Today News Diary on 3 March 2021

1. International Criminal Court investigates alleged crimes in Palestinian territories
2. WAN-IFRA names The Hindu Group ‘Champion Publisher of the Year 2020’
3. U.S. democracy watchdog downgrades India from ‘free’ to ‘partly free’ status
4. Voicing dissent against govt. does not amount to sedition: Supreme Court
5. Govt brings insurance brokers within ombudsman ambit
6. Mary Kom picked as chairperson of AIBA's champions and veterans committee
7. Just 1 % of Fortune 500 companies led by Black chief executives: World Economic Forum
8. Bharat Biotech says COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin shows 81% efficacy in Phase 3 clinical trials
9. PM salutes all those working towards wildlife protection on World Wildlife Day :3 March
10. Dr Harsh Vardhan releases WHO’s World Report on Hearing: 3 March
11. PM addresses webinar on effective implementation of Budget provisions regarding education sector
12. PM Modi inaugurates Maritime India Summit 2021
13. U.S., EU impose sanctions on Russia for Navalny poisoning, jailing

News in Detail

1. International Criminal Court investigates alleged crimes in Palestinian territories

Fatou Bensouda has said her probe would look into the actions of Hamas, which fired rockets indiscriminately into Israel during the 2014 war

The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said Wednesday she has launched an investigation into alleged crimes in the Palestinian territories, plunging the court into the midst of one of the most fraught conflicts of the past half century.
Fatou Bensouda said in a statement the probe will be conducted “independently, impartially and objectively, without fear or favor.”

Ms Bensouda said in 2019 there was a “reasonable basis” to open a war crimes probe into Israeli military actions in the Gaza Strip as well as Israeli settlement activity in the occupied West Bank.

Following that assessment, she asked judges to rule on the extent of the court’s jurisdiction in the troubled region. They did that last month, saying that the court’s jurisdiction extends to territories occupied by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war.

There was no immediate reaction from Israel.

The Palestinians joined the court in 2015 and have long pushed for an investigation of Israel, which is not a member of the court. The Palestinians asked the court to probe Israeli actions during its 2014 war against Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, as well as Israel’s construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem.

In the past, Israeli officials have accused the court of overstepping its bounds, saying the Palestinians are not an independent sovereign state. Officials say that Israel has been unfairly singled out and reject the allegations. They say military actions in Gaza were acts of self-defense and the status of the West Bank is disputed and must be resolved through negotiations.

The investigation will likely also look into alleged crimes by Palestinian militants. Bensouda has said her probe would look into the actions of Hamas, which fired rockets indiscriminately into Israel during the 2014 war.

Ms Bensouda said how prosecutors prioritize their work will be “determined in due time” based on constraints including the coronavirus pandemic, limited resources and their existing heavy workload.

“Such challenges, however, as daunting and complex as they are, cannot divert us from ultimately discharging the responsibilities that the Rome Statute places upon the Office,” she said, referring to the court’s founding treaty.

 

2. WAN-IFRA names The Hindu Group ‘Champion Publisher of the Year 2020’

The awards are presented in recognition of outstanding work done by news publishers, in digital media

The Hindu Group won two golds and two silvers at WAN IFRA’s South Asian Digital Media Awards, culminating in being named ‘Champion Publisher of the Year’, owing to the highest tally on the points table.
The awards are presented in recognition of outstanding work done by news publishers, in digital media. The winners were honoured virtually at the Digital Media India 2021 Conference held on Wednesday.

The Hindu #KeepTheHabit campaign won a gold and silver in ‘Best Native Advertising/Branded Content Campaign’ and ‘Best in Audience Engagement’, respectively. Sportstar’s website (sportstar.thehindu.com) won a gold in ‘Best in Lifestyle, Sports, Entertainment Website or Mobile Services’ and The Hindu’s website (thehindu.com) won a silver in ‘Best Paid Content Strategy’ (including pay wall, membership or crowd funding models). Among other winners were BBC News, Malayalam Manorama, Mathrubhumi, ABP, NDTV Convergence, TV18 and The Quint.

