01 March 2021
A) Maharashtra Minister, linked to Pune girl’s death, resigns from cabinet.
Maharashtra Forest Minister and Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Rathod has resigned from the Maharashtra cabinet for his alleged connection with the death of a 23-year-old woman from the nomadic Banjara community in Pune. Mr. Rathod, who has been under fire from the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for nearly three weeks following the incident, tendered his resignation to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday. Mr. Thackeray has yet to take a call on whether or not to accept the Minister’s resignation. While stating that the affair was a ploy to defame him, Mr. Rathod said that he would assist in the investigation. Former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who is the BJP’s Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Legislative Assembly, however, hit out at the Uddhav Thackeray government for the latter’s handling of the affair. This [resignation] has come too late, the current state of Maharashtra’s law and order situation is deplorable. Despite so much evidence against Mr. Rathod, why has no FIR still been lodged against him? This case has exposed the Thackeray government’s true colours, he alleged.
B) ISRO launches Brazil’s Amazonia-1, 18 other satellites.
ISRO successfully launched Brazil’s optical earth observation satellite, Amazonia-1 and 18 co-passenger satellites from India  and the U.S.A.  successfully from the Satish Dhawan Space, SHAR, at Sriharikota, on Sunday. The satellites were carried on board the PSLV-C51, the 53rd flight of India’s workhorse launch vehicle and the first dedicated mission for New Space India Ltd (NSIL), the commercial arm of ISRO. The mission was undertaken under a commercial arrangement with Spaceflight Inc., USA. Indian Space Research Organisation launches the Amazonia-1, Brazil’s optical earth observation satellite, and 18 co-passenger satellites from U.S. and India on board the PSLV-C51 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on February 28, 2021. The PSLV-C51, equipped with two solid strap-on boosters, the third such launch of the PSLV-DL variant, lifted off at 10.24 a.m. from the first launch pad at Sriharikota. Of the 18 satellites, 13 were from the U.S.A , one of them a technology demonstration satellite and the remaining for 2-way satellite communications and data relay. Among the five Indian satellites, one belongs to DRDO. Five satellites belong to India — the Satish Dhawan SAT (SDSAT) built by Space Kidz India is a nano-satellite intended to study the radiation levels, space weather and demonstrate long range communication technologies and the UNITYsat, a combination of three satellites intended for providing radio relay services.
C) Kejriwal describes farm laws as ‘death warrant’ for farmers.
Describing the contentious farm laws as death warrants for farmers, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal made Aam Admi Party’s political ambition to cross over Yamuna into Uttar Pradesh clear at a kisan panchayat in Meerut on Sunday. Promising to control erring sugar mills in Uttar Pradesh on the lines of power distribution companies in Delhi, Mr Kejriwal asked the gathering to vote for a party with the right intent. He said farmers were in pain for 70 years because they have been cheated by different governments and parties. Now the three farm laws have made it a matter of life and death. All that the farmer has been asking for is the right price of his produce, he said. He said farmers were sitting on the road in the cold because these laws would reduce them to labourers on their own land. It has come down to a do or die kind of situation, he said. He reminded the massive gathering of party workers and farmers that in 2014, BJP asked for votes by promising to implement the Swaminathan Committee Report. However, within three years in power, it submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court that said minimum support price could not be 50% more than the cost of the produce. It amounts to backstabbing the farmers.
D) Army cancels recruitment exam following paper leak.
The Army has cancelled an examination for pan-India recruitment of general duty personnel after paper was found to have been leaked, officials said on Sunday. They further said at least three persons have been arrested in Pune so far. The Indian Army has zero tolerance towards corrupt practices in the recruitment process for selection of suitable candidates, an official said. Based on a proactive joint operation with local police at Pune, a case of possible leakage of question paper prepared for Common Entrance Examination for Recruitment of Soldiers (General Duty) was reported last night, the official added. While further investigations are underway, it was decided to cancel the examination to ensure continuous transparency in the recruitment process.
E) Ghulam Nabi Azad praises PM Modi for being ‘frank about his past’
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Sunday said he likes leaders like Prime Minister Narendra Modi who are proud of their roots and noted that Mr Modi speaks frankly about his past as a tea-seller. Addressing a function by Gujjar Desh Charitable Trust here, the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said a person should not try to hide his background from the world. He himself, had come from a village and he is proud of being a villager. He admire a lot of things about leaders like their Prime Minister who also says that he was from a village. He used to sell tea. He might have political differences with Modi but he is also frank about his past of being a chaiwala (tea-seller), Mr Azad said. The remarks come a day after Mr Azad and other ‘G-23’ dissident leaders, who have been pressing for a leadership change and organisational overhaul in the Congress, gathered on one stage here and said the party is weakening.
