By Aarti Tikoo Singh
New Delhi, April 10 (IANS) Terror groups may gain access to virulent strains of the novel coronavirus and use it to launch a bio-terror attack, UN Secretar-General Antonio Guterres has warned.
After a closed-door discussion at the UN Security Council on Thursday, Guterres in a brief press statement said: "While the COVID-19 pandemic is first and foremost a health crisis, its implications are much more far-reaching. The pandemic also poses a significant threat to the maintenance of international peace and security -- potentially leading to an increase in social unrest and violence that would greatly undermine our ability to fight the disease."
Guterres spoke by video conference at the UNSC meeting on the COVID-19 impact. It was the first discussion of the UNSC on the pandemic.
Terrorist groups, he said, may see a window of opportunity to strike while the attention of most governments was turned towards the coronavirus pandemic.
"The weaknesses and lack of preparedness exposed by this pandemic," the UN chief said, adding: "Provide a window onto how a bio-terrorist attack might unfold - and may increase its risks."
"Non-state groups," he warned "could gain access to virulent strains that could pose similar devastation to societies around the globe".
Guterres said that in some conflict settings, the uncertainty created by the pandemic may create incentives for some actors to promote further division and turmoil.
"This could lead to an escalation of violence and possibly devastating miscalculations, which could further entrench ongoing wars and complicate efforts to fight the pandemic," he added.
On March 23, the Secretary-General had called for an immediate global ceasefire, urging all warring parties in conflict zones to suspend violence in view of the devastating effects of the coronavirus and the global efforts to combat the pandemic.
On Thursday, the UN chief said the engagement of the Security Council will be "critical to mitigate the peace and security implications of the COVID-19 pandemic".
New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a cross-appeal filed by Cyrus Mistry, seeking more relief than granted by the NCLAT verdict in December 2019.
The apex court issued notice to Tata Sons Pvt Ltd (TSPL) and others, and tagged the cross-appeals with the appeals filed by Tata Sons, Ratan Tata and others challenging the NCLAT verdict, which reinstated Mistry as the Executive Director of Tata Sons. Mistry and his firm sought removal of anomalies in the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) verdict to get representation on the TSPL board.
A bench of Justices A.S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy, which took up the matter through video conferencing, said: "Issue notice. Tag with Civil Appeal Nos... And connected matters, if any. In the meantime, pleadings be completed by the parties within a period of four weeks from today. List the matter(s) thereafter."
In January, the apex court had stayed the NCLAT order.
Through the cross-appeal, Mistry is seeking representation on the board in proportion to the 18.37 per cent stake held by his family. The cross-appeal argued that it was incumbent on the NCLAT to have granted proportionate representation that would have ensured that the interests of the SP Group are protected in future.
In the petition, Mistry has described the group's relationship with Tatas as a quasi-partnership relationship of a vintage of over 60 years, holding 18.37 per cent in the equity share capital of Tata Sons and whose stake is now worth over Rs 1.5 Lakh crore.
In January, the apex court had observed, "You (Cyrus) have been out of the saddle for a long time...how does it hurt you today." Tatas were represented through senior advocates A.M. Singhvi, Harish Salve, Mukul Rohatgi and Mohan Parasaran.
A heated argument broke out on the court's remark on the stay of the tribunal judgement. Senior advocate C.A. Sundaram, representing the company Cyrus Investment Pvt Ltd, contended instead of staying the tribunal judgement, the court could order status quo; and a notice could be issued within two weeks to file a reply.
Mistry's side had also wanted to place a note apparently on an interim arrangement, but it was not accepted by the court.
Senior advocate N.K. Kaul represented Mistry and senior advocate Shyam Divan represented the shareholders on Mistry's side. Mistry's side also said that they have been sidelined completely.
Sundaram contended before the bench he was not pressing on relief in connection with the reinstatement, instead he was against the wrong process adopted to remove Mistry.