Speaking at the virtual ceremony and accepting the honour, L. V. Navaneeth, chief executive officer, The Hindu Group, said, “I am extremely grateful and humbled to receive this recognition. I am receiving this on behalf of 2,400 of my colleagues who have had an incredibly tough year and managed to put our products out and do a stellar job. What is doubly heartening is the overall quality of entries and the company we are in. It is great to be amongst this august body of work. Congrats to all the winners and thanks for inspiring us. We will continue to learn and strive harder,” he said.

The World Association of News Publishers or WAN-IFRA, is a global organisation of the world’s press, with a network of 3,000 news publishing companies and technology entrepreneurs, and 60 member publisher associations representing 18,000 publications in 120 countries. South Asian Digital Media Awards are presented in 10 different categories. Twenty judges from across the globe evaluated the entries and chose the winners.

3. U.S. democracy watchdog downgrades India from ‘free’ to ‘partly free’ status

Freedom House accuses Modi of driving India towards authoritarianism

U.S.-based human rights watchdog Freedom House has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government of “driving India toward authoritarianism” with a “hamfisted lockdown”, scapegoating of Muslims, and a crackdown on critics, and downgraded India’s status from ‘Free’ to ‘Partly Free’, in its annual report.

“Under Modi, India appears to have abandoned its potential to serve as a global democratic leader, elevating narrow Hindu nationalist interests at the expense of its founding values of inclusion and equal rights for all,” said Freedom in the World 2021, which was released on Wednesday.

India’s freedom score, calculated using indicators of political rights and civil liberties, dropped four points to 67 this year, pulling the country down into the ‘Partly Free’ category. In a year when social media censorship has been hotly seated, while the government shut down Internet connectivity in Kashmir as well as on Delhi’s borders, India’s Internet freedom score dropped to just 51.

 

4. Voicing dissent against govt. does not amount to sedition: Supreme Court

Court rejects plea to ‘terminate’ LS membership of Dr. Farooq Abdullah

Voicing dissent against the government does not amount to sedition, the Supreme Court said on Wednesday while rejecting a plea to “terminate” the Lok Sabha membership of Dr. Farooq Abdullah and book him for sedition.

“The expression of a view which is a dissent from a decision taken by the Central Government itself cannot be said to be seditious,” the court said in its order.

A Bench led by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said there was nothing in Dr. Abdullah’s statement “which we find so offensive as to give a cause of action for a court to initiate proceedings”.

The court trashed the petition as a “clear case of publicity interest litigation” by petitioners who want to get their names in the Press.

The Bench dismissed the case levying costs on the petitioners to the tune of ₹50,000 to be deposited with the Supreme Court Advocates Welfare Fund in four weeks.

The accusation

Petitioner Rajat Sharma accused Dr. Abdullah, president of the National Conference of Jammu and Kashmir, of stating that “in Kashmir he will get Article 370 of the Constitution restored with the help of China” during a speech on September 24.

Mr. Sharma argued that Article 370 had been deleted from the Constitution by majority in Parliament.

“Everybody knows that there are only two countries in the world which are trying to grab the Indian part of Indian territories, namely China and Pakistan, which mean that Farooq Abdullah is trying to hand over the Kashmir to China or Pakistan, which is totally contrary to the provision of the Constitution and amounts to sedition,” his petition said.

5. Govt brings insurance brokers within ombudsman ambit

The amended rules have enlarged the scope of complaints to ombudsmen from only disputes earlier to deficiencies in service on the part of insurers, agents, brokers and other intermediaries

The government has amended insurance ombudsman rules, bringing insurance brokers within their ambit and also allowed policyholders to file online complaints, the Finance Ministry said on March 3.

The amended rules have enlarged the scope of complaints to ombudsmen from only disputes earlier to deficiencies in service on the part of insurers, agents, brokers and other intermediaries. The government on March 2 notified comprehensive amendments to the Insurance Ombudsman Rules, 2017, with a view to improve the working of the insurance ombudsman mechanism to facilitate resolution of complaints regarding deficiencies in insurance services in a timely, cost-effective and impartial manner.

Under the amended rules, the timeliness and cost-effectiveness of the mechanism has been substantially strengthened. Policyholders will now be enabled for making complaints electronically to the ombudsman and a complaints management system will be created to enable policyholders to track the status of their complaints online. Further, the ombudsman may use videoconferencing for hearings.

