The Hindu Morning Digest – May 8, 2024

Police and paramilitary personnel stand guard at the polling station during the third phase of Lok Sabha Polls, in Etah on May 7, 2024.
| Photo Credit: ANI

Three Independent MLAs withdraw support to BJP government in Haryana

Three Independent MLAs supporting the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) government in Haryana on May 7 announced the withdrawal of their support to the government, even as the Congress party demanded the holding of Assembly election under the President’s rule in the State, as the government has been reduced to a “minority”.

Karnataka BJP post on Muslim quota | Election Commission tells X to immediately take down post

The Election Commission of India (ECI) ordered X, formerly Twitter, to take down an animated video posted by BJP Karnataka. The video features caricatures of Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, advancing the party’s recent messaging that the Congress is diverting funds and resources away from SC/ST/OBC Hindus towards Muslims. As of May 7 evening, the post had garnered over 90 lakh views, and had not yet been taken down. 

CBI arrests four for pushing Indians into Russia-Ukraine war

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has so far arrested four accused in a case related to trafficking of Indian nationals for combat role in the Russian Army. Arun and Yesudas Junior, both residents of Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram, were held on Tuesday in the case registered on March 6. The other two accused, Nijil Jobi Bensam from Kanyakumari and Anthony Michael Elangovan from Mumbai, were earlier arrested on April 24 and are in judicial custody.

Reject proponents of lies, hatred for a brighter future, Sonia Gandhi urges voters

Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s niti (policy) and niyat (intentions)have led to unemployment, crimes against women and discrimination against Dalits, Adivasis and minorities.

SC to think about giving bail to Kejriwal for campaigning; ED calls it a luxury a ‘real aam aadmi’ cannot afford

The Supreme Court on May 7 decided to mull over the question of granting interim bail to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to enable him to campaign as an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader for the ongoing Lok Sabha election.

Advertisers to submit self-declarations before promoting products in media, SC orders

The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed that advertisers should submit self-declarations that they are not misrepresenting or making false claims about products before promoting them in the media.

Gujarat sees 55% turnout; Modi, Shah cast their votes

Over 55% voting turnout was registered till 5 p.m. in the 25 parliamentary constituencies of Gujarat where polling was held in the third phase of the Lok Sabha election on Tuesday. There are 265 candidates in the fray, including three Cabinet ministers Amit Shah, Mansukh Mandaviya and Parshottam Rupala and a Minister of State Devusinh Chauhan.

Fact-check | Misleading posts cast doubt over the credibility of EVMs

Even as the third phase of polling for the Lok Sabha election draws to a close, some on social media have been casting aspersions on the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), the device used to electronically record and count votes cast in elections.

U.K. court rejects fifth bail plea of PNB scam accused Nirav Modi

The fifth bail application of diamantaire Nirav Modi, who is one of the prime accused in the ₹13,578-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam, has been turned down by a United Kingdom court. In April 2021, the Secretary of State of U.K.’s Home Department had ordered his extradition to India, but it has not been implemented so far.

Interpol issues Blue Corner Notice against Prajwal Revanna 

Interpol issued on Tuesday (May 7) a Blue Corner Notice against “absconding” Hassan JD(S) MP Prajwal Revanna, accused of multiple instances of sexual abuse. This will help the Special Investigation Team probing the case to locate Prajwal Revanna. He flew to Germany from Bengaluru on April 27 using his diplomatic passport. His whereabouts are currently not known, amid reports that he later flew to Dubai or Hungary.

Foreign Secretary to visit Bangladesh, talks may feature China

China’s planned project along the Teesta in Bangladesh is expected to feature during Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra’s upcoming visit to Bangladesh, a prominent daily in Dhaka has reported.

Want 400 seats to prevent Congress from bringing back Article 370 and locking Ram Temple: PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 7 said he needed 400 seats in the Lok Sabha election to prevent the Congress from “bringing back Article 370 [in Kashmir] and putting a lock on Ayodhya Ram Temple”, drawing parallels to the Rajiv Gandhi government overturning the Supreme Court ruling in 1985 in the Shah Bano case, which he characterised as appeasement politics.

Polling ends in Karnataka; month-long, nail-biting wait begins

As the curtains came down on the hard-fought and high-pitched Lok Sabha elections amid the sweltering heat in Karnataka on Tuesday, it will be nearly a month-long tense wait for the electoral fortunes to be known. The counting of votes across the country will take place on June 4.

U.K. court rejects fifth bail plea of PNB scam accused Nirav Modi

The fifth bail application of diamantaire Nirav Modi, who is one of the prime accused in the ₹13,578-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam, has been turned down by a United Kingdom court. In April 2021, the Secretary of State of U.K.’s Home Department had ordered his extradition to India, but it has not been implemented so far.

Supreme Court provides relief to nearly 24,000 Bengal teachers

The Supreme Court on May 7 gave relief to the West Bengal government by protecting nearly 24,000 teaching and non-teaching staff members from immediate termination from their jobs in schools across the State.

