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UK submits argument in Scottish independence poll case

It is understood that the UK government has asked for the court’s permission to publish the submission…reports Asian Lite News

The government has submitted its argument in a case that could allow the Scottish Parliament to legislate for another independence referendum.

Scottish Advocate Dorothy Bain referred a prospective referendum bill to the Supreme Court last month to ascertain if it was within the powers of the Scottish Parliament, reports dpa news agency.

Oral arguments are due to be heard in the case in October, but the Advocate General for Scotland Lord Stewart submitted the case against the bill being within the legislative competence of Parliament at Holyrood on Tuesday.

It is understood that the UK government has asked for the court’s permission to publish the submission.

A spokeswoman for the UK government said: “People across Scotland want both their governments to be working together on the issues that matter to them and their families, not talking about another independence referendum.

“We have today submitted our written case to the Supreme Court, in accordance with its timetable.

“On the question of legislative competence, the UK government’s clear view remains that a bill legislating for a referendum on independence would be outside the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament.”

In its submission to the court, submitted last month, the Scottish government leaned heavily on any future referendum not being “self-executing”, meaning it would be purely advisory and only meant as a way to ascertain the views of the Scottish people.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) has also made an attempt to intervene in the case, arguing that, as a public body, it would be “fair, just and reasonable” for it to make arguments to the court.

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Zimbabwe marks 42nd independence anniversary

The celebrations also carried an added significance in that it was the first time since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic that the nation held a large, physical gathering in Bulawayo and other provinces throughout the country to commemorate Independence Day, Mnangagwa said … A special report by Gretinah Machingura, Xinhua

 Zimbabwe marked its 42nd independence anniversary on Monday with President Emmerson Mnangagwa presiding over the national celebrations in the second largest city of Bulawayo, the first time in the history of the country that such celebrations have been held outside the capital Harare.

Mnangagwa said the main event in Bulawayo, in fulfillment of the government’s decision to decentralize the national celebrations, was historic and extraordinary. The celebrations ran under the theme: “Zimbabwe @ 42, Leaving No One and No Place Behind.

The celebrations also carried an added significance in that it was the first time since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic that the nation held a large, physical gathering in Bulawayo and other provinces throughout the country to commemorate Independence Day, Mnangagwa said.

While forging ahead with efforts to build the nation for common prosperity, Mnangagwa stressed the need for national unity for Zimbabwe to achieve its development goals.

“As we celebrate 42 years of our country’s independence, let us never allow divisive tendencies, greed and the pursuit of unpatriotic self-centered political gains to weaken our bond of unity, peace, love and harmony. Individually and collectively we have a duty to wholeheartedly serve and work hard for the development and prosperity of our beloved motherland, Zimbabwe,” Mnangagwa said.

He said in unity, Zimbabwe is rising with no one and no place being left behind as the country marches forward towards its vision of a prosperous and empowered upper-middle-income country by 2030.

Mnangagwa said the country’s independence from Britain in 1980 was achieved through the collective effort by all the people of Zimbabwe, including the gallant heroes and heroines who sacrificed their personal freedoms in order to liberate the country.

“Let us not grow tired but keep marching forward with joy, great optimism, determination, zeal and focus on unity, peace and freedom. Good times lie ahead and the fruits of our labor will be there for all to enjoy,” Mnangagwa said.

He said despite various challenges over the past 42 years including sanctions, Zimbabwe had made tremendous progress in many areas of which it is proud.

The country had also learned invaluable lessons from its 42-year journey which will make its actions more targeted for coordinated and balanced development, the president said.

Mnangagwa said more economic production was required and to this end, the Zimbabwean government will remain unwavering in its commitment to creating opportunities in agriculture, mining, manufacturing, tourism, infrastructure, healthcare, education, sciences and information communication technologies, among other sectors.

Zimbabweans at home and abroad, Mnangagwa said, have a sacred obligation and responsibility to help in building the nation, riding on the abundant business and investment prospects in the economy.

Zimbabwe hoped for an adequate grain harvest this year despite mixed fortunes due to the impact of mid-season drought and recurrent tropical cyclones in some provinces.

Mnangagwa said it was important for Zimbabwe to lay a sound infrastructure base for sustainable socio-economic development, and as such infrastructure development and expansion were being speeded up across all provinces.

