Top news of the day: PM Modi tells officials to make contingency evacuation plans for Indians stranded in Sudan; Oliver Dowden named U.K. deputy Prime Minister after Dominic Raab’s resignation, and more

The major news headlines of the day and more.

April 21, 2023 07:25 pm | Updated 07:25 pm IST

External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar, a representative from the Ministry of Defence, Chief of Naval Staff, Ajit Gupte, the Ambassador to India at the Egypt Embassy, Vinay Mohan Kwatra, the foreign secretary of India were among others who attended the meeting with PM Modi. Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar, a representative from the Ministry of Defence, Chief of Naval Staff, Ajit Gupte, the Ambassador to India at the Egypt Embassy, Vinay Mohan Kwatra, the foreign secretary of India were among others who attended the meeting with PM Modi. Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Sudan conflict | PM Narendra Modi directs officials to prepare contingency evacuation plans for stranded Indians in high-level meet

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 21 assessed the developments in Sudan with a specific focus on safety of over 3,000 Indian citizens currently located throughout the violence-hit country. According to an official statement, Mr. Modi, at a high-level meeting, instructed relevant officials to remain vigilant, closely monitor developments in Sudan and evaluate safety of Indian nationals there. The Prime Minister directed preparation of contingency evacuation plans, accounting for the rapidly shifting security landscape and viability of various options.

Oliver Dowden named U.K. deputy Prime Minister after Dominic Raab’s resignation

The British government named Oliver Dowden as deputy Prime Minister on April 21, replacing Dominic Raab who resigned earlier in the day following a report into claims he bullied colleagues. British lawmaker Alex Chalk was named Justice Minister following Mr. Raab’s resignation, the government said. Mr. Raab, who held the posts of deputy Prime Minister and Justice Minister, resigned following a report into claims he bullied colleagues.

NIA team arrives in Rajouri amid massive searches to trace attackers

Amid ongoing massive searches in the Rajouri-Poonch sector, a team of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on April 21 surveyed the spot where five soldiers were killed and another was critically injured in a major militant attack on April 20. Officials said the NIA team visited the site, which has been sealed after the attack. Security agencies are investigating the nature of the blast. Initial reports suggested the militants managed to hit the fuel tank with a grenade explosion, which sparked a major fire on the vehicle resulting in the deaths. Charred bodies of the soldiers were found near the vehicle. However, the exact cause of the fire has not been officially established.

Man who shot woman in Saket Court complex arrested: Delhi Police

The man who allegedly shot and injured a woman inside the Saket Court complex in South Delhi on April 21 was arrested from Faridabad in Haryana, Delhi Police said. Special Commissioner of Police (Crime) Ravindra Yadav said the accused has been identified as Kameshwar Singh. Singh, a former advocate at the Saket court, had filed a case of cheating against the woman over a monetary dispute involving ₹25 lakh and the hearing in the case was scheduled for April 21, police said. He fired multiple shots at the woman, injuring her in her abdomen and a hand, they said.

Haryana government denies any ‘clean chit’ in Robert Vadra-DLF land deal

Haryana government on April 21 said that Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted to investigate the transfer of land done between Skylight Hospitality (Robert Vadra’s company) and DLF Universal Limited (a real estate major) is still actively probing the matter and reports surrounding ‘clean chit’ are fabricated.  “The SIT is still obtaining more relevant documents and also examining a number of individuals connected with the case. The focus of SIT’s investigation is not limited to just probing the revenue loss, rather the investigation aims to expose all those who are involved in the criminal conspiracy with the motive of giving high financial gains to certain individuals, and of quid pro quo involving underhand dealings,” a statement from the Police Department said.

Supreme Court grants bail to 8 convicts in Godhra train burning case

The Supreme Court on April 21 granted bail to eight people sentenced to life imprisonment in the 2002 Godhra train burning case which plunged Gujarat into a communal conflagration. A bench of Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice P.S. Narasimha, while granting them the relief took note of the time they have already served and the unlikelihood of their appeals being taken up for disposal anytime soon. The top court, however, refused to grant bail to four convicts after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta opposed their applications highlighting their role in the incident.

