Top news of the day: Congress continues to huddle over Karnataka CM candidate; planned Army withdrawal from J&K shelved ‘indefinitely’, and more

The major news headlines of the day and more.

May 17, 2023 07:34 pm | Updated 07:34 pm IST

Congress leader Randeep Surjewala addresses the media outside the residence of party President Mallikarjun Kharge in New Delhi on May 17, 2023.

Congress leader Randeep Surjewala addresses the media outside the residence of party President Mallikarjun Kharge in New Delhi on May 17, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

Congress continues to huddle over Karnataka CM candidates

The Congress’ central leadership continued discussions on May 17 to select the new Karnataka Chief Minister, days after a thumping win in the State Assembly elections. As speculations were rife that Siddaramaiah was leading the race to the post, Congress’ Karnataka in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala said that the CM’s name will be announced by Mallikarjun Kharge “maybe today or tomorrow after due deliberation”. “The CLP has unanimously authorised Kharge ji to select the CLP leader and the CM and he will do the same after having due deliberations,” Mr. Surjewala said. He reaffirmed that “the CM’s name has not been finalised yet”.

Karnataka CM race | Officers call off preparations for swearing-in ceremony, fake invite does rounds on WhatsApp

While Karnataka awaits confirmation of its next CM face, government and police officials began preparations for the swearing-in ceremony at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru. However, the arrangements — which were being carried out in full swing — were abruptly called off by late afternoon. No official was willing to reveal the reason for stopping the preparations. Meanwhile, an invite was circulated on WhatsApp with a message that Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot would administer the oath of office to Mr. Siddaramaiah on May 18, even as celebrations began at his native village of Siddaramanahundi in Varuna. 

Planned Army withdrawal from J&K shelved ‘indefinitely

The planned phased withdrawal of the Army from certain areas of the Jammu region has been shelved “indefinitely” in view of terror attacks being orchestrated from across the border, officials said in Srinagar. They said the government had planned to reduce the footprints of Rashtriya Rifles, a counter-insurgency force of the Army, in the Jammu region and hand over the security to the Jammu and Kashmir Police and paramilitary forces.

CBI arrests freelance defence journalist, former Navy officer on espionage charge

The CBI has arrested freelance defence journalist Vivek Raghuvanshi and former Navy commander Ashish Pathak in an alleged espionage case. On May 16, the agency had searched about a dozen locations linked to the journalist, who has been accused of gaining illegal access to national security related information, which was shared with foreign intelligence agencies. Mr. Raghuvanshi was also working with an international defence news website as its India correspondent.

Violence in Manipur | Supreme Court asks State government to file status report on security measures taken for violence-hit people

The Supreme Court on May 17 said it will ensure that the political executive does not turn a blind eye to the law and order situation in Manipur and asked the State government to file a fresh status report on measures taken for security and relief and rehabilitation of the violence-hit people. A Bench headed by Chief Justice D. Y. Chandrachud said it will not deal with the legal issues arising out of the Manipur High Court’s decision on grant of reservation to majority Meiteis as the pleas challenging the order were pending in the larger Division Bench there.

Supreme Court grants SEBI time till August 14 to complete enquiry against Adani group

The Supreme Court on May 17 gave the Securities and Exchange Board of India time till August 14 to complete its investigation into the Hindenburg-Adani Group allegations even as the market regulator clarified that the “investigation” referred to by Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary in Parliament on July 19, 2021 concerns an October 2020 probe into “minimum public shareholding norms and consequential violations”, which happens to be a part of the U.S.-based short-seller’s damning report against the Adani Group.

Severe turbulence on Delhi-Sydney Air India flight; several passengers injured

Seven passengers on board the Delhi-Sydney Air India flight were injured after the flight encountered severe turbulence mid-air on May 17. The injured passengers received medical assistance on arrival at Sydney airport, no passenger was hospitalised. According to a senior DGCA official, the passengers suffered a “minor sprain”. The official said that no hospitalisation was required.

Unchecked pilgrimage, construction in Uttarakhand spell disaster for fragile Himalayas, warn experts

Crumbling mountainsides, sinking towns and untrammelled construction. It is against this backdrop that thousands of pilgrims make their way to the upper reaches of Uttarakhand each day, posing serious risk to the fragile Himalayan region, say experts. That reports of landslides are increasing and people in subsidence-hit Joshimath, the gateway to Badrinath, one of the Char Dham destinations, are being compelled to move back to the homes they left because of large cracks add to the general sense of foreboding gripping the area.

