The Hindu Morning Digest, March 30, 2024

Indian Navy ships free hijacked Iranian fishing vessel off Somalia, rescue 23 Pakistani nationals

Indian Naval Ships Sumedha and Trishul intercepted and freed hijacked Iranian Fishing Vessel Al-Kambar off Somalia after forcing the pirates to surrender over the course of 12 hours and safely rescued the crew consisting of 23 Pakistani nationals. “After more than 12 hours of intense coercive tactical measures as per the Standard Operating Procedures, the pirates on board hijacked FV were forced to surrender. The crew, comprising 23 Pakistani nationals, have been safely rescued,” a Navy spokesperson said in an update on March 29 midnight. “Indian Naval specialist teams are presently undertaking thorough sanitisation and seaworthiness checks of the FV in order to escort her to a safe area for resuming normal fishing activities.”

Netanyahu approves new Gaza ceasefire talks

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved new talks on a Gaza ceasefire, a day after the world’s top court ordered Israel to ensure urgent humanitarian aid reaches people in the Palestinian territory .But despite a binding United Nations Security Council resolution this week demanding an “immediate ceasefire”, fighting continued Friday, including around hospitals.

National parties often ignore regional aspirations, says AIADMK general secretary Edappadi Palaniswami

Criticising national parties for “ignoring” regional aspirations “many times”, AIADMK general secretary and Leader of the Opposition Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Friday said that regional parties, such as his own, were better equipped to represent the people and expedite development initiatives in the States. In an interview to The Hindu at his official residence, Sevanthi, on Greenways Salai in Chennai, Mr. Palaniswami, who took time off his busy Lok Sabha election campaign schedule, said that “In a country such as ours with much diversity”, regional parties fulfilled the regional aspirations.

AAP pulls out all stops for mega Oppn. rally in Delhi

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is pulling out all the stops to ensure a large turnout at the Opposition’s ‘maha rally’ at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan on Sunday. Several senior leaders of the Indian National Developmental, Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) bloc are likely to attend the event to express solidarity with Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, who is in ED custody on corruption charges.

IPL-17: RCB vs KKR | Venkatesh Iyer’s 50, Narine’s cameo carry KKR to seven-wicket win over RCB

A ruthless fifty by Venkatesh Iyer worked as the catalyst for Kolkata Knight Riders’ smooth seven-wicket victory over Royal Challengers Bengaluru in their IPL match here on Friday. Venkatesh’s 50 of 30 balls (3×4, 4×6) and stunning blitzes by openers Sunil Narine (47, 22b, 2×4, 5×6) and Phil Salt (30, 20b, 2×4, 2×6) propelled the Knight Riders past the 183-run target that the RCB set for them, which was built around Virat Kohli’s skilful unbeaten 83. The KKR batters never got bogged down either by a slow pitch or RCB bowlers as they hunted down the target in just 16.5 overs.

Pappu Yadav hints at rebellion; Congress deeply unhappy with seat sharing in Bihar

With a formal stamp on the seat division in Bihar and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) keeping Purnia for itself, the Congress is left with a Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav-size headache and also has to contend with enraged State leaders who find the principal opposition party settling for too little. The Congress has got nine out of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in the State and in majority of these seats, the party leadership claims, it has nominal presence, with a caste arithmetic leaning in favour of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance.

The Rameshwaram Cafe blast case: NIA announces ₹10 lakh reward on each of the two absconding prime accused

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has released the photographs and details of the two absconding prime accused in The Rameshwaram Cafe blast case — Abdul Matheen Ahmed Taahaa, 30, and Mussavir Hussain Shazib, 30 — and announced a reward of ₹10 lakh on each of them. The NIA had on Thursday identified Mussavir Hussain as the alleged bomber at the restaurant and Abdul Matheen Taaha as the key conspirator behind the attack. NIA has said the informant’s identities will be kept confidential.

Yusuf Pathan removes photograph of World Cup-winning squad after Congress complains to EC

Former cricketer and Trinamool Congress candidate from Baharampur Yusuf Pathan on Friday began removing photographs of the Cricket World Cup-winning moment used by his supporters as campaign material in the Lok Sabha seat. The development comes after West Bengal Congress lodged a complaint with the Election Commission of India (EC) accusing the former cricketer of violating the model code of conduct (MCC) by using posters of India’s World Cup-winning moments in 2011.

Stalin questions the ‘mysterious’ PMK-BJP tie-up

Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Friday questioned the “mystery” behind the alliance between the PMK and the BJP, when the former speaks of social justice and the latter “tolls the death knell for social justice”. At an election meeting to canvass for the INDIA bloc’s Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri candidates R. Mani (DMK) and K. Gopinath (Congress) respectively, Mr. Stalin asked whether “the venerable Dr. Ramadoss (PMK founder), who champions the call for caste census, secured a guarantee from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah on the same? Did he ask Mr. Modi why did he not initiate the census during his term now,” Mr. Stalin asked.

Uncontrolled celebratory firing is recipe for disaster: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court, in a judgment, has highlighted the often disastrous consequences of “uncontrolled and unwarranted” celebratory firing at weddings, including the maiming or loss of innocent lives. This is the second time in as many years the court has raised its voice against the culture of gun-toting bravado. In February 2023, the court had condemned the easy availability and possession of guns, mostly country-made or unlicensed, in States like Uttar Pradesh as a feudal practice that cocks a snook at a very basic fundamental right — the right to life — guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.

After veto, Russia says big powers need to stop ‘strangling’ North Korea

Russia said on March 29 that major powers needed a new approach to North Korea, accusing the United States and its allies of ratcheting up military tensions in Asia and seeking to “strangle” the reclusive state. Russia vetoed the annual renewal of a panel of experts monitoring enforcement of longstanding United Nations sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes.

Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar takes a swipe at Opposition for rallying behind Kejriwal

In an apparent swipe at the Opposition for rallying behind the beleaguered Delhi Chief Minister and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal, Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar on Friday pointed out how one breaking the law was playing the victim card. Mr. Kejriwal was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on March 21 in a money laundering case linked to Delhi’s scrapped excise policy.  Without naming the U.S. and Germany, who have reacted strongly to Mr. Kejriwal’s arrest, Mr. Dhankhar said “India does not need lessons from any country on rule of law.”

Moscow concert hall attack: Nine detained in Tajikistan, Russian state media reports

Nine persons have been detained by Tajikistan’s state security service over suspected contact with the perpetrators of last week’s attack by gunmen on a suburban Moscow concert hall that killed 144 people, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti said on March 29. “Nine residents of the Vakhdat district were detained for contact with the persons who committed the terrorist attack at Crocus City Hall on March 22,” the agency reported, citing information from an unnamed source in Tajikistan’s special services, who said that Russian security forces were also involved in the operation to detain the suspects.

Wives on the driving seat, Bihar’s bahubalis keep poll clout intact

Having weathered allegations, criminal cases and even long prison stints, Bihar’s bahubalis (strongmen) are back in action in Bihar’s politics. Like previous elections, their wives are in the fray, but voters clearly understand who’s calling the shots. Lovely Anand, wife of strongman Anand Mohan Singh; Bima Bharti, wife of Awadhesh Mandal; and Anita Mahto, wife of Ashok Mahto, are better known as Mrs. Bahubalis. Their husbands hold sway in their respective constituencies and beyond but cannot contest the poll directly owing to rules that prohibit convicts jailed for over two years from contesting elections “until six years after release”. This is not too different from mukhiapatis (village head’s husband) in Bihar reigning supreme at village panchayats with their elected wives (mukhias) watching from the sidelines.

‘Writers, journalists, social activists being jailed for merely criticising Indian government’

Expressing concern over the “prolonged incarceration” of a large number of writers, journalists, and social activists for criticising the Indian government, a group of eminent personalities have sought to draw the world’s attention on how India’s “democratic tradition is being fundamentally undermined.”

Lok Sabha polls: Trinamool alleges BJP leaders using NIA to target its party leaders

Trinamool Congress on Friday alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidates contesting the Lok Sabha polls are conspiring with the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to have certain leaders of the State’s ruling party arrested ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. Trinamool Congress spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said that two BJP candidates have held a meeting with the NIA officer in Kolkata regarding summon and arrest of Trinamool Congress leaders in the State’s Purba Medinipur district. Referring to an NIA official, Mr. Ghosh asked whether two BJP leaders met the official and “handed over a list of @AITCofficial leaders and workers for immediate summon and arrest, or not”.

