Top news of the day: India slams Bilawal Bhutto’s ‘uncivilised’ attack on PM Modi; Russia launches at least 60 missile strikes across Ukraine, and more

The major news headlines of the day and more.

Updated - December 16, 2022 07:44 pm IST

Published - December 16, 2022 07:39 pm IST

Medics work at the site of a residential building in Kryvyi Rih, damaged by a Russian missile attack on Ukraine.

Medics work at the site of a residential building in Kryvyi Rih, damaged by a Russian missile attack on Ukraine. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s ‘uncivilised’ attacks on PM Modi new low for Pakistan, says India

India on December 16 hit out at Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari for his personal attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said it was a “new low” even for that country. In a strong reaction to the remarks by the Pakistani leader in New York, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the Pakistan Foreign Minister’s “frustration” would be better directed towards the masterminds of terrorist enterprises in his own country, who have made terrorism a part of their “state policy”. Scores of BJP leaders and workers staged a protest near Pakistan High Commission over the remarks.

Russia launches another major missile attack on Ukraine

Russian forces launched at least 60 missile strikes across Ukraine on December 16, officials said, reporting explosions in at least four cities. At least two people were killed when a residential building was hit in central Ukraine, while electricity and water services were interrupted in the two largest cities, Kyiv and Kharkiv. Thousands rushed to subway stations to seek shelter deep underground.

PM Modi calls for dialogue and diplomacy in call with Russian President Vladimir Putin

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 16 held a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin and reiterated the requirement for “peace and diplomacy” over the crisis in Ukraine, stated a press release from the Government of India. The Russian side informed that the two leaders discussed multiple issues including “mutual investment” and areas like energy cooperation, agriculture, transport and logistics. The phone call has come days after speculation began about Mr Modi not travelling to Moscow for the annual summit with Russia. 

No Supreme Court Benches to be available during winter vacation: CJI D. Y. Chandrachud

Chief Justice of India D. Y. Chandrachud on December 16 said no Vacation Benches will be available in the apex court during the winter break. The oral announcement came a day after Law Minister Kiren Rijiju criticised the “long vacations” of the court and the inconvenience it caused to litigants. Friday was the last working day before the court goes into winter recess. The apex court will re-open only next year, on January 2. The calendar for the year 2023 shows the court would not be fully functional for nearly 180 days, including weekends and holidays.

Budget this year to follow spirit of earlier ones: Sitharaman

Finance Minister Nirmala Sithataman on December 16 indicated that her forthcoming Budget will continue to push growth on the back of public spending as she said it will “follow the spirit” of earlier Budgets. Ms. Sitharaman, scheduled to present her fifth straight Budget on February 1 for the fiscal starting April, had unveiled a massive public spending programme to support the economy, emerging out of the COVID-19 pandemic. “It is very inspiring and motivating for me, especially at a time when we are readying the next budget for the country, a budget which will follow the spirit of the earlier Budgets. We are going to set the template, which was set to earlier but follow it and take it further for India’s next 25 years...,” she said at an event in New Delhi.

State government bound by COVID-19 compensation announcement: Delhi HC on death of police constable

Delhi Police Constable Amit Kumar died of the virus on May 5, 2020, while he was posted at Deep Chand Bandhu Hospital, Delhi, to ensure adherence to lockdown measures. His wife Pooja was expecting their child at the time of his death. CM Arvind Kejriwal had then tweeted that the family members of the deceased constable will be given ex-gratia amount of ₹1 crore. However, over two-and-half years since, Pooja is yet to receive the amount. Justice Prathiba M. Singh said that the Delhi government “ought not to resile from the clear announcement made for ex-gratia payment”.

Hooch traders rounded up as Bihar illicit liquor tragedy toll rises

The Bihar hooch tragedy toll climbed to 28 with two more deaths reported, a top Saran district official said, however, unconfirmed reports claimed up to 50 died by drinking the illicitly brewed liquor. Saran District Magistrate Rajesh Meena said, “The suspected hooch death has increased to 28 (till Thursday night) in the district”. The DM said that action raids across the district have been conducted and 126 traders involved in selling locally brewed country liquor have been caught. “We have also conducted intensive raids across the district in the last 48 hours and nabbed 126 hooch traders. More than 4,000 litres of illicit liquor have also been seized,” he told reporters.