“Further, insurance brokers have been brought within the ambit of the Ombudsman mechanism, by empowering the Ombudsmen to pass awards against insurance brokers as well,” the Ministry said. “A number of amendments have been made for securing the independence and integrity of the ombudsman selection process, while also building in safeguards to secure the independence and impartiality of the appointed persons while serving as Ombudsmen,” the Ministry said. Further, the selection committee will now include an individual with a track record of promoting consumer rights or advancing the cause of consumer protection in the insurance sector.

The ombudsman mechanism was administered by the Executive Council of Insurers, which has been renamed as the Council for Insurance Ombudsmen.

6. Mary Kom picked as chairperson of AIBA's champions and veterans committee

She was named for the position after voting by the AIBA’s board of directors.

Six-time world champion M C Mary Kom has been picked as the chairperson of the International Boxing Association's (AIBA) champions and veterans committee, a panel created last year by the world body as part of its reforms.

The 37-year-old 2012 Olympic bronze-medallist was named for the position after voting by the AIBA’s board of directors.

“With great pleasure I inform you that you have been selected to serve as the chairperson of the AIBA Champions and Veteran Committee following the mail vote by the board of directors of AIBA,” AIBA President Umar Kremlev said in a letter to the decorated boxer, who has been a brand ambassador of the body on several occasions.

 “I am confident with your vast knowledge and experience you will make a valuable contribution to the success of this important committee,” he added.

The committee, formed in December last year, “consists of most respected worldwide boxing veterans and champions who have achieved significant results and who are ready to share their experience.” The other members of the panel are not yet known.

Mary Kom is currently in Spain to compete in the Boxam International Tournament in Castellon and she expressed her gratitude for the honour in a tweet.

7. Just 1 % of Fortune 500 companies led by Black chief executives: World Economic Forum

Wipro has joined the Partnering for Racial Justice in Business initiative.

Just 1 % of Fortune 500 companies are led by Black chief executives, Managing Director at the World Economic Forum (WEF), Saadia Zahidi said.

Bengaluru-headquartered information technology services major Wipro Limited on Wednesday announced that it has joined the Partnering for Racial Justice in Business initiative launched by the WEF to promote a culture of diversity, inclusion, equity and justice for people of all racial backgrounds in the workplace.

"With just 1 % of Fortune 500 companies led by Black chief executives, the need to tackle racial under- representation in business is urgent and obvious," Ms. Zahidi was quoted as saying in a Wipro statement.

To design racially and ethnically just workplaces, companies must confront racism at a systemic level, addressing not just the structural and social mechanics of their own organisations, but also the role they play in their communities and the economy at large, she said.

"The 'Partnering for Racial Justice in Business initiative' provides an effective platform for businesses to take individual and collective action towards racially and ethnically just workplaces," Ms. Zahidi said.

Wipro said the initiative is aimed towards driving action and accountability for companies to confront racism at a systemic level, set new global standards for racial justice in business and accomplish necessary policy changes for inclusion and advancement of professionals with under-represented racial and ethnic identities.

Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Wipro Limited, Thierry Delaporte, said, "Without a doubt, we must be inclusive in our hiring process, create new platforms to engage with employees and alleviate existing racial tensions, encourage racial empathy, and cultivate a fully inclusive and welcoming workplace."

8. Bharat Biotech says COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin shows 81% efficacy in Phase 3 clinical trials

India had approved the vaccine, branded Covaxin, in January without late-stage efficacy data, raising questions about its effectiveness

Covaxin has demonstrated high clinical efficacy trend against COVID-19 as well as significant immunogenicity against the rapidly emerging variants, CMD Krishna Ella said.

A statement from Bharat Biotech, which developed the vaccine in collaboration with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), said 25,800 participants between 18-98 years of age were enrolled for the Phase 3 study. It included 2,433 over the age of 60 and 4,500 with comorbidities.

The first interim analysis is based on 43 cases, of which 36 cases of COVID-19 were observed in the placebo group versus seven cases observed in the Covaxin group, resulting in a point estimate of vaccine efficacy of 80.6%.

