Prasun Sonwalkar

Prasun Sonwalkar

Prasun Sonwalkar is Editor (UK & Europe), Hindustan Times. During more than three decades, he held senior positions on the Desk, besides reporting from India’s north-east and other states, including a decade covering politics from New Delhi. He has been reporting from UK and Europe since 1999.

Articles by Prasun Sonwalkar
A member of the medical team holds up a sticker reading "I've had my COVID vaccination" at the NHS vaccination centre in Robertson House in Stevenage, north of London on January 14. (AFP)
A member of the medical team holds up a sticker reading "I've had my COVID vaccination" at the NHS vaccination centre in Robertson House in Stevenage, north of London on January 14. (AFP)

Alarm in UK over fake news prompting non-whites to reject Covid vaccination

By Prasun Sonwalkar , edited by Vinod Janardhanan
UPDATED ON JAN 15, 2021 06:44 PM IST
The government has launched an information campaign in over 600 publications, including those that have high proportions of ethnic minority readerships, translating core messages in various languages to allay concerns over the safety of the vaccines.
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Subodh Dave. (RCPsych)
Subodh Dave. (RCPsych)

Psychiatrist trained in Mumbai elected dean of UK college

By Prasun Sonwalkar, London
PUBLISHED ON JAN 15, 2021 12:40 AM IST
Subodh Dave, who gained primary medical qualifications from the University of Bombay in 1992 (University of Mumbai since 1996) and moved to the United Kingdom (UK) for further psychiatric training, has been elected dean of the Royal College of Psychiatrists for a five-year term.
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A man uses an umbrella to take shade from the rain in New Delhi on June 25, 2020 during the Covid lockdown. (Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)
A man uses an umbrella to take shade from the rain in New Delhi on June 25, 2020 during the Covid lockdown. (Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)

Early lockdown in Delhi had less impact on air quality: Report

UPDATED ON JAN 15, 2021 02:48 AM IST
Experts discovered that the beneficial reductions in NO2 due to the lockdowns were smaller than expected, after removing the effects of weather.
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A patient receives the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in a private clinic in Aulnay-sous-Bois, France on January 13. (AFP)
A patient receives the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in a private clinic in Aulnay-sous-Bois, France on January 13. (AFP)

Past Covid-19 infection gives at least 5 months of immunity: UK study

By Prasun Sonwalkar , edited by Vinod Janardhanan
UPDATED ON JAN 14, 2021 04:45 PM IST
The study by Public Health England also cautions that those with such immunity may still be able carry the virus in their nose and throat and therefore pose a risk of transmitting it to others.
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CRPF personnel stands guard in front of clock tower at city centre Lalchowk in Srinagar. (ANI)
CRPF personnel stands guard in front of clock tower at city centre Lalchowk in Srinagar. (ANI)

Kashmir situation of ‘great concern’: UK minister

By Prasun Sonwalkar , edited by Vinod Janardhanan
PUBLISHED ON JAN 14, 2021 11:57 AM IST
Responding to an hour-long debate in the Westminster Hall of parliament on the ‘Political situation in Kashmir’, minister for Asia Nigel Adams called on the Indian government to lift remaining restrictions on assembly and communications in the valley.
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(FILES) In this file photo taken on October 05, 2020 the logo of US social network Facebook and mobile messaging service WhatsApp are seen on the screens of a smartphone and a tablet in Toulouse, southwestern France. - US federal and state antitrust enforcers filed suit against Facebook on December 9, 2020 claiming the social media giant abused its dominant position with its acquisitions of messaging services Instagram and WhatsApp. (Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP) (AFP file)
(FILES) In this file photo taken on October 05, 2020 the logo of US social network Facebook and mobile messaging service WhatsApp are seen on the screens of a smartphone and a tablet in Toulouse, southwestern France. - US federal and state antitrust enforcers filed suit against Facebook on December 9, 2020 claiming the social media giant abused its dominant position with its acquisitions of messaging services Instagram and WhatsApp. (Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP) (AFP file)

Social media manipulation a growing threat to democracies: Oxford study

By Prasun Sonwalkar , edited by Vinod Janardhanan
PUBLISHED ON JAN 13, 2021 07:28 PM IST
Governments, public relations firms and political parties are producing misinformation on an industrial scale, the report says.
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Customers wear face masks because of the coronavirus pandemic as they shop at Borough Market in London on January 12. (AFP)
Customers wear face masks because of the coronavirus pandemic as they shop at Borough Market in London on January 12. (AFP)

Covid-19: UK armed forces dealing with ‘most dangerous situation’

