Tuesday, March 21, 2023

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


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Today: India’s two-year tenure of UNSC non-permanent membership ends; Home Minister Amit Shah and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in Karnataka; Cricket Advisory Committee to interview prospective candidates for the new national selection panel; Tomorrow: Negative Covid test report mandatory for travellers from China and five other countries; Payment system operators to report fraud on RBI’s new system DAKSH

1. Small mercies for small investors
Good news

  • The government on Friday hiked interest rates on certain small savings schemes for the January-March 2023 quarter.
  • The announcement comes at a time when the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has been firming up interest rates in the country in a bid to tame the soaring inflation.
  • The rate hikes have been made in the range of 20 bps and 110 bps and will come into effect from January 1, 2023. Interest rates on small savings schemes are reviewed by the government in every quarter.

What gives you more

  • As per the revised rates, the National Savings Certificate will yield a 7% interest rate as compared to 6.8% now. While the senior citizen savings scheme will give 8% interest against 7.6% currently.
  • Interest rates on Post office term deposit schemes of duration 1 to 5 years will rise by up to 1.1 percentage points.
  • One-year term deposits will now fetch an interest rate of 6.6%, while two- and three-year deposits will get a rate of 6.8% and 6.9%, respectively.
New rates


  • No change has been made in interest rates on public provident funds and it will continue to yield 7.1% interest.
  • No change has been made for five-year term deposits and they will continue to fetch 5.8% interest rate.
2. An accident, an ace cricketer and pure ‘luck’
2. An accident, an ace cricketer and pure 'luck'
The crash

  • India cricketer Rishabh Pant was seriously injured in a road accident while driving home from Delhi to Roorkee at Narsan, Haridwar district, about 90 km from Dehradun.
  • Travelling alone, Pant is said to have dozed off while driving. His Mercedes GLE car hit the divider railings on the Delhi-Haridwar highway at around 5.30 am. The car then turned a few times before turning into a ball of fire.

Lucky escape

  • “Hearing a loud sound of the accident, nearby villagers along with the local cops, rushed to the spot and pulled him out of the car. He was then rushed to a nearby hospital from where he was referred to a major hospital in Dehradun,” Haridwar (Rural) SP Swapn Kishor Singh said.
  • “Pant sustained injuries on his forehead, a hand and right knee. However, he is conscious and able to talk. The car he was driving was completely burnt. He is lucky to survive the severe accident.”


  • Pant jumped out of the car by breaking the window as soon as it caught fire. As he landed on the side, parts of his skin got peeled off.
  • A Haryana Roadways bus driver was among the people who helped Pant come out of the car. The driver, Sushil Mann said, “I put my bus on the side and quickly ran towards the divider…He told us he is Rishabh Pant. I don’t follow cricket so I didn’t know who he was but my conductor said he is an India cricketer.”

Injuries and treatment

  • According to statements by the hospital and the BCCI, Pant has two cuts on forehead and a ligament tear in right knee. The results of an MRI scan of the brain and spinal cord returned as ‘normal’.
  • Pant underwent a plastic surgery for facial injuries, lacerated wounds and abrasions.

PM speaks to his mother

  • PM Modi spoke to Pant’s mother, inquiring about his health, and wished speedy recovery of her son. More here
3. Loss, duty, and politics
3. Loss, duty, and politics
Loss & duty

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually flagged off a host of infra projects immediately after his mother’s cremation in Gandhinagar on Friday. West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw attended the programmes at Howrah and the naval base off Garden Reach.

A controversy

  • An unseemly controversy, resulting from “Jai Sri Ram” slogans from a section of the crowd waving BJP flags on Howrah station’s platform 23, prompted Banerjee to refuse to take her place on the dais.
  • Attempts by Vaishnaw and Governor CV Ananda Bose to pacify Mamata did not bear fruit as she chose to address the audience from the front row of the platform-level seating area and thanked Modi for attending the event virtually despite his mother’s death a few hours earlier.

Modi Mamata

Two versions

  • “Your mother was our mother also. I remember my mother. May God give you the strength to continue your work. Today is a sad day for you personally and it is a great loss. May God bless you so that you can love your mother through your action and activity. Please take rest as you are coming directly from the crematorium,” Banerjee told Modi.
  • “Please cut short the programme,” said Mamata, prompting the PM to respond with folded hands.
  • Modi started his address seeking “forgiveness” for his inability to attend the programme physically. “I was supposed to come but could not due to personal reasons. I seek forgiveness from the people of Bengal,” he said.

PM’s mother

  • PM Modi’s mother, Heeraben Modi, passed away early Friday. She was 99. “A glorious century rests at the feet of God…In Maa, I have always felt that trinity, which contains the journey of an ascetic, the symbol of a selfless Karmayogi and a life committed to values,” PM Modi said.
  • Tributes poured throughout the day at the death of Heeraben. More here
4. Terror ‘under the guise of yoga’?
4. Terror ‘under the guise of yoga’?
  • The NIA has filed a chargesheet against 11 persons, accusing them of organising terror training camps and recruiting persons for terrorist acts that were allegedly carried out by the banned Muslim organisation Popular Front of India (PFI), news agency ANI reported on Friday.

