Morning Digest | INDIA partners call fresh suspensions an ‘attack on democracy’; Pope Francis approves blessings for same-sex couples, and more

Here is a select list of stories to start the day

Published - December 19, 2023 06:21 am IST

Pope Francis waves to the crowd as he appears at the balcony to deliver his Christmas Urbi et Orbi blessing in St. Peter’s Square at The Vatican.

Pope Francis waves to the crowd as he appears at the balcony to deliver his Christmas Urbi et Orbi blessing in St. Peter’s Square at The Vatican. | Photo Credit: AFP

INDIA partners speak in one voice against the BJP, call fresh suspensions as an ‘attack on democracy’

The mass suspension of Opposition members from both Houses of Parliament prompted the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) partners to speak in one voice against the BJP. Congress president and Leader of the Opposition (LoP) in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge accused the Narendra Modi government of attacking democracy and Parliament.

Pope Francis approves blessings for same-sex couples if the rituals don’t resemble marriage

Pope Francis has formally approved allowing priests to bless same-sex couples, with a new document explaining a radical change in Vatican policy by insisting that people seeking God’s love and mercy shouldn’t be subject to “an exhaustive moral analysis” to receive it. The document from the Vatican’s doctrine office, released on Monday, elaborates on a letter Pope Francis sent to two conservative cardinals that was published in October. In that preliminary response, Pope Francis suggested such blessings could be offered under some circumstances if they didn’t confuse the ritual with the sacrament of marriage.

No PM candidate for INDIA bloc; open to Left-Congress-TMC alliance in West Bengal: Mamata Banerjee

The Trinamool Congress is open to a “three-way alliance” with both the Congress and the Left in West Bengal, party president and State Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Monday, adding that she was against any projection of a common Opposition Prime Ministerial candidate ahead of the Lok Sabha election. She was speaking to a select group of reporters in Delhi, where she has arrived to participate in the Opposition’s INDIA bloc meeting on Tuesday.

Omnibus Telecom Bill introduced in LS to replace 138-year old law; allows interception, right of way, spectrum harmonisation

The Telecommunications Bill, 2023 introduced in the Lok Sabha on Monday proposes the first comprehensive rewrite of telecommunications law in 138 years, consolidating spectrum, right of way, and dispute resolution, among other aspects, into one fresh statute. A law in the making for years, it will replace the Telegraph Act of 1885.

Saraf takes oath as Rajasthan Assembly’s pro-tem Speaker; Cabinet formation likely this week

Eight-time BJP MLA and former Minister Kalicharan Saraf took oath as the pro-tem Speaker of Rajasthan Assembly in Jaipur on December 18 ahead of the Assembly session in which the newly elected legislators will be sworn in. Governor Kalraj Mishra administered the oath of office to Mr. Saraf at a ceremony in Raj Bhavan.

Amid suspense over future role, Shivraj to meet Nadda in Delhi

Amid various speculations about what his future in politics would look like, former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is scheduled to meet Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national president J.P. Nadda in New Delhi on December 19. Mr. Chouhan, who helmed the State for more than 16 years, was replaced with the current Chief Minister Mohan Yadav on December 11, after the BJP retained power in Madhya Pradesh with a massive majority of 163 seats.

Case registered against Meitei Leepun chief after CCTV footage shows him opening fire at unidentified people in Imphal

The Manipur Police have registered a case against Meitei Leepun chief Pramot Singh based on CCTV footage showing him allegedly opening fire at unidentified persons over a land dispute in Imphal on December 12. This is the second case registered against the chief of the radical Meitei outfit that seeks revival of the Sanamahi kingdom. The dispute seems to be over encroachment of land near a Sanamahi temple in Imphal.

Israel launches fresh strikes on Gaza as UN nears vote on aid

Israeli forces launched fresh attacks throughout the night across the Gaza Strip, residents said on Monday, as the United Nations Security Council looked set to vote on a demand that Israel and Hamas allow aid access to the Palestinian enclave. One Israeli strike on the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza on Sunday killed 90 Palestinians, Gaza’s Health Ministry spokesperson told Reuters. Another missile attack on a house belonging to the Shehab family killed 24 people, Hamas Aqsa radio said. A medic said dozens of people had been killed or wounded in the Shehab family home and nearby buildings.

Egypt’s El-Sisi sweeps to third term as President with 89.6% of vote

Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has swept to a third, six-year term as Egypt’s president, winning 89.6% of votes in an election in which he faced no serious challengers, the National Election Authority announced on December 18. The election took place as Egypt struggles with a slow-burning economic crisis and tries to manage the risk of spillover from the war in Gaza, which borders Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

Fears of Houthi attacks are rerouting commercial ships away from the Red Sea

The attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea by Yemen’s Houthi rebels have scared off some of the world’s top shipping companies and oil giants, effectively rerouting global trade away from a crucial artery for consumer goods and energy supplies that is expected to trigger delays and rising prices. BP said Monday that it has “decided to temporarily pause all transits through the Red Sea,” including shipments of oil, liquid natural gas and other energy supplies. Describing it as a “precautionary pause,” the London-based oil and gas corporation said the decision faces ongoing review but crew safety was the priority.

Premier League | Man United frustrates Liverpool as Arsenal moves to top of table

A 0-0 draw at Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday won’t win any beauty pageants, but a stubborn and battling performance at Anfield suggests Manchester United’s players are up for the fight. On too many occasions this season, the opposite has looked to be the case. “You have to fight always for the badge,” United manager Erik Ten Hag said. “The way we defended it was almost perfect. When we made a mistake there was always a teammate to sort it out. I think that is the big win from today. We have to keep this and bring this every game.”

SA vs IND, 1st ODI | Arshdeep, Avesh star in emphatic Indian victory over South Africa

Pacers Arshdeep Singh bowled a dream first spell and found an ally in equally menacing Avesh Khan as a second-string Indian team completely annihilated South Africa by eight wickets in the opening ODI in Johannesburg on December 17. India now lead the three-match series 1-0. Having gone into the match without a single wicket in his previous three ODI appearances, Arshdeep more than made up for it with his maiden five-wicket haul as South Africa were all-out for 116 in 27.3 overs. The target was surpassed in only 16.4 overs.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.