Top news of the day: India, Sri Lanka mulling use of Indian Rupee for economic transactions; Tamil Nadu BJP leader Annamalai booked for ‘false propaganda’ on migrant labourers, and more

The major news headlines of the day and more.

March 05, 2023 07:17 pm | Updated 07:17 pm IST

Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister Shehan Semasinghe and High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay. Photo: Twitter/@ShehanSema

Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister Shehan Semasinghe and High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay. Photo: Twitter/@ShehanSema

India, Sri Lanka mulling over using Indian Rupee for economic transactions

India and Sri Lanka are exploring the possibility of using the Indian Rupee for economic transactions and have discussed the initiative that will help in building a stronger and closer partnership through trade and investment-led measures between the two countries. “Representatives from the Bank of Ceylon, State Bank of India, and the Indian Bank shared their experiences and informed the audience that they had started carrying out INR-denominated trade transactions through respective Vostro/Nostro accounts after the creation of enabling framework by the Reserve Bank of India [RBI] and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka [CBSL] in 2022,” the High Commission of India in Colombo said in a statement.

BJP leader Annamalai booked for ‘false propaganda’ on migrant labourers

The Chennai City Police’s Central Crime Branch on March 5 filed a case against Tamil Nadu BJP president K. Annamalai on charges of indulging in “false propaganda” against the State government with regard to the issue of migrant labourers from north India. Confirming this, a senior police officer said, the Cyber Crime division of the CCB has filed a case against Mr. Annamalai under four sections of the Indian Penal Code for posting false messages on social media against the State government for trying to promote riot between the people of the State and migrant labourers working in the State. The controversial tweets were posted on Saturday.

India summons Swiss envoy over anti-India posters in Geneva

India on March 5 summoned the Swiss Ambassador and lodged a protest over the issue of “malicious anti-India” posters in front of the U.N. building in Geneva, official sources said. The Swiss Ambassador conveyed to the Ministry of External Affairs that he would convey India’s concerns to Berne with all the seriousness it deserves.

21-year-old Indian urinates over co-traveller on American Airlines’ NY-Delhi flight

A 21-year-old drunk passenger on a New York to New Delhi American Airlines flight was handed over to CISF personnel after he allegedly urinated on a co-passenger, said the airline. The Airlines has cancelled all his future bookings, including his return flight to the U.S. and also initiated an inquiry which could result in a ban for lifetime. Amit Vohra, in an inebriated condition, allegedly misbehaved with a woman co-passenger, who complained that he was leaning on her and nearly sat on an infant on a different seat before the mother pushed him away. He then urinated over a U.S. national Albert Ram Sutton, who was on seat 15G and was asleep, according to an official complaint filed by the airline to the DGCA and viewed by The Hindu.

Manish Sisodia arrest | Nine leaders write to PM Modi over ‘misuse of Central agencies’

Nine leaders from eight national parties, including Chief Ministers K. Chandrasekhar Rao (Telangana), Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal), Arvind Kejriwal (Delhi), and Bhagwant Singh Mann (Punjab), have written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi accusing the government of ‘misusing of Central agencies and office of Governor to settle scores with Opposition parties outside the electoral battlefield’. The other signatories to the letter were Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav of Rashtriya Janata Dal, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, and former Union Minister Sharad Pawar of the Nationalist Congress Party. Congress is not a signatory to the letter.

Structures of India’s democracy under ‘brutal attack’: Rahul Gandhi

Stepping up his attack on the BJP Government, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has alleged that the structures of Indian democracy are under “brutal attack” and there is a full-scale assault on the institutions of the country. The Opposition leader, who is in London as part of a U.K. tour, told reporters in London that there are conversations ongoing within the Opposition to unite around an alternative vision for the country and act upon an “undercurrent of anger” over pressing issues such as unemployment, price rise, the concentration of wealth and violence against women.

Ready for talks with BJP on constitutional rights of Tripura’s indigenous people: Tipra Motha chief

The Tipra Motha on March 5 said that it was ready to sit with the BJP for a “face-to-face meeting” to find a “constitutional solution” to Tiprasa people’s problems, a day after Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma stated that the party’s concerns should be addressed through dialogue. Taking to Facebook, former royal scion Pradyot Manikya Debbarman, who helms the regional outfit, also gave assurance that his party will not let down people who had voted for him.

