Top news of the day: SC rejects plea seeking uniform marriage age for both men and women; Manish Sisodia says CBI called him for questioning on Feb. 26 in Delhi excise policy case, and more

The major news headlines of the day and more.

February 20, 2023 06:59 pm | Updated 06:59 pm IST

US President Joe Biden meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at Mariinsky Palace during an unannounced visit in Kyiv, Ukraine, on February 20, 2023.

US President Joe Biden meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at Mariinsky Palace during an unannounced visit in Kyiv, Ukraine, on February 20, 2023. | Photo Credit: AP

‘One year later, Kyiv stands’: Biden makes unannounced trip to Kyiv ahead of Ukraine invasion anniversary; pledges $500 million in new military aid 

President Joe Biden made an unannounced visit Monday to Ukraine to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, a gesture of solidarity that comes days before the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of the country. Speaking alongside Mr. Zelenskyy at Mariinsky Palace, Mr. Biden recalled the fears nearly a year ago that Russia’s invasion forces might quickly take the Ukrainian capital. “One year later, Kyiv stands,” Mr. Biden said, jamming his finger for emphasis on his podium decorated with the U.S. and Ukrainian flags. “And Ukraine stands. Democracy stands. The Americans stand with you, and the world stands with you.”

Uddhav Thackeray camp of Shiv Sena moves SC against EC decision allocating name, symbol to Shinde faction 

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain an oral mentioning made by the Uddhav Thackeray camp to urgently list on February 21 their plea challenging the decision of the Election Commission of India allowing rival Eknath Shinde faction the Shiv Sena symbol of ‘bow and arrow’. Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud asked senior advocate A.M. Singhvi, appearing for the Thackeray camp, to mention his case after listing it like the others.

Manish Sisodia says CBI called him for questioning on February 26 in Delhi excise policy case 

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on February 20 said he has been called for questioning by the CBI in connection with the Delhi excise policy case on February 26. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had on Sunday deferred his questioning after he sought time from the agency citing the city government’s ongoing Budget exercise.

SC rejects plea seeking uniform marriage age for both men and women

Noting that there are some matters which should be left to the “ultimate wisdom of the Parliament”, the Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a petition seeking to enhance the minimum age for marriage of women from 18 years to 21, at par with men. “We should not perceive that we are the exclusive custodians of the Constitution. The Parliament is equally the custodian of the Constitution. Parliament can amend the law to provide uniform marriage age. However desirable it is, the power to do so lies with the Parliament. There are some things which only the Parliament can amend and legislate… We cannot enact the law here,” Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud addressed petitioner-advocate Ashwini Upadhyay.

Border-Gavaskar Trophy | Back to the drawing board for panicky Australia after another India failure 

A confident Australia landed in India with genuine hope of winning their first Test series in the south Asian nation in nearly 20 years but they head to the third match in Indore with a 2-0 deficit and a chorus of criticism ringing in their ears. The honeymoon for Pat Cummins’s captaincy is well and truly over after the six-wicket capitulation in New Delhi, and few of his team mates have been spared the wrath of furious former players and pundits.

Also read: Border-Gavaskar Trophy | We failed the examination of India, says Australia coach McDonald 

Chhattisgarh coal levy ‘scam’ | ED raids multiple places of Congress leaders; Baghel says such acts won’t weaken morale of party leaders 

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on February 20 conducted searches at multiple locations in Chhattisgarh, including premises linked to Congress leaders, as part of an ongoing investigation into the coal levy money laundering case, officials said.  Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party over searches conducted by the ED at the premises linked to Congress leaders in the State and said such acts will not weaken the morale of party leaders who are engaged in the preparation of the party’s upcoming plenary session.

Upendra Kushwaha resigns from JD(U), announces formation of a new political party 

Rebel JD(U) leader Upendra Kushwaha resigned from the party on Monday and announced the formation of a new political outfit, named ‘Rashtriya Lok Janata Dal’. Mr. Kushwaha also announced his resignation from the Bihar Legislative Council. Mr. Kushwaha will be the national president of the new party. The former Union Minister, however, kept cards close to the chest on the issue of realigning with the BJP-led NDA, with the sarcastic remark “I have learnt a few lessons from my big brother, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who had resigned from his post citing differences with the RJD, only to form a new government (with BJP) hours later”.

