SILENT ON RAJAPAKSAS, INDIA SUPPORTS ‘PEOPLE OF LANKA’, THEIR ‘BEST INTERESTS’
A day after Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned as Prime Minister, India took a nuanced view of the developments in Sri Lanka, saying it will “always be guided by the best interests of the people of Sri Lanka expressed through democratic processes”.
The carefully-worded three-paragraph statement does not mention the “govt of Sri Lanka” or the Rajapaksas at all.
Meanwhile, the Indian High Commission in Colombo issued a denial in the wake of rumours in Sri Lanka that Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family had been flown to India in a helicopter. In a Twitter post, it said: “High Commission has recently noticed rumours circulating in sections of media & social media that certain political persons and their families have fled to India. These are fake and blatantly false reports, devoid of any truth or substance. High Commission strongly denies them.”
In New Delhi, Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, said, “As a close neighbour of Sri Lanka, with historical ties, India is fully supportive of its democracy, stability and economic recovery.”
“In keeping with our Neighbourhood First policy, India has extended this year alone support worth over US$ 3.5 billion to the people of Sri Lanka for helping them overcome their current difficulties. In addition, the people of India have provided assistance for mitigating the shortages of essential items such as food, medicine etc,” he said.
“India will always be guided by the best interests of the people of Sri Lanka expressed through democratic processes,” the MEA spokesperson said.
Embattled Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Tuesday urged people to stop “violence and acts of revenge” against fellow citizens and vowed to address the political and economic crisis facing the nation.
Sri Lanka’s defence ministry ordered the military on Tuesday to shoot anyone caught attacking people or damaging property.
CAN YOU TELL STATES TO KEEP SEDITION LAW IN ABEYANCE, SC ASKS CENTRE
The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought the Centre's response on protecting citizens' interests by putting at abeyance the lodging of sedition cases till re-examination of the colonial era penal law.
The apex court agreed that the re-look of the provision be left to the Centre which has filed an affidavit in this regard.
It, however, expressed concern over the continuous abuse of the provision and even suggested that guidelines may be issued to stop the abuse or a decision to keep the law at abeyance till the exercise of re-look of the law is completed.
The top court took note of the fresh stand of the govt that it wanted to "re-examine and reconsider" it.
Quoting the Centre's recent affidavit, which referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's views on issues like the shedding of ”colonial baggage”, protection of civil liberties, and respect of human rights, a bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana said, ”What we feel is that the State has said they want to do something… We should not be unreasonable.”
The bench, also comprising Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, said, ”Our specific query is on two issues. One is about the pending cases and the second is, how the govt will take care of future cases till the reconsideration. These are two issues. Nothing else.”
Referring to the possible ”misuse’ of the provision, the bench said even the attorney general had said as to how the law was invoked even for chanting ‘Hanuman Chalisa' and asked the Centre to come up with some response.
DON'T WAVER ON MINORITY STATUS TO HINDUS, CONSULT STATES, GOVT TOLD
The Supreme Court on Tuesday took exception to the Centre changing its stand on declaring Hindus as minority in the nine states and union territories where they are numerically lesser in number, saying that taking different stands won’t help.
The comments came as the Bench noticed that the Centre, in departure from its earlier stand, had said the power to notify minorities was vested in it and any decision in this regard would be taken after discussion with states and other stakeholders.
“If the Centre wants to consult states, it will have to take a call. Solution can’t be that everything is so complex…. This can’t be the answer from the Govt of India. You decide what you want to do. If you want to consult them, do it. Who is stopping you from doing so? These are matters which require resolution. Taking different stands doesn’t help. If consultation is required, it should have been done before the affidavit was filed,” the Bench said.
