December 8, 2022

Times Top10: Today’s Top News Headlines and Latest News from India & across the World | Times of India


Phase 4 of Odisha panchayat polls; Counting of votes of TN Urban Local Body elections; PM Modi campaigns in Manipur; First shipment of Indian wheat for Afghanistan to be sent via Wagah border; India vs New Zealand (women’s) – 4th ODI

1. Since Centre won’t take a stand on marital rape…
1. Since Centre won't take a stand on marital rape...
Declining the Centre’s request for more time to respond to a batch of petitions seeking to criminalise marital rape, the Delhi High Court (HC) on Monday reserved its judgement in the case and listed it “for directions on March 2.”

Why the Centre didn’t respond

  • The Centre, which on February 7 had been given two weeks time by the HC to clarify its stand on the criminalisation of rape and asnwer in ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on whether it would criminalise marital rape, put the onus of delay on the state governments, with Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta submitting that since the issue had “far reaching consequences, the stand of Central Government (will) be decided after hearing State Governments.”
  • Arguing that it was one of the few issues “which impact social life, family life”, the Centre said that taking a unilateral stance was “not prudent without consulting stakeholders.”

What the HC refused more time

  • Reminding the Centre that it had asked it for a definitive timeline within which the government would wrap up the consultative process with the states, the HC said that it was not inclined to extend the time for the government as “there is no terminal date when the consultation process will get over.”

The issue

  • A batch of petitions have challenged the Exception 2 of Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which deals with rape and exempts non-consensual sex between husband and wife from the ambit of rape, provided the wife is not less than 15 years old.
2. Sixteen-year-old Chennai GM stuns World Champion Carlsen
2. Sixteen-year-old Chennai GM stuns World Champion Carlsen
R Praggnanandhaa on Monday became only the third Indian to beat world champion Magnus Carlsen — the legendary Viswanathan Anand and top star No. 1 P Harikrishna being the other two. Praggu’s win in 39 moves came in the Airthings Masters, the opening leg of the Champions Chess Tour, which is a 16-player online rapid competition.

The contest turned in favour of the young GM from Chennai when the Norwegian — playing with white — committed an error in the 32nd move. The chess engines immediately showed a huge advantage in black’s favour. Praggu made sure he capitalised on Carlsen’s mistake and walked away with a victory seven moves later.

It made waves in the chess world, but for those tracking Praggu for years, his win against Carlsen doesn’t come as a surprise. Here’s his steady progress:

  • Won U-8 crown at World Youth Championships in 2013
  • Became the youngest International Master in 2016 at 10 years, 10 months, and 19 days. The record was broken by Indian origin Grandmaster Abhimanyu Mishra in 2019.
  • Became a Grandmaster in June 2018
  • Clinched the Xtracon Chess Open in Denmark in July 2019
  • Won the U-18 World Youth Championships in October 2019
  • Made it to Round 4 at the Chess World Cup in 2021
  • Finished 12th at the Tata Steel Masters in Wijk Aan Zee in January 2022
3. Why Sri Lanka and Pakistan are short of dollars
3. Why Sri Lanka and Pakistan are short of dollars
The crisis in Lanka

  • Sri Lanka has run out of money to even buy fuel as pumps in most filling stations across the country have run dry. So dire is the situation that the island nation cannot pay for two shipments of fuel in US dollars.

The reason

  • After meeting a $1 billion debt repayment in July 2021, the government had only enough dollars to cover less than two months of imports. With the Sri Lankan rupee down 7.3% in 2021, its import bill has been soaring.
  • Sri Lanka’s foreign reserves have fallen since President Gotabaya Rajapaksa took office in 2019, slumping from $7.5 billion to $3.1 billion at the end of December.
  • The financial crisis is in part caused by the pandemic and the loss of tourism and partly because of high government spending, vast debt repayments to China (over $5 billion). Inflation has been spurred by the government printing money to pay off domestic loans and foreign bonds. .

