Foreigners Deported in 2021

US Embassy Announces Initiative To Cut Visa Wait For Indians

The United States on Sunday announced new visa initiatives for Indians including special interviews for first-time applicants and greater strength of visa staff across the country to reduce wait times for first-time visa applicants.

As part of this initiative, the United States opened consular operations across the country to accommodate applicants who require in-person visa interviews.

“On January 21, the U.S. Mission in India launched the first in a series of special Saturday interview days, as part of a larger effort to reduce wait times for first-time visa applicants. The United States Embassy in New Delhi and Consulates in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad all opened consular operations on Saturday to accommodate applicants who require in-person visa interviews,” the US embassy said in a statement.

“In the coming months, the Mission will continue to open additional slots for appointments to take place on select Saturdays,” the statement added.

The embassy said that the US government has implemented remote processing of interview waiver cases for applicants with previous U.S. visas. “Between January and March 2023, dozens of temporary consular officers from Washington and other embassies will arrive in India to increase processing capacity,” the statement added.

It also said the US State Department is also increasing the number of consular officers permanently assigned to the Embassy and Consulates.

“The U.S. Mission in India released more than 250,000 additional B1/B2 appointments. Consulate General Mumbai also extended its weekday operating hours to make space for additional appointments,” the statement added.

Consulate General Mumbai currently adjudicates the most visa applications in India and is one of the largest visa operations in the world, the embassy said.

“Our consular teams across India are putting in the extra hours to meet the needs of international travelers and bring down wait times,” said Mumbai Consular Chief John Ballard. “This is part of a Mission wide effort to find innovative solutions to facilitate travel to the United States.”

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in profound reductions in the Department’s visa processing capacity, and many of its embassies and consulates were at times only able to offer emergency services.

“As travel restrictions have been lifted, the U.S. Mission to India has made it a priority to facilitate legitimate travel and adjudicated over 800,000 nonimmigrant visas in 2022, including record numbers of both student and employment visas. In every other visa category, interview wait times in India are at pre-pandemic levels or lower,” the US embassy said.

“By this summer, the U.S. Mission in India will be at full staffing, and we expect to be processing visas at levels from prior to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the embassy added. (ANI)

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BJP's Ideology Mamata

BJP’s Ideology Is Self-Centered: Mamata

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and said that the BJP’s ideology is to be “self-centered” while her party Trinamool Congress abides by the Constitution.

Addressing a convention of Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers in Kolkata, Banerjee said, “CPI (M) and BJP belong to the same team…BJP’s ideology is to be self-centered…Our compulsion is to obey the Constitution. But today history, geography, and politics are being forgotten; education and culture are being changed,”
The TMC supremo spoke on Trinamool Congress’ vision as it completed 25 years on January 1, and said “the party aims at a united India with a strengthened federal structure”.

On Sunday, she took to Twitter on the occasion of the 25th foundation day of the Trinamool Congress and congratulated everyone for believing in the power of Maa, Maati, and Manush (mother, soil, and people).

She also recalled the party’s struggle through the years and the role played by the party workers in empowering people, fighting injustice, and inspiring hope among the masses.

“This day, 25 years ago, TMC came into existence. I recall our struggles through the years & the role we have played in empowering people, fighting injustice, and inspiring hope. I heartily congratulate everyone for believing in the power of MAA, MAATI, MANUSH,” tweeted Mamata.

Trinamool Congress was created over Mamata’s difference from the Congress. She left Congress and formed TMC on January 1, 1998. TMC which emerged as a regional party was elevated to a national Party in 2016.

The party ended the 34-year left regime in West Bengal in 2011 and has been in power since then, winning three consecutive assembly elections.

Currently, it is the third largest party in the parliament after BJP and the Congress with 23 members in the Lok Sabha and 13 in the Rajya Sabha. (ANI)

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Two Covid Positive At Kolkata Airport

Two Covid Positive Detected At Kolkata Airport

Two persons returning from abroad have tested positive for the Coronavirus infection at the Kolkata Aiport, airport sources said on Monday.

Both samples have been sent for genome sequencing.
According to sources, one of the positive passengers came from Dubai on Saturday while another came from Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur.

Patients are kept in quarantine in Beliaghata ID Hospital.

Following the advisory ‘Guidelines for International Arrivals’, issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has commenced random post-arrival testing for International arrivals at Delhi Airport, said Dr. Gauri Agarwal, Founder of Genestrings Diagnostic Center on Sunday.

