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Fury as Delhi luxury hotel booked as COVID hospital for court staff



(Last Updated On: April 28, 2021)

Authorities in Delhi ordered a luxury hotel to be converted into a COVID-19 health facility for the exclusive use of high court judges and their families, drawing outrage in a city that has no hospital beds or life-saving oxygen for hundreds of people.

The local government said in a public notice on Monday night that it had received a request from the Delhi High Court because of the rapid rise in coronavirus infections and had reserved 100 rooms at the Ashoka Hotel for the higher judiciary.

The Delhi High court denied it had sought such treatment, and said it would quash the order unless the government modifies it.

“When did we ask for a 100-bed facility at a five-star hotel? We had only said if a judicial officer or a judge or their family is infected, they should get hospital admission,” the high court said.

The notice from the Delhi government had said a top city hospital would run the facility.

“Its unthinkable that we as an institution will want any preferential treatment”, the Delhi High Court said.

The court’s comments came on the heels of criticism by lawyers and citizens.

Jaiveer Shergill, a lawyer and spokesman of the main opposition Congress party, said the government decision flew in the face of the right to equality enshrined in the constitution and the court itself must reject the special treatment.

“For sake of justice, integrity and faith in the judicial system, Delhi’s high Court must quash the order,” he said.

The Indian capital is one of the worst-affected cites in the country’s explosive second wave, with every third person tested for the virus found to be positive.

Hospitals are turning away patients because they don’t have beds or oxygen to keep them alive. The city is reporting an average of one death every four minutes.

Judges have not been listed as front-line workers and most courts are operating virtually.

“The Delhi high court would do well to decline the Ashoka Hotel offer, or cancel it if they ordered it themselves,” said Aakar Patel, a political commentator and former head of Amnesty International India.

“We cannot have open discrimination practiced by those charged with preventing it.”

One government source said rooms were always kept aside for top public figures, including senior judges, at Delhi’s premier state-run All India Institute for Medical Sciences, and reserving a hotel was a case of panic and over-reach.

Others mocked the choice of the state-run Ashoka to take care of the judges and suggested they consider more opulent hotels in the capital.

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Senior IEA official voices concern over Daesh amid ongoing economic crisis



(Last Updated On: November 27, 2021)

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) designated representative to UN, Suhail Shaheen, has warned the international community that the Afghanistan affiliate of ISIS (ISIS-K) could flourish if the West continues to impose economic sanctions against Afghanistan.

In an interview with Euro News, Shaheen stated that continued economic sanctions have plunged the people of Afghanistan into poverty and that this could pave the way for ISIS-K (also known as Daesh) to recruit fighters.

“The sanctions which have led to poverty in the country, are aggravating the current situation; the humanitarian crisis is providing a recruiting ground for ISIS to benefit from,” Shaheen said.

He added: “I don’t know why they (international community) are helping ISIS by continuing the sanctions and freezing our money which is the wealth of the people of Afghanistan.”

The United States has frozen over $9 billion of Afghanistan’s foreign reserves following the collapse of the former government in mid-August.

Since then, the US and its allies have also imposed strict economic sanctions on Afghanistan, which has exacerbated an already struggling, aid-dependent economy.

Meanwhile, an IEA delegation led by Acting Foreign Minister Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi met with officials from various Qatari ministries on Friday and discussed a wide range of issues.

Friday’s discussions come ahead of next week’s talks between the IEA delegation and the US special representative Thomas West.

IEA officials said that the Afghan and US delegations would discuss the release of Afghanistan’s frozen assets, humanitarian aid, education, and the reopening of embassies in Kabul among other issues.

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Xiaomi to open car plant in Beijing with annual output of 300,000 vehicles



(Last Updated On: November 27, 2021)

Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi Corp will build a plant that can produce 300,000 vehicles annually in Beijing for its electric vehicle unit, authorities in the capital said on Saturday.

The plant will be constructed in two phases and Xiaomi will also built its auto unit’s headquarters, sales and research offices in the Beijing Economic and Technological Development Zone, the government-backed economic development agency Beijing E-Town said on its official WeChat account.

Beijing E-Town said it anticipated the plant reaching mass production in 2024, a goal announced by Xiaomi’s Chief Executive Lei Jun in October.

In March, Xiaomi said it would commit to investing $10 billion in a new electric car division over 10 years. The company completed the business registration of its EV unit in late August.

The company has been opening thousands of stores to spur domestic sales growth for its smartphone business but eventually intends to use these shops as a channel for its plans to sell electric vehicles.

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IEA delegation meet with Qatari officials in Doha



(Last Updated On: November 27, 2021)

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) officials said on Friday night that the Afghan delegation led by Acting Foreign Minister Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi met with officials from various Qatari ministries on Friday and discussed a wide range of issues.
Friday’s discussions come ahead of next week’s talks between the IEA delegation and the US special representative Thomas West

Officials in Doha, who are accompanying Muttaqi, include representatives from the Ministries of Education, Health, Finance, Security, and Da Afghanistan Bank (Central Bank).

Abdul Qahar Balkhi, spokesman for the foreign ministry, confirmed the delegation’s meetings and said: “Detailed discussions were held about political, humanitarian, economic and education issues.”

According to Balkhi the Qatari officials pledged to continue to provide aid for Afghans.

“Qatari officials stated they will continue to stand by Afghans and will continue providing aid during the upcoming period,” added Balkhi

According to Balkhi, “IEA delegation thanked Qatar for their assistance and for playing a positive role during the previous negotiations.”

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