Acquittal of three accused in Hathras rape-murder case shows ‘shoddy’ probe by Uttar Pradesh police: Congress

The Congress on March 5 attacked the BJP over the acquittal of three persons accused in the Hathras rape-murder case and alleged that it has exposed the “weak and shoddy” investigation done by the Uttar Pradesh police and later by the CBI. A special court in Hathras on March 2 last sentenced the main accused in the 2020 Hathras rape-murder case to life imprisonment, while acquitting the three other accused. Addressing a press conference at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters in New Delhi, Congress leader Dolly Sharma said the heinous crime in Hathras and then, The government’s role in this matter has exposed the BJP’s “Beti Bachao” slogan.

Health care network put on alert, no room for worry, assures Minister

The health care network in the district has been put on alert to handle any emergency following the fire at Brahmapuram, though there is no room for any concern, according to Veena George, State Health Minister. Two control rooms have been opened in the area to attend to health emergencies. So far, no health issues have been reported following the fire outbreak at the plastic waste heaps of Brahmapuram municipal solid waste treatment plant, said Ms. George during a review meeting held at the district Collectorate on March 5.

Kyiv says Russia pursuing ‘attempts to encircle’ Bakhmut

Kyiv said on March 5 it was holding off attacks from Russian troops still attempting to surround Bakhmut, a now-destroyed eastern Ukrainian city that Moscow has been trying to capture for months. Ukraine has vowed to defend “fortress Bakhmut” but it has faced Russian troops determined to take the city that has turned into a political prize as the battle drags on. The Ukrainian general staff said “more than 130 enemy attacks” had been repelled over the past day including in Kupiansk, Lyman, Bakhmut and Avdiivka.

China hikes defence budget for 8th consecutive year by 7.2%

China on March 5 hiked its defence budget by 7.2%, marginally higher than last year, to 1.55 trillion yuan (about $224 billion), marking the eighth consecutive year of increase in its military spending. China last year pegged its defence budget at 1.45 trillion yuan, a 7.1% increase. This year, the defence spending is increased to 1.55 trillion yuan. However, in view of the appreciation of the dollar against the yuan, this year’s defence spending of China totalled about $224 billion compared to last year’s $230 billion.

Iran makes sweeping pledge of cooperation to IAEA before board meeting

Iran has given sweeping assurances to the U.N. nuclear watchdog that it will finally assist a long-stalled investigation into uranium particles found at undeclared sites and even re-install removed monitoring equipment, the watchdog said. The International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran issued a joint statement on IAEA chief Rafael Grossi’s return from a trip to Tehran just two days before a quarterly meeting of the agency’s 35-nation Board of Governors. The statement went into little detail but the possibility of a marked improvement in relations between the two is likely to stave off a Western push for another resolution ordering Iran to cooperate, diplomats said. Iran has, however, made similar promises before that have yielded little or nothing.

India’s Russian oil imports hit record high in February; now more than Iraq, Saudi put together

India’s imports of crude oil from Russia soared to a record 1.6 million barrels per day in February and is now higher than combined imports from traditional suppliers Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Russia continued to be the single largest supplier of crude oil, which is converted into petrol and diesel at refineries, for a fifth straight month by supplying more than one-third of all oil India imported, according to energy cargo tracker Vortexa. Refiners continue to snap up plentiful Russian cargoes available at a discount to other grades.

India is ‘dangerously close’ to Hindu rate of growth, says Raghuram Rajan

Sounding a note of caution, former Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan has said that India is “dangerously close” to the Hindu rate of growth in view of subdued private sector investment, high interest rates and slowing global growth. Mr. Rajan said that sequential slowdown in the quarterly growth, as revealed by the latest estimate of national income released by the National Statistical Office (NSO) last month, was worrying.

Sania Mirza ends her career at place where it began

With “happy tears”, Indian tennis legend Sania Mirza on March 5 ended her path-breaking journey as a player at the place where it all began. By playing in exhibition matches featuring Rohan Bopanna, Yuvraj Singh and her ‘best friend’ Bethanie Mettek Sands, Sania finally said goodbye to her illustrious career at the Lal Bahadur Tennis Stadium, the venue where she signalled her arrival on the big stage with a historic WTA singles title triumph nearly two decades ago.

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