Top news of the day: Conrad Sangma stakes claim to form new government in Meghalaya; Quad Foreign Ministers announce working group on counter-terrorism, and more

The major news headlines of the day and more.

March 03, 2023 07:07 pm | Updated 07:07 pm IST

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma submits his resignation to Meghalaya Governor Phagu Chauhan in Shillong on March 3, 2023. He has staked claim to form the next government.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma submits his resignation to Meghalaya Governor Phagu Chauhan in Shillong on March 3, 2023. He has staked claim to form the next government. | Photo Credit: PTI

Meghalaya CM Sangma submits resignation, stakes claim to form new government

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma submitted his resignation to Governor Phagu Chauhan and staked claim to form the new government. There are 29 MLAs so far, with 26 of them from the National People’s Party (NPP), two from the BJP and one independent. The NPP is set to head a coalition government for the second successive term in the State. The party led by Mr. Sangma won 26 of the 59 Assembly constituencies where elections were held, seven more than it bagged in 2018. The State Assembly has 60 seats.

Quad Foreign Ministers announce setting up of Quad working group on counter-terrorism

The Foreign Ministers of Quad countries on March 3 reaffirmed the grouping’s commitment for a free and open Indo-Pacific and said it strongly supports the rule of law, sovereignty, territorial integrity and peaceful settlement of disputes, in comments seen as an oblique message to China. They also announced that a Quad working group on counter-terrorism would be established to explore measures to counter new and emerging forms of terrorism, radicalisation and violent extremism.

Karnataka hijab ban case: Will create a Bench, says CJI

Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud on March 3 said he may create a Bench to hear the hijab ban case from Karnataka, though not actually zeroing in on a date of hearing. The CJI initially assured the case would be listed on March 17 but the lawyer who mentioned the case said the students were having their exams on March 9 and the court needed to hear the case before that date. The students had missed one year and this was the second year of studies and exams. The CJI reminded the lawyer that she was mentioning the case on the last day of working before the Supreme Court closes for Holi vacations. The next working day is March 13.

Religion occupied key place in India’s tradition, social system and politics since time immemorial: President Murmu

President Droupadi Murmu on March 3 said the entire humanity rests on the foundation stone of religion and it was a matter of pride that religion occupied a central place in India’s tradition, social system and political activities since time immemorial. The great banyan tree of Indian spirituality has its roots in the country with its branches spread all over the world. Many spiritual traditions originated in India and have been flourishing across the world, she said. Realising the cause of human suffering and showing the way to get rid of that suffering is the characteristic of eastern humanism, which has become more important in today’s era, the President said.

I had Pegasus on my phone, Indian democracy under attack: Rahul Gandhi at Cambridge lecture

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi launched a scathing attack at the Centre during a lecture at Cambridge University, alleging that an attack has been unleashed on the basic structure of Indian democracy while also claiming that Israeli spyware Pegasus was being used to snoop into his phone. He claimed that he had been warned by the intelligence officers to be “careful” while speaking on the phone as his calls were being recorded.

Cough syrup deaths in Uzbekistan | Three employees of Noida-based pharma firm arrested

The Noida Police on March 3 arrested three employees of a city-based pharmaceutical firm whose cough syrup is alleged to have led to the death of 18 children in Uzbekistan last year, officials said. The arrests come after an FIR was lodged late Thursday night against five officials of Marion Biotech, including two of its directors, over a complaint by a drugs inspector of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization, they said.

Excise scam | Manish Sisodia moves Delhi court for bail

Delhi’s former Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, arrested in a corruption case related to the alleged Delhi excise scam, moved a city court on March 3 seeking bail, his lawyer said. The application is likely to come up for hearing before Special Judge M.K. Nagpal on Saturday, advocate Rishikesh said. Mr. Sisodia, who was sent to CBI custody on Monday, is scheduled to be produced before the court tomorrow when his CBI remand ends.

