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India records almost 30,000 new cases in a single day

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(Last Updated On: July 15, 2020)

India on Wednesday reported a new record-high number of 29,429 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours taking the country’s total to over 935,000. 

In their morning briefing, the health ministry also said that another 582 people had died from the virus in the same period of time. 

This comes after the Indian Institute of Technology on Wednesday launched its low-cost testing kit commercially, Anadolu Agency reported. 

The new kit, COROSURE, will be available for 500 Indian rupees (US$6.6), compared to the existing testing kits that cost around US$60.

“This technology should change the paradigm of COVID testing in the country, both in terms of scale and cost … Two million tests [per month] at an unbeatable price,” V Ramgopal Rao, director of the institute, said on Twitter prior to an online launch event.

Anadolu reported that Rao hoped the new testing kit would help India to fight the virus as the nation, with a population of nearly 1.3 billion, has almost one million confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 24,309 deaths. 

India’s health ministry on Tuesday confirmed that 86 percent of the total cases are from ten states. Of these, 50 percent are from the western state of Maharashtra (267,665 cases, 10,695 deaths), and the southern state of Tamil Nadu (147,324 cases, 2,099 deaths).

India lifted nationwide lockdown in early June despite the steady upward trend in new cases and deaths and moved instead to locality-based lockdowns in badly-hit areas.

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97 people wounded after train derails in Egypt

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(Last Updated On: April 18, 2021)

Ninety-seven people were injured on Sunday (April 18) when four train carriages derailed in Egypt’s Qalioubia province north of Cairo, the health ministry said in a statement.

Two security sources and local media reported that several people had been killed in the accident, but there was no official confirmation.

Officials did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

The train was heading from Cairo to the Nile Delta city of Mansoura and derailed at 13.54 local time (11:54 GMT), about 40 kilometres north of Cairo, Egyptian National Railways said in a short statement.

The cause of the accident is being investigated, it added.

More than 50 ambulances took the injured to three hospitals in the province, the health ministry said.

The derailing is the latest of several recent railway crashes in Egypt. At least 20 people were killed and nearly 200 were injured in March when two trains collided near Tahta, about 440 km (275 miles) south of Cairo.

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Eight family members killed during Tarawih prayers in Nangarhar

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(Last Updated On: April 18, 2021)

Eight members of a family were killed by unknown armed men during Tarawih prayers in eastern Nangarhar province, sources said Sunday.

According to the sources, the incident took place inside a mosque in the Saracha Alikhan area in PD9 of the provincial capital Jalalabad city on Saturday evening.

At least eight members of a family were killed and one more wounded in the shooting, sources added.

So far, the motives behind the attack are not cleared.

Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the provincial governor, however, stated that the incident happened due to personal dispute over land.

Khogyani added that police have begun investigations.

So far, no group or individual has claimed responsibility for the attack.

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Foreign envoys trying to persuade Taliban to attend Turkey Conference

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(Last Updated On: April 18, 2021)

Sources from the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) said on Sunday that envoys from the United Nations, U.S, Turkey, and Qatar in Doha are trying to convince the Taliban to attend the upcoming Istanbul Conference.

Following the announcement that all foreign troops will be out of Afghanistan by September and not May 1 as per the US-Taliban agreement signed in February last year, the Taliban said it will not participate in any conference on Afghanistan’s future until there has been a full withdrawal of all foreign forces.

On Sunday, Hajji Din Mohammad, the deputy head of the HCNR said UN and US envoys “have no meeting with us [Afghan delegation], they have put in efforts to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table in Turkey.”

“Taliban believe that the Doha deal has been violated by the US and therefore, they will not participate in any meeting,” said Mawalwi Qalamuddin, a politician.

The HCNR meanwhile said that they are working to finalize their list of participants for the Istanbul Conference.

“Preparations have been made for the Istanbul Conference and the agenda will be finalized soon,” said Faridon Khawzon, a spokesman for the HCNR.

Analysts however believe that the opportunity for peace will be missed if the Taliban does not attend the Istanbul Conference.

“The Taliban and government should try their best to reach peace, and should not miss this opportunity,” said Aziz Maharaj, an international relations analyst.

The HCNR says that Afghan negotiators are in contact with the Taliban in Doha to discuss related issues about peace.

Mohammad Naeem, the group’s Qatar-based spokesman announced last week that the group would not attend the Turkey Conference until all troops had left.

“Until all foreign forces completely withdraw from our homeland, the Islamic Emirate will not participate in any conference that shall make decisions about Afghanistan,” Naeem tweeted.

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