP’s Ramji Gautam.

The term of the newly elected members will be from November 25, 2020 to November 24, 2026.

High drama was witnessed on the last day of filing of nomination papers on Tuesday with Samajwadi Party- supported independent candidate Prakash Bajaj entering the fray minutes before the deadline.

His papers were, however, rejected during scrutiny, but not before four signatories of the BSP candidate Ramji Gautam’s nomination papers claimed that their signatures were forged and gave an affidavit to the Returning Officer in this regard.

Acting tough, BSP president Mayawati suspended these four and three others who had allegedly met Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav after coming out in the open against the party leadership.

There are 31 Rajya Sabha seats from Uttar Pradesh of which 22 will now be with the BJP, five with the Samajwadi Party and three with the BSP. The Congress will have only one seat.

In Uttarakhand, senior BJP leader Naresh Bansal was declared elected unopposed to Rajya Sabha.

Mr Bansal’s election was a mere formality as there was no challenger with the BJP having 57 out of the total 70 seats.

Mr Bansal replaces Congress’ Raj Babbar whose tenure in Rajya Sabha ends on November 25.

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Rajasthan Makes Masks Mandatory In Public, First State To Do So


Rajasthan assembly on Monday passed a bill making it mandatory to wear face masks in public (File)


The Rajasthan assembly on Monday passed a bill making it mandatory for people to wear face masks in both private or public means of transport and while attending any social or political events.

The assembly provided for the new anti-COVID measure by amending the Rajasthan Epidemic Act, with Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot asserting that face masks are the sole anti-COVID vaccine as of now.

The House passed the Rajasthan Epidemic (Amendment) Bill, 2020 by voice vote. The Bill also made the new provision by seeking to add a new clause in section 4 of the Act.

The new clause proposes to prohibit the movement of any person in public without properly covering his mouth and nose with a face mask.

The statement of reasons and objects of the Bill said, “Health experts all over the world are of the opinion that the use of the mask can help in controlling the spread of Covid-19 considerably and save lives of millions.”

While replying to the debate on the Bill in the House, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shanti Dhariwal said the fight against coronavirus infection can be won only with the support of the general public.
While approving the Bill, the House rejected an amendment proposal to circulate the Bill for seeking public opinion.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot earlier said in a tweet that Rajasthan will be the first state in the country to enact a law making it mandatory to wear masks for protection against coronavirus infection.

“Rajasthan will be the first state in the country to enact a law making it mandatory to wear masks for protection against corona, as masks are the vaccine to protect against corona.”

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Shivraj Singh Chouhan Attacks Kamal Nath


Shivraj Chouhan said Kamal Nath has destroyed the state. (FILE)


Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Monday alleged that Congress leader Kamal Nath had withdrawn crucial schemes started by the Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state. He also listed out the “sins” committed by the former chief minister.

“Today, Kamal Nath has given advertisements in newspapers that ”What sin did I commit?” Kamal Nath ji, you have sinned. You said you’ll waive the loans of all farmers, but you left out many of them from that list. You distributed false certificates. The regular farmers, who were paying their loans, did not pay in hopes of waiver and they become defaulters because of it. Now they are under a load of interest, which I will take off of their heads,” Mr Chouhan said.

Mr Chouhan also accused Kamal Nath of stopping the development of the state and turning Madhya Pradesh into a market of brokers.

“You snatched away laptops of children who brought good numbers in class 12, and the 5,000 rupees we paid to the poor for funerals, you snatched away that money from the poor. You stopped the development of the state. You have converted Madhya Pradesh into a brokers’ market,” the Chief Minister said.

Mr Chouhan further said that former Chief Minter has destroyed the state and he will have to pay for his sins.

“The 5,000 rupees we paid for the funeral, you snatched away the money from the poor. We used to organise the pilgrimage to the elderly, you ended that plan. How many sins can I tell, you have destroyed Madhya Pradesh, it was your sin and you have to pay the same penalty,” the Chief Minister added.

The statement came a day before voting on 28 assembly seats is scheduled to take place in Madhya Pradesh by-polls. The results will be declared on November 10. By-elections are due on 28 seats following the resignation of 25 MLAs and the death of three legislators earlier.

