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Morning Filter Evening Wrap

Here are the big news stories of the day

Indian soldiers walk at the foothills of a mountain range near Leh, the joint capital of the union territory of Ladakh, on June 25, 2020.

Indian soldiers walk at the foothills of a mountain range near Leh, the joint capital of the union territory of Ladakh, on June 25, 2020.   | Photo Credit: AFP

Welcome to the Evening Wrap newsletter, your guide to the day’s biggest stories with concise analysis from The Hindu. We hope you are staying safe. Here are the big stories that you need to follow today:

Amid China tension, India ramps up defence procurement 

Amid ongoing tensions with China, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, on Thursday approved defence deals worth ₹38,900 crore. This includes procurement of 21 MIG-29 fighter jets for the Indian Air Force, upgrade of 59 of them, and procurement of 12 Su-30 MKI aircraft.

Other deals include Pinaka ammunition, armoured vehicle BMP armament upgrades and Software Defined Radio (SDR) for the Army, long range land attack cruise missile systems of over 1,000 km range, and Astra Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air missiles for the Navy and Air Force. All of these will be procured domestically.

No deporting foreign Tablighi members if cases pending: SC

The Supreme Court on Thursday orally observed that there was “no question” of deporting “foreign Tablighi Jamaat members” if there were criminal proceedings against them. The court was responding to pleas by the foreign nationals to deport them, saying they had not exactly harmed national security by taking part in a Tablighi Jamaat gathering amid the pandemic-induced lockdown. Deportation is the normal action taken by any government for visa violations, they said.

“But if there are criminal cases pending, there is no question of deportation. It is the Union of India’s discretion,” Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, speaking for the three-judge Bench, remarked during a virtual court hearing. The court’s oral observations came soon after the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) clarified in an affidavit that visas of 2,679 foreigners were cancelled on a “case-to-case basis”.

India cannot prosecute Italian marines: International tribunal

An international arbitration court has ruled that it is Italy and not India that has the right to prosecute the two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen in 2012.

Ruling that India must stop its prosecution of the marines, the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration determined that they have immunity from Indian prosecution. It, however, ordered Italy to prosecute the two marines and pay compensation to India for the loss of life, material damage and “moral harm” suffered by the surviving crew of the fishing vessel. It also asked the two countries to engage in talks and arrive at a financial settlement.

Italian marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone
 

India had accused Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre, two Italian marines on board the MV Enrica Lexie, an Italian-flagged oil tanker, of shooting dead two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast on February 15, 2012. The marines had been on anti-piracy duties on the Italian ship. As India detained the two marines and claimed jurisdiction in the case, Italy took the case to the international court.

MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the tribunal upheld the conduct of the Indian authorities under the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). “The Tribunal observed that India and Italy had concurrent jurisdiction over the incident and a valid legal basis to institute criminal proceedings against the marines,” Srivastava said. “The Tribunal rejected Italy’s claim of compensation for the detention of the marines. However, it found that the immunities enjoyed by the marines as State officials operate as an exception to the jurisdiction of the Indian courts and, hence, preclude them to judge the marines.”

Postal ballot allowed for people over 65

In a major change to voting rules, the Election Commission has said people over the age of 65 years will be able to vote by postal ballot in the upcoming Bihar Assembly polls in the view of the coronavirus pandemic. The Bihar polls are expected to be held in October-November. This facility will also be extended to people infected by the coronavirus and to those in quarantine on account of being probable carriers of the infection.

The postal ballot facility had so far been reserved only for two groups: those over the age of 80, and people in essential services who are not posted in their home State.

CB-CID team in Sattankulam case makes more arrests 

A CB-CID team investigating the two custodial deaths in Sattankulam in Tamil Nadu has arrested Inspector of Police of Sattankulam station, Sridhar. Sridhar was travelling towards Theni in the small hours of Thursday when the CB-CID team intercepted his vehicle at a check-post and arrested him.

Police personnel stand guard at the CB-CID office in Thoothukudi on July 2, 2020.

