Today News Diary on 5 March 2021


1. EAM Dr. Jaishankar inaugurates new Cultural Centre of High Commission of India in Dhaka
2. Bangladesh launches national app portal
3. China sets economic growth target ‘above 6%’ for 2021, defense budget to be hiked by 6.8%
4. IISc among top 100 natural sciences universities in world
5. FDI rises 40% to $51.47 billion in Apr-Dec 2020-21
6.High petrol, diesel prices burden on consumers; tax cut should be joint call of Centre, states: FM
7. Clashes erupt in Srinagar over house arrest of Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq
8. Japan to extend virus emergency for 2 weeks for Tokyo area
9. US condemns terrorists who seek to infiltrate across LoC
10. US: Russia blocks Syria chemical weapons use accountability
11. Ban Ki-moon asked to act on complaint against Beijing Games
12. Pacific quake sets off tsunami, threat lifts in New Zealand
13. India's forex reserves increase by USD 689 mn to USD 584.55 bn
14. Saudi asks India to use cheap oil it bought last year to cool prices
15. PNB Housing Finance, Yes Bank sign strategic co-lending pact for retail home loans
16. Kotak Mahindra Bank divests 10 pc stake in ECA Trading Services to its arm
17.Sharjeel moves HC, seeks quashing of FIR against him over speech
18. Centre's regulations don't have provisions to take action against digital platforms: SC
19. Court in dry Bihar awards death sentence to 9 in hooch case; 4 women get lifer
20.SC agrees to hear plea of Army officer's mother seeking repatriation of her son from Pakistan jail
21. Delhi riots: HC pulls up police for leakage of charge sheet to media before cognizance
22.Liverpool slumps to historic 5th straight loss at Anfield
23. England batsmen are frankly not good enough in Indian conditions, says Strauss
24. Barcelona defender Piqu out with right knee injury


Synopsis

National

High petrol, diesel prices burden on consumers; tax cut should be joint call of Centre, states: FM

New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman acknowledged that consumers have a case for petrol and diesel prices to be brought down but said a reduction in taxes to make that happen should be a joint call of the central and state governments.

Clashes erupt in Srinagar over house arrest of Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq

Clashes broke out in Srinagar on Friday as supporters of moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq pelted stones at security forces to protest the separatist leader''s house arrest since August 2019 following the abrogation of Article 370 provisions.

 

International

Japan to extend virus emergency for 2 weeks for Tokyo area

Tokyo: Japan''s government will extend a state of emergency in the Tokyo region for another two weeks because its medical systems are still strained by COVID-19 patients, the minister in charge of virus response said.

US condemns terrorists who seek to infiltrate across LoC

The US has condemned terrorists who seek to infiltrate across the Line of Control (LoC) between India and Pakistan, calling on all the parties to reduce tensions along the frontiers by returning to the 2003 ceasefire commitments between the two countries.

US: Russia blocks Syria chemical weapons use accountability

The United States accused Syrian President Bashar Assad and his close ally Russia on Thursday of trying to block all efforts to hold Damascus accountable for using chemical weapons during attacks on civilians.

Ban Ki-moon asked to act on complaint against Beijing Games

Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is being asked to rule on an ethics complaint filed against the International Olympic Committee by a human-rights group representing Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in China. Ban is the chairman of the IOC''s ethics commission.

Pacific quake sets off tsunami, threat lifts in New Zealand

Wellington, Mar 5 (AP) One of the strongest earthquakes to hit the South Pacific in modern history triggered tsunami warnings across the ocean and forced thousands of people in New Zealand to evacuate coastal areas Friday. Small tsunami waves were seen, but little damage was apparent hours later.


Business

India's forex reserves increase by USD 689 mn to USD 584.55 bn

Mumbai: India''s forex reserves increased for the second consecutive week, touching USD 584.554 billion as of February 26, up by USD 689 million, the Reserve Bank said.

Saudi asks India to use cheap oil it bought last year to cool prices

International oil prices rose after OPEC and its allies ignored India''s plea to ease production control, with Saudi Arabia asking New Delhi to instead use oil it bought at rock bottom rates last year.