Militant commander Basit Dar, wanted in 18 cases, among two killed in Kulgam operation: J&K police

Two militants, including a ‘commander’ of The Resistance Front (TRF), were killed in a two-day anti-militancy operation in south Kashmir’s Kulgam on Tuesday. 

More than 63% polling in third phase, sporadic violence in West Bengal

At least 63.27% of the electorate in 93 constituencies cast their votes on May 7 in the third phase of the Lok Sabha election, which has now crossed the halfway mark, with voting complete in 282 out of 543 seats. Apart from sporadic incidents of violence in West Bengal, the voting was largely peaceful. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah were among the voters in this phase, with the latter also in the fray.

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Morning Digest | Army officer injured in ‘grenade accident’ at a post in J&K’s Rajouri; supply copy of FIR to NewsClick founder, court tells Delhi Police, and more

Army says officer injured in ‘grenade accident’ at a post in J&K’s Rajouri

The Army on October 5 evening said one officer has been injured in a likely grenade accident at a post in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri sector. “The officer was evacuated and stable post initial treatment. Further investigation of the incident in progress,” the Army said in an official statement. 

Sikkim flash floods death toll mounts to 18; searches on for 98 missing people

The toll in the flash flood in Sikkim mounted to 18 on Thursday as Army and NDRF teams worked their way through slushy earth and fast flowing water in the Teesta river basin and downstream north Bengal for the second day in search of those who were swept away and are still missing, officials said. Ninety eight people, including 22 army personnel, remained missing after a cloudburst over Lhonak Lake in North Sikkim in the early hours of Wednesday triggered the flash flood, Chief Secretary V.B. Pathak said.

Supply copy of FIR to NewsClick founder, court tells Delhi Police

The Patiala House Court on Thursday allowed news portal NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha and its human resource head Amit Chakraborty to get a copy of the First Information Report (FIR) in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) case filed against them by the Delhi Police. The police had opposed the application earlier in the day. Additional sessions judge Hardeep Kaur passed the order after hearing the counsel of the accused, Arshdeep Singh, and Additional Public Prosecutor Atul Srivastava.

Amit Shah suggests uniform anti-terrorism structure under NIA for all States 

Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Thursday that along with a ruthless approach, an uniform anti-terrorism structure should be established under the purview of National Investigation Agency (NIA) in all the States. Mr. Shah made the remarks at the inauguration of the two-day anti-terror conference organised by the NIA.

INDIA parties speak up for arrested AAP MP Sanjay Singh; Congress gives qualified support

The Congress has extended qualified support to Aam Aadmi Party leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh, who was arrested on Wednesday by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with its money laundering probe linked to the Delhi excise policy case. Equating Mr. Singh’s arrest with that of Congress MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira in Punjab, the party’s general secretary (organisation) K.C. Venugopal said, “We cannot become those we oppose”. The remark was also a swipe at the AAP government in Punjab over the arrest of Mr. Khaira. 

IIT-Bombay ‘veg. table’ row | Dean says policy made by elected body, calls protest ‘provocative, insensitive’

As voices against the policy of a hostel canteen of the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B), segregating certain tables for vegetarian food begin to grow louder within the campus, the Dean of Student Affairs (SA) on October 5 sent an email to all students and staff on the issue, the first from the administration on the controversy.

India, Canada in conversation on parity of diplomatic staff: MEA

India and Canada are in conversation about attaining “parity” in the diplomatic staff posted in each other’s missions, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday. During his weekly press briefing, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi reiterated India’s charge of Canadian “interference” in India’s internal affairs and indicated that India expects Canada to reduce the total number of its diplomats stationed here. 

India conveys concerns to U.S. over American envoy to Pakistan’s visit to Gilgit-Baltistan

India on Thursday said it raised its concerns with the U.S. over American envoy to Islamabad Donald Blome’s recent visit to Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and called on the world community to respect the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi asserted that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India.

Reports say dozens have been killed and wounded as drone strikes hit a Syrian military ceremony

A drone attack struck a packed graduation ceremony for military officers in the Syrian city of Homs on Thursday, killing and wounding dozens, including civilians and military personnel, reports said. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack and the reports could not be independently confirmed.

EU Parliament decries ‘ethnic cleansing’ in Nagorno-Karabakh

EU lawmakers on Thursday accused Azerbaijan of carrying out “ethnic cleansing” against the Armenian residents of Nagorno-Karabakh, and urged the bloc to impose sanctions on Baku. Almost all of the 120,000-strong ethnic Armenia population has fled the breakaway region since Azerbaijan seized it back in a lightning offensive last month.

Chinese firm sold satellites for intelligence to Russia’s Wagner: contract

Russian mercenary group Wagner in 2022 signed a contract with a Chinese firm to acquire two satellites and use their images, aiding its intelligence work as the organisation sought to push Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to a document seen by AFP. The contract was signed in November 2022, over half a year into Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in which the Wagner group under its founder Yevgeny Prigozhin was playing a key role on the battlefield.