The by-polls were necessitated after 22 Congress MLAs resigned from the state Assembly in March this year, paving the way for BJP’s Shivraj Singh Chouhan to take over as Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister for the fourth time.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Apple Event Invite for November 10: Is Apple Silicon the Next ‘One More Thing’


Apple just sent out invites for “one more thing” — an Apple event on that many speculate is for Macs running on Apple’s own silicon. The online event will take place on November 10 at 10am PST, or 11.30pm IST. This is the third Apple event in as many months; the September event saw the launch of the updated iPad and Watch lineup, followed by the more recent iPhone launch event in October. Apple’s Silicon announcement was expected at both those events, but it appears that the company has decided to treat its events like announcements in previous years — complete with the famous “one more thing” tagline that has been used to cap Apple events in the past.

At Apple’s WWDC event in June this year, the company announced its intention to transition the entire Mac lineup to its own in-house processors, as has been heavily rumoured for many years now. The move doesn’t mean that Intel-based Macs are outdated already; Apple says that new models are currently in development and will ship alongside A-series Macs for a while. Existing Macs will also be supported with new macOS releases for many years to come.

It seems that this is likely going to be announced now, and a couple of weeks ago, tipster John Prosser had actually leaked the details of the event — Prosser had tweeted that Apple would hold an event on November 10, and launch the new hardware on November 17. Given that the event has now been confirmed for November 10, the November 17 launch looks promising.

Speaking at WWDC, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the move represents “a huge leap forward for the Mac,” which would get a more powerful and energy-efficient system that operates more like Apple’s mobile devices. The new “Apple silicon” initiative ends a longstanding partnership with chipmaker Intel and enables the computers to run the same apps as those on iPhones.

Typically, the event is streamed on Apple’s site, the Apple TV app, and YouTube. You can see Apple’s invite in full below.

Apple’s November event invite
Photo Credit: Apple

Are iPhone 12 mini, HomePod mini the Perfect Apple Devices for India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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Tejashwi Yadav Among 1,464 Candidates In Second Phase Of Bihar Polls


Results of the Bihar Assembly election will be declared November 10 (File)

New Delhi/Patna:
The second phase of the Bihar election begins Tuesday morning with voting for 94 seats across 17 districts. RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, the opposition’s chief ministerial face, is among the 1,464 contestants. Seven ministers from Nitish Kumar’s cabinet are also contesting, as is BJP leader Nitin Nabin, who faces Congress’s Luv Sinha – son of actor-politcian Shatrughan Sinha. In the past five days Mr Yadav and the LJP’s Chirag Paswan have scaled up attacks on the ruling JDU-BJP, targeting Nitish Kumar over corruption, unemployment and crime. The Chief Minister, who has been visibly irritated by the attacks, has dismissed them as politicians “by inheritance”. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has campaigned in Lalu Yadav’s bastion of Chhapra and raised the Ram temple and Pulwama, while also calling Tejashwi Yadav, Lalu Yadav’s son, “jungle raj ka yuvraj (prince of the jungle)”.

  1. The JDU-BJP alliance will contest a total of 89 seats in this phase, with the rest allotted to NDA ally Vikasheel Insaan Party (VIP). The JDU will fight in 43 seats, the BJP 46. From the opposition alliance, the RJD will contest 56 seats and the Congress 24. Mahagathbandhan Left allies will contest the remaining 14 seats.

  2. In 28 seats the BJP will face a challenge from RJD candidates. It will face the Congress in 12 others, with the remaining six seats will be against Left party candidates. NDA ally VIP will face RJD candidates in their five seats. As for Nitish Kumar’s JDU, they will face RJD candidates in 24 seats, the Congress in 12 and Left candidates in the other seven.

  3. Tejashwi Yadav is contesting from Raghopur against Satish Kumar of the BJP and Rakesh Raushan of the LJP. His brother, Tej Pratap Yadav, is also contesting this phase – from Hasanpur, where he faces a tough fight against two-time sitting MLA Rajkumar Rai of the JDU. Tejashwi Yadav, Lalu Yadav’s political heir, has drawn massive crowds at each of his rallies so far, with promises of 10 lakh jobs, infrastructure and growth, while criticising Nitish Kumar over development and mishandling of the Covid lockdown fallout.