The interim analysis included a preliminary review of the safety database, which showed that severe, serious, and medically attended adverse events occurred at low levels and were balanced between vaccine and placebo groups. The trial's conduct and monitoring are as per Good Clinical Practice guidelines and have been outsourced to IQVIA.

A  release said analysis from the National Institute of Virology indicates that vaccine-induced antibodies can neutralize the UK variant strains and other heterologous strains.
Noting that the vaccine demonstrated the interim efficacy in preventing COVID-19 in those without prior infection after the second dose, the company said the 25,800 participants received a vaccine or placebo in a 1:1 ratio. Clinical trials will continue through to final analysis at 130 confirmed cases in order to gather further data and to evaluate the efficacy of Covaxin in additional secondary study endpoints.

Mr.Ella said, “Today is an important milestone in vaccine discovery, for science and our fight against coronavirus. With today’s results from our Phase 3 clinical trials, we have now reported data on our COVID-19 vaccine from Phase 1, 2, and 3 trials involving around 27,000 participants.”

Covaxin (BBV152) contains a whole virion inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, which is produced in Vero cells. It is based on an established manufacturing platform with a better safety profile when compared to other vaccine platforms, the release said.

It is one of the two vaccines approved for use in the country thus far and is being used as part of the immunisation programme rolled out on January 16, starting with the frontline healthcare workers. The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) had given the emergency use authorisation for the vaccine in clinical trial mode.

9. PM salutes all those working towards wildlife protection on World Wildlife Day

The Prime Minister said, “On #WorldWildlifeDay, I salute all those working towards wildlife protection. Be it lions, tigers and leopards, India is seeing a steady rise in the population of various animals. We should do everything possible to ensure protection of our forests and safe habitats for animals.”

10. Dr Harsh Vardhan releases WHO’s World Report on Hearing: 3 March
Observing World Hearing Day

“National Programme for Prevention and Control of Deafness will target over 6% of India’s population with Disabling Hearing Loss”

On the World Hearing Day,Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare as Chairman of Executive Board of WHO released WHO’s World Report on Hearing.

To underscore the importance of ear health, Dr Harsh Vardhan referred to a 2018 WHO report which observed that 2% of India's population, mainly children, suffer from the condition of Otitis Media. He observed, “So prevalent is the condition that some people even consider it natural for a child's ears to discharge.” He also highlighted other problems like hearing loss due to high noise levels at workplaces and on the roads, hearing loss due to the use of ototoxic medicines and chemicals, the dangers of loud music and unsafe listening to people's hearing health (with over 750 million smart phone users in India).

11. PM addresses webinar on effective implementation of Budget provisions regarding education sector

Budget expands the efforts made to link Education with Employability and Entrepreneurial Capabilities: PM

The Prime Minister,  Shri Narendra Modi addressed a webinar on effective implementation of Budget provisions regarding the Education sector.

Addressing the webinar, the Prime Minister pointed out that to build a self-reliant India, confidence of the youth of the country is equally important. Confidence comes only when the youth has complete faith in their education and knowledge. Confidence comes only when they realize that their studies are giving them the opportunity to do their work and also the necessary skills. He said that the new National Education Policy has been made with this thinking. He stressed the need to implement all the provisions of the National Education Policy from pre-nursery to PhD quickly and said that the Budget will be of immense help in this regard.

The Prime Minister said the second biggest focus after health in this year's budget is on education, skill, research and innovation. He called for a better synergy between Colleges and Universities of the country. He said the emphasis placed in this budget on skill development, upgradation and apprenticeship is unprecedented. This budget has further expanded the efforts made to link Education with Employability and Entrepreneurial Capabilities over the years. As a result of these efforts, he said, today India has come in the top three countries in terms of scientific publications, number of PhD scholars and start-up ecosystem. He said India has joined the top 50 ranks in Global Innovation Index and is continuously improving. He said new opportunities are growing for the students and young scientists with the constant focus on higher education, research and innovation.

