Morning Digest | Egypt to open Gaza border crossing for aid; SC to hear pleas on the arrest of NewsClick founders, and more

People hold up signs during a demonstration calling for a ceasefire in Gaza near the Capitol in Washington on on October 18, 2023.

People hold up signs during a demonstration calling for a ceasefire in Gaza near the Capitol in Washington on on October 18, 2023.
| Photo Credit: AP

Egypt to open Gaza border to allow in 20 trucks with aid

U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday said Egypt’s president has agreed to open a border crossing into Gaza to allow in 20 trucks with humanitarian aid.

Mr. Biden said he spoke with Egypt President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi after his visit to Israel, where leaders there agreed to allow the aid in.

Biden to address U.S. on Israel-Hamas war, Ukraine

U.S. President Joe Biden will give a primetime speech on Thursday about the conflict between Israel and Hamas and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the White House said Wednesday.

Supreme Court to hear pleas on the arrest of NewsClick founders

A Supreme Court Bench of Justices B.R. Gavai and P.K. Mishra on October 18 adjourned petitions challenging the arrest and remand of NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha and Human Resources head Amit Chakraborty to October 19. The pair were arrested by the Delhi Police under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) on October 3.

PM Modi expresses outrage at hospital bombing in Gaza Strip

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed outrage at the hospital bombing in the Gaza Strip and said the death of non-combatants in the latest round of the Israel-Palestine conflict is a matter of concern. In a social media message that was posted hours after an alleged Israeli bombing of the Al Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza Strip left at least 500 of Palestinians dead, PM Modi called for justice in the case. Several other political notables including Priyanka Gandhi Vadra of the Congress has condemned the bombing.

Can refer aspects of PMLA verdict to Constitution Bench, if need be: Supreme Court

A three-judge Bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul on Wednesday indicated it may, if required, refer any aspect of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), upheld by a Supreme Court judgment in July 2022, to a Constitution Bench.

A Special Bench of Justices Kaul, Sanjiv Khanna and Bela M. Trivedi was hearing a series of petitions which have questioned the correctness of the apex court’s judgment on July 27, 2022 in the Vijay Madanlal Choudhary case.

Raghubar Das appointed Governor of Odisha, Indrasena Reddy Nallu of Tripura

Former Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das and BJP leader Indrasena Reddy Nallu have been appointed as the Governors of Odisha and Tripura, respectively, according to a Rashtrapati Bhavan communique on Oxctober 18.

Centre raises minimum support prices for Rabi crops, farmers unhappy

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has increased the Minimum Support Prices (MSP) for all Rabi crops for the finanicial year 2024-25. The increase for wheat, the major Rabi crop, is ₹150 per quintal and the new price will be ₹2,275.

Assam CM attacks Chhattisgarh’s lone Muslim Minister

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Wednesday took a controversial dig at Chhattisgarh’s only Muslim Minister, Congress leader Mohammad Akbar, saying “that the land of Mata (Mother) Kaushalya will get defiled if Akbar isn’t sent off”.

In a vitriolic campaign speech in Chhattisgarh’s Kawardha, the Assam Chief Minister repeatedly made references to the name of the incumbent Congress MLA Mr. Akbar. He used the word Akbar as a metaphor for Muslims in the context of a wide range of topics – from the Ayodhya dispute to the ongoing conflict in West Asia, and even the migration problem in his home State of Assam. 

Three defectors from MNF among BJP’s Mizoram candidates

The BJP on October 18 announced the names of 21 candidates for the November 7 elections to the 40-member Mizoram Assembly. The list, released in two installments, names three leaders who quit the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF), including former Assembly Speaker Lalrinliana Sailo, over the past few months.

Central Election Committee of Congress discusses candidates for Rajasthan polls

The Congress top brass on October 18 discussed potential candidates for the coming Rajasthan Assembly polls as the party is all set to announce its first list within the auspicious period of Navaratri.

But the Rajasthan list is likely to be made only after October 21 as another round of meeting of the Central Election Committee (CEC) is scheduled to take place on Saturday. The CEC also discussed names for 86 seats in Madhya Pradesh, a State where the party has already named candidates for 144 constituencies.

India will explore building large language models: Principal Scientific Advisor Ajay Sood

India will set up a “high powered committee” to explore the development of large language models or LLMs, tools that harness artificial intelligence to create applications that can understand and process human language, the Union government’s Principal Scientific Advisor Ajay Sood said on Wednesday.

India likely to sign deal with U.S. for 31 MQ-9B drones by February 2024

The deal for 31 MQ-9B Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) with the U.S. is expected to be concluded by February 2024 and deliveries will begin from February 2027, three years from the signing of the contract, according to defence sources.

Ram temple trust gets FCRA licence to receive foreign donations

The Ayodhya Ram temple trust, known as the Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra, on October 18 said that it has received a license to accept foreign donations under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).

Cricket World Cup 2023 | New Zealand has Afghanistan crashing down to the earth

Afghanistan, flying high after the win over England, was brought down to the ground by a clinical performance from New Zealand which handed the former a 149-run defeat at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Wednesday.

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