JAISHANKAR RAISES CYPRUS AFTER RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN RAKES UP KASHMIR
As PM Narendra Modi garnered praise for his observations at Samarkand, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar fobbed off attempts to once again hyphenate India and Pakistan over Kashmir.
In a pointed gesture against Turkiye President Recep Tayyip Erdogan raising Kashmir at the UN General Assembly, Jaishankar met Turkiye’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu and said he had discussed the Cyprus issue with him.
The Cyprus problem rose after the Kashmir issue but is equally intractable. It began in 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied the northern part of the country in response to a military coup on the island which was backed by Greece.
Erdogan, in his UNGA address, said, “India and Pakistan haven’t established peace... and this is much unfortunate and hope peace will be established in Kashmir.” His comments on Kashmir come a week after he had a surprise meeting with PM Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the SCO summit in Samarkand.
The EAM sought to convey that Ankara is in the same boat as far as intractable disputes are concerned by meeting Cavusoglu and then tweeting that a wide-ranging conversation covered Cyprus besides Ukraine, food security, G20 processes, global order and NAM.
Meanwhile, praise for PM Narendra Modi’s forthright comments on the Ukraine war to Vladimir Putin came in the UN General Assembly as well as from the US and Australia
“Indian PM Narendra Modi was right when he said it is not the time for war. It is not for revenge against the West, or for opposing the West against the East. It is the time for a collective time for our sovereign, equal states,” said French President Emmanuel Macron at the ongoing 77th session of the UNGA in New York.
SUPREME COURT QUESTIONS GOVT ON ROLE OF TV NEWS ANCHORS
Amid growing incidents of hate speech, the Supreme Court on Wednesday expressed serious concern over the absence of an effective institutional mechanism to regulate the media and questioned the role of TV anchors in giving airtime to hatemongers.
Wondering why the govt stood as a “mute spectator” to hate speech, a Bench led by Justice KM Joseph asked it to spell out its stand on the recommendations made in the Law Commission’s 267th report (2017) to deal with the menace.
“The role of the anchor is very important. Hate speech either takes place in mainstream television or it takes place in social media which is largely unregulated…. As far as mainstream television channels are concerned, they still hold sway,” it said.
“The role of anchor is very critical because the moment you see somebody going into hate speech, it’s the duty of the anchor to immediately see that he doesn’t allow that person to say anything further. Unfortunately, many a time when somebody wants to say something, he is muted. The person is not given proper time, he is not even treated courteously,” the Bench said.
“Hate speech completely poisons the very fabric…. It can’t be permitted…. We should have a proper legal framework… unless we have a framework, people will continue (with hate speech) and the most important point is where is our nation headed if it is hate speech that we are feeding on, where is our nation headed to…,” Justice Joseph said.
Noting that politicians benefit the most from hate speech, the Bench said, “Political parties will come and go… without a totally independent press, no country can go forward, it’s absolutely important that we have true freedom.” Maintaining that there should be free debate, it said, “But you should also know where to draw the line because there is a huge influence, particularly of the visual media…. howwould the listener ever make up his mind after listening to a debate where it is just a babble, you can’t even make out what is happening.”
CPM, CONG SLAM MAMATA FOR GOING SOFT ON MODI, RSS
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s strategy of going easy on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and adopting a tough stance against Union Home Minister Amit Shah has raised questions about her motives.
On Monday, she told the Assembly in a special session that she believed Modi was not behind the alleged misuse of the CBI and ED and alleged it was the handiwork of some BJP leaders, with the insinuation, according to political observers, being that Shah was to be blamed.
Mamata’s remark came weeks after her qualified praise for the RSS.
“It is basically a lena-dena (give and take) approach. It has been a Team B or Team C of the RSS. We are not surprised, this is who Mamata is. The TMC was formed as an offshoot of the RSS in 1998. It helped the BJP and the RSS grow in Bengal. Now, she wants to ensure that top leadership of the BJP helps her nephew come out unscathed from corruption allegations,” said CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty.
