Morning Digest: MEA denies Modi asked Trump for Kashmir mediation, Boris Johnson set to become next U.K. PM, and more

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

July 23, 2019 08:48 am | Updated 08:48 am IST

U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi hug in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on June 26, 2017.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi hug in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on June 26, 2017.

Kashmir mediation: MEA denies Trump’s remark, says no such request made

In a sharp rebuttal to  U.S. President Donald Trump's comments , the government denied that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had requested Mr. Trump to mediate between India and Pakistan. "We have seen [Mr. Trump's] remarks to the press that he is ready to mediate, if requested by India & Pakistan, on Kashmir issue. No such request has been made by PM Narendra Modi to US President," said MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.

Boris Johnson set to become next U.K. PM

Boris Johnson is expected to be elected leader of Britain's governing Conservative Party and the country's next prime minister on July 23, tasked with following through on his “do or die” pledge to deliver Brexit in just over three months time. Johnson and his rival, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, have spent the last month crisscrossing the country seeking to win over the less than 200,000 Conservative Party members who will choose Britain's new leader.

Karnataka trust vote put off again

Five days after the motion of confidence was  moved by Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy , a vote in the Assembly was yet again deferred by a day after a heated debate continued till close to midnight on Monday. Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar set 6 p.m. on Tuesday as the deadline to complete the voting, amid angry objections by the BJP.

Cryptocurrency panel for ban on private digital currencies, jail time of up to 10 years

The committee set up to look into the legality of cryptocurrencies and blockchain has submitted its report to the Finance Ministry and recommended that private cryptocurrencies be banned completely in India. It has also drafted a law, the ‘Banning of Cryptocurrency & Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2019’, which mandates a fine and imprisonment of up to 10 years for offences. The committee, however, said the government should keep an open mind on the potential issuance of cryptocurrencies by the Reserve Bank of India.

90 rescued from fire in MTNL building in Mumbai’s Bandra

The  fire  brigade rescued around 90 to 100 people after a major fire broke out at the nine-storey MTNL building at Bandra here on Monday afternoon. Anxious MTNL employees stood on the terrace for close to three hours before they were rescued with ladders. The fire brigade deployed a team of officers and firemen and 14 fire engines for the challenging operation. The fire-fighting systems had been shut as the building was reportedly undergoing repairs for the last six months.

Brothers of slain jawan Aurangzeb join Army in Jammu

Two brothers of slain jawan Aurangzeb who was abducted and killed by militants in south Kashmir on June 14 last year joined the Army on Monday in Rajouri district. Mohammad Tariq and Muhammad Shabir, sons of Mohammad Hanif, residents of Saloni village of Mendhar, attended the recruitment rally at Rajouri’s Surankote area, according to the Army.

Interview | Success in water sector development depends on a ‘jan andolan’: Jal Shakti Minister

"This is the first time that the subject of  water  is being dealt with in a holistic manner, and I believe that no subject which is dealt with holistically ends up ignoring any aspect of it. We would have gained a lot if such a synergy had been attempted earlier. There are five pillars for this: rainwater harvesting; judicious use of water by individuals, agriculture, industry; use of technology for groundwater recharge, sewage treatment and desalination; reuse and recycling of water; and afforestation. If these five principles are followed, you will see change in the country’s water situation."

Comment | What does it mean to oppose Brahmanism?

What kind of thinking underlies these brutal attacks of social violence in which innocent folk are targeted merely because they belong to a particular caste? Since most atrocities revolve around the basic issues of land, wages and entitlements, poverty and powerlessness are viewed as the cause of such violence. But such explanations do not go deep enough because they leave out the prime mover behind such atrocities — Brahmanism. This precisely was B.R. Ambedkar’s contention, who argued that without a robust movement against Brahmanism, Dalit emancipation is impossible. But then, we must ask what exactly is being opposed? What are the core features of Brahmanism?

Editorial | Soaring to the moon

A decade after the  first successful mission to the moon with Chandrayaan-1 , the Indian Space Research Organisation  successfully launched its sequel, Chandrayaan-2 , to further explore the earth’s natural satellite. Earlier this year,  China landed a robotic spacecraft on the far side of the moon , in a first-ever attempt. Now India is attempting a similar feat — to land its rover Pragyan in the moon’s South Polar region, attempted so far by none. The equatorial region has been the only one where rovers have landed and explored.

Table tennis | ‘Dark horses’ Harmeet and Ayhika topple the favourites for the title

Harmeet Desai and Ayhika Mukherjee lived up to their dark-horse status by scalping top guns in the men’s and women’s singles finals here on Monday, the concluding day of the 21st Commonwealth  table tennis  championships. Harmeet, who halted giant-killer Pang Yu En Koen’s run in the morning session, stunned top seed G. Sathiyan in a thrilling final that went right down to the wire to cap a memorable week.

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