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India’s students concerned over entrance exams amid COVID-19 | Coronavirus pandemic News

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More than two million Indian students will sit for admissions tests to medical and engineering schools next week, the government said on Wednesday, despite growing concerns that the move could fuel a jump in coronavirus infections.

Many students, parents and opposition leaders have opposed the government’s move to hold the tests in the middle of a pandemic.

Many students have to travel long distances and there is a risk of infections, said the All India Students’ Union, a group that represents university students. It urged students to wear black armbands and join online protests to put pressure on the government to postpone the tests until infection rates fall.

Nearly 5,000 students took part in a virtual hunger strike at their homes in protest on Tuesday.

Students on social media have expressed concerns over health risks and availability of transport to the centres as public transport still remains restricted.

Member of Parliament Rahul Gandhi said students concerns due to COVID-19 crisis, lack of transport and flooding in Assam and Bihar states are genuine.

“GOI [Government of India] must listen to all stakeholders and find an acceptable solution,” he tweeted.

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg also waded in on the dispute, urging a postponement.

“It’s deeply unfair that students of India are asked to sit national exams during the COVID-19 pandemic and while millions have also been impacted by the extreme floods,” Thunberg said on Twitter on Tuesday.

‘In the interest of students’

But the government has released exam protocols, including social distancing and fever checks.

The National Testing Agency (NTA), which will organise the JEE and NEET exams, said the tests are being done in the “interest of students and the country”.

On Monday, the Supreme Court dismissed a plea for postponement, saying the delay would result in an unacceptable loss of the academic year.

India reported more than 75,000 infections, maintaining the world’s highest single-day caseload since August 7, a Reuters tally showed. With 3.2 million cases, it ranks third after the United States and Brazil, though its 59,449 deaths are far fewer.

Now the government is pushing for a return to normalcy to lessen the economic pain, after having imposed a strict early lockdown of India’s 1.3 billion people in March.

“We are very mindful of the safety of our students, we will take full precautions,” Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal told state radio, adding that the tests had to be held to ensure students did not lose a year.

Already twice postponed this year, the tests will be spread over several days and will be held at more centres than usual, to ensure there is no crowding.

SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Muntu Blocked in Kamwenge

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Alliance for National Transformation presidential candidate Gen. Mugisha Muntu has been blocked from campaigning in Kamwenge according to a statement he released earlier today.Below is the full statement:

STATEMENT
Today in Kamwenge, as we have done since the start of the campaign season, we headed out to speak with the people. We had earlier in the week agreed on the venue with security agencies. No one had anticipated that it would rain as much as it did, making it impossible for us or the people to access.

After identifying an alternative place only 100m away from the original venue, negotiating with the owner and communicating the same to the public, we headed to the second venue only to be stopped by police.

Our policy has always been to do all we can to be reasonable, even in the face of unreasonable action on the part of the state. We engaged the police leadership in a civilized, respectable manner well knowing that they intended to not only frustrate us, but cause us to act in ways that would give them an excuse to cause chaos. This was on top of their intimidating the radio we had booked and duly paid to appear on.

While we are confident that we are on the right side of both the law and reason, we have chosen not to endanger the lives of our supporters or the general public by escalating the situation. We will do everything humanly possible to avoid a single life being lost or blood being shed on account of our campaign.

And yet this truth remains: the regime’s days are numbered.

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Is Johnson Byabashaija courting Enid Kukunda for protection?

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The very amiable Commissioner General of Prisons Canon Johnson Byabashaija was recently sighted with President Y K Tibuhaburwa Museveni’s second wife Enid Kukunda as the two had a very secretive meeting in one of the city hangouts.

According to our informers, the two seem to be in a deep conversation that they wouldn’t allow a housefly pass around. However, sources further reveal that Byabashaija could have courted the second lady for protection given that he has amassed a lot of wealth and could be a subject of investigations.

Our sources reveal that Byabashaija who carries himself as Mr.I know it all hasn’t met Madam Enid alone but a host of others with connections to the centre of power in the country.

We will bring you more detail

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Bobi Wine released on Bail

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Presidential candidate and kyadondo East legislator Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu has been realeased on bail by the Iganga magistrates court where he appeared to defend himself against accusations of flouting COVID-19 campaign SOPs. A defiant Kyagulanyi took the opportunity to blast the incumbent Yoweri Museveni, whom he accuses of using state power to quell dissident.

This follows a tense week that has seen thousands injured and several dead following Hon. Kyagulanyi’s arrest earlier this week. Demonstrations and riots erupted in many parts of the country and heavy police and army deployment was seen all over the country.

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