Congress spokesperson Soumya Aich Roy said, “It is not new to us that Mamata Banerjee is a BJP ally. She projects herself as the face of anti-BJP forces but is controlled by the BJP and the RSS. After all, she is ‘Durga’ of RSS.”
A SAVARKAR OWN GOAL, ON RAHUL’S BHARAT JODO YATRA ROUTE
The Congress, which often attacks the BJP over its celebration of V D Savarkar, was in for a major embarrassment on Wednesday. A banner put up at Aluva in Ernakulam, Kerala, to mark Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra passing through the area, contained photos of icons such as Chandrashekhar Azad, Rabindranath Tagore, Govind Ballabh Pant, Abul Kalam Azad – and Savarkar.
As photos of the banner flashed through social media, the Congress tried to literally cover up by putting Mahatma Gandhi’s photo over Savarkar’s. But the damage was done.
BJP president K Surendran said the Congress has concealed Savarkar’s picture to appease extremist forces.
COVID DASHBOARD – INDIA
As of 0800 IST / Sep 21
from mohfw.gov.in ,
New Cases on Tuesday 4,491
Active Cases 43,628 (-1,163)
Total Deaths (Deaths Yesterday) 5,28,403 (14)
UKRAINE WAR: VLADIMIR PUTIN ORDERS PARTIAL MOBILISATION OF 3L RESERVISTS
In one of the biggest security crises facing Europe, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday announced a partial mobilisation of about three lakh reservists with immediate effect.
At the same time, Putin suggested it was now a de facto war with NATO. “Today our armed forces are fighting on the line of contact that is over 1,000 kms long… fighting not only against neo-Nazi units but actually the entire military machine of the collective West,” he said. Ukraine, in contrast, has had full mobilisation for the last six months.
The stretched-out frontline, the constant shelling of Russian borderline areas and attacks on liberated regions required the call-up of servicemen from the reserve, said Putin. Accusing the US-led West of resorting to nuclear blackmail, Putin said Russia had different types of weapons as well, and some of them were more modern than the weapons NATO countries had.
The Russian opposition has called for street protests against Putin’s mobilisation order with jailed dissident Alexei Navalny stating that Putin was sending more Russians to their deaths.
Putin made the announcement in a televised address to the nation in which he said Russia would use all means at its disposal to protect its territory, warning the West that “this is not a bluff”.
The address came as Russian forces wrested back some slivers in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region and Kyiv was preparing for a further wave of attacks in the region to press on with its recent battlefield successes.
Indicating that Moscow had no plans to give up captured territory, Russian-occupied Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions on Tuesday announced that they would begin a referendum on whether to join Russia from this Friday.
Both announcements were expectedly decried by the US and the UK. “The US will never recognise Russia’s claim to purportedly annexed Ukrainian territory, and we will continue to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes,” said US envoy to Ukraine Bridget Brink. British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said Putin’s decision to mobilise military reservists shows that his invasion was failing.
FED RAISES RATES BY 0.75 POINTS FOR THIRD TIME IN A ROW
Intensifying its fight against chronically high inflation, the Federal Reserve raised its key interest rate Wednesday by a substantial three-quarters of a point for a third straight time, an aggressive pace that is heightening the risk of an eventual recession.
The Fed’s move boosted its benchmark short-term rate, which affects many consumer and business loans, to a range of 3% to 3.25%, the highest level since early 2008.
The policymakers also signaled that by early 2023, they expect to have further raised rates much higher than they had projected in June.
Economists increasingly say they think the Fed’s steep rate hikes will lead, over time, to job cuts, rising unemployment and a full-blown recession late this year or early next year. Chair Jerome Powell acknowledged in a speech last month that the Fed’s moves will “bring some pain” to households and businesses. And he added that the central bank’s commitment to bringing inflation back down to its 2% target was “unconditional.” Falling gas prices have slightly lowered headline inflation, which was a still-painful 8.3% in August compared with a year earlier.