Musk’s X strips headlines from news links

Elon Musk’s social media platform X has stripped headlines from news articles shared by users, in a move likely to further worsen relations with media groups. The tycoon has long railed against the “legacy media” and claims X, formerly Twitter, is a better source of information. However, he said the latest change was for “aesthetic” reasons — news and other links now appear only as pictures with no accompanying text.

Political stability, policy consistency needed to ensure Indian economy’s growth to world’s third-largest: FM

Taking on critics who argue that India will become the world’s third largest economy in a few years with or without government intervention, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that political stability and policy consistency was essential for the prospect to turn into a reality, especially in a world marred by unprecedented volatility. 

Lower prices for tomatoes, chillis and LPG may have pulled food inflation down last month

Retail food inflation may have eased in September, thanks to cooling tomato prices and a reduction in LPG cylinder prices, even as onion prices rose further during the month, a CRISIL study on food plate costs suggested. Retail inflation had eased to 6.83% in August from a 15-month high of 7.44% in July, but food price inflation stood at about 10%.

SEBI to tell court Adani inquiry began 2014, but hit dead end: sources

Markets regulator SEBI will tell the Supreme Court why it paused, then restarted investigations into the Adani Group after a tip in 2014 amid questions around regulatory delays, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter. SEBI will say for the first time that India’s customs authority alerted it to an alleged misuse of offshore funds by Adani Group companies in 2014 but that the initial investigation did not yield anything and was paused in 2017, the sources said.

Asian Games | Indian compound archery teams’ domination complete

With the scores tied at 200 each, Indian archers needed to hit three perfect 10s in a row to stay alive in the compound women’s team final at the Fuyang Arena. First, Parneet Kaur hit a 10 before Aditi Swami and Jyothi Surekha followed suit with 10s to put the pressure back on Chinese Taipei. Taipei slipped up with the first arrow which assured India’s gold medal and it won 230-229 Later, the trio of Abhishek Verma, Ojas Pravin Deotale and Prathamaesh Jawkar won the men’s team gold by beating South Korea 235-230 in the final.

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Morning Digest | 10 civilians dead, 22 army men still missing in Sikkim, rescue operations on; Media bodies write to CJI, call for norms on interrogation of journalists and more

A flood affected locality at Singtam, in Gangtok district, Wednesday, October. 4, 2023.
| Photo Credit: PTI

10 dead, 22 army men among 82 missing as flash flood wreaks havoc in Sikkim; PM Modi dials CM

At least ten people died and 80 others, including 22 army personnel, went missing on Wednesday after a cloudburst over Lhonak Lake in north Sikkim triggered a flash flood in the Teesta River basin, officials said. All 10 who died have been identified as civilians including 3 of the dead who were washed up in north Bengal, they said adding that one of the 23 army men who had gone missing in the morning was rescued later.

UAPA case against NewsClick for plot to disrupt sovereignty of India: police

A day after the Delhi Police arrested Prabir Purkayastha, founder and Editor-in-Chief of NewsClick, and Amit Chakraborty, Human Resources head of the news portal, a government source told The Hindu that the police were investigating a “terror case that has Chinese links.” The foreign remittances received by the news portal are already being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) since 2021. The source said that the fresh terror case registered by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police was being investigated by multiple agencies.

NewsClick raids | Media bodies write to CJI, call for norms on interrogation of journalists

Over a dozen media bodies on Wednesday sought Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud’s intervention on the issue of raids against those linked to NewsClick, a digital news platform. Media persons and activists also turned up in large numbers at the Press Club of India to protest the police action. In a letter to the Chief Justice, the media organisations urged the courts to consider framing norms to discourage the seizure of journalists’ phones and laptops on a “whim”; and to develop guidelines for the interrogation of journalists and for seizures from them, to ensure that “these are not undertaken as fishing expeditions with no bearing to an actual offence”.

With Bihar caste survey, Nitish Kumar has set the national agenda, says JD(U) chief

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has set the national agenda ahead of the 2024 general election with the caste survey conducted in the State, Janata Dal (United)‘s Rajiv Ranjan Singh said on Wednesday. In an interview with The Hindu, he also criticised the BJP for alleging large-scale irregularities in the survey’s data collection process during an all-party meeting in Patna on Tuesday. 

Batches of India-manufactured syrups for cough, allergic rhinitis found contaminated: CDSCO

At least five batches of syrups for cough and allergic rhinitis of two Indian manufacturers — one Gujarat-based and one Tamil Nadu-based — have been found to contain higher than permissible levels of contaminants — diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol, as per a recent report released by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO). Previously the World Health Organisation (WHO) too had issued alerts on contamination in cold-cough syrups exported by India and said these two contaminants were found in the drug.