By Prasun Sonwalkar , edited by Vinod Janardhanan
UPDATED ON JAN 13, 2021 07:03 PM IST
This is the largest peacetime resilience operation ever undertaken by the UK armed forces and is drawing on every corner of expertise of the military, defence secretary Ben Wallace told parliament on Wednesday, as new cases and deaths continued to surge.
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Lorries prepare to embark on a ferry at the Port of Dover, southeast England, on January 4 following Britain's departure from the European Union. (AFP file)
Lorries prepare to embark on a ferry at the Port of Dover, southeast England, on January 4 following Britain's departure from the European Union. (AFP file)

Post-Brexit Britain better-off as a global broker: Report

By Prasun Sonwalkar , edited by Vinod Janardhanan
PUBLISHED ON JAN 11, 2021 05:26 PM IST
“India is always on the list of countries with which a new UK government commits to engage. But it should be obvious by now that the idea of a deeper relationship with India always promises more than it can deliver,” said the report from Chatham House.
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Medical workers transport a patient from an ambulance at the Royal London Hospital amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease pandemic, in London, Britain on January 10. (REUTERS)
Medical workers transport a patient from an ambulance at the Royal London Hospital amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease pandemic, in London, Britain on January 10. (REUTERS)

Vaccine scams, medical staff shortage hit UK; toll over 80,000

By Prasun Sonwalkar , edited by Vinod Janardhanan
PUBLISHED ON JAN 10, 2021 11:40 PM IST
Covid-19 indicators at various levels have gone beyond the last peak of March-April 2020, with the Boris Johnson government unleashing another information campaign to encourage people not to relax vigil and to follow lockdown restrictions strictly.
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Alok Sharma has been leading the UK’s climate diplomacy, since assuming the role in February 2020, and will now focus on it exclusively.(REUTERS)
Alok Sharma has been leading the UK’s climate diplomacy, since assuming the role in February 2020, and will now focus on it exclusively.(REUTERS)

Alok Sharma made president of UN climate conference in Glasgow

By Prasun Sonwalkar , edited by Vinod Janardhanan | Hindustan Times, London
UPDATED ON JAN 08, 2021 11:49 PM IST
COP26, the conference of parties of UN climate negotiations, will be the largest summit the UK has ever hosted, bringing together representatives from nearly 200 countries, including leaders, experts, and campaigners.
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A file picture of Indian jewellery designer Nirav Modi at his office in Lower Parel, Mumbai.(Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint)
A file picture of Indian jewellery designer Nirav Modi at his office in Lower Parel, Mumbai.(Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint)

UK court to deliver judgement on Nirav Modi extradition on Feb 25

By Prasun Sonwalkar , edited by Vinod Janardhanan | Hindustan Times, London
UPDATED ON JAN 08, 2021 11:37 PM IST
Claire Montomery, Modi’s lawyer, and Helen Malcolm of the Crown Prosecution Service representing India, quoted from emails, witness statements, bank and other documents, and presented their versions on issues such as prison conditions, mental health treatment facilities and the possibility of a Modi receiving a fair trial, if extradited.
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A pedestrian walks across a near-deserted Westminster Bridge in central London on January 8.(AFP)
A pedestrian walks across a near-deserted Westminster Bridge in central London on January 8.(AFP)

Covid-19 ‘out of control’ in London, mayor declares ‘major incident’

By Prasun Sonwalkar , edited by Vinod Janardhanan | Hindustan Times, London
UPDATED ON JAN 08, 2021 08:50 PM IST
A ‘major incident’ is defined as an event or situation with a range of serious consequences which requires special arrangements to be implemented by one or more emergency responder agency.
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An employee shows the Moderna coronavirus disease vaccine at Northwell Health's Long Island Jewish Valley Stream hospital in New York on December 21, 2020.(Reuters file)
An employee shows the Moderna coronavirus disease vaccine at Northwell Health's Long Island Jewish Valley Stream hospital in New York on December 21, 2020.(Reuters file)

UK regulator approves Covid-19 vaccine from Moderna

By Prasun Sonwalkar , edited by Vinod Janardhanan | Hindustan Times, London
UPDATED ON JAN 08, 2021 07:42 PM IST
Supplies will begin to be delivered from spring once Moderna expands its production capability, officials said. The vaccine will be available to people for free.
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A file photo of Nirav Modi at his office in Lower Parel, in Mumbai, India.(Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint)
A file photo of Nirav Modi at his office in Lower Parel, in Mumbai, India.(Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint)

Nirav Modi’s depression, suicide risk raised in court to block extradition to India

By Prasun Sonwalkar | Hindustan Times, London
UPDATED ON JAN 08, 2021 12:41 AM IST
The diamantaire’s lawyer, Claire Montgomery, also argued that he wouldn’t receive a fair trial if extradited
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Fountains in Trafalgar Square are lit with blue lights to show support for the NHS in London, on January 7, 2021.(AP)
Fountains in Trafalgar Square are lit with blue lights to show support for the NHS in London, on January 7, 2021.(AP)

