1. World crosses 10 mn cases, India adds 110,000 in 6 days
  • The world hit a grim global coronavirus milestone on Sunday — crossing 10 million confirmed cases — and was closing in, by midnight, on another: 500,000 deaths. The figure is roughly double the number of severe influenza illnesses recorded annually, according to the World Health Organisation.
  • The world may now be past peak lockdown — with economies reopening from Spain to South Africa — but it has not seen the worst of the virus. More than 1 in 5 cases recorded during the entirety of the pandemic came in the last two weeks alone.
  • And the eye of the storm has shifted from China, to Europe, to the developing world. Latin America is now the global epicentre, with South Asia not far behind and sub-Saharan Africa bracing for impact. The US and Brazil continue to record by far the most new cases. Together with Mexico, they also accounted for half of all deaths recorded over the past week.
  • India reported more than 19,700 fresh Covid-19 cases on Sunday, the second highest single-day surge so far after Saturday’s count of 20,060. Nearly, 110,000 coronavirus infections have been added to the country’s tally in just the past six days. With 384 deaths on the day, the overall toll rose to 16,468. The countrywide caseload stood at 549,106, per data from state governments, while the number of active cases and those recovered rose to over 210,000 and 320,000, respectively.
  • Maharashtra reported more than 5,000 fresh cases for the third day running. It also added 156 deaths to take its overall Covid-19 toll to 7,429. The state has so far registered 164,626 cases, nearly 30% of all cases in the country. Also, Delhi recorded 2,889 fresh coronavirus cases taking the tally to over 83,077 cases, including 2,623 casualties so far, according to the health department’s daily bulletin.
  • Karnataka became the fourth state after Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Telangana to register more than 1,000 cases in a day. The state reported 1,267 fresh cases, with Bengaluru alone accounting for 783.
  • While Maharashtra is all set to extend the lockdown for a month, Telangana may do so for 15 more days with stricter norms. The Manipur government too announced on Sunday that restrictions will continue till July 15. The lockdowns in the three states, which have seen an exponential surge in Covid cases in the last few days, were to end tomorrow.

SC to hear pleas of foreigners against blacklisting for attending Tablighi Jamaat congregation; Delhi HC to hear Pinjra Tod activist’s plea alleging violence in Tihar Jail; Congress’ countrywide protest against fuel price hikes; Govt to auction mineral blocks in Gujarat & Karnataka; Human trials begin of Russian coronavirus vaccine

2. Nepal PM accuses India of trying to topple his government
2. Nepal PM accuses India of trying to topple his government
  • Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Sunday said “plots are being hatched” in New Delhi to topple his government, following the rift between the two neighbouring countries over Kathmandu’s recent constitutional amendment to adopt a new map that includes territories claimed by India. “Given the ongoing intellectual discussions, media reports from New Delhi, embassy’s activities and meetings at different hotels in Kathmandu, it is not very difficult to understand how people are openly active to oust me. But they won’t succeed,” Oli was quoted as saying by the Kathmandu Post. “If anyone thinks they can topple me, I would like to remind them that our national unity is not that weak.”
  • Despite his success in getting the constitutional amendments passed unanimously by both houses of the parliament, Oli has faced criticism from within his Nepal Communist Party. This Friday, Oli skipped the party’s Standing Committee meeting even as the faction led by his chief rival Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ faulted the government for failing to lay the groundwork for diplomatic talks with India, Post reports. The faction is demanding Oli to choose between party chairmanship and prime minister’s post, the report adds. The Hindu reports around 30 of the 44 members in the Standing Committee are supporting Prachanda.

Naval exercise: India and Japan held a small naval exercise in the Indian Ocean on Saturday. Indian warships Rajput-class destroyer INS Rana and Kora-class missile corvette INS Kulish took part in the exercise, along with Japan’s JS Shimayuki and JS Kashima. Though only a passing exercise, its timing, amid tensions with China, gives it added significance. Note: Since 2015, Japan is a participant of the high-profile Malabar naval exercise along with India and the US.