Activists call for defeat of BJP to save MGNREGA from neglect

MGNREGA Sangharsh Morcha, a collective of workers, activists and academics have called for the defeat of the BJP government in the 2024 general elections to save the MGNREGS scheme. The various groups had just concluded their two-day national convention where the state of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act was discussed.

New defence indigenisation list has futuristic weapons, systems

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday released the fifth Positive Indigenisation List (PIL) of 98 items which will be procured by the three armed services from indigenous suppliers in a staggered manner as per specified timelines. He also released the Indian Navy’s updated indigenisation roadmap, named Swavlamban 2.0.

Akshata Murty makes U.K. political stage debut for ‘best friend’ PM Sunak

Britain’s Indian First Lady, Akshata Murty, made a surprise debut on the political stage on October 4 when she stepped out to introduce “best friend” Rishi Sunak for his maiden speech as U.K. Prime Minister to the Conservative Party conference in Manchester.

Former Russian journalist sentenced in absentia for Ukraine war criticism

A court in Moscow on Wednesday handed a former state TV journalist an 8 1/2-year prison term in absentia for protesting Russia’s war in Ukraine, the latest in a months-long crackdown against dissent that has intensified since Moscow’s invasion 20 months ago. Marina Ovsyannikova was charged with spreading false information about the Russian army, a criminal offense under a law adopted shortly after the Kremlin sent troops to Ukraine. 

Nepal town imposes lockdown and beefs up security to prevent clashes between Hindus and Muslims

Despite quickly escalating tensions between Hindus and Muslims, the night passed peacefully after a lockdown was imposed and security heightened in a city in southwest Nepal, officials said. Trouble began in the regional hub city of Nepalgunj over the weekend after a Hindu boy posted a status about Muslims on social media. Muslims protested the status inside the region’s main government administrator’s office building, burned tires on the streets and blocked traffic.

Lawyers of Imran Khan in Pakistan oppose his closed-door trial over revealing official secrets

Lawyers for Pakistan’s imprisoned former Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday opposed his closed-door trial in a case in which he is accused of revealing state secrets after his 2022 ouster, saying it’s aimed at convicting the popular opposition leader quickly.

Moratorium under IBC to exempt aircraft and engines, govt. notifies

In a big relief for aircraft lessors, the government has notified that the protection offered to a corporate debtor from recovery of dues under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016 will not cover aircraft, helicopters and engines. If implemented retrospectively, the move may impact Go First’s insolvency resolution proceedings under which the National Company Law Tribunal had granted it a blanket moratorium in May to shield it from lessors and creditors and also restrained the DGCA from accepting any applications for de-registration of aircraft from any lessors.

Tata Group to focus on coffee as core business category for future

Tata Group plans to intensify its focus on branded coffee as part of its strategy of “building core categories for the future.” Tea and salts have so far been Tata’s core categories and the company said it was currently in the process of building more core categories for the future and coffee was clearly a prominent one.

Asian Games | Why did so many decisions go wrong, questions Neeraj

Never before has Neeraj Chopra questioned officiating in any meet at any level. The Olympic and World Champion has preferred to let his performance do the talking so when he says “gadbad to hai” it speaks volumes about the level of officiating in athletics at the Asian Games.

Asian Games | Neeraj defends title, quartermilers take gold as India manages best-ever medal haul in athletics

Neeraj Chopra defended his Asian Games title with a season’s best throw of 88.88m and Kishore Kumar Jena managed a personal best of 87.54m as India completed a one-two in javelin but not before both got the short end of dodgy officiating as India finished the track & field assignments here with a best-ever haul of 29 medals including six on Wednesday – two golds and four silvers – for second spot on the table by numbers.

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Morning Digest | EAM Jaishankar meets Blinken amid India-Canada diplomatic row; three killed in Rotterdam twin shootings, and more

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar say a few words to the news media as they meet at the State Department in Washington, U.S. on September 28, 2023.
| Photo Credit: Reuters

Jaishankar meets Blinken, Sullivan in Washington

Kicking off the Washington segment of his U.S. trip, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met with U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. As The Hindu went to press, Mr. Jaishankar was also in talks with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The meetings are routine but also particularly significant given the recent and serious diplomatic challenges in the India-Canada relationship following Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegation that the Indian Government was linked to the assassination of a Khalistani separatist leader in British Columbia.

Two killed in Rotterdam twin shootings

Two people have been killed and a teenager is fighting for her life after a 32-year-old gunman opened fire at a house and a hospital in Rotterdam on Thursday. Dutch police said they were still investigating the motive for the twin attacks by the man dressed in combat gear, who also set fire to the hospital.

Mob tries to storm Manipur CM’s home

A mob tried to storm the personal residence of Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh at Heingang in Imphal East on Thursday evening, amid simmering anger over the murder of two Meitei students who went missing in July. The photos of their bodies surfaced on social media earlier this week, leading to agitations and demonstrations by students.

Centre extends deadline for Manipur to record details of illegal migrants

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has extended its deadline for the Manipur government to record details of illegal migrants in the State, including biometric details. Although the State was due to complete the exercise by September 30, it has now been granted an additional six months till March 31, 2024.