  4. Voting will take place in Patna Sahib too, from where senior BJP leader and minister Nand Kishore Yadav is targeting a seventh straight win. He will face the Congress’s Pravin Singh. Voting will also take place in Nalanda, which is the Chief Minister’s home turf and which JDU leader Shrawon Kumar is hoping to claim for a sixth straight time. He faces Gunjan Patel of the Congress and the LJP’s Ram Keshwar Prasad.

  5. Other districts voting in this phase include Siwan, Gopalgunj and Begusarai. In the 2015 polls the RJD won 33 of 94 seats, with the JDU picking up 30 and the BJP 20. The Congress won seven seats and the LJP, which has set it stall out as an independent unit this time, with party chief Chirag Paswan repeatedly needling Nitish Kumar, won just two. The RJD emerged with around 45 per cent of the vote share. The JDU won 40 per cent.

  6. Prime Minister Modi, who held four rallies on Sunday alone, visited Chhapra – viewed as a Lalu Yadav stronghold – and pitched the NDA’s “double engine” model to counter Tejashwi Yadav’s claims of poor development in Bihar. He also pounced on Pakistan minister Fawad Choudhary’s comment about Pulwama to accuse the opposition of doubting the “valor of the brave sons and daughters of Bihar”. He also referenced the building of a Ram temple in UP’s Ayodhya and Article 370 to attack the Congress.

  7. Both the Prime Minister and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who this week attacked the PM and Nitish Kumar for commenting on his and Tejashwi Yadav’s family rather than talking about farmers or unemployment, will address two rallies each on polling day.

  8. The fragile relationship between the BJP and JDU – the subject of much debate in this election – has been highlighted with the two parties largely holding separate rallies and rarely mentioning the other. At a rally in Samastipur though, the Prime Minister and Nitish Kumar shared a stage, with the Chief Minister referred to as a “friend”. PM Modi said the “NDA government is being formed again under the leadership of Nitish babu“. In turn, Mr Kumar, at a rally in Patna, praised PM Modi for aiding in the development of the state.

  9. Nitish Kumar, who broke away from the NDA after Narendra Modi was named its prime ministerial candidate, only to rejoin in 2017, has been the focus of attacks by opposition leaders Tejashwi Yadav and Chirag Paswan. On Monday morning he hit back, describing them as politicians “by inheritance” and that he had “sacrificed everything for Bihar”. Like PM Modi, Mr Kumar also referred to the RJD administration as “jungle raj” and said his government had been the one to establish law and order.

  10. The third and final phase of the election – in which 78 seats vote – takes place November 7. Results for all 243 Assembly constituencies will be declared on November 10, with Nitish Kumar bidding for a fifth term. In the first, which was held October 28, voting was held for 71 seats and a turnout of around 55 per cent was recorded.

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Possession, Sale Of Imported Firecrackers Declared Illegal In Haryana


Possession, Sale Of Imported Firecrackers Declared Illegal In Haryana. (Representational)


The Haryana government on Monday declared possession and sale of imported firecrackers as illegal and punishable in the state, a spokesperson said.

Deputy commissioners of all the districts have been directed to be vigilant in this regard and take strict action against the sale and distribution of imported firecrackers, he said.

Additionally, they have also been asked to ensure there is no storage of imported firecrackers by conducting the inspection of all the establishments and taking preventive actions.

He said according to a letter issued by the Union Ministry of Commerce, fireworks fall under the Indian Trade Classification (Harmonised System) and their import is prohibited.

Firecrackers cannot be imported without obtaining a license or authorization from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade. In the recent years, no license or authority has been issued by the directorate-general for import of firecrackers, the spokesperson said.

The sale of firecrackers requires a license issued by the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation.

The spokesperson said all district deputy commissioners, Commissioners of Police and Superintendents of Police in the state have been directed to take stringent measures to stop the sale of imported firecrackers and alert people not to use such firecrackers.

Cases of possessing or sale of such firecrackers should be immediately reported to the nearest police station so that appropriate action can be taken against such offenders, he added.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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