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G20 leaders uphold multilateralism, grapple with pandemic

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, called on the G20 to quickly supply the vaccine donations that have been pledged to Africa, and support vaccine production there…reports Asian Lite News.

The leaders of the world’s major economies and international organizations called for enhanced international cooperation on the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly on the supply and distribution of vaccines, as multilateral talks kicked off at the Group of 20 (G20) Leaders’ Summit on Saturday.

Even before the pandemic, “we faced protectionism, unilateralism and nationalism,” Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi said in his opening remarks, stressing that “it is clear multinationalism is the best answer to the problems we face today.”

Draghi praised the global vaccination effort that has almost met the World Health Organization’s (WHO) target of vaccinating 40 per cent of the world’s adult population by the end of this year, though he noted that vaccination campaigns in poor countries have lagged dramatically behind those in high-income countries, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Now we must do all we can to reach 70 per cent global vaccination rate by mid-2022,” Draghi added.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said through a video link at the first session of the summit that the G20 countries should solve the problem of mutual recognition of Covid-19 vaccines and vaccination certificates as soon as possible. This issue combined with unfair competition and protectionism means not all countries have equal access to vaccines and other vital resources, he stressed.

He called on the G20 members to develop mechanisms for the systematic and prompt updating of vaccines, given that the coronavirus continues to mutate.

Meanwhile, European Council President Charles Michel tweeted during the summit: “We need to expand vaccine sharing and production in vulnerable countries, notably against Covid-19,” adding that a treaty on pandemics will allow for better prevention, preparedness and global response.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, called on the G20 to quickly supply the vaccine donations that have been pledged to Africa, and support vaccine production there.

“Vaccine equity is not charity; it’s in every country’s best interests,” he said.

The issues at the top of the agenda for the two-day summit under the Italian Presidency of the G20 include the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change and economic recovery.

ALSO READ-Biden renews commitment to return to Iran N-deal

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Biden renews commitment to return to Iran N-deal

The meeting of the four leaders was held at the sidelines of the Group of 20 (G20) summit in Rome…reports Asian Lite News.

German, French and British leaders have expressed hopes of a return to full compliance with the Iran nuclear deal by all parties after a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden on Saturday.

“We welcome President Biden’s clearly demonstrated commitment to return the U.S. to full compliance with the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and to stay in full compliance, so long as Iran does the same,” said a statement jointly issued by Biden, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The meeting of the four leaders was held at the sidelines of the Group of 20 (G20) summit in Rome.

“We are convinced that it is possible to quickly reach and implement an understanding on return to full compliance and to ensure for the long term that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes,” the statement added.

Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani met EU coordinators on Wednesday and agreed to resume negotiations aimed at reviving the JCPOA, by the end of November.

“Return to JCPOA compliance will provide sanctions lifting with long-lasting implications for Iran’s economic growth,” said the statement, adding that “this will only be possible if Iran changes course”.

The four Western leaders called upon Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to “seize this opportunity and return to a good faith effort to conclude our negotiations as a matter of urgency.”

The previous U.S. administration pulled Washington out of the JCPOA in 2018, and reimposed old sanctions, as well as new ones on Iran. Iran retaliated by gradually dropping some of its commitments under the pact, and “has accelerated the pace of provocative nuclear steps, such as the production of highly enriched uranium and enriched uranium metal,” the leaders said.

On Friday, the United States imposed sanctions against companies and individuals related to Iran’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) programs. Iran slammed the latest U.S. sanctions against its entities as “completely contradictory behavior”.

“A government that talks about an intention of returning to the nuclear deal but continues (former U.S. President Donald) Trump’s policy of sanctions is sending the message that it really is not reliable,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in remarks published on the Ministry’s official website. Between April and July this year, six rounds of talks were held in Vienna, Austria, with regard to a strict monitoring of Iran’s nuclear program and the lifting of sanctions on Iran, before the process was interrupted by Iran’s governmental transition.

ALSO READ-Modi Meets Biden, Johnson, Other Leaders At G20

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Books Business Lite Blogs

Story of a man who created India’s biggest coffee chain

The book was acquired at an auction from Anish Chandy, Founder of the Labyrinth Literary Agency, by Teesta Guha Sarkar, Head of Editorial, Pan Macmillan India…reports Asian Lite News.

“Coffee King” is the definitive biography of the late VG Siddhartha, the founder of the Cafe Coffee Day retail chain and several other businesses.

Known to be an extremely savvy technology investor, Siddhartha had also backed at a very early stage some of the marquee names in the Indian IT services landscape today. But by 2019, he was highly leveraged on both business and personal fronts and facing a liquidity crisis. In July that year, he died by suicide after jumping into the Netravati river.

Siddhartha left behind a grieving and bewildered family, investor community and employee base, and a startled but curious media and public.

