Insights that Echo Beyond the Echo Chamber


The Hindu Morning Digest, December 18, 2023

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Centre sets up secure e-mail for 10,000 users in critical ministries

In the wake of cyberattacks, the Centre has set up a secure e-mail set-up for 10,000 users in critical ministries and departments, a senior government official said. The e-mail system that works on Zero Trust Authentication (ZTA) has been designed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC). Recently, senior officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) held a meeting to discuss the provisions of the secure e-mail set-up. The 10,000 emails span across 17 union ministries and departments.

Revoke suspension of 13 Opposition MPs, Congress’ Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury writes to Lok Sabha Speaker

Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on December 17 wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and urged him to revoke the suspension of 13 Opposition Members of Parliament, while reiterating their demand for a statement from Home Minister Amit Shah on the December 13 security breach. Mr. Birla, in a letter to all MPs on Saturday, had clarified that the suspension of the Opposition members had nothing to do with the security breach but was to maintain the decorum of the House since they brought placards into the Well of the House.

SCs were never counted in Andaman and Nicobar, now a parliamentary committee sits up and takes notice

Nearly 20 years after the never-accounted-for Dalit population of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands was clubbed with the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category by the Union Territory administration, and a decade after the Centre did the same, a parliamentary committee has now called for a special panel to evaluate the issues faced by the Scheduled Castes in particular, and ensure their representation in services in the islands. 

Kashi Tamil Sangamam strengthening idea of ‘Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat’, says Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 17 said in Varanasi that Kashi and Tamil Nadu share an emotional and creative bond since time immemorial, adding that through the Kashi Tamil Sangamam the idea of ‘Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat’ is getting strengthened. “Reaching Kashi from Tamil Nadu means coming from Madurai Meenakshi to Kashi Visalakshi. The emotional bond shared by the people of Kashi and Tamil Nadu is unique in many ways,” said Mr. Modi, addressing the inaugural ceremony of the second edition of Kashi Tamil Sangamam at Namo Ghat. The Prime Minister started his speech by greeting the guests from Tamil Nadu with ‘Vanakkam Kashi, Vanakkam Tamil Nadu’, and added that reaching Kashi from Tamil Nadu meant coming from one house of Mahadev to the other.

Winter Session enters last week, impasse continues

As Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla maintained that the suspension of 13 MPs from the Lok Sabha had nothing to with the security breach, but was for showing placards in the House, the Opposition parties have decided to review their floor strategies on Monday, amid the continuing stand-off in Parliament. The Winter Session will conclude on Friday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also took a strong view of the security breach and said it is necessary to go to the root of the people behind the episode and their motives.

Nine killed in blast in explosives manufacturing company in Nagpur

At least nine persons, including six women, were killed and three others seriously injured when a powerful blast ripped through an explosives manufacturing factory in the rural part of Nagpur district in Maharashtra on Sunday. According to police authorities, the blast took place at 9 a.m. in a cast booster unit of Solar Industries India Ltd. at Bazaargaon, around 60 km away from Nagpur. Twelve labourers were said to be present when the explosion occurred.

Mamata to meet PM a day after INDIA alliance meet

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday left for a three-day trip to New Delhi where she is likely to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday (December 20). The Trinamool Congress chairperson also said that she would attend the meeting of the Opposition INDIA alliance on Tuesday (December 19).

Bhutan to have 1,000-sq. km. green city along Assam border ‘connecting South Asia to Southeast Asia’

Bhutan plans to build a massive “international city” in an area of over 1,000 sq. km. on its border with Assam, Bhutanese King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck announced to applause from a packed audience of 30,000 at the Changlimathang stadium in Thimpu on December 17, pitching the project as an “economic corridor connecting South Asia with Southeast Asia via India’s northeastern States”. 

Putin warns of ‘problems’ with Finland after NATO membership

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned of “problems” with neighbouring Finland after it joined NATO earlier this year, saying Moscow will create a new military district in north-west Russia in response, in an interview published on December 17. Finland, which shares a 1,340-kilometre border with Russia, joined NATO in April this year in the midst of Moscow’s Ukraine offensive. “They (the West) dragged Finland into NATO. Did we have any disputes with them? All disputes, including territorial ones in the mid-20th century, have long been solved,” Mr. Putin told a state TV reporter.

Global coal demand expected to decline by 2026: IEA report

Despite reaching an all-time high in production this year, global coal demand is expected to decline by 2026, said a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA). While this decline is expected to be due to a shift towards renewables and plateauing demand from China, India would remain the “driving force” for the fuel until that year. The report, released on December 15, sees the global demand for coal rising by 1.4% in 2023, surpassing 8.5 billion tonnes for the first time. This increase however masks stark differences among regions. While demand in the European Union and United States is expected to drop 20% each, it is expected to rise 8% in India and 5% in China in 2023 due to demand for electricity and diminished electrical generation from hydropower.

Ishan Kishan pulls out of SA Test series, Bharat named replacement

Indian team’s premier wicketkeeper-batter Ishan Kishan will not be a part of the upcoming two-Test series against South Africa as he has flown back home due to personal reasons. Kona Bharat, who is currently in South Africa as India ‘A’ skipper, has been inducted into the main squad.

Under-19 Asia Cup | Bangladesh crushes UAE to lift trophy

Wicketkeeper-batter Ashiqur Rahman Shibli continued his splendid run with a second century in five matches as Bangladesh crushed UAE by 195 runs to win the Under-19 Asia Cup in Dubai on December 17. Opening the batting, Ashiqur smashed 12 fours and one six in his knock of 129 (149 balls) as Bangladesh posted 282/8 after hosts UAE opted to field.


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