7. ‘Will CBI probe Op Lotus?’
  • A clean chit claim: Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said he has answered all questions that the BJP posed to him about the excise policy and CVC report on classrooms. This came after CBI searched his lockers in a Ghaziabad bank. He told the Delhi Assembly that he has got a “clean chit” from CBI.
  • A counter probe demanded: “We have answered all questions of the Opposition. We can’t answer lies being thrown by them. I want [BJP president] JP Nadda to answer my three questions — when will CBI probe GST on food items like curd, lassi; source of money for operation lotus and Rs 1,400 crore money laundering by LG VK Saxena,” Sisodia said in the assembly.
  • Taint on LG: The ruling AAP has accused Saxena of pressuring two of his subordinates to get demonetised currency notes worth Rs 1,400 crore exchanged during his term as the Khadi and Village Industries Commission chairman in 2016.
  • Sisodia is among the 15 people and entities named in an FIR registered by the agency in connection with alleged irregularities in the implementation of Delhi government’s Excise Policy 2021-22.
  • Marshal in Assembly: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal moved a confidence motion on Tuesday in the Delhi Assembly. During the debate on the motion, Sisodia triggered a huge uproar by the BJP members by calling the Opposition party a party of “bachcha chor” referring to the arrest of a BJP corporator in a Mathura child abduction case. Deputy Speaker Rakhi Birlan marshalled out all BJP MLAs except Leader of Opposition Ramvir Singh Bidhuri, who also walked out in protest.
5 THINGS FIRST

GDP Q1 growth rate to be released; EAM Jaishankar on three-day visit to UAE; Telangana CM Chandrasekhar Rao to meet his Bihar counterpart Nitish Kumar in Patna; Ramon Magsaysay Award winners to be announced; Asia Cup 2022 – India Vs Hong Kong in Dubai

1. Another government takes refuge in resorts
1. Another government takes refuge in resorts
  • This time Jharkhand’s: Ruling parties, JMM and Congress, have moved their MLAs to Chhattisgarh to keep the Hemant Soren government safe. They accused the BJP of poaching their MLAs while reportedly shifting the legislators to Raipur’s Mayfair resort in the Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh.
  • The crisis has deepened for the JMM-Congress coalition government as the BJP has launched a campaign seeking CM Hemant Soren’s disqualification from the Assembly in an office of profit case. The Election Commission has reportedly recommended his disqualification in its reply to the governor’s query related to the office of profit issue in connection with a mining contract.
  • The ruling alliance MLAs met Soren at his residence in Ranchi before leaving in two buses and heading towards the airport. A chartered flight was on standby. The rounding-up of the MLAs had begun late last week when Soren was seen with 43 other MLAs with baggage to Khunti, about 30 km from Ranchi.
  • Unexpected? “This is not a surprising move. It happens in politics. We are ready to face any situation,” Soren was quoted as saying by news agency PTI after he saw off the MLAs at the airport.
  • Sword of disqualification hanging: Soren is facing disqualification from the assembly after the BJP moved a plea, accusing him of granting himself a mining lease while holding the mining portfolio in his government. The BJP has sought resignation of Soren and demanded fresh assembly polls in Jharkhand.
  • The Election Commission has already sent its opinion to the governor after holding hearings on the issue. The governor’s decision is expected soon.
  • Party position: Jharkhand Assembly is an 81-member house, with the JMM-Congress alliance having 49 MLAs. The JMM has 30 MLAs, the Congress 18, and RJD 1. The BJP has 26 MLAs.
2. How pandemic drove thousands to end lives
2. How pandemic drove thousands to end lives
The pandemic-induced economic slowdown, it appears, drove a large number poor and unemployed people to commit suicide in India. According to the latest report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), daily wage earners, self-employed and people involved in the farming sector were the top categories of people who killed themselves in 2021.

A disturbing trend

  • A total of 1,64,033 people have committed suicides in 2021 across the country. Of total 1,18,979 male suicides, maximum suicides were committed by daily wage earners (37,751) followed by self-employed persons (18,803) and unemployed persons (11,724), the report said.
  • A total of 45,026 females killed themselves during this period in the country.

