Morning Digest: Indian diaspora has distinguished itself across the world, says PM Modi; WHO tightens global air quality norms, and more

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

September 23, 2021 08:24 am | Updated 08:26 am IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi being greeted by members of Indian diaspora in Washington D.C. on September 22, 2021.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi being greeted by members of Indian diaspora in Washington D.C. on September 22, 2021.

Indian diaspora has distinguished itself across the world: PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has commended Indian Diaspora for distinguishing itself across the world as he received a warm welcome from the community on his arrival in Washington D.C. He was greeted by groups of Indian Americans at the airport soon after his plane landed here Wednesday and later at the hotel where he had an interaction with the members of the community.

WHO tightens global air quality norms

The World Health Organisation (WHO) in its first-ever update since 2005 has tightened global air pollution standards in a recognition of the emerging science in the last decade that the impact of air pollution on health is much more serious than earlier envisaged.

PM Modi urges mutual consent for COVID-19 vaccine certificates

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday that international travel should be made easier through mutual recognition of vaccine certificates , amid several countries adopting different sets of rules to allow foreigners to enter their territory in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that has caused unprecedented disruption.

In his video remarks at the Global COVID Summit hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden, Mr. Modi also said India was ramping up production of vaccines and emphasised that supply chains of raw materials must be kept open.

AUKUS highlights India’s own submarine development efforts and delays

Australia’s announcement to acquire nuclear-powered submarines under the tripartite arrangement with the U.K. and the U.S. ( AUKUS ) puts the spotlight on India’s own submarine efforts, ongoing tender for manufacturing six conventional submarines with technology transfer under Project-75I and the indigenous programme to build six nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSN).

However, both the conventional and nuclear-powered projects were delayed and the first vessel was at least a decade away while the Navy faced an urgent need to modernise its ageing submarine fleet, especially in the backdrop of increasing forays by the Chinese Navy into the Indian Ocean Region , two officials said.

Congress demands probe into Amazon bribery charges, heroin seizure

The Congress on Wednesday demanded a Supreme Court-monitored probe into the alleged bribery case involving e-commerce firm Amazon and the recent seizure of nearly 3,000 tonnes heroin in Gujarat.

At a press conference, party general secretary and chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said these were “very serious” issues involving national security and Prime Minister Narendra Modi should answer the nation.

Over the weekend, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) seized 2,988.21 kg heroin worth crores of rupees from two containers at the Adani-run Mundra port in Kutch district.

Biden speaks to Macron to smooth tensions

France’s Ambassador to the U.S., Philippe Etienne, will return to Washington next week. This was announced after U.S. President Joe Biden spoke to his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron , on Wednesday.

This was the first call between the two leaders after a falling out over the September 15 announcement of a trilateral security partnership (AUKUS) between Australia, the U.K. and the U.S., which led France to recall its envoys to the U.S. and Australia . The call was initiated at Mr. Biden’s request, a joint statement said.

China will stop funding coal projects overseas, Xi tells UN

China will stop funding coal projects overseas, President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday, ending a major source of support for a dirty energy contributing to climate change.

Addressing the UN General Assembly, Mr. Xi made the promise as he vowed to accelerate efforts to help the world battle the climate crisis.

“China will step up support for other developing countries in developing green and low carbon energy and will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad,” Mr. Xi said in a pre-recorded address.

India said to likely block Chinese investment in LIC

New Delhi wants to block Chinese investors from buying shares in Life Insurance Corp. (LIC) which is due to go public, four senior government officials and a banker told Reuters, underscoring tensions between the two nations.

State-owned LIC is considered a strategic asset, commanding more than 60% of India’s life insurance market with assets of more than $500 billion. While the government is planning to allow foreign investors to participate in what is likely to be the country’s biggest-ever IPO, worth a potential $12.2 billion, it is leery of Chinese ownership, the sources said.

Greater automation may lead to slack in the labour market: Das

A major challenge to inclusiveness post pandemic would come from the fillip to automation provided by the pandemic, Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das noted on Wednesday.

“Greater automation would lead to overall productivity gain, but it may also lead to slack in the labour market. [This] calls for significant skilling of our workforce,” Mr. Das said, speaking virtually at an annual convention of the All India Manufacturers Association.

Combine investments in textiles under PLI: official

Textile entrepreneurs can consider undertaking joint investments to meet the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme’s minimum investment criteria, said V. K. Singh, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Textiles, at an Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) meeting.

IPL 2021 | DC beat SRH by 8 wickets

Delhi Capitals beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by eight wickets in an IPL encounter in Dubai on Wednesday.

Chasing a target of 135, Delhi Capitals reached in 17.5 overs with Shikhar Dhawan (42), Shreyas Iyer (47 not out) and Rishabh Pant (35 not out) scoring the runs with ease.

MCC amends laws of game, to use gender-neutral term ‘batter’ instead of ‘batsman’

Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) on Wednesday announced that the gender-neutral term "batter" will replace "batsman" with immediate effect, in a bid to reinforce cricket's status as an inclusive game.

The amendments to the laws were approved by the MCC Committee, following initial discussion by the Club’s specialist Laws Sub-committee.

Women's cricket has enjoyed unprecedented growth at all levels around the world and there had been calls to adopt more gender neutral terms to encourage women and girls to play the game.

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