PNB Housing Finance, Yes Bank sign strategic co-lending pact for retail home loans

PNB Housing Finance on Friday said it has tied up with Yes Bank for a strategic co-lending service that will facilitate retail home loans at competitive rates.

Kotak Mahindra Bank divests 10 pc stake in ECA Trading Services to its arm

Kotak Mahindra Bank on Friday said it has divested 10 per cent stake in ECA Trading Services to one of its subsidiaries for nearly Rs 2 crore.

China fixes over 6 per cent as target for GDP in 2021

China aims to expand its gross domestic product by over six per cent in 2021, with more efforts on reform, innovation and high-quality development, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced at the National People''s Congress, (NPC), the country''s Parliament on Friday.

 

Legal

Sharjeel moves HC, seeks quashing of FIR against him over speech

Activist Sharjeel Usmani has approached the Bombay HC seeking to quash an FIR registered against him by the Pune police for allegedly promoting enmity among different groups in his speech made at the Elgar Parishad event held in January this year.

Court in dry Bihar awards death sentence to 9 in hooch case; 4 women get lifer

Nine persons were awarded death sentence and four women were imprisoned for life by a court here on Friday in connection with a hooch tragedy that claimed close to 20 lives a few months after Bihar went dry.

SC agrees to hear plea of Army officer's mother seeking repatriation of her son from Pakistan jail

The Supreme Court Friday agreed to hear a plea filed by the mother of an Army officer seeking direction to the Centre to take immediate steps through diplomatic channel for repatriation of her son, who is lodged in jail in Pakistan for last over 23 years.

Delhi riots: HC pulls up police for leakage of charge sheet to media before cognisance

The Delhi High Court Friday pulled up the Delhi Police for leakage of supplementary charge sheet filed in case related to communal violence in northeast Delhi last year to the media even before cognisance was taken by the concerned court, saying an offence is made out of the incident.

 

Entertainment

Jeanne Tripplehorn to star opposite Chris Pratt in thriller series The Terminal List'

Actor Jeanne Tripplehorn has joined Chris Pratt, Constance Wu and Taylor Kitsch in Amazon''s conspiracy-thriller series "The Terminal List".

Aanand L Rai to venture into Marathi cinema with Paresh Mokashi's next film

Filmmaker Aanand L Rai on Friday announced his foray into Marathi cinema with "AatmaPamphlet".

You can always tell a film's intention: Awkwafina, Kelly Marie Tran on avoiding stereotypes

For actors Awkwafina and Kelly Marie Tran, it is important to look for layered characters and authentic references when they are offered a script focusing on the Asian community.

Sarah Niles joins 'Ted Lasso' season 2

Actor Sarah Niles has joined the second season of comedy "Ted Lasso" as a series regular. According to Variety, Niles will play the role of Sharon, a sports psychologist who has been brought in to work with AFC Richmond.

Fatima Sana Shaikh to star in Hindi remake of Tamil hit 'Aruvi'

Actor Fatima Sana Shaikh has been roped in to play the lead role in the the Hindi adaptation of 2017 Tamil blockbuster movie Aruvi , the producers announced on Friday.

'Fast & Furious 9' pushed to June 25

The ninth installment in the "Fast & Furious" action franchise will hit the theatres on June 25. Action star Vin Diesel shared the new release date of film via teaser he posted on


Sports

Liverpool slumps to historic 5th straight loss at Anfield

Five straight home losses for the first time in the club''s 128-year history. More than 10 hours since a goal from open play at Anfield.

England batsmen are frankly not good enough in Indian conditions, says Strauss

Former captain Andrew Strauss believes England batsmen are just not good enough to tackle the spin-friendly Indian conditions after yet another flop show by the visitors in the first innings of the ongoing fourth Test in Ahmedabad.

Barcelona defender Piqu out with right knee injury

Barcelona captain Gerard Piqu is facing another spell on the sidelines after spraining a ligament in his right knee, the club said Thursday.

 

News In Detail

1. EAM Dr. Jaishankar inaugurates new Cultural Centre of High Commission of India in Dhaka

A new cultural centre of the High Commission of India was inaugurated by the External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar in Dhaka on Thursday. It is the second cultural centre of the High Commission of India after the Dhanmondi centre at the Indira Gandhi Cultural Centre in Dhaka.