Lokayukta police find ₹6 crore in residence of Karnataka BJP MLA’s son

Lokayukta police, who raided the residence of Prashanth Madal, Chief Accountant of Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board, seized ₹6 crore in cash. On March 2, Prashanth was caught red-handed by Lokayukta police while allegedly taking a bribe of ₹40 lakh on behalf of his father Channagiri MLA Madal Virupakshappa. While Prashanth Madal has been arrested, BJP MLA Madal Virupakshappa has been booked under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The ₹6 crore found in the Dollar’s Colony residence of Prashanth Madal is over and above the ₹2 crore seized from the MLA’s office on Crescent Road on March 2.

China says border should be kept ‘in proper place’, calls for resuming direct flights with India

Visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang in talks with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar called on India to look at relations “in the context of once-in-a-century changes in the world” and to put the border issue “in the proper place”, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on March 3. In Thursday’s talks in New Delhi, Mr. Jaishankar had flagged the “abnormal” state of ties and reiterated India’s position that restoration of peace on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) was required for a return to normalcy. The Chinese side, meanwhile, has sought to delink the boundary from the rest of ties, even while putting forward what the Indian military has seen as unacceptable demands in the long-running continuing negotiations that have dragged on for close to three years, to complete the disengagement process along the LAC.

China slams Quad meeting held in New Delhi; opposes exclusivity

China on March 3 reaffirmed its criticism of the Quad Grouping of the US, India, Australia, and Japan, saying the State-to-State interactions should pursue peace and development and contribute to mutual trust and regional stability rather than exclusivity. Responding to the Quad statement at a media briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said China believes that State-to-State interactions should be in line with the trend of the time which is peace and development rather than exclusivity. “We think that countries should do more to contribute to regional mutual trust, peace and regional stability,” she said, reaffirming Beijing’s oft-repeated opposition to Quad that it is an exclusive bloc aimed at containing China’s rise.

El Nino expected to return, likely to fuel spike in global temperatures: WMO

A warming El Nino event may develop in the coming months , according to a new update from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The El Nino event may develop after three consecutive years of an unusually stubborn and protracted La Nina, which influenced temperature and rainfall patterns in different parts of the world, WMO said in a statement. However, while the return of El Nino is considered likely this will be proceeded by a period of El Nino-Southern Oscillation neutral conditions, with 90% probability, during March-May, the statement said.

RBI imposes ₹3.06 crore penalty on Amazon Pay (India) for violation of norms

The RBI on March 3 said it has imposed a penalty of over ₹3.06 crore on Amazon Pay (India) Private Limited for non-compliance with certain provisions related to Prepaid Payment Instruments and Know Your Customer direction. “It was observed that the entity was non-compliant with the directions issued by RBI on KYC requirements,” the RBI said in a statement. The RBI had issued a notice to Amazon Pay (India) advising it to show cause as to why penalty should not be imposed for non-compliance with the directions.

Women’s Premier League: Beginning of new dawn for India’s Gen-Next

The WPL will not just be about the creme-de-la-creme of world cricket with huge pay packets and reputations to play for but also for someone like Sneha Deepthi, who would like to prove that motherhood hasn’t robbed her of the passion to play elite sport. A certain hard-hitting Jasia Akhtar from Jammu and Kashmir will be eager to send the ball soaring into the stands and expect that people from her state will take her name alongside Umran Malik. For the Kaurs, Jemimah Rodrigues, and the Shafali Vermas, the pressure and arclights of a high octane tournament will prepare them for those tight games in global tournaments, which they have been struggling to close in their favour.

World Test Championship | India need to win last game to qualify for final

Humbled in Indore, an outright victory in Ahmedabad will seal India’s place in the World Test Championship final against Australia but if Rohit Sharma’s team loses or plays a draw, its fate will depend on the outcome of the Sri Lanka-New Zealand series. Australia by virtue of their nine-wicket win in Indore have already qualified for the grand finale at the Oval from June 7-11. Australia are sitting atop the WTC table with 68.52 percentage points.

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