Top news of the day: November 20, 2023

Top news of the day: November 20, 2023

Uttarkashi tunnel collapse | Rescuers insert new pipe through rubble to send more food to trapped workers

Rescuers on November 20 pushed through a six-inch-wide pipeline through the rubble of a collapsed tunnel in Uttarakhand, a breakthrough that will help them supply larger quantities of food and other essentials to 41 workers trapped for eight days. Earlier, a four-inch tube was being used to supply food like dry fruit and medicines and oxygen into the section of the tunnel beyond the rubble. NHIDCL Director Anshu Manish Kalkho called it the “first breakthrough” at the site. “We have sent the pipe 53 metres to the other side of the rubble and the trapped workers can hear and experience us,” Kalkho said.

Skill development scam case | Former Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu gets regular bail

The Andhra Pradesh High Court on November 20 provided a big relief to the former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu by granting him regular bail in the skill development scam case. Justice T. Mallikarjuna Rao pronounced the much-awaited judgment with a relaxation of the main condition that Mr. Naidu should not organise or participate in political rallies and public meetings, from November 29.

Tamil Nadu vs Governor | Supreme Court says law does not give Governor ‘discretion’ to withhold Bills re-passed by Assembly

The Supreme Court on November 20 observed that the Constitution does not provide Tamil Nadu Governor R.N. Ravi “discretion” to withhold Bills “re-passed” by the State Legislative Assembly. “Once they have been re-passed, the 10 Bills are put in the position of Money Bills. Then you [Governor] cannot reject,” Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud remarked. The court seemed to prima facie agree with argument raised by the State that the first proviso of Article 200 states that “if the Bill is passed again by the House or Houses with or without amendment and presented to the Governor for assent, the Governor shall not withhold assent therefrom”.

Governor delaying Bills has become an ‘endemic’, Kerala tells Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on November 20 sought a response from Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan on a petition by the State government that he is indefinitely holding back key Bills presented to him for assent. Appearing before a three-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, senior advocate K.K. Venugopal and advocate C.K. Sasi said the delay had grown to be an “endemic” among Governors of certain States.

Supreme Court cautions Centre that selective appointments, transfers risk ‘embarrassing’ outcomes

The Supreme Court on November 20 said the government’s tinkering with judicial seniority through “selective” appointments and transfers of High Court judges may trigger responses from the Collegiums, which may create “embarrassing” outcomes, including deferring the swearing-in of new judges or the withdrawing of judicial work. “What will happen at some stage is we cannot let judges whom we do not want to work in a court to continue to work in that court… Please do not let that happen. It will dilute the authority of judges. It will embarrass these judges,” Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul addressed Attorney General R. Venkataramani, appearing for the Centre.

Drugs, cash, liquor worth over ₹1,760 crore seized in five poll-going States: Election Commission

The Election Commission on November 20 said over ₹1,760 crore worth of freebies, drugs, cash, liquor and precious metals aimed at inducing voters in the five poll-going states have been seized so far. The poll panel said the seizures made since polls were announced on October 9 are more than seven times (₹239.15 crore) those made in the previous assembly elections in these states in 2018.

Amit Shah rakes up Hyderabad Liberation struggle & BRS neglect

Union Home Minister Amit Shah tried to rake up the Telangana armed liberation struggle against the Nizam and his militia army Razakkars to stoke emotions among the public at two different public meetings held in Jangaon and Korutla in the heart of north Telangana on November 20. Mr. Shah accused Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao of refusing to celebrate the Hyderabad Liberation Day brought about by Sardar Patel as he was scared of Majlis Party and its leader Owaisi.

Health Ministry releases draft National Pharmacy Commission Bill

The Union Health Ministry has released the draft National Pharmacy Commission Bill, 2023, which seeks to repeal the Pharmacy Act of 1948 and replace the Pharmacy Council of India with a national commission. The Ministry put up the draft bill on its website on November 14 seeking comments from the public. The proposed bill aims to provide for a pharmacy education system that improves access to quality and affordable pharmacy or pharmaceutical education, ensures availability of adequate and high-quality pharmacy professionals in all parts of the country, promotes equitable and universal healthcare, and makes services of pharmacy professionals accessible to all citizens.

