Top news of the day: Donald Trump says he will be arrested as New York prosecutor eyes charges; INSACOG data shows 76 samples of new COVID variant XBB1.16 found in India, and more

The major news headlines of the day and more.

March 18, 2023 07:22 pm | Updated 07:22 pm IST

Donald Trump said that he will be arrested on Tuesday as a New York prosecutor is eyeing charges in a case examining hush money paid to women who alleged sexual encounters with the former president. File

Donald Trump said that he will be arrested on Tuesday as a New York prosecutor is eyeing charges in a case examining hush money paid to women who alleged sexual encounters with the former president. File | Photo Credit: AP

Former U.S. President Donald Trump says he’ll be arrested on Tuesday as New York prosecutor eyes charges

Donald Trump said in a social media post that he will be arrested Tuesday as a New York prosecutor is eyeing charges in a case examining hush money paid to women who alleged sexual encounters with the former president. Mr. Trump said in a post on his Truth Social network early Saturday that “illegal leaks” from the Manhattan district attorney’s office indicate that “THE FAR & AWAY LEADING REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE & FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, WILL BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK.”

76 samples of new COVID variant XBB1.16 found in India: INSACOG data

A total of 76 samples of COVID-19’s XBB.1.16 variant have been found which might be behind the recent rise of cases in the country, according to INSACOG data. The variant has been found across Karnataka (30), Maharashtra (29), Puducherry (7) Delhi (5), Telangana (2), Gujarat (1), Himachal Pradesh (1) and Odisha (1), the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) data showed. The XBB 1.16 variant was first found in January when two samples tested positive for the variant while in February a total of 59 samples were found. In March, till now 15 samples of the XBB 1.16 variant have been found, the INSACOG said.

Jaishankar says situation with China fragile, dangerous in the Himalayan front

The situation between India and China in the western Himalayan region of Ladakh is fragile and dangerous, with military forces deployed very close to each other in some parts, Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar said on March 18. “The situation to my mind still remains very fragile because there are places where our deployments are very close up and in military assessment therefore quite dangerous,” Mr. Jaishankar said at an India Today conclave.

PM Modi, Sheikh Hasina inaugurate ₹377-crore diesel pipeline to Bangladesh

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh premier Sheikh Hasina on March 18 inaugurated a ₹377-crore pipeline to transport diesel from India to northern Bangladesh, cutting cost and reducing carbon footprint. The pipeline will start a new chapter in India-Bangladesh relations, Mr. Modi said at the inauguration. Currently, diesel is supplied to Bangladesh through a 512-km rail route. The 131.5-km pipeline will supply up to 1 million tonnes per annum of diesel from Numaligarh in Assam to Bangladesh.

Farmers call off long march to Mumbai

Protesting farmers and tribals, who were on their way to Mumbai from Nashik district of Maharashtra, called off their long march on Saturday with their demands being taken into consideration in the State legislature and ground-level officials receiving orders to execute the government’s orders, a CPI(M) MLA said. The march had started from Dindori town, located around 195 km away from Mumbai, on March 12 demanding relief of ₹600 per quintal to onion growers hit by price crash, 12-hour uninterrupted power supply to farmers, and waiver of farm loans. They had reached Thane district’s Vasind town, around 80 km from Mumbai.

Punjab Police crack down on radical preacher Amritpal Singh; six supporters detained, internet snapped

Punjab Police is learnt to have launched a crackdown against radical preacher Amritpal Singh on March 18 detaining six of his supporters. There were some reports suggesting that the self-styled Sikh preacher too had been detained near Nakodar but no official confirmation has come in this regard so far. Internet services have been suspended across the State till 12 noon on March 19, said a senior official of the Home Affairs department.

A few retired judges, some activists want judiciary to play role of Opposition: Rijiju

Law Minister Kiren Rijiju on March 18 claimed that a few retired judges and some activists who are “part of the anti-India gang” are trying to make the Indian judiciary play the role of the opposition party. He again criticised the collegium system to appoint judges, saying it is a result of the “misadventure” of the Congress party. The Minister was speaking at the India Today Conclave, where Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud later defended the Collegium system, saying “not every system is perfect but this is the best system we have developed” and the “object was to protect the independence of the judiciary, which is a cardinal value”.

Collegium is the best system we have developed, says Chief Justice of India Chandrachud

Not every system is perfect but this is the best system available, Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud said on March 18 while defending the Collegium system of judges appointing judges, a major bone of contention between the government and judiciary. “Not every system is perfect but this is the best system we have developed. But the object was to protect the independence of the judiciary, which is a cardinal value. We have to insulate the judiciary from outside influences if the judiciary has to be independent,” Justice Chandrachud said.

