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From Covid Dance To Comics, India Finds Novel Ways To Fight Novel Coronavirus

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With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to spread across India and people being advised to stay indoors, India has developed a novel way to fight novel coronavirus.

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Indian Navy Sets up Quarantine Facility to Treat Novel Coronavirus

The Indian Navy has set up a quarantine camp at INS Vishwakarma in Eastern Naval Command-ENC for Indian nationals being evacuated from novel coronavirus (COVID 19) affected countries. The Indian Ministry of Defence in a statement said that the quarantine camp is fully equipped to accommodate nearly 200 personnel with all suitable facilities and other arrangements.

coronavirus dance india

Coronavirus Dance India

The evacuated personnel in the camp will be closely monitored to ensure social distancing. As a precautionary measure, the evacuated persons would be kept under quarantine for a period of fourteen days.

ENC is proactively coordinating with the Health Officials from State and District Administration to ensure adequate preventive care is provided to all evacuated personnel and to prevent the spread of the virus.

Amar Chitra Katha Offers Free 30-Day Access to its Tinkle and Comic Archive to Help Cooped Up Kids

The publishing house which has for years entertained children with its ACK and Tinkle comic book series has decided to offer a 30-day free subscription to their entire archive.

With schools across India facing indefinite closure due to the coronavirus pandemic, many children across cities have been cooped up at home. As the country heads toward a lockdown with several state governments such as Maharashtra calling for a ban on the congregation of more than five people to restrict the spread of coronavirus.

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Both children and adults may need to prepare for the most constructive and entertaining ways to spend their time in isolation. But to solve the problem, at least in part, Amar Chitra Katha has come up with a novel solution.

The publishing house which has for years entertained children with its ACK and Tinkle comic book series has decided to offer a 30-day free subscription to their entire archive. The move is meant to provide relief to children stuck at homes and cut off from social interaction for days on end.

Preeti Vyas, President from ACK told The News Minute that the move was meant as “gift” from the publishing house to the “children of India” as it was “the little we can do to help ease this challenging environment we suddenly find ourselves in”.

The ACK catalogue would be free to access till March 31 and would include over a hundred Tinkle Magazines and over 350 Amar Chitra Katha books that can be read on phones and tabs. The move has been receiving a lot of appreciation on social media.

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Netizens also recalled how the publishing house, which was started in 1967 by Anand Pai, played an important part in their childhood. The first Tinkle magazine was published in 1980 and has since been popular among Indian children and adolescents. With its varied collection of mythological and fantasy stories, AKC has been a pioneer in Hindi children’s literature in India.

The novel Coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the shutdown of schools, gyms, offices, movie theatres and several public places across India. People have resorted to social distancing as a precautionary measure to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

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Recently, a group of people from Nagpur city took to the streets to work out after all the gyms in the state were shut due to the COVID-19 outbreak. A few women were spotted exercising with dumbbells as men performed pushups.

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One of the participants, a local named Hardeep Bhatia told ANI, “We are building our immunity system by exercising”.

According to the Maharashtra State Health Ministry, the total number of cases has scaled to 47, after two women tested positive in Mumbai. The afflicted are a 49-year-old from Ulhasnagar town in Thane who had travelled to Dubai, and a 22-year old from Mumbai who had visited the UK.

The deadly virus claimed its first victim in the state of Maharashtra on Tuesday after a 63-year-old man with a history of travel to Dubai passed away in Mumbai’s Kasturba Hospital.

Coronavirus Dance

With India trying hard to “flatten the curve” with the spread of coronavirus, efforts have been stepped up to educate people about how to keep themselves safe.

People making outgoing phone calls are first made to listen to a recorded message about handwashing and symptoms, while public messaging on mainstream media is also being deployed to do the same.

And now police in the southern state of Kerala is the latest to do their bit – their video of six policemen doing a “handwashing” dance has gained traction on social media.  Kerala has 27 active cases of the virus and has been praised for its proactive efforts in trying to contain it.

Wayanad administration distributes books to quarantined patients

After releasing multi-lingual pamphlets on the dos and don’ts on the novel coronavirus, the Wayanad district administration has launched yet another innovative scheme of distributing books and periodicals among those under home quarantine in the district.

“This is a kind of positive gesture on our part towards those who are under isolation. We are trying to send out a humanitarian message to these people that the whole society is with them and that it is for the sake of the society they are being put on home quarantine,” district Collector Dr Adeela Abdulla told PTI.

