Times Top10: Today's Top News Headlines and Latest News from India & across the World


PM Modi to attend Shinzo Abe’s state funeral in Tokyo; Govt Committee on MSP to hold 2nd meeting in Hyderabad; In SC: Thackeray faction’s plea to restrain ECI from deciding on ‘real’ Shiv Sena claim; hearing on Centre-Delhi power tussle; UNSC meeting on Afghanistan; Hung Thinh Friendly Football Tournament – India Vs Vietnam

1. ‘Everybody knows where & against whom F-16s are used’
1. ‘Everybody knows where & against whom F-16s are used’
  • Ahead of his meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said America’s relationship with Pakistan has “not served” either of the two countries.
  • US-Pak ties: “Very honestly, it’s a relationship that has neither ended up serving Pakistan well, nor serving the American interests. So, it is really for the United States today to reflect on what are the merits of this relationship and what do they get by it,” he said during an interaction with the Indian-Americans on Sunday.
  • Fighting terror: Referring to Washington’s argument that F-16 sustenance package is to fight terrorism, Jaishankar said everybody knows where and against whom F-16 are used. “You’re not fooling anybody by saying these things.”
  • F-16 package: Early this month, the Biden administration approved a $450 million F-16 fighter jet fleet sustainment programme to Pakistan, reversing the decision of the previous Trump administration to suspend military aid to Islamabad for providing safe havens for the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network.
  • India’s concern: In a call with US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had expressed India’s concerns about the F-16 package to Pakistan.
2. When you don’t want the job boss has for you
2. When you don’t want the job boss has for you
  • Plot thickens: Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot has come a full circle within a few days, from being a favourite of the Gandhis for the Congress president’s post to a full-blown rebel challenging the high command. While the Gandhis wanted him as the Congress president, Gehlot did not want to vacate his CM chair for arch-rival Sachin Pilot for something he can’t own. Observers say the Gandhis are likely to remain the Congress boss. It doesn’t matter who occupies the president’s chair.
  • Choice of mediator: With over 90 of the 108 Congress MLAs standing behind Gehlot, the party high command is said to be hugely upset with him over “humiliation” by their chosen presidential candidate. The Congress deputed Kamal Nath, the former Madhya Pradesh CM who could not save his government in 2020 when Jyotiraditya Scindia had revolted against him, to mediate with the rebel MLAs and Gehlot.
  • Gehlot versus Gandhis: Gehlot has denied any role behind the rebellion saying that the MLAs acted on their own to reject Pilot — Gandhis’ choice — as the next CM. He reportedly apologised to Mallikarjun Kharge — and Ajay Maken, the central observers — who met the Congress MLAs but the party’s central leadership is not convinced.
  • Why revolt? Gehlot had indicated that he was ready for the Congress president’s job if he was allowed to stay Rajasthan CM. But Rahul Gandhi cited the ‘one person, one post’ rule in public. This signalled that the Gandhis were willing to honour the commitment they reportedly made to Pilot during his 2020-rebellion.
  • What about election? Gehlot was expected to file nomination on Tuesday. But now, he may not have the Gandhis’ support. Kamal Nath is a speculated choice of the Gandhis now. Shashi Tharoor may have a different colleague in the presidential run. More here
3. Rupee and shares nosedive before RBI goes into a huddle
3. Rupee and shares nosedive before RBI goes into a huddle
  • A hattrick of record low: The rupee plunged 54 paise to provisionally close at a new all-time low of 81.63 against the US dollar on Monday. It had ended at its lowest ever on both Thursday and Friday, making Monday’s deeper plunge the third successive record low levels in three sessions.
  • There’s panic: It has been created by the dollar index, which has witnessed strong buying as a strong hedge against interest rate hikes and inflation cycle. The downtrend may continue for the rupee until positive triggers are not witnessed from the inflation forefront, experts feel.
  • The main story: The dollar has become profitable as the US Fed is hiking rates to tame inflationary trends in its market. The dollar rally reflects the ‘flight-to-safety’ approach by investors. As a result the Asian markets have become riskier and are experiencing crisis-level stress again. Two most significant Asian currencies — the yen and the yuan — have been falling under the dollar’s assault. The US is hawkish, the Asians are dovish.
  • RBI has a job to do: Its monetary policy committee (MPC) is meeting this week and is expected to hike rates by 50 basis points. Market experts feel this could provide some respite to the rupee but it still may lie in the 80.50-81.50 range.
  • Pressure on forex: RBI has been holding the rupee for quite some time through rate hikes and by selling dollars from its foreign exchange reserves. But this meant that India’s foreign exchange reserves fell below $550 billion for the first time in nearly two years last week, which marked the seventh successive week of forex decline.
  • And shares? The 30-share BSE index tanked 953.70 points to settle at 57,145, recovering after plummeting 1,061 points during the day. The NSE Nifty fell 311.05 points to close at 17,016. In the last four sessions, the Sensex has lost about 2,575 points and the market capitalisation of the BSE-listed companies reduced by over Rs 13.3 lakh crore. More here
4. Violation or just a ‘wild’ allegation?
4. Violation or just a ‘wild’ allegation?
Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s night safari with Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev at the Kaziranga National Park has sparked a row.

