The Indian National Congress is planning to corner the Union government on a host of issues as the Parliament convenes for the monsoon session on September 14. From the Covid-19 pandemic and the government's efforts to battle the outbreak, to the standoff at the Line of Actual Control with China, and the sharp contraction of the economy in the first quarter of Financial Year 2020-21 - the Congress has a litany of complaints on which to seek the government's response. Rajya Sabha member Ghulam Nabi Azad and Lok Sabha member Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury spelled out the main Opposition party's strategy. Meanwhile, the party's top leaders Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, will miss the session as the latter is accompanying the former for medical check-ups abroad. It is not clear whether Rahul Gandhi will be back for the latter part of the session. Watch the full video for more.
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Social activist Swami Agnivesh, who was suffering from liver cirrhosis for a long time, died of multi-organ failure at a Delhi hospital. Agnivesh was critically ill and admitted to an ICU of the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, and was on ventilatory support since Tuesday. "He was suffering from liver cirrhosis and died today due to multi-organ failure as his condition deteriorated and he went into cardiac arrest at 6 pm," a spokesperson of the hospital said.
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President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, chiefs of the three defence services and several leaders paid their last respects to former president Pranab Mukherjee at his residence on September 1. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, BJP chief J P Nadda, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal among others also paid homage to the former president. Pranab Mukherjee will be cremated in Delhi today. The former president died on August 31 at the age of 84. He had been operated to remove a blood clot in his brain. Mukherjee was on ventilator since the surgery. Watch the full video for more.
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While speaking to media in Bengaluru on September 21, Karnataka Congress president and Congress leader DK Shivakumar spoke on Karnataka Assembly session. He said, "1,600 questions put before the Karnataka Assembly by our members. There are a lot of issues to be discussed and among them are issues of corruption, failure in handling COVID-19, Goods and Services Tax (GST) and rain causing havoc." "We want to extend the Assembly session by a week/for next 1 more week," DK Shivakumar added.
Congress leader and Thiruvananthapuram Member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor on September 20 hit out at the Central government over the COVID-19 handling and management of the economy. "We have the worst of both worlds. We have neither managed to limit the spread of the virus nor have we managed to keep the economy afloat. GDP for the first time in 41 years has actually shrunk," said Tharoor in Lok Sabha.
Congress opposed the new agriculture Bills in Rajya Sabha. Congress' Member of Parliament (MP), Partap Singh Bajwa said they will not sign on this death warrant of farmers. "Congress opposes these ill-conceived and ill-timed Bills. Congress rejects these bills. We will not sign on this death warrant of farmers," Partap Singh Bajwa at Rajya Sabha. Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar moved Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, in Rajya Sabha. With this, Communist Party of India's (Marxist) KK Ragesh, TMC's Derek O'Brien and DMK's T Siva have moved an amendment to send the two Bills to Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha.
Government of Bangladesh has approved export of nearly 1,450 tonnes of hilsa fish to India. The neighbouring country has given special permission to its traders for the export ahead of Durga Puja, a piece of good news for Bengalis amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Hilsa fish from river Padma in Bangladesh is believed to be of very good quality in taste.
Human rights NGO Fortify Rights has released what they say is credible footage featuring confessions from two Myanmar military deserters. The pair say in video confessions that they were ordered to participate in the indiscriminate raping and killing of Rohingya Muslims in 2017. The minority ethnic group lived in Myanmar's western Rakhine State, but 740,000 were driven out into neighboring Bangladesh.
Social media giant Facebook is putting a cap on how many times a message can be forwarded on Messenger. The company has limited the forwards of a message to five at once for the sake of curbing misinformation. According to Mashable, Jay Sullivan, the executive responsible for Messenger's privacy and safety said in an official blog post, "Limiting forwarding is an effective way to slow the spread of viral misinformation and harmful content that has the potential to cause real-world harm."The social media giant added that it is imposing a limit on message forwards to foil the efforts of bad actors aiming to cause chaos and undermine accurate information. The decision has been taken in view of the coronavirus pandemic (and the spread of linked conspiracy theories) as well as the upcoming elections in the US, New Zealand and other countries. As per Mashable, Facebook has also announced that it won't accept new political ads in the week preceding the US elections. The company also mentioned that it will remove posts that discourage people from voting by fanning fears of the virus. Earlier this month, the social media giant also introduced its Voting Information Center on its platform and on Instagram and Messenger to help users discover accurate and easy-to-find information about voting wherever they live. This was preceded by the company boosting security on Messenger by adding support for Face ID or fingerprint recognition to protect chats.