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The whole exercise is done under a scheme called ‘Donate-a-book’, wherein anyone can donate books and periodicals to their panchayats. The books would be delivered to those under isolation through a mechanism via the panchayat concerned, she said.

Panchayat sources said there has been a good response to the scheme in the district and the people in isolation have also taken the ‘read-and-relax’ project in good spirit.

With an objective to reach out to the tourists from around the globe, reaching the tourist hotspot of Wayanad and creating awareness among labourers from different parts of India, the district administration had on last Tuesday released leaflets on the Covid-19 in three foreign and six Indian languages.

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Conceived and created in association with Totem Resource Centre, which translated the content into different languages, the leaflets were a first-of-its-kind in the efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus in Kerala.

Foreign languages in which the pamphlets were printed are German, Spanish and French. Besides Malayalam, the other Indian languages in which the leaflets were printed include Assamese, Hindi, Bengali, Telugu and Tamil.

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Comet Neowise in India: Rare Neowise Comet will be visible in North-West India from Today – NASA

NASA Comet Neowise India: NASA’s Neowise infrared space telescope discovered the comet on 27 March. Scientists involved in the mission said the comet is about five kilometres across and its nucleus is covered with sooty material dating back to the origin of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago.

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The Comet Neowise, or C/20202 F3  will be noticeable in the northwest sky in India from 14 July onwards. As per NASA, Neowise should be visible just before and around the time of first light till 11 July. It will again start to be visible in the evening between 15 and 16 July.

“From July 14, C/2020 F3, a comet discovered on March 27, will be clearly visible in the north-western sky. It will be visible after sunset for around 20 minutes for the next 20 days. People can observe it from naked eyes,” said Subhendu Pattnaik, deputy director of Pathani Samanta Planetarium in Bhubaneswar told ANI.

“In the evenings to follow, the comet will rapidly climb higher in the sky and will be visible for a longer period,” he added.

Comet Neowise swept within Mercury’s orbit a week ago. Its close vicinity to the sun caused dust and gas to burn off its surface and create an even bigger debris tail. According to CNET, Neowise passed a critical point when it survived its closest brush with the sun without cracking up from the heat last week.

NASA’s Neowise infrared space telescope discovered the comet on 27 March. Scientists involved in the mission said the comet is about five kilometres across and its nucleus is covered with sooty material dating back to the origin of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago.

Soon after, numerous amateur photographers began sharing stunning images of the comet just above the horizon during predawn hours. Twitter user Jeremy Perez shared the image shot from close to the Wupatki National Monument showcasing the bright celestial body.

According to the CNET report, as the comet moves farther away from the sun and closer to Earth, it will be visible in the evening sky and not before dawn. As per NASA solar system ambassador Eddie Irizarry, Neowise should be visible just before and around the time of first light till 11 July. It will again start to be visible in the evening between 15 and 16 July.

While it’s visible with the naked eye in dark skies with little or no light pollution, binoculars are needed to see the long tail, according to NASA. It will be about 7,000 years before the comet returns, “so I wouldn’t suggest waiting for the next pass,” said the telescope’s deputy principal investigator Joe Masiero of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Recently, astronauts from the International Space Station managed to get a stunning glimpse of a natural light show from a comet this weekend. NASA astronaut Bob Behnken shared a tweet highlighting Neowise. He captioned the post, “Last night’s fireworks, for real. Because Science.”

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Iran-India Chabahar Port Deal: Iran Kicks-Out India from Chabahar Rail Project citing funding delays

Iran-India Chabahar Port Deal: The railway project was meant to be part of India’s vow to the trilateral deal between India, Iran and Afghanistan to develop an alternate trade route to Afghanistan and Central Asia bypassing a hostile Pakistan.

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The Iran-India Chabahar port deal had run out fuel. Iran has reportedly expelled India from the Chabahar rail project according to a report by The Hindu.

According to the report – four years after India and Iran signed a deal to construct a rail line from Chabahar port to Zahedan, Tehran has decided to proceed with the project by itself citing delays from New Delhi.

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The report writes – The Iranian Transport and Urban Development Minister — Mohammad Eslami inaugurated the track-laying process for Chabahar-Zahedan line, which will be extended to Zaranj in Afghanistan. Iranian officials told The Hindu that the complete project would be finished by March 2022 and that Iranian Railways will proceed without India’s support, using nearly $400 million from the Iranian National Development Fund.