According to the new instructions by the government, 2 percent of all passengers arriving at international airports have to undertake random post-arrival testing at the Delhi Airport from December 24. This is being done to reduce the risk of ingress of the new COVID-19 variant BF.7 in India.

Earlier in the day, four international travellers from Myanmar tested positive for the Coronavirus infection at the Delhi airport.

It is pertinent to mention that Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya will hold a virtual meeting with the Indian Medical Association (IMA) at 4 pm today for the Covid-19 preparedness, situation.

Recently, the IMA also issued an advisory and appealed to the public to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour with immediate effect.

“In view of the sudden surge of COVID cases in different countries, the Indian Medical Association alerts and appeals to the public to follow COVID appropriate behaviour with immediate effect.”

“As per available reports, nearly 5.37 lakhs new cases have been reported in last 24 hours from major countries like USA, Japan, South as per the available reports, nearly 5.37 lakhs new cases have been reported in last 24 hours from major countries like USA, Japan, South Korea, France, and Brazil,” read the statement of IMA.

The entire country is gearing up for a possible fourth wave of Covid-19, with the new Omicron sub-variant BF.7, which is said to be the reason behind the surge in Covid cases in China, being detected in India. (ANI)

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BJP Protests Against WB Govt Over Spike In Dengue Cases

West Bengal Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari slammed the Mamata Banerjee-led government over a spike in Dengue cases on Tuesday and said that Health Minister doesn’t come to the House (Assembly).

Amid rising cases of Dengue in West Bengal, BJP leaders protested against the state government today by taking out a march. The BJP leaders were wrapped in a mosquito net and carried mosquito models with them as a mark of protest.
While talking to the media persons in Kolkata, Suvendu Adhikari said, “Health Minister doesn’t come to the House (Assembly). No discussion takes place over Health and Home Departments, they don’t take questions.”

Earlier on November 7, Former Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader and Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Adhikari had written a letter to the Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya over the surge of dengue cases in the state and urged the Centre to send a ‘Team of Doctors to guide the State Govt and provide relief to the people. “I am writing you this letter as the State of West Bengal is in the midst of a Health Emergency,” the letter said.

Taking to Twitter Suvendu Adhikari said, “Dengue situation in West Bengal has spiraled out of control due to the inefficient West Bengal government. I have written a letter to Hon’ble Union Health Minister; Mansukh Mandaviya to send a Central Team of Doctors & Public Health Experts to guide the State Govt & provide relief to the people.”

Pointing to the alarming situation of dengue in the state, Suvendu Adhikari in his letter wrote, “At a time when you are choking in the national capital, the people of West Bengal are tormented by mosquitos. Dengue has taken West Bengal in its grip for the past three months, with the cases on the rise in several parts of the state. The worst affected areas are Kolkata, North 24 Parganas, Murshidabad, Hooghly & Howrah.”

Amid the worsening of the situation, West Bengal on October 28 reported garbage littered on roads in Kolkata, which raised concern as the city was already grappling with the outbreak of dengue.

The garbage was found littered open on New Town and Salt Lake streets.

As a result, the citizens are keeping the doors and windows of their houses closed in disgust over the rotten stench of garbage and in fear of dengue-causing mosquitoes entering their houses.

According to locals, despite repeated pleas by the government and doctors to keep the neighbourhood clean to fight dengue, these places are littered with garbage.

Notably, Suvendu Adhikari in his letter drew Union Minister Mandviya’s attention to the dengue cases, recorded the highest this year in the 43rd week since 2017.

Hitting out at the Mamta Banerjee-ruled West Bengal government for running out of funds to control the ungovernable dengue situation in the state, BJP MLA had said, “This year the Dengue situation has gone out of control in West Bengal, as because the financially bankrupt State Government could not provide funds in time for the precautionary measures. Let me reiterate it; the West Bengal Health Department did not have adequate funds, which led to the rise in cases as the measures which were needed to be taken, months earlier, to control the breeding of ‘Aedes Aegypti’ mosquitoes were not carried out properly due to the lack of funds.” (ANI)

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Airtel Launches 5G Services In Pune | Lokmarg

Reliance Jio Formally Launches 5G Services

Reliance Jio 5G is here. As announced two months back, the telecom operator on Saturday has finally launched the new-age high-speed services in the country.

Reliance Jio Chairman Akash Ambani has launched the services in Rajasthan from the famous Shrinathji temple in Rajsamand.
This year, it aims to launch 5G services in major cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai.

