Top news of the day: Without naming Adani Group, SEBI says measures are in place to address excess volatility; Centre clears appointment of 5 judges to the Supreme Court, and more

The major news headlines of the day and more.

February 04, 2023 07:11 pm | Updated 07:11 pm IST

The Supreme Court’s strength will go up to 32 judges, once the five judges take oath early next week. It is currently functioning with 27 judges, including the Chief Justice of India.

The Supreme Court’s strength will go up to 32 judges, once the five judges take oath early next week. It is currently functioning with 27 judges, including the Chief Justice of India. | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Without naming Adani Group, SEBI says measures are in place to address excess volatility

Amid a raging controversy over a meltdown in Adani group stocks, regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on February 4 said it is committed to ensuring the stock market’s integrity and all necessary surveillance measures are in place to address any excessive volatility in individual shares. Without naming the Adani group specifically, the capital markets watchdog said in a statement that unusual price movement in the stocks of a business conglomerate has been observed in the past week.

India’s macro fundamentals not affected by Adani’s FPO withdrawal: Nirmala Sitharaman

India’s economic image is not affected due to Adani Group’s recent decision to pull out ₹20,000 crore FPO amid allegations of financial wrongdoings, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on February 4. The Finance Minister said there has been an accretion of $8 billion to the forex reserves in the last two days alone. “...our macroeconomic fundamentals or our economy’s image, none of which has been affected. Yes, FPOs (follow-on public offers) come in, and FIIs (foreign institutional investors) get out,” Ms. Sitharaman said.

Supreme Court gets five new judges

Five judges were appointed to the Supreme Court on February 4 with the Centre clearing the names recommended by the Collegium on December 13 last year. Law Minister Kiren Rijiju tweeted to announce the appointment of Justice Pankaj Mithal, Chief Justice, Rajasthan High Court; Justice Sanjay Karol, Chief Justice, Patna High Court; Justice P.V. Sanjay Kumar, Chief Justice, Manipur High Court; Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah of Patna High Court; and Justice Manoj Misra of Allahabad High Court as apex court judges.

Vani Jairam, one of India’s most versatile voices, no more

Veteran playback singer Vani Jairam, who has sung over 10,000 songs across several Indian languages, died in Chennai on February 4. She was 77 years old. According to Chennai police sources, Jairam was alone at her home when she passed away. Her domestic aide, Malarkodi, who came in on Saturday morning, found the house locked from the inside and there was no response when she rang the doorbell. She went to the neighbour’s house, and they, in turn, called Jairam’s sister Uma, and alerted the police. Thousand Lights Police personnel got to her house and opened the door using an extra key from Uma, who had also reached by then. Police sources added that it seemed initially, that Jairam had fallen and hit her head on a table. There was a slight injury mark on her forehead. The body was sent to the Government Royapettah Hospital for a post-mortem. The police are treating this as an unnatural death, and have begun an investigation.

Police roped them as scapegoats, says court while discharging student activists in Jamia violence case

A court in New Delhi on February 4 discharged 11 people, including student activists Sharjeel Imam and Asif Iqbal Tanha, in the Jamia Nagar violence case, saying as the Delhi Police was unable to apprehend the actual perpetrators, it booked the accused as “scapegoats”. The court, however, ordered framing of charges against one of the accused, Mohammad Ilyas. “Marshalling the facts as brought forth from a perusal of the charge sheet and three supplementary charge sheets, this court cannot but arrive at the conclusion that the police were unable to apprehend the actual perpetrators behind the commission of the offence, but surely managed to rope the persons herein as scapegoats,” Additional Sessions Judge Arul Varma said.

J&K administration keeping watch, not Joshimath-like situation: LG over cracks in structures in Doda

Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha on February 4 said the Jammu and Kashmir administration was keeping a close watch on two dozen structures in Doda developing cracks but denied the situation was akin to the land subsidence witnessed in Joshimath. The best possible assistance will be extended to the affected families of Nai Basti in the Thathri area, situated around 35 km from the Doda town along the Kishtwar-Batote National Highway. While three houses collapsed after developing cracks, 18 other structures were rendered unsafe, prompting the district administration to shift over 100 people to safer places.

Agniveer defence recruitment process | Now, online common entrance exam is first

The Indian Army has announced a change in the Agniveer recruitment process and candidates wanting to join the Force will now have to first appear for an online common entrance examination, followed by physical fitness and medical tests. While advertisements regarding the change in the process have been put out by the Army in various newspapers, sources on February 4 said, the notification for this is expected to be issued around mid-February.

Opposition parties running away from discussion in Parliament: Union Minister Anurag Thakur

Union minister Anurag Singh Thakur on February 4 said the government has nothing to hide on the Adani issue and accused opposition parties of creating a ruckus in Parliament to evade a debate on the “people-friendly” budget. He alleged that they had insulted President Droupadi Murmu by stalling a discussion on the motion of thanks to the President’s address and demanded that they apologise to her. “We want discussion on the President’s address and 2023-24 budget which will guide India from ‘Amrit Kaal to Swarnim Kaal’ and will lay the foundation of New India but the Opposition is running away from discussion,” Mr. Thakur told reporters at BJP headquarters here.

Chinese spy balloon ‘transits’ Latin America after first craft flies over U.S.

A Chinese spy balloon has been spotted over Latin America, the Pentagon said on February 3, a day after a similar craft was seen in U.S. skies, prompting the scrapping of a rare trip to Beijing by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The Pentagon said the first balloon was now heading eastwards over the central United States, adding it was not being shot down for safety reasons. Later Friday, Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder said, “We are seeing reports of a balloon transiting Latin America.” “We now assess it is another Chinese surveillance balloon,” he added, without specifying its exact location.

Pakistan blocks Wikipedia over blasphemous material: report

Pakistan has blocked Wikipedia after the website refused to remove offensive or blasphemous material, according to a media report on February 4. The blacklisting of Wikipedia comes days after the Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) degraded Wikipedia services for 48 hours, threatening to block it if the content deemed ‘blasphemous’ was not deleted, The News newspaper reported. When a PTA spokesperson was contacted late on Friday night and inquired about the blocking of Wikipedia, the official confirmed that “yes” it had been blocked, it reported. On the instruction of the high court, the PTA degraded — disrupting and slowing access to the encyclopedia — website for 48 hours because there was blasphemous content on it.

ASEAN Ministers urge Myanmar junta to implement agreed peace plan

Southeast Asian Ministers at the end of two-day talks in Indonesia on February 4 urged Myanmar’s junta to implement a five-point peace plan agreed two years ago to create a path towards ending the country’s political crisis. Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said Jakarta proposed an implementation plan to ASEAN members for the “five-point consensus” agreed with the junta in April 2021 that called for an end to violence and dialogue between the military and rebels. “Broad support was received from all member States to this plan,” she told reporters at the end of talks, without providing details of when and how they hoped the agreement would be implemented.

Australia can win, India more vulnerable at home this time: Greg Chappell

Batting great Greg Chappell believes Australia can win the upcoming high-profile four-match Test series as India are “vulnerable” this time with injuries to key players like Rishabh Pant and Jasprit Bumrah. “Australia can win this series. India are more vulnerable at home than they have been for some time due to injuries to key players like Rishbah Pant, Ravindra Jadeja and Jasprit Bumrah. They will rely heavily on Virat Kohli,” Chappell wrote in an opinion piece for ‘Sydney Morning Herald’.

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