Air India pilot allowed female friend into cockpit; DGCA, airline order separate probes

Aviation regulator DGCA is probing the incident of an Air India pilot allowing a female friend into the cockpit during a Dubai-Delhi flight on February 27, and the airline is also investigating after taking serious note of the matter, according to officials. An Air India spokesperson on April 21 said the airline has zero tolerance in aspects related to the safety and well-being of passengers and will take requisite action about the incident.

Introspect, instead of pointing fingers at court: BJP slams Congress, Sibal for Naroda case verdict remarks

The BJP on April 21 hit out at the Congress and Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal for “pointing fingers at the court” which acquitted all 67 accused in Ahmedabad’s Naroda Gam riots case, saying their comments are not backed by truth. It said it will continue to pursue this case. The Congress alleged that a lapse on the part of the prosecution led to the acquittal of all the accused and said that justice may be delayed but will not be denied. Mr. Sibal, a senior advocate, criticised the court’s decision and asked whether “we should celebrate the rule of law or despair its demise”.

Sudan’s top general says military committed to civilian rule

Sudan’s top general said on April 21 the military is committed to a transition to civilian rule, in his first speech since brutal fighting between his forces and the country’s powerful paramilitary began nearly a week ago. In a video message released on Friday to mark the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday, army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan said: “We are confident that we will overcome this ordeal with our training, wisdom and strength, preserving the security and unity of the state, allowing us to be entrusted with the safe transition to civilian rule.”

Russian Air Force accidentally bombs Belgorod, its own city

When a powerful blast shook a Russian city near the border of Ukraine residents thought it was an Ukrainian attack. But the Russian military quickly acknowledged that it was a bomb accidentally dropped by one of its own warplanes. Belgorod, a city of 340,000 about 40 km east of the border, has faced regular drone attacks that Russian authorities blame on the Ukrainian military, but the explosion late Thursday was far more powerful than anything its residents had heard before.

Sri Lanka marks 4th anniversary of Easter Sunday terror attacks

Sri Lanka on April 21 marked the 4 th anniversary of the Easter Sunday terror bombings that shook the island nation on April 21, 2019, even as families of victims marched, and many gathered outside churches, demanding truth and justice. Sri Lanka’s Catholic Church, especially the Archbishop of Colombo Archdiocese Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, has been raising concern over authorities’ “slow-paced” investigations into the incident domestically and internationally, including at the Vatican and the UN Human Rights Council. Formerly a supporter of the Rajapaksas, the prominent Catholic priest has maintained that the Easter bombings were not merely the work of religious extremists but a “grand political conspiracy”. He has called for a comprehensive international probe to help trace the “real masterminds” behind the incident.

Forex reserves rise by $1.657 billion to $586.412 billion as of April 14

India’s forex reserves rose by $1.657 billion to $586.412 billion as of April 14, marking their second consecutive week of increase, according to the RBI data released on April 21. In the previous reporting week, the overall reserves rose by $6.306 billion to $584.755 billion. For the week ended April 14, the foreign currency assets, a major component of the reserves, increased by $2.204 billion to $516.635 billion, according to the Weekly Statistical Supplement released by the RBI.

Pakistan has proposed to host Asia Cup matches involving India at neutral venue: PCB chief Najam Sethi

The PCB has proposed that India can play their Asia Cup matches at a neutral venue while Pakistan and other competing teams play in the host country, its chief Najam Sethi revealed on April 21. Sethi said they have sent a proposal to the Asian Cricket Council (ACC). “We have decided on this hybrid model that Pakistan plays its Asia Cup matches at home and India their matches at a neutral venue and that is our proposal to the Asian Cricket Council,” said Sethi.

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