The telecom operator intends to expand its 5G network to each and every town, tehsil, and talukas across the country by December of 2023, Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani said on August 29 while announcing the 5G launch in India.

Earlier this year, Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani resigned from the board of Reliance Jio, thereby handing over reigns to his elder son Akash Ambani.

Meanwhile, Jio will deploy the latest version of 5G called standalone 5G. It is estimated to invest Rs 2 lakh crore in 5G infrastructure.

Launched six years ago, Jio has created multiple world records during its rollout of the largest 4G network in the shortest period of time. Jio’s 4G network provides the highest quality, most affordable digital services to over 400 million loyal and delighted customers. Jio is expected to now raise the bar even further with its 5G services.

Reliance Jio Infocomm has acquired spectrum in 700MHz, 800MHz, 1800MHz, 3300MHz, and 26GHz bands in the recently-concluded 5G auctions conducted by the Department of Telecommunications, where the government received around Rs 1.5 lakh worth of bids. Reliance Jio, Adani group, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea were the four major participants in the spectrum auction.

Following the spectrum auction, the government issued spectrum allocation letters to telecom service providers in mid-August while asking them to prepare for the rollout of 5G services.

The Department of Telecom and the Ministry of Information Technology have been pushing the mobile phone makers and telecom operators for the updation of 5G-related software in the devices and putting in place the requisite infrastructure for faster rollout of the new-age telecom services.

About 5G:

5G is the fifth-generation mobile network capable of transmitting a large set of data at a very rapid speed.

In comparison to 3G and 4G, 5G has a very low latency which will enhance user experiences in various sectors. Low latency describes the efficiency of processing a very high volume of data messages with a minimal delay.

The large-scale 5G rollout is also expected to bring more development in remote data monitoring sectors such as mining, warehousing, telemedicine, and manufacturing, among others. (ANI)

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Sourav As ICC Chairman

Shameful Act: Mamata On Gandhi Look Alike Asura Idol

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday broke her silence on the Gandhi look-alike asura idol created during Durga Puja in Kolkata terming it a “shameful act”.

The Chief Minister further said that she was disappointed but didn’t say anything because there could have been protests during Puja.
“During Durga Puja, an idol resembling Mahatma Gandhi was showcased in place of Asura. What punishment should be given to them? The public will reply to such a shameful act. I was disappointed but didn’t say anything because there could’ve been protests during Puja,” said Banerjee.

Durga Puja Pandal organized by the West Bengal unit of Akhil Bhartiya Hindu Mahasabha in Kolkata’s Ruby by-pass had an idol of ‘asur’ that resembled Mahatma Gandhi.

West Bengal Congress leader Koustav Bagchi had also filed a complaint with the Kolkata Police to file a Zero FIR in connection with the matter.

However, changes were made to the idol of asura following the intervention of the Kolkata Police.

Chandrachud Goswami, who is the organizer of the puja and also the state working president of the Hindu Mahasabha, had admitted to portraying the asura as Mahatma Gandhi and said that they do not accept the “forceful” changes.

Speaking to ANI today, Goswami said, “The idol of Asura did resemble MK Gandhi, we do not deny it. It has been changed. We have not made the changes. We received a lot of calls. We have been made to change it forcefully. We do not accept the changes. Our freedom of expression has been curtailed.”

Goswami had denied calling Mahatma Gandhi as the father of the nation and said that the organization would “spread the word about Gandhi’s activities” among people in the future.

“People should know that nobody called Gandhi the father of the nation. There is no such resolution passed in this regard. We do not consider him the father of the nation because of these activities. What he did to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and Bhagat Singh Ji, has to be condemned. After pressure was put on us, Kolkata Police supported us and requested to make the change. So forceful changes have been made. We do not believe in this change. We will spread the word about Gandhi’s activities among people in the future. He is the person who divided our country,” the organizer said. (ANI)

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gold prices

Gold Prices Seen Strengthening Ahead Of Diwali

Commodity experts say the sharp rise in crude prices, which rose about 12 percent in the past week, is mainly responsible for the rally in gold rates. But there are other factors at play as well. Rising global inflation and the volatile stock market have made the yellow metal a “safe” investment bet among investors.

The spot prices of gold are headed upwards of $1,780 (approx. Rs 1.47 lakh) per ounce whereas MCX gold rate per 10gm could reach Rs 53,000 by Diwali, the experts say, adding that some profit-booking could also take place. The depreciation of the rupee against the US dollar to a record low of 82.40 is, however, a critical variable that underpins domestic gold prices.
After missing action for some years, gold prices in Delhi witnessed some movement at the beginning of 2022 as the volatile equity markets forced investors to seek safe-haven assets like gold.