The railway project was meant to be part of India’s vow to the trilateral deal between India, Iran and Afghanistan to develop an alternate trade route to Afghanistan and Central Asia bypassing a hostile Pakistan.

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In May 2016, during PM Modi’s visit to Iran to sign the Chabahar pact President Rouhani and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, IRCON had signed an MoU with the Iranian Rail Ministry. The MoU was to construct the Chabahar-Zahedan railway as “part of transit and transportation corridor in a trilateral agreement between India, Iran and Afghanistan”.

However, according to the Hindu, despite several site visits by IRCON engineers, India never commenced the work, apparently due to worries that these could attract U.S. sanctions. The U.S. had provided a sanctions waiver for the Chabahar port and the rail line to Zahedan, but it has been difficult to find equipment suppliers and partners due to worries they could be targeted by the U.S., said officials. India has already “zeroed out” its oil imports from Iran due to U.S. sanctions.

 

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Iran wanted India to accelerate the acquisition of heavy equipment and expedite work on a railway link to the Afghan border to boost the economic viability of the Chabahar port, according to experts.  As per earlier reports, – there was a written assurance from the US that will make it easier for banks to provide funds for the procurement of heavy equipment” said an expert.

In late 2018, the US had approved a waiver for Chabahar and the construction of a railway line from the port to the Afghan border from sanctions under the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012. However, banks had been reluctant to provide loans for buying heavy equipment due to US sanctions.

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had earlier raised the Chabahar-Zahedan rail link at a meeting with Indian external affairs minister S Jaishankar in Tehran and asked India to expedite work on it to “benefit regional trade relations”. During that visit, India and Iran had agreed to boost Chabahar’s economic viability, including steps such as providing higher subsidies to merchant shipping using the port.

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US-China ties to worsen as Trump set to block all Chinese claims in South China Sea

Ties between US and China could dramatically worsen over the South China Sea after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington now regards virtually all Chinese maritime claims outside its internationally recognised waters to be illegitimate. 

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Ties between the US and China are set to further deteriorate over the South China Sea as the Trump administration is set to outrightly reject almost all of Chinese maritime claims in the contentious waterbody.

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The Trump government presented the decision as an endeavour to restrain China’s increasing belligerence in the region with a commitment to recognising international law. This move in the South China Sea will further enrage the Chinese, who are already countering against various US sanctions and other penalties.

Previously, US policy had been to insist that maritime spats between China and its smaller neighbours be settled peacefully through UN-backed arbitration.

But in a statement released on Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington now regards virtually all Chinese maritime claims outside its internationally recognised waters to be illegitimate.

“The world will not allow Beijing to treat the South China Sea as its maritime empire,” Pompeo said. “America stands with our Southeast Asian allies and partners in protecting their sovereign rights to offshore resources, consistent with their rights and obligations under international law. We stand with the international community in defence of freedom of the seas and respect for sovereignty and reject any push to impose ‘might makes right’ in the South China Sea or the wider region.”

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Although the US will continue to remain impartial in territorial conflicts, the announcement means Washington is now directly supporting Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, all of which oppose Chinese declarations of sovereignty over maritime areas surrounding disputed islands, reefs and shoals.

“There are clear cases where [China] is claiming sovereignty over areas that no country can lawfully claim,” the State Department said in a fact sheet that accompanied the statement.

The announcement was released a day after the fourth anniversary of a binding decision by an arbitration panel in favour of the Philippines that discarded Chinese maritime claims around the Spratly Islands and neighbouring reefs and shoals.

China has declined to recognise that ruling, rejected it as a “sham” and withdrew from the arbitration proceedings. It has continued to oppose the decision with aggressive actions that have brought it into territorial disputes with Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia in recent years.

However, as a result, the administration said China has no valid maritime claims to the fish- and potentially energy-rich Scarborough Reef, Mischief Reef or Second Thomas Shoal. The US has repeatedly said areas regarded to be part of the Philippines are covered by a US-Philippines mutual defence treaty in the event of an attack on them.

In addition to reemphasising support for that decision, Pompeo said China cannot legitimately claim the James Shoal near Malaysia, waters surrounding the Vanguard Bank off Vietnam, the Luconia Shoals near Brunei and Natuna Besar off Indonesia. As such, Washington said it would regard any Chinese intimidation of fishing vessels or oil exploration in those areas as unlawful.

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