Through extensive research, hundreds of interviews and the analysis of thousands of official documents, Rukmini Rao and Prosenjit Datta now piece together the story of Siddhartha’s dynamic rise as a businessman and also his fall from grace, unravelling the reasons that led to his financial crises and eventually his shocking death.

The book was acquired at an auction from Anish Chandy, Founder of the Labyrinth Literary Agency, by Teesta Guha Sarkar, Head of Editorial, Pan Macmillan India.

Commenting on the acquisition, Rukmini Rao said: “VG Siddhartha’s biography will offer much more than just the story of the man who created India’s biggest coffee chain. There were many facets to him that remain unknown. This book will bring all those aspects together to present a complex, holistic portrait.”

Prosenjit Datta said: “As we proceeded with the research for this book, we realised that Siddhartha had built an organization that was far more complex than what appeared on the surface. So we peeled the onion, layer by layer, in order to properly understand the business tycoon’s professional and personal avatars and where the two intersected. He was a man of many contradictions, and few can say that they knew the real Siddhartha. We hope to present a more complete picture in (the book).”

Anish Chandy said: “Rukmini Rao and Prosenjit Datta have drawn a fully accessible portrait of VG Siddhartha and his labyrinthine business empire through exacting research, drawing upon their multi-decade investigative journalism experience.”

Teesta Guha Sarkar said: “Consummate business journalists Rukmini Rao and Prosenjit Datta’s investigation into the life and death of one of India’s most intriguing business tycoons has culminated in a riveting, finely nuanced character study. The great depth of their research, combined with an empathetic approach, make this undoubtedly the most definitive book there may ever be on India’s coffee king.’

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READ MORE-Have a brand new beginning with these books

Arts & Culture West Bengal

Don’t miss the 11th RadhaRaman Folk Festival returning to Leeds from 5-7 November!

Featured at a number of indoor venues, the festival also extends to Roundhay Park, writes Prof. Geetha Upadhyaya

Prof. Geetha Upadhyaya

The RadhaRaman Folk Festival, a three-day long prodigious presentation of Bengali folk music and dance along with other global folk art forms, is returning to Leeds for eleventh year from Friday 5 November to Sunday 7 November.

The highlights of the festival includes 24 hour performances of Bengali folk music, Dhamail dance, Moroccan/ North African Folk Music through Oud, Nye and Lute, Irish and Flamenco dance, early European music, multicultural poetry, a panel discussion along with the ancient music from other cultures of the globe.

Featured at a number of indoor venues, the festival also extends to Roundhay Park.

Organised by Leeds-based art organisation RadhaRaman Society, approximately 28 prominent performers including award-winning musicians and dancers national and international artists.

The festival will also feature talks by a few guest speakers including important political personalities.

The inaugural performance will kick off at Seven Arts Centre Leeds on Friday 5 November leading to the all night session and many more on the days following.

Amal Podder, Amar Baidya and Sujith Chowdhury who have been very involved in this unique festival felt that this festival offers a great opportunity for everyone to enjoy a cultural extravaganza whilst promoting wider humanism and love to make the most of the living moment.”

Link below for free registration:

Maharashtra UK News

OMPEG Celebrates 5th Anniversary

During the last five years, OMPEG has connected hundreds of professionals and entrepreneurs and delivered more than 60 high-value events successfully, writes Ragasudha Vinjamuri

Overseas Maharashtrian Professionals and Entrepreneurs Group (OMPEG) has marked its 5th anniversary recently at DoubleTree by Hilton, Milton Keynes- part of MK Dons Football Stadium.

Themed “Many Colours One Spirit” depicting many qualities needed to be a successful professional or entrepreneur, the event had more than 200 attendees.

Guest of Honour Rohan Samant, HCI

Rohan Samant- First Secretary (Political & Immigration) at the High Commission of India, London was the Guest of Honour, and Dilip Amdekar- Founder of Academy of Science Technology and Management was the Keynote Speaker on the occasion.

Invited guests included renowned business leader Uday Dholakia OBE, renowned educationist Kabir Shaikh, Associate Director at UKIBC (UK India Business Council) Siddharth Mukne, UK Head of CII (Confederation of Indian Industries) Lakshmi Kaul, among others.

Cake-cutting by OMPEG Team

While Dilip Amdekar spoke on the Journey of a Professional to Entrepreneur, OMPEGians Abhijit Akerkar, Ketki Gokhale, Dr Mahadeo Bhide, Pradyna Punekar, Sanjay Rode, Raj Deokar and Dr Vijendra Ingle have shared their experiences. CEO of the event’s corporate sponsor Innvotec- Tofiq Qureshi and Manoj Karkhanis have also briefly spoken.

