Top news of the day: Air India fined ₹30 lakh, pilot suspended over urination incident; IOA calls meeting to discuss demands of protesting wrestlers, and more

The major news headlines of the day and more.

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

Khap Panchayat in solidarity with wrestlers during their protest against the WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.

Khap Panchayat in solidarity with wrestlers during their protest against the WFI president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. | Photo Credit: SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

Air India fined ₹30 lakh, pilot suspended over urination incident

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on January 20 imposed a fine of ₹30 lakh on Air India, in connection with the urination incident. It also imposed a fine of ₹3 lakh on the airline’s director of in-flight services. The DGCA also suspended the pilot-in-command for three months. Air India, reacting to DGCA’s imposition of the fine, said it respectfully acknowledges the gaps in reporting with respect to the incident and that relevant steps are being taken to address the issues. “We acknowledge gaps in our reporting, and we’re taking steps to address them,” the airline said.

Wrestlers protest | Indian Olympic Association calls emergency meeting

As the wrestlers protest entered third day, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on January 20 called an emergency Executive Council meeting to discuss their demands. The emergency meet has been called after the protesting wrestlers wrote a letter to IOA chief P.T. Usha, urging her to form a panel to look into the allegations of sexual harrassment by Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. A day after threatening to lodge multiple FIRs against the WFI President, the wrestlers alleged in their letter financial misappropriation (of funds) on part of the WFI and claimed that the coaches and sports science staff at the National camp are “absolutely incompetent”.

Supreme Court refuses to entertain pleas challenging caste census in Bihar; asks petitioners to approach High Court

The Supreme Court on January 20 refused to entertain various pleas challenging the State Government’s notification to conduct caste-based census in Bihar. A Bench comprising Justice B.R. Gavai and Justice Vikram Nath was not impressed with the submissions made by the counsels on behalf of the petitioners and suspected their motivation to file the petition. At the outset Justice Gavai noted, “so, this is a publicity interest litigation?” The court was concerned that “if this is granted then how will they (the State government) determine how reservation is to be granted?” The petitioners were then asked by the top court to file their petitions in the High Court. Three separate petitions were filed related to similar issues in the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court protects filmmaker Leena Manimekalai from coercive action in connection with FIRs

The Supreme Court on January 20 protected filmmaker Leena Manimekalai from coercive action on the basis of multiple FIRs filed in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Madhya Pradesh over the poster of her documentary titled ‘Kaali’. The filmmaker is facing several FIRs across States. The court protected her from any other FIR which may be filed or already filed on the basis of the same poster. The SC also recorded that the poster was not meant to insult religious feelings, but was inclusive in nature.

Supreme Court to set up fresh 5-judge Bench to hear pleas challenging polygamy and ‘nikah halala’ among Muslims

The Supreme Court on January 20 said that it will set up a five-judge Constitution Bench to hear pleas challenging the constitutional validity of polygamy and ‘nikah halala’ practice among Muslims. A Bench comprising Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice P.S. Narasimha took note of the submissions of lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay, who has filed one of the PILs on the issue, that a fresh five-judge bench was needed to be constituted as two judges of the previous Constitution Bench — Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Hemant Gupta — have retired.

India did not wait for others, did what was right for Sri Lanka’s recovery: Jaishankar

India did not wait for other bilateral creditors but did “what is right” for Sri Lanka’s economic recovery, visiting External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said on January 20, following talks with Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe in Colombo. The decision, Mr. Jaishankar said, was a reassertion of India’s belief in the principle of “neighbourhood first”, and “not leaving a partner to fend for themselves,” which also drove the nearly-4-billion-dollar assistance extended last year, by way of credits and roll overs.

Woman air operations officer to lead Indian Navy contingent at Republic Day parade

Lt. Commander Disha Amrith, a woman naval air operations official posted at a strategic base, will lead the Indian Navy’s Republic Day contingent of 144 young sailors and its tableau will showcase the ‘Nari Shakti’ in force. Navy officials said three women and five men Agniveers will also participate in the parade at Kartavya Path. Besides Amrith, another woman officer — Sub Lt Valli Meena S — will be among the three platoon commanders of the naval contingent.

Bank loan fraud case | After Kochhars, Bombay High Court grants interim bail to Videocon’s Venugopal Dhoot

The Bombay High Court on January 20 granted interim bail to Videocon Chairman Venugopal Dhoot who was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the ICICI bank fraud case. A division bench of justices Revati Mohite Dere and P.K. Chavan directed Mr. Dhoot to be released on a bail bond of ₹1 lakh. The bench was hearing Mr Dhoot’s plea seeking immediate release in the case. On January 9, the same bench had directed the release of co-accused ICICI bank’s former chief executive officer and managing director Chanda and her husband Deepak Kochhar from jail.

Morbi bridge collapse | Gujarat government issues show-cause notice to Morbi municipality asking why it shouldn’t be dissolved

Months after a suspension bridge collapsed in Morbi town of Gujarat killing 141 people, the State government has issued a show-cause notice to the local municipality asking why it should not be dissolved for failing to discharge its duties. The notice was issued by the State Urban Development Department, which directed the Morbi civic body to submit a written clarification in the form of a general body resolution by January 25.

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks to PLA troops along India-China border, refers to ‘changing situation’

Chinese President Xi Jinping on the evening of January 18 held a rare conversation with People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers stationed along the India-China border through video link, State media in Beijing reported on January 19. Mr. Xi, speaking from the PLA headquarters in the capital, addressed troops at a border defence station in Khunjerab under the Xinjiang Military Command and “inspected their combat readiness”, a report said. The Xinjiang border command was the only PLA army command Mr. Xi was shown speaking to. He also addressed a Chinese navy formation and an air force aviation brigade and “ordered them to remain alert and be ready for combat.”

More bodies found in Tibet avalanche, death toll rises to 20

More bodies were found on January 20 following an avalanche that buried vehicles outside a highway tunnel in Tibet, raising the death toll to 20 with eight people still missing. Images from the scene at the exit of the tunnel connecting the city of Nyingchi in Tibet’s southwest with an outlying county showed about half a dozen backhoes digging through deep snow. Reports said around 1,000 rescuers had joined the effort.

India bright spot amid global crisis; PM Modi’s leadership critical in fractured world, says WEF Chairman

Lauding Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership in a fractured world, the World Economic Forum’s Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab said India is a bright spot amid the global crisis. After attending an India reception on January 19 night during the WEF Annual Meeting 2023, Mr. Schwab said India is promoting a just and equitable growth for all in the world during its G20 presidency, while also making significant progress on the most pressing domestic challenges.

Google parent Alphabet to lay off 12,000 workers

Alphabet Inc is eliminating 12,000 jobs, its chief executive said in a staff memo shared with Reuters. The cuts mark the latest to shake the technology sector and come days after rival Microsoft Corp said it would lay off 10,000 workers. The job losses affect teams across the company including recruiting and some corporate functions, as well as some engineering and products teams. The layoffs are global and impact U.S. staff immediately, Google said.

World Cup Hockey | Australia mauls South Africa, qualifies directly for quarterfinals

Star forward Blake Govers scored four times, including from a penalty stroke, as title contenders Australia thrashed South Africa 9-2 to top Pool A and directly qualify for the quarterfinals of the FIH Men’s World Cup in Rourkela on January 20. Australia will face the winner of the crossover match between Malaysia and Spain in the quarterfinal match on January 24 in Bhubaneswar.

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