Call it coincidence or a calculated decision, Chinese troops had started blocking Indian patrols in the Pangong Tso area since last September, days after the government announced abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and creation of Ladakh as a separate Union Territory. In fact, troops from both sides were involved in a violent scuffle resulting in injuries to 10 Army and ITBP personnel. The brawl extended to the waters of the lake, where three Army boats were damaged by Chinese soldiers. The Indian side also damaged two Chinese boats.
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Two soldiers died after drowning in a river in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley area. While there was no official statement from the Army, sources said “these are accidents and not connected to the current situation in the region”. The families of the two soldiers said they were told that the two men were part of a team involved in “constructing a bridge” in the area.
Prasar Bharati, an autonomous institution owned by the Union Government, made its displeasure known to the Press Trust of India (PTI) after the news agency ran an interview of the Chinese Ambassador to India. PTI’s “recent news coverage”, Prasar Bharti said, was detrimental to “national interest and undermining India’s territorial integrity.”Incidentally, the PTI interview marked the first instance that a Beijing official had gone on record to admit that there had been casualties on the Chinese side as well after the Galwan clash.
Pakistan made a sudden offer to reopen the Kartarpur Sahib pilgrim corridor on June 29, four days after Delhi informed Islamabad it was downsizing its mission staff strength by half and asked it to do the same. India said it would evaluate the offer before making any announcement, and that Pakistan was trying to create a “mirage of goodwill” by proposing resumption of the pilgrimage suspended in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Mumbai has started reporting symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease among young patients with coronavirus. The US, UK, Spain, Italy and China have been reporting cases of children with Covid-19 showing Kawasaki-like symptoms since April. Kawasaki disease, whose cause remains unknown, mainly affects children aged below five years. Its symptoms include high-grade fever and inflammation in blood vessels, and can sometimes cause permanent damage to coronary arteries.
When India and China clashed in their worst stand-off in four decades, leaving 20 Indian soldiers dead, the ripples were felt in Ladakh. The tensions are set to further delay recovery in the UT that, instead of tourists, is seeing huge losses, a 20 times surge in Covid-19 numbers since May, and a strict lockdown. The Indian Express takes the road from Leh to Pangong.
Political reasons, wrong calculations, and lack of coordination between the Health Ministry and the Municipal Administration Ministry delayed the Covid-19 testing procedure in Chennai, which accounts for 68% of Tamil Nadu’s entire case load, a senior bureaucrat tells The Indian Express. Scientists and doctors monitoring the pattern of outbreak help us understand the wrong steps taken by the state at a crucial stage, which led to the present crisis.
Even with the resumption of economic activity, migrant workers continue to remain the worst sufferers. Over the past month, Mehesleti has seen promises made on TV, in newspapers, and on WhatsApp for those with smartphones. They read that the state would give Rs 1,000 to returning migrants under a Corona Sahayata scheme, or that MNREGA would be expanded. But not one of them has received the money, or a rural job card. The refrain: “Where will we go to ask? Everything is shut.”
Former Union minister P Chidambaram writes on the “prevailing emotion of frustration and fear”. “Demand is still abysmally low, hitting the Manufacturing and Services sectors very hard. People are hoarding cash. Year-on-year, currency in circulation has risen 14 per cent. The reasons are two: one, fear of Covid infection and the cost of hospitalisation. The other is the looming threat of China. Both Covid fear and China threat will drag India into a recession in 2020-21, the first in 42 years.”
* The locust swarms have now reached Delhi NCR. In Gurgaon, residents were asked to make loud noises by beating tin cans, plates and drums to ward off the insects.
* The Centre included the low-cost anti-inflammatory drug Dexamethasone as an alternative to another steroid, Methylprednisolone, for treating moderate to severe Covid-19 cases.
* The number of migrants who have died taking Shramik Specials since May 1 is likely to cross the 100-mark, according to sources in states.
* The Chhattisgarh Police have released in public domain a poster with names and images of 34 senior “most wanted” Maoist leaders and cadres operating in the state.
As filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan steps into his 80th year, a look at what goes into the making of his movies. “I am present in all my films, in one form or the other. Sometimes as a detestable character, sometimes as a character whom you love,” he says.
🎧 In our latest podcast, we discuss why world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who recently held a tennis tournament for charity and where four players tested positive for Covid-19, is to be blamed for the disaster and how his bizarre beliefs seem to have now proved dangerous for everyone else.
Leela Prasad and Liu Chuen Chen