News Breakfast @6

01. Bats To Human Lungs: Will We Ever Know How Covid-19 Began?

As human civilization grapples with the devastating outbreak of coronavirus pandemic, there are endless prepositions that continue to revolve around the origin of the deadly contagion. Scientists, researchers, law and order enforcement agencies, and policymakers have led investigations on the theory of an alleged accidental release from a lab in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. Amid the controversies surrounding the Wuhan lab theory, there were reports that the emergence of the virus is associated with a study conducted in 2017 by a team from China and the US on bats and bats and humans carrying antibodies to deadly viruses like Ebola. The results of the study were published in October last in the PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases journal, originally established by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In February 2020, the Indian government had ordered an inquiry by researchers from the U.S., China and India.The Indian research organisations- Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) who conducted the study thereafter released an official statement that read, “Researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology were not directly involved in the study. They were listed co-authors ONLY because they supplied reagents critical to the study to Duke-NUS. This is standard practice for scientific authorship,” and added, “No biological samples or infectious agents were transferred into or out of India, and this study has NO connection with Coronaviruses”.

02. Nagaon | 18 Elephants Killed Due To Lightning: Experts Report

Experts and Veterinary doctors confirmed the death of 18 elephants in Nagaon district was due to lightning. The elephants were killed on May 13 at Bamuni Hills due to thunderstorms and lightning. The Department of Pathology in College of Veterinary Science, Khanapara in Guwahati, on Sunday submitted the laboratory examination report that confirmed the development. In its report, signed by the head of the Pathology Department Prof. SM Tamuli and assistant professor of the department A Deka stated that “lesions are suggestive of high voltage electrical injury”.“The tissue sections of skin from various locations reveal desquamation of keratinized layer, distortion and separation of intra-epidermal tissues, the disintegration of cellular details and architecture resulting in homogenous eosinophilic and basophilic areas. There is the separation of epidermal and dermal layers. Highly dilated and congested blood vessels and severe haemorrhages observed in the dermal papillae as well as in the sub-epidermal region,” the report said.

03. Assam: 4 Activists Held In Midnight Raid In Sivasagar

Four Assam activists belonging to different organizations have been apprehended by police during a midnight raid on Monday in Sivasagar district. According to sources Chatra Mukti Sangram Samiti (CMSS), the student wing of peasants’ body KMSS, leader Manas Konwar was picked up from his Simaluguri residence at around 10.30 pm on Monday. Police also swooped down on the residences of three other leaders at midnight in Sivasagar town and whisked them away. The police team apprehended Asom Yuba Chatra Sanmilan president Jintu Mech, Raijor Dal leader Padmakant Das and Bir Lachit Sena leader Chitu Baruah from their homes. While Mech and Das were picked up by a team of Sivasagar police around 11.30 pm, Baruah was detained around 1.30 am. Sivasagar police have not disclosed the reason behind the arrest of the activists. Sources, however, said that police picked up the activists fearing protests against chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma for his insensitive remarks against Raijor Dal chief Akhil Gogoi.

04. Baksa: Man Lynched To Death On Suspicion Of Practicing Witchcraft, 5 Arrested

In a tragic turn of events, a man was lynched to death by a group of villagers on suspicion of practicing witchcraft in a village in Baksa district. The incident was reported on Monday at Bogobari village in Tamulpur sub division of the district. As per sources, close to 150 people cornered the 50-year-old man, identified as one Biren Boro, and accused him of practicing witchcraft in the village. Subsequently, angry villagers beat up the man left and right and when police reached to rescue the man, they were attacked too. At least five policemen were injured in the attack. The man was later rushed to a local hospital as he was critically injured in the attack. He later succumbed to his injuries.

05. Assam Govt Extends Corona Curfew Till June 5: CM Sarma

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday said that the corona curfew in the state will be extended till June 5 and that the curfew timing in rural areas has been extended as it will start from 2 pm. Earlier, the curfew time in rural areas was from 6 pm to 5 am. However, the odd-even numbers of vehicles shall continue till further orders. The other guidelines shall remain the same except the extension of curfew period till June 5. Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma visited Srirampur along the Assam-Bengal border to take stock of COVID-19 situation. The chief minister along with Health Minister Keshab Mahanta and CEC BTC Pramod Boro also held a review meet on COVID-19 management.