India launches ‘Group of Friends’ to promote accountability for crimes against peacekeepers

India has launched a ‘Group of Friends’ to promote accountability for crimes against peacekeepers, with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar announcing that New Delhi will soon have a database that will record all crimes against the Blue Helmets. India, Bangladesh, Egypt, France, Morocco and Nepal are co-chairs of the ‘Group of Friends to Promote Accountability for Crimes Against Peacekeepers’ launched on Thursday during India’s current presidency of the U.N. Security Council.

World’s coal use creeps to new high in 2022: Report

Coal use across the world is set to reach a new record this year amid persistently high demand for the heavily polluting fossil fuel, the International Energy Agency said on December 16. The Paris-based agency said in a new report that while coal use grew by only 1.2% in 2022, the increase pushed it to an all-time high of more than 8 billion metric tonnes, beating the previous record set in 2013. “The world’s coal consumption will remain at similar levels in the following years in the absence of stronger efforts to accelerate the transition to clean energy,” the agency said, noting that “robust demand” in emerging Asian economies would offset declining use in mature markets.

Thailand prays for the king’s hospitalised daughter

Thai temples held prayers and senior leaders including the Prime Minister visited a hospital on December 16 to wish a quick recovery for the eldest child of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who collapsed earlier in the week with a heart condition. Princess Bajrakitiyabha, 44, lost consciousness early on Wednesday in the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima and was flown by helicopter to Chulalongkorn hospital in Bangkok after her condition stabilised “to a certain level”, the palace said in a statement on Thursday. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha and many senior officials, politicians, and religious leaders visited Chulalongkorn hospital on Friday to lay orange flowers, the colour associated with the princess, and sign a book of well wishes.

Bomb attack in Turkey targets police van, injuring nine

“A bomb exploded on a highway in Turkey as a van carrying police officers drove past on December 16, injuring nine of its passengers,” government officials said. Two people were detained in connection with the attack, which occurred near the predominantly Kurdish-populated city of Diyarbakir in southeast Turkey, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said. The bomb was placed inside a parked vehicle near a market selling livestock, according to the Diyarbakir governor’s office. “Eight police officers and a civilian were taken to hospitals as a precaution but were not in serious condition,” it said.

Wheat sowing up 3% so far this rabi season at 286.5 lakh hectare; oilseeds area up 8%

Wheat acreage has increased 3% so far in the ongoing rabi season at 286.5 lakh hectare mainly on higher sowing area in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, government data showed. The area under coverage for wheat, which is the major crop in rabi (winter-sown) season, stood at 278.25 lakh hectare in the same period last year. Higher area under wheat has been reported mainly from Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Karnataka.

Ind vs Ban 1st Test | Gill, Pujara score centuries as India sets 513-run target; Bangladesh still needs 471 to win 

Shubman Gill scored his maiden Test century while Cheteshwar Pujara finally ended a four-year wait for his 19th hundred as India set Bangladesh a stiff victory target of 513 runs on the third day of the series-opener in Chattogram on December 16. For the second day in succession, Bangladesh were completely outplayed as Kuldeep Yadav’s career-best 5 for 40 helped India dismiss the hosts for a paltry 150 in just 55.5 overs. With nearly three days at their disposal and a lead of 254, India captain KL Rahul decided against enforcing the follow-on as Gill (110) and Pujara (102 not out) took full advantage of a toothless Bangaldesh attack that also missed its lead pacer Ebadot Hossain due to a back-injury.

Big Bash League | Adelaide strikers dismiss Sydney Thunder for world record low score of 15

Adelaide Strikers defeated Sydney Thunder by 124 runs on December 16 at Sydney. On seeing this one might think it is just another T20 game, but not so. Sydney Thunder were restricted to a mere 15 runs. Electing to bat first, Adelaide Strikers were restricted for 139 for 9 by Sydney Thunder. Chriss Lynn (36) and Colin de Grandhomme (33) were the top scorers for Adelaide Strikers. In fact Sydney Thunder batsmen could bat only 5.5 overs. They were dismissed for just 15 and the Adelaide Strikers won the match by 124 runs. Chris Green was the only batsman to have faced six balls. 

FIFA picks Morocco to host Club World Cup in February 2023

Morocco was rewarded by FIFA on December 16 with hosting rights for the next Club World Cup in February, with an expanded 32-team edition set to launch in 2025. European champion Real Madrid, South American champion Flamengo and Seattle Sounders, the first CONCACAF Champions League winner from the United States, will play in the traditional seven-team tournament from Feb. 1-11.

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