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The Hindu Morning Digest, March 28, 2024

Arvind Kejriwal arrest | After India summons envoy, U.S. stresses it encourages fair, transparent legal proceedings

After India summoned a senior U.S. diplomat to lodge a protest over remarks on the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Washington on Wednesday stressed that it encourages fair, transparent, timely legal processes and “we don’t think anyone should object to that”. “We continue to follow these actions closely, including the arrest of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal,” U.S. State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said.

Two killed after anti-CAA meeting in Meghalaya

Two persons were killed in Meghalaya’s East Khasi Hills district on Wednesday following a meeting organised by a local organisation against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) of 2019. Police said the bodies of the two persons — both non-tribals — were found at Ichamati and Dalda under the Shella Assembly constituency. Both places are close to the State’s border with Bangladesh. The district’s Superintendent of Police, Rituraj Ravi, told journalists that the post-mortem was yet to be done. “Additional police teams from Shillong have been sent to the site,” he said.

IPL-17 : MI vs SRH | Records go for a six as SRH outshines MI in run fest

Travis Head played a gem of an innings, Abhishek Sharma was stunning and Heinrich Klaasen flamboyant as the trio fashioned Sunrisers Hyderabad’s impressive 31-run win against Mumbai Indians in a high-scoring IPL league match at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Wednesday night.

Priest can give CAA eligibility certificate, says government helpline

A local priest may issue an “eligibility certificate” under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019 to validate the religion of an applicant, according to a response received by The Hindu through the Union Ministry of Home Affairs’ CAA helpline. The certificate, a mandatory document, is to be enclosed along with an affidavit and other documents that the applicants are to upload on the CAA portal. “The reasons for which applicant wishes to acquire Indian citizenship” must also be stated.

Congress announces 14 more candidates for Lok Sabha polls

The Congress on Wednesday brought out a fresh list of 14 candidates from Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Telangana and Madhya Pradesh for the Lok Sabha elections. Some of these were cleared by the Central Election Committee (CEC) of the party earlier in the evening. Sources said the CEC had discussed around 18 names and most had been cleared. In Uttar Pradesh, the party named Dolly Sharma from Ghaziabad, Virendra Chowdhury from Maharajganj, Nakul Dubey from Sitapur and Shivram Valmiki from Bulandshahr.

₹50 lakh stolen from van carrying cash to ATM in Kerala

In a brazen daylight theft, ₹50 lakh was stolen from a van that was taking the money to fill cash vending machines, at Uppala in Kasaragod in Kerala on Wednesday .The incident occurred outside an ATM of the Axis Bank around 2 p.m. The van involved in the incident belongs to a private agency, Secure Valley. Notably, it arrived at the location without security personnel. The police apprehended the driver and seized the van.

Nirmala Sitharaman decides against contesting Lok Sabha polls

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has decided against contesting the Lok Sabha election, she said on Wednesday, citing the lack of “money to contest” the poll and her inability to meet the “winnability criteria” in southern States such as Andhra Pradesh or Tamil Nadu that she could have considered battling from. The Minister, in her second term in the Rajya Sabha, had been sounded out by the Bharatiya Janata Party’s top brass to consider a Lok Sabha candidature in the upcoming election, along with some of her Upper House cabinet colleagues such as Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and Environment and Labour Minister Bhupender Yadav.

Government notifies revised wages under the MGNREGS

The Union government on Wednesday notified the revised wages under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), with several States reporting a hike in wages by 8 to 10%. The hike ranged from ₹7 in Uttar Pradesh (2023- ₹230 – to 2024 rate of ₹237) to ₹34 hike in Goa (2023 wages ₹322 to 2024 wages ₹356). Significant jump in wages have been reported by Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Goa, where the hikes varied from 8% to 10.5%. Bihar follows closely behind, where the wages have been revised by ₹17. 

Former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt convicted in false drug seizure case

A court in Gujarat on Wednesday convicted former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt in a drugs seizure case dating back to 1996. The court is expected to pronounce the quantum of punishment on Thursday. The sessions court in Palanpur held Bhatt guilty of falsely implicating a Rajasthan-based lawyer, Sumer Singh Rajpurohit, by claiming that police had seized drugs from a hotel room in Palanpur where the lawyer was staying. The case was lodged when Bhatt was the district Superintendent of Police.

‘Close your eyes, feel my presence’: Arvind Kejriwal’s wife reads out his message to people

Sunita Kejriwal, the wife of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, posted a video message on the CM’s X account on Wednesday, where she relayed a message from her husband: “While my body is in jail, my spirit is with the people of Delhi.” “Close your eyes, and you will feel my presence around you,” Ms. Kejriwal said, relaying her husband’s message with her eyes closed and hands folded. While remanding Mr. Kejriwal in Enforcement Directorate (ED) custody, a court in New Delhi had allowed him to meet his wife and lawyers between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. daily.

Solution cannot be found on battlefield, says Jaishankar on Russia-Ukraine conflict

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on March 27 said India’s position in the Russia-Ukraine conflict has been that a solution cannot be found on the battlefield and New Delhi wants to find a way of bringing this conflict to an end. Responding to a question on India’s position on the Russia-Ukraine conflict during his interaction with the Indian diaspora in the Malaysian capital, Mr. Jaishankar said that there are “no winners of a conflict”. “We took the position from the start, that you’re not going to get a solution to this conflict on the battlefield,” he said.

In its seventh list, BJP announces Navneet Rana’s candidature for the contentious Amravati Lok Sabha seat

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday announced the candidature of Navneet Rana for the reserved Amravati Lok Sabha seat in its seventh list of candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha election. Ms. Rana, an independent MP and the incumbent legislator of the Amravati Lok Sabha seat, is a supporter of the BJP along with her husband Ravi Rana, who is the current MLA from Badnera (in Amravati). The announcement now paves the way for Ms. Rana to formally join the BJP and contest on the Scheduled Caste (SC) reserved seat.

Rameshwaram Cafe blast: NIA conducts simultaneous raids in Shivamogga and Tamil Nadu

The National Investigation Agency (NIA), probing Bengaluru’s The Rameshwaram Cafe blast case, conducted simultaneous raids and questioned several suspects in Shivamogga, Karnataka, Chennai, and Ramanathapuram districts in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday (March 27). NIA sleuths on Wednesday raided the residences of Mussavir Hussain Shazib and Abdul Matheen Taha in Thirthahalli. The duo are accused in the 2020 Al Hind IS module case registered in Suddaguntepalya and have been absconding since. They are also said to be the kingpins of the Thirthahalli module and accused in the Mangaluru cooker blast of November 2022. Given the similarity in the timer and detonator devices in the IEDs used in The Rameshwaram Cafe blast and the cooker blast, agencies have suspected the role of the same module. 

Woman stripped, paraded and beaten up in M.P. village; four women held

Four women were arrested for allegedly beating up, stripping and parading a 30-year-old woman over a dispute at a village in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore district, police said on Wednesday. A video of the purported incident that occurred during the Holi celebrations also surfaced on social media. “On Monday, four women forcibly pulled the victim out of her house, beat her up and humiliated her by stripping her naked in public at Bachhora village of Gautampura police station area,” Superintendent of Police (Rural) Sunil Mehta said.

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The Hindu Morning Digest, March 27, 2024

Employment scenario in India grim, says ILO report

India’s youth account for almost 83% of the unemployed workforce and the share of youngsters with secondary or higher education in the total unemployed youth has almost doubled from 35.2% in 2000 to 65.7% in 2022, as per the India Employment Report 2024 released by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Institute of Human Development (IHD) here on Tuesday. The youth employment and underemployment increased between 2000 and 2019 but declined during the pandemic years, the study, released by Chief Economic Adviser V. Anantha Nageswaran, said, adding that educated youths have experienced much higher levels of unemployment in the country during the period.

Photojournalists covering AAP protest face police’s wrath

Photojournalists covering the Aam Aadmi Party protests were harassed by the Delhi Police on Tuesday. The matter escalated between members of the press and police forces as photojournalists were attempting to click pictures of AAP leaders protesting Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest. Salman Ali, a photojournalist with the Hindustan Times, was injured during the exchange, fracturing his elbow. Mr. Ali told The Hindu that there was heavy police force, and they were misbehaving with members of the media, going to the extent of grabbing a fellow photojournalist’s collar. 

