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Wednesday,04-August-2021

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Donald Trump, wife Melania test Covid-19 positive

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US President Donald Trump on Friday announced that he and his wife Melania have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

“Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for Covid-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this together,” he said in a tweet.

The next course of action for the President and the First Lady was not immediately clear as he has events scheduled for Friday in Florida and Saturday in Wisconsin.

The announcement came after White House adviser Hope Hicks, one of Trump’s closest aide, was confirmed to have tested positive for the virus on Thursday.

She had travelled with the President on Air Force One earlier this week, an informed source told The Hill news website.

After the revelation, Trump had tweeted: “Hope Hicks, who has been working so hard without even taking a small break, has just tested positive for Covid 19. Terrible.

“The First Lady and I are waiting for our test results. In the meantime, we will begin our quarantine process.”

Also in a statement, a White House official said contact tracing has been done, “and the appropriate notifications and recommendations have been made”, The Hill news website reported.

Hicks is the latest White House aide to test positive for the virus which has so far infected 7,277,352 people in the US and killed 207,791 others, making it the worst-hit country in the world.

National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien had tested positive, as well as a White House valet who serves the President.

Katie Miller, the Vice President’s communications director and the wife of Trump senior adviser Stephen Miller, were also infected.

International News

India and China militaries hold talks to resolve border dispute

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The twelfth round of top commanders-level talks between India and China are underway at Moldo on the Chinese side in the Ladakh region on Saturday.

The talks are happening after a gap of three months. Indian military delegates are discussing disengagement at friction areas like Hot Springs, Gogra and 900 square km Depsang plains.

Indian delegation is led by Leh-based XIV Corps chief Lt Gen P.G.K. Menon and Additional Secretary (East Asia) in the Ministry of External Affairs, Naveen Srivastava.

The Chinese military delegation is led by Commander of the PLA’s Western Theatre Command Xu Qiling, who was appointed earlier this month.

The build-up in Depsang was not being considered part of the current standoff that started in May last year as escalation here took place in 2013. India has insisted during recent military commander meetings to resolve all issues across the Line of Actual Control.

“The initial attempt will be to resolve Gogra and Hot Springs. Finding a solution to Depsang might be tricky and take longer,” said the officer.

In April, during 11th round of Corps Commander level talk, the focus was disengagement on friction points at Gogra, Hot Springs and Depsang. On February 20, Indian and Chinese militaries held 10th round of dialogue to de-escalate tension at the Line of Actual Control.

Till now, apart from 11 round of Corps Commanders-level talks, the two forces have also held 10 Major Generals level, 55 Brigadiers-level talks and 1,450 calls over the hotlines.

China has been enhancing military infrastructure across the Line of Control.

Looking at it, India has changed its posture towards China, unlike its previous defensive approach that placed a premium on fending on Chinese aggression, India is now catering to military options to strike back and has reoriented its military accordingly.

India has reoriented around 50,000 troops whose main focus will be the disputed border with China. The reorientation comes when China is refurbishing its existing air-fields in Tibetan Plateau that will allow twin-engines fighter aircraft to be stationed, sources said.

In addition, China has also brought troops from the Tibet Military region to the Xinjiang region that passes through Karakoram range down south Uttarakhand.

Further, they have deployed larger numbers of long range artillery and are rapidly building infrastructure in the Tibetan Plateau.

So far, the troops of two Himalayan giants have disengaged from both the banks of Pangong Tso in February this year.

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International News

Saudi Arabia approves security plan for Haj

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Saudi Arabia has approved the security plan for this year’s Haj pilgrimage, while taking into account precautions against Covid-19.

According to the plan issued on Sunday by the Interior Ministry that aims to ensure the safety and security of pilgrims, a fine of 10,000 Saudi Riyals ($2,666) will be imposed on anyone who attempts to enter the ritual sites without permission, reports Xinhua news agency.

The ministry calls on all citizens and residents to obey the special regulations of this year’s Haj season.

Meanwhile, police officers will be deployed on all routes leading to the Grand Mosque and holy sites.

Saudi Arabia announced last month that the 2021 Haj season would be limited to domestic pilgrims only and allows a maximum of 60,000 individuals.

It will be the second Haj season with no foreign pilgrims in order to prevent the further spread of the pandemic.

More than 13 million worshippers wearing masks and observing physical distancing rules have visited the mosques since the seven-month prayer and Umrah suspension was lifted last October.

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Crime

Sindh High Court issues notice as Pakistan political worker abducted

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The Sindh High Court (SHC) in Pakistan on Friday issued notices to the Sindh police chief, Sindh Rangers director-general, the provincial government and the Federation of Pakistan on a petition seeking the recovery of a missing Awami Workers Party (AWP) activist, dawn has reported.

Seengar Noonari was allegedly taken away from his home in Naseerabad in Sindh last week, following which his wife filed a petition in the SHC to seek his production.

Fozia Seengar claimed in the petition that they were asleep in their house on the night between June 25 and 26 when, at around 3 a.m., about 15-20 people, including some wearing security personnel uniforms, forcibly entered into the house by breaking open the main door with weapons and also fired shots “to spread terror”, the report said.

According to the petition, the individuals wearing uniforms blindfolded the AWP worker and took him away along with books and other material, while his brother was left at home.

The petitioner’s lawyer informed the court that she had submitted an application regarding Seengar’s alleged abduction in the Naseerabad police station.

The plea requested the court to order the respondents and officials working under them to produce the activist before the court and order his immediate release.

Taking up the petition, the SHC ordered the issuance of notices to the respondents, including the Sindh police and Rangers chiefs and the station house officer of the Naseerabad Police Station, as well as the deputy attorney general and additional attorney general, seeking their response to the application by July 13.

The petitioner’s counsel was also directed to file a copy of the CNIC or other official identification documents of the “missing person”.

Seengar is the labour secretary in the national committee of AWP, while Fozia is the finance secretary of the party’s women’s wing, the Women Democratic Front.

Fozia said her husband had also remained the chairman of the ‘Shehri Ittehad’ in Naseerabad highlighting civic issues and was elected as a councillor as well. He had also contested on a seat for the provincial assembly from Naseerabad, the report said.

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