"DEMOCRACY IS OVER," SAYS ARVIND KEJRIWAL AFTER PUNJAB GOVERNOR'S MOVE
Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit has turned down the AAP govt's demand for a special session of the assembly to introduce a confidence motion. The Governor has withdrawn the order to summon a special session of the Punjab assembly on September 22. His decision has triggered a massive point-counterpoint between all the major political parties in the state -- AAP, BJP, Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).
Reacting sharply to the Punjab Governor's decision, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP Convenor Arvind Kejriwal tweeted: "How can the governor refuse a session called by the cabinet? Then democracy is over. Two days ago, the Governor gave permission for the session. When Operation Lotus started failing and the number was not completed, a call came from above asking to withdraw the permission."
Jeevan Gupta, the BJP General Secretary, Punjab, said the move to have a special session of the Vidhan Sabha was a drama, because no Opposition party had called for a no-confidence motion. The Governor has taken a step to stop the Punjab Govt's wrong move, he added.
Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) also echoed the BJP.
‘PAYCM’ POSTERS WITH QR CODES SPRING UP IN BENGALURU
Seeking to make corruption its central plank against the BJP govt in the run-up to the Karnataka Assembly elections, slated for May 2023, the principal Opposition Congress has launched a series of publicity campaigns targeted at the saffron dispensation over the last week.
On Wednesday, posters with fake QR codes and pictures of Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai stating “PayCM” sprung up across Bengaluru, drawing the CM’s ire. Last week, during Bommai’s visit to Telangana, banners had appeared in Hyderabad that said, “Welcome to 40 per cent commission CM”.
In Karnataka, the Congress has been targeting the BJP with allegations of corruption by quoting allegations made by the Karnataka Contractors Association in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in July 2021, which stated that the demand for bribes in the state had risen from 10 per cent to 40 per cent under the BJP govt.
Bommai slammed the Congress’s attempts to paint him and the BJP with corruption charges, rejecting them as “baseless”. He called the Congress’s campaign a bid to tarnish the image of Karnataka.
MAJOR NAXAL HOTBEDS IN JHARKHAND, BIHAR FREE NOW: CRPF DG
Two large Naxal-affected forested areas in Jharkhand and Bihar have been “completely cleaned off and captured” by the security forces even as the most violence-prone districts under this category have gone down to an all-time low of 25, CRPF DG Kuldiep Singh said on Wednesday.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah later tweeted to say that a “historic milestone was crossed” in the internal security domain of the country with this development.
The CRPF chief told reporters during a press conference here that the ‘Budapahad’ area in Garhwa district of Jharkhand and the ‘Chakrabandha’ jungle area scattered across Gaya and Aurangabad districts of Bihar have been freed from Naxals after joint security forces, under the overall command of the paramilitary force, mounted three special operations beginning April.
A total of 14 Maoists were killed while 590 were either apprehended or had surrendered during these operations, launched in the two states along with Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
He said Bihar is now free from the Naxal menace and the forces can reach any place in either of the two states.
RATAN TATA NOW PM-CARES TRUSTEE
Ratan Tata, the former chairman of Tata Sons, is among the three new trustees of the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM-CARES). Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday chaired a meeting of the PM-CARES Board of Trustees, consisting of the Union Home Minister and the Union Finance Minister, along with the newly nominated members KT Thomas, former Judge, Supreme Court, Kariya Munda, Former Deputy Speaker, and Tata.
The Trust also nominated three names for the constitution of an Advisory Board to PM CARES. These are Rajiv Mehrishi, the former Comptroller and Auditor General of India, Sudha Murthy, former Chairperson, Infosys Foundation, and Anand Shah, co-founder of Teach for India and Former CEO of Indicorps and Piramal Foundation.
Modi said the participation of the new trustees and advisors will provide ‘wider perspectives to the functioning of the PM CARES Fund’ as their’ vast experience of public life would impart further vigour in making the fund more responsive to various public needs.’