Don’t see any ‘middle path’ to break Parliament logjam as Oppositon’s JPC demand ‘non-negotiable’: Jairam Ramesh

Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on March 18 said he does not see a “middle path” to end the logjam in Parliament as the Opposition’s demand for a JPC probe into the Adani issue was “non-negotiable” and the question of an apology over Rahul Gandhi’s remarks in the UK does not arise. In an interview with PTI, Mr. Ramesh said the government is rattled by 16 Opposition parties coming together to demand a joint parliamentary probe into the Adani issue and is resorting to a “3D orchestrated campaign — distort, defame and divert”.

Congress on conman posing as PMO official: Government must answer who will resign for lapse

The Congress on March 18 expressed concern over the case of a conman posing as a PMO official and getting requisite perks, saying if the government is serious about the country’s security then it must make it clear who will resign for the lapse. Kiran Bhai Patel from Gujarat has been arrested by police from a five-star hotel in Srinagar for posing as an ‘additional secretary’ in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and enjoying security cover besides other hospitality. He had three cases registered against him in his home State, police said on Friday.

Russian attack on Ukraine continues in wake of Putin arrest warrant

Widespread Russian attacks continued in Ukraine following the International Criminal Court’s decision to issue an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights. Ukraine was attacked by 16 Russian drones on March 17 night, the Ukrainian Air Force said in the early hours of March 18. Writing on Telegram, the Air Force command said that 11 out of 16 drones were shot down “in the central, western and eastern regions.” Among areas targeted were the capital, Kyiv, and the western Lviv province.

Toshakhana case | Pakistan court allows Imran Khan to go back without his indictment

Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan was on March 18 allowed by a local court to go back without his indictment in a corruption case after he marked his attendance outside the court complex, amidst a stand-off between his supporters and security forces who have tried to arrest him for skipping multiple previous hearings. Additional District and Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal after waiting for hours for Mr. Khan to reach the court agreed with the suggestion by his lawyer to get the signature of the former premier on the attendance sheet in his vehicle to comply with the court orders of in-person presence.

France protests | Mostly calm on Paris streets, garbage still piled up

A spattering of protests were planned to continue in France over the weekend against President Emmanuel Macron’s controversial pension reform, as garbage continued to reek in the streets of Paris and beyond owing to continuing action by refuse collectors. An eerie calm, returned to Paris Saturday after two nights of thousands-strong protests across the French capital, with one flash point at the elegant Place de la Concorde where angry protesters tossed an effigy of Macron into a bonfire to cheers from the crowd Friday night. Police dispersed crowds with tear gas and water cannons and there were hundreds of arrests.

Indonesia’s Mount Merapi volcano erupts, spews hot lava

Indonesia’s Mount Merapi, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, erupted late on March 17 and continued to spew hot ash and other volcanic material on March 18. Footage of flaming lava pouring out of the crater and a tall column of hot cloud rising 1,300 metres into the air was taken by the government-run Merapi Volcano Observatory on Friday night. The volcano continued to spew hot ash and hot lava was visible on the day. “Residents should anticipate the disruption due to the volcanic ash from Mount Merapi eruption and please be on alert for the danger of volcanic mudflow, especially when it rains around Merapi,” the country’s volcanology agency said in a statement.

UP Warriorz beat Mumbai Indians by 5 wickets, end Mumbai Indians’ winning run in WPL

UP Warriorz snapped the formidable Mumbai Indians’ winning run in the Women’s Premier League with a five-wicket victory, after the Uttar Pradesh side extracted more out of a tricky pitch on March 18. On a surface where the ball turned a lot and was also holding up, England’s star left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone (3/15) led the way with her excellent bowling as UP Warriorz bundled out Mumbai Indians for 127. When MI batted, as many as 18 of the 20 overs were bowled by spinners, a WPL record. In reply, UPW faced some obstacles before competing the task with three balls to spare. Grace Harris (39) and Tahlia McGrath (38) were the main contributors with the bat for UPW, while Deepti Sharma (13 not out) and player of the match Ecclestone (16 not out) also played vital knocks.

Spotlight on Rahul, Jadeja as India aim to seal ODI series on Rohit Sharma’s return to captaincy duties

The spotlight will once again be on K. L. Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja when India take on Australia in the second ODI in Visakhapatnam on March 19, with regular captain Rohit Sharma returning to lead the side after missing the opening game in Mumbai. India defeated Australia by five wickets in a low-scoring game at the Wankhede Stadium, with Rahul, who struggled to find form during the Border-Gavaskar series leading to him being dropped for the third and fourth Tests, scoring a patient unbeaten 75 as the hosts cantered home.

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