Morning Digest | Indian students held hostage in Kharkiv, says Putin; Quad leaders discuss war in Ukraine, and more

A select list of stories to read before you start your day

Published - March 04, 2022 07:44 am IST

Students from Ukraine arriving at the Hindon Airbase in Ghaziabad early on March 3, 2022

Students from Ukraine arriving at the Hindon Airbase in Ghaziabad early on March 3, 2022 | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

Indian students held hostage in Kharkiv, says Putin

A large number of Indian students “continue” to remain “hostage” in a train station in Kharkiv, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday evening. The Russian leader’s comments came hours after India said that its plans to evacuate nationals from the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv were disrupted as fighting in the city had resumed after a brief pause during Wednesday. 

Quad leaders discuss war in Ukraine

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, U.S. President Joe Biden and leaders of Australia and Japan spoke on Thursday to discuss the war in Ukraine. The leaders agreed that what is happening to Ukraine should not be allowed to happen in the Indo-Pacific, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said.

Renewed hostility stalling rescue of Indians from Kharkiv: govt.

The government on Thursday said its plans to evacuate nationals from the conflict-hit Ukrainian city of Kharkiv was disrupted as fighting in the city resumed after a brief pause during Wednesday. An official of the Ministry of External Affairs said a large number of Indian students previously stranded in the city managed to reach nearby points of evacuation after an “urgent advisory” from the Embassy of India but the rest of the students are yet to be moved.

Uttar Pradesh polls 6th phase |55% turnout in sixth phase of U.P. polls

The keenly contested Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls are poised for an exciting finish, with the sixth phase recording a turnout of 54.8% on Thursday. Fifty-seven Assembly segments spread over ten districts of Purvanchal voted for the crucial phase in which the prestige of several heavyweight contestants, including Chief Minister Yogi Adiyanath, is on test. The BJP had swept 46 of these 57 seats in 2017.

Retain Amaravati as overall capital: A.P. HC

The High Court of Andhra Pradesh has directed the Government of Andhra Pradesh and the Capital Region Development Authority to discharge their duties enshrined under APCRDA Act and Land Pooling Rules. A three-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice Prasanth Kumar Mishra and consisting of Justices M. Satyanarayana Murthy and DVSS Somayajulu on Thursday gave the final judgment after hearings in a case relating to a bunch of writ petitions filed by land owners of Amaravati to declare that the State government has no legislative competence to change the capital of the State or to strip Amaravati from being capital of three civic wings of the State, including legislature, executive and judiciary.

In unexpected turn, Amazon proposes talks to possibly end dispute

The Amazon-Future group dispute over a ₹2,4731–crore merger deal with Reliance took an unexpected turn in the Supreme Court on Thursday when the U.S.-based e-commerce giant proposed talks to possibly end the quarrel. A Bench led by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana adjourned the case to March 15, giving Future time to take a call on the Amazon’s proposal.

92% of COVID deaths in ‘22 have been among unvaccinated: ICMR

In 2022, 92% of COVID deaths have been in unvaccinated individuals, Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Dr. Balram Bhargava said on Thursday. He added that it’s evident that vaccines and the wide vaccination coverage have played a very important role in protecting hundreds of lives.

Armed village defence groups to be re-established in Jammu: BJP

The Union government will re-establish village defence committees (VDCs) in Jammu to fight militancy, provide hi-tech weapons and ensure equal salary to its members, top leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have said in Jammu. “Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi called a meeting recently with us. It was decided that VDCs will be re-established with a changed nomenclature. They will be called ‘village defence groups’ now. We have demanded hi-tech weapons for them so that Pakistan’s designs can be foiled,” J&K BJP general secretary and Kashmir in-charge Sunil Sharma said in Jammu.

MoD approves development projects including light tank through domestic route

The Defence Ministry has Accorded In–Principle (AIP) approval to four projects under Make–I, government-funded, and five under Make–II, industry-funded, categories of Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020 which includes development of a light tank for the Army and communication equipment for the Indian Air Force (IAF).

The grand old man of SP bats for Hindu-Muslim unity in Nizamabad

Ye kya Samajwadi Party ne jaahil bhar rakhe hain [has the SP inducted illiterates?],” chides Alambadi Azmi, as a party worker commits a mistake while writing the message, being dictated by Mr. Azmi for the electorate for the upcoming meeting of SP president Akhilesh Yadav in the Nizamabad constituency of Azamgarh.

India’s trade deficit likely to stay high, current account deficit to widen: Nomura

India’s trade deficit, which shot back up to $21.2 billion in February, is expected to stay elevated in coming months and the current account deficit could widen to 2.6% of GDP in 2022-23 from 1.7% of GDP this year, Nomura said in a report on March 3. “The surge in oil prices, amid a pickup in domestic demand, will significantly enhance India’s import bill, aided by the broader rise in commodities and fertilizers and an anticipation that gold imports will remain high as investors look to hedge against market volatility and inflation,” the report said. 

Ukraine seeks truce in talks with Russia

Russian and Ukrainian negotiators met on Thursday and Kyiv said it would call for a ceasefire and humanitarian corridors to evacuate its besieged citizens, as the war entered its second week with Ukrainian cities surrounded and under bombardment.

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