IPL-17: CSK vs GT | Super Kings put on a regal display to subdue Titans with consummate ease

Like most Indian venues, Chepauk is used to the chants of ‘Sachin, Sachin’ while cheering the nation’s most celebrated cricketer, Sachin Tendulkar, in his playing days .Figuring in only his second IPL match, Rachin Ravindra found a way into the hearts of the city’s passionate fans, who quickly belted out ‘Rachin, Rachin’ as the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) opener produced another impressive cameo that laid the foundation for the defending champion’s thumping 63-run win over Gujarat Titans at the MAC Stadium on Tuesday.

In its seventh list, Congress announces four candidates for Chhattisgarh

The Congress on Tuesday announced its seventh list of candidates for the Lok Sabha polls. The list has five names — four, including two women candidates, from Chhattisgarh, and one from Tamil Nadu.  With these four — Shashi Singh from Surguja, Dr. Menka Devi Singh from Raigarh, Biresh Thakur from Kanker [all three seats reserved for the Scheduled Tribe (ST)] and Devendra Singh Yadav from Bilaspur — the party has now announced all the names from Chhattisgarh that has 11 parliamentary constituencies.

Crew of cargo ship that lost power and collided with bridge in Baltimore, U.S. are all Indian

The entire 22-member crew of the cargo ship that struck a major bridge in Baltimore early on March 26, causing it to snap and plunge into the river below are Indians, the company said. The Singapore-flagged container ship “Dali” collided with one of the pillars of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore at approximately 1:30 am local time. According to the vessel information provided by the Synergy Marine Group, the crew was “All Indian, 22 in total”.

Ladakh activist Wangchuk ends 21-day fast, urges PM Modi, Amit Shah to deliver on promises

Climate activist Sonam Wangchuk on March 26 (Tuesday) ended his 21-day fast in Leh, as he urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah to “prove themselves as statesmen” .“It was for 21days. From tomorrow, women’s groups will start their fast and will be followed by youth, then monks and so on,” Mr. Wangchuk told The Hindu. Mr. Wangchuk has visibly grown frail and his voice has also strained. The Ladakhi activist has matched the longest fast held by Mahatma Gandhi during the freedom movement.

Big tech told to identify AI deepfakes ahead of EU vote

The EU called on Facebook, TikTok and other tech titans on March 26 to crack down on deepfakes and other AI-generated content by using clear labels ahead of Europe-wide polls in June .The recommendation is part of a raft of guidelines published under a landmark content law by the European Commission for digital giants to tackle risks to elections including disinformation. The EU executive body has unleashed a string of measures to clamp down on big tech, especially regarding content moderation.

RJD, Congress hold talks to iron out differences over seats

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav and Congress leaders held talks on Tuesday to sort out the differences that have emerged between the two allies over the seat-sharing arrangements in Bihar. The much-awaited meeting took place at senior Congress leader Mukul Wasnik’s official residence here after a week of tussle. Mr. Wasnik is the convener of his party’s alliance committee. Bihar Congress chief Akhilesh Prasad Singh and AICC in-charge Mohan Prakash were also present. Another meeting could take place on Wednesday before a final agreement is announced in Patna.

ED attaches ₹124.57-crore assets in Religare Finvest Limited case

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has provisionally attached immovable properties worth ₹124.57 crore belonging to RS Infrastructure, Kenwood Mercantile, Goodfaith Builders and other suspects in a case related to Religare Finvest Limited and others. The agency, in a statement, said Kenwood Mercantile and Goodfaith Builders were entities belonging to the M3M group, a Gurugram-based realtor. “Land measuring 430 acres in Gurugram/Faridabad belonging to the entities of M3M group has been provisionally attached (it) being the proceeds of crime (PoC) flowing through a maze of companies to the M3M group,” it said.

In Gujarat, BJP drops nearly 50% of sitting MPs

In Gujarat, the BJP has dropped more than a dozen sitting MPs, including Ministers Darshna Jordosh and Mahendra Munjapara, for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Two Cabinet Ministers, Mansukh Mandaviya and Parshottam Rupala, whose Rajya Sabha terms end in April, find a place on the candidate list instead .The ruling party has fielded Mr. Mandaviya from the Porbandar seat in the place of Ramesh Dhaduk and Mr. Rupala from Rajkot in the place of Mohan Kundariya. With Mr. Mandaviya hailing from Bhavnagar and Mr. Rupala from Amteli, both candidates were considered outsiders.

Home-cooked food, bed: facilities CM Kejriwal is allowed in ED lock-up

Inside the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) lock-up, where Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is currently lodged after being arrested in an excise policy-linked money laundering charge, an accused gets access to basic facilities like bed and bottled drinking water. It is learnt that the toilet and bathroom are located a little away from the lock-up, which is guarded round the clock by security personnel. The premises are also monitored through closed-circuit television cameras (CCTVs).

Supreme Court raises concern over the rich gagging media

The Supreme Court has highlighted the problem of the affluent getting pre-trial injunctions from courts against the media and civil society, gagging free speech and the public’s right to information about important affairs .A three-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud said such ex-parte interim injunctions granted by courts rather mechanically spell a death sentence to journalistic stories even before the allegations against them are proven right, if ever.

FIFA World Cup Qualifier: Afghanistan shocks India in Sunil Chhetri’s 150th international match

Lower-ranked Afghanistan shocked India 2-1 as the home team suffered one of its most embarrassing defeats in recent years despite talisman Sunil Chhetri’s 94th international goal in his 150th match, in the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in Guwahati on March 26. In his landmark game, Chhetri did what was expected of him and found the back of the net from the spot in the 37th minute after Haroon Amiri handled the ball inside the box in India’s home leg match in the second round of the joint qualifiers for the World Cup and 2027 AFC Asian Cup.

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The Hindu Morning Digest, March 26, 2024

Members of the United Nations Security Council vote on a Gaza resolution that demands an immediate ceasefire for the month of Ramadan leading to a permanent sustainable ceasefire, and the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, at U.N. headquarters in New York City, U.S., March 25, 2024.
| Photo Credit: Reuters

U.N. Security Council for the first time demands immediate ceasefire in Gaza

The United Nations Security Council on March 25 demanded an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants Hamas and the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages after the United States abstained from the vote .The remaining 14 council members voted for the resolution, which was proposed by the 10 elected members of the body. Washington had been averse to the word ceasefire earlier in the nearly six-month-old war in the Gaza Strip and had used its veto power to shield U.S. ally Israel as it retaliated against Hamas for an Oct. 7 attack that Israel says killed 1,200 people.

European Union investigates Tech giants under new digital Law

The EU, on March 25, launched probes into whether Apple, Alphabet and Meta violated a new law, the Digital Markets Act (DMA), in what is the latest instance of governments trying to exercise greater control over the functioning of big tech companies. The companies could be fined up to 10% of their global revenues and 20% for repeat infringements of the DMA.

Congress questions Modi government’s record in implementing women’s welfare schemes

On a day when an objectionable post by the Congress’ social media in-charge Supriya Shrinate against actor and BJP candidate from the Mandi Lok Sabha seat, Kangana Ranaut, triggered outrage, the Congress attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government for reducing the budget of women-centred welfare schemes, flagging five key problems. Ms. Shrinate later clarified that the post had been authored by someone who had access to her social media accounts.

Alcohol warning in Hindi, foreign films on the rise

In recent weeks, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has started requiring an increasing number of Hindi and foreign films to display anti-liquor watermarks for films that feature alcohol consumption, The Hindu has found, based on a review of cut lists of recent films issued by the censor board. For instance, All of Us Strangers, a British film classified ‘A’ for adult-only audiences that extensively features liquor abuse, has the warning onscreen for a significant duration of the film. 

Holi is special this year due to Ram temple inauguration, says Amit Shah in Gujarat

Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel on March 25 celebrated Holi with party functionaries in Ahmedabad .At the gathering in the BJP’s Gandhinagar Lok Sabha office, located in Thaltej area, Mr. Shah and Mr. Patel applied colours on party leaders, including Rajya Sabha MP Mayant Nayak, MLA Amit Thakar, Gandhinagar Mayor Hitesh Makwana, Gujarat BJP’s general secretary K.C. Patel and others of the women’s wing.