Police complaint

  • Two local activists have filed a police complaint against Sarma, Vasudev and state tourism minister Jayanta Malla Baruah claiming they violated the Wildlife Protection Act, of 1972 when they entered the national park beyond the scheduled visit time on Saturday.
  • They alleged that the Act bans safari tours inside the national park after dark to protect the animals and keep their habitat relatively untouched. The park is home to the largest population of greater-one horned rhinos.

Viral videos

  • Videos circulated on social media and local channels showed Vasudev driving an open safari SUV along with Sarma and Baruah.

CM’s response

  • Sarma on Sunday dismissed as baseless the allegations that he along with Vasudev broke wildlife law. The CM also asserted that there is no law that people cannot visit the park at night.
  • “There is no violation. According to wildlife law, the warden can give permission to enter a protected area even at night. No law stops people from entering at night. Yesterday, we had the formal opening of the park for this season and now Sadhguru and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar have arrived. Since they have lakhs of followers, this time we expect the tourist season will be very good for Kaziranga,” Sarma told reporters on Sunday night.
6. Now, you can watch mylords live
6. Now, you can watch mylords live
  • Live-streaming of the Supreme Court proceedings will begin from today, following a decision taken four years back. The SC has decided to live-stream its proceedings of all constitution benches in a bid to enhance transparency and accessibility in its functioning.
  • The judgement: Four years ago on September 26, 2018, the bench of Chief Justice Dipak Mishra, and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud had taken a major leap in imparting transparency in the functioning of the judiciary by allowing live-streaming of court proceedings of cases of “constitutional and national importance”, saying this openness was like “sunlight” which is the “best disinfectant”.
  • After a ceremonial telecast: On August 26, the Supreme Court, however, had live-streamed proceedings of a bench headed by then-CJI NV Ramana through a webcast portal. It was a ceremonial proceeding as Justice Ramana was to demit office that day.
  • YouTube, temporary platform: The proceedings could be seen on YouTube initially. The SC will have its own live-streaming “platform” in due course. CJI UU Lalit-led bench said this when former BJP leader KN Govindacharya’s counsel argued that the copyright of the Supreme Court proceedings cannot be surrendered to private platforms. More here
  • Key constitution bench cases include the validity of the 10% EWS quota and the pleas challenging the constitutional validity of the Citizenship Amendment Act.
  • High courts, the leader: Live-streaming the proceedings has been started in the high courts of Gujarat, Orissa, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Patna and Madhya Pradesh, allowing media and other interested persons to join the proceedings.
  • Select countries: Live-streaming of court proceedings is permitted in countries such as the UK, South Africa, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil . Germany, and China. The US Supreme Court does not permit video recording or photography of its proceedings. However, it releases audio transcripts of the oral arguments on the same day.
7. No end in sight of Xi’s reign
7. No end in sight of Xi’s reign
Xi Jinping will extend his term in power for another five years next month, as the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) conducts its all-important 20th Party Congress.

