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Mizoram once again grapples with African Swine Fever outbreak, 174 pigs dead

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Aizawl, April 25 (IANS) The Mizoram government has sounded a high alert after the African Swine Fever (ASF) struck again in the bordering state resulting in the deaths of as many as 174 pigs so far, officials said on Thursday.

According to the officials of the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary (AHV) Department, the outbreak of the ASF has been confirmed in three districts — Aizawl, Champhai and Saitual.

As per the Prevention and Control of Infectious and Contagious Disease in Animals Act 2009, the department has declared various villages and localities of the three districts as infected areas following the confirmation of ASF, and imposed a prohibition on the export or import of pigs from infected zones of the state and other states, besides the sale or slaughter of both healthy and sick pigs.

Dead pigs must be buried with lime powder in designated areas, a department notification said.

Mizoram Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Minister C. Lalsawivunga held a meeting with department officials to review the situation. He appealed to all concerned to adhere to the government’s guidelines and directives in the fight against ASF.

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The ASF first hit Mizoram in 2021 and since then, reports of the outbreak of ASF have been reported time and again.

Between May 2023 and April 2024, the state witnessed the loss of thousands of pigs to the contagious disease.

AHV Department officials said that the outbreak of the ASF mostly occurs when the climate begins to warm up and pre-monsoon rains commence in the state.

At least 47,269 pigs and piglets have died between 2021-2023 in Mizoram due to the ASF outbreak while at least 25,182 pigs have been culled during the same period.

The amount of losses incurred due to the ASF outbreak in the state has been estimated to be over Rs 132.20 crore affecting 19,017 families.

According to experts, the outbreak of ASF may have been caused by pigs or pork brought from neighbouring Myanmar, Bangladesh and the adjoining states of the northeast.

The northeast region’s annual pork business is worth around Rs 8,000-Rs 10,000 crore, with Assam being the largest supplier. Pork is one of the most common and popular meats consumed by both the tribals and non-tribals in the northeastern region.

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–IANS

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Elephant cub rescued from deep well in TN's Nilgiris, reunited with herd

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Chennai, May 29 (IANS) The Tamil Nadu Forest Department on Wednesday safely rescued an elephant cub from a 30-feet deep well in Kolapellur in the Nilgiris district, and reunited it with its waiting mother, officials said.

The elephant cub, according to local people, fell into the well late on Tuesday night.

Forest Department officials were informed and by 3 a.m., a group of 40 officials led by Gudalur DFO, Vengatesh Prabhu, reached the spot and rescued the elephant cub by the evening after herculean efforts.

Officials told IANS that immediately after the elephant cub fell into the well, a herd of elephants camped near it, and first, the Forest Department team had to drive these elephants away so that they could commence the rescue operation.

Additional Chief Secretary, Environment, Climate Change and Forests, Supriya Sahu in a post on X said: “A very heartening news is coming in just now about the successful rescue and reunion of a juvenile elephant in Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu Foresters in Gudalur Forest Division in Nilgiris have successfully rescued a juvenile elephant from a 30 feet deep sand well in a farmland where the young elephant had accidentally fallen.”

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“After 8 hours of challenging battle the team succeeded in making a ramp for the elephant to safely walk out of the well. After the rescue the team united the baby elephant with her mother who patiently waited nearby with the herd. Big appreciation to DFO Gudalur, Vengatesh Prabhu who led the operation with a team of 40 people from 3 am onwards.”

–IANS

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Delhi HC launches free Wi-Fi facility, new website for lawyers, public

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New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) The Delhi High Court has introduced a free Wi-Fi facility on its premises for lawyers, litigants, and the public.

Phase I of the Wi-Fi service was launched on Wednesday by Acting Chief Justice Manmohan, Justice Rajiv Shakdher, and other judges.

During the launch event, Justice Manmohan cited the significant role of judges in managing the administration of the high court, which places it at the forefront of judicial reforms.

He stressed the ongoing commitment of the court to introduce further improvements, noting that additional facilities would be inaugurated after the summer recess.

The initial phase of the Wi-Fi facility covers A Block, B Block, C Block, the Extension Block, the mediation centre, and the lawyers’ cafeteria.

The service is designed to handle a large number of users, providing reliable and fast internet access with robust security measures to protect user data.

In addition to the Wi-Fi facility, the high court also unveiled its newly designed website which features a responsive design that adjusts to different screen sizes, ensuring seamless functionality across desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones.

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The new site includes integrated applications such as e-filing, e-RTI, e-Sewa Kendra, accessibility helpline, and more, eliminating the need for users to navigate to separate URLs.

The other new features of the website include True Copy Application, an online mechanism for obtaining true copies of court documents; a virtual tour of Delhi High Court; landmark judgements, a section that will soon feature significant judgements from the high court.