COVID DASHBOARD – INDIA – Data Not available today
AFTER 36 YEARS, A MARCOS BACK AS PREZ IN PHILIPPINES
Angry young voters gathered in the Philippines on Tuesday to protest against Ferdinand Marcos Jr — known by his childhood nickname “Bongbong” — the son and namesake of the former dictator, who clinched a landslide victory this week in one of the most divisive presidential elections in the country’s recent history. Multiple election observers said they had received thousands of reports of election-related anomalies since the vote Monday. Malfunctioning voting machines were one of the biggest concerns, with VoteReportPH, an election watchdog, saying the breakdowns had “severely impaired this electoral process. ”
On Tuesday, Leni Robredo, Marcos’ closest rival in the race and the country’s current vice president, said her team was looking into reports of voter fraud. But every opinion poll before the election had predicted that Marcos would win by a huge margin, and his lead by Tuesday was so overwhelming that reports of fraud and malfunctioning machines were unlikely to sway the result.
Marcos’s runaway victory in Monday’s election now looks certain with 98% of the eligible ballots counted in an unofficial tally showing he has 31 million votes, double that of nearest rival, Vice President Robredo, giving Marcos the biggest margin of victory in more than three decades. An official result is expected at the end of the month.
Yet for many Filipinos, the Marcos family name remains a byword for excess and greed, and a painful reminder of the atrocities committed by the father.
AS RUSSIA CLAIMS GAINS IN EAST, US SAYS PUTIN IS READY FOR A LONG FIGHT
Just hours after President Putin celebrated Russian military might in Moscow, Russian forces pounded Ukraine with missile strikes on Odesa, a large southern port city critical for the country’s economic survival, and made gains in its push for the east. The Russian defence ministry said on Tuesday that its forces in eastern Ukraine had advanced to the border between Donetsk and Luhansk, the provinces where Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting Ukraine’s army for eight years. The ministry’s assertion, if confirmed, strengthens the prospect that Russia could gain complete control over the region, known as the Donbas, compared with just a third of it before the February 24 invasion.
The US director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, said on Tuesday that Russia’s Putin was preparing for “a prolonged conflict. ” Haines said that Putin will not end the war with the Donbas campaign and is determined to build a land bridge to Russian-controlled territory in Moldova. US intelligence also views it as increasingly likely that Putin will mobilise his entire country, including ordering martial law, and is counting on his perseverance to wear down Western support for Ukraine.
ELON MUSK SAYS HE WOULD REVERSE TWITTER BAN ON DONALD TRUMP
Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said Tuesday he would reverse Twitter’s ban on former U.S. President Donald Trump, while speaking at the Financial Times Future of the Car conference.
Musk, who has called himself a “free speech absolutist,” recently inked a $44 billion deal to acquire the social media platform.
The decision to ban Trump from Twitter did not silence the former president’s voice, but rather amplified his views among people on the political right, Musk said, calling the ban “morally wrong and flat-out stupid.”
Trump was permanently suspended from Twitter shortly after the Jan. 6 riot on the U.S. Capitol. Twitter cited “the risk of further incitement of violence” in its decision.
DAY AFTER RPG ATTACK, POLITICS FLARES UP IN PUNJAB
Barely hours after a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) was fired at Punjab Police’s Intelligence headquarters at Mohali on Monday night, the incident turned into a political row, exposing the fledgling Bhagwant Singh Mann-led AAP govt to fresh criticism from the Opposition parties.
Although the RPG attack on a key police facility did not cause any injury, it brought back memories of terrorism in Punjab. Seizing on such fears, several Opposition leaders issued warnings about the revival of terrorism in the border state as they fired salvos at the AAP govt, questioning its experience and capacity in dealing with serious issues related to security and law-and-order.
They flagged a string of such incidents that occurred across the state over the last one month – starting with pro-Khalistan posters springing up outside the Ropar SSP’s office last month and communal clashes in Patiala, to hoisting of Khalistan flag outside the Malerkotla deputy commissioner’s office and vandalism of Maharana Pratap’s statue in Kahnuwan, to the seizure of an RDX haul. A few days ago, pro-Khalistan flags and slogans were found at the outside gate of Himachal Pradesh’s Dharamshala Vidhan Sabha.
Hitting back at the Opposition parties, the AAP has charged that they have not been able to reconcile with its “popularity” among the people of Punjab and were just venting their “political frustration”.