The coup rumour

  • Xi remains firmly in charge of the one-party state, despite swirling rumours – propagated, it seems, by the Chinese spiritual movement Falun Gong and some media outlets — that a coup had occurred in Beijing. Military columns approaching Beijing and mass cancellations of flights were cited as “evidence” of Xi being put under house arrest.

Party Congress

  • A total of 2,296 delegates have been appointed to the 20th Party Congress, including just over 200 full members and approximately 170 alternate members. They will rubber stamp Xi’s third five-year term in office, something unprecedented since the excesses of Mao Zedong’s reign.

A mega event

  • Perhaps only the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II could compare to the pomp and ceremony that will accompany this congress in Beijing, with the weeklong conclave commencing on October 16. It will be a highly orchestrated affair designed to showcase party solidarity, and to of course glorify the pre-eminence of Xi.

Xi will stay put

  • Xi has carved out a niche as a paramount leader. China’s state constitution was amended in 2018 to eliminate any presidential limits, thus paving the way for Xi to remain in power indefinitely. Without doubt, Xi will retain his positions of CCP General Secretary and Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC).
8. Blocking an account violates right to free speech, says Twitter
8. Blocking an account violates right to free speech, says Twitter
Protesting against the Centre’s order to block certain accounts, US microblogging platform Twitter argued in Karnataka High Court on Monday that “freedom of speech includes the right to criticise the government.”

Why the outburst

  • According to Twitter, “during the farmer’s agitation in Delhi.. they (Centre) had simply asked to completely block the accounts” — adding that the government had issued 10 blocking orders between February 2021 and February 2022 against multiple accounts during the farmers protests that were centred around Delhi and adjoining areas.
  • Twitter also argued, referring to the Centre’s order, that “when newspapers and TV channels are reporting it, why do you tell me to completely block all these accounts.”
  • The company added that the law only allows the blocking of a particular tweet and not an entire account simply because of political criticism unless there is evidence of a repeated offence.

What the court said

  • Enquiring if the matters have “gone to a review committee”, the court sought a comparative analysis of other countries that have dealt with similar issues, asking “how have other jurisdictions done this? Like, American law?” The next hearing has been scheduled for October 17.

More blocking orders

  • In an order passed last week, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting “directed YouTube to block 45 YouTube videos from 10 YouTube channels” whose “content included fake news and morphed videos spread with the intent to spread hatred among religious communities.”
  • The ministry, in its press release, added that some of the videos that were blocked “were being used to spread disinformation on issues related to Agnipath scheme, Indian Armed Forces, India’s national security apparatus, Kashmir, etc.”
9. Azad launches Azad party
9. Azad launches Azad party
  • Former Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who quit the erstwhile party last month on August 26, launched his political outfit on Monday, naming his political party the Democratic Azad Party.
  • Saying that he wanted his party’s “name to be democratic, peaceful & independent”, Azad said that “around 1,500 names for my new party were sent to us, in Urdu, Sanskrit. The mix of Hindi & Urdu is Hindustani.” He also unveiled the flag of the Democratic Azad Party, with its three colours — mustard, white and blue.
  • The announcement of the name of the party comes amidst the impending assembly polls in the Union Territory. Azad, who was J&K CM from 2005 to 2008 and also leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha, as a member of the Congress, had earlier said that his party will focus on restoration of full statehood for J&K, right to land and employment for those holding domicile of the state-turned-UT.

Apple. The company announced on Monday that it had started manufacturing iPhone 14 in India, less than three weeks after it was unveiled. Earlier this year, in January, the company became the world’s first to be valued at $3 trillion — four years after it had first attained a valuation of $1 trillion. An Italian clothing company retails its clothing line under the Steve Jobs brand name after discovering that Apple never trademarked Jobs’ name.

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

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