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Tuesday,22-June-2021

International News

UK to send medical equipment to India in fight against Covid

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The UK will be sending more than 600 pieces of vital medical equipment to India to support it in fight against Covid-19, the UK government announced.

The assistance package, funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, includes ventilators and oxygen concentrators from surplus stocks. The Department of Health and Social Care have worked closely with the NHS, as well as suppliers and manufacturers in the UK to identify reserve life-saving equipment that can be sent to India.

Recently, India has been reporting high number of Covid-19 cases and deaths while several reports of shortage of oxygen are also coming.

The first shipment of equipment has already left the UK and it will be arriving to India in the early hours of Tuesday. Further shipments are due to follow later this week.

In total, nine airline container loads of supplies, including 495 oxygen concentrators, 120 non-invasive ventilators and 20 manual ventilators, will be sent to the country this week. This equipment will be crucial in helping to save the lives of the most vulnerable in India. The oxygen concentrators, for example, can extract oxygen from the air in the atmosphere so that it can be provided to patients, taking the strain off hospital oxygen systems and allowing oxygen to be provided in situations where hospital oxygen supplies have run out.

The UK is working closely with the Government of India to identify further assistance it can provide in the coming days.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We stand side by side with India as a friend and partner during what is a deeply concerning time in the fight against Covid-19. Vital medical equipment, including hundreds of oxygen concentrators and ventilators, is now on its way from the UK to India to support efforts to prevent the tragic loss of life from this terrible virus.”

“We will continue to work closely with the Indian government during this difficult time and I’m determined to make sure that the UK does everything it can to support the international community in the global fight against the pandemic,” he added.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “We are supporting our Indian friends with vital medical equipment at a difficult time for them in this pandemic. We have all got to work together to tackle Covid-19. India is a very important partner to us, so we’re providing oxygen concentrators and ventilators to help save the lives of the most vulnerable. We will be following up on this first delivery with further support, based on our ongoing discussions with the Indian Government.”

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock has said: “The heart-breaking scenes in India show once again how awful this terrible disease is. We are determined to support the people of India through this very difficult time, and I am hugely grateful to those who have worked hard to make this initial delivery happen.”

“This first delivery of life saving equipment will provide much needed assistance and we stand ready to do more. The global pandemic has challenged health systems all across the world and the best way to overcome adversity is to unite and defeat this dreadful disease together,” he added.

International News

Narendra Modi wishes new Israeli PM Naftali Bennett, looks to deepen ties

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday congratulated new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, saying he looks forward to meeting him and deepening the strategic partnership between the two counties.

“Excellency Naftali Bennett, congratulations on becoming the Prime Minister of Israel. As we celebrate 30 years of the upgradation of diplomatic relations next year, I look forward to meeting you and deepening the strategic partnership between our two countries,” Modi tweeted.

He also expressed his gratitude towards former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanking his leadership for his attention to the India-Israel strategic partnership.

“As you complete your successful tenure as the Prime Minister of the State of Israel, I convey my profound gratitude for your leadership and personal attention to India-Israel strategic partnership @netanyahu,” Modi further tweeted.

Naftali Bennett, a right-wing Jewish nationalist and former tech millionaire, became Prime Minister after a vote in the Knesset legislature following weeks of intense political drama. He won with razor-thin majority of 60-59 in the 120-seat chamber.

The former ally of Netanyahu, Bennett will preside over a diverse and fragile coalition comprised of eight parties with deep ideological differences, promising to try to heal a divided nation.

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Crime

Dominica High Court denies bail to Mehul Choksi citing him as flight risk

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Indian fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi was on Friday denied bail by the High Court in Dominica, citing him to be a flight risk, local media reported.

According to Antigua News Room, a news outlet in the Caribbean island, it said, “Choksi’s application was denied on the basis that he is a flight risk, he has no ties to Dominica and the court cannot impose any conditions that will assure it that he wouldn’t abscond.”

Choksi was represented by Cara Shillingford-Marsh, Wayne Benjamin Marsh, Wayne Norde and Julien Prevost.

The 62-year-old, who is wanted in India in connection with a massive bank fraud, will appear before court again on Monday on a charge of illegal entry into Dominica.

Choksi denies the charge, and claims he was kidnapped and taken there by force.

The Indian diamantaire had gone missing from Antigua and Barbuda on May 23 sparking a massive manhunt. He was reportedly captured on May 26 in Dominica.

He is being probed in India by the CBI and the ED in the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case.

He has got interim relief from immediate repatriation to India by the Dominican court.

According to investigative agency sources, the Indian government has filed two affidavits in the Dominica high court establishing Choksi as Indian citizen and the serious nature of the fraud he committed on PNB.

India has also submitted detailed evidences in the affidavits.

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Crime

Antigua Cabinet discusses Mehul Choksi’s abduction claim

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The Antigua and Barbuda Cabinet held a brief discussion into Indian fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi’s abduction claim, as well as on the decisions rendered by the Magistrate and the High Court of Dominica, local media reported.

“No new information has emanated from the Dominica authorities that now hold Choksi’s fate in their hands. The authorities in Antigua continue their investigation of Choksi’s claim that he was abducted in Antigua. Since abductions and kidnappings are not crimes usually reported in Antigua, no effort is being spared to uncover all the facts in this supposed abduction,” the Antigua News Room quoted a Cabinet note as saying following the discussion.

Choksi, who is currently facing charges of entering Dominica illegally, was “unlawfully renditioned” from Antigua and Barbuda to Dominica so that he would no longer have the option of appealing to the UK Privy Council, his lawyer contended on Thursday.

Michael Polak, part of the legal team representing Choksi and an expert in providing legal assistance to foreign nationals around the world, told a virtual news conference that the team has also filed a complaint with the War Crimes Unit of the UK’s Metropolitan Police on the ground that the Indian fugitive businessman was tortured.

Describing the case as one of “egregious breach of the rule of law and fundamental fairness”, Polak said: “What happened to Choksi has been terrible. He was lured into a property, kidnapped, a bag placed over his head, beaten, forced on to a boat and unlawfully renditioned into another country.

“In Antigua, he has the right to appeal to the Privy Council in London to determine whether the government is acting properly against him. In Dominica, he does not have such protection. The motive behind the kidnapping could not be clearer.”

He further said there was sufficient evidence Barbara Jarabica and the other men involved in the incident had carried out a “reconnaissance or a failed attempt to kidnap” Choksi in April this year, adding that the fugitive businessman should be returned to Antigua.

Giving details of the abduction attempt, Polak said Jabarica, who lured Choksi to her Airbnb accommodation on May 23, had specifically asked the owner if there is a place for docking a small boat in the backyard.

Revealing chats between Jabarica and owner of the properties, Polak said she had discussed taking two adjoining properties after getting confirmation about docking place for boats.

Polak alleged that one property was used by people with her, who were part of kidnapping team.

The lawyer also claimed that soon after the kidnapping of Choksi, Jabarica left Antigua and Barbuda in a private plane to Dominica.

Choksi, who is wanted in India in the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case had gone missing on May 23 from Antigua sparking a massive manhunt.

He was reportedly captured on May 26 in Dominica.

Choksi is facing the charges of entering Dominica illegally.

A Dominican High Court has restrained the extradition.

He had taken the citizenship of Antigua in 2017 and left India on January 4, 2018 days before the case came to light.

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