The quick fix

  • The government has resorted to temporary relief measures like credit lines to import food, medicines and fuel from India, as well as currency swaps from India, China and Bangladesh and loans to purchase petroleum from Oman.
  • But these loans will have to be paid back quickly and that too at high interest rates. Collectively the country owes about $6.9 billion to China, Japan and India.

Over in Pakistan…

  • Meanwhile, Pakistan may start borrowing gold biscuits and bars from its citizens to increase the country’s foreign exchange reserves that have declined to $17 billion despite the country taking over $5 billion loans in the past three months from bilateral and multilateral creditors.
  • According to the proposal, commercial banks will issue a negotiable discounted instrument to the gold owner and pay an interest rate on the precious metal.
  • The commercial banks will deposit the gold with the State Bank of Pakistan, which can monetise it to increase the foreign exchange reserves.
4. Should fundamental duties be obligations or legal commitments?
4. Should fundamental duties be obligations or legal commitments?
  • The Supreme Court on Monday decided to explore the possibility for enforcing the Fundamental Duties as enshrined in the Constitution and agreed to examine a PIL seeking that the moral obligations of the duties be converted into legal commitments by enacting a law.
  • “The need to enforce Fundamental Duties arises due to a new illegal trend of protestors, in the garb of freedom of speech and expression, blocking roads and rail routes, in order to compel the Government to meet their demands… Therefore, it is need of the hour that certain moral obligations be converted into legal obligations by enacting legislation and framing guidelines,” the petitioner said.
  • While the apex court expressed reservation in entertaining the petition saying that it is for the political dispensation elected by the people to take a call, it agreed to hear it after the petitioner insisted that the court should seek response from the Centre and states on the issue. The court, thereafter, issued notice to the Centre and states seeking their response.
  • The Fundamental Duties, among other things, obligate all citizens to respect the national symbols of India, including the Constitution, to cherish its heritage and preserve its composite culture. They also obligate all Indians to promote the spirit of common brotherhood, protect environment and public property, develop scientific temper, humanism and abjure violence.
5. Name India’s first private sector vaccine maker.
  • Clue 1: Founded in 1948, in Vijayawada, it is headquartered in Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad, Telangana.
  • Clue 2: Mahima Datla is the managing director of the company, founded by her grandfathers Dr DVK Raju and GAN Raju.
  • Clue 3: It has also developed the RBD protein sub-unit vaccine Corbevax for Covid-19.