Canadian police say probe into killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar ‘active and ongoing’

The killing of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar remains an “active and ongoing investigation”, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have said. Nijjar, the chief of the banned Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF), was killed in Surrey, British Columbia on June 18. India had designated Nijjar as a terrorist in 2020.

Afghanistan embassy announces shutdown citing lack of MEA support

Two years after the Taliban took over Kabul, the Afghanistan Embassy to India informed the government that it was being forced to close down, given the lack of resources with the Taliban regime and blamed the Indian Government for not supporting it despite several requests.

RS Chairman Dhankhar signs women‘s reservation Bill; to be placed before President for her assent

Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar on September 28 signed the women’s reservation Bill as passed by Parliament before it was presented to President Droupadi Murmu for her assent. The Constitution Amendment Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha with near unanimity and the Rajya Sabha with unanimity during a special session of Parliament earlier this month.

Elderly have low awareness about welfare schemes, says India Ageing Report 2023

The awareness among the elderly population among the social welfare schemes in the country remains low, the recently published India Ageing Report 2023 has pointed out. The report, produced by the United Nations Population Fund, India, in collaboration with the International Institute for Population Sciences, throws light on the challenges, opportunities, and institutional responses surrounding elderly care in India as the country’s elderly are likely to make up 20% of the country’s population by 2050. 

Auto driver arrested in Ujjain rape case

An autorickshaw driver, who was arrested for allegedly raping a minor girl he found on the streets of Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain, sustained injuries while attempting to escape from police custody on September 28, investigators said. Earlier this week, the girl, who was left semi-clad and bleeding after the sexual assault, was found wandering the streets of the holy town. 

Karnataka bandh call likely to affect normal life in Bengaluru today

Bengaluru is gearing up for yet another bandh scheduled for Friday, as Kannada organisations have declared a day-long shutdown across the state opposing releasing Cauvery water to neighbouring Tamil Nadu. This bandh is expected to disrupt the daily lives of residents, with the possibility of private and public transport going off roads, shops, eateries and theatres shutting down, even as schools and colleges have been declared a holiday, as a precautionary measure.

Cricket World Cup 2023 | R. Ashwin replaces injured Axar Patel in India’s final World Cup squad

India have predictably named veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin as a replacement for injured spin bowling all-rounder Axar Patel in their 15-member squad for the upcoming ODI World Cup, ICC announced on Thursday.

Sena Split | Cross-examination set for November 23, Sena (UBT) criticises delay

Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar has announced that the cross-examination process, related to disqualification petitions filed by Shiv Sena MLAs, will commence on November 23. According to the schedule issued by Mr. Narwekar, cross-examination will be held twice a week. 

Indian, French Army Chiefs exchange lessons from war in Ukraine

Pointing to the strategic partnership between India and France and the close cooperation between the two Navies and Air Forces, French Army Chief General Pierre Schill said the two Armies were also looking to deepen cooperation with more exercises and sharing best practices among others.

Heavy rain likely in West Bengal, Odisha over weekend

A low-pressure area brewing over the Bay of Bengal is likely to bring heavy rain across Gangetic West Bengal and Odisha this weekend, the IMD said on September 28. It said that a low-pressure area is likely to form over eastcentral and adjoining northeast Bay of Bengal by Friday and intensify thereafter into a well-marked low-pressure area, moving northwestwards in the direction of north Odisha and Gangetic West Bengal.

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Morning Digest | Centre extends AFSPA in parts of Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh for another six months; ‘High level of military tension’ with China over last three years, says EAM Jaishankar, and more

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) extended the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in parts of Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh for another six months, beginning October 1. Image for representation purpose only. File

U.S. calls for ‘full and fair investigation’ into Canada’s allegations against India

The United States has said there ought to be a full and fair investigation into Canada’s allegations that the Indian government was involved in the killing of a separatist Sikh leader in British Columbia earlier this year. State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said this at a news conference on Tuesday.

CBI team led by Special Director to probe ‘killing’ of two students in Manipur

The Central Bureau of Investigation Special Director, Ajay Bhatnagar, will be leaving for Manipur on Wednesday by a special flight along with a team of officers to probe the suspected death of two Meitei students, said agency sources.

Centre extends AFSPA in parts of Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh for another six months

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) extended the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in parts of Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh for another six months, beginning October 1. The Act gives unbridled power to the armed forces and the Central Armed Police Forces deployed in “disturbed areas” to kill anyone acting in contravention of law, arrest and search any premises without a warrant and protection from prosecution and legal suits without the Central government’s sanction.

Donald Trump defrauded banks, insurers as he built real estate empire, judge rules

A judge has ruled that Donald Trump committed fraud for years while building the real estate empire that catapulted him to fame and the White House. Judge Arthur Engoron, ruling Tuesday in a civil lawsuit brought by New York’s attorney general, found that the former president and his company deceived banks, insurers and others by massively overvaluing his assets and exaggerating his net worth on paperwork used in making deals and securing financing.