The Prime Minister said for the first time, the focus is on issues ranging from Atal Tinkering Labs in schools to Atal Incubation Centers in higher institutions. A new tradition of Hackathons for start ups has been created in the country, which is becoming a huge force for both the youth and industry of the country. He further informed that through the National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovation, more than 3500 start ups are being nurtured. Similarly, under the   National SuperComputing Mission, three supercomputers: Param Shivay, Param Shakti and Param Bramha have been established in IIT BHU, IIT-Kharagpur and IISER, Pune. He informed that more than a dozen institutes in the country are proposed to get such supercomputers. Three Sophisticated Analytical and Technical Help Institutes (SATHI) are serving from  IIT Kharagpur, IIT Delhi and BHU, he said.

The Prime Minister said with the thinking that restricting knowledge and research is a great injustice to the country's potential, many avenues in sectors like space, atomic energy, DRDO and agriculture are being opened for talented youth. He said for the first time, the country has met the international standards related to Metrology which leads to R&D and improving our Global Competency a lot. Geo-spatial data has been opened up recently and this would lead to immense opportunity for the space sector and the youth of the country. The entire ecosystem will benefit immensely. He said the National Research Foundation is being built for the first time in the country. 50 thousand crore rupees have been allocated for this. This will strengthen the governance structure of the research related institutions and will improve linkages between R&D, academia and industry. The Prime Minister said, more than 100 per cent increase in Biotechnology research is indicative of the Government’s priorities. He called for increasing the scope of Biotechnology research in the service of food security, nutrition and agriculture.

Noting the demand for Indian talent, the Prime Minister emphasized the need for mapping of skill sets and preparing the youth accordingly through adoption of best practices, inviting international campuses and industry ready skill upgradation. Ease of Doing Apprenticeship Program envisaged in this Budget will be of great benefit for the youth of the country, The Prime Minister said.

Shri Modi said Future Fuel and Green Energy are essential for our self reliance on Energy. For this Hydrogen Mission announced in the Budget is a serious pledge. He informed that India has tested Hydrogen vehicle and called for concerted efforts for making hydrogen as a fuel for transport and to make ourselves industry ready for this.

The Prime Minister said the new National Education Policy has encouraged the use of more and more local language. He added now it is the responsibility of all the academics, experts of every language, how the best content of the country and the world should be prepared in Indian languages. This is completely possible in this era of technology. National Language Translation Mission proposed in the Budget will go a long way in this regard, he asserted.

12. PM Modi inaugurates Maritime India Summit 2021

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday inaugurated ‘Maritime India Summit 2021’ through video conferencing.

Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister invited the world to come to India and be a part of India’s growth trajectory. India is very serious about growing in the maritime sector and emerging as a leading Blue Economy of the world. Through the focus areas of upgradation of infrastructure, boosting reform journey, India aims to strengthen the vision of Aatamnirbhar Bharat,  he said.

He noted that instead of a piecemeal approach focus is on the entire sector as one. He informed that capacity of major ports have increased from 870 million tonnes in 2014 to 1550 million tonnes now.  Indian ports now have measures such as: Direct port Delivery, Direct Port Entry and an upgraded Port Community System (PCS) for easy data flow. Our ports have reduced waiting time for inbound and outbound cargo. He also informed that mega ports with world class infrastructure are being developed in Vadhavan, Paradip and Deendayal Port in Kandla.

The Prime Minister said that the Government has recently widened the ambit of the maritime sector by renaming the Ministry of Shipping as Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways so that work happens in a holistic manner. The Government of India is also focusing on the domestic ship building and ship repair market. To encourage domestic shipbuilding approval has been given to the Shipbuilding Financial Assistance Policy for Indian Shipyards.

The Prime Minister informed that the Ministry of Port Shipping and Waterways has created a list of 400 investable  projects. These projects have an investment potential of $ 31 billion or Rs 2.25 lakh crores. Talking about the Maritime  India Vision 2030, The Prime Minister said It outlines the priorities of the Government.

The Sagar-Manthan: Mercantile  Marine  Domain Awareness Centre has also been launched today. It is an information system for enhancing maritime  safety, search and rescue capabilities, security and marine environment protection.