ALSO READ: Zimbabwe On Fast Track To Revive Tourism

The mining sector had immense potential to spur socio-economic development and due to responsive strategies, Zimbabwe was on course to achieving the target of a 12 billion U.S. dollars mining industry by 2023, the president said.

“Recently, our country assumed the Vice Chairmanship of both the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme and the African Diamond Producers Association, subsequently becoming Chair in 2023. These portfolios will be leveraged to achieve maximum value from our diamond mining sector,” Mnangagwa said.

He said the development of rural industrialization is being prioritized, leveraging the various unique resources within communities.

Total exports were projected to grow by 10 percent this year, Mnangagwa said, adding that the number of foreign airlines coming into the country had increased from three in 2017 to 17 in 2022.

Mnangagwa urged the nation to remain alert to the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that in order to protect children from the pandemic, parents and guardians should facilitate the vaccination of children from 12 years and above. MORE PICS ON PAGE 6 & 7

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Prez urges people to not let the guard down against Covid

He also said that at the beginning of this year, the largest vaccination exercise in the history of the world was launched, urging the people to get vaccinated….reports Asian Lite News

Addressing the nation on the eve of 75th Independence Day, President Ram Nath Kovind said that the coronavirus is still here and has not gone away and one must not let the guard down.

Noting that the vaccine is the best possible protection, he said, “We are yet to come out of the devastating effects of its recurrence this year. Last year, with exceptional efforts from all, we had succeeded in bringing the spread of infections under control. Our scientists had succeeded in developing vaccines in a very short time.”

He also said that at the beginning of this year, the largest vaccination exercise in the history of the world was launched, urging the people to get vaccinated.

Referring to the Covid second wave, the President said, efforts were made on war-footing to plug the gaps while the leadership rose to the challenge, and the government’s endeavours were supplemented by initiatives of the states, private sector healthcare facilities, the civil society and others. “In this extraordinary mission, foreign nations shared the essentials generously, just as India had reached out to many nations with medicine, equipment and vaccines. I am grateful to the global fraternity that came forward with a helping hand”, he said.

Talking about the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics, he made references to the stellar performances of Indian sportspersons. India has won the highest number of medals in the 121 years of its participation in the Olympics. He said, “Our daughters have achieved world class excellence in playgrounds overcoming many adversities. Along with sports, epoch-making changes are taking place in the participation and success of women in all walks of life. From higher educational institutions to armed forces, from laboratories to playgrounds, our daughters are making their mark. In this success of our daughters, I see a glimpse of a developed India of the future”, Kovind said.

“Independence Day is a festival of freedom for us. This was made possible by generations of freedom fighters; some known, many unknown. They made great sacrifices. Today, you and I breathe under free skies thanks to their heroic deeds. I bow in respect to the pious memory of those brave martyrs”, he further said.

He also said that our nationalist movement, led by Mahatma Gandhi, was based on the principles of truth and non-violence. He and all other national heroes provided us with an invaluable blueprint to not only liberate the nation from colonial rule, but also to rebuild it and his struggle was for a return to Indian ethos and for human dignity, Kovind added.

We have adopted the system of parliamentary democracy. Therefore, our Parliament is the temple of our democracy which provides us with the highest forum where we discuss, debate and decide issues for the well-being of our people. It is a matter of great pride for all Indians that our Parliament will soon be housed in a new building. It will be a fitting statement of our outlook: It will honour our legacy while also walking in step with the contemporary world. It is more than symbolic that the new building will be inaugurated in the year of the 75th anniversary of Independence.

Referring to the Gaganyan Mission, he said that pilots of the Indian Air Force have been receiving training abroad. When they fly off into space, India will become only the fourth nation on the planet to carry out a manned space mission. “I congratulate all of you, on the eve of India’s 75th Independence Day. While celebrating this anniversary, I cannot stop my mind from imagining a powerful, prosperous and peaceful India of 2047 when we will celebrate 100 years of our independence”, Kovind concluded.

ALSO READ: Russia wants India in expanded Troika

-Top News India News

‘India has transformed to modern economy, vibrant democracy’

“Our 75th year as a free nation is also the starting point to envision where we will be on our centenary,” said EAM S Jaishankar, reports Asian Lite News

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said in the last 75 years, people of India have displayed collective commitment to create a vibrant democracy and a modern economy.