RLP supremo Hanuman Beniwal is INDIA bloc candidate from Nagaur following alliance with Congress

The Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) on March 25 announced its supremo Hanuman Beniwal as the INDIA bloc candidate for the Lok Sabha election from Rajasthan’s Nagaur seat following an alliance formed with the Opposition Congress. Mr. Beniwal — elected as an MLA from Nagaur district’s Khinvsar in 2023 — is likely to file his nomination papers on March 27 .The Congress had left the Nagaur seat for the RLP in the list of candidates released on Saturday. The two parties entered into an alliance in the State after intense negotiations lasting several days amid doubts created by the resignation of Mr. Beniwal’s close confidant Ummeda Ram Beniwal from the RLP and his entry into the Congress.

Advocate Robert Bruce to take on BJP’s Nainar Nagenthran in Tirunelveli

After days of marathon negotiations, intra-party squabbles and persuasions, advocate C. Robert Bruce, 62, of Saralvilai near Kattathurai in Kanniyakumari district has been fielded in Tirunelveli Parliamentary constituency as the Congress candidate. Sources in the Congress said the delay in announcing the candidate to take on BJP’s Nainar Nagenthran was due to the intense race among the aspirants in getting the ticket who left no stone unturned to achieve their political goal.

Congress lists ‘massive failures’ of WCD ministry, says will usher era of women’s safety in June

The Congress listed “massive failures” of the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) in the last 10 years on March 25 and asserted that a new era of women’s safety, prosperity, and development will begin when its government “takes charge in June” .Congress general secretary in-charge communications Jairam Ramesh said the formation of a Congress-led government in June 2024 will end the “10 years of anyaay-kaal for women”. He alleged the BJP government’s slogans of ‘nari shakti’ remain empty words without real action.

Kyiv endures a third bombardment in 5 days as Russia steps up targeting of Ukrainian cities

Russia launched missiles against Kyiv for the third time in five days Monday as Moscow escalated its aerial bombardment of Ukrainian cities while the front line in the war remains largely stationary .Nine people were injured in the strike on the Ukrainian capital, the Ukraine Rescue Service said. The Pecherskyi district was the hardest hit. Missile debris damaged homes in two districts and a local college gym in another district, Ukraine’s National Police said.

Don’t show hostility towards resident associations if they use public buildings for holding functions, Madras High Court tells civic bodies

Civic bodies such as the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) need not show hostility towards residents’ welfare associations by locking and sealing public buildings if vacant spaces in those buildings had been used by the residents for celebrating birthdays or for teaching yoga/music/dance to the children in the locality without any commercial motive, the Madras High Court has advised.

With nothing to lose, Akali Dal banking on panthic agenda

At the recently held core committee meeting, the SAD resolved to focus on panth issues, in an effort to resurrect itself on the hustings. “The party will continue to put principles above politics and it will never deviate from its historic role as a champion of the interests of Khalsa Panth [Sikh community], minorities, as well as all Punjabis. At the same time, we will continue to devote all our energies towards preserving the atmosphere of peace and communal harmony… As the sole representative of the Sikhs and all Punjabis, the party will continue its fight for more powers and genuine autonomy to the States. We have never compromised on these interests nor will we let our guard down on these issues in future,” said a resolution passed at the meeting, which was presided by party president Sukhbir Singh Badal.

Donald Trump’s $454 million civil fraud judgment fine slashed to $175M by New York appeals court

A New York appeals court on March 25 agreed to hold off collection of former President Donald Trump’s $454 million civil fraud judgment — if he puts up $175 million within 10 days. If he does, it will stop the clock on collection and prevent the State from seizing the presumptive Republican Presidential nominee’s assets while he appeals. The development came just before New York Attorney General Letitia James was expected to initiate efforts to collect the judgment. Messages seeking comment were sent to Ms. James’ office and to Mr. Trump’s lawyers.

IPL-17: RCB vs PBKS | Virat Kohli’s exceptional fifty carries Bengaluru to four-wicket victory over Punjab Kings

Virat Kohli produced a quality half-century on a slightly gummy pitch that took the Holi-day crowd on a joyride and the Royal Challengers Bengaluru to a four-wicket victory over Punjab Kings in an IPL match here on Monday .The 177-run target wasn’t a massively tough one, but needed a meticulous scaling down because of the deck’s nature. Kohli (77, 49b, 11×4, 2×6) conducted it to near-perfection as RCB made 178 for six with four balls to spare to register their first win of this IPL.

Refrain from contesting Lok Sabha election, Manipur’s Kuki-Zo tribals urged

A tribal forum in ethnic strife-torn Manipur has urged the Kuki-Zo people to exercise their franchise but refrain from contesting in the Lok Sabha election in April .The Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF) has been the voice of the ethnic communities belonging to the Kuki-Zo group since their conflict with the Meiteis broke out on May 3, 2023. “The ITLF Presidential Council, in consultation with its constituent member-tribes, has agreed that no member from the Kuki-Zo community should file nomination for the upcoming Lok Sabha election, considering the plight that we are facing,” the forum said in a statement on March 25.

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The Hindu Morning Digest, March 25, 2024

Left candidates trounce ABVP in JNU students’ union elections

Around 11.30 p.m, the election committee declared that the United Left panel won three posts of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU), while the Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students’ Association (BAPSA) won one post. The RSS-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad lost all the posts by a few hundred votes. Dhananjay of the AISA, who won the president’s post with a total of 2,598 votes, said, “I’m overwhelmed at the support I have received. It has been made clear that the students are unhappy with the government and they want things to change.” The ABVP’s Umesh Chandra Ajmeera came second with 1,676 votes.

Lok Sabha elections | Congress drops Jaipur candidate after row over links to right-wing forum

Following a political uproar over its choice of candidate for the Jaipur City Lok Sabha seat, the Congress on March 24 dropped Sunil Sharma and fielded former minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas in his place .Mr. Sharma has been associated with Jaipur Dialogues, a right-wing forum that is known to target the Congress leadership and target minority communities. In a fresh list of three names on Sunday, the party fielded Mr. Khachariyawas, a minister in the Ashok Gehlot government, from Jaipur.

Lok Sabha elections | Kangana Ranaut, Arun Govil, Maneka Gandhi in BJP fifth list; Varun Gandhi dropped

Bollywood star Kangana Ranaut and television actor Arun Govil, who starred in the Ramayan series, are among the names in the BJP’s fifth list of 111 candidates from 17 States for the upcoming Lok Sabha election, released on Sunday. Ms. Ranaut will contest from Mandi in Himachal Pradesh, while Mr. Govil will contest from Meerut.

Pakistan to ‘seriously examine’ restarting trade with India: Foreign Minister

Pakistan will “seriously examine” whether to restart trade with India, said its newly appointed Foreign Minister Mohammad Ishaq Dar. Responding to questions during a press meet in London, Mr. Dar said he had been approached last year by Pakistani businesspersons over the issue, and said any decision would follow a full discussion with all stakeholders. Meanwhile, visiting Singapore, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankarhit out at Pakistan for its “industry-level” support to terrorism, stressing that any talks with Pakistan would need to “face up to the problem”. 

IPL 2024, GT vs MI | Titans keep their nerve, MI loses its poise and the plot

Shubman Gill passed his first captaincy test as Gujarat Titans eked out a nervous six-run win over Mumbai Indians in their Indian Premier League opener at the Narendra Modi Stadium here on Sunday .Pursuing 169, MI was coasting along at 107 for two after 12 overs. But Sai Kishore trapping Rohit Sharma (43, 29b, 7×4, 1×6) leg-before and Mohit Sharma sending back Dewald Brevis (46, 38b, 2×4, 3×6) and Tim David triggered a scarcely believable downturn.

Sri Lanka’s ex-president Sirisena to be quizzed by police over controversial remark on Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s former President Maithripala Sirisena will face police questioning on Monday on his recent remarks on the 2019 Easter Sunday suicide bombings that he was “aware” of the masterminds of the attacks that killed 270 people, including 11 Indians. Sirisena, 72, was president between 2015 January and 2019 November. He had previously denied any knowledge of the attacks. Police chief Deshabandu Tennakoon told reporters on Sunday that Sirisena’s statement would be recorded on Monday.