The new cultural centre has facilities for conducting short term courses on Indian art forms and holding cultural programmes and art-exhibitions. Inaugurating the cultural centre at the old India House Building Dr. Jaishankar said that the new centre will act as a centre of energy for the unique relations between India and Bangladesh. He said that the shared cultural heritage of the two countries is the strength of their partnership. Commending the opening of the second cultural centre, Dr. Jaishankar said that Dhaka is among the few cities in the world that hosts more than one Indian cultural centre.
 

2. Bangladesh launches national app portal

The Government of Bangladesh has launched its national app portal bdapps.com.
The agreement between the ICT division of the government of Bangladesh and the telecom company Robi was signed in Dhaka on Thursday.Through this agreement, BDApps will be established as the hub of the ICT division for application developers. Under the agreement, the ICT division will collaborate with bdapps to organise exclusive boot camps and software development events in the country.

Launching the app portal as the national app portal, ICT minister Zunaid Ahmed Palak said that app developers from any organisation can use this platform to upload their apps. He said that the ICT division will seek exemption on income tax for the developers and the abolition of VAT on apps.

The minister announced that training facilities of the ICT department will be extended to developers seeking to put their apps on the portal. BDApps is the largest mobile application platform in Bangladesh hosting more than 23,000 apps developed by 12,000 developers.


3. China sets economic growth target ‘above 6%’ for 2021, defense budget to be hiked by 6.8%

China has set an economic growth target of “above 6 per cent” for 2021, Premier Li Keqiang announced Friday at the National People’s Congress in Beijing. Li said while presenting the government work report that in view of the country’s economic recovery, this general target has been set. He further said, China will continue to face many development risks and challenges in 2021, but the economic fundamentals that will sustain long-term growth remain unchanged.
The International Monetary Fund forecast in January that China’s economy would grow by 8.1 per cent in 2021.

China, the second largest economy of the world, did not set an economic growth target in 2020 in a break from tradition, due to impact of COVID19.

 

China’s economy contracted by 6.8 per cent in the first quarter last year amid widespread lockdowns to contain the spread of Covid-19. But China’s economy rebounded and grew 2.3 per cent in 2020. The NPC session, which is held simultaneously with the annual meeting of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, known as the two sessions, is a window into China's policy priorities for the year.

The Government Work Report also set a slew of economic and social development goals for 2021, including creating 11 million new urban jobs, keeping CPI growth of around 3 percent and cutting energy consumption per unit of GDP by around 3 percent. Also indicating macro policies returning to certain level of normalcy, China has cut deficit-to-GDP ratio target to around 3.2 percent for 2021 from around estimated 3.7 percent last year. The country will no longer issue COVID-19 bonds as well.

In another major announcement, China’s planned defense spending will be about 1.35 trillion yuan (about 209 billion U.S. dollars), up by 6.8% from 2020, according to the draft submitted to the fourth session of the 13th National People's Congress for deliberation. China's defense budget for 2020 was 1.27 trillion yuan ($179 billion), up 6.6 percent from 2019. China has maintained a single-digit growth in its annual defense budget since 2016. China's defense spending is line with the overall level of economic development, Zhang Yesui, spokesperson for the fourth annual session of the 13th NPC, said at a press conference on Thursday.
The communiqué of the fifth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, held in Beijing in October 2020, made "making significant strides in the modernization of national defense and armed forces in the next five years" one of the main goals for the development of the economy and society in the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), and stressed that the development of the economy should go side-by-side with the strengthening of the military.
It was announced at the fifth plenary session that by the 100th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in 2027, the centennial goal of military development should be achieved, and by 2035, the country should have achieved modernization of the national defense and armed forces.


4. IISc among top 100 natural sciences universities in world

Only IITs Bombay, Delhi and Madras figure in top 100 in engineering and technology category. IITs Kharagpur, Kanpur drop out.

The Indian Institute of Science broke into the top 100 in the natural sciences category of the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021, which were released on Thursday.

With regard to specific subject rankings, there are two new entrants to the top 100 list: JNU’s anthropology programme and O.P. Jindal Global University’s law programme, which is also the only private institution on the list.

