Morning Digest | Centre ‘doubles’ fertilizer subsidy as prices see a surge; U.K.-India trade talks continuing under Rishi Sunak government, and more

Here’s a select list of stories to read before you start your day

November 03, 2022 07:57 am | Updated 07:57 am IST

Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak leaves 10 Downing Street.

Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak leaves 10 Downing Street. | Photo Credit: AP

U.K.-India trade talks continuing under Rishi Sunak government: Downing Street

Negotiations between India and the U.K. towards finalising a trade agreement have resumed under the Rishi Sunak government according to No. 10 Downing Street. A spokesperson for the U.K. Prime Minister confirmed for The Hindu that negotiations have resumed under the nine-day-old Sunak government.

Centre ‘doubles’ fertilizer subsidy as prices see a surge

Considering the huge increase in the prices of fertilizers in global market, the Centre has ‘doubled’ the fertilizer subsidy for this rabi season. From the budget estimate of ₹21,000 crore of nutrient-based subsidy, the amount has been more than doubled, said Union Minister for Fertilizers and Chemicals Mansukh Mandaviya. Briefing reporters after the meeting, he said the Centre revised the subsidy keeping the increasing market prices in mind.

North Korea continues missile barrage with test over Japan

Japan says missiles fired by North Korea flew over northern Japan on November 3, the latest in a series of weapons tests that have raised tensions in the region. The announcement by Japan’s Prime Minister’s Office came shortly after South Korea’s military said it detected North Korea launching at least one ballistic missile toward its eastern sea.

In court, Morbi Police highlight lapses in bridge maintenance

There were a series of lapses such as no safety audit of the metal bridge, no audit of the structure’s load bearing capacity and the contractor roped in to carry out the repairs and renovations of the 140-year-old British era bridge was not qualified for the job, the Morbi Police told a local court seeking custody of the nine accused, who were arrested on October 31.

We want to be the partner of choice for India: U.S. defence official

“We want to be the partner of choice for India,” said a senior U.S. defence official on Wednesday while stating that they are the best partner when it comes to sharing high-end technology and next-generation equipment in the backdrop of India diversifying its military arsenal from heavy dependence on Russia.

Power of ‘double engine’ one of the reasons for Karnataka’s fast-paced growth, says Narendra Modi

Inaugurating the Global Investors’ Meet (GIM) in Karnataka, which is headed to elections in 2023, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday that the power of the “double engine” government is one of the reasons for the State’s fast-paced growth in several sectors. He said global economy observers were seeing India as a bright spot, especially when the rest of the world was talking about the global crisis. “Even in times of a global crisis, experts, analysts and economists have hailed India as a bright spot,” he said.

DRDO carries out maiden test of Phase-II of ballistic missile defence

The Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) on Wednesday conducted maiden flight-test of Phase-II of the ballistic missile defence (BMD) interceptor missile successfully. The flight-test was carried out from APJ Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha with participation of all BMD weapon system elements located at different geographical locations.

Germany’s call for human rights meet may test India’s stance on Iran

Apart from the upcoming Universal Periodic Review of India at the Human Rights Council (HRC), Indian diplomacy is faced with an additional challenge as Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has demanded a special session of the HRC on Iran’s ongoing crackdown against peaceful protesters. Apart from India, the session for UPR will also cover Bahrain, Ecuador, Tunisia, Morocco, Indonesia, Finland, the United Kingdom, Algeria, the Philippines, Brazil, Poland, the Netherlands, and South Africa.

India-U.K. Free Trade Agreement will ‘tighten the screws on producing and supplying’ generic medicines from India, says Doctors Without Borders

The proposals on intellectual property (IP) rights in the draft India-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will hurt the global supply of generic medicines, Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières or MSF) warned on Wednesday.The IP-related chapter, leaked on October 31, showed that the controversial provisions tabled by the U.K. to “tighten the screws on producing, supplying and exporting affordable generic medicines from India”.

Protests in Leh, Kargil for Statehood as Ladakh completes 3 years as U.T.

Ladakh’s twin districts of Kargil and Leh on Wednesday witnessed street protests to press for demands of Statehood and special status under the Sixth Schedule, as the region completed three years of Union Territory (U.T.) status this month. Hundreds of protesters raised slogans like “Home Minister pay attention, we are not begging” and “Pay attention, we are demanding our rights” and marched on the streets.

RBI had to ensure recovery took hold before acting on inflation, says Das

A day before writing to the government detailing reasons for the central bank’s protracted failure to keep inflation below 6% as mandated by law, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das on Wednesday asserted that while there had been slippage in the inflation trajectory, any premature policy tightening could have proved costly for the economy and the people of India.

Air India buys balance stake held in AirAsia India by Malaysian group

Air India has fully bought out budget carrier AirAsia India by purchasing the balance 16.3% stake held by Malaysia’s AirAsia Aviation Group in the Indian arm. The airline will now be “integrated” with Air India’s low-cost international arm Air India Express. In a statement, Air India announced that it has signed agreements to complete the acquisition of 100% shareholding in AirAsia India (AAI) and to turn it into a subsidiary under Air India.

Sri Lanka Opposition, civic activists, unions take out anti-government rally

The Sri Lanka Police on Wednesday blocked an anti-government protest march organised by Opposition parties, civic activists and trade unions who demanded that the Ranil Wickremesinghe government “stop repression” and address the persisting economic crisis. Wednesday’s march followed a protest rally organised by trade unions affiliated to the Opposition Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) last week, and points to a potential new wave of protests in Sri Lanka, as citizens reel under hyperinflation.

In U-turn, Rishi Sunak says he will attend COP27 in Egypt

Under pressure to rethink his decision not to attend the United Nations’ climate meet, ‘COP27’, in Egypt next week, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak did a U-turn on Wednesday saying he would go to Sharm-el-Sheik for the annual meeting. A group of parliamentarians from various parties had written to Mr. Sunak on Monday asking him to attend the meeting, which was hosted by the U.K. in Glasgow last year, when Boris Johnson was Prime Minister.

Delhi's air quality improves marginally; curbs under GRAP's stage 4 not likely for now

Delhi's air quality improved marginally on Wednesday morning owing to relatively better meteorological conditions, with the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) saying there is no immediate need to implement curbs. The air quality is likely to improve further on the back of stronger winds from Thursday, forecasters said. The slight improvement in the air quality was evident from the better visibility levels (1,500 metres) at the Palam and Safdarjung airports at 9 am.

ED summons Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren in money laundering case

The Enforcement Directorate has summoned Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren for recording his statement in connection with an illegal mining case on Thursday. In the same case, the ED had earlier arrested three accused persons, including Mr. Soren’s political representative Pankaj Mishra.

India pips a fighting Bangladesh in tense contest finish, inches closer to a semifinal spot 

India prevailed over a fighting Bangladesh in the ICC Twenty20 World Cup Super 12 Group 2 match at the Adelaide Oval. The Men in Blue won by five runs after a rain-break reduced Bangladesh’s target to 151 from 16 overs while originally India had posted 184 for six

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