Told Canada it is not government policy: Jaishankar on Nijjar killing

In the latest round of sparring between India and Canada over the killing of Khalistani separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia last June, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said the government had told the Canadian Government that it was not its “policy“ to engage in such acts.

‘High level of military tension’ with China over last three years: EAM Jaishankar

There has been a “high level of military tension” with China over the last three years, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar has said, characterizing the overall state of “ very abnormal” relations between New Delhi and Beijing since the border clashes of 2020.

Karnataka told to release 3,000 cusecs of Cauvery water daily to Tamil Nadu till October 15

The Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) at its meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday decided that Karnataka should release 3,000 cubic feet per second (cusecs) to Tamil Nadu from September 28 to October 15.

Cheetahs may be flown in from new countries

With six adult cheetahs dying within the first year of their relocation to India, wildlife experts associated with Project Cheetah are considering options of importing the next batch of big cats from countries other than South Africa and Namibia. A final decision is awaited.

Canadian Parliament speaker quits after publicly praising former Nazi soldier

The speaker of Canada’s House of Commons lower chamber on September 26 said he would quit, a few days after he publicly praised a former Nazi soldier in Parliament in an incident that Russia said helped justify its war on Ukraine.

Centre asks States to promote heat tolerant wheat seeds in the rabi season

The Union government on Tuesday held an interaction with the States on the preparedness for the upcoming rabi crop season in the background of a 5% decrease in monsoon in this year. The Centre has asked States to promote heat resilient and high yielding varieties of wheat among farmers.

Promote khadi, Prime Minister tells students

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged students to promote khadi as a fashion statement in colleges and universities, which could emerge as hubs for the ‘Vocal for Local’ movement.

Taliban seek economic support and recognition from India ahead of Kazan meeting under Moscow format

Ahead of the Moscow format discussion at Kazan in Russia, the Taliban have called upon India to help in the economic recovery of Afghanistan. The discussion scheduled to be held on September 29 is significant from the regional point of view as this is the first such meeting after China increased engagement with the Taliban and sent a new Ambassador to Kabul earlier this month.

SC to hear Chandrababu Naidu’s plea for relief on September 27

A Supreme Court Bench headed by Justice Sanjiv Khanna is scheduled to hear on September 27 a petition filed by Telugu Desam Party national president and former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu against an Andhra Pradesh High Court order refusing to quash FIRs against him in the multi-crore skill development scam case.

Bhavani Devi loses in Asian Games quarterfinals, questions referee’s calls in loss to Chinese fencer

Bhavani Devi registered an impressive series of five wins in the morning to enter the knockout stages of the women’s sabre individual fencing event before bowing out to local favourite Yaqi Shao 15-7 in the quarterfinals. The Chinese, who has also been a training partner for Bhavani, won 15-7, racing to a 7-2 lead in the first period even before Bhavani could find her footing. She questioned some of the early decisions from the referee, even challenging them early on.

Canadian PM prone to ‘outrageous’ allegations, says Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Sabry

Weighing in on the recent diplomatic row between India and Canada regarding the killing of Canadian Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Ali Sabry accused Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of making “outrageous allegations”, and remarked that some “terrorists have found a safe haven in Canada”.

U.S. sues Amazon for breaking antitrust law, harming consumers

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission filed a long-awaited antitrust lawsuit against on September 26, charging the online retailer with harming consumers with higher prices in the latest U.S. government legal action aimed at breaking Big Tech’s dominance of the internet.

‘Cannot bend rules of state to state interactions’: Canada’s U.N. Ambassador Rae

More than a week after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged that agents of the Indian government were involved in the June assassination of Khalistan separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia, the country’s Ambassador to the United Nations (U.N.) reiterated Ottawa’s concerns about foreign interference and rules of state to state interaction.

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Morning Digest | India says no specific information shared by Canada on Nijjar killing; Kovind-led panel to seek political parties’ views on simultaneous elections, and more

A photograph of Hardeep Singh Nijjar is seen on a banner outside the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara Sahib in Surrey, British Columbia. File.
| Photo Credit: AP

Hardeep Singh Nijjar killing | No specific information shared by Canada, says India

“No specific information has been shared by Canada on the [Hardeep Singh Nijjar killing case], either then or before or after… We have, you know, as we have said, or I think we have made very clear, we are willing to look at any specific information,” the Ministry of External Affairs said on September 23.

Kovind-led panel to invite political parties for their views on simultaneous elections

The high-level committee, headed by former President Ram Nath Kovind, to examine the possibility of simultaneous elections held its first meeting and decided to invite national and regional political parties to submit their views and suggestions on the issue. The first meeting of the committee was to prepare an action plan and discuss holding consultations with stakeholders. Preparation of working papers and research on the subject for an in-depth discussion were also on the agenda of the meeting.