3. Tamil Nadu to hand over police brutality case to CBI
3. Tamil Nadu to hand over police brutality case to CBI
  • Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Sunday said the probe into the deaths of a father and son due to police torture will be handed over to the CBI. He said the government will take necessary consent from the Madras High Court, which had taken suo moto cognisance of the case and was to hear the matter on Tuesday (June 30).
  • P Jeyaraj, 62, and his son J Bennicks, 32, were tortured by police personnel at the Sathankulam town, in Thoothukudi district, Tamil Nadu, on June 19, an act of brutality triggered by an alleged critical remark Jeyaraj had made on the previous day when the police pulled him up for keeping his mobile phone retail shop open beyond the permitted hours. Bennicks died late evening on June 22, and Jeyaraj died in the wee hours on June 23. Jayaraj’s wife J Selvarani, in a letter to the authorities, said the brutal thrashing resulted in rectal bleeding and eventual death.
  • The Lede reports that the police personnel involved in the case have a history of violence. The Times of India reports earlier in June there was another case of suspected custodial torture leading to death. Questions have also been raised on the Sathankulam judicial magistrate who remanded the two in custody on June 20 without following due procedure or checking for any injury during custody. The family members of the deceased allege the magistrate issued his order from the first floor of his residence while the police brought the two to the entrance gate — the magistrate’s court was functioning out of the residence due to the pandemic.
  • K Chandru, retired judge of the Madras High Court, tells Indian Express the judicial magistrate, B Saravanan, should be dismissed from service for judicial impropriety, violation of Supreme Court guidelines on arrest, and for the clear case of misconduct. More on the case here and here
4. What is blacklisting?
4. What is blacklisting?
The Supreme Court will today hear the pleas of foreigners who were ‘blacklisted’ for attending the religious congregation at Delhi’s Nizamuddin area organised by the Tablighi Jamaat. So what exactly is blacklisting?

  • What is it: A blacklist is a compilation of the names of all Indian and foreign citizens against whom there’s a ‘look out circular’ (LOC) issued by the ministry of home affairs (MHA). The list, prepared by the Foreigners Division of the MHA, is shared with all Indian diplomatic missions as also with all immigration check-points within India to stop the exit or entry of certain individuals — which could either be in their personal capacity or because they are associated with an organisation.
  • How is it issued: To place a person or an organisation in the blacklist, an LOC needs to be issued. This can be done only through a written request by the investigating officer or agency addressed to an officer notified by the MHA, such as deputy secretary or above rank in the Centre, joint secretary or above rank at the state level and other equivalent ranks in law enforcement and intelligence agencies. It’s pertinent to note that an LOC can only be issued against offences under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
  • Who’s in it: Well, that’s the interesting part — the blacklist is not in the public domain, so until and unless a person tries to enter or leave the country, he/she will not know if they are in the blacklist. Currently, there are about 30,000 people in the MHA blacklist, down from 38,000 in 2016 — the names pruned include over 100 Sikhs who were included in the blacklist after they protested against the 1984 Operation Bluestar or had sought political asylum in foreign countries. In fact, the existence of a blacklist became known thanks to them, when they raised the issue of being denied permission to visit India in the early 1990s.
  • How long is the blacklist period: There’s no fixed period to determine the length of the blacklist period — in the case of the Tablighi Jamaat congregation, the government has blacklisted 2,550 foreigners who would not be allowed to enter India for a period of 10 years. In another case, the home ministry had clarified that “if somebody is denied entry, it does not mean that he is blacklisted forever” and that the blacklist may be reviewed every six months or annually.
6. Indians in China battle trolls questioning their choices
6. Indians in China battle trolls questioning their choices
  • Indian expats in China are in the crosshairs of online trolls, dragged into a geopolitical crisis and rhetoric of not their making, Jaya Menon reports for the Times of India. They are software professionals, garment exporters and businesspersons, settled for years in Dalian, Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou. Some of them are married to Chinese nationals. Hashtag campaigns like #Indiansunitedagainstchina and #Indianswillcrushchina mark them as traitors and unpatriotic.
  • A Kumar, a software professional in Dalian, says “98% normalcy” has returned to the port city in China’s Liaoning Province in the north. “For us, it is the safest here in China when the Covid pandemic is raging across the globe.” He says he has been unable to access his preferred Indian news website since the standoff, and that the narrative in the Chinese media is “entirely different”. “Both India and China are trying to justify their actions,” said Kumar, who grew up in Delhi-NCR and moved to Dalian in 2008.
  • Shashi Shiraguppi says he is content with his life in Shenzhen. “There is no panic. We have complete freedom and have no problems with local authorities. Neighbours are friendly and concerned for our well-being. Why should we want to return to India?” Shashi tells TOI over the phone. A native of Bengaluru, he moved to Shenzhen 17 years ago, and is married to Li Lan, a Chinese national; they have two children. And the border crisis? “Let there be peace during the pandemic,” said Li.
  • According to the 2010 Census in China, of the six lakh foreign nationals (now one million), Indian expats constituted 3% of the population. Dalian’s IT hub is home to nearly 15,000 Indian software professionals. “It is unnecessary hype on social media. The locals are friendly and they have huge respect for Indians,” said V Vijay, who works for a US-headquartered software firm in Dalian. A wish to hold onto his secure job in China, even amid the hostilities, is no mark against him, Vijay says. “This does not make us less patriotic”.
7. Why an ad ban may not impact Facebook much
7. Why an ad ban may not impact Facebook much
American Honda, Unilever, Verizon, Levi Strauss, Hershey’s and Coca Cola are among the chorus of companies that have decided to stop advertising on Facebook (FB), pressurised by the campaign #StopHateforProfit that seeks to censure the Mark Zuckerberg-owned company for what it alleges is a failure to stop hate speech, especially posts by US President Donald Trump. The ad boycott however, may not mean much for FB’s bottomline — and here’s why:

  • It’s a pause: For most companies, the stoppage of advertising on FB is a temporary phenomenon, as evident from the companies’ statements that it would last till July-end. Some, like Hershey’s have however, decided to go a step further, announcing that they are cutting their “spending on FB and their platforms, including Instagram, by a third for the remainder of the year”, while Levi Strauss has said resumption of advertising “will depend on Facebook’s response”. In Unilever’s case, while the company will not advertise on FB, Twitter and Instagram till “the end of 2020”, the ban will be limited only to the US.
  • Who’s advertising: While FB’s ad revenues are substantial — it earned $69.65 billion or 98.5% of its revenues in 2019 from advertising — a majority of its ad revenues in the US this year are being derived from political entities. Even in India, it’s the political parties like the BJP and the Congress which are the top advertisers on FB, which earned a little over $1.46 billion from ads between May 2018 and June 26, 2020 in the US and over Rs 53.57 crore in India between February 2019 and June 26, 2020.
  • Light heavyweights: Moreover, even if one considers the global impact of the advertising suspension, only three companies — Unilever, Verizon and Recreational Equipment (REI) — figure among FB’s top 100 advertisers. While Unilever spent $42.4 million globally last year on FB ads — placing it at 30th spot — Verizon and REI were at 88th and 90th spots with about $23 million each in FB ad spend. In fact, the top 100 advertisers, out of 8 million advertisers last year globally contributed just $4.2 billion in FB’s ad revenues, or a little over 6% — with the bulk coming from small and medium businesses, many of whom can’t survive without the social media company’s reach.
8. World roundup: Egypt imprisons women over “debauchery”
8. World roundup: Egypt imprisons women over “debauchery”
  • In Egypt, Sama El-Masry,a belly-dancer popular on Instagram and TikTok, has been sentenced to three years in prison and fined 300,000 Egyptian pounds ($18,500) for inciting “debauchery and immorality”. Prosecutors said her social media posts were sexually suggestive. Egypt, ruled by strongman Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, has in recent months arrested many young women popular on social media platforms on charges of debauchery and “attacking the family values of Egyptian society”. In May a 17-year old girl was arrested after she posted a TikTok video, her face battered and bruised, saying she had been gang-raped by a group of young men.
  • In Hong Kong, the city police arrested at least 53 people on Sunday after scuffles erupted during a relatively peaceful protest against planned national security legislation to be implemented by Beijing. In China, the National People’s Congress (NPC) reviewed the draft of the bill, Xinhua reported on Sunday. It is expected to be passed on Tuesday, when the three-day NPC session ends.
  • France’s oldest nuclear plant will shut on Tuesday as the Emmanuel Macron government moves to reduce the share of atomic power in its electricity mix to 50% by 2035 from over 71% currently. The plant, opened in 1977, had been a sore point for environmentalists in the country, continuing to operate even after its 40-year life cycle — until now.
  • In Malawi, an opposition candidate won the presidential vote, the first time a court-overturned vote in Africa has led to the defeat of an incumbent leader. Lazarus Chakwera’s victory follows the Constitutional Court’s decision to overrule the May 2019 vote over widespread irregularities.
9. Should India tap its own martial arts heritage against China?
9. Should India tap its own martial arts heritage against China?
China is believed to have reinforced its border troops with martial arts experts just before the physical hand-to-hand combat that resulted in the death of 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese soldiers. India, of course has its own traditional martial arts which could be tapped into.