In the broad engineering and technology category, only three institutions made it to the top 100 — the IITS Bombay, Delhi and Madras — in comparison to five institutions last year. The IITs Kharagpur and Kanpur dropped out of the top 100 though the former is one of the government’s Institutes of Eminence (IoEs). The Bombay, Delhi and Madras IITs, which are also IoEs getting extra Central funding with the specific aim of rising in global rankings, have all dropped several places this year as well. In the other two broad categories, the University of Delhi was the highest ranked Indian institution in social sciences and management, but fell 48 places to drop out of the top 200. The All India Institute of Medical Sciences remained the only institution in the top 300 in life sciences and medicine, but also dropped more than 10 places.

Overall, 25 Indian programmes from 12 institutions made it to the top 100 in their specific subject areas, two fewer than in 2020. Two programmes from the IIT Bombay and one each from the IITs Madras and Kharagpur slipped out of the list. Only two of the IoE programmes in the top 100 subject-specific list improved their rankings this year. The top ranked Indian programme globally is the IIT Madras petroleum engineering which dropped one place to the 30th rank, followed by mineral and mining engineering at IITs Bombay and Kharagpur, which are ranked at 41st and 44th place in their field. The University of Delhi’s development studies programme is the only other one in the top 50, sliding in at the 50th rank.

Releasing the rankings at a virtual event, Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ said reforms brought in through the new National Education Policy would pave the way towards internationalisation of Indian education and also encourage the world’s top universities to open campuses in India.

“In the next two years, we will take the number [of institutions with programmes in the top 100] from 12 to 25,” said NITI Aayog chief executive Amitabh Kant at the event.

QS Head of Evaluation Leigh Kamolins noted that India had a good performance in COVID-19 research, ranking fifth in the world in terms of the number of published research papers on the pandemic.

The QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) World University Rankings by Subject use four indicators: academic reputation, employer reputation, research citation per paper and an index used to measure the productivity and impact of the published work of a scientist or scholar. Institutions are ranked according to five broad categories, as well as in 51 specific subjects.


5. FDI rises 40% to $51.47 billion in Apr-Dec 2020-21

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in India grew 40% to $51.47 billion during April-December 2020-21, according to government data released on Thursday.

India has attracted 22% higher FDI inflow (including re-invested earnings) of $67.54 billion during the first nine months of the current fiscal as against $55.14 billion in the same period of 2019-20. "FDI equity inflow grew by 40% in the first nine months of 2020-21 ($51.47 billion) compared to the year ago period ($36.77 billion)," the commerce and industry ministry said.

The inflows increased by 37% per cent in the third quarter (October-December 2020) of 2020-21 to $26.16 billion. In December, FDI surged 24% to $9.22 billion, the data showed.

The measures taken by the government on the fronts of FDI policy reforms, investment facilitation and ease of doing business have resulted in increased FDI inflows into the country, according to the ministry. The foreign inflows are a major driver of economic growth and an important source of non-debt finance for the economic development of India.

"The steps taken in this direction during the last six and a half years have borne fruit, as is evident from the ever-increasing volumes of FDI inflows being received into the country. Continuing on the path of FDI liberalisation and simplification, government has carried out FDI reforms across various sectors," the ministry said.

 


LAST MONTHS G.K.

June 22 : 26, 25, 24, 22, 19, 18, 17, 15, 15, 14, 13, 11, 10, 09, 08, 08, 07, 06, 05, 04, 04, 02, 01

May 22 : 31, 30, 29, 28, 27, 26, 25, 24, 23, 22, 21, 20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 09, 08, 07, 07, 06, 05, 04, 03, 02, 01

April 22 : 30, 29, 29, 27, 27, 25, 24, 23, 22, 20, 19, 18, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 09, 08, 08, 07, 06, 05, 04, 01

March 22 : 31, 30, 29, 28, 27, 26, 23, 22, 21, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 09, 08, 08, 07, 06, 05, 04, 03, 02, 01

February 22 : 24, 24, 15, 02, 01

January 22 : 25, 24, 22, 21, 20, 19, 18, 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, 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