Congress irked at CPI MP’s suggestion to not repeat Rahul Gandhi from Wayanad

A suggestion made during internal discussions at the recent national executive meeting of INDIA bloc member CPI that senior leader Rahul Gandhi not seek re-election from Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency in 2024 has annoyed the Congress, especially its Kerala unit.

Bidhuri was instigated by ‘unsavoury remarks’ about PM, BJP MP tells Speaker

A day after Opposition parties’ floor leaders in Parliament flooded Speaker Om Birla with letters supporting Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MP Danish Ali’s demand that BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri’s communal slurs against him be referred to the privileges committee, BJP MP Nishikant Dubey, in turn, wrote to the Speaker, asking that the “unsavoury conduct” of Mr. Ali also be probed.

In Tamil Nadu, yet another sand storm

On March 17, 2021, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court passed an order directing the State authorities to ensure that river sand for construction purposes was supplied only when the buyer produced an approved building plan. The court issued the guidelines while disposing of a couple of writ petitions accusing officials of colluding with lorry owners in the sale of sand and seeking directions to enable members of the public to buy sand through the Tamil Nadu Sand Web Service Portal.

No justification for delay in implementing Women’s Quota Bill: Rahul Gandhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said there was no justification for a delay in the implementation of the women’s reservation Bill, for which the BJP government at the Centre was trying to find excuses such as the new Census and delimitation of constituencies. On the other hand, the Central government was not willing to conduct a caste census, he said.

PSU engineers who build equipment for ISRO go without salary for 20 months

Around 3,000 employees of Heavy Engineering Corporation (HEC), including technicians and engineers, who helped produce many a equipment for the Indian Space Research Organisation, including the launch pad of Chandrayaan-3, are now forced to sell edibles and garments. These HEC employees, forced to engage as part-time daily wage workers, including driving autorickshaws, have not been paid their rightful salaries for the last 20 months.

423 acres decluttered in Union government offices in two years, data shows

Central government office space of the size of around 320 football fields has been cleared of clutter and junk in the past two years as part of two special drives, data shows. Now, the Centre has decided to scale-up efforts to reach a “saturation level” in all offices as part of its upcoming ‘Special Campaign 3.0’.

Political parties in Punjab adopt contrasting strategies amid India-Canada conflict 

As diplomatic relations between India and Canada take a nosedive, political parties in Punjab are treading cautiously. Mindful of the need to cultivate their vote banks ahead of the parliamentary election due in 2024, major parties are adopting starkly different strategies in the State, which has strong connections to a substantial diaspora population in Canada.

Kamala Harris tasked with new role fighting U.S. gun violence

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris took on a new role Friday fighting gun violence, a job likely to give her more visibility ahead of the 2024 election. The 58-year-old Democrat will head up the new White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention, which will provide coordination on the issue but largely lacks any kind of enforceable power to tackle the scourge in a country that has more firearms than people.

Muslim bodies seek Bidhuri’s disqualification for remarks against BSP MP Danish Ali

The leading Muslim bodies of the country have called for the disqualification of the BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri who indulged in a slur-laden diatribe against Kunwar Danish Ali, the Bahujan Samaj Party MP on the concluding day of the special session of Parliament.

Is the TDP heading towards a leadership crisis in Andhra Pradesh?

After the arrest of Telugu Desam Party national president N. Chandrababu Naidu by the A.P. CID in the alleged skill development scam case, there seems to be a void on the leadership front in the four-decade-old party.

India-Australia ODI series | Men in Blue looking to seal the deal against visiting Aussies

The Men in Blue landed in this historical city on Saturday as the No. 1 team across formats. They had made history when they beat Australia in the first ODI at Mohali; only South Africa had achieved the feat of being the ICC’s top-ranking team for men in Tests, ODIs and T20Is at the same time, back in 2012.

Cancel Group-I preliminary test held on June 11, reconduct it: HC to TSPSC

Justice P. Madhavi Devi of Telangana High Court on Saturday allowed a writ petition seeking cancellation and re-conduct of the preliminary examination held June 11 for recruitment of Group-I cadre officers.

Pakistan’s PM says manipulation of coming elections by military is ‘absolutely absurd’

Pakistan’s interim Prime Minister said he expects parliamentary elections to take place in the new year, dismissing the possibility that the country’s powerful military would manipulate the results to ensure that jailed former premier Imran Khan’s party doesn’t win.

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Morning Digest | India makes renewed push for consensus at G20 Foreign Ministers meeting; China says ‘lab leak’ claims hurt U.S. credibility, and more

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is greeted by an official upon his arrival at the airport in New Delhi, India on March 1, 2023.
| Photo Credit: Reuters

India makes renewed push for consensus at G20 Foreign Ministers meeting

G20 negotiators met for a second late night on Wednesday to discuss breaking the impasse over a jointly approved document to be released at the end of the G20 Foreign Minister’s Meeting (FMM) on Thursday. The push for a negotiated statement at the FMM was “ambitious”, said sources, given that last week’s Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in Bengaluru failed to reach a consensus on a joint statement.