–IANS

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Telangana snooping row: SIB team allegedly tapped phones of 1,200 people, claims arrested cop

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Hyderabad, May 29 (IANS) Phones of about 1,200 people, including political rivals, their family members and supporters, judges, journalists, and business persons were tapped by a special team in Telangana’s Special Intelligence Bureau (SIB) under the previous BRS government, according to a suspended police officer and a key accused in the sensational phone tapping case.

D. Praneeth Rao, who headed the Special Operations Team in the SIB under the supervision of then SIB chief Prabhakar Rao, made some sensational revelations in his confession before the investigating officials.

He revealed that ahead of the November 2023 Assembly elections, the team snooped on leaders of opposition parties, and their funders and intercepted the vehicles transferring money.

The confession of Praneeth Rao, a Deputy Superintendent of Police in the SIB, came to light after similar statements of former Deputy Commissioner of Police Radha Kishan Rao and Additional Superintendents of Police N. Bhujanga Rao and M. Thirupathanna.

Praneeth Rao revealed that they prepared profiles of political rivals of the BRS with the help of a technological tool, provided by a private company.

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Praneeth Rao, the first to be arrested in the case which came to light in March after the Congress formed the government, stated that 17 computers and special servers were used for phone tapping. As many as 56 personnel of the SOT were used for the operation.

He reportedly confessed to doing certain unofficial works as he was indebted to Prabhakar Rao for promoting him as DSP. He was operating from two rooms allotted to him next to Prabhakar Rao’s chamber in the SIB office.

Before the 2023 Assembly elections, the team also tapped the phones of candidates of rival parties and seized money from their funders, relatives and aides. The information was passed on to police officials Radha Kishan Rao, Bhujanga Rao and Thirupathanna so they could intercept the money. The seized money was shown as hawala money so that the Election Commission did not get suspicious about the seizures.

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Praneeth Rao also revealed that the phones of dissidents within the ruling party were also tapped. He also confessed that after Congress came to power, Prabhakar Rao directed him to stop phone tapping and also allegedly directed him to destroy records before his resignation. He claimed that 50 hard discs were destroyed with a cutter in the SIB office and old servers were replaced with new ones.

When he wanted to switch off CCTV cameras in the logger room before destroying the hard discs, the in charge of CCTV cameras refused to give permission but he told him that Prabhakar Rao had given the orders and warned that if the in charge failed to obey, a memo would be issued.

Praneeth Rao stated that he destroyed the evidence between 7.30 p.m. and 8.15 p.m. on December 4, 2023. He dumped the destroyed CDs in the Musi River at Nagole and Moosaram Bagh. The CDR and IDPR equipment was burnt down. Reformatted phones and pen drivers were thrown in the Begumpet nala.

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–IANS

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Arunachal: Body of teenage girl fished out of river after 4 days

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Itanagar, May 29 (IANS) The body of a teenage girl, who drowned in the Dikrong river in Arunachal Pradesh’s Papum Pare district four days back, was fished out on Wednesday, officials said.

An official said that 14-year-old Biki Rachal had drowned in the river near the Khula Camp on May 26 after she went there for bathing.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel deployed a 24-member team soon after the authority asked it to locate the girl.

The NDRF team recovered the body of the girl near Dahghariya village, about 45 km downstream from the site of drowning.

–IANS

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Goa Governor greets people on the eve of Statehood Day

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Panaji, May 29 (IANS) Goa Governor P.S. Sreedharan Pillai said on Wednesday that the tourism sector is one of the main drivers of the economy of the state which has become a world-famous tourist destination because of its extraordinary beauty.

Extending his greetings on the eve of Goa Statehood Day (May 30), Pillai said, “Achieving statehood in 1987 was a milestone in the journey to maintain Goa’s distinct heritage. The tourism sector is one of the main drivers of the Goan economy.

“Goa is renowned the world over as a top tourist destination. It is endowed with rich flora and fauna. Besides, the state also has a vibrant culture and heritage. Further, the people of Goa are friendly and peace-loving. This combined with Goa’s extraordinary beauty has made it a world-famous tourist destination.”

“On this joyous occasion, let us pay tributes to the countless Goans who have worked tirelessly to shape the state’s destiny. I would like to tell them that the people of Goa will forever remain grateful to them and continue to acknowledge and recognise their struggle for achieving statehood,” he added.

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The Governor also said that over the years, Goa has transformed into a vibrant and progressive state, contributing significantly to the socio-economic fabric of the nation.

“The resilience and hard work of the people of Goa have turned challenges into opportunities, making it a shining example of development and prosperity,” Pillai said.

The Governor also urged the people of Goa to work with renewed vision, cooperation, and commitment to make Goa the most modern and progressive state in India, and thereby contribute to the national mainstream in every possible way.

–IANS

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