India to highlight its digital transformation at G20 Summit



International Desk, Barta24.com
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Apart from showcasing its rich culture, varied crafts and diverse cuisine at the G20 summit, India will also display its progress in the digital sector, a senior official said on Wednesday while noting that experience panels will be created for delegates to experience how UPI payments are made and how India has been leading in digital payments.

Muktesh K Pardeshi, Special Secretary, G20 Operations, told ANI in an interview that He also informed that the catering at the Convention Centre is being handled by the ITC and there is a lot of focus on cuisine, menu planning as well and service aspects.

He said not everybody is able to understand how India has been able to leapfrog in the sector of digital payment and delegates will also get to know how the CoWin app was developed and how over a billion people were connected with Aadhar.

“…the G20 meetings focusing on three Cs. But there is one unmistakable aspect of our approach. We are going to showcase progress in the field of the digital sector. So there'll be an experience zone created to showcase the progress we have achieved in the field of technological transformation, particularly digital transformation,” he said.

“There will be some experience panels created for delegates to experience, for instance how UPI payment is done. People will get to know how biometric enrolment was done and one billion people were connected through Aadhar. How the CoWin app was developed. Not everybody is able to understand how India has been able to leapfrog in the sector of digital payment. So we want to showcase the modern face of India as well.”

G20 Summit will be held in New Delhi on September 9 and 10.

“The catering at the Convention Centre is to be done by the ITC which is a leading hotel chain. They have created a large team comprising of chefs and other associates to not only have the menu ready, but also the service experience should be impeccable. So there's a lot of focus on both the cuisine, the menu planning as well as the service aspect. And we have selected one of the best hotel chains for the purpose you want them to explore the street food of India,” Pardeshi said.

He said an exhibition named ‘Bharat, the Mother of Democracy’ is being organised to show the roots of democracy in India.

“There is another aspect of showcasing India. Not many people know that the democratic roots or democracy …as a concept of participatory governance. The roots are here and thousands of years back there were concepts of Sabha and Samiti. So democracy has not come from outside. It has evolved over a period of time in Indian soil. So there is going to be an exhibition called Bharat, the Mother of Democracy,” the senior official said.

He said there is ample parking place at New Delhi airport.

"We have been in touch with the Dial and GMR. The arrangements have been made both at the Palam Technical Area and at Indira Gandhi International Airport. So far as taking care of the logistical aspects is concerned we are a big country, we are resourceful and what we have gained over the last 8-10 months is a sense of organizational excellence,” he said.

India assumed the G20 presidency on December 1 last year and about 200 meetings related to G20 have been organized in 60 cities across the country.

He referred to directions of political leadership about reflecting the country’s organisational skills.

“We have to excel not only in promoting the G20 substantive agenda, we have to also showcase to the world that India is not behind any country in terms of organizational skills and logistical strengths. And I think it has been now recognized by all visiting delegations. We have done extremely well to offer our hospitality. All the meetings 200 so far have been error-free. There has been no incident,” he said.

“So we expect the forthcoming G20 summit to also be excellent, in terms of no glitches. We would like to conduct the meeting with a very high sense of warmth, and hospitality, taking care of our guests and at the same time showcasing what India has to offer in terms of civilizational and cultural space as well as an India that is technologically advancing and which has the capacity to make as a developed nation in another 25 years,” Pardeshi said.

The Special Secretary further said that there will also be separate programmes for the spouses accompanying the leaders.

“They will be taken to Rajghat, Pusa Institute, and as part of the programme, they are also likely to visit the National Gallery of Modern Art, where they will see exhibitions, and also have some kind of shopping experience, which is being specially curated for spouses,” he added.

Pardeshi further informed that a variety of different dishes are being prepared to showcase the regional cuisine of the country, and street foods of India.

“From the Government of India, it will be offering meals at the Convention Centre. So, you see a variety of dishes being served. Millet will find a prominent place on the menu. The chefs are working to develop different kinds of regional cuisine. They are experimenting and some menus are being developed at some point in time the decision will be taken,” he said.

“But the overall philosophy is that we should have exposure to street foods of India. We should have exposure to millet. And the delegates should also experience different regional cuisines of India. And also our chefs are experimenting with different kinds of grains, different kinds of vegetables and different kinds of dairy products to come up with very innovative dishes…Delhi itself is a leader in street food. What is being served in Chandni Chowk around some of the things the gol gappe or chat”.

The 18th G20 Heads of State and Government Summit in New Delhi will be a culmination of all the G20 processes and meetings held throughout the year among ministers, senior officials, and civil societies.