National Commission for Women directs Tamil Nadu police to book actor Mansoor Ali Khan for derogatory remarks on Trisha

The National Commission for Women has issued a direction to the Tamil Nadu police to register a case against actor Mansoor Ali Khan for his alleged derogatory remarks on actor Trisha Krishnan. Posting on X, the NCW said, “It is deeply concerned about the derogatory remarks made by actor Mansoor Ali Khan towards actress Trisha Krishnan. We’re taking suo motu in this matter directing the DGP (Director General of Police) to invoke IPC Section 509 B (Sexual harassment by electronic mode) and other relevant laws. Such remarks normalize violence against women and must be condemned.”

43% increase in global measles deaths from 2021 to 2022; experts blame it on declining vaccination rates

The number of measles deaths globally increased by 43% from 2021-2022, following years of declining vaccination rates, according to a new report from the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report noted that in 2022, 37 countries experienced large or disruptive measles outbreaks compared with 22 countries in 2021. Of the countries experiencing outbreaks, 28 were in the WHO Region for Africa, six in the Eastern Mediterranean, two in the South-East Asia, and one in the European Region, WHO said.

Israeli Army unveils footage; says video shows hostages at Gaza hospital

Israel’s military released security camera footage, on November 19, and said the footage showed hostages being brought into Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on October 7 after being kidnapped during Hamas’s attacks on southern Israel. Al-Shifa hospital has become a focal point for Israel’s subsequent military operations in the Gaza Strip, with the Army repeatedly saying Hamas uses it as a base, a claim the military has been under pressure to back up. The militants and medical staff have denied that a command centre is under the hospital.

Anthony Albanese criticises China over warship’s use of sonar that injured an Australian naval diver

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on November 20 criticised China for a “dangerous” encounter between Chinese and Australian warships but declined to say whether he had raised the issue in recent talks with President Xi Jinping. He said one Australian diver was injured when a Chinese destroyer used sonar while near an Australian frigate in international waters last Tuesday.

Toshakhana corruption case | Pakistan’s anti-graft body ordered to record former PM Nawaz Sharif’s statement by November 30

An accountability court in Islamabad on November 20 ordered Pakistan’s anti-graft body to record former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s statement by November 30 in the Toshakhana corruption case. Judge Muhammad Bashir of the accountability court in Islamabad heard the Toshakhana corruption case against the 73-year-old Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz supremo who returned to Pakistan on October 21 after about four years of self-imposed exile in London, the Dawn newspaper reported.

Philippine earthquake death toll rises to nine

The number of people killed in a powerful quake off the southern Philippines has risen to nine, the national disaster agency said on November 20, warning the toll could increase further. People fled into the streets or hid under tables when the 6.7-magnitude quake struck the Mindanao region on Friday, causing buildings to shake and part of a ceiling inside a shopping mall to collapse. At least 15 people were injured and more than 800 houses damaged or destroyed, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said in its latest update.

OpenAI’s Sam Altman to join Microsoft

Former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and co-founder Greg Brockman will now be joining Microsoft to lead a new advanced AI research team. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella also confirmed that former Twitch head Emmett Shear will be appointed the new OpenAI CEO. In a post shared on LinkedIn and X, Satya stated, “We’re extremely excited to share the news that Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, together with colleagues, will be joining Microsoft to lead a new advanced AI research team. We look forward to moving quickly to provide them with the resources needed for their success.”

GDP growth to dip marginally to 6.3% in 2024; political uncertainty in election year main risk: Report

India’s real GDP growth will decline marginally to 6.3% in 2024 from the 6.4% estimated for 2023, an American brokerage firm said on November 20. The next calendar year will be of two halves, wherein the government spending before the upcoming General Elections will be the key driver for growth, while after the elections, it will be the re-acceleration in investment growth, especially from the private sector, Goldman Sachs said in a report.

2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers | India seek inspiration from famous 2019 stalemate against Qatar in rematch on November 21

India will take inspiration from their famous goal-less draw against Asian champions Qatar four years ago when they face the same opponents in a 2026 FIFA World Cup second round qualifiers match in Bhubaneswar on November 21. Their confidence boosted after the 1-0 away win against Kuwait on November 16, India will hope to give a tough fight to Qatar, though the fancied visiting side will start as firm favourites.

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