Morning Digest | Pak Opposition to move no-confidence motion against Imran Khan today; Trade unions’ two-day Bharat Bandh begins today, and more

A view of the deserted Ernakulam bypass road during the first day of the two-day all India general strike on Monday, March 28, 2022. 

A view of the deserted Ernakulam bypass road during the first day of the two-day all India general strike on Monday, March 28, 2022.  | Photo Credit: H. Vibhu

Russian Foreign Minister to visit Delhi this week

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will visit Delhi this week for official meetings, as the war in Ukraine completes one month, sources confirmed. The visit, the first by a senior Russian official since President Vladimir Putin declared war on the neighbouring country, comes amidst a flurry of trips by several leaders from the Western-backed sanctions regime, seeking a shift in India’s position, which has not criticised Moscow for the invasion.

Ahead of no-trust vote, Imran Khan says no deal with Opposition 

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Sunday that he would not reach a deal with the Opposition leaders who have moved a no-confidence vote against him in Parliament even if his government collapsed. Addressing a huge crowd of supporters of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) at Islamabad’s Parade Ground, Mr. Khan, who is facing the biggest political crisis of his tenure as several party legislators have also turned against him, said that he would continue his fight against “white collar corruption”.

94th Academy Awards live updates | Oscars back in Hollywood after a year break; Red Carpet arrivals begin

The Oscars are back in Hollywood, as nominees from top contending films including “CODA,” “The Power of the Dog” and “Belfast” hit the red carpet Sunday for the movie industry’s biggest night. After a year away from the Dolby Theatre due to the pandemic, the 94th Academy Awards are back in the heart of Tinseltown, where A-listers who have passed strict Covid-19 testing protocols arrived draped in their finest gowns and tuxedos once again.

Trade unions to start two-day Bharat Bandh from today

Trade unions, including in the coal, steel, oil, telecom, banks and insurance sectors, would go on a two-day strike or “Bharat Bandh” from Monday, according to a joint platform of 10 Central trade unions. The joint platform had on March 22 at a meeting in New Delhi reviewed preparations for the strike and said the workers would strike to protest against the “anti-worker, anti-farmer, anti-people and anti-national” policies of the Narendra Modi government. Responding to the call of the other Central unions, the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), a Central trade union affiliated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), had on March 24 announced that it would not participate in what it called a “politically-motivated” strike.

5 lakh foreign tourists will get free visas

With international flight operations resuming on Sunday on a regular basis after two years, the Centre has restored all categories of tourist visas for foreign nationals. All tourist visas were suspended on March 23, 2020 due to COVID-19. Union Minister of State for Tourism G. Kishan Reddy told reporters in Hyderabad on Sunday that visas will be given free for 5 lakh foreign tourists on first come-first serve basis. 

A strong Congress is essential to India’s democracy: Gadkari

Remarking that a strong opposition was a  sine qua non for democracy, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said a weakened Congress was not desirable for democracy as its place would then be taken by regional parties, which was not a good sign. “Atal Bihari Vajpayee had lost the Lok Sabha election [in the late 1950s] but had still earned [then Congress PM] Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s respect. Hence, in a democracy Opposition’s role is very important. I wish with all my heart that the Congress remains strong. Those in the Congress today must stick to their convictions and remain in the Congress. They must continue to work and not despair of defeat,” said the BJP leader, speaking on the Congress’ rout in the recent Assembly elections in five States.

Mayawati clears air on President’s post offer

BSP supremo Mayawati on Sunday asserted that she will not accept the offer of President’s post from any party and alleged that the BJP and the RSS had spread false propaganda that she will be “made the President” if BJP comes to power in Uttar Pradesh, misleading her supporters. In a statement after reviewing the party’s humiliating defeat in the State elections, the four-time former chief minister said she is a firm disciple of Kanshi Ram who had also refused the post in the past.

Youth punches Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, held

A youth punched Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar from behind on Sunday in his hometown Bakhtiyarpur where he had gone to meet his friends. The youth, identified as Shankar Sah, was later arrested by the police. The incident happened at Bakhtiyarpur where Mr. Kumar was paying floral tributes to freedom fighter Shilbhadra Yaji at the local sadar (town) hospital premises. In a video which has gone viral on social media, the youth, sporting a beard and wearing a T-shirt, is seen rushing towards Mr. Kumar and punching him from behind. Soon the security personnel pushed the youth into a corner and handed him over to the police. Mr. Kumar is seen standing shocked at the spot. The police are interrogating the youth.