Scroll below for answer

6. Lalu gets 5 years in fifth fodder scam case
6. Lalu gets 5 years in fifth fodder scam case
  • A special CBI court in Ranchi on Monday sentenced Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader and former Bihar CM Lalu Prasad Yadav to five years’ imprisonment and imposed a Rs 60 lakh fine on him in the in fifth case of the fodder scam, related with the fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 139.35 crore from the Doranda treasury in undivided Bihar.
  • Along with 39 others, Prasad had been convicted in the case earlier on February 15 and the court reserved its order on the quantum of sentence.
  • Now what? One of the defence lawyers, Anant Kumar Vij said: “The judge pronounced five years of jail term, of which he has already undergone three years and nineteen days. Since he has already undergone half of the jail term, we will file a petition in the high court to grant him bail.” (Lalu is currently at Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences in Ranchi due to health reasons.)
  • Lalu had secured bail after being earlier sentenced to 14 years in other cases related to Dumka, Deoghar and Chaibasa treasuries. One more case, pertaining to the illegal withdrawal of money from the Bank-Bhagalpur treasury, is pending before the CBI court in Patna.
7. ‘Minister’s son got bail on imaginary possibilities’
7. ‘Minister's son got bail on imaginary possibilities’
  • Family members of deceased who were killed in Lakhimpur Kheri violence case have approached the Supreme Court seeking cancellation of bail granted to main accused Ashish Mishra, the son of Union minister of state and BJP leader Ajay Mishra ‘Teni’.
  • The petitioners alleged that there is lack of any discussion in the HC order on account of lack of any substantive submissions by the State “as the accused wields substantial influence over the State government as his father is a Union Minister from the same political party that rules the State”.
  • They also alleged that they were prevented from bringing the relevant material to notice of HC as their counsel ‘got’ disconnected in the virtual hearing and repeated calls to the court staff to get reconnected were to no avail
  • “Contrary to settled law, the High Court failed to form its opinion on the basis of the chargesheet on broad probabilities and has instead gone on the basis of far fetched imaginary possibilities. The observation of HC that, there might be a possibility that the driver tried to speed up the vehicle to save himself, on account of which, the incident had taken place, is perverse especially when there was nothing on record to show the same and there is evidence in fact in the chargesheet to the contrary showing that the vehicles had been dashing at high speeds of 70-100 km/hr from the time they left the venue of the ‘dangal’; when they passed the petrol pump; when they crossed the police crossing; all the way to the scene of the crime; and the same has been attested to by various eye witnesses including police officials on duty,” the petition said.
8. Border breach claims keep Ukraine uneasy
8. Border breach claims keep Ukraine uneasy
  • Russian forces killed a group of five saboteurs who breached the country’s southwest border from Ukraine on Monday, news agencies quoted the military as saying. The accusation was dismissed as “fake news” by Kyiv amid Western accusations that Moscow could fabricate a pretext to invade.
  • What Russia says: A Federal Security Service border patrol around 0300 GMT identified a sabotage and reconnaissance group that had breached the border in Rostov region, prompting it to call troops for backup. A clash ensued.
  • “Two Ukrainian army infantry fighting vehicles crossed the state border into the Russian Federation to evacuate the sabotage group from the territory of Ukraine,” said the Southern Military District. “As a result of the engagement, five members of the sabotage and reconnaissance group who violated the Russian border were eliminated.”
  • Ukraine’s rebuttal: “They conduct different provocations and produce fake news every day, even a couple of times per day,” said Ukrainian military spokesman Pavlo Kovalchuk. “We couldn’t stop them producing this fake news, but we always emphasise that we do not shoot at civilian infrastructure.”
  • Meanwhile: Kremlin said it is too early to organise a summit between Russian president Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden. “It’s premature to talk about any specific plans for organising any kind of summits,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
  • Separately, Putin said he was considering a request by the Luhansk and Donetsk regions of eastern Ukraine held by Russian-backed separatists to be recognised as independent — a move that could give Moscow a reason to openly send troops. Washington says Russia has now massed a force numbering 169,000-190,000 troops in the region.
9. Data leak creates a dirty money scandal
9. Data leak creates a dirty money scandal
  • Credit Suisse Group AG managed accounts for clients involved in human rights abuses, corruption and drug trafficking, according to newspaper reports based on leaked data on more than 18,000 accounts that together held more than $100 billion.
  • An anonymous whistle-blower gave the information to German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, which shared the data with a non-profit journalism group and dozens of other news organisations worldwide.
  • The data covers accounts opened from the 1940s until well into the last decade, the New York Times said Sunday. The Guardian said some of the accounts remain open.
  • Credit Suisse issued a statement soon after the stories were published, saying it “strongly rejects the allegations and insinuations about the bank’s purposed business practices.” It said the information is “based on partial, inaccurate, or selective information taken out of context, resulting in tendentious interpretations of the bank’s business conduct.”
  • It said it reviewed the accounts involved after receiving inquiries from the consortium working on the stories. About 90% are closed or were already in the process of being shut, of which more than 60% were closed before 2015, the bank said. Read the full story here

Biological E. The Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI) has granted restricted emergency use authorisation (EUA) to its Covid-19 vaccine Corbevax for the 12 to 18 years age group, subject to certain conditions. It’s the third vaccine to have received EUA from the DGCI for the age group after Zydus Cadila’s ZyCoV-D and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.

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Written by: Rakesh Rai, Judhajit Basu, Tejeesh Nippun Singh
Research: Rajesh Sharma

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