After Wheat and Rice Curbs, India may Ban Sugar Exports; BRICS Admits Iran and Five Others
Cong wants HP declared natural calamity, TB drugs scarce as Centre cuts states adrift, Wrestling Fed of India suspended, doctors rebel against generics, animals of the Baburnama
A newsletter from The Wire | Founded by MK Venu, Seema Chishti, Siddharth Varadarajan, Sushant Singh, Sidharth Bhatia and Tanweer Alam | With inputs from Kalrav Joshi and Anirudh SK | Editor: Pratik Kanjilal
Snapshot of the day
August 24, 2023
Chandrayaan-3’s Pragyan rover has rolled out onto the surface of the moon, after a brief wait to let the dust of the landing settle. The lander is also sending back pictures. The south polar region, where Chandrayaan-3 is the pioneer, is scientifically rewarding to explore because it is expected to have reserves of water ice, a valuable resource and a possible marker of life. It may be recalled that Chandrayaan-1 had detected water molecules and hydroxyl radicals on the moon.
Pragg, on the other hand, had to accept the reality of defeat in the face of World Chess No. 1 Magnus Carlsen of Norway. The 18 year old R. Praggnanandhaa came second, losing in the final tie break, but beating some real heavyweights along the way.
PTI reports that KC Venugopal of the Congress has attacked PM Modi for hypocritically taking away the limelight from ISRO scientists after Chandrayaan-3 landed. He said that HEC engineers who worked on the launch have not been paid wages for 17 months, and the mission budget was cut by 32%. The government’s insistence on showing viewers Modi’s mug during ISRO’s live telecast also robbed Indians of the thrill of seeing the lander’s dashboard register 0.0 metres, signifying actual touchdown.
BRICS has invited Argentina, Egypt, Iran, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia and the UAE to join up. Expansion of the group comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa has been the main talking point at the Johannesburg summit, and all favour expansion. Reuters quoted a BRICS country official as saying there were last minute wrinkles over the “admission criteria India's Modi proposed [incuding] requiring members not be the target of international sanctions, ruling out potential candidates Iran and Venezuela… [and] a minimum per capita GDP requirement.” "These are the things Modi brought in today," the official said. "So they are becoming a little bit of a spoiler." But Iran’s admission means the ‘no sanctions’ criterion was obviously dropped.
The South African news site Daily Maverick claims to have been the target of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack originating from an array of Indian servers, shortly after it ran a story claiming that PM Modi had refused to deplane in a fit of pique. The story – which South African officials have denied on the record – said he felt slighted because the South African government had sent a mere cabinet minister to greet him, though President Cyril Ramaphosa had personally received Chinese President Xi Jinping. To protect itself, the news site blocked Indian domains, which was, ironically, exactly what the alleged attacker desired.
Yesterday, The Hindu reported that the records of lakhs of previous RTI applications have vanished from the Union government’s RTIOnline portal. An activist told The Wire that this amounts to “removing government orders”. RTIOnline is the platform through which citizens seek access to public information and records from the Union government. Today, a banner has appeared on the site which says “Portal is under maintenance. Archival Data (Before 2022) will be available soon. And the archival data will be plugged into the present provided reports.” Perhaps all’s well that ends well.
Undeterred by the Nuh administration’s orders denying permission for its ‘Brajmandal Yatra’, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad has decided to continue the procession – which in part triggered deadly communal violence in Haryana just weeks ago. ‘There are already two cases registered against me and I am ready for another one’, a member said.
Heavy rain has set off more landslides in Himachal Pradesh, and 200 more roads are closed. The Congress has urged the Union government to declare the battering that the state has taken from excessive rain as a natural calamity and award a Rs 10,000 crore relief package.
Manipur IAS officer Ng Roben Singh has been suspended for refusing the office of district commissioner of Jiribam. A Meitei, he has reservations about serving in a Kuki area.
Staying true to its word, United World Wrestling has suspended the Wrestling Federation of India over constant delays to its elections. This means that in the world championships in Serbia next month, Indian athletes cannot play under the national flag, and our anthem will not be played in the event of a win.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has identified Trinamool Congress General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee as a top executive of a company with questionable dealings. Also on board was Sujay Krishna Bhadra, who was arrested in May for his role in the West Bengal school job scam.
The agency also searched over three dozen locations in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand – both ruled by Opposition parties – reportedly in connection with the alleged liquor scam in the former state. Two OSDs and a political advisor to Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel were among those raided. ‘Thank you [Modi and Shah] for the priceless birthday gift’, Baghel responded by saying.
After raising global prices of rice by curtailing exports, India may now set sugar prices alight by banning exports in the next season, beginning in October, in reaction to low yield due to an uncertain monsoon, reports Deccan Herald.
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the medical bail plea of Shoma Sen, professor of English literature and Bhima Koregaon detenu, who has been behind bars without trial for five years.
Pakistani e-commerce influencer Sunny Ali spun dreams — thousands of dollars from Amazon sales, a billion dollar economy… Now, the dream has crumbled, and scores want their money back. Restofworld.org reports on how a hustlepreneur went terribly wrong.
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