Top news of the day: ECI seeks immediate action against Shobha Karandlaje for alleged model code violation; 8 killed as Baloch militants attack Pakistan’s Gwadar port complex, and more

The major news headlines of the day and more.

March 20, 2024 08:10 pm | Updated 08:10 pm IST

Union Minister Shobha Karandlaje. File

Union Minister Shobha Karandlaje. File | Photo Credit: The Hindu

EC seeks immediate action against Shobha Karandlaje for alleged model code violation

The Election Commission has directed the Karnataka chief electoral officer to take immediate and appropriate action on the DMK’s complaint about alleged model code violation by Union minister and BJP leader Shobha Karandlaje. The poll panel also sought a compliance report on the matter within 48 hours. The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam has sought action against Ms. Karandlaje for alleging that a person from Tamil Nadu was responsible for the IED blast at The Rameshwaram Cafe in Bengaluru on March 1. Earlier in the day, the Madurai City Police registered a case against Ms. Karandlaje on charges of promoting enmity between different groups of people on the grounds of language.

Baloch militants attack Pakistan’s Gawadar Port; 8 terrorists killed

Heavily-armed Baloch militants forcibly entered the Gwadar Port Authority Complex and opened fire while multiple explosions were also reported in the area in Pakistan’s troubled Balochistan province on March 20, media reports said. Citing Makran Commissioner Saeed Ahmed Umrani, Dawn.com reported that a large contingent of police and security forces reached the scene while intense firing is going on.

Union Minister Shobha Karandlaje booked on charges of promoting enmity between people of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka

The Madurai City Police have registered a case against Union Minister of State Shobha Karandlaje, on charges of promoting enmity between different groups of people on the grounds of language. Ms. Karandlaje reportedly said that “people from Tamil Nadu, who come to Karnataka, get trained in Tamil Nadu and plant bombs in Karnataka.” T.N. CM M.K. Stalin had strongly condemned the Minister ‘reckless’ statement. The Minister later apologised for her statement.

Centre notifies fact check unit under PIB

The fact check unit under the Press Information Bureau has been notified as the fact check unit for the Central Government, according to an official notification issued by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology on March 20. The fact check unit has been notified under IT Rules of 2021.

Lok Sabha polls | AIADMK ropes in DMDK, Puthiya Tamizhagam, SDPI; releases first list of candidates

AIADMK general secretary Edappadi K. Palaniswami on March 20 announced that it had, under its fold, roped in many parties such as the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam, Puthiya Tamizhagam, Social Democratic Party of India, Puratchi Bharatham and the All India Forward Bloc for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Disclosing this while releasing the first list of candidates, Mr. Palaniswami told reporters that many other smaller orgnaisations had also expressed their support for his party. The DMDK will contest in 5 Lok Sabha constituencies - Tiruvallur, Central Chennai, Cuddalore, Thanjavur and Virudhunagar.

DMK manifesto | M.K. Stalin promises more autonomy for States if INDIA bloc is voted to power

DMK president and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin released the election manifesto of his party for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, on March 20. Mr. Stalin highlighted some of his party’s key poll promises, which include an amendment to the Constitution of India to accommodate relevant recommendations of expert committees on Centre-State relations in order to grant more autonomy to States; the appointment of Governors after duly consulting the Chief Ministers of States; the abolition of Article 356 and the removal of Article 361 of the Constitution of India; the establishing of a branch of the Supreme Court of India in Chennai; Statehood for Puducherry and reducing the prices of LPG, petrol and diesel to ₹500, ₹75 and ₹65, respectively.

PM Modi highlights growth of India’s startup ecosystem, takes potshots at Rahul Gandhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 20 took potshots at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi saying some in politics need to be repeatedly launched, much unlike startups that move on to other avenues in case one venture does not work out. Without naming anyone, Mr. Modi, while speaking at the Startup Mahakumbh in New Delhi, said many people launch startups, while the number is much more in politics. Some “have to be launched repeatedly”, he said.

Supreme Court agrees to list PIL against practice of parties promising freebies during polls

The Supreme Court agreed to list for hearing on March 21, a PIL against the practice of political parties promising freebies during elections, a significant development that comes ahead of general elections beginning April 19. The PIL also seeks a direction to the Election Commission to invoke its powers to freeze the election symbols and cancel the registration of such political parties.

Leo Varadkar announces he is stepping down as Ireland’s PM

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar says he will step down as leader of the country soon as a successor is chosen. Mr. Varadkar announced on March 20 he is quitting immediately as head of the centre-right Fine Gael party, part of Ireland’s coalition government. He’ll be replaced as prime minister after a party leadership contest. He said his reasons were “both personal and political” and he had no firm future plans. He said he plans to remain in parliament as a backbench lawmaker.

New Zealand will ban disposable e-cigarettes in a bid to prevent minors from taking up the habit

New Zealand said on March 20 it will ban disposable e-cigarettes, or vapes, and raise financial penalties for those who sell such products to minors. The move comes less than a month after the government repealed a unique law enacted by the previous left-leaning government to phase out tobacco smoking by imposing a lifetime ban on young people buying cigarettes.

Pakistan, IMF reach staff-level agreement on releasing last tranche of $3 billion bailout

The International Monetary Fund on March 20 said it has reached a staff-level agreement with the new government in cash-strapped Pakistan on the final review of a $3 billion bailout, paving the way for the release of the last $1.1 billion tranche from the global lender. The agreement, however, is subject to the approval of the Executive Board of the IMF to be held in April.

Vietnam President resigns after one year on the job; government says ‘shortcomings impacted public opinion’

The Vietnamese Communist Party on March 20 accepted the resignation of President Vo Van Thuong, the government said in a statement citing “shortcomings”, in a sign of political turmoil that could hurt foreign investors’ confidence in the country. The government said in a statement Mr. Thuong violated party rules, adding that those “shortcomings had negatively impacted public opinion, affecting the reputation of the Party, State and him personally.”

Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois suffers new knee injury ahead of return from long absence

Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois will be out of action for several weeks after incurring a meniscus tear in his right knee during training on Tuesday, the LaLiga club said. The 31-year-old Belgium international had been expected to return to Real’s squad after spending several months on the sidelines following an ACL tear in his left knee last August. He underwent an MRI scan later on Tuesday that confirmed the damage to his right knee.

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