German Chancellor Scholz to visit India on February 25-26 

The Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz, will pay a state visit to India on February 25-26, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a press release on February 20. Mr. Scholz will arrive in Delhi on February 25 and will proceed to Bengaluru the next day. He will be accompanied by senior officials and a high-powered business delegation, it said. On his first visit to India as the Chancellor, Mr. Scholz will call upon President Droupadi Murmu as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Prime Minister and Chancellor will hold discussions on bilateral, regional and global issues. The two Leaders will also interact with CEOs and business leaders of both sides,” MEA said.

Permission for PM’s rally at Meghalaya stadium denied, BJP fumes 

The sports department of Meghalaya denied permission to the BJP to host an election rally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the P.A. Sangma Stadium in Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma’s home constituency of South Tura, citing construction work at the venue. The BJP, fuming over the development, alleged that the ruling National People’s Party (NPP), along with the Trinamool Congress and other opposition parties, were trying to stall a “wave of the BJP” in the State.

IndiGo flight diverted to Lucknow following ‘specific bomb threat’; later cleared for take-off 

IndiGo on February 20 said its flight from the national capital to Deogarh was diverted to Lucknow following a “specific bomb threat”. After following all necessary security protocols, the aircraft was later cleared for takeoff and the airline is following the rules of the security agencies in the investigation, it said in a statement.

Congress speaking on corruption, vindictiveness a shame: Sitharaman

Rejecting the Congress’ charge linking Enforcement Directorate’s raids against its leaders in Chhattisgarh to vendetta politics, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 20 accused the Opposition party of indulging in “spit and run” tactics. She said the Congress should not speak on corruption as it lost power on the issue and asserted that the probe agencies do their homework and investigate only when they have necessary prima facie evidence.

BAFTA 2023: Austin Butler, Cate Blanchett win awards for best acting 

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTAs) hosted its annual film awards ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall in the Southbank Centre on Sunday. Austin Butler, who played the legendary singer Elvis in the movie of the same name, won the award for the Best Actor, while Cate Blanchett won the trophy for Best Actress for the movie Tar. In his acceptance speech, Austin said, “This is truly extraordinary. To my fellow nominees, I am in awe of you. I am so grateful for all these times we’ve been able to spend together,” reported Variety.

T.N. CM Stalin condemns attack on Tamil students in JNU 

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Monday condemned the attack on Tamil students in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi, allegedly by members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and charged that the Delhi police had remained mute spectators. In a statement, Mr. Stalin said the “cowardly attack on Tamil students by ABVP” and the vandalising of portraits of leaders like Periyar and Karl Marx at JNU was highly condemnable. He called for strict action from the university administration.

Attack on cricketer Prithvi Shaw | Court sends social media influencer Sapna Gill, three others to 14-day judicial custody 

A Mumbai court on February 20 sent social media influencer Sapna Gill and three other accused to 14-day judicial custody in a case pertaining to alleged manhandling of Indian cricketer Prithvi Shaw and attacking his car. Ms. Gill and the other accused were produced before a magistrate court at the end of their initial police remand on Feb. 20.

Panneerselvam camp resolves to ‘retrieve’ AIADMK from Palaniswami and his followers

Accusing the AIADMK, led by the party’s interim general secretary Edappadi K. Palaniswami, of taking the organisation towards a “destructive path,” the camp, led by deposed coordinator, O. Panneerselvam, on Monday adopted a resolution to “retrieve the party from a dictatorial and conspiratorial group.” The rival camp contended that with the help of “unfairness,” “injustice,” “anarchy,” “authoritarianism” and “arrogance,” Mr. Palaniswami and his colleagues, were seeking to “grab” the party. This should be prevented, according to a statement issued by the camp at the end of a meeting, which was held in Chennai and attended by functionaries. 

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