Manipur girl attends school with baby brother in lap
Student & babysitter
REPORT ON PAGE 5
SINGAPORE, WEEKEND OF FRIDAY,
APRIL 8, 2022
MCI (P) 034/10/2021
TO BABY AB
POLICE TO PROBE
DEATH OF WITNESS
IN ARYAN CASE
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V.K. Santosh Kumar
Channel Excellence Lead
Suspected Chinese hackers target
India’s electricity grid
Suspected state-sponsored Chinese
hackers have targeted the power sector
in India in recent months as part of an
apparent cyber-espionage campaign,
the threat intelligence firm Recorded
Future said in a report published on
The hackers focused on at least
seven “load dispatch” centres
responsible for carrying out real-time
operations for grid control and
electricity dispersal in the areas they
are located, near the disputed
India-China border in Ladakh,
according to the report.
Amnesty India chair stopped at
The chair of Amnesty International in
India Aakar Patel was prevented from
travelling to the United States by
immigration authorities at the
Bengaluru airport on Wednesday.
He said it was based on a lookout
circular issued by the Central Bureau
of Investigation in connection with a
case against Amnesty India in 2019.
Mr Patel, who was to speak at
events in New York, Berkeley and
Michigan, later moved a Delhi court
against the agency’s decision.
Upgraded rail links between India
and Nepal restored
India and Nepal restored passenger
rail services on Saturday.
Nepalese Prime Minister Sher
Bahadur Deuba, who was on a
three-day visit to India, and his Indian
counterpart Narendra Modi virtually
flagged off a passenger train
connecting the Indian state of Bihar
The rail services were halted in
2014 for upgrades.
Home Minister Shah syas his loud
voice is a ‘manufacturing defect’
Union Home Minister Amit Shah told
parliament on Monday that he does
not get angry, except when it comes to
questions related to Kashmir.
Responding to opposition parties
before starting the discussion on the
Criminal Procedure (Identification)
Bill, 2022, Mr Shah said: “I usually
never get angry. But when it comes to
the Kashmir issue, I get angry.
“I never reprimand anyone. My
voice is loud, which is a manufacturing
defect.” His statement evoked laughter
from the members of the House.
India and Australia sign mega
The economic cooperation and trade
agreement signed between India and
Australia last Saturday.
This would enable the two countries
to fully leverage the existing
opportunities, besides facilitating the
exchange of students, professionals
and tourists, Indian Prime Minister
Narendra Modi said.
The India-Australia Economic
Cooperation and Trade Agreement
(IndAus ECTA) was signed by
Commerce and Industry Minister
Piyush Goyal and his Australian
counterpart Dan Tehan in the presence
of Mr Modi and Australian Prime
Minister Scott Morrison in a virtual
Row over Kerala fire officers
training men from radical outfit
A controversy erupted in Kerala after
senior officers of the fire and rescue
department were seen in a video
giving training to workers of the
radical Popular Front of India (PFI) in
Aluva last week.
After leader of opposition V.D.
Satheesan and Bharatiya Janata Party
state president K. Surendran sought
action against the officers, the state
government sought a report from the
head of the fire force B. Sandhya.
In her report, she said it was a lapse
on the part of the force and
recommended action against five
Probe ordered after 28 UP school
students fall ill
The state government has ordered an
inquiry into an alleged food poisoning
incident that took place in a
government residential school for girls
in Uttar Pradesh’s Badaun district.
Twenty-eight girls fell ill after
having dinner on Saturday.
All of them, aged between 10 and
14, were admitted to the community
Their condition is now stable, said
a school official.
Court martial against army captain
for alleged gunfight begins
The Indian Army has initiated court
martial proceedings against Captain
Bhoopendra Singh who was involved
in an alleged gunfight where three
civilians were killed in Amshipura
village of Jammu and Kashmir’s
Shopian district in July 2020.
The Army said a Court of Inquiry
found that the troops led by the
captain had exceeded the powers
vested to them under the Armed
Forces (Special Powers) Act.
India blocks 22 YouTube news
channels citing national security
India’s government on Tuesday banned
22 YouTube channels, including four
of Pakistani origin, for disinformation
on subjects concerning national
security and public order.