The case

  • The chargesheet was filed in a Hyderabad court in connection with a case that was registered on July 4 after the police in Telangana’s Nizamabad district busted an alleged sleeper cell of the group – which is also under scanner of other central agencies such as CBI and ED – and was eventually transferred to NIA on August 26.

Ban on PFI

  • In September, the Centre banned PFI and its associate organisations for five years under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for allegedly having links with terror groups. The government notification on the ban alleged that the Muslim organisation along with its affiliates have been involved in “violent terrorist activities” and intended to create a “reign of terror” in the country, endangering security and public order.

Recruitment and training

  • In the Nizamabad case, NIA has alleged that the accused persons radicalised young Muslims and recruited them to PFI “through speeches filled with hatred and venom against the government of India as well as other organisations and individuals”. After recruitment, they were sent to training camps “under the guise of yoga and physical education classes”, reported ANI citing the chargesheet.
5. Identify this world leader
Clue 1: Who is deeply influenced by M K Gandhi’s idea of non-violence
Clue 2: Who is an alumnus of Delhi University, SOAS and Oxford
Clue 3: Who has won the Nobel Peace Prize

Scroll below for answer

6. It’s BJP’s Achilles heel and so…
6. It’s BJP’s Achilles heel and so…
  • Hitting the ground running in poll-bound Karnataka, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday called both the Congress and JD(S) ‘parivaarvadi’ (dynasts) and corrupt, as he appealed to people to support the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and bring it to power with a majority in the state.
  • Addressing a public gathering in Mandya, located in the Old Mysuru region, Shah mentioned about constructing Ram temple at Ayodhya and scrapping Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, highlighting them as achievements of the BJP.

The timing

  • His visit comes at a time when Karnataka and Maharashtra are caught up in a decades-old border dispute. While the former is a BJP-ruled state, the latter is governed by an alliance of the saffron party with a faction of rebel Shiv Sena leaders. Shah has been entrusted with the role of peacemaker in this regard.
  • Also, Shah’s comments came a day after the Karnataka government decided to create new categories in the existing reservation matrix for Lingayats and Vokkaligas – both being politically and electorally powerful OBC communities in the state. Read more here.

But there’s more

  • The BJP is considered to be weak in the Vokkaliga-dominated Old Mysuru region, and it is focusing on this belt to gain majority in 2023 Assembly polls. Old Mysuru region is in the southern part of Karnataka. It comprises Mysuru, Mandya, Ramanagara, Chamarajanagara, Kolar, Hassan, Chikkaballapur, Bengaluru urban and Bengaluru rural districts.
  • Currently, the BJP has one seat out of five in Chikkaballapur, one out of six in Kolar, one out of seven each in Mandya and Hassan, two out of 11 in Mysuru, two out of four in Chamarajanagara, and no seats in Bengaluru Rural and Ramanagara. However, in Bengaluru Urban, BJP has 15 out of 28 seats. Also many of the party’s MLAs in Chikkaballapur, Mandya, Kolar, Hassan and Bengaluru Urban constituencies are leaders who defected either from Congress or JD(S) in 2019.
7. ‘Make In India’ powers Indian indices to top
7. ‘Make In India’ powers Indian indices to top
The best performer

  • When the year began, investors were looking forward to a bull rally similar to the past two years but the Russia-Ukraine war plunged the global markets into doldrums. Inflation soared and fear of recession loomed large.
  • Indian stock markets too suffered but both Sensex and Nifty still emerged to be the best performing indices amongst its global peers.

The scale

  • The BSE Sensex managed to shine as the best-performing major index in the world, ending on a positive note for the seventh consecutive year and surging 2,587 points or 4.4% this year.
  • The gain might seem minimal compared to a whopping 22% jump in 2021. However, when seen in relation to global equity indices, Sensex emerges as the winner.

Versus the rest

  • None of the major global indices have managed to muster gains in this brutal year, including the Dow Jones (down 9.24% in 2022 so far), FTSE 100 (dipped 0.43%), Nikkei (shed 10.47%), Hang Seng (lost 15.82%) and the Shanghai Composite Index (dropped 16.15%).


  • Foreign portfolio investors retreated from the Indian equity markets in a big way in 2022 with the highest-ever yearly net outflow of nearly Rs 1.21 lakh crore.
  • The huge outflow, which surpasses by a big margin the previous record of Rs 53,000 crore net withdrawal in 2008.

The saviour

  • The credit for this relative outperformance goes largely to the domestic retail and institutional investors, who kept faith in domestic markets despite the steady drumbeat of negative headlines and absorbed the record selloff by foreign funds.