The launcher used to fire the grenade was traced on Tuesday, coinciding with Gurpatwant Singh Pannu of the banned outfit Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) purportedly claiming responsibility for the attack through an unverified voice message. Police sources said over 20 people have been detained so far.
‘INDIA WILL NEED AROUND 1 LAKH DRONE PILOTS IN COMING YEARS’
A total of 12 central ministries are trying to boost the indigenous demand for drone services and India will need approximately one lakh drone pilots in the coming years, Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said on Tuesday.
Today, someone who has passed the Class-12 exam can be trained as a drone pilot and no college degrees are required for it, he pointed out. "With two-three months of training, this person is in his or her job as a drone pilot with a monthly salary of around Rs 30,000," the minister said. "We need close to a lakh drone pilots in the years to come. So the opportunity is tremendous," he added.
CBI RAIDS HOME MINISTRY OFFICIALS AMONG OTHERS IN NGOS' FOREX SCAM
In a countrywide crackdown, the CBI conducted operations at 40 locations and apprehended around 14 people including home ministry officials, NGO representatives and middlemen for allegedly facilitating the clearance of foreign donations in violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, officials said on Tuesday.
The operation was launched after a complaint from the Union home ministry to the CBI in this regards, a home ministry spokesperson said.
Officials said that when the issue of alleged violations of FCRA was brought to the notice of Home Minister Amit Shah, he directed that the strongest possible action should be taken against those involved.
PULITZER FOR DANISH SIDDIQUI, 3 OTHER INDIAN PHOTOGS
Slain photojournalist Danish Siddiqui is among four Indians honoured with the prestigious Pulitzer Prize 2022 in the feature photography category. Siddiqui and his colleagues Adnan Abidi, Sanna Irshad Mattoo and Amit Dave from the Reuters news agency won the award, announced on Monday, for “images of Covid’s toll in India that balanced intimacy and devastation, while offering viewers a heightened sense of place”, according to Pulitzer Prizes website.
Siddiqui died in July 2021 while covering the war in Afghanistan.
VIVEK AGNIHOTRI, ANUPAM KHER IN A TWITTER SPAT WITH SHASHI THAROOR
The Kashmir Files lead actor Anupam Kher and director Vivek Agnihotri on Tuesday came down heavily on Shashi Tharoor after the Congress leader tweeted about the movie being banned in Singapore.
It all began when Shashi Tharoor shared a news report on Twitter about the ban on the film in Singapore. "Film promoted by India's ruling party, #KashmirFiles, banned in Singapore," the Congress leader tweeted on Tuesday morning.
In his reply to Tharoor, Agnihotri dubbed Singapore the “most regressive censor in the world”. Agnihotri tweeted, “Hey Shashi Tharoor, is this true that Late Sunanda Pushkar was a Kashmiri Hindu?....If yes, then in Hindu tradition, to respect the dead, you must delete your tweet and apologise to her soul.”
Kher, in his tweet, said: “Dear Shashi Tharoor, your callousness towards Kashmiri Hindus genocide is tragic. If nothing else at least for Sunanda's sake who was a Kashmiri herself you should show some sensitivity towards Kashmiri Pandits and not feel victorious about a country banning The Kashmir Files.”
However, the war of words did not end there as Tharoor posted a statement and, without naming Agnihotri and Kher, said he tweeted a “factual news item this morning, with no comment on its contents or on the film The Kashmir Files, which I have not seen.”
“At no point did I mock or disparage the sufferings of Kashmiri Pandits, of whose plight I am intimately aware, and to which I have repeatedly drawn attention over the years. Dragging my late wife Sunanda into this matter was unwarranted and contemptible. No one is more aware of her views than I am. I have accompanied her to the destroyed ruins of her ancestral home in Bomai, near Sopore, and joined her in conversations with her Kashmiri neighbours and friends, both Muslim and Hindu,” Tharoor said.
"One thing I know, unlike those attempting to exploit her when she is not around to speak for herself: She believed in reconciliation, not hate," the Congress leader added.
