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

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March 02, 2023 07:41 am | Updated 07:41 am IST

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.

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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