The country’s Ministry of
Information and Broadcasting said the
blocked YouTube channels had a
combined total of 2.6 billion viewers.
78-year-old woman transfers all
her property to Rahul Gandhi
A 78-year-old woman from
Uttarakhand’s Dehradun has willed all
her property, worth Rs50 lakhs and 10
tola of gold, to Congress leader Rahul
Ms Pushpa Munjial described
Mr Gandhi and his ideas as necessary
for the country.
Top Indian mortgage firm merger
to create US$190 billion giant
India’s biggest mortgage lender has
agreed to buy one of the country’s
most valuable banks to create an
almost US$190 billion behemoth to
ride a boom in home loans and
consumer spending in the world’s
fastest-growing major economy.
Housing Development Finance
Corp (HDFC), which issues mortgages
to more than half the home buyers in
a country of 1.4 billion people, will
hold 41 per cent of HDFC Bank, a
bank it helped found 28 years ago.
Shares of the two Mumbai-based
companies surged on the
Cummins hits joint-fastest IPL fifty
off 14 balls
Australian Test cricket captain Pat
Cummins was an unlikely star with the
bat as he smashed a joint-fastest
14-ball Indian Premier League 50 to
power Kolkata Knight Riders to a
stunning victory over Mumbai Indians
The fast bowler tore into the
Mumbai attack with his 56 off 15
balls, including six sixes, as the
two-time champions reached their
target with four overs to spare in
Pune. Cummins’ effort equalled K.L.
Rahul’s 50 off 14 balls for Kings XI
Punjab – now Punjab Kings – in 2018
as Mumbai slipped to their third loss
in as many matches.
A boy cooling himself at a
tubewell on Wednesday amid
rising temperatures in New
The ongoing spell of
heatwave in the Indian capital is
likely to intensify with the
predicted to soar to 43 deg C
by tomorrow, the Indian
Parts of Delhi have been
reeling under a heatwave since
“The heatwave is likely to
continue over most parts of
north-west India and Madhya
Pradesh in the next five days,”
the IMD said on Wednesday.
Experts have attributed the
hot weather to the lack of
rainfall due to dry westerly
Delhi recorded no rainfall in
March – a first since 2018. It
usually gets an average of
15.9mm of rainfall in the
Severe heatwave in New Delhi likely to worsen
A large effigy of a demon depicting the Covid-19 coronavirus in Mumbai last month.
Mumbai’s civic body Brihanmumbai
Municipal Corporation (BMC) on
Wednesday claimed that a case of the
new XE variant of Covid-19 was
detected in the city – the first case of
XE variant in India.
But according to India Today, the
Union Health Ministry later clarified
that the genome sequencing of the
patient’s sample did not indicate the
presence of the XE variant.
“FastQ files of the sample, which
was said to be of the XE variant, were
analysed in detail by genomic experts
of INSACOG. They have inferred that
the genomic constitution of the variant
did not correlate with the genomic
picture of the XE variant,” a health
ministry officer reportedly said.
INSACOG is a forum set up under
the health ministry to study and moni-
tor genome sequencing and virus varia-
tion of circulating strains of Covid-19
The sample will be sent to the
National Institute of Biomedical Ge-
nomics in Kalyani, West Bengal, for
The patient, a 50-year-old woman,
is fully vaccinated against the virus.
The costume designer arrived from
South Africa on Feb 10.
On arrival in India, she tested
negative for Covid-19 but positive in a
routine test on March 2, following
which she was quarantined at the Taj
Lands End in Mumbai’s suburban Ban-
She tested negative the next day.
“The patient had foreign travel
history and we put her sample for
genome sequencing along with 230
other samples. Of the 230, 228 had
Omicron BA.2 variant, one had Kapa
and one was detected with XE,”
Additional BMC Commissioner
Suresh Kakani told NDTV.
“As per the guidelines of the World
Health Organisation, the BA.2 and XE
is at a par as far as the infectivity is
concerned. As of now there is nothing
to worry about.”