The Sagarmala project for promoting port led development was announced by the Government in 2016. As part of the Programme, more than 574 projects at a cost of 82 billion US Dollars or Rs 6 lakh crores have been identified for implementation during 2015 to 2035. Ship repair clusters will be developed along both coasts by 2022. Domestic ship recycling industry will also be promoted to create 'Wealth from Waste'. India has enacted Recycling of Ships Act, 2019 and agreed to the Hong Kong International Convention.

The Prime Minister expressed the desire  to share our best practices with the world and also the openness to learning  from global best practices. Continuing with India’s focus on trade and economic linkages with the BIMSTEC and IOR nations, India plans to enhance investment in infrastructure and facilitate mutual agreements by 2026, he said.

13. U.S., EU impose sanctions on Russia for Navalny poisoning, jailing

The United States on Tuesday imposed sanctions to punish Russia for what it described as Moscow’s attempt to poison opposition leader Alexei Navalny with a nerve agent last year, in President Joe Biden’s most direct challenge yet to the Kremlin.

The sanctions against seven senior Russian officials, among them the head of its FSB security service, and on 14 entities marked a sharp departure from former President Donald Trump’s reluctance to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin. Biden stopped short, however, of putting sanctions on Putin himself.

Navalny, 44, fell ill on a flight in Siberia in August and was airlifted to Germany, where doctors concluded he had been poisoned with a nerve agent. The Kremlin has denied any role in his illness and said it had seen no proof he was poisoned.

Navalny was arrested in January on his return from Germany following treatment for poisoning with what many Western countries say was a military-grade nerve agent. He was jailed on Feb. 2 for parole violations on what he says were politically motivated charges, and sent to a penal colony on Monday.

“The intelligence community assesses with high confidence that officers of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) used a nerve agent to poison Russian opposition leader Alexi Navalny,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, discussing the steps.

Among those identified for sanctions by the U.S. Treasury Department were Alexander Bortnikov, director of the FSB; Andrei Yarin, chief of the Kremlin’s domestic policy directorate; and deputy ministers of defense Alexei Krivoruchko and Pavel Popov.

Synopsis

National

Need to work on mission mode to overcome language barriers for allowing talent to flourish: PM

New Delhi: PM Narendra Modi said work needs to be done on a mission mode to overcome linguistic barriers in the education system so that the talent of those from rural areas and the poor is allowed to flourish.

Two IISc students die on campus

: Two students of the Indian Institute of Science (IISC) died on campus in separate incidents, the institute said here on Wednesday.

People's trust, affection for Modi endure: BJP on Gujarat local poll win

The BJP on Wednesday cited its sweeping victory and the Congress'' rout in Gujarat local body polls to assert that farmers have voted for reforms brought in by the Modi government and rejected the opposition campaign on the issue as well as on LPG price.

 

International

Pak's COVID-19 death toll crosses 13,000

Islamabad: Pakistan's COVID-19 death toll crossed 13,000 on Wednesday after 75 fatalities were reported in the last 24 hours, according to the health ministry.

London Mayor sets tough emissions fines for large polluting vehicles

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has tightened the city-wide Low Emission Zone (LEZ) rules, which means that heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), buses and coaches that fail to meet emissions standards will be hit with a daily charge of up to 300 pounds.

Reports: Myanmar security forces kill at least 6 protesters

Myanmar security forces shot and killed at least six people on Wednesday, according to accounts on social media and local news reports, as authorities extend their lethal crackdown on protests against last month''s coup.

Rwanda receives 1st batch of COVID-19 vaccines

Rwanda on Wednesday received its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines from the global COVAX initiative, with shots set to begin on Friday for the most vulnerable citizens in the country of 12 million people.

Trump's cash plea could complicate GOP fundraising efforts

Trump needs you, one fundraising email implored.

 

Business

Sensex, Nifty spurt over 2 pc on global rally, positive macro data

Mumbai: Continuing their winning run for the third session in a row, the BSE Sensex surged nearly 1,148 points to breach the 51,000-level and the NSE Nifty recaptured the 15,200-mark, propped up by intense buying in financial and energy stocks.

