Daily Bulletin: JP Nadda appointed BJP working president; toll in encephalitis cases rises to 103 in Bihar; day’s top stories


JP Nadda appointed BJP’s working president, Amit Shah to remain party chief

Former Union minister JP Nadda was appointed BJP’s working president at a meeting on Monday of the party’s parliamentary board, its highest decision-making body. Former party president and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announced the decision after the meeting, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended and BJP chief Amit Shah chaired.

Shah will remain BJP’s national president.

Congratulating Nadda, Modi tweeted that he “is a diligent ‘karyakarta’ (worker) of the party, who has risen through the ranks due to his hard work and organisational skills. Humble and affable, he is widely respected across the BJP family”.

 Daily Bulletin: JP Nadda appointed BJP working president; toll in encephalitis cases rises to 103 in Bihar; days top stories

Amit Shah gives a bouquet to JP Nadda on his appointment as the BJP working president. PTI

Wishing him on being unanimously elected as the party’s working president, Shah said he had full faith that under Nadda’s leadership the BJP would be strengthened further and “be able to spread the party’s ideology to all corners of the country”.

This is the first time that the party has appointed a working president despite there being a full-time chief. Nadda said he will work to strengthen the BJP as its worker and thanked the prime minister and Shah for reposing faith in him.

Encephalitis claims more than 100 lives in Bihar; NHRC issues notice to Bihar govt

Six more children died in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district on Monday, taking the toll due to suspected Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) to 103 and prompting the state government to announce a slew of measures to tackle the health crisis.

While doctors have maintained that the deaths occurred due to encephalitis, state officials claimed most of the victims, below the age of 10, died due to hypoglycemia — a condition caused by low level of blood sugar, electrolyte imbalance due to high temperature and extreme humidity.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) sent notices to the Union health ministry and the Bihar government over the deaths. It observed that despite reported measures taken by government agencies, deaths of children in such large number indicated a possible flaw in the implementation of vaccination and awareness programmes.

Chief Secretary Deepak Kumar said no clear cause of deaths could be ascertained so far and indicated that one of the reasons could be that no rainfall, even pre-monsoon rains, occurred in Muzaffarpur district this year.

He added that the government had decided to send a team to each household where children died due to suspected encephalitis, to find out their social and economic background, The purpose, he said, was to find out whether the deaths had any link with the background of the deceased families.

Nine injured in IED attack on army patrol party in Pulwama

An improvised explosive device (IED) blast on an army patrol party in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama injured nine security personnel on Monday.

The attack aimed at a multi-vehicle patrol part of the 44 Rashtriya Rifles on the Arihal-Pulwama road. The injured, who were travelling in the bullet-and-mine-proof Casper vehicle, were rushed to the hospital and are reportedly in a stable condition.

Srinagar-based defence spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said the attack, which took place in Pulwama’s Arihal region, was a “failed attempt” and the troops are safe. The area was cordoned off and a search operation for the militants was launched.

Delhi street brawl between cops, tempo driver spurs massive protests; MHA seeks report

The incident in which policemen thrashed a tempo driver after he allegedly attacked a cop with a sword snowballed into a major political row on Monday, prompting the Union home ministry to seek a response from the Delhi Police. The issue took a political turn after Manjinder Singh Sirsa, the BJP MLA from Rajouri Garden, claimed the policemen had insulted the man by attacking his turban.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal demanded that Home Minister Amit Shah and Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal take strict action against the police personnel who allegedly assaulted the driver.

His Punjab counterpart Amarinder Singh termed the incident “shameful”. The Congress and the BJP demanded a fair investigation into the incident and the Shiromani Akali Dal sought dismissal of the officers.

On Sunday evening, a brawl between Sarabjeet Singh, the tempo driver, and policemen in Northwest Delhi’s Mukherjee Nagar went viral on social media.  In one of the purported videos of the altercation, the Sikh man was seen chasing the policemen with a sword. In another video, the police were seen thrashing the driver and his son with batons.

The police said the fight took place after the tempo driver’s vehicle collided with a police van. Eight police personnel were injured in the scuffle, the police said.

A large number of people, particularly from the Sikh community, gathered outside Mukherjee Nagar Police Station on Monday night, demanding sacking of all the policemen who had thrashed the tempo driver.

