08 November 2020
A) Bihar third phase turnout over 57%; exit polls favour Mahagathbandhan.
Turnout in the third and final phase of polling in the Bihar assembly elections – for 78 seats spreading across 15 districts — was over 57%, according to the Election Commission of India (ECI). Speaking at the press conference, EC secretary general Umesh Sinha said Bihar had witnessed enthusiastic polling in the three phases on October 28, Tuesday and Saturday, despite the Covid-19 pandemic. During campaigning for the three phases, 876 violations of the Model Code of Conduct and 156 violations of Covid-19 safety norms were seen, he said. Seizures of ₹66.84 crore were made, which were many times higher than previous elections, he said. In the first phase, 71 seats spread across 16 districts went to poll, while in the second, voters in 94 seats of 17 districts exercised their franchise on November 3. With the voting concluding for all the 243 seats, the focus now shifts to the November 10 counting of votes, which will give Bihar a new government. Speaking of a new government, most exit polls have put the Mahagathbandhan ahead of the NDA by varying margins. The People’s Pulse Bihar Exit Poll has projected 85-95 seats for the RJD, 15-20 for the Congress, and 3-5 seats for the Left parties, for a rough tally of around 110 seats for the Grand Alliance. It has projected 65-75 seats for the BJP and 25-35 for the JD (U), for a rough total of 90-100 seats for the NDA. On the other hand, the exit polls of Chanakya have predicted a landslide win for the Tejashwi Yadav-led opposition, giving it more than 180 seats and a clear majority in the assembly. The Times Now C-Voter poll has projected 120 seats for the Grand Alliance and 116 for the NDA, while the ABP-C Voter survey has estimated 131-108 seats for the Mahagathbandhan and 128-104 for the NDA.
B) No immediate relief for Arnab Goswami as Bombay HC reserves order on bail plea.
After a marathon hearing that lasted more than six hours, the Bombay High Court today reserved its orders on the applications filed by Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami and other co-accused arrested in the 2018 abetment to suicide case involving the death of architect Anvay Naik. The two-judge division Bench of Justices S.S. Shinde and M.S. Karnik, hearing the habeas corpus petition and a bail application filed by Goswami, refused to pass an order for interim relief. It also refused to quash the FIR filed against Goswami in the abetment to suicide case and asked his lawyer to approach the sessions court with a regular bail application. Justice Shinde said that they can’t pass order on 7 November. It is already six. Meanwhile they will clarify that pendency of the petition will not bar the petitioner from approaching the sessions court for bail and if such an application is filed, it should be decided within four days.
C) Notice issued to Maharashtra govt on closure of 2018 abetment to suicide case.
During the hearing, lawyers appearing for Anvay Naik’s daughter, Adnya Naik, who is seeking a re-investigation into the 2018 case, sought action against the police officers who did a miserable job of investigation in the first instance. Questioning the urgency behind giving Goswami three days of hearing, they argued that the victim’s family might be harmed if the journalist is released. The Bombay High Court then issued notice to Maharashtra government seeking its response on the plea by Adnya Naik seeking an inquiry against the investigation officers who filed ‘A-summary’ closure report in 2019 on her 2018 FIR. Meanwhile, the sessions court at Alibaug in Maharashtra’s Raigad district will hear on Monday, November 9, the police’s revision plea challenging the magistrate’s order of judicial remand to Goswami (they had sought police custody). Interestingly, legal experts have noted the contrast in how Goswami has been able to get immediate hearings for his applications, in contrast to some others. For instance, when the 83-year-old tribal rights activist Stan Swamy, arrested in the Elgar Parishad case, moved the court earlier this week requesting a straw and sipper as he was suffering from Parkinson’s disease and could not hold a glass, the court gave the prosecution 20 days to reply to his application and fixed the next hearing for November 26.
D) Political parties under Gupkar alliance to fight upcoming J&K District elections as a united front.
Seven mainstream political parties of Jammu and Kashmir, who are part of the Gupkar alliance, on Saturday announced they would unitedly fight the upcoming District Development Council (DDC) elections in the Union Territory. The parties, including the National Conference (NC) and the PDP, are part of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), which was formed for the restoration of special status of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir. Elections to DDCs and vacant posts of sarpanch and panch will be held in eight phases from December 1 to December 24 in Jammu and Kashmir, according to a notification issued by the J-K Election Commission on Friday. The PAGD decided to participate in the DDC polls at its first meeting in Jammu, since its formation last month. The alliance’s spokesperson, Sajad Ghani Lone, said that one point of the agenda (for the meeting) was the upcoming DDC elections, and a unanimous decision was taken that we will fight these elections unitedly despite the abruptness of the timing. All of a sudden, they (government) sprung a surprise and are going to finish the task within a month, said Lone, who was flanked by NC leader and PAGD chairperson Farooq Abdullah and PDP chief and the alliance’s vice chairperson Mehbooba Mufti. He said the PAGD will go through the modalities and Farooq Abdullah would release the names of candidates.