World shares gain ahead of US jobs tally, Fed chair comments

Stocks are higher in Europe and Asia after a wobbly day on Wall Street, when the S&P 500 gave back most of its gains from a day earlier. Benchmarks rose Wednesday in Paris, London, Tokyo and Shanghai. US futures also advanced. Investors have taken heart from an easing in bond yields that has alleviated worries over possible interest rate hikes. The yield on the 10-year Treasury inched down to 1.40 per cent early Wednesday. But expectations for stronger economic growth in coming months continue to fuel worries that interest rates will head higher.

Gold prices fall Rs 208; silver up by Rs 602

Gold prices on Wednesday fell by Rs 208 to Rs 44,768 per 10 gm in the national capital, in line with bleak trend in the international market, according to HDFC Securities.

Govt can cut excise duty on petrol, diesel by Rs 8.5 a litre without hurting revenues

The government has room to cut excise duty on petrol and diesel by up to Rs 8.5 per litre without impacting its target for revenue from the tax on the two fuels, analysts said.

HDFC to raise up to Rs 5,000 cr via bonds

Mortgage lender HDFC Ltd on Wednesday said it will raise up to Rs 5,000 crore by issuing non convertible debentures (NCDs) on a private placement basis.

Sensex zooms 1,148 pts, Nifty tops 15,200; financials steal the show

Mumbai: Continuing their winning run for the third session in a row, the BSE Sensex surged nearly 1,148 points to breach the 51,000-level and the NSE Nifty recaptured the 15,200-mark, propped up by intense buying in financial and energy stocks.

Need of the hour is to reduce logistics cost: Goyal

Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday said the need of the hour is to reduce logistics cost in the country as India cannot be competitive if this cost remains high.

 

Legal

Bhima Koregaon case: SC seeks response of NIA on bail plea of activist Navlakha

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Wednesday sought a response from the National Investigation Agency on the bail plea of activist Gautam Navlakha in the alleged Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case.

Taken away for alleged cruelty, court hand over dogs to their owner

Taken away for alleged cruelty meted out to them, a Delhi court has handed back the custody of two Golden Retriever dogs to their owner saying it would be unjustified to deprive him of the companionship and custody of his pets .

Bail granted to MLA, DYFI leaders

In less than 24 hours of remanding them to judicial custody in a 2009 case, a court here on Wednesday granted bail to CPI-M leader andMLA T V Rajesh and two Democratic Youth Federation of India leaders, including its all India president Muhammed Riyaz.

SC to hear anticipatory bail plea of Amazon Prime Video's India head on Thursday

The Supreme Court would hear on Thursday the plea of Amazon Prime Video''s India head Aparna Purohit challenging the Allahabad High Court order rejecting her anticipatory bail in connection with the FIRs lodged against her over web series ''Tandav''.

HC asks Amazon to take down film over actor's defamation case

The Bombay High Court has directed OTT platform Amazon to take down a Telugu movie until the makers of the film deleted a scene in which a city-based actor''s photograph was allegedly used without prior permission.

 

Entertainment

Love story is dead in Hindi cinema: Karan Johar

Mumbai: Filmmaker Karan Johar, the man behind popular love story "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai", says the romance genre, which dominated the 1990s, has completely vanished from Bollywood today as the audience is not invested in watching such stories on the big screen.

Alec Baldwin boards disaster movie 'Supercell'

Veteran Hollywood star Alec Baldwin will feature in upcoming disaster movie "Supercell".

Nicole Kidman, Cynthia Erivo to feature in Apple anthology series 'Roar'

Apple TV Plus has green lit a new anthology series which will feature a star-studded cast of Nicole Kidman, Cynthia Erivo Allison Brie and Merritt Wever.

Singer Harshdeep Kaur, husband Mankeet Singh welcome baby boy

Singer Harshdeep Kaur and husband Mankeet Singh on Wednesday announced that they have become parents to a baby boy.

Sushmita Sen begins filming for 'Aarya 2' in Jaipur

Actor Sushmita Sen on Wednesday said that she has started shooting for season two of her web series "Aarya" in Jaipur. The Disney+ Hotstar series, which released in June last year, is an official remake of the popular Dutch crime-drama "Penoza".


Sports

Too much noise about spin-friendly tracks: Kohli

Ahmedabad: Stop the noise, tighten up that defence and get on with the game - a combative Indian skipper Virat Kohli said ahead of the 4th and final Test against England as he navigated persistent queries on the spin-friendly tracks in the country.