The new mutant may be more
transmissible than any strain of
covid-19, the World Health Organisa-
tion said last week. It was detected in
the United Kingdom at the start of the
The UK health agency said on April
3 that XE was first detected on Jan 19
and 637 cases had been reported in
the country. XE is a “recombinant”,
which is a mutation of BA.1 and BA.2
Recombinant mutations emerge
when a patient is infected by multiple
variants of Covid.
The variants mix up their genetic
material during replication and form a
new mutation, UK experts said in a
paper published in the British Medical
The WHO said the XE appears to
be 10 per cent more transmissible than
the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron.
“Early-day estimates indicate a com-
munity growth rate advantage of 10
per cent as compared to BA.2 but this
finding requires further confirmation,”
the global health body said.
Novel strains from around the
world are cropping up in Asia.
The first infection caused by the XE
variant in Thailand was detected re-
cently, while in February a different
recombinant variant was found in two
people who arrived in Hong Kong
But the strain hasn’t been detected
in the community and the two trav-
ellers recovered fully.
Most of the infections in China and
Hong Kong, where more than half of
the city is estimated to have been
infected since the start of the year,
stem from existing variants, said Mr
Stephen Goldstein, a virologist from
the University of Utah in the US.
While the outbreaks are an emer-
gency for the governments and public
health officials, they don’t currently
represent a global health threat, he
“I don’t really expect a new variant
to emerge from the omicron epidemics
in Hong Kong and China. That said,
this virus has certainly surprised us
before and we need to stay vigilant.”
Indo-Asian News Service
No evidence of XE variant in Mumbai
Alia Bhatt and Ranbir Kapoor’s ru-
moured wedding this month has lit a
match to a meme-fest on social media.
The Bollywood stars’ wedding festiv-
ities will take place from April 14 to
17, according to several news reports.
A meme by Netflix India (right)
broke the Internet.
It features Alia and Ranbir in wed-
ding scenes from their films Humpty
Sharma Ki Dulhania and Yeh Jawani
Hai Deewani. The caption reads:
“These two would make a great cou-
ple in real life.”
The Times of India reported that
the most-anticipated Bollywood wed-
ding is upon us. It said the RK
Bungalow in Chembur, Mumbai, is
being decked up for the big day and
the ceremonies will follow Punjabi
While there has been no confirma-
tion from the families on the wedding
date, April 17 is said to be the big day.
“Family means the world for the
Kapoors. It is perhaps the last Kapoor
shaadi from this generation, which is
why they wanted to keep it close to
their roots,” a source told The Times
While the invitations haven’t gone
out yet, people have been informed in
advance, said India Today.
The guest list strictly comprises
close friends and family.
It includes Alia’s Dear Zindagi co-
star Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika
Padukone, Ranbir’s former girlfriend
and his co-star in three films.
There is also Karan Johar, who
launched Alia’s career in Bollywood.
Ranbir’s best friend Ayan Mukerji,
who directs the couple in the upcom-
ing film Brahmastra, is invited as well.
“Ranbir and Alia’s wedding recep-
tion will be a lavish affair. Bollywood
celebrities like Ranveer Singh, Sanjay
Leela Bhansali, Aditya Roy Kapur and
Arjun Kapoor have been invited,” the
source told India Today.
In an interview with NDTV re-
cently, Ranbir said this about his
wedding plans with Alia: “I won’t give
out a date during a media interaction.
But Alia and I have all the intentions
of getting married soon. So, yes.
Alia has also been open about her
intentions of marrying Ranbir. She
told NDTV earlier this year: “In my
head, I am married to Ranbir. In fact, I
have been married to Ranbir in my
head for a long time.”
The pair’s love story began on the
sets of Brahmastra, their first project
together. They made their first public
appearance together at Sonam Kapoor
and Anand Ahuja’s wedding reception
in Mumbai in 2018.
According to ETimes, the wedding
is happening this month due to the
ill-health of Alia’s maternal grandfa-
ther N. Razdan, who “expressed his
desire to see Alia get married to
According to a source, “Mr Razdan
has also grown quite fond of Ranbir
and loves him a lot”.
“FastQ files of the
was said to be of
the XE variant,
were analysed in
detail by genomic
have inferred that
the variant did
with the genomic
picture of the
– Union health ministry
Alia and Ranbir reportedly getting married next week
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