Morning digest | Indian ‘helper’ dies in Russian war zone; Centre discloses key consumption expenditure survey data after 11-year gap, and more

Here is a select list of stories to start the day

February 25, 2024 07:04 am | Updated 07:04 am IST

People walk past a residential building damaged as a result of shelling in Donetsk, Russian-controlled Ukraine, on February 24, 2024, amid the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

People walk past a residential building damaged as a result of shelling in Donetsk, Russian-controlled Ukraine, on February 24, 2024, amid the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict. | Photo Credit: AFP

Indian ‘helper’ dies in Russian war zone

Hemil Ashvinbhai Mangukiya, a 23-year-old man from Gujarat who was hired as a security helper by the Russian Army, has been killed in a Ukrainian air strike on February 21 in the Donetsk region on the Russia-Ukraine border, another Indian worker who escaped the attack told The Hindu.

After a 11-year gap, Centre discloses key consumption expenditure survey data

For the first time in about 11 years, the government released the broad findings of the All India Household Consumption Expenditure Survey carried out between August 2022 and July 2023 on February 24.

The survey is usually conducted by the National Statistical Office every five years, but the findings of the last Survey, conducted in 2017-18 soon after demonetisation and the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), were never released after the government cited “data quality” issues.

The data will play a key role in reviewing critical economic indicators, including the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), poverty levels, and the Consumer Price Inflation (CPI).

Don’t consider our discipline and preference for dialogue as weakness: RSS farmers body tells government

The RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) has condemned the violent protests by some farm unions who are demanding guaranteed minimum support prices (MSP), but it also rebuked the BJP-led Union government for not paying heed to the farmers’ pleas.

“When farmer organisations of the country come to Delhi in a disciplined and peaceful manner and present the problems and demands of the farmers to the right forums, the government does not consider it appropriate to talk to them. The attitude of the government is regrettable, which is why the possibility of violent agitation increases,” BKS general secretary Mohini Mohan Mishra told journalists on Saturday.

G7 leaders pledge support for Ukraine on war anniversary

Heads of the Group of Seven major democracies on Saturday pledged to stand by war-weary Ukraine, and Western leaders travelled to Kyiv to show solidarity on the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion, with no end in sight to the fighting. “As Ukraine enters the third year of this relentless war, its government and its people can count on the G7’s support for as long as it takes,” the G7 leaders said in a statement.

Dented by land transfer row, Patnaik govt. reaches out to tribals with sops ahead of elections 

The Odisha government recently withdrew over 48,000 cases lodged for the violation of excise and forest laws against tribal people, a decision that followed a series of steps taken apparently to woo the community ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.

Experts say that Naveen Patnaik, the State’s chief minister, is looking to tighten his grip on tribal areas as the BJP has emerged as a major challenger in some pockets.

AIADMK releases AI-generated audio clip of Jayalalithaa

An AI-generated voice appeal of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa asking people to support the AIADMK was played at the party’s headquarters in Chennai on Saturday.

Berkshire ‘built to last’: Warren Buffett assures investors

In his annual letter to Berkshire shareholders, Warren Buffett reassured investors that his conglomerate would serve them well over the long term, even as he mourned the recent passing of his longtime second-in-command Charlie Munger. He also tempered expectations for Berkshire’s stock price, saying the company’s huge size left “no possibility of eye-popping performance.”

Why South Africa is facing a turning point in May’s national election

Polls suggest South Africa will face a historic turning point in a national election in May as the ruling African National Congress could lose its majority for the first time since coming to power in the country’s first all-race vote at the end of apartheid in 1994.

Digital consumers in India should not be experimented on with ‘unreliable’ models: Rajeev Chandrasekhar warns Google

Union Minister of State Rajeev Chandrasekhar has made it clear to tech giant Google that explanations about unreliability of artificial intelligence models do not absolve or exempt platforms from laws, and warned that India’s digital nagriks (citizens) are not to be experimented on with unreliable platforms and algorithms. In a post on X, he said ensuring safety and trust are legal obligations of platforms. “Government has said this before - I repeat for attention of @GoogleIndia... Our DigitalNagriks are NOT to be experimented on with “unreliable” platforms/algos/model...`Sorry Unreliable’ does not exempt from law,” he said.

Hockey | No denying Janneke Schopman’s contribution but missing Olympics made her stay untenable

Janneke Schopman officially quit as chief coach of the Indian women’s hockey team on February 23, bringing the curtains down on her two-year tenure as the first-ever woman in the role. Professional sports is tough business, more so in team events, one that requires a hundred different things to fall in place, at the right time and moment, to ensure elusive success. But the parameter to measure that success is just one –results. As a coach, Janneke’s tenure saw the Indian women manage to do the first to a large extent. The second, however, remained a mixed bag.

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