Report: No fans from abroad for postponed Tokyo Olympics

The postponed Tokyo Olympics look like they will take place without any fans from abroad when they open in just under five months.

Kapil Dev receives first dose of COVID-19 vaccine

Indian cricket legend Kapil Dev on Wednesday received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a renowned city hospital here.

Rahul retains second spot, Kohli climbs to 6th in ICC T20I rankings

India''s KL Rahul maintained his second position while his captain Virat Kohli gained one spot to be at sixth in the latest ICC T20 International rankings for batsmen issued on Wednesday.

Kohli bats for rotation policy in age of bio-bubbles

India skipper Virat Kohli feels rotation policy is the way forward in the age of bio-bubbles as mental fatigue caused by restrictive quarantines will make it extremely difficult for players to stay hungry. England have been following a rotation policy in their ongoing tour of India, something that has drawn criticism from legends such as Kevin Pietersen.


LAST MONTHS G.K.

January 22 : 18, 18, 01

December 21 : 30, 29, 28, 27, 25, 24, 23, 22, 22, 21, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 08, 07, 06, 06, 04, 03, 02, 01

November 21 : 20, 18, 18, 18, 17, 17, 11, 10, 09, 09, 08, 06, 03, 02, 01

October 21 : 24, 23, 21, 20, 19, 18, 16, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 08, 08, 07, 06, 04, 01

September 21 : 07, 04, 03, 02, 01

August 21 : 11, 10

July 21 : 10, 10, 09, 09, 08, 06, 05, 03, 02, 01

June 21 : 08, 07, 07, 05, 04, 03, 02, 01

May 21 : 29, 28, 27, 25, 24, 23, 22, 20, 19, 18, 17, 17, 14, 13, 11, 10, 10, 08, 07, 06, 05, 04, 03, 01

April 21 : 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 09, 08, 08, 07, 05, 03, 02, 01

March 21 : 18, 17, 16, 15, 13, 12, 10, 10, 09, 08, 05, 04, 03, 02, 01

February 21 : 27, 26, 25, 24, 23, 22, 21, 20, 19, 18, 15, 13, 12, 12, 11, 10, 08, 06, 03, 01

January 21 : 27, 25, 23, 22, 21, 20, 19, 18, 16, 15, 14, 12, 11, 09, 08, 07, 06, 05

December 20 : 30, 29, 28, 24, 21, 18, 17, 15, 11, 07, 03, 01

November 20 : 24, 20, 19, 18, 12, 11, 10, 09, 08, 07, 06, 05, 04, 03, 02

October 20 : 31, 30, 29, 29, 27, 26, 23, 22, 21, 20, 19, 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 09, 08, 08, 07, 06, 06, 03, 02, 01

September 20 : 30, 29, 29, 26, 25, 24, 23, 22, 21, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 12, 11, 10, 09, 09, 08, 07, 05, 04, 03, 02, 01

August 20 : 31, 29, 28, 27, 26, 25, 24, 22, 21, 20, 19, 18, 17, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 10, 08, 07, 06, 05, 04, 03, 01

July 20 : 31, 30, 29, 28, 27, 25, 24, 23, 22, 21, 20, 18, 17, 14, 13, 10, 09, 09, 08, 07, 06, 04, 03, 02, 01

June 20 : 30, 27, 26, 24, 23, 22, 20, 19, 18, 18, 17, 16, 13, 12, 11, 10, 09, 06, 05, 04, 03, 02, 01

May 20 : 30, 29, 28, 26, 25, 23, 22, 22, 22, 22, 22, 16, 14, 13, 11, 09, 08, 07, 07, 05, 04, 02, 01

April 20 : 30, 28, 27, 25, 24, 23, 22, 21, 20, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 11, 10, 09, 08, 07, 07, 07, 04, 03, 02, 01

March 20 : 31, 27, 26, 25, 24, 22, 21, 19, 18, 17, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 09, 07, 06, 05, 04, 04, 03, 02

February 20 : 29, 28, 28, 26, 25, 24, 21, 20, 19, 18, 11

January 20 : 13