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Friday
November 2020
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News Headlines
End of an era: Argentina football legend Diego Maradona dies        Greg Barclay elected ICC's Independent Chair        Have great respect for Indian bowlers but our batsmen have seen them a lot: Langer        Rupee rises 6 paise to 73.95 against US dollar in early trade        Biden seeks swift Cabinet votes, but GOP Senate stays silent        As virus cases spike, financial outlook for world's airlines dims        Nivar makes landfall, weakens into severe cyclonic storm        Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel passes away at 71        India's COVID-19 caseload goes past 92 lakh; no. of active cases increases by 6,079        Left Govt moves ahead with projects having no central clearances: Chennithala        Kerala Cabinet decides to approach Governor to repeal new ordinance        Kerala reports 5,420 new COVID cases, 5,149 recoveries: CM        Cyclone Nivar : heavy rain lashes Chennai, suburbs, govt holiday today        UP okays ordinance against conversion for marriage, violators face up to 10 yrs in jail        Govts have to work as team to ensure vaccination drive is smooth, sustained: PM Modi        ICC nominates Kohli, Ashwin for Men''s Player of the Decade Award        Rohit, Ishant to miss first two Australia Tests, also doubtful for remaining two: BCCI source        India''s home series against England to feature four Tests instead of five        Odisha pay the penalty as Hyderabad keep first-ever clean sheet        Looking at India squad, Surya could have been there: Brian Lara        
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International News
UN rights chief expresses concern over restrictions on NGOs, arrest of activists in India
 
Geneva: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday expressed concern over the restrictions on foreign funding for the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in India and the arrest of activists in the country. She appealed to the Indian Government to "safeguard the rights of human rights defenders and NGOs, and their ability to carry out their crucial work” on behalf of the many groups they represent. "India has long had a strong civil society, which has been at the forefront of groundbreaking human rights advocacy within the country and globally," she said in a statement.

"But I am concerned that vaguely defined laws are increasingly being used to stifle these voices." Bachelet specifically cited as "worrying" the use of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), which prohibits the receipt of foreign funds "for any activities prejudicial to the public interest." She said the Act, which was adopted in 2010 and was amended last month, has been invoked over the years to "justify an array of highly intrusive measures, ranging from official raids on NGO offices and freezing of bank accounts, to suspension or cancellation of registration, including of civil society organizations that have engaged with UN human rights bodies.”

"I am concerned that such actions based on the grounds of vaguely defined ''public interest'' leave this law open to abuse, and that it is indeed actually being used to deter or punish NGOs for human rights reporting and advocacy that the authorities perceive as critical in nature,” she said. As per the amended FCRA law, furnishing of Aadhaar numbers by office-bearers of NGOs has become mandatory for registration. The Act also provides for reduction in administrative expenses of any NGO receiving foreign funding, from 50 per cent to 20 per cent of annual funds to ensure spending on their main objectives.

Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai had said in Parliament that the legislation was not against any NGO and was an effort to maintain transparency. This amendment is in the interest of good NGOs which want to do good work in the country, he had said. "NGOs (non-governmental organisations) are expected to adhere to all our laws including in respect of foreign funding just as they presumably would in other countries including the US and in the European Union," Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs Anurag Srivastava said last month.

Bachelet said activists and human rights defenders have also "come under mounting pressure in recent months, particularly because of their engagement in mass protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act that took place across the country earlier this year." India maintains that the CAA was its "internal matter" and that "no foreign party has any locus standi on issues pertaining to India''s sovereignty". "More than 1,500 people have reportedly been arrested in relation to the protests, with many charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act - a law which has also been widely criticized for its lack of conformity with international human rights standards,” she said, adding that charges have also been filed under this law against a number of individuals, including 83-year-old Catholic priest Stan Swamy.

"I urge the Government to ensure that no one else is detained for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly – and to do its utmost, in law and policy, to protect India''s robust civil society," she added.


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ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
My whole life has been a miracle: Rajinikanth
 Mumbai: From starting out as a bus conductor to becoming one of the biggest stars of the: country,  
'Game of Thrones' star Indira Varma tests positive for coronavirus
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KERALA NEWS
Left Govt moves ahead with projects having no central clearances: Chennithala
 Thiruvananthapuram: Opposition leader in Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala on Tuesday alleged that
Kerala reports 5,420 new COVID cases, 5,149 recoveries: CM
Ker FM hits out at ED over reported probe against KIIFB; Opp says he has "something to hide"
Kerala adds 5,294 fresh COVID-19 cases; Active cases 65,856
NATIONAL NEWS
Nivar makes landfall, weakens into severe cyclonic storm
 Chennai: Very severe cyclonic storm Nivar made landfall near Puducherry in the early hours of Thursd
Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel passes away at 71
India's COVID-19 caseload goes past 92 lakh; no. of active cases increases by 6,079
Cyclone Nivar : heavy rain lashes Chennai, suburbs, govt holiday today
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