SANTOOR MAESTRO SHIVKUMAR SHARMA PASSES AWAY
Tributes poured in for Indian music composer and santoor player Pandit Shivkumar Sharma who passed away on Tuesday aged 84.
“Our cultural world is poorer with the demise of Pandit Shivkumar Sharma Ji. He popularised the Santoor at a global level. His music will continue to enthral the coming generations. I fondly remember my interactions with him. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti,” PM Modi tweeted.
RBI STEPS IN TO STEM RUPEE FALL, DEFENDS 77.50 PER DOLLAR LEVEL
A day after the rupee hit an all-time low and breached the 77 per dollar mark, the RBI on Tuesday intervened heavily across foreign exchange markets — spot, futures, and off-shore — which stopped the rupee from going past the 77.50 per dollar level, currency dealers said.
The Indian currency opened at 77.29 per dollar after closing at 77.46 on Monday. State-run banks sold dollars heavily, on behalf of the central bank, at 77.42 levels, the dealers said. The rupee ended the day 77.33 per dollar, up 14 paise from the previous close, after touching the day’s low of 77.45.
DELHIVERY IPO OPENS TODAY
The Rs 5,235 crore IPO of India’s largest logistics service provider Delhivery will open for subscription today and close on Friday, May 15. The IPO is the second biggest for Dalal Street in calendar year 2022 (CY22) after LIC.
The IPO consists of a fresh issue of shares worth Rs 4,000 crore, and an offer-for-sale of Rs 1,235 crore. The price band of the issue is set at Rs 462-487 a share.
Delhivery, which is the leading fully-integrated logistics services player in India by fiscal 2020-21 (FY21) revenue as per reports, has a diverse consumer base with 23,113 active customers. These are majorly e-commerce marketplaces, and direct-to consumer e-tailers and enterprises.
GOVT READS OUT THE RIOT ACT TO CAB AGGREGATORS AMID RISE IN COMPLAINTS
With complaints mounting, the govt has warned cab aggregators like Ola and Uber to comply with surge pricing and driver cancellation mandates as laid down under the Motor Vehicle Aggregator Guidelines within a month, or else face penal provisions, sources said.
Moreover, the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) is soon expected to come up with a draft advisory for online cab aggregators. The warning, sources said, came at a meeting held Tuesday between the consumer affairs ministry and representatives of ride-hailing platforms such as Ola, Uber, Meru, Rapido, and Jugnu, among others.
The Motor Vehicle Aggregator Guidelines has capped surge pricing at 1.5 times higher than the base fare, and also introduced a cancellation penalty for drivers at 10 per cent of the fare, which is capped at Rs 100. However, so far, very few states have made the guidelines operational.
IPL MATCH 57: RASHID, GILL STAR AS GT BEAT LSG TO SEAL PLAY-OFF BERTH
Gujarat Titans returned to winning ways after back-to-back losses and became the first team to seal their place in the play-offs by defeating Lucknow Super Giants by 62 runs in an Indian Premier League match in Pune on Tuesday.
Even though LSG did a decent job with the ball to restrict GT to 144 for 4 after being asked to bowl, the KL Rahul-led side flopped with the bat as they were bowled out for 82 in 13.5 overs.
Rashid Khan (4/24) starred with the ball for GT, while Yash Dayal (2/24) and R Sai Kishore (2/7) picked up two wickets each.
Earlier, opening batter Shubman Gill hit a fine unbeaten half-century.
GT sealed their play-off berth, with 9 wins from 12 games. The defeat snapped LSG's five-match winning streak but they are still comfortably placed in the second spot with 8 wins from 12, and need just a win to book their last-four berth.
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THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all. - Sam Ewing
"What all are you mixing in this?" the stranger asked the bartender in the upscale bar.
"Sugar, milk and rum." said the barkeep.
"Is it good ?" asked the man.
"Sure is Sir." said the bartender smiling. "The sugar gives you pep, and the milk gives you plenty of energy."
"And the rum?" asked the stranger.
"Hell man. That gives ya plenty of ideas what to do with all that pep and energy!”