AAP leadership goes into huddle, workers told to remain united

The entire brass of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi went into a huddle on Sunday, with its leaders asking workers to step up their presence on social media platforms and remain united following the arrest of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in an excise policy case .Mr. Kejriwal, AAP national convener, was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on March 21 in the case involving allegations that the now-scrapped 2021-22 excise policy benefited certain liquor manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers for monetary considerations.

IPL 2024 | Just a matter of time before Pant regains form: Sidhu

Former India opener Navjot Sidhu is confident wicketkeeper batter Rishabh Pant’s return to form is just a “matter of time” following his nearly 15-month-long absence from professional cricket after a horrific car crash .Pant is back leading his Indian Premier League side Delhi Capitals after missing the action last season due to his recovery and rehabilitation. Though Pant did not have the comeback he would have wished for in DC’s match against Punjab Kings here on Saturday, being dismissed for 18 by Harshal Patel, he was quick between the wickets, took a catch behind the stumps and also effected a stumping.

Former judge, Trinamool turncoats, and woman from Sandeshkhali in West Bengal BJP candidate list

The second list of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidates in West Bengal for the upcoming Lok Sabha election comprised a mixed bag, including former Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay, two turncoats from the Trinamool Congress (TMC), and a woman from Sandeshkhali who was at the receiving end of the violence .Former Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay, who resigned from the Calcutta High Court recently, has been nominated from the Tamluk Lok Sabha seat. The party has fielded Arjun Singh from Barrackpore, and Tapas Roy from Kolkata Uttar. Both Mr. Singh and Mr. Roy had quit the Trinamool Congress to join the BJP recently. The BJP candidates from Tamluk, Kolkata Uttar, and Barrackpore had joined the party earlier this month.

CBI team revisits Sandeshkhali to gather more evidence in the ED team attack case

A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team, probing the attack on Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials at West Bengal’s Sandeshkhali on January 5, on March 24 visited a village in the area to gather more evidence .This is the second visit by the CBI to Sarberia village in North 24 Parganas district after getting the custody of suspended Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Shahjahan Sheikh, the main accused in the attack, on March 6. CBI officials had gone to Mr. Sheikh’s house the following day and, after finding it locked, clicked its photos and talked to local people.

Lok Sabha polls: Samajwadi Party fields S.T. Hasan from Moradabad, changes its Bijnor candidate

The Samajwadi Party on March 24 renominated its Lok Sabha MP from Moradabad S T Hasan from the same seat and changed its Bijnor candidate by fielding Deepak Saini, the son of a party MLA .The party announced the names in a post on X. The Samajwadi Party had earlier named Yashveer Singh as its candidate from Bijnor. However, on Sunday, it named Deepak Saini as its candidate for the seat. He is the son of Ram Avtar Saini, the SP legislator from the Noorpur assembly segment that comes under the Bijnor parliamentary constituency.

Myanmar rights group asks India not to deport refugees

A Myanmar-based organisation has asked the Manipur government not to deport Myanmar refugees back to the war-torn country unless they choose to return. They say people returning are likely to face conscription .The Nongthombam Biren Singh government began the process of sending back 77 refugees from Myanmar by deporting eight of them on March 8. In a statement issued on Sunday, the Burma Refugees Committee – Kabaw Valley said they feared that they would be handed over to the military junta.

Ireland to get its youngest ever premier as Simon Harris elected leader of Fine Gael party

Ireland is poised to get its youngest-ever premier after Simon Harris secured the leadership of the Fine Gael party on Sunday, replacing Leo Varadkar who announced his surprise resignation last week .The 37-year-old Mr. Harris, who is the government’s Further and Higher Education Minister, was the only candidate to put his name forward to succeed Mr. Varadkar, who had been Ireland’s previous youngest Prime Minister, or what Ireland calls its taoiseach.

Industrialist and former Congress MP Naveen Jindal joins BJP

Industrialist and former MP Naveen Jindal quit the Congress and joined the BJP on Sunday. He said that he wanted to contribute to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s agenda of ‘Viksit Bharat’ .BJP general secretary Vinod Tawde was present at the ceremony. He said Jindal’s presence in the party will help the government’s agenda of boosting the economy and creating prosperity. Mr. Tawde noted that the Jindal Steel chairperson has a keen interest in sports and education as well.

Only classes 3 and 6 will receive new textbooks in 2024-25, says CBSE

Only students in Classes 3 and 6 will receive new textbooks for the upcoming academic year of 2024-25, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) confirmed on March 22, in a circular sent to all schools affiliated with the board. The new textbooks are being formulated by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT).

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Morning Digest | Finance Ministry says wrong to assess economic activity on GDP alone, number of Nipah virus cases rises to six in Kozhikode, and more

Nipah outbreak | Number of cases rises to six in Kozhikode

One more person tested positive for the Nipah infection in Kozhikode district of Kerala on Friday, taking the total number of infected persons to six now. Meanwhile, lab tests have proved that E. Mohammedali, the first patient who died on August 30, too was infected with Nipah. His body fluid samples could not be sent earlier. However, the throat swab stored at a private hospital where he had been admitted was later recovered and sent. The results were made available on Friday. The spread of the infection is reported to have happened at this private hospital. Thirty samples of healthcare workers here have tested negative for the virus. So far, 100 samples have been sent for lab tests.

Supreme Court has prepared a ‘platform’ to assess ‘top’ 50 judges before appointment in the apex court: CJI

Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud on Friday said the apex court with a young team of distinguished scholars, interns and law researchers had prepared a “broad platform” to assess every one of the “top 50 judges” in the country who would be considered for appointment as judges of the Supreme Court. “One of the criticisms about the collegium system is that we have no factual data to evaluate people whom we are considering for appointment to the Supreme Court,” Chief Justice Chandrachud noted. The Chief Justice was speaking at the Ram Jethmalani Memorial Lecture’s centenary edition when he unravelled the “work in progress” to make the collegium system “more transparent”.

Wrong to assess economic activity on GDP alone: Finance Ministry

The Finance Ministry on September 15 scotched aspersions cast by “certain sections” on the credibility of Indian GDP data, which showed a 7.8% uptick in the first quarter of this year, stressing that Indian GDP data is not seasonally adjusted and is finalised three years later so “it is wrong to look at the underlying economic activity based on GDP indicators alone”. “Ideally, critics would have done well to look at several other growth indicators to see if other data match their conclusions. Purchasing Managers’ Indices indicate that the manufacturing and services sectors are growing. Bank credit growth is in double digits. Consumption is improving, and the government has vigorously ramped up capital expenditure,” the Ministry said in a long post on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

Retrieving bodies of slain officers was the toughest part of Anantnag operation

The toughest task for the troops during the 60-hour long anti-militancy operation in Anantnag’s Kokernag was retrieval of the bodies of the three slain officers, including a Colonel and Major from the Army and a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) from the J&K Police, amid enemy fire. Official sources said DSP Himayun Bhat, posted with the police Special Operations Group (SOG) that is in charge of counter-insurgency operations, was alive and in touch with police officers for “six hours after being hit by bullets on Wednesday afternoon”. DSP Bhat also spoke to his family after he was hit. He was a father of a month-old son.

IND vs BAN | Shubman Gill’s classy ton, Axar Patel’s final dash not enough as India goes down narrowly

Shubman Gill’s classy century (121, 133b, 8×4, 5×6) and Axar Patel’s final flourish (42, 34b, 3×4, 2×6) were not enough for India as Rohit’s men went down to Bangladesh by six runs in the final Super 4s fixture, a dead rubber, of the Asia Cup Super 4s at the R. Premadasa Stadium here. Mustafizur Rahman took three wickets, including two in the penultimate over including the crucial one of Axar to derail India’s victory march.

Government notifies 31 Benches of GST Appellate Tribunal

The Finance Ministry notified the constitution of 31 Appellate Tribunals across 28 States and eight Union Territories for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) late on Thursday night, setting the stage to resolve a growing number of taxpayer disputes with the Revenue Department. The establishment of these tribunals — envisaged at the time of the implementation of the GST regime from July 1, 2017 — got a final clearance from the GST Council this July, and was a much-awaited move for industry players, who had been approaching the High Courts and Supreme Court during the past six years.