Iran speeds up uranium enrichment as tensions mounts in West Asia

Iran will surpass the uranium stockpile limit set by its nuclear deal in the next 10 days, an official said on Monday, raising pressure on Europeans trying to save the accord a year after the US withdrawal lit the fuse for the heightened tensions now between Tehran and Washington DC.

The announcement by Iran’s nuclear agency marked yet another deadline set by Tehran. President Hassan Rouhani has already warned Europe that a new deal needs to be in place by 7 July, or the Islamic Republic would increase its enrichment of uranium.

Atomic energy spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi suggested that Iran’s enrichment could reach up to 20 per cent, just a step away from weapons-grade levels. It appears as if Iran has begun its own maximum pressure campaign on the world after facing one from President Donald Trump’s administration that deeply cut into its sale of crude oil abroad and sent its economy into freefall. Europe has so far been unable to offer Iran a way around the US sanctions.

The development follows apparent attacks last week in the Strait of Hormuz on oil tankers, assaults that Washington has blamed on Iran. While Iran has denied being involved, it laid mines in the 1980s targeting oil tankers around the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which a fifth of the world’s crude oil passes.

Bengal’s week-long health services logjam over as doctors end strike

The week-long junior doctors’ strike across state-run hospitals in West Bengal was withdrawn on Monday shortly after a meeting between Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and representatives of the agitating medics from various medical colleges.

Earlier in the day, a 31-member team of junior doctors from all the state-run medical colleges in West Bengal participated in the meeting with Banerjee and senior state government officials at the state secretariat Nabanna where a 12-point charter of demands related to doctors’ security, hospital infrastructure and patient-doctor relationship was discussed at length.

The doctors demanded exemplary action against the attackers in the NRS incident and urged the Chief Minister to issue a “strong written or verbal message against such offenders”.

The chief minister promised to ensure on-ground implementation of the proposals discussed during the deliberations. Accepting the proposals from the medics, she announced a dedicated mobile number and email address for doctors to lodge complaints of assault, appointment of nodal officers in medical college to monitor security and asked police to take immediate action in cases of attack on medical practitioners. She told the state Health Department officials to increase the visibility of patients’ grievance cells in all hospitals and hold campaigns to make the patient parties aware of their existence.

Afghanistan hope for first World Cup 2019 win against injury-hit England

Tournament favourites and hosts England take on Afghanistan in match 24 of ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 at Manchester on Tuesday. England have won three out of their four matches and Afghanistan are still winless despite four matches into the tournament but the Asian side will be hoping for an upset at Old Trafford as the hosts are grappling with injuries. Opener Jason Roy has been ruled out of the next two games with a hamstring tear while skipper Eoin Morgan has back spasm issues that forced him to leave the field during the West Indies match. James Vince is expected to play in place of Roy against Afghanistan.

Instagram is testing simpler, more powerful account recovery tools

Facebook owned Instagram has announced that it is testing features that will make it easier for users to recover lost or hacked accounts. For a start, users will now be able to recover their account using a registered email ID or phone number. This feature started rolling out yesterday. Apparently, Facebook will also implement security features designed to prevent account abuse in case a hacker also takes over a victim’s email ID and phone number. Usernames will also be secured, making it harder for hackers to steal accounts and sell or misuse usernames.

Claims against RCom swell to Rs 57,382 crore; Reliance ADAG companies among claimants

Claims against Reliance Communications (RCom) have risen to Rs 57,382.5 crore with new entities, including some Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) companies, joining the creditors’ list, according to a regulatory filing.

Interim Resolution Professional (IRP) Pardeep Kumar Sethi, however, admitted dues of Rs 30 crore out of fresh claims of Rs 8,189 crore, taking admitted claims so far to Rs 49,223.88 crore, RCom said in the filing. Reliance ADA Group firms account for Rs 7,000.63 crore of fresh claims against the group firm RCom.

Doctor Sleep a sequel to both novel and Kubrick’s film: Mike Flanagan

Director Mike Flanagan says Doctor Sleep will serve as the sequel to the screen adaptation of Stephen King’s book and Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 movie The Shining. Published in 2013, Doctor Sleep is the sequel to King’s The Shining, which was adapted Kubrick for a film starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall. The trailer of the film, which dropped last week, confirmed the film adaptation will also use some of Kubrick’s most iconic shots from The Shining.

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