  • The ancient: Among the most well known martial arts is kalaripayattu, thought to have originated about 3,000 years ago in Kerala — with kalari meaning a battlefield or the place where the art is taught, while payattu means ‘to practise’. It involves a combination of raw power and quick reflexes, along with muscular strength. A practitioner learns how to fight with or without hand-held weapons. Giving kalaripayattu competition in the age department is silambam from neighbouring Tamil Nadu — the martial art form, which uses a bamboo stick, is said to have originated 5,000 years ago. Another ancient martial art form is Huyen Langlon, from Manipur, also believed to be near two millennia old — comprising elements of both armed combat, known as Thang Ta and unarmed combat, called Sarit Sarak.
  • The medieval: Gatkebaazi, stemming from the Sikh martial art form of Shahshtar Vidya (literally, knowledge of weaponry), developed during the militarisation of the Sikh religion during the time of the Sikh Gurus. While Shahshtar Vidya involves the use of sharp swords and weapons like spears, Gatkebaazi substitutes it with wooden sticks and shields. Like with most martial arts, it too requires agility and razor sharp reflexes with little room for error or lack of concentration.
  • The modern: Well, strictly speaking, it’s not an Indian martial art form but its popularity with defence and combat forces around the world has been on the rise ever since the Israelis showed the effectiveness of krav maga. Unlike several martial arts which are either defensive or follow a set of rules — such as no hitting on sensitive body parts — krav maga makes no such distinction. Developed by a Hungarian born Jew during World War 2, it was primarily a close combat technique to escape street scraps with the Nazis. Further honed, it’s mandatory training for all Israeli armed forces personnel and was also adopted by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and the Special Protection Group (SPG) some years back.
10. It’s only rock ‘n’ roll but we don’t like him
10. It’s only rock ‘n’ roll but we don’t like him
  • The Rolling Stones has threatened President Donald Trump with legal action for unauthorised use of their songs at his rallies despite a cease-and-desist directive. In a statement issued through BMI, the music rights company, the rock band said: “The BMI have notified the Trump campaign on behalf of the Stones that the unauthorised use of their songs will constitute a breach of its licensing agreement… If Donald Trump disregards the exclusion and persists, then he would face a lawsuit for breaking the embargo and playing music that has not been licensed.”
  • Trump’s team has used the band’s 1969 classic “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” at multiple campaign events, most recently at the recent rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Other artists too have exercised their legal rights against the Trump campaign for unauthorised use of their songs. The family of the late rock musician Tom Petty said that it had issued a cease-and-desist order after Trump used the song “I Won’t Back Down″ in Tulsa.
Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur. Pakistan has offered to reopen the Kartarpur Sahib corridor from today, to which India has said it was too short a notice. The corridor, which connects Dera Baba Nanak on the Indian side to the Gurdwara on the Pakistan side, was first suggested by former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1999. The Gurdwara was built by the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak when he founded the township of Kartarpur and where he spent the final years of his life.
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Written by: Rakesh Rai, Judhajit Basu, Sumil Sudhakaran, Tejeesh N.S. Behl
Research: Rajesh Sharma

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