The Telegraph – Kejriwal taps public on exit from lock-down

Delhi CM has been demanding that curfew-like restrictions be enforced only in the 81 containment areas

Pheroze L Vincent

New Delhi – India, 13 May 2020. Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday sought public sanction for his demand for more relaxations to the lock-down in the capital, entirely a red zone now, appealing to people to come up with suggestions while underscoring the need for restarting economic activities.

“I want to reach out to the people of Delhi and I want your suggestions regarding the removal of the lockdown. The Covid-19 infection is indeed spreading and full removal of the lock-down would not be a good idea,” the Aam Aadmi Party leader said in a webcast.

“But I want your suggestions on the relaxation of the lock-down, about the tenure and gravity of the relaxation, on the sectors that should get the relaxation and whether buses, autos and metros should ply,” Kejriwal said.

“I also want your suggestions on whether markets and industrial areas should reopen. If the relaxations come into play, we have to maintain social distancing, wear masks and follow all the other norms. This is the time to stop the spread of Covid-19 but there is also a need for starting economic activities.”

Kejriwal has been demanding, without success, that the curfew-like restrictions be enforced only in 81 containment areas and the other parts of the capital allowed to function like infection-free green zones.

Delhi recorded 5,041 positive cases till Monday midnight, including 86 deaths, 13 of them on Monday.

Kejriwal’s appeal comes at a time the Delhi government’s revenue collection in April has been only Rs 323 crore, a fraction of the Rs 3,566 crore it had collected in April last year.

At the same time food subsidies have been enhanced and the number of beneficiaries expanded from 71 lakh to nearly a crore.

Kejriwal asked people to call in, WhatsApp or email their suggestions by 5 pm on Wednesday. “Based on the suggestions received from the people and opinions of experts, the Delhi government will prepare a set of recommendations and send it to the Centre by 15 May,” he said.

An AAP functionary said economic imperatives were behind Kejriwal’s appeal. “The push for this is economic. Politicians seek public opinion when they know the public is in favour of their policies. In this case it will put pressure on the Centre to relent, as the AAP is not keen on directly criticising (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi during this crisis,” the source said.

“We are at a stage where people need to go out and earn. Despite the government’s best efforts, food relief isn’t reaching many due to bureaucratic carelessness. The chief minister is clear that we can’t continue this level of economic paralysis beyond May. Else, we won’t be able to pay for subsidies and remain out of debt. It will lead to malnutrition-related diseases and deaths.”

After it returned to power in 2015, the AAP had institutionalised mohalla sabhas, or community forums, empowered to allocate resources for local civic works and identify beneficiaries for government schemes.

The scheme, which gave the government the discretion to nominate the coordinators of these sabhas, fizzled out within a couple of years.

Kejriwal on Tuesday tweeted about e-mohalla sabhas being conducted by MLA Somnath Bharti during the lockdown.

A government source cautioned that too many relaxations might jeopardise the situation further. “Hospitals are functioning at full capacity and patients under 102 degree Fahrenheit temperature are being asked to be treated at home.

Any move to run trains or buses would lead to a surge in infections that no public health system can handle,” the source said.

“But there seems to be a missionary zeal in getting people back to work. Officials are coming to the secretariat and staff are being asked to build immunity and do their duty, which shows a lack of understanding of how contagious Covid-19 is.”

The Tribune – Mafias thriving in Punjab: Bhagwant Mann

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 12 May 2020. Expressing concern over the government functioning, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) state president Bhagwant Mann today said: “The Congress government is running like a ‘mohalla’ cricket team with no ‘captain’.

The one who holds the bat holds sway over the rest of the team, finally slipping away surreptitiously with the bat when he finds himself cornered. It cannot be said for sure who among the ministers and bureaucrats holds the bat.”

In a statement, Mann alleged like the Badals, under Captain Amarinder Singh government, all kinds of mafias were indulging in “open loot” of the people and state’s resources. He said being the principal Opposition party, AAP had been raising its voice against different mafias thriving in the state.

Gent – Gentbrugge to Korenmarkt

Gentbrugge to Korenmarkt
26 March 2020

Shopping arcade

Pieter Vanderdonckt doorgang

Francois Laurentplein

De Krook Library

Vogelmarkt – Tram 2 to Melle Leeuw

Tomorrow we will arrive at the Korenmarkt

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Washington Post – Mothers, newborns among 16 dead after gunmen storm Kabul maternity ward

Sharif Hassan and Susannah George

Kabul – Afghanistan, 12 May 2020. Mothers, newborns and nurses are among 16 dead after gunmen stormed a maternity ward in the Afghan capital Tuesday, according to the Ministry of Interior Affairs. Sixteen others were wounded.