Agri sector

  • A total of 10,881 persons involved in farming sector consisting of 5,318 farmers and cultivators and 5,563 agricultural labourers ended their lives in 2021, accounting for 6.6 per cent of total suicide victims in the country.
  • Majority of victims engaged in agri sector were reported in Maharashtra (37.3 per cent), Karnataka (19.9 percent), Andhra Pradesh (9.8 per cent), Madhya Pradesh (6.2 per cent) and Tamil Nadu (5.5 per cent).

Self-employed

  • The self-employed category accounted for 12.3 per cent of total suicide victims (20,231 out of 1,64,033).
  • A total of 64.2 per cent (1,05,242) of suicide victims in 2021 were having annual income of less than Rs 1 lakh; 31.6 per cent (51,812) of victims belong to annual income group of Rs 1 lakh-5 lakh.
3. What’s fueling Ganesh Chaturthi-Idgah tension in Karnataka?
3. What’s fueling Ganesh Chaturthi-Idgah tension in Karnataka?
  • Tension defused? The Supreme Court has refused permission for Ganesh Chaturthi rituals at Bengaluru’s Idgah Maidan and ordered a status quo in the matter. Earlier, the Karnataka High Court had granted permission for the same. A three-judge SC bench comprising Justices Indira Banerjee, AS Oka and MM Sundresh ordered status quo on a petition filed by theKarnataka Wakf Board challenging the high court order.
  • Back to HC: The SC sent the parties back to the Karnataka High Court for the resolution of the dispute. The controversy blew up after the Socialist Democratic Party of India (SDPI) announced that it will not allow Ganesh festival rituals at Idgah Maidan. The BJP
  • Twists and turns: It was on August 25 that a single-judge Karnataka HC bench had limited the use as a playground, for flag hoisting on Independence Day and Republic Day, and allowed Muslims to offer Ramzan and Bakrid prayers on only two days a year. The order was challenged by the state government and a division bench modified the order, permitting the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi.
  • What’s the dispute: It’s a 2.5-acre land in Bengaluru and contested by two parties over ownership. Two months ago, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) claimed the playground to be its property. But the Karnataka State Wakf Board claims its right over the property.
  • A map and a notification: A map of Bengaluru and documents — from 1871 and 1938 — show the land to have a Idgah and burial ground. There is a 1965-notification that the wakf board has cited. But the government has contested saying that the Board has staked its claim over the land after 57 years of the said notification, which is not binding on it.
  • And, there is an assembly election in Karnataka next year.
4. Finally, Congress has a presidential challenger?
4. Finally, Congress has a presidential challenger?
  • Who? Shashi Tharoor may run for the Congress president. His article in a Malayalam daily, Matrubhumi, sparked off a buzz that he might challenge a Gandhi family-backed candidate in the October-election.
  • Why? Tharoor, one of the most heard voices from the Congress, called for “free and fair election” for the Congress president’s post. He has not denied, when journalists asked him if he would contest the election. This is being seen as his move to take up the challenge that not too many Congressmen have fancied in the past against a Gandhi family member or a candidate backed by them.
  • What Tharoor said: In the article, Tharoor pointed to “the leadership vacuum at the top” saying it has had a damaging effect on the Congress. He cited the recent and the 2019 examples of the British Conservative Party’s internal election process calling for a multilateral contest for the Congress president’s post. He argued that a free and fair election within the Congress would increase national interest in the party and galvanise more voters towards it.
  • Timing: Tharoor’s advice to the party through a newspaper article has come days after Ghulam Nabi Azad, the leader of G-23, quit the Congress. Tharoor was a signatory to G-23, a dissenting group, that demanded free and fair election to the president’s post. Some of the signatories, including Kapil Sibal, have already resigned from the party.
  • And, a defence: “As a signatory of the so-called ‘G-23’ letter, I should say that it reflected concerns building up over many months among party members and well-wishers who wanted a re-energised Congress…Our only intention was to strengthen and revive the party, not to divide or weaken it,” Tharoor said.
  • For 24 years, Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul have headed the Congress — during this time, BJP elected 10 presidents.
6. ‘You cannot keep whipping a dead horse’
6. ‘You cannot keep whipping a dead horse’
The Supreme Court on Tuesday closed the contempt proceedings, arising out of the demolition of Babri Masjid at Ayodhya in 1992, against the state of Uttar Pradesh and others.