North Korea’s Kim gets a close look at Russian fighter jets as his tour narrows its focus to weapons

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un peered into the cockpit of Russia’s most advanced fighter jet as he toured an aircraft factory Friday on an extended trip that has raised concerns about banned weapons transfer deals between the increasingly isolated countries. Since entering Russia aboard his armored train on Tuesday, Mr. Kim has met President Vladimir Putin and visited weapons and technology sites, underscoring deepening ties between the two nations locked in separate confrontations with the West. Foreign governments and experts speculate Mr. Kim will likely supply ammunition to Russia for its war efforts in Ukraine in exchange for receiving advanced weapons or technology from Russia.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra writes to PM Modi urging him to declare Himachal floods as national calamity

The damage and destruction caused by the recent record-breaking rains in Himachal Pradesh should be declared a “national disaster” just like the Kedarnath tragedy of 2013, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday. Ms. Vadra also sought financial assistance for providing relief to the victims and their families as well as for rebuilding the State.

Stray dog menace a serious issue, must be dealt with urgently: HC

The stray dog menace is a serious issue and needs to be addressed urgently by the city authorities, the High Court observed in an order last month. The court asked the Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to take appropriate action to deal with the issue of attacks by stray dogs. Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma made the remarks while quashing two FIRs against a woman, a philanthropist and an animal lover, for alegedly feeding some dogs that attacked her neighbour and his father in 2014.

Govt. hikes windfall tax on domestic crude, cuts levy on export of diesel, ATF

The government on Friday hiked special additional excise duty (SAED) on crude petroleum to ₹10,000 per tonne with effect from September 16. In the last fortnightly review on September 1, windfall tax on domestically produced crude oil was set at ₹6,700/tonne. Besides, the SAED or duty on export of diesel will be cut to ₹5.50/litre, from ₹6/litre currently.

J&K High Court issues notice to administration over house arrest of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq

The Jammu & Kashmir High Court on Friday sought reply from the Lieutenant Governor’s (L-G) administration over the house detention of Hurriyat chairman and the valley’s Mirwaiz (chief preacher) Umar Farooq. “The Court has asked the administration to file a reply within four weeks,” Advocate Nazir Ronga, who is Mr. Farooq’s legal representative, said. Mr. Farooq had served a legal notice to the LG’s administration two weeks ago over his house detention and denial to visit historic Jamia Masjid since 2019, where he leads the prayers and delivers Friday sermons as part of Mr. Farooq’s family tradition.

Ukraine’s Kyiv, Lviv placed on heritage ‘in danger’ list: UNESCO

The UN’s cultural organisation on Friday placed World Heritage Sites in the Ukrainian cities of Kyiv and Lviv on its “in danger” list, saying they are at risk from the war sparked by Russia’s invasion. The decision, taken at UNESCO’s annual world heritage committee meeting in Riyadh, is a step towards better protection of the historic sites, the UN’s cultural organisation said . Their inclusion on the List of World Heritage in Danger “also opens the door to additional financial and technical aid in order to implement new emergency measures”, it said in a statement.

Myanmar to offer visa on arrival to Chinese, Indian tourists

Myanmar will offer visas on arrival to Chinese and Indian tourists, state media reported, as the ruling junta seeks to lure back foreign visitors and their cash .A start date for the one-year trial scheme “will be announced soon”, the Global New Light of Myanmar reported, citing the junta’s immigration ministry. Holders of the visas will be “allowed to visit all sites apart from restricted areas for security concerns”, said the report in Thursday’s newspaper. Currently citizens of both countries must apply for a tourist visa online, or at a Myanmar embassy.

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Morning Digest: May 28, 2023

New Parliament building inauguration live | PM Modi inaugurates building, installs ‘Sengol‘ near Lok Sabha Speaker’s chair

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday (May 28) unveiled the plaque to mark the inauguration of the the much-awaited new Parliament building. The Prime Minister also installed the scared ‘Sengol’ in the Lok Sabha chamber, right next to the Speaker’s chair, after performing puja. Mr. Modi was handed over the historic ‘Sengol’ by Adheenams before its installed in the new Parliament building.

A new House, again in red sandstone

PM Modi will inaugurate the much-awaited new Parliament building today. The four-storey building has been constructed at an estimated cost of ₹970 crore. The building has been designed by Ahmedabad-based HCP Design, Planning and Management, and constructed by Tata Projects Limited.

The new Parliament is to have a seating capacity of 888 for the Lok Sabha, as against 543 in the old Parliament House, and 300 in the Rajya Sabha as compared with 250 earlier.

PM calls upon CMs to work as ‘Team India’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing the eighth Governing Council meeting of NITI Aayog on Saturday, said the Centre and the States would have to work as “Team India” to realise the objective of a “Viksit Bharat (Developed India)” in 2047, even as several Chief Ministers kept away from the event.

BJP fears caste census will disturb its Hindutva campaign: Bhupesh Baghel 

With his State’s Assembly election around the corner, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel spoke to The Hindu about the investigations in corruption cases against him, his government’s Ramayana festival, and the implications of the Karnataka Assembly election results. 

Flying too close to travel date? Be ready to pay up to five times more

If you are planning a last-minute air travel, either for business or due to a medical emergency, be prepared to spend up to five times more than last month. A multitude of factors, some old and persistent which have grounded nearly 100 aircraft with three airlines, and new ones such as the suspension of flights by Go First are responsible for sending airfares out of control.

Union Ministers highlight Modi-led government’s achievements in past nine years

After inaugurating a day-long conclave ‘9 Saal — Seva, Sushasan, Gareeb Kalyan’, which marked the completion of nine years of government under PM Modi, Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said the previous governance efforts had become synonymous with scams, while the current government worked with the ethos of “pai pai se gareeb ki bhalai” (every penny for the benefit of the poor).

U.K.-India ties see thaw with Minister Tariq Ahmad’s visit

U.K. Minister of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs Tariq Ahmad began his four-day visit to India on May 27, in the first such senior-level visit since tensions over violent pro-Khalistan protests outside the Indian High Commission in London in March. He will also visit Delhi and Hyderabad and is expected to focus on technology and innovation projects in India. 

Five years after Supreme Court judgment, only 9 out of 25 High Courts livestream proceedings

Five years after the Supreme Court in a landmark judgment underscored the significance of live streaming court proceedings and termed it an extension of the principle of ‘open justice’ and ‘open courts’, only nine out of the 25 High Courts in the country have opened their virtual doors to the public. In the Supreme Court itself, live streaming is limited to only Constitutional cases.

Ahead of monsoon, ICMR confirms infection geography of dengue has grown from eight States in 2001 to across the country

As the country gets ready to welcome the southwest monsoon, which is associated with the rise of certain diseases, including malaria, dengue and Zika, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) confirmed that dengue’s infection geography has grown. Earlier restricted to eight States in 2001, it currently covers all the States and Union Territories in India. Dengue has now breached the country’s last bastion, Ladakh (with two cases in 2022), senior health officials said.

Justine Triet wins Palme d’Or at Cannes for ‘Anatomy of a Fall’

French director Justine wins Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival 2023 for ‘Anatomy of a Fall’, a tense courtroom drama about a writer accused of her husband’s murder. Japan’s Koji Yakusho won best actor for “Perfect Days” by German director Wim Wenders while Turkey’s Merve Dizdar won best actress for “About Dry Grasses”.

At least 19 members of security forces injured in suicide blast in northwest Pakistan

As per an official, at least 19 members of Pakistan’s security forces were critically injured on May 27 when a suicide bomber with an explosive-laden motorcycle targeted their convoy in the restive tribal district in northwest Pakistan bordering Afghanistan. The security forces’ convoy were travelling to Asman Manza area of South Waziristan from DI Khan in Khyber Paktunkhwa province.

Russia tells United States: Don’t lecture Moscow on nuclear deployments

Russia dismissed criticism from U.S. President Joe Biden over Moscow’s plan to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, saying Washington had for decades deployed just such nuclear weapons in Europe.

Taiwan reports Chinese aircraft carrier sailed through strait

The Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong sailed through the Taiwan Strait on May 27 accompanied by two other ships, Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said, in the latest uptick in military tensions over the island Beijing claims as its own territory. Taiwan’s military closely monitored the group using its own ships and aircraft and “responded appropriately”, the Ministry said in a short statement.