Achievements of Ajit Jaokar, Akshay Shah, Devyani Vaishampayan, Himanshu Dasare, Kailas Lovlekar, Jailesh Deshpande, Nayan Gala, Consultant Gynaecologist and elected Councillor of Sutton Coldfield Dr Nitish Raut, Pankaja Karenar, Dr Sanjiv Manjure, and Vaibhav Naik were recognised and honoured.

OMPEG Honours 2021

Dr Vaibhav Deshpande was given special recognition as Community Champion for his frontline duties as NHS COVID19 warrior, and for his personal support and efforts to create awareness of COVID19 within the OMPEG community.

OMPEG was founded with a vision to establish a platform for nurturing the spirit of entrepreneurship within the UK based Maharashtrian community and is the only business network of UK Maharashtrians.

Invited Guests at OMPEG event

During the last five years, OMPEG has connected hundreds of professionals and entrepreneurs and delivered more than 60 high-value events successfully. OMPEG’s first Regional Chapter was launched in Midlands in 2020, creating another milestone for the organisation.

OMPEG’s Central Core Volunteer Team includes Ani Kaprekar, Harshwardhan Soman, Mayura Chandekar, Prerna Tambay, Rahul Gholap, Rajan Shegunshi, Ravindra Gadgil, Reshma Vikas, Samir Gujar, and Sushil Rapatwar.

UK News West Bengal

Pujo Porikroma by Indian Bengalis in UK (IBUK), first of its kind

Indian Bengalis in UK (IBUK) has organised Pujo Porikroma in London recently during the Vijaya Dashami weekend of Dussehra celebrations.

106 people in two buses travelled and attended 6 Durga Pujo venues, traveling from as far afield as Birmingham, Leeds, Coventry, Southampton, Leamington Spa, Crowley, Surrey, and Kent.

Attendees on their way to Porikroma

All the attendees have initially assembled at the Hounslow Prabashi Pujo venue and offered Pushpanjali to the Goddess before boarding the buses.
The fun ride through the streets of London went up to Adi Shakti where everyone was served lunch.

The tour of an enthusiastic group of attendees continued to Adda Slough, Harrow Panchomukhee, Ealing London Sharod Utsav before concluding the Porikroma at the Swiss Cottage Library London Durgotsav where they had dinner.

Deity of Durga

The attendees then went back to Hounslow again from where they dispersed. This was one of its kind of Pandal hopping in England, just as it would happen if one were in India.

Covid protocols were strictly followed before and during the tour. The admins of the group have relentlessly followed up on individual LFT test reports, and ensured everyone used masks. Sanitisers were used at all entry and exit points throughout the day.Bijoya Shammeloni was also observed the following weekend, where 160 participants gathered for an evening of fun and frolic, dinner, and DJ.

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ISI targets security posts, camps in Kashmir

The ongoing anti-terror operation in Poonch has indicated the preparation level of these terrorist groups, they added…reports Asian Lite News…reports Asian Lite News.

Following the recent civilian killings in the Kashmir, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is now pushing the terrorists and overground workers, as well as hybrid terrorists, to hit the security forces’ camps and posts in the valley, sources said.

The sources quoting intelligence inputs, have confirmed that the ISI has asked the handlers of terror outfits active in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) such as Lashakar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and the newly-floated ‘The Resistance Force’ to instruct its cadre to hit the security forces’ camps and posts.

They also said that some heavily-armed terrorists who might have sneaked into the valley earlier, may sprawl on security establishments, therefore, extra vigil have been instructed without any laxity.

The ongoing anti-terror operation in Poonch has indicated the preparation level of these terrorist groups, they added.

The sources also said that despite the high security apparatus that have activated in Jammu and Kashmir especially after the recent visit by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, these inputs are a matter of concern.

However, officials involved in the operations said that adequate security arrangements have been put in place to prevent untoward attempts.

“Barricades and fortified bunkers have been placed at the security forces’ camps and residential complexes have been tightened, adequate security deployments have been deployed at the entry and exit points of the cities in the Union Territory including Srinagar,” the security officials said, adding that similar arrangement have also made for defence establishments, while joint patrolling by the army and CRPF have already been intensified.

ALSO READ-‘Terrorism in the time of corona’

READ MORE-India, US to reinvigorate action against terrorism-financing

-Top News India News

Priyanka woos UP voters with more promises

Mounting a scathing attack on the Yogi Adityanath government, she said that the chief minister was working against the principles of Guru Gorakhnath…reports Asian Lite News.

Continuing her series of ‘pratigya’ (promises), Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, on Sunday, announced that if the Congress came to power in Uttar Pradesh, 20 lakh youths would be given jobs, women would get the facility of free bus travel and fishing would be given the status of farming.

“The Nishad community will have rights over rivers and sand mining. We will also set up a university in the name of Guru Matsyendranath (Guru of Gorakhnath),” she said while speaking at a Pratigya rally in Gorakhpur.