06. Jehadi Organizations Expanding Base In Assam Through Smuggling

Amid the rising cases of COVID-19 across the country, an alarming situation has aroused concerning the internal security of Indian states including Assam which was mentioned in a news article published in Pratidin Time digital desk on May 20. The jehadists have formed a huge network in 24 states in India including the Northeastern states. According to reports, the JMB, New JMB, Jamatul Mujahiddin, Al-Qaida etc, the terrorists groups which have been banned by the world runs their operation from New Delhi. The findings of the report has revealed that religious based extremist and terrorist outfits such as Islamic State (IS), Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), Indian Mujahideen (IM), Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), Neo-JMB, Al Qaeda, other ‘Jehadi’ organizations have been gradually expanding its base in atleast 24 states including Assam. Moreover, the devastating second wave of pandemic in the country and recently concluded elections have helped such organizations to create widespread extensions in different parts of the country by successfully managing the coal smugglers, cattle smugglers, drug smugglers etc.

07. Assam: Shops, Eateries & Offices To Close At 1 PM In Rural Areas

The Assam government has issued revised consolidated directives on Tuesday for the containment of Covid cases in rural areas. The notification mentioned that the curfew across the state was extended till June 5 and curfew in rural areas will be imposed from 2 pm. Earlier, the curfew timings in rural areas was from 6 pm to 5 am. However, the odd-even numbers of vehicles shall continue till further orders. Other guidelines shall remain the same.

08. Enough Covid Vaccines In NE For Coming Weeks: DoNER Min

The central government will provide enough vaccines to the Northeastern states in the coming weeks, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said on Tuesday. According to a statement issued by the Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) minister held a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the recent COVID-19 surge in the Northeast. Singh also asked the state governments of the region to send COVID-19 and health related plans like setting up, oxygen plants, mobile testing vans on a priority basis and promised for speedy disposal of such proposals. In this connection, the minister has convened a meeting on June 2 for acting on the proposals sent by the states. Singh informed that in the coming weeks, the Centre will supply enough vaccines for all Northeastern states and a schedule for the same is being given final touches in the Union Health Ministry, the statement said. The Minister for DoNER, said the immediate resolve of the authorities should be to find ways and means to ensure that the rising graph of coronavirus positive cases in different Northeastern states starts declining or immediately shows the flattening of the curve.

09. 113 Dysfunctional Ventilators Is Serious Matter: Bombay HC To Centre

At a time when Maharashtra continues to fight the catastrophic Covid-19, 113 out of 150 ventilators received through the PM Cares Fund have been found defective. In this regard, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday sought to know on what action the Union government proposed  to take for providing defective ventilators to hospitals of the Marathwada region of Maharashtra. Justices R V Ghuge and B U Debadwar of the Aurangabad bench, hearing petitions pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic, also said that, “deans of hospitals are competent to decide whether a ventilator is defective or not, and their opinion must be accepted”. As quoted by several news outlets, Chief Public Prosecutor D R Kale informed the division bench that the dean of the Government Medical College at Aurangabad received 150 ventilators through the PM CARES Fund. The hospital used 17 units, 41 were given to five private hospitals in Aurangabad and 55 were distributed to other districts. The remaining 37 were lying unboxed. In total, 113 ventilators which were put to use were found to be defective, and in every case, it affected the treatment of COVID-19 patients.“There were serious problems of ‘low inlet O2 pressure display’ and the patients in some cases became ‘hypoxic’ (a condition caused by low oxygen levels in blood) even when put on the ventilator”, it said.

10. Ranjeet Dass Participates In Sanitation Drive In Guwahati

Amid surging COVID-19 cases, Assam minister Ranjeet Kumar Dass on Tuesday participated in a sanitization drive being conducted in Guwahati. The drive was conducted in Guwahati’s Fancy bazaar area by police, health and fire departments to curb further spread of the virus. “Police, Health & fire depts are carrying out this drive amid rising COVID cases. They’re not only going to sanitise cities but villages as well,” Dass said. Visuals show all the departments actively sanitizing the area including roads, footpaths as well as walls. The sanitization drive is being conducted during the corona curfew when people are indoors. Ranjeet Kumar Dass, who is also the state BJP president, is the new Panchayat & Rural Development, Public Health Engineering, Food & Civil Supplies, and Consumer Affairs Minister.