Police personnel stand guard at the CB-CID office in Thoothukudi on July 2, 2020.   | Photo Credit: N. Rajesh

 

Another CB–CID team nabbed Sub-Inspector Balakrishnan, Head-Constable Murugan and Constable Muthuraj, all attached to the Sattankulam police station. The CB-CID team has so far arrested five persons, including Sub-Inspector Raghu Ganesh, who was picked up on Wednesday night. The Sattankulam custodial death case involves the suspected custodial torture and murder of traders P. Jayaraj and his son J. Benicks. 

Ban on Chinese apps a ‘digital strike’

Calling the ban on Chinese apps a “digital strike”, Union Minister for Communications Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday said India wants peace, but if someone casts an evil eye, the country is capable of giving a befitting reply. If our country has lost 20 soldiers, the toll is double on the Chinese side, he asserted. 

“Now you can hear about only two ‘Cs’: Coronavirus and China. We believe in peace and solve problems through discussion, but if somebody casts an evil eye on India, we will give a befitting reply...if our 20 jawans have sacrificed their lives, then the toll is double on the Chinese side…You all must have noticed that they have not come out with any figure,” Prasad said, while addressing a virtual rally.

Biden says he will reverse H-1B order

Democratic presidential candidate and former U.S. vice president Joe Biden has said that he will lift the temporary suspension of H-1B visas, the most sought-after by Indian IT professionals, if he wins the November presidential elections.

In the course of a digital town hall meeting on Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) issues organised by NBC News, Biden praised the contribution of H-1B visa holders. “He (US President Donald Trump) just ended H-1B visas the rest of this year. That will not be in my administration,” Biden, 77, said in response to a question during the town hall. He was referring to the temporary suspension of the H-1B visas and other foreign work visas by Trump for the rest of the year.

Scindia effect in MP cabinet expansion 

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan holds a Cabinet meeting after its expansion, in Bhopal on July 2, 2020.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan holds a Cabinet meeting after its expansion, in Bhopal on July 2, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

 

Nine supporters of Jyoriraditya Scindia have found a place in the Madhya Pradesh cabinet, which saw an expansion today with 28 new ministers taking oath. More than three months after the fall of the Congress government, 20 Cabinet and eight Ministers of State were appointed. Five Cabinet Ministers were appointed on April 21, almost a month after Chouhan took over as the Chief Minister. The Cabinet strength stands at 26 now, including Chouhan.

Covid Watch: Numbers and developments

The number of coronavirus cases in India crossed 6 lakh as the country reported 19,148 cases in 24 hours today. India now has 6,25,323 cases and 18,218 deaths at the time of publishing this newsletter. The global coronavirus tally has crossed the one crore-mark, with 1,07,29,336 cases so far.

Union Culture Minister Prahlad Patel said all Archaeological Survey of India-protected monuments will be reopened for the public from July 6. In June, out of the over 3,000 ASI-maintained monuments, the Culture Ministry had reopened 820 monuments that had places of worship.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, meanwhile, held a meeting with the chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi to discuss the Covid-19 situation in the national capital (and adjoining areas located in the two neighbouring states) where cases have seen a spike. 

In brief: 

Due to the pandemic, the annual Independence Day celebration at the city’s Red Fort will be a bit muted this year. Delhi police officers say that physical distancing measures will be strictly followed. “There will be limited numbers of chairs at the ramparts of the Red Fort for VVIP guests. The final decision over the entry of general public has to be taken at a meeting of all security agencies,” said a senior police officer.

In a long-awaited change of tone on mask-wearing, US President Donald Trump said he is “all for masks” and they make him look like the Lone Ranger. However, the BBC reported that Trump also maintained that face coverings do not need to become mandatory to curb the spread of Covid-19. Trump again predicted that the infection would “disappear” even as the US hit a record high of 52,000 virus cases in a day. 

Reacting to the worldwide sensitivity towards racism brought about by the Black Lives Matter movement, Hindustan Unilever has decided to rename its controversial but popular ‘Fair & Lovely’ skin cream as ‘Glow & Lovely’. It’s skin cream for men has been renamed as ‘Glow & Handsome’.

Evening Wrap will return tomorrow. 

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Printable version | Jul 6, 2020 8:42:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/newsletter/the-morning-brew/morning-filter/article31724244.ece

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