The case

  • The 16th-century Babri mosque, built by the Mughal empire’s founder Babur, was destroyed on December 6, 1992.
  • The counsel appearing for the petitioner said the order passed by the apex court in 1992 was violated and after that, the contempt petition was filed.
  • He said nearly 30 years have gone by and the petitioner, who died in 2010, had filed several applications for listing of the matter.

Top court observes…

  • The issue does not survive now and referred to the November 2019 verdict of a constitution bench.
  • A five-judge constitution bench had on November 9, 2019, cleared the way for the construction of a Ram Temple at the disputed site at Ayodhya and directed the Centre to allot a five-acre plot to the Sunni Waqf Board for building a mosque.
  • While closing the contempt proceedings, the bench observed that the matter ought to have come up for hearing earlier. “I appreciate your concern. But, now nothing survives in this matter,” a bench headed by Justice S K Kaul observed, adding, “You cannot keep whipping a dead horse.”
X-plained
8. Why Iran closed its borders to Iraq
8. Why Iran closed its borders to Iraq
Iran closed its land borders to Iraq as flights to the country halted on Tuesday amid violence in Baghdad following an influential Shiite cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr’s announcement that he would resign from politics.

  • The trigger: Iraq’s government has been deadlocked since al-Sadr’s party won the largest share of seats in October parliamentary elections but not enough to secure a majority government. His refusal to negotiate with his Iran-backed Shiite rivals and subsequent exit from the talks has catapulted the country into political uncertainty.
  • Armed clashes: Iraq’s military said four rockets were launched into the heavily fortified Green Zone, the seat of Iraq’s government where armed clashes raged overnight between a militia royal to al-Sadr and Iraqi security forces.
  • Death toll: At least 22 protesters have been killed since the unrest erupted Monday. The closing of the border came as millions of Iranians were preparing to visit Iraq for an annual pilgrimage to Shiite sites.
  • Curfew: Iraq’s military announced a nationwide curfew, and the caretaker premier suspended Cabinet sessions in response to the violence. Medical officials said dozens of protesters were wounded by gunfire and tear gas and physical altercations with riot police.
  • Flights cancelled: Dubai’s long-haul carrier Emirates stopped flights to Baghdad on Tuesday over the ongoing unrest in Iraq. The Netherlands has evacuated its embassy in the Green Zone, Foreign Affairs Minister Wopke Hoekstra tweeted.
9. Coming soon… hypersonic bullets!
9. Coming soon… hypersonic bullets!
China’s penchant for military experiments and innovations is widely known. PLA researchers are now working on what they call lethal hypersonic bullets, according to the South China Morning Post.

Hypersonic weapons

  • Among the military powers, China and its ally Russia are known to possess different types of hypersonic missiles that move at a speed over Mach 5 or five times the speed of sound. They can change their trajectory, making it extremely difficult to intercept them by conventional air defence systems.
  • A Russian bomber fired Kinzhal (Dagger) hypersonic air-to-surface missile at Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Odesa in May this year, probably the first-ever combat use of such weapon.
  • China had tested a hypersonic glide vehicle last year. The PLA also possesses DF-17 hypersonic missiles.

A new experiment

  • Chinese military researchers have developed high-speed 5-mm steel bullets that leave large crater-like wounds in flesh, but do not penetrate the skin and flesh as a solid substance like traditional shots, SCMP reported citing a live animal study.
  • These bullets can reach a velocity of 4,000 m/second or more than 11 times speed of sound. Ordinary bullets are usually fired at 1,200 m/second.
  • Although they did not immediately kill the sedated pigs during the study, the bullets apparently caused extensive damage to many organs. More experiments will be conducted to assess their impact on head, chest and abdomen.
Answer to NEWS IN CLUES
Answer to NEWS IN CLUES

Gautam Adani. The Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani has broken into the top three of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He is the first Asian to do so. He was already Asia’s richest man and now he is also the world’s third richest person, overtaking LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires index — a daily ranking of the world’s richest people. He is now just behind business magnates Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos in the ranking. Adani’s net worth was pegged at $137.4 billion, compared to Musk’s $251 billion and Bezos’s $153 billion.

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Written by: Rakesh Rai, Tejeesh Nippun Singh, Jayanta Kalita, Prabhash K Dutta
Research: Rajesh Sharma

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