11. COVID-19: Positivity Rate In India Dips To 9.54 %

With 1,96,427 fresh cases and 3,26,850 recoveries in the last 24 hours, India’s daily COVID-19 positivity rate dropped to 9.54 per cent, according to the Union Health Ministry‘s data on Tuesday. The ministry informed that the daily new cases have fallen below 2 lakh to a level seen 40 days before (daily new cases were 1,84,372 on April 14, 2021). Cumulatively, the active caseload has also now reduced to 25,86,782. Active coronavirus cases in the country have decreased since its last peak on May 10, 2021. A net decline of 1,33,934 is witnessed in the last 24 hours. It now comprises 9.60 percent of the country’s total positive cases, the Union Health Ministry said. India’s daily recoveries continue to outnumber the daily new cases for the 12th consecutive day. With 3,26,850 fresh recoveries in the last 24 hours, India’s cumulative recoveries have reached 2,40,54,861 today. The national recovery rate has further improved to touch 89.26 per cent. A total of 20,58,112 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours in the country and cumulatively 33,25,94,176 tests have been done so far. As per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, a total of 19,85,38,999 vaccine doses have been administered through 28,41,151 sessions, as per the provisional report till 7 am today.

12. Former Bengal CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharya Hospitalized

Former West Bengal Chief Minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, was admitted to a hospital in Kolkata on Tuesday afternoon following COVID-19 complications. According to ANI, Bhattacharya tested positive for the virus on May 18. He was rushed to the hospital after he complained of drowsiness and shortness of breath. Notably, Bhattacharya has been suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) for more than a decade. His movements are restricted. An official statement stated that Bhattacharya is on BIPAP with 3 litres of oxygen, SpO2 maintaining at 92 per cent. It added that currently the former CM is “conscious, alert and communicating verbally”. Senior Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader, Bhattacharya was West Bengal Chief Minister from 2000 to 2011.

13. Twitter, FB In Hot Waters As Deadline To Comply With New Rules Ends Tomorrow

Social media platforms such as TwitterFacebook, and others are in hot waters as the deadline to comply with new legal rules laid down by the government of India three months ago, is ending tomorrow (Wednesday). On February 25, new rules were notified in the gazette of India under Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code Rules, 2021. The new guidelines mandate all platforms that have more than 50 lakh users in India appoint within three months, a resident grievance officer, a chief compliance officer, and a nodal contact person, and publish their details on the website of the company. Except one Indian social media company, Koo, none of the top social media intermediaries have appointed a resident grievance officer, a chief compliance officer and a nodal contact person yet. The rules will come into effect from May 26 (Wednesday). According to a top official as reported by news agency, failure to abide by the rules will result in social media companies losing their status and protection as intermediaries accorded to them under section 79 of the Information Technology Act and may become liable for criminal action as per the existing laws of India.

14. 3 PREPAK Militants Killed In Road Mishap, ULFA-I Condoles

Three militants of a Manipur-based insurgent outfit, People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK), were killed in a road accident that took place in Manipur late Sunday. As per a report, the three deceased were identified as Awangba Meitei (58), the acting chairman of the party; Mayengbam Joychand, organization secretary and RK Ramananda, the GSO. The United Liberation Front of Assam–Independent (ULFA-I) has condoled the death of the three PREPAK leaders and termed them as “revolutionary sons of the soil”. “It is not that I have lost my counterpart with his able officers in the freedom struggle for the WESEA region, Manipur has lost three indomitable revolutionary sons of the soil,” ULFA-I said in a statement. “History will remember them and the future generations should be inspired to fulfill their incomplete task of restoration of the stolen Sovereignty of Manipur,” it added.

15. IMD Predicts Heavy Rain Across Northeast As Cyclone Yaas Intensifies

As cyclone Yaas is expected to make its landfall on Wednesday in Bengal and Odisha, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted rainfall with heavy to very heavy rain and lightning in Assam and Meghalaya tomorrow and Thursday. Rainfall at many places with heavy rainfall at isolated places along with thunderstorms /lightning at isolated places has also been forecasted for Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura for the next two days.

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