CLARIFY IF YS JAGAN MOHAN REDDY MADE LIFE-TIME PARTY PRESIDENT: EC
The Election Commission, in connection with the reports of selection of YS Jagan Mohan Reddy as permanent president of the YSR Congress Party, categorically conveyed its rejection. "The Commission has ordered that YSR Congress Party be directed to conclude the internal enquiry at the earliest and make a clear and categorical public announcement contradicting the said media/newspaper reports," the EC directed.
The EC in its order has strongly noted that any action which denies the periodicity of elections for any post is inherently anti-democratic and in complete violation of the extant instructions of the election body.
CHARGESHEET FILED AGAINST TEESTA SETALVAD
Activist Teesta Setalvad conspired to create false cases against then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, his Cabinet colleagues and senior BJP leaders in connection with the 2002 post-Godhra riots, a chargesheet filed by an SIT in a court in Ahmedabad on Wednesday claimed.
The SIT of the Ahmedabad police filed the chargesheet against Setalvad, retired Director General of Police RB Sreekumar and former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt in a case of alleged fabrication of evidence in connection with the 2002 riots. It also accused Setalvad of working with Congress leaders to spread "misunderstanding" among riot victims that Gujarat was not safe for them.
The Ahmedabad crime branch had registered the case against Setalvad and the other two days after the Supreme Court in June upheld the clean chit given to Modi and 63 others in response to a petition filed by Zakia Jafri alleging larger conspiracy behind the 2002 violence.
RAJU SRIVASTAVA PASSES AWAY, AFTER 41 DAYS IN HOSPITAL
Popular comedian Raju Srivastava, who dabbled in movies, made a mark as a stand-up comic and later entered politics, died on Wednesday after more than 40 days in hospital. He was 58.
Srivastava had a heart attack on August 10 while working out at a Delhi hotel. He was rushed to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) where he underwent an angioplasty procedure. He had been on the ventilator since and never regained consciousness.
Raju Srivastava, counted as among the most high profile and experienced comics in the country, is survived by his wife and two children.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was among the first to pay his condolences.
KARNATAKA ADVOCATE GENERAL: HIJAB RESTRICTION LIMITED TO CLASSROOMS
The Karnataka Govt told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that it has not touched any “religious aspect” in the hijab ban row and that the restriction on wearing the Islamic headscarf was limited to classrooms only even as it said wearing headscarf is not an essential religious practice in Islam.
“We do not place restrictions on wearing hijab outside the school… There is no restriction even on the school campus. The nature of restriction is only inside the classroom,” Karnataka’s Advocate General Prabhuling K Navadgi told a Bench led by Justice Hemant Gupta which will resume the hearing today.
HARMANPREET'S CENTURY POWERS INDIA WOMEN TO ENGLAND ODI SERIES WIN
Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur rekindled the memories of 2017 World Cup with a magnificent 143 not out as Indian women thrashed England by 88 runs in the second ODI in Canterbury on Wednesday, to seal the three-match series 2-0.
Harmanpreet smashed 18 fours and four sixes en route her 111-ball knock to power India to highest ever overseas total of 333/5.
In reply, England folded for 245 in 44.2 overs with pacer Renuka Singh taking 4/57.
India took an unassailable 2-0 series lead, to register their first ODI series triumph in England since 1999.
In the last three overs, Indian team scored 62 runs, courtesy its skipper, who was in imperious touch while reaching her fifth hundred in ODIs.
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THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
In my youth, I stressed freedom, and in my old age I stress order. I have made the great discovery that liberty is a product of order. - Will Durant
"I'm so worried," the nervous patient said as the nurse plumped up his pillows. "Last week, I read about a man who was in the hospital because of heart trouble, but the hospital was so unhygienic, he died of malaria."
"Relax," the nurse said smiling. "This is a first-rate hospital. When we treat someone for heart trouble, he dies of heart trouble only."