E) India successfully launched its latest earth observation satellite EOS-01.
India successfully launched its latest earth observation satellite EOS-01 and nine customer satellites on board its Polar rocket from the spaceport in Sriharikota on 7 November. This is the first mission by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) this year. EOS-01 is intended for applications in agriculture, forestry and disaster management support, the space agency said. The customer satellites were from Lithuania (1), Luxembourg (4) and USA (4). Indian Space Research Organisation launches all-weather Earth Imaging Satellite EOS-01 and nine other foreign satellites onboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C49 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh on November 7, 2020.
A) Biden set to be the 46 U.S. President, Kamala Harris the first female, black, Asian-American VP.
Victory for Joe Biden now remains a mere formality, with the Democrat nominee pulling ahead in the battleground states of Georgia and Pennsylvania to forge a path to the presidency. There are lingering doubts, however, over whether President Donald Trump will concede once all the counting is done and Biden emerges the clear winner. In the past three days, Trump has made numerous unsubstantiated claims of electoral fraud as his lead in the battleground states evaporated. It remains to be seen how any legal challenge mounted by him plays out, given that the U.S. Supreme Court is packed with conservative judges. Biden, meanwhile, has stuck to the each ballot must be counted mantra. Set to be the oldest man to become American President, he will be entering the White House amidst a pandemic and one of the highest rates of unemployment in the country’s history. His running mate Kamala Harris will make history as the first ever female, black, Asian American Vice President. As some one who ran for the presidency before she became the VP nominee, Harris is expected to play a critical role in shaping the Biden administration’s polices.
B) China’s Oct. exports surge, imports rise.
China’s exports grew at the fastest pace in 19 months in October, while imports also rose, official data showed on Saturday, as the world’s second-largest economy continued to recover after being hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis earlier this year. Exports rose 11.4% from a year earlier, beating analysts’ expectations of a 9.3% increase and quickening from a solid 9.9% increase in September. The surge in exports pushed the trade surplus for October up to $58.44 billion, compared with the poll’s forecast for a $46 billion surplus and a $37 billion surplus in September. China’s trade surplus with the United States widened to $31.37 billion in October, from $30.75 billion in September. China’s exports have stayed largely resilient amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as strong demand for medical supplies and reduced manufacturing capacity elsewhere worked in China’s favour. China’s exports could stay strong in the rest of 2020 as domestic firms resume production faster than global rivals and sell more COVID-19 related goods such as face masks, Mr. Liu said. However, some analysts said exports could come under pressure in the coming months, as major European economies, including France, Germany and the United Kingdom, went back into lockdown as a second wave of coronavirus cases gathered strength. Imports rose 4.7% year on-year in October, slower than September’s 13.2% growth, but still marking a second straight month of growth. China has a better recovery from the pandemic and has a comparative advantage, so it has gained a larger market, said Zhou Hao, an economist at Commerzbank in Singapore.
C) UAE set to overhaul Islamic laws.
The United Arab Emirates announced on Saturday a major overhaul of the country’s Islamic personal laws, allowing unmarried couples to cohabitate, loosening alcohol restrictions and criminalizing so-called -honor killings. The broadening of personal freedoms reflects the changing profile of a country that has sought to Bill itself as a Westernised destination for tourists, fortune-seekers and businesses despite its Islamic legal code that has previously triggered court cases against foreigners and outrage in their home countries. The reforms aim to boost the country’s economic and social CM standing and consolidate the UAE’s principles of tolerance. state-run WAM news agency reported. The announcement follows a historic U.S.-brokered deal to normalize relations between the UAE and Israel, which is expected to bring an influx of Israeli tourists and investment. The changes also reflect the efforts of the Emirates’ rulers to keep pace with a rapidly changing society at home. Changes include scrapping penalties for alcohol consumption, sales and possession for those 21 and over. The decrees were announced on WAM and detailed in State-linked newspaper The National, which said they would take immediate effect. Although liquor and beer is widely available in bars and clubs in the UAE’s luxuriant coastal cities, individuals previously needed a government-issued license to purchase, transport or have alcohol in their homes. Another amendment allows for cohabitation of unmarried couples, which has long been a crime in the UAE.