Morning Digest | India's COVID-19 cases cross 20,000-mark after October 2021; Yati Narsinghanand named in Haridwar hate speech FIR, and more

Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati, the chief priest of the Dasna Devi temple. File

Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati, the chief priest of the Dasna Devi temple. File

India COVID-19 cases cross 20,000-mark

India reported 22,775 COVID-19 cases on January 1 when for the first time the number of daily cases had crossed the 20,000 mark since October. In all, 1,431 cases of the Omicron variant have been reported in the country. Maharashtra topped the list with 460 cases, Delhi 351, Tamil Nadu 121 and Gujarat 136 cases as of January 1. Warning that the rise in cases seen globally and India could put “stress on health infrastructure”, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on January 1 wrote to the States to create additional isolation beds, makeshift hospitals, field hospitals and paediatric care units.

Haridwar hate speech | Yati Narsinghanand named in FIR

The Uttarakhand Police on Saturday added the names of two more persons in the FIR pertaining to the religious conclave in Haridwar organised between December 17-19, where calls were made for genocide and violence against Muslims. One of the organisers of the event — Yati Narsinghanand — who faces criminal cases in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi as well, was named in the FIR on Saturday. The police also added Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code to the existing first information report (FIR) .

Vaishno Devi yatra continuing smoothly, 27,000 pilgrims offered prayers on Saturday: Spokesperson

The Mata Vaishno Devi yatra is going on smoothly despite the early Saturday morning stampede that killed 12 people and left several others injured, an official spokesperson said, adding that about 27,000 pilgrims offered prayers at the cave shrine during the day. After the stampede, the rescue operation was launched promptly by a joint team of the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, the district administration, police and the CRPF, the government spokesman said in a statement, adding "the situation was brought under control within a span of five minutes".

Hindus from India, U.S., UAE pray at 100-yr-old Maharaja Paramhans Ji mandir in Pakistan

Over 200 Hindu pilgrims from India, the US and the Gulf prayed at the 100-year-old renovated Maharaja Paramhans Ji mandir in northwest Pakistan on Saturday, amid tight security deployment of 600 personnel. The mandir and 'samadhi' of Paramhans Ji in Teri village, Karak district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa underwent extensive repair last year after it was demolished by an angry mob in 2020 drawing condemnation globally.

NIA to probe Sikhs for Justice operative’s role in drone-based smuggling from Pakistan

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) will probe the suspected involvement of Germany-based Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) operative Jaswinder Singh Multani in the use of drones for the smuggling of arms, ammunition, explosives and drugs into the Indian territory by Pakistan-based syndicates. Based on inputs related to his alleged role in attempts to revive terrorism in Punjab , the agency has registered a case against him and his associates.

Centre set to defer GST hike on textiles ahead of Vibrant Gujarat summit

Ahead of the Vibrant Gujarat summit, the State’s flagship biennial event, the Centre yielded to Gujarat’s demand for a deferment of the hike on Goods and Services Tax (GST) on textiles from 5% to 12% from January 1. The Centre was going to raise the GST on textiles, of which Gujarat is a hub, from January 1, but it decided to defer the move after State Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel; party chief and Navsari MP C. R. Paatil; and Surat MP and Minister of State for Textiles Darshna Jardosh swung into action, persuading Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman from going ahead with the tax hike.

European Union may label nuclear, gas energy ‘green’

The EU is planning to label energy from nuclear power and natural gas as “green” sources for investment despite internal disagreement over whether they truly qualify as sustainable options. The proposal, aims to support the 27-nation bloc’s shift towards a carbon-neutral future.

Militant killed in Anantnag ‘encounter’ suspected to be a Pulwama attacker

The J&K Police on Saturday said they suspected that one of the three slain militants killed in the Anantnag “encounter” on December 30 could be Samir Dar, a Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) “commander” involved in the 2019 Pulwama attack that left 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans dead at Pulwama’s Lethpora area. Meanwhile, one unidentified militant was killed in an operation in north Kashmir’s Kupwara. “The picture of one of the killed terrorists in the Anantnag encounter matches with JeM top commander Samir Dar, who was the last surviving terrorist involved in the Lethpora terror attack. We are going for DNA sample matching,” Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar said.

AFSPA | The rule of guns that continues to haunt India

On December 26, for the first time since the Modi government came to power in 2014, the Union Home Ministry constituted a panel led by its officers to review the withdrawal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in Nagaland. An exhaustive report prepared by a committee led by retired Supreme Court judge B.P. Jeevan Reddy under the Congress-led UPA government in 2005 has, however, gathered dust. The committee had recommended that the AFSPA be repealed.

Conflict not the answer, Taiwan tells China

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen marked the new year with a message for China: military conflict is not the answer. “We must remind the Beijing authorities to not misjudge the situation and to prevent the internal expansion of ‘military adventurism’,” Ms. Tsai said on Saturday in her New Year’s speech broadcast live on Facebook. In Chinese President Xi Jinping’s New Year address the day before, he said the complete unification of “the motherland” was an aspiration shared by people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Gupkar Alliance leaders put under house arrest over protest plan

Top leaders of the People’s Alliance for the Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) including three former Chief Ministers — Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti — were placed under house arrest on Saturday ahead of a scheduled joint protest against the J&K Delimitation Commission's draft proposal. The leaders accused the Lieutenant Governor’s administration of locking up the gates and blocking entrances with armoured vehicles since early in the morning.

Explained | How will revised IPO rules affect the market?

The new rules will oversee how companies price their shares, how they use the money that they receive from investors, how much of their stake promoters of a company can sell during an IPO, and how soon anchor investors can sell the stakes they picked up before the IPO.

India in South Africa | The Indian pace battery is at full charge

These are glory days for Indian pace bowling. The sight of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami running in and tormenting the batsmen is one for eternity. This pace pack hunts down batters with ruthless efficiency. The execution of plans is clinical. As India eyes a historic maiden Test series win on the South African soil, the focus will be on its rampaging pacemen. India now has plenty of gunpowder. It can blow away line-ups. As pace predators, Bumrah and Shami are a study in contrast, compounding batsmen’s woes.

Maruti, Hyundai passenger vehicle wholesales slid in December

Passenger vehicle (PV) market leaders Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai on Saturday said wholesales declined in December, although homegrown majors Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra reported growth, even as the semiconductor shortage continued to impact output. India’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India reported a 4% fall in wholesales to 1,53,149 units in December compared with a year earlier. Domestic sales slipped 13% to 1,30,869.

South Africa is going through a cycle, says Klusener

Talking to The Hindu , Lance Klusener felt the present South African team was going through a cycle. “It’s cyclical, there are times when you are on top, and then you rebuild. Big players have retired. Not easy to fill their shoes.” Klusener added: “Two years from now, when this South African team has more experience, it could be a very different side.”

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Printable version | May 21, 2022 6:57:45 am |