Latest Current Affairs 28 January 2021

28 January 2021



A) Farmer unions blame violence on ‘conspiracy’; cancel Budget Day march to Parliament. 

Farmers’ unions have blamed Tuesday’s violence on a conspiracy hatched with the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (KMSC) and anti-social elements such as Deep Sidhu. They claimed that the incidents on Republic Day had exposed the anti-farmer forces and vowed to continue a peaceful protest. After an emergency meeting under the chairmanship of veteran Punjab leader Balbir Singh Rajewal, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha said they had discussed the violent incidents in New Delhi and concluded that the Union Govt. has been severely shaken by this peasant agitation. Therefore, a dirty conspiracy was hatched with Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee and others against the peaceful struggle of other farmer organisations. After the Republic Day parade plans were made, anti-social elements like Deep Sidhu and others, including the KMSC, attempted to torpedo the farmers’ agitation, the SKM said. The farm unions condemned the violence, the government, the KSMC, and the anti-social elements who tried to damage the struggle. The organisations resolved not to allow the government and other forces inimical to the peaceful movement to break this struggle. Yesterday’s events exposed and isolated the anti-farmer forces clearly, said the SKM statement. The SKM claimed that the KMSC was not part of the organisations which jointly undertook the struggle, noting that the Punjab union had set up its own separate protest site with a separate stage at the Singhu border within 15 days of the start of the agitation. Although the KMSC is part of the negotiations with the Centre along with the other unions, SKM leaders emphasised that this was only because the government had invited the rogue Punjab union. Meanwhile, union leaders announced that they have cancelled the scheduled march to Parliament on Budget Day, February 1. Instead, they now plan to hold ‘jan sabhas’ across the country on January 30, Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary.

B) Delhi Police detain 200, name key farmer leaders in FIRs. 

The Delhi Police have detained 200 people in connection with the violence during the farmers’ tractor rally on Republic Day, officials said on Wednesday. Police said they are likely to detain and question more people in connection with Tuesday’s violence in the national capital. Tens of thousands of farmers broke barriers on Tuesday to storm the national capital and highlight their demands. The Delhi Police has also registered 22 FIRs so far in connection with the violence that left over 300 policemen injured. More than 35 farmer leaders have been named in the FIRs, including Rakesh Tikait, Darshan Pal Singh, Rajinder Singh, Balbir Singh Rajewal, Buta Singh Burjgil, Joginder Singh Ugrahan, and Yogendra Yadav. Interestingly, Deep Sidhu, the man widely believed to be behind the incitement that led to the violence at Red Fort on Tuesday, has not been named in any FIR. Sidhu was an election agent for Sunny Deol, a BJP MP. He has been photographed with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, and has been a campaigner for the BJP.

C) Three TV journalists booked in U.P. for showing students ‘shivering in cold’ during govt function. Police in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur Dehat district have booked three television journalists on charges of airing a baseless news report of children of a government school shivering in cold in knickers and cotton shirts during a drill at a public function on January 24. The event was part of a government function held at the Eco Park in Kanpur Dehat on the occasion of U.P. Foundation Day. Minister for Technology Ajit Singh Pal, MLAs and officials were present. The FIR was lodged at the Akbarpur police station on a complaint of Sunil Dutt, district basic education officer. Dutt accused the three journalists of publishing baseless and misleading reports and videos that suggested that pupils were made to shiver in cold while performing drills and yoga. Children perform at a Uttar Pradesh Foundation Day function attended by State Minister Ajit Singh Pal at Kanpur Dehat district on January 24, 2021. Three journalists have been booked by the district police for airing news report showing children of a government school shivering in cold during the event. The three, working for a local TV channel, have been identified as Mohit Kashyap, Amit Singh and Yaseen Ali. The three were not even present at the event, officials said. Visuals of the event shows pupils performing drills apparently in summer uniform and holding toy guns. The FIR accused the journalists of suggesting that the officials were busy while the children shivered in cold. In the complainant, Dutt said the pupils were made to take off their winter-wear only while performing yoga and exercise, and that subsequently they wore their warm clothes. Yoga and physical exercise could not be carried out in winter clothes and required loose clothing, he pointed out.

D) Supreme Court stays Bombay High Court POCSO order. 

The Supreme Court has stayed a controversial Bombay High Court verdict, which acquitted a man found guilty of assault under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) on the grounds that he groped his victim over her clothes and there was no ‘skin-to-skin’ contact between them. A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde on Wednesday took cognisance instantaneously after Attorney General K.K. Venugopal made a special mention in court, saying the High Court decision would set a very dangerous precedent and cripple the intention of POCSO to punish sexual offenders. On January 19, a single judge of the Bombay High Court’s Nagpur Bench created a furore after he acquitted a man under POCSO Act and held that an act against a minor would amount to groping or sexual assault only if there was skin-to-skin contact. The High Court had concluded that mere touching or pressing of a clothed body of a child did not amount to sexual assault. Venugopal said that in the future, because of the order, an accused could claim innocence under POCSO by arguing that the child he assaulted was clothed and there was no direct physical skin-to-skin contact between them. The Bench issued notice to the accused and to the State of Maharashtra after registering a case on the basis of Venugopal’s mentioning.

E) No protection from arrest for makers of ‘Tandav’

The Supreme Court today declined to pass an order to protect the makers and artists of Amazon Prime’s ‘Tandav’ web series from arrest even as it agreed to examine their plea to club the FIRs registered against them in various States on the charge of hurting Hindu religious sentiments