The EAM said this while inaugurating ”Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav” on Friday ahead of India’s 75th Independence Day, organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relation (ICCR) in Delhi.

“As the tricolour unfolds at the Red Fort this 15th August, we will be marking a historic milestone in the journey of a civilizational state towards a contemporary nation. This is certainly a moment for celebration; but equally one for introspection and renewed resolve,” Jaishankar said.

“In the 75 years that have passed, we, the people of India, have displayed a huge collective commitment to creating a vibrant democracy, a modern economy and an energetic civil society. To that end, we have drawn on the efforts of untold and often unknown freedom fighters, as also masses of citizens who nurtured their spirit. We, therefore, pay homage to those whose sacrifices make our tomorrow possible,” he added.

The EAM further noted that in this period, along with India, the world has changed profoundly. Significant shifts – starting with the economy and extending to politics, to culture and to other domains – have driven a rebalancing process that is creating a multi-polar world, he said.

“In such a reality, the capabilities, the influence, in fact, the very personality of our nation has a growing impact on the world order. This ability to shape global developments through an optimal mix of hard and soft power constitutes the essence of our diplomacy today. And, we can embark on that now with much greater confidence than ever before,” the EAM said.

The EAM said that it was inevitable that once democracy struck deeper roots in India, that the authentic voices of our society would find expression.

“We see that every day at home in a variety of ways. As a result, our heritage, traditions and practices are once again getting the recognition that they have long deserved. The celebration of the International Day of Yoga is symbolic of that development. This anniversary, of course, offers us an opportunity to present to the world many other facets of our rich and diverse culture,” he said.

The EAM pointed out that as we approached this momentous anniversary, India too was severely tested by the Covid pandemic. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, our people responded courageously not only at home, but stood with others abroad as well.

While concluding the address, Jaishankar said, “Our 75th year as a free nation is also the starting point to envision where we will be on our centenary. The bold transformations at home will give us an increasingly salient role in the international system.”

“As a democratic polity, a pluralistic society, an innovative economy and as a culture of unmatched diversity, our contributions have a real weight and value. Our ability to harmonize tradition and modernity stands out in particular. Already, India is perceived as a first responder, a climate action leader, the pharmacy of the world, a reservoir of talent and as a reliable development partner,” he added. (India News Network)

ALSO READ-Visiting SAARC Secretary General meets Jaishankar

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Arts & Culture Lite Blogs

‘Amar Jyoti’ tribute to unknown soldiers

The event in honour of the unsung heroes will witness some soulful music by many talented musicians from India…writes Siddhi Jain.

Soldiers are the backbones of our country. Ahead of India’s upcoming Independence Day, an annual concert series titled ‘Amar Jyoti’ is set to present a tribute to unknown soldiers through a unique amalgamation of two classical dance forms, Bharatanatyam and Kathak, on stage.

Presented by Pandit Chaturlal Memorial Society, this tribute will feature a unique concept ‘Samyuktam: We are United’ — bringing two dancing divas together, Bharatanatyam by Rukmini Vijayakumar and Kathak by Vidha Lal.

The event in honour of the unsung heroes will witness some soulful music by many talented musicians from India. Featuring artistes on various instruments and vocals include young tabla maestro Pranshu Chatur Lal, mridangam maestro Harsha Samaga, Pavithra Chari and Rohith Bhat Uppoor, Atul Shankar, Mudassir Khan, G Raghavendra Prasath and TS Sharath.

Shruti ChaturLal, granddaughter of the tabla legend and the artistic director at Pandit Chaturlal Festival said, “Under the aegis of Pandit Chatur Lal Festival, we have been successfully organizing the Amar Jyoti editions. It has been quite challenging to put this concert together since the artists were travelling from Bangalore after the second wave of Covid. In fact, even without the audience, this is a grand musical tribute to the martyrs of India — the unsung, unknown soldiers who have laid their lives for our freedom. We started this series in 1990 as a small effort from our side to honour and extend our gratitude to the martyrs of our nation and this year it marks its commencement of 24th edition.”