Covid-19: UK trial finds 2 more drugs reduce deaths, ICU stay

By Prasun Sonwalkar | Hindustan Times, London
UPDATED ON JAN 08, 2021 12:41 AM IST
Two widely available drugs typically used to treat rheumatoid arthritis – tocilizumab and sarilumab – reduce the risk of death from the coronavirus disease by 24% and reduce stay in the intensive care unit by up to 10 days
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A file photo of Nirav Modi at his office in Lower Parel in Mumbai, India.(Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint)
A file photo of Nirav Modi at his office in Lower Parel in Mumbai, India.(Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint)

Nirav Modi’s extradition case: Closing arguments in court starting today

By Prasun Sonwalkar | Hindustan Times, London
PUBLISHED ON JAN 07, 2021 04:53 PM IST
Modi, 49, who is lodged in a prison in west London, is expected to attend the hearing remotely. He is facing extradition to India on charges of major financial offences linked to Punjab National Bank (PNB)
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Representational image.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Representational image.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Air pollution raises risk of pregnancy loss in India, south Asia: Lancet study

By Prasun Sonwalkar | Hindustan Times, London
PUBLISHED ON JAN 07, 2021 11:05 AM IST
An estimated 349,681 pregnancy losses per year in south Asia were associated with exposure to PM2.5 concentrations, accounting for 7% of annual pregnancy loss in the region from 2000-2016
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Akash Sondhi blackmailed his victims to send him nude images of themselves. Some of the young women complied.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Akash Sondhi blackmailed his victims to send him nude images of themselves. Some of the young women complied.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Indian-origin man jailed for hacking into computers of 600 women

By Prasun Sonwalkar , edited by Vinod Janardhanan | Hindustan Times, London
UPDATED ON JAN 06, 2021 11:55 PM IST
Akash Sondhi blackmailed his victims to send him nude images of themselves. Some of the young women complied.
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A man runs across the Millennium Bridge in Newcastle on Wednesday as England began a new lockdown to tackle the spread of Covid-19.(Bloomberg)
A man runs across the Millennium Bridge in Newcastle on Wednesday as England began a new lockdown to tackle the spread of Covid-19.(Bloomberg)

UK Covid deaths, cases hit records as England starts third lockdown

By Prasun Sonwalkar , edited by Vinod Janardhanan | Hindustan Times, London
UPDATED ON JAN 06, 2021 11:20 PM IST
Official figures showed 1,041 people died in the last 24 hours and 62,322 new cases were recorded, with 30,451 patients in hospital, 2,645 of them on ventilators.
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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange makes a speech from the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy, in central London on February 5, 2016.(Reuters file)
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange makes a speech from the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy, in central London on February 5, 2016.(Reuters file)

British judge rejects bail for WikiLeaks’ imprisoned Julian Assange

By Prasun Sonwalkar , edited by Vinod Janardhanan | Hindustan Times, London
PUBLISHED ON JAN 06, 2021 06:18 PM IST
Assange, 49, has been held in the Belmarsh prison in south-east London for the past 18 months after he was evicted from the Ecuadorian embassy, where he sought asylum for seven years.
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Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures as he has his temperature checked during a visit to Chase Farm Hospital in north London, Britain, on January 4, 2021.(REUTERS)
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures as he has his temperature checked during a visit to Chase Farm Hospital in north London, Britain, on January 4, 2021.(REUTERS)

Covid-19 worries force UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to call off India visit

By Prasun Sonwalkar | Hindustan Times, London
UPDATED ON JAN 05, 2021 06:45 PM IST
In New Delhi, people familiar with developments said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has conveyed his regrets to the UK PM due to the prevailing Covid-19 situation in Britain
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A photo of Alexander Ellis, the new British high commissioner to India.(GOV.UK)
A photo of Alexander Ellis, the new British high commissioner to India.(GOV.UK)

Alexander Ellis appointed new British high commissioner to India

By Prasun Sonwalkar | Hindustan Times, London
UPDATED ON JAN 05, 2021 06:28 PM IST
Ellis, who succeeds Philip Barton, is expected to be in the post during the visit of UK PM Boris Johnson, who will be the chief guest at India’s Republic Day parade on January 26
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People walk next to a train at Waterloo station during morning rush hour, amid the coronavirus outbreak, in London, Britain, on January 5, 2021.(REUTERS)
People walk next to a train at Waterloo station during morning rush hour, amid the coronavirus outbreak, in London, Britain, on January 5, 2021.(REUTERS)

