Top news of the day: New Zealand’s Auckland first major city to ring in 2024; Centre bans Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, once headed by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, and more

The major news headlines of the day and more.

Updated - December 31, 2023 07:16 pm IST

Published - December 31, 2023 07:15 pm IST

Fireworks burst from the Sky Tower in Auckland, New Zealand, to celebrate the New Year on January 01, 2024.

Fireworks burst from the Sky Tower in Auckland, New Zealand, to celebrate the New Year on January 01, 2024. | Photo Credit: AP

New Zealand’s Auckland is the first major city to ring in 2024

Auckland has become the first major city to ring in 2024, with thousands cheering a fireworks display sprouting from New Zealand’s tallest structure, Sky Tower, and a downtown light show. In Auckland, light rain throughout Sunday had cleared as forecast by midnight over the city of 1.7 million people before the countdown began on an illuminated digital display near the top of the 328-meter (1,076-foot) communications and observation tower.

Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, once headed by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, banned by government

The government on December 31 declared pro-Pakistan separatist amalgam Tehreek-e-Hurriyat (TeH) Jammu and Kashmir a banned organisation for fomenting terrorism and spreading anti-India propaganda in the Union territory. Announcing the decision, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the group was found spreading anti-India propaganda and continuing terror activities to fuel secessionism in Jammu and Kashmir.

In 108th episode of Mann Ki Baat, PM Modi reflects on year gone by

In 108th episode of Mann Ki Baat on December 31, Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared his best wishes with the Indian masses for 2024. Reflecting on the year gone by, Mr. Modi said, “In this very year, ‘Nari Shakti Vandan Act’, which has been awaited for years was passed. The record business on Diwali proved that every Indian is giving importance to the mantra of ‘Vocal For Local’.”

From Article 370, to Ram Temple, to Bharat Nyay Sanhita, second Modi terms draws an ideological arc

If the current tenure of the Narendra Modi-led government began with the abrogation of Article 370, one of the three core objectives of BJP’s ideology, it is bookended by a more fundamental change, that of the statute books themselves in the shape of the new Bharatiya Nyaya and Nagarik Surakhsha Sanhita and the Bharatiya Saakshya Adhineeyum.

Government appoints Arvind Panagariya as sixteenth Finance Commission chief

The government on December 31 appointed former Niti Aayog vice chairman and Columbia University professor Arvind Panagariya as the chairman of the Sixteenth Finance Commission, which will recommend the tax revenue sharing formula between the Centre and the States for the five-year period beginning April 2026. 

Ram Temple inauguration cannot be a political event, but a matter of pride for crores of devotees, says CM Eknath Shinde

Launching a blistering attack on former Chief Minister and Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Sunday said that the inauguration of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya on January 22 could not be a political event as it was a matter of faith for crores of people, and warned that those making such statements would be given a fitting reply by the electorate.

Dhruva Space to launch nanosatellite onboard ISRO’s PSLV-C58 on January 1

Dhruva Space, Hyderabad-based full-stack space company, has announced ‘LEAP-TD mission’ where its flagship P-30 nanosatellite is scheduled to be launched aboard the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) PSLV-C58 at 09:10 IST on January 1, 2024 from the first launch pad at Sriharikota. The ‘Launching Expeditions for Aspiring Payloads - Technology Demonstrator’ (LEAP-TD) mission will take off onboard the POEM (PSLV Orbital Experimental Module platform) on ISRO’s PSLV-DL, the variant of the PSLV equipped with two solid, strap-on boosters, said an official release on December 30 night.

Netanyahu defends Israel’s unparalleled ‘morality’ in Gaza war

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on December 31 said Israel displayed unparalleled “morality” in the Gaza war and rejected South Africa’s charge that it was committing “genocidal” acts in the Palestinian territory. “We will continue our defensive war, the justice and morality of which is without peer,” Mr. Netanyahu told a cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv. His comment came after South Africa launched a case on December 29 at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Israel for what it said were “genocidal” acts in Gaza. “No, South Africa, it is not we who have come to perpetrate genocide, it is Hamas,” Mr. Netanyahu said. “It would murder all of us if it could. In contrast, the IDF (Israeli army) is acting as morally as possible.”

Pakistan ex-PM Khan barred from election candidacy: party

Jailed former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan and most of his supporters have been rejected as candidates for the February 8 election, party officials said Sunday after nominations for the ballot closed. Khan has been in prison since August, facing trial over a slew of cases he insists have been orchestrated to prevent him from contesting the election as the figurehead of his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.

Finance Ministry seeks expenditure proposals for final supplementary demands for grants

The Finance Ministry has sought expenditure proposals for the second and final batch of Supplementary Demands for Grants from various ministries and departments ahead of the Budget session likely to commence in the last week of January. This would be the last session of the 17th Lok Sabha before the general elections and the government would seek expenditure approvals of Parliament for four months till July 2024 through a vote on account.

India Women’s fielding was below-par against Australia, remains a work in progress: Muzumdar

India Women’s fielding against Australia in the second ODI was below par, admitted head coach Amol Muzumdar and added that fielding remains a work in progress for the hosts who suffered a ninth consecutive series defeat against the Aussies. India fought hard with the bat after making several errors in the field — including seven dropped catches — in the first half of the match here on Saturday as the visitors got over the line by three runs.

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