A) 18 anti-coup protesters killed in Myanmar military crackdown: U.N. rights office.
Myanmar police fired on protesters on Sunday in the bloodiest day of weeks of demonstrations against a military coup and at least seven people were killed and several wounded, political and medical sources and media said. The U.N. Human Rights Office says it has received credible information that a crackdown Sunday on anti-coup protesters in Myanmar has left at least 18 people dead and over 30 wounded. Deaths reportedly occurred as a result of live ammunition fired into crowds in Yangon, Dawei, Mandalay, Myeik, Bago and Pokokku, it said in a statement, referring to several cities in Myanmar. Tear gas was also reportedly used in various locations as well as flash-bang and stun grenades. Myanmar has been in chaos since the army seized power and detained elected government leader Aung San Suu Kyi and much of her party leadership on Feb. 1, alleging fraud in a November election her party won in a landslide. Myanmar is like a battlefield, the Buddhist-majority nation’s first Catholic cardinal, Charles Maung Bo, said on Twitter. Police were out in force early and opened fire in different parts of the biggest city of Yangon after stun grenades, tear gas and shots in the air failed to break up crowds. Soldiers also reinforced police. Several wounded people were hauled away by fellow protesters, leaving bloody smears on pavements, media images showed.
B) Trump set to take spotlight with post-presidency speech.
Donald Trump returns to the political spotlight on Sunday, determined to regain control of a Republican party that is out Of power and pondering whether the flawed former President can win again in 2024. The 74-year-old will address the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando in a highly-anticipated speech during which he is expected to tease attendees about his political future including the possibility of another presidential run. A hero’s welcome He is sure to be greeted like a returning hero by a loyalist crowd as he calls for party unity and perhaps rips some of his critics on the final day of the nation’s largest conservative gathering. They are not starting new parties, and they will not be dividing their power and their strength, Mr. Trump will say, according to Fox News. Instead, they will be united and strong like never before. U.S. political parties usually face a reckoning after a string of losses such as those the Republican Party saw under Mr. Trump in 2020: losing the White House, ceding the Senate and failing to take back the House of Representatives. The party is also marked with Mr. Trump’s repeated lies about his election loss to Joe Biden, his impeachment for inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, and the extraordinary faultline his actions have caused between establishment Republicans and pro-Trump populists. But, instead of jettisoning its failed leader and charting a new path to relevance, much of the Republican party still sees Mr. Trump as retaining a vicelike grip on its future. It is a perception he has encouraged, setting himself up as a Republican kingmaker. On Friday, he endorsed an ex-aide against an Ohio Congressman who voted to impeach him.
C) Houthi missile attack thwarted, says Riyadh.
Loud explosions shook Riyadh on Saturday as a Saudi-led military coalition said it thwarted a missile attack launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels, which sent debris raining down on civilian homes. Iran-backed Houthi fighters have intensified operations against the kingdom as air strikes by the Saudi-led military coalition pound rebel positions in the north of Yemen, in a bid to stop their offensive to seize the government’s last northern stronghold of Marib. Saudi Arabia said on Saturday it thwarted a Houthi missile that targeted Riyadh. The operation was carried out with a ballistic missile and 15 drones targeting sensitive areas in the enemy’s capital of Riyadh, said Houthi spokesman Yahya al-Saree, according to the rebels’ Al-Masirah TV channel. Fragments of the missile scattered over several Riyadh neighbourhoods, damaging at least one home but no casualties were reported, Saudi’s state-run Al-Ekhbariya television said. AFP correspondents in the Saudi capital reported hearing multiple loud explosions. The night sky lit up with a bright flash following the interception of a missile, state television footage showed. Separately, the coalition said it intercepted six Houthi drones targeting the kingdom, including the southern cities of Khamis Mushait and Jizan. The assaults came as Saudi Arabia hosted a Formula E championship on the outskirts of Riyadh, which state media said was attended by de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The Houthis have escalated cross-border attacks on the kingdom even after the U.S. delisted the rebels as terrorists and stepped up efforts to de-escalate the six-year conflict. The designation, imposed by former U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration, had been widely criticised by aid agencies, which warned it would hamper their efforts to alleviate a humanitarian crisis in Yemen.