On Sunday morning, however, gold rates remained flat in Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, and Mumbai. Delhi’s rate for 10 gm of 22-carat gold was Rs 48,010, and it was trading at Rs52,370/10 gm for 24-carat gold.

The rate in Chennai for 10 gm of 22-carat gold was Rs 48,400 and the gold rate of 24-carat gold was Rs 52,800. The rate of the precious metal in Kolkata per 10 gm of 22 carat stands at Rs47,850 and the rate of 10 gm of 24-carat gold is at Rs 52,200. The gold rate in Mumbai per 10 gm of 22-carat has been at Rs 47,850 and Rs 52,200 per 10 gm of 24-carat gold.

The yellow metal faced resistance around the key $1,740 (Rs 1,44,128) per ounce mark in global markets last week, while at the domestic market Rs 52,100 per 10 gm mark acted as a stiff hurdle for prices. (ANI)

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Muslims Puja Pandal In kolkata

Muslims Organise Puja Pandal For Hindu Neighbours In Kolkata

Showcasing brotherhood while also setting an example of humanity, people from the Muslim community organized the Durga Puja celebration in their locality in Kolkata.

A puja pandal has been installed in the minority-dominated area, Alimuddin Street, for the two Hindu families residing in the locality.

Speaking to ANI, Md. Tausif Rehman, social worker and organizer of Durga Puja in the locality, said that the idol of Goddess Durga has been installed and people from the Hindu community will perform a puja with proper rituals.

“Being a Muslim, we have certain limits, but it’s not that we cannot organize Puja. In this Pandal, we have brought Maa Durga. There will be rituals every day which will be followed and it will be done by the Hindu family for whom the puja is organized. “Why should our brothers and sisters go to the puja pandals far away to perform puja?” he said.

A local resident, Sayantan Sen, said that the gesture by the neighbors sets an example in society, which gives the message of humanity and brotherhood.

“We are very glad to see that this puja is being organized only for our Hindu family. “This is setting an example for humanity and mankind and teaches us that there should not be any difference as far as religions are concerned,” he said.

Another member of the family who is a part of those for whom the puja is being organized, Gudiya Kumari Devi, said, “It’s a great occasion for me as I myself got a chance to decorate Maa Durga and get things prepared.” I thank my Muslim brothers who made this possible.

The Hindu festival of Durga Puja, also known as Durgotsava or Sharodotsava, is a yearly celebration that honors the Hindu goddess Durga and commemorates her victory over Mahishasur.

Over the years, Durga Puja has become an inseparable part of Indian culture with innumerable people celebrating this festival in their own unique way while pertaining to tradition.

Hindu mythology holds that the goddess comes to her earthly abode at this time to bless her devotees. For the Bengali community, Durga Puja is the biggest festival. This year Maha Shashti falls on October 1 and Vijaya Dashami on October 5.

The significance of Durga Puja goes beyond religion and is revered as the celebration of compassion, brotherhood, humanity, art and culture. From the reverberation of ‘dhak’ and new clothes to delicious food, there remains a merry mood during these days. (ANI)

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Nabanna Abhiyan: Clash BTW BJP Workers, Police In Raniganj, Bolpur in WB

A clash broke out between Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers and Police outside the Raniganj railway station as workers leave for Kolkata to take part in Nabanna Abhiyan on Tuesday.

Police took many workers into preventive custody in Raniganj.

Further, a clash broke out between BJP workers and police inside the Bolpur railway station as police prevented workers to leave for Kolkata to participate in the Nabanna Chalo march. Several workers were detained.

“With hundreds of BJP workers heading towards Kolkata to join BJP’s Nabanna march via trains, police barricaded paths to railway stations. 20 of our workers were stopped by police near Durgapur railway station. I reached here using other paths,” said BJP leader Abhijit Dutta.

Meanwhile Police made heavy deployment of personnel to stop BJP’s Nabanna Abhiyan. The borders of Kolkata have been cordoned off with tight security to prevent the procession.

Various roads across Kolkata have been blocked with barricades. To prevent the procession, the West Bengal Police has turned the 5-kilometre radius around Nabanna into a fortress.

BJP MLA Agnimitra Paul on Monday said, “The preparations for Nabanna Chalo Abhiyan have been done. It is not just BJP’s protest, but the protest of all people of Bengal. Mamata Banerjee has to answer why her government has cheated the people of Bengal.” (ANI)