 World Cup schedule and venues to be announced during World Test Championship final

The schedule and venues for the upcoming 50-over World Cup in India is expected to be announced during the final of the World Test Championship in London, BCCI secretary Jay Shah said on May 27 after the board’s Special General Meeting (SGM) in Ahmedabad .A decision on the Asia Cup 2023, to be held before the World Cup, will also be taken in the coming days.

Djokovic eyes history at French Open as Swiatek launches title defence

Novak Djokovic will bid for a record-breaking 23rd Grand Slam title at a French Open without his old rival Rafael Nadal for the first time since 2004, while Iga Swiatek attempts to become the first woman to defend the title in 16 years.

Bayern Munich win 11th straight Bundesliga title in dramatic fashion

Bayern Munich spectacularly snatched their 11th consecutive Bundesliga title with a last matchday 2-1 win at Cologne on Saturday courtesy of Jamal Musiala’s 89th minute winner, grabbing the trophy from the hands of rivals Borussia Dortmund.

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Morning Digest | Ron DeSantis launches 2024 presidential bid to challenge Donald Trump; GDP growth may cross 7% in 2022-23: RBI Governor, and more

RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das.
| Photo Credit: ANI

2024 U.S. presidential campaign | Florida Governor Ron DeSantis launches bid to challenge Donald Trump

Florida Guv. Ron DeSantis entered the 2024 presidential race on May 24, stepping into a crowded Republican primary contest that will test both his national appeal as an outspoken cultural conservative and the GOP’s willingness to move on from former President Donald Trump.

‘Queen of rock ‘n’ roll’ Tina Turner dies at 83

Tina Turner, the American-born singer who left a hardscrabble farming community and abusive relationship to become one of the top recording artists of all time, died on May 24 at the age of 83.

NDA condemns Opposition boycott of new Parliament opening

In a statement signed by 13 political parties of the NDA, the alliance has condemned the decision by 19 Opposition parties to boycott the inauguration of the new Parliament building by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 28.

New Parliament building opening | How a letter to PMO set off a search for the  Sengol

A letter to the Prime Minister’s Office by noted danseuse Padma Subrahmanyam set off meticulous research into the Sengol, which would lead to the installation of the golden sceptre in the new Parliament building when it is inaugurated on May 28.

GDP growth may cross 7% in 2022-23: RBI Governor

India’s GDP growth in 2022-23 may well surpass the 7% estimate, while retail inflation is likely to go below the 4.7% mark this month, and gross non-performing assets in the banking system have likely dipped further in the January to March 2023 quarter, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das said on Wednesday.

U.N.-recognised Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions keeps NHRC waiting over ‘political meddling’

For the second time in a decade, the U.N.-recognised Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) deferred the accreditation of the National Human Rights Commission, India (NHRC-India) citing objections like political interference in appointments, involving the police in probes into human rights violations, and poor cooperation with civil society.

ED conducts searches against foreign-registered online gaming companies in five States

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has conducted searches against foreign-registered online gaming companies and websites at 25 locations in Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh for suspected violations under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), involving about ₹4,000 crore.

Uttarakhand and Northeast to receive a Vande Bharat each

Uttarakhand and Northeast India will have their first Vande Bharat trains flagged off in the last week of May. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will virtually flag off the Delhi to Dehradun Vande Bharat on May 25, and bookings for passengers will likely be accepted from May 29. 

Dahod mosque demolition | Gujarat High Court directs  status quo

The Gujarat High Court has directed local authorities in Dahod district to maintain  status quo on the land where the local municipality razed a decades-old Nagina mosque on May 20. 

India set to triple speed of fastest supercomputers

India is set to dramatically scale up its super-computing prowess and install an 18-petaflop system over the course of this year, Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) Minister Kiren Rijiju said on May 24. Flops (floating point operations per second) are an indicator of computers processing speed and a petaflop refers to a 1,000 trillion flops. Processing power to such a degree greatly eases complex mathematical calculations required, for among other things, forecasting how the weather will be over the next few days all the way up to two-three months ahead.

G20 delegates tour Srinagar city in a bid to see ‘changed Kashmir situation’

From the famous Mughal Gardens to the popular Royal Spring Golf Course to the all-pedestrian Polo View Market in commercial hub Lal Chowk, the foreign delegates, who attended the third G20 tourism working group meeting in Srinagar, were allowed to have the flavour of the city on Wednesday, in a bid by the authorities to showcase the “changing ground situation” in Kashmir.

INSV Tarini returns to Goa after 188-day voyage

Indian Naval Sailing Vessel (INSV) Tarini with a six-member crew entered Goa harbour on Tuesday, reaching India after successfully completing a 17,000 NM (nautical mile) trans-ocean inter-continental voyage after 188 days.

Mob vandalises Manipur Minister’s house

A mob on May 24 evening vandalised the house of Manipur PWD Minister Konthoujam Govindas in Bishnupur for the State government’s alleged failure to take steps to protect locals from armed tribal extremists.

₹2000 note withdrawal won’t disrupt the economy: Shaktikanta Das

Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das asserted on Wednesday that there will be no disruption to the economy owing to the ₹2000 currency note’s withdrawal, and said high denomination currencies lingering in the economy can create “collateral issues”.

China appoints new envoy to U.S. in sign of thaw

China’s new Ambassador to the United States finally landed in Washington on Tuesday, filling a post that unusually remained vacant for close to five months and heralding what some observers see as a possible sign of a limited thaw in recently frosty relations.

Bulgarian writer wins International Booker Prize for darkly comic memory novel

Bulgarian writer Georgi Gospodinov and translator Angela Rodel won the International Booker Prize on Tuesday for  Time Shelter, a darkly comic novel about the dangerous appeal of nostalgia.

IPL 2023 eliminator | Akash Madhwal ‘engineers’ Lucknow Super Giants elimination, takes Mumbai Indians closer to summit clash

Little-known Uttarakhand engineer Akash Madhwal bowled a dream spell as his five-wicket haul took five-time champions Mumbai Indians one step closer to a summit clash after thrashing Lucknow Super Giants by 81 runs in IPL Eliminator, in Chennai on May 24.

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morning digest march 14 2023

A file photo of Afghan students protesting in Bengaluru against the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.
| Photo Credit: PTI

Chaos over Rahul Gandhi’s comments in London as Parliament resumes after break

Children of lesbian, gay parents do not necessarily become lesbians, gays: SC informs government

Growing up with lesbian or gay parents will not necessarily make a child lesbian or gay, a puzzled Supreme Court on March 13, 2023 confronted the government’s concern about the “psychological” impact same-sex marriages may have on children.

Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud referred petitions seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriages to a Constitution Bench, but took the time on Monday to soothe the government’s anxiety about how such a move would affect Indian “social ethos”.

Chaos over Rahul Gandhi’s comments in London as Parliament resumes after break

As the second leg of the Budget Session commenced on Monday, March 13, after a month-long recess, none of the two Houses could transact significant business before being adjourned for the day amid ruckus by both members in the Treasury and Opposition Benches over Congress MP Rahul Gandhi’s recent remarks on India’s democracy in London. 

Despite lack of recognition, Taliban claims Indian Mission invited officials for online training programmes

Reports of an alleged decision by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to hold courses for Afghans, including Taliban officials, in Kabul have set off strong reactions among Afghan students who have been denied visas by New Delhi for nearly two years. They termed the decision “contrary to India’s policy” and “disappointing”.

EPF Board meet pushed to March 27-28

The government on Monday announced the deferral of a meeting of the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) board, where it is expected to finalise the EPF rate to be paid on crores of formal sector workers’ retirement savings in its custody for 2022-23.

Get additional funds to implement SC order on higher provident fund pension: Panel to Centre

The Labour Standing Committee of Parliament, headed by senior Biju Janata Dal leader Bhartruhari Mahtab, has pulled up the Union Labour Ministry for underutilisation of the allocations meant for the Ministry’s schemes. The panel asked the Ministry to assess and work out the likely financial implication for implementing the Supreme Court judgment on higher provident fund pension and approach the Ministry of Finance for additional funds to enable timely payment of amounts that may become due.

EC tells Allahabad HC it does not have power to ban caste rallies by parties in non-election period

The Election Commission of India (EC) does not have the jurisdiction to restrict caste-based political rallies held by political parties during non-election period, and nor does it have the power to ban such parties from contesting subsequent elections, the election watchdog has submitted before a Bench of the Allahabad High Court, responding to a writ petition that sought a ban on all such political rallies.