  • The rupee ended the year at 82.72 against the dollar, with a loss of 844 paise or 11.36%. It had finished 2021 at 74.33. More here
8. Ukraine war isn’t ending anytime soon
8. Ukraine war isn’t ending anytime soon
  • Russia attacked Ukraine with 16 Iran-made drones overnight, Ukrainian officials said on Friday, a day after Moscow fired dozens of missiles in its latest barrage against critical infrastructure, reported news agency Reuters.
  • The Ukrainian military said all the drones have been destroyed. Seven of them targeted Kyiv, where an administrative building was damaged, the capital’s mayor Vitali Klitschko said.

Follows ‘massive strike’

  • Russia launched a total of 85 missile strikes, 35 air strikes, and 63 strikes from multiple rocket launch systems in the past 24 hours, the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said in its daily briefing on the war. Russia’s Defence Ministry said it had carried out a “massive strike” on Ukraine’s energy and military-industrial infrastructure using high-precision weapons, news agency Interfax reported.

Meanwhile, a vow

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping vowed Friday to deepen their bilateral cooperation against the backdrop of Moscow’s 10-month war in Ukraine, reported the Associated Press.
  • Putin and Xi made no direct mention of Ukraine in their opening remarks via videoconference, which were broadcast publicly, before going into private talks. But they hailed strengthening ties between Moscow and Beijing amid what they called “geopolitical tensions” and a “difficult international situation,” with Putin expressing his wish to extend military collaboration.

And a new minister in China

  • China has appointed its US envoy Qin Gang as the new foreign minister to succeed incumbent Wang Yi, who has been elevated to the Political Bureau, which is the ruling Communist Party’s top policy body. It is, however, not clear whether Qin, 56, will take over the post immediately.
  • The announcement was a surprise as the new administration to be headed by the new Premier is scheduled to take over during the annual Parliament session slated to be held from March 5 next year, reported news agency PTI.
9. Black Pearl that shone the brightest
9. Black Pearl that shone the brightest
The King rests

  • Pele, the magical Brazilian football star who rose from barefoot poverty to become one of the greatest and best-known athletes in modern history, died at 82 in Sao Paulo on Thursday.
  • He had been in and out of hospital in recent months after a tumour was found on his colon. Watch here fans paying tribute to the King

Why Pele

  • Pele, whose given name was Edson Arantes do Nascimento, scored a world record 1,281 goals, and is the only player ever to win the World Cup three times.Several aspects of his youth are obscured by myth, including the origin of his famous nickname. As Pele (sometimes) told it, he often played as goalkeeper in neighbourhood games, and kids began comparing him to a local player named “Bile” — and the letters got twisted over the years.Whatever the truth, he was soon dazzling scouts not as a goalkeeper but as an attacking forward — a prototype number 10.

The genesis

  • Born on October 23, 1940, in the small Minas Gerais town of Tres Corações, he learned the game from his father, a semi-professional player whose promising career was derailed by a knee injury.

The kick

  • Pele was respected for his range of talents, and more so than any player since, he could do it all: He was two-footed, had tremendous pace and stamina, he could head, pass, tackle — and of course, he could score goals.
  • He joined Santos at the age of 15 and turned the small coastal club into one of the most famous names in football.

Advised not to play

  • He was chosen for the Brazil squad heading to the 1958 World Cup in Sweden — although a team psychologist called the 17-year-old “obviously infantile” and advised against playing him.
  • Pele went on to score a hat-trick within one half of the semi-final against France, and another two goals in the final against the host Swedish team — helping Brazil to its first-ever championship. More here
1. India has a new Jamtara of cybercrime
‘Jamtara’ — the Jharkhand city has the dubious distinction of being the “phishing capital” of India. Now, there’s a new sextortion hub to worry about.

2. The Mumbai cop who arrested Sobhraj not once, but twice
“Hello Charles, how are you?” policeman Madhukar Zende had said, grabbing Sobhraj’s arm on April 6, 1986 in a Goa restaurant. “Are you crazy, you must be mad,” an unperturbed Sobhraj retorted, which prompted Zende to remind him that he had nabbed him back in 1971.

3. How Britain fell in love with chicken tikka masala
While chef and restaurateur Ali Ahmed Aslam, who died on December 19, is regarded as the inventor of chicken tikka masala, its success is largely due to Robin Cook, the foreign minister in Tony Blair’s New Labour government.


Aung San Suu Kyi: A Myanmar court on Friday sentenced the country’s ousted leader to seven years in prison in a corruption case – the last of a barrage of criminal lawsuits against her, reported news agency PTI. The fresh sentence would extend Suu Kyi’s total jail term to 33 years, following a series of prosecutions since the Myanmar military took over the country’s governance in a coup in February last year. Suu Kyi was ousted after the military takeover and has been under house arrest since then.

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Written by: Rakesh Rai, Jayanta Kalita, Prabhash K Dutta, Abhishek Dey
Research: Rajesh Sharma

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