The Hindu Morning Digest, March 21, 2024

PM Modi cancels visit to Bhutan due to inclement weather

A day ahead of his planned departure, Prime Minister Narendra Modi put off his visit to Bhutan due to “inclement weather”, an announcement made simultaneously by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Bhutanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday evening. The visit is being rescheduled, although no dates were given. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was due to land in Paro, Bhutan’s only international airport at present, and travel to the capital Thimphu on Thursday morning, and return by the same route on Friday morning. However, with heavy rain and possible snowfall in Paro predicted to continue on Thursday, officials said the visit had to be postponed.

Take ‘stringent action’ against Rahul Gandhi for ‘shakti’ remarks: BJP to Election Commission

The BJP on March 20 lodged a complaint with the Election Commission against Rahul Gandhi for his “fight against a shakti” remarks at a recent rally in Mumbai, and urged the poll panel to take “stringent action” against the Congress leader and issue directions for lodging an FIR against him.

Indian government probe found ‘rogue operatives’ involved in plot to kill Pannun, says media report

An Indian government investigation into the alleged plot to kill Khalistani separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in New York City has found that “rogue operatives”, not authorised by the government, were involved, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday. Federal prosecutors in the U.S. had, in November, accused an Indian citizen, Nikhil Gupta, of plotting to kill Pannun at the behest of an Indian government official.

Government employees defer indefinite strike plan demanding restoration of the old pension scheme

The Joint Forum for Restoration of Old Pension Scheme (JFROPS), a platform of employees of the government and various public sector undertakings, has decided to defer the indefinite strike they had announced from May 1 demanding restoration of the old pension scheme.

With Congress yet to declare 18 candidates, BJP tries to make early gains in Madhya Pradesh

With the Congress yet to declare 18 candidates in Madhya Pradesh for the Lok Sabha election, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday stepped up its game to make early gains against the Opposition party. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Mohan Yadav, who is campaigning for the BJP candidates in Sidhi, Jabalpur and Mandla Lok Sabha constituencies, claimed that the Congress was unable to announce all the tickets as “even senior party leaders are not willing to contest the polls”.

Congress poll panel clears name of Sushil Kumar Shinde’s daughter for Solapur seat

The central election committee (CEC) of the Congress on Wednesday is believed to have cleared the names of 12 candidates from Maharashtra for the upcoming Lok Sabha election, including Praniti Shinde from Solapur, daughter of former Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde.

Jharkhand HC stays defamation case against Rahul Gandhi for one month

The Jharkhand High Court on March 20 stayed the 2018 defamation case filed against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for one month. On February 27, the MP-MLA Court of Chaibasa district had issued a non-bailable warrant against Mr. Gandhi and subsequently on March 14, the court had mandated the Congress leader for physical appearance, refusing his petition to make his appearance through a pleader.

CCI dismisses pleas of Indian app cos against Google’s new Play Store billing policy

Fair trade regulator CCI on March 20 dismissed four petitions of Indian app companies filed against Google’s new Play Store billing policy to levy an 11 to 26% charge on in-app payments. Indian-origin app firms alleged that Google’s Play Store payment policies are anti-competitive.

Remove all unauthorised political advertisements from public spaces, EC tells Centre, States

The Election Commission on March 20 asked both the Union and State governments to remove all unauthorised political advertisements, such as posters, wall writings, hoardings and banners, from public spaces like railway stations, bus stands, airports and government buses. In a letter to the Cabinet Secretary as well as Chief Secretaries of all States, the commission sought a compliance report in the matter by 5 p.m. on March 21.

NEET PG rescheduled to June 23 due to Lok Sabha elections

In view of the Lok Sabha elections, the National Medical Commission (NMC) on Wednesday rescheduled medical entrance exam NEET PG to June 23. The NEET PG 2024 was scheduled to be held on July 7.

Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev undergoes emergency brain surgery

Spiritual leader Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev underwent an emergency brain surgery at a private hospital in New Delhi, a statement from the hospital said on March 20. The surgery was carried out on March 17 to remove bleeding in the skull. Sadhguru was weaned off the ventilator post-surgery, the statement from Indraprastha Apollo Hospital said, adding he has shown “steady progress and his brain, body and vital parameters have improved”.

Kargil observes shutdown, holds rally to support activist Sonam Wangchuk’s ongoing fast for statehood to Ladakh

Ladakh’s Kargil town observed a shutdown and hundreds of locals came out in support of activist Sonam Wangchuk, whose climate-related fast in sub-zero temperature and under the open skies entered the 15th day on Wednesday, in a bid to press the Centre to grant Statehood and Sixth Schedule status to the four-year-old Union Territory (UT).

Former General with ties to past dictatorship confirmed as Indonesia’s next president

Prabowo Subianto, a former special forces general with ties to Indonesia’s current president and past dictatorship, was confirmed the victor of last month’s presidential election over two former governors who have vowed to contest the result in court. Mr. Subianto won 58.6% of the votes, while former Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan received 24.9% and former Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo got 16.5%, the General Election Commission said Wednesday after the official counting was completed.

A wooden boat carrying dozens of Rohingya Muslim migrants capsizes off Indonesia’s coast

A wooden boat carrying dozens of Rohingya Muslims capsized off Indonesia’s northernmost coast on Wednesday. Local fishermen rescued six refugees who said more people were still on the boat. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

China to launch ‘international manhunt’ to target officials involved in graft in BRI projects: Report

China plans to launch an “international manhunt” to target officials allegedly involved in corruption in the country’s ambitious decade-old multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a media report said March 20. The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), the Communist Party of China’s anti-corruption watchdog, made the call in a meeting on March 19 with multiple agencies involved in the cross-border corruption hunt, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.

IPL Countdown | Super Kings will bank on consistency and inspirational leadership to defend crown

When Ravindra Jadeja hit the winning runs off the last ball of the final to help Chennai Super Kings (CSK) beat Gujarat Titans, and clinch its fifth title in Ahmedabad last year, there were wild celebrations but also a bit of trepidation in the air. There was a feeling that CSK’s talismanic captain, M.S. Dhoni, could well bid adieu to the game in style.

IPL Countdown | Spotlight on first-time skipper Gill as the Titans usher in a new era

When Gujarat Titans came into being in 2022, not many expected the side to find instant success. The competition in IPL was brutal, for in the 14 seasons until then, 11 had been won by just three teams. There were three others who had not touched any silverware in more than a decade’s existence.

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