Supreme Court asks CBI not to continue probe into charges that BJP conspired to poach BRS legislators

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to hold its investigation into allegations that the BJP conspired to poach Telangana’s Bharat Rashtra Samiti (BRS) legislators.

“The investigation is not to be continued while the matter is sub judice or it will become infructuous. That is the thumb rule,” a Bench led by Justice Sanjiv Khanna orally said.

India remains biggest arms importer between 2018-22 despite drop in overall imports

India remained the world’s largest arms importer for the five-year period between 2018-22 even though its arms imports dropped by 11% between 2013–17 and 2018–22, according to the Swedish Think Tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Russia was the largest supplier of arms to India in both 2013–17 and 2018–22, but its share of total Indian arms imports fell from 64% to 45% while France emerged as the second largest supplier between 2018-22.

Activists, MPs flag RTI amendment in data protection bill

Activists and Opposition Members of Parliament on March 13 expressed concern that a proposed amendment to the Right to Information Act, 2005, could close off avenues to citizens to uncover corruption. Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act allows public authorities to refuse access to information if it intrudes on the privacy of an individual, but permits disclosure of information if there is an overriding public interest. 

Russia an ‘acute’ threat, China an ‘epoch defining’ challenge: U.K. Government

The U.K. government called Russia the “most acute threat” to Britain’s security and termed China an “epoch-defining” challenge, as it released a ‘refresh’ of its foreign and security policy, the Integrated Review 2023 (IR2023), two years after the first version (IR2021) was released.

149 air travellers put on ‘no-fly list’ in the past three years, says govt.

As many as 149 air travellers have been banned by airlines and put on the “no-fly list” in the past three years for unruly conduct, the government told Parliament on Monday.

Of these, smoking inside aircraft lavatory, drunken behaviour and a brawl with cabin crew and fellow passengers are most common.

ATK Mohun Bagan oust Hyderabad FC, set up ISL final with Bengaluru FC

ATK Mohun Bagan edged out defending champions Hyderabad FC 4-3 in a nail-biting penalty shootout in the Indian Super League semifinal in Kolkata on Monday.

Locked 0-0 in the first leg, the reverse fixture also saw a goalless stalemate till 120 minutes of play, including regulation and extra time.

Imran Khan leads thousands at election rally in Lahore as Islamabad police arrive to arrest him

Pakistan’s ousted premier Imran Khan on March 13, 2023 led a march of thousands of his supporters as Islamabad police arrived here to arrest him after two non-bailable arrest warrants were issued against him, a day after he called off his party’s election rally following a ban on public gatherings in Punjab’s provincial capital.

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Morning Digest, March 12, 2023

States demand that lightning be declared a natural disaster

A few States have demanded that “lightning” be declared as a “natural disaster” because deaths caused by it surpass any other disaster in the country, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) member secretary Kamal Kishore said on March 11. Mr. Kishore said that it was a policy issue and deliberations were required.

Vote-from-home facility for citizens above 80, persons with disabilities

In the coming Assembly elections in Karnataka, for the first time, people aged above 80 and persons with disabilities (PwDs) can vote from the comfort of their homes if they are unable to go out to exercise their franchise.

The Election Commission (EC) on Saturday announced that it has introduced a vote-from-home (VFH) facility for the 12.15 lakh people aged above 80 (including 16,976 centenarians) and 5.55 lakh benchmarked PwDs in the Assembly elections in Karnataka. The State has a total of 5.21 crore voters, including 2.59 women voters.

COVID-19 numbers ticking up, Centre seeks more vigilance

Amid a rise in cases of the seasonal influenza subtype H3N2, the Centre on March 11 expressed concern over a gradual increase in the COVID-19 positivity rate in some States and said it needed to be promptly addressed. The country logged 456 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday.

The Centre requested all States and Union Territories to follow operational guidelines for integrated surveillance of respiratory pathogens presenting as cases of influenza-like illness (ILI) or severe acute respiratory infection (SARI).

Land-for-job case | Enforcement Directorate says trail of ₹600 crore detected

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday said that the searches in connection with the land-for-job money laundering case resulted in the detection of “proceeds of crime” currently amounting to ₹600 crore and seized unaccounted cash of ₹1 crore.

Net direct tax collection rises 16.8%, reaches closer to Budget target for 2022-23

India’s net direct tax kitty had risen 16.8% to touch ₹13.73 lakh crore by Friday, reflecting a slight dip in growth over the past month but reaching within striking distance of the Budget target for this year, with three weeks still to go.

Ranks of over 37% SC, ST students asked, reveals survey in IIT-Bombay

“Even EWS (Economically Weaker Sections) people feel that they come here through genuine reservation as compared to us. EWS openly tells our case is genuine unlike you,” a Dalit student of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) said in an Open House on caste discrimination held months before 18-year-old Darshan Solanki, another Dalit student, died by suicide inside the campus, a few months into his Chemical Engineering course. 

Sickle cell screening meets only 1% of target, hurting ambitious elimination goal

With barely two weeks left in the fiscal year, the Health Ministry has completed a miniscule 1% of its ambitious target to scan one crore people for sickle cell disease in 2022-23. The Ministry is starkly behind schedule, having screened just a little over one lakh people this year, according to official data accessed by  The Hindu from the National Health Mission’s portal for sickle cell disease.

Tejashwi Yadav fails to appear before the CBI in land-for-job case

Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav on March 11 did not appear before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for questioning in connection with the land-for-job scam case, an agency official said.

“In response to the summons, Mr. Yadav expressed his inability to join the probe citing his wife’s health. Another summons will be issued soon. On March 4 also, he had not come,” the official said.

ED questions BRS legislator K. Kavitha in Delhi Excise policy case for nine hours

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on March 11 questioned Bharat Rashtra Samiti (BRS) MLC K. Kavitha, daughter of Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, for about nine hours in connection with the Delhi Excise policy case.

She has been summoned again on March 16 for recording her statement.

Assam Congress initiates grand alliance move against BJP for 2024 Lok Sabha polls 

The Assam unit of Congress has initiated a plan for a grand alliance of smaller parties to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. 

The move is an attempt to revive the 10-part Mahajot or grand alliance that failed to stop the BJP juggernaut in the 2021 Assembly polls but with a conspicuous omission. The Badruddin Ajmal-led All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) is not in the scheme of things this time.

Health Ministry backs 2017 guidelines that exclude transgender persons, MSM, female sex workers from donating blood

The Union Health Ministry has in the Supreme Court supported its 2017 guidelines, which excludes transgender persons, men having sex with men (MSM) and female sex workers from donating blood, saying they are “at risk” category population groups and sometimes, the public health perspective must trump individual rights.

Russia doesn’t have monopoly on Soviet ties, Ukraine friend of India too: Ukraine MP Yurash

Russia cannot claim a “monopoly” on the relationships of the Soviet Union, said a Ukrainian Member of Parliament (MP), who hoped India’s position on the war of Ukraine will “evolve” to one that is more supportive of Kyiv. The youngest MP in the Ukrainian parliament, 27-year-old Sviatoslav Yurash, has fought in the Ukraine war himself, and has been nicknamed the “MP with an AK-47”, had earlier visited India in 2015 as a student on an exchange programme at Calcutta (Kolkata) University.

Aircraft communications firms, AAI argue against auction for spectrum

The aircraft communications industry argued on March 10 that requiring auctions for the wireless spectrum used for communicating between planes and airports would be burdensome, and that this is not how such spectrum is licensed around the world. The telecom industry, on the other hand, pushed for a very high frequency (VHF) spectrum to be allotted only on the basis of auctions.

After Kapp cuts the Giants down to size, Shafali takes over with stunning assault

Lightning struck twice for Gujarat Giants on Saturday night .First there was a brilliant spell of seam bowling from Marizanne Kapp that broke its batting. And then Shafali Verma launched a stunning assault with the bat that left the Giants fielders, and the excellent crowd at the D.Y. Patil Stadium, dazed.

Shafali’s blitzkrieg (76 not out, 28b, 10×4, 5×6) meant Delhi Capitals went past Giants’ total of 105 with 10 wickets and 12.5 overs to spare.

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