The hospital is one of the busiest in Kabul and houses a maternity ward run by Doctors Without Borders. Photos and videos from the scene showed police officers carrying newborns to emergency medical teams nearby. One photo showed a woman lying on her back crumpled against a hospital room wall, a small baby in her arms.

The same day, a suicide bombing at a police officer’s funeral in Nangahar province left 24 dead and 68 wounded, according to the provincial governor’s office.

The attacks come amid a surge in violence in Afghanistan, nearly three months after the United States and the Taliban signed a landmark peace deal. The Taliban denied responsibility for both attacks, and the shooting in Kabul echoes earlier attacks on Afghan minority groups carried out by the Islamic State.

The future of armed groups such as the Islamic State in Afghanistan was a critical element of negotiations between the United States and the Taliban in the lead-up to the signing of the agreement in February.

USA negotiators demanded assurances from the Taliban that terrorist organizations with aims of attacking the West would not be allowed to operate in territory under their control.

The Taliban has stepped up its own attacks on Afghan security forces in recent weeks, a tactic that the militant group says is within the bounds of the agreement with the United States but which has angered Afghan leaders and sparked condemnation from American officials.

In response to Tuesday’s violence, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani ordered Afghan forces to resume attacks on the Taliban, switching from “active defensive” footing to “offensive” mode, in a move that could further jeopardize the peace deal.

The hospital attack is just the latest deadly shooting targeting minority groups in Kabul. The hospital is in a predominantly Hazara neighborhood, where the Islamic State has concentrated attacks in the past.

In March, shooters killed 25 at an ethnic Hazara and Shiite gathering, and later that month, gunmen stormed a Sikh Gurdwara, killing 32.

Afghan security forces battled for nearly four hours to clear the site and kill the attackers. More than 100 patients, family members, doctors and nurses were evacuated from the hospital during the attack.

An obstetrician at the hospital said she ran toward a safe room with a nurse and a wounded woman when she heard the gunfire and explosion. Once inside, she began to treat the woman while gunfire rang through the hospital halls.

Interior ministry spokesman Tariq Aryan called the attack a “crime against all values.” He added, “Any groups that are involved in such attacks are against all human and Islamic values.”

The head of Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission, Shaharzad Akbar, condemned the brutality of an attack targeting newborns. She wrote in a tweet, “Among their first experiences [is] being targeted in a war they & their mothers had no part in.”

The Hindu – No violation of air space at Pangong Tso lake: IAF

No ongoing face-off or build up of armed troops: Army

Dinakar Peri

New Delhi – India, 12 May 2020. Helicopters of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) came close to the border during the face-off with the Indian Army near Pangong Tso lake in Eastern Ladakh last week, but there was no air space violation on either side, Indian Air Force (IAF) sources said on Tuesday.

Separately, Army spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand said there was no ongoing face-off at the Pangong Tso lake or any “build up of armed troops in the area.”

“There was no border violation on either side. IAF SU-30MKI fighters were airborne in Ladakh on routine flying and were not scrambled in response to the helicopters,” IAF sources said.

Locally resolved

Stating that incidents of face-off and aggressive behaviour occur on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), Colonel Anand said patrols disengage after local level interaction and dialogue.

“Temporary and short duration face-offs occur as boundary is not resolved. Troops resolve such incidents mutually as per established protocols,” he said in response to reports of an ongoing stand-off at the site.

There were two incidents of face-off between Indian and Chinese troops last week which resulted in injuries to several soldiers on both sides. The first incident occurred on 05 May near Pangong Tso in Eastern Ladakh while the second face-off occurred on 09 May at Naku La in Sikkim.

Army sources stated that the face-off at Pangong Tso occurred on the intervening night of 05 May patrol teams came across each other and was resolved by the morning of 06 May. Pangong Tso has seen such several incidents in the past including in 2017 and in 2019.

Aircraft restricted

As per existing agreements between India and China, operation of fighter aircraft and armed helicopters is restricted to a distance from the LAC. According to the ‘Agreement on Maintenance of Peace and Tranquillity along the LAC in India-China Border Area’ of 1996, “combat aircraft (to include fighter, bomber, reconnaissance, military trainer, armed helicopter and other armed aircraft) shall not fly within 10 km of the LAC.”