Tabla player Pranshu Chatur Lal shares, “The production ‘Samyuktam — We Are United’ is specially designed to motivate us through these difficult times and assist us in strengthening our unity. With our jugalbandi, viewers will be able to experience a blend of two Indian classical dance forms Kathak and Bharatanatyam uniquely but also the nuances of Hindustani and Carnatic rhythms and music traditions combining the grace and power of dance will for sure be considered to be magical to the eye.”

The concept of the event was conceptualised to acknowledge the valour and courage of our brave Indian soldiers who laid down their lives battling for the country. The event can be viewed on August 7 at 7:00 PM on YouTube.

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-Top News Asia News Bangladesh

B’desh celebrates 50 years of independence

President Hamid first placed a wreath at the altar of the National Memorial in Savar accompanied by the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina…reports Asian Lite News

Bangladesh on Friday marked 50 years with President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paying rich tributes to all the victims of the 1971 Liberation War.

President Hamid first placed a wreath at the altar of the National Memorial in Savar followed by the Prime Minister, reports The Daily Star newspaper.

After placing the wreaths, Hamid and Hasina stood in silence as a mark ofrespect to the memories of the war victims.

A smartly turned-out contingent drawn from Bangladesh Army, Navy and Air Force presented a state salute on the occasion while the bugles played the last post.

President H.E Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina have paid homage to the martyrs of Liberation War(Twitter)

Later, the President and the Prime minister signed the visitors’ book there on the occasion.

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s younger daughter Sheikh Rehana, Jatiya Sangsad Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, senior Awami League leaders and high civil and military officials, among others, were present at the memorial.

Also read:Bangladesh thanks India for providing vaccines

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the state ceremony is being celebrated in a limited scale maintaining the health guidelines and social distancing.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has arrived in Dhaka to participate in the Golden Jubilee celebrations.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina

Modi will join Hasina at the National Parade Ground, the main venue of the celebrations, in Dhaka with President Hamid as the chief guest.

This year also marks the birth centenary of Bangabandhu, who led Bangladesh’s Liberation War against Pakistan in 1971.

Bangabandhu declared independence on March 26 that yearafter the Pakistani forces had brutally cracked down on the unarmed people of the then East Pakistan on the night of March 25, 1971.

Also read:Bangladesh and India consolidate ties

-Top News Asia News

Nepal President embarks on visit to B’desh

Bangladesh is hosting the 10-day special programme to celebrate the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and also 50 years of the country’s independence…reports Asian Lite News

Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari on Monday left for Bangladesh on a two-day state visit, during which she will attend a special programme in Dhaka and meet others senior leaders from the region.

Bangladesh is hosting the 10-day special programme to celebrate the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and also 50 years of the country’s independence. The celebrations began on March 17.

According to Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bhandari will attend the celebrations in Dhaka and on the occasion she deliver a statement on the theme, “Nepal-Bangladesh Relations and Bangabandhu’s Birth Centenary”.

Bidhya Devi Bhandari(Wikipedia)

She will also hold talks her Bangladeshi counterpart Abdul Hamid at Bangabhaban, the Presidential Palace in the capital city.

Nepal’s Minister for Communications and Information Technology Parbat Gurung, also the government spokesperson, said the countries will sign three Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs).

An array of subjects like cultural relations, tourism sector, and pesticides on agriculture and livestock between Nepal and Bangladesh would be discussed, he added.

Also read:Bangladesh thanks India for providing vaccines

Likewise, linking Nepal with ports in Bangladesh through railway and transportation would also be on Bhandari’s agency.

“There is the hope that the subject of initiatives taken by Bangladesh on purchasing power from Nepal will be discussed,” Gurung said.

The government of Bangladesh has provided Nepal transit facility through the Kakadbhitta-Phulbari-Banglabandh via India roadway as well as at the Chittagong and Mongla seaports.

It has also made available an additional �rail corridor’ for the operation of a freight train from Rohanpur-Singhabad to Nepal via India, and it has opened the way for the Himalayan nation to use the Mongla harbour as an option to the Kolkata port.

Since Mongla port is nearer to Kolkata, it will help expand bilateral trade at a comparatively lesser cost for Nepal.

Also read:Nepal gives emergency nod to India’s Covaxin