She further announced that if the Congress came to power, the ad hoc and contract workers would be regularised and the purchase price of wheat and paddy would be raised to Rs 2,500 while sugarcane MSP would be Rs 400.

“Women will be given three free gas cylinders in a year and treatment up to Rs 10 lakh would be free for all. Besides, we will ensure full loan waiver for farmers. ASHA workers would be given an honorarium of Rs 10,000 per month,” she added.

Priyanka said that India was a nation that survived on faith. “We have faith in the earth, faith in religion, faith in our labour and faith in our leaders. We have faith in what the leaders say and when huge advertisements tell us that development has arrived, we begin to wonder. Time has come to question our leaders and ask them where is the development,” she said.

Mounting a scathing attack on the Yogi Adityanath government, she said that the chief minister was working against the principles of Guru Gorakhnath.

“Amit Shah said that law and order in UP is perfect. In Lakhimpur, his party leaders mowed down farmers. In Gorakhpur, the police killed businessman Manish Gupta. In Lucknow, an executive Vivek Tiwari was shot dead by policemen and in Unnao one girl was raped and set on fire while another was raped and an attempt was made to kill her in an accident. You do not need a binocular to see the reality but a good pair of spectacles,” she said.

Priyanka berated the Modi government and said that they had promised to enable a person with ‘hawai chappal’ to travel by air. “But travelling by road has become impossible due to rising fuel prices.

The Prime Minister flies to Italy in his Rs 8,000 crore aircraft but in UP farmers die waiting in queues for fertilizer. A farmer’s income is Rs 27 per day but his businessmen friends earn Rs 1,000 crore per day,” she said.

Priyanka said that politics would change drastically if more women came in.

She ended her speech with ‘Jai Guru Matsyendranath’ and ‘Jai Guru Gorakhnath’ — both spiritual gurus of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

ALSO READ-Congress remembers ‘Iron Lady’ on her death anniversary

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-Top News India News

Congress remembers ‘Iron Lady’ on her death anniversary

Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet, “my grand mother served the nation without fear and her life is inspiration and great example of women power”.”…reports Asian Lite News.

Congress leaders on Sunday paid floral tributes to Indira Gandhi on her 37th death anniversary and remembered her lifelong dedication and service to the nation.

Rahul Gandhi paid tributes at Shakti Sthal, and later went to Indira Gandhi Memorial, where he along with Congress president Sonia Gandhi paid homage to the late former PM on anniversary of her martyrdom day.

Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet, “my grand mother served the nation without fear and her life is inspiration and great example of women power”.

The Congress party also hailed Indira Gandhi for her lifelong dedication and service to the nation. It tweeted: “She represented strength.
She epitomised sacrifice. She personified service.

A billion salutes to the Iron Lady of India, our very first woman Prime Minister, a true Bharat Ratna, Smt Indira Gandhi, on her death anniversary.”

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh tweeted, “World leaders will gather in Glasgow soon. But Indira Gandhi was ONLY PM, other than the host, to attend 1st UN Conference on Environment, Stockholm, in 1972. She made a historic speech & created huge impact. She walked the talk on environment. We mark her death anniversary today.”

Indira Gandhi was martyred in 1984 when her guards opened fire on her on this day, when she was the Prime Minister of the country.

ALSO READ-Tributes to Rajiv Gandhi on 28th death anniversary

READ MORE-The Unseen Indira Gandhi

Arab News News World

Libya’s JMC holds talks over withdrawal of foreign forces

Libya’s 5+5 Joint Military Commission (JMC) has launched a new round of UN-sponsored talks in Egypt’s capital Cairo to discuss plans for the pullout of foreign forces…reports Asian Lite News

The two-day meeting was attended by UN special envoy for Libya Jan Kubis, and representatives from neighbouring countries, Xinhua quoted Egypt’s official Ahram Online news website as saying in a report.

After the meeting held in Geneva on October 8, the JMC signed a comprehensive Action Plan for the gradual, balanced, and sequenced withdrawal of mercenaries, foreign fighters and foreign forces from Libyan territory.

Libya’s JMC holds talks over withdrawal of foreign forces

The work of the 5+5 JMC, or the security track, is one of the three intra-Libyan tracks that the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) is working on, along with the economic and political tracks.

These tracks were endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution 2510 (2020), which called on both parties to reach an agreement for a permanent ceasefire.

Libya has been locked in a civil war since the ouster and killing of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

ALSO READ: IOM deported 140 illegal Bangladeshi migrants from Libya

The situation escalated in 2014, splitting power between two rival governments: the UN-backed Government of National Accord based in the capital Tripoli and a Tobruk-based one allied with military commander Khalifa Haftar.

In February, Libya’s warring factions agreed to form an interim government, under the auspices of the UN, to run the country until the general elections are held on December 24.