Stage set: All eyes on Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland for counting of votes on March 2

The countdown to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections is expected to begin with the outcome of the Assembly elections in three northeastern States — Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura — on Thursday.  Each of these States has a 60-member House but elections were held for 59 constituencies in Meghalaya following the death of a United Democratic Party (UDP) candidate, and in Nagaland where a BJP candidate was declared elected unopposed. 

China says ‘lab leak’ claims hurt U.S. credibility

Beijing accused Washington on Wednesday of harming its own credibility after a top U.S. intelligence official said his agency believed the pandemic “most likely” caused by a laboratory incident in Wuhan, China. FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday that the Bureau has now assessed the source of COVID-19 was “most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan.”

Children’s deaths in Kolkata hospitals spark fears of adenovirus outbreak

Four children died due to respiratory infections at different hospitals in Kolkata within 24 hours on Wednesday, amidst fears of an adenovirus outbreak. Two deaths were reported at the Dr. B C Roy Post Graduate Institute of Paediatric Sciences while two deaths were reported at the Calcutta National Medical College and Hospital (MCH). This comes a day after the deaths of five children were reported across hospitals in Kolkata.

Anti-defection law applies even if a faction splits from a party: Supreme Court at Shiv Sena hearing

The anti-defection law applies even if a faction splits from a political party and manages to cobble up a majority within the party itself, the Supreme Court observed in a hearing in the political dispute between former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and incumbent Eknath Shinde.

Hindenburg Research report on Adani Group | Supreme Court verdict on expert committee today

The Supreme Court on Thursday is scheduled to pronounce its judgment on the formation of an expert committee to examine Hindenburg Research firm’s damning report on the Adani Group. A Bench led by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud had reserved the case on the point of constitution of the panel on February 17.

Stalin rejects third front without Congress; says no to post-poll tie-up

DMK president and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Wednesday rejected the idea of a third front, an alliance without the Congress, and a post-electoral coalition for next year’s Lok Sabha election. The meeting was attended by Congress president Mallikarjun Karge, National Conference leader and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, among others.

Drone shot down in Punjab in December 2022 had flown in China and Pakistan: BSF

The Border Security Force (BSF) said on Wednesday that the forensic analysis of a quadcopter drone shot down near the Pakistan border in Punjab last year had its footprints in China and Pakistan. BSF said the drone was flown once in Feng Xian district in China’s Shanghai on June 11, 2022, and thereafter it has flown 28 times in Pakistan’s Khanewal from September 24-December 25, 2022, before it was shot down.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives in Delhi for G20 Foreign Ministers meeting

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in the national capital on Wednesday night primarily to attend a crucial meeting of G20 Foreign Ministers that is taking place amid a bitter rift between the West and the Russia-China combine over the Ukraine conflict.

Bill Gates appreciated India’s COVID management, vaccination drive, says Health Minister Mandaviya

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates Wednesday appreciated India’s COVID-19 management, vaccination drive and digital health initiatives like Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission in a meeting with Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya. According to an official, he appreciated how India worked excellently during the COVID pandemic.

Border-Gavaskar Trophy | Kuhnemann and Lyon spell India’s doom, spin hosts out for a paltry 109

There was turn, bounce and puffs of dust from the dry surface in the first hour. It was a sign of what to expect. India, electing to bat, was spun out for 109 on the opening day of the third Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy at the Holkar Stadium here on Wednesday.

Constitution Bench to rule on ‘independent mechanism for appointment of Election Commissioners’ on March 2

A Constitution Bench on Thursday is scheduled to pronounce its judgment on petitions seeking an “independent mechanism for appointment of Election Commissioners” outside the exclusive power of the government.

Madhya Pradesh Budget | Polls in sight, focus on women, jobs and tribal welfare; no new taxes

The Shivraj Singh Chouhan government in Madhya Pradesh has kept its last Budget of the outgoing Assembly a youth-and women-centric one, by announcing 1,00,000 government jobs and allocating significant funds for social welfare schemes such as the newly announced Ladli Behna Yojana.

With eye on 2024 Lok Sabha polls, Uttar Pradesh BJP unit readies for a significant reshuffle

The BJP is likely to witness reshuffling in its Uttar Pradesh State team with appointment of at least 35% new office-bearers in next couple of weeks. These appointments are likely to happen at the State, regional, district and Morcha (an allied organisation of the party) levels, keeping in mind the social and caste arithmetic in the respective regions, and with an eye on the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

Lukashenko in China says Belarus ‘fully’ supports Beijing’s Ukraine plan

Belarus strongman and close Kremlin ally Alexander Lukashenko said during a visit to China on Wednesday that his country fully supports an initiative put forward by Beijing to achieve peace in Ukraine. “Today’s meeting is taking place at a very difficult time, which calls for new, unorthodox approaches and responsible political decisions,” Mr. Lukashenko told China’s President Xi Jinping.

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