Cabinet clears ₹17,000 cr-IT Hardware PLI Scheme 2.0

The Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on May 17 approved the Production Linked Incentive Scheme 2.0 for IT Hardware with a budgetary outlay of ₹17,000 crore. Electronics manufacturing in India has witnessed consistent growth with a 17% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in the last 8 years to cross a major benchmark in production — $105 billion (about ₹9 lakh crore) — this year. “For IT PLI, the budgetary outlay is ₹17,000 crore. The tenure of the programme is 6 years,” Union Minister for IT and Telecom Ashwini Vaishnaw told reporters after the cabinet meeting.

Cabinet approves ₹1.08 lakh crore-fertiliser subsidy for Kharif season

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday (May 17) approved a ₹1.08 lakh crore-fertiliser subsidy for the 2023-24 Kharif season, a move aimed to ensure that there is no increase in the retail prices of fertilisers. Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said the Union Cabinet took up the fertiliser subsidy issue and approved extension of subsidy to the tune of ₹70,000 crore for Urea and ₹38,000 for DAP other fertilisers for the benefit of 12 crore farmers in this Kharif season. “A total of ₹1.08 lakh crore will be spent on fertiliser subsidy for the Kharif season (April-September),” he said, and added that there will no change in the MRP (Maximum Retail Price) of fertilisers.

Global warming now more likely to breach 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold by 2027, scientists warn

For the first time ever, global temperatures are now more likely than not to breach 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming within the next five years, the World Meteorological Organization said on May 17. But that did not necessarily mean the world would cross the long-term warming threshold of 1.5C above preindustrial levels set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement. With a 66% chance of temporarily reaching 1.5C by 2027, “it’s the first time in history that it’s more likely than not that we will exceed 1.5C,” said Adam Scaife, head of long-range prediction at Britain’s Met Office Hadley Centre who worked on the WMO’s latest Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update.

Australia cancels Quad meeting in Sydney after Biden postponement

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Wednesday a Quad summit in Sydney would not go ahead without U.S. President Joe Biden, who postponed his trip to Australia due to debt ceiling negotiations in Washington. Mr. Albanese said the leaders of Australia, the United States, India and Japan would instead meet at the G7 in Japan this weekend, after Mr. Biden cancelled a trip to Sydney on the second leg of his upcoming Asia trip, which was also to have included a visit to Papua New Guinea. Mr. Albanese, however, said that his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi would still travel next week to Australia despite the cancellation of the Quad leaders’ meeting in Sydney and he is looking forward to welcoming him.

Pakistan court extends bar on Imran Khan’s arrest till May 31

A top Pakistani court in Islamabad on May 17 extended until May 31 its order to prevent the arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan in any case filed against him after May 9. The Islamabad High Court (IHC) ruling came after the government’s lawyer requested more time to provide information about the cases filed against the 70-year-old Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party chief. Mr. Khan was not present in the court. The court was hearing PTI’s plea seeking details of all the cases filed against Mr. Khan. His party said the PTI chief was booked in over 100 cases nationwide.

Sudirman Cup badminton tournament | India end campaign with 4-1 win over Australia

Already out of the knockout race, India signed off their campaign in the Sudirman Cup badminton tournament with a 4-1 win over Australia in their final Group C tie in Suzhou, China on May 17. Placed in the ‘group of death’, India had lost 1-4 to Chinese Taipei and 0-5 against Malaysia — two heavyweights of the game — to crash out of the mixed team championship. Against Australia, India did not have the best of starts as the mixed doubles pair of Sai Pratheek and Tanisha Crasto lost 21-17 14-21 18-21 against Kenneth Zhe Hooi Choo and Gronya Somerville.

IPL 2023, RCB vs SRH | Kohli in focus as Bangalore play Hyderabad in must-win game

Virat Kohli will be in focus as Royal Challengers Bangalore look to strengthen their claim for an IPL play-off berth in their must-win match against laggards Sunrisers Hyderabad in Hyderabad on May 18. RCB are currently in the fifth spot with 12 points from as many games and face two must-win matches to guarantee their play-off spot. SRH, on the other hand, are out of the tournament and languishing at the ninth spot with eight points from 12 matches.

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