Covid-19: UK announces £4.6 billion in new lockdown grants

By Prasun Sonwalkar | Hindustan Times, London
PUBLISHED ON JAN 05, 2021 03:43 PM IST
Michael Gove, UK cabinet minister, said on Tuesday the new lockdown may last until March. Parliament has been recalled on Wednesday to pass related legislation for the third lockdown since March 2020
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Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a visit to view the vaccination programme at the Chase Farm Hospital in north London, Monday.(AP)
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a visit to view the vaccination programme at the Chase Farm Hospital in north London, Monday.(AP)

Covid-19: Boris Johnson locks down UK again, says ‘variant spreading at an alarming rate’

By Prasun Sonwalkar | Hindustan Times, London
UPDATED ON JAN 05, 2021 06:57 AM IST
UK PM Boris Johnson said in an address to the nation that the variant has been spreading at an “alarming rate”, which makes another lockdown imperative.
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James Shaw receives the Oxford University/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine from advanced nurse practitioner Justine Williams, at the Lochee Health Centre in Dundee, Scotland, Britain on January 4.(Reuters)
James Shaw receives the Oxford University/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine from advanced nurse practitioner Justine Williams, at the Lochee Health Centre in Dundee, Scotland, Britain on January 4.(Reuters)

UK begins Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccination as spike prompts new curbs

By Prasun Sonwalkar , edited by Vinod Janardhanan | Hindustan Times, London
UPDATED ON JAN 04, 2021 07:58 PM IST
For the sixth consecutive day, the UK recorded over 50,000 new cases, prompting new calls for another lockdown by Labour, and health authorities reconsidering the current four-tier alert system that is increasingly assessed as being unable to control the numbers.
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People celebrate after a British judge ruled that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should not be extradited to the United States, outside the Old Bailey, the Central Criminal Court, in London on January 4.(Reuters)
People celebrate after a British judge ruled that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should not be extradited to the United States, outside the Old Bailey, the Central Criminal Court, in London on January 4.(Reuters)

UK court blocks Julian Assange’s extradition to US citing suicide risk

By Prasun Sonwalkar , edited by Vinod Janardhanan | Hindustan Times, London
UPDATED ON JAN 04, 2021 05:53 PM IST
Assange, 49, is wanted in the US over the publication of thousands of classified documents in 2010 and 2011. According to his defence team, the case is politically motivated. The court’s ruling is expected to appealed by US authorities in the high court.
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Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a news conference at Downing Street in London.(REUTERS/ FILE)
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a news conference at Downing Street in London.(REUTERS/ FILE)

Tougher Covid curbs likely, warns British PM Boris Johnson

By Prasun Sonwalkar | Hindustan Times, London
UPDATED ON JAN 03, 2021 10:26 PM IST
England currently has a four-tier pandemic alert system in which cities and regions are placed according to the prevalence of the spread of the coronavirus
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The London Eye wheel is pictured during the New Year's Eve amid the Covid-19 outbreak in London on December 31, 2020.(REUTERS)
The London Eye wheel is pictured during the New Year's Eve amid the Covid-19 outbreak in London on December 31, 2020.(REUTERS)

‘This is an amazing moment for the UK,’ says Prime Minister Boris Johnson

By Prasun Sonwalkar | Hindustan Times, London
PUBLISHED ON JAN 01, 2021 12:08 AM IST
The UK PM released an upbeat New Year message even as health officials announced another high in the number of daily new deaths and cases from Covid-19: 964 and 55,892, as of Thursday evening, with 23,813 patients in hospitals and 1,847 of them on ventilators
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Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives a thumbs up after signing the Brexit trade deal with the EU at number 10 Downing Street in London on Wednesday.(REUTERS PHOTO.)
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives a thumbs up after signing the Brexit trade deal with the EU at number 10 Downing Street in London on Wednesday.(REUTERS PHOTO.)

‘An amazing moment for UK,’ says British PM Boris Johnson as country moves out of EU

By Prasun Sonwalkar | Hindustan Times, London
UPDATED ON DEC 31, 2020 11:54 PM IST
‘Covid-19 loves a crowd, cancel parties’ was the key message on a public information campaign on Thursday, urging Britons to usher in the New Year at home. Millions more Britons moved to the top Tier 4 Covid-19 alert system with the toughest restrictions in UK.
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A UK border sign welcomes passengers on arrival at Heathrow airport in west London on December 31, 2020.(AFP)
A UK border sign welcomes passengers on arrival at Heathrow airport in west London on December 31, 2020.(AFP)

Deal approved, post-Brexit era begins for UK and EU

By Prasun Sonwalkar | Hindustan Times, London
UPDATED ON JAN 01, 2021 05:54 AM IST
Several aspects of life are likely to change as new post-Brexit realities unfold. This will include higher prices in supermarkets and changes to Britons visiting EU member states
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