States can identify minorities: Centre

The governments in nine places, where followers of Hinduism, Baha’ism and Judaism are a ‘minority’, can consider laying down guidelines to identify them as minority communities at State–level and allow them to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice, the Centre has told the Supreme Court.

Application process for CUET to start from April 2

The application process for the Common University Entrance Test (CUET) for undergraduate courses in central universities will commence from April 2, the National Testing Agency has announced. In a public notice issued on Saturday, the agency announced that the CUET will provide a single window opportunity to students to seek admission in any of the Central Universities (CUs) across the country. The CUET (UG) - 2022 will be conducted in a Computer Based Test (CBT) mode, it said.

India’s ‘space economy’ valued at ₹36,794 crore

A collaboration between two premier research and educational institutions in Thiruvananthapuram has shed interesting light on India’s “space economy”, the exact contours of which have remained largely vague even as the country’s space programme grew by leaps and bounds. In a first-of-its kind attempt at measuring the size of India’s space economy, researchers from the Centre for Development Studies (CDS) and the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) arrived at a figure of ₹36,794 crore (approximately $5 billion) for the 2020-21 fiscal. The estimated size of India’s space economy, as a percentage of the GDP, has slipped from 0.26% in 2011-12 to 0.19% in 2020-21, they found.

Erdogan urges cease-fire in call with Putin

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed the need for a cease-fire in Ukraine in a telephone call on Sunday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Erdogan’s office said. Mr. Erdogan also called for an improvement to the humanitarian situation in the region, according to the statement. The two leaders agreed the next meeting between Russian and Ukrainian officials should be held in Istanbul, the statement added, without giving a time frame.

News analysis: Do young leaders have a future in the Congress?

Do young leaders have a future in the Congress? Grappling with this question, some chose to leave while others, who remain in the grand old party, are worried about an uncertain future. The party’s electoral record hardly gives any confidence to the younger lot. The Congress has lost 39 of the 49 elections held since 2014, when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ended the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance’s (UPA) 10-year rule. Leaders that the UPA had showcased as Congress’ young turks and close to former party chief Rahul Gandhi, have left the party in a steady stream.

PVR Ltd, INOX merger to create largest multiplex chain in India

Leading film exhibition players PVR Ltd and INOX Leisure Ltd on Sunday announced a merger deal to create the largest multiplex chain in the country with a network of more than 1,500 screens. The respective board of directors of the two companies at their meetings held on Sunday have approved an all-stock amalgamation of INOX with PVR, the two companies said in separate regulatory filings.

El Salvador declares state of emergency amid killings

El Salvador’s congress granted President Nayib Bukele request to declare a state of emergency early on Sunday amid a wave of gang-related killings over the weekend. 14 people were killed on Friday and 62 people died on Saturday, a scale of violence that has not been seen for years. By comparison, there were 79 homicides in the entire month of February.

Indian Premier League 2022: RCB vs PBKS | Punjab Kings ambush Royal Challengers Bangalore

Du Plessis’ 88 (57b, 3x4, 7x6) and his 118-run partnership off just 61 balls with Virat Kohli (41 n.o., 29b, 1x4, 2x6) set the tone for a high total as IPL action returned to the DY Patil Stadium after more than a decade. Dinesh Karthik (32 n.o., 14b, 3x4, 3x6) provided the final kick as RCB piled up 205 for two in 20 overs .In reply, Punjab Kings made a spirited reply with a 71-run opening stand off 43 balls between skipper Mayank Agarwal (32, 24b, 2x4, 2x6) and Shikhar Dhawan (43, 29b, 5x4, 1x6). Wanindu Hasaranga broke the partnership, dismissing Mayank with his first delivery. Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s cameo lit up the chase, the Sri Lankan hammering a 22-ball 43 with two fours and four sixes. Harshal Patel, RCB’s Mr. Reliable, removed Dhawan before Mohammed Siraj, expensive in his first two overs, sent back Rajapaksa and Raj Bawa off successive deliveries. However, Odean Smith, in the company of Shahrukh Khan, took Punjab Kings home with a stunning onslaught.

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2022 7:39:52 am |