A G20 Leaders’ Declaration will be adopted at the conclusion of the New Delhi Summit, stating Leaders’ commitment towards the priorities discussed and agreed upon during the respective ministerial and working group meetings. (ANI)

   

Shehbaz Sharif is the new Prime Minister of Pakistan



International Desk, Barta24.com
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Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) President and former Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has become the new Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Pakistani media Dawn reported that Shehbaz Sharif was elected as the 24th Prime Minister of Pakistan by getting 201 votes in the National Assembly election on Sunday (March 3). And his nearest rival Omar Ayub Khan of PTI got 92 votes.

In April 2022, the coalition government led by Imran Khan's PTI was ousted by the opposition in the National Assembly, the lower house of Pakistan's parliament. Prime Minister Imran resigned. After that, the opposition formed a coalition government in the country under the leadership of Shehbaz Sharif.

National Assembly elections were held in Pakistan on February 8 this year. In this election, no party got the majority to form the government. PTI-backed independent candidates won the most seats. PML-N gets the second highest number of seats. Pakistan People's Party (PPP) was ranked third. ML-N and PPP decided to form a coalition government in alliance.

Apart from the PPP, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and Inteqam-e-Pakistan Party supported Shehbaz Sharif for the post of Prime Minister. The Sunni Ittehad Council is supporting PTI leader Omar Ayub Khan.

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Israel has accepted a conditional ceasefire agreement in Gaza



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Israel has conditionally accepted the ceasefire agreement with the Palestinian independence movement Hamas. A senior US official said on Saturday (March 2). Meanwhile, the United States has started dropping relief supplies from the air in war-torn Gaza.

On Sunday (March 3), Qatar-based media Al Jazeera reported this information.

According to the report, the senior US official said that Israel has more or less accepted the ceasefire agreement with Hamas. Now the rest depends on the decision of Hamas.

According to the US administration, the six-week ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas will come into effect soon. But its implementation will begin only after the organization agrees to release the most vulnerable hostages held by Hamas and signs the deal.

The cease-fire announcement came hours after a US military cargo plane dropped humanitarian aid into besieged Gaza.

According to the US Central Command, the relief materials that have been given since Saturday include 38,000 packets of food that will ensure the necessary assistance to civilians affected by the ongoing war.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council expressed deep concern about the food crisis in Gaza in a statement on Saturday and called for continuous food aid there.



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For the first time, US has airdropped aid in besieged Gaza



International Desk, Barta24.com, Dhaka
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For the first time, the United States has airdropped aid to Gaza, besieged by the Israel-Palestinian war. More than 38,000 food packets were parachuted from three military planes on Saturday (March 2) afternoon.

According to a report of the international media BBC, after the announcement of President Joe Biden, the relief assistance was given jointly with the Jordanian Air Force.

Joe Biden promised to increase aid on Friday after 112 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces on Thursday (February 29) when civilians gathered to collect aid in Gaza. The US military dropped food packets the day after the announcement.

The aid came amid a message from a top US official that a deal was in place for a six-week ceasefire in Gaza.

US Central Command said in a statement that on Saturday, C-130 transport aircraft dropped more than 38,000 meals ashore.

Other countries including the UK, France, Egypt and Jordan have previously sent aid to Gaza. But the United States sent food aid for the time.

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Conservatives dominate Iran's parliamentary and assembly elections



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Amid political and economic challenges, many conservative candidates have won Iran's parliamentary and religious assembly elections. Voting took place from 8 am to 6 pm local time on Friday (March 1). Counting of votes started after 12 midnight local time.

Official primary results on Saturday (March 2) showed ultra-conservatives Mahmoud Nabavian and Hamid Resai in the lead in Tehran's 30 seats in the Iranian capital, Tehran. Then there is 35-year-old Amir Hossain Sabeti, a national television host.

Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf is in fourth place. Longtime lawmaker Mojtaba Jonnour holds a seat in the holy Shiite city of Qom.

President Ibrahim Raisi has renewed his seat in the Council of Experts for the third time with more than 82 percent of the vote in South Khorasan province in eastern Iran.

Meanwhile, followers of moderate politician Ali Motahari, son of the late eminent scholar Murteza Motahari, could not secure a single seat with a majority of the 30 seats in Tehran.

The ultra-conservative Ahmad Khatami, the incumbent imam of Tehran's Friday prayers, has again won a seat in the assembly from Kerman province, and Mohammad Sayedi is the representative of Qaum.

Along with the parliamentary elections, the midterm elections of Iran's Council of Experts were also held on the same day. Voters will elect seven members of the Expert Council. The National Assembly elections are being held across the country, but the Expert Council polls were held only in Tehran, Qom, North Khorasan, Khorasan Razavi and Fars provinces.

The supreme leader, made up of Islamic scholars, will be elected through the election of 290 lawmakers and 88 expert members of the assembly. Seven thousand 148 candidates are contesting 290 parliamentary seats.

Officials are yet to release voter turnout figures for Friday's parliamentary elections. But the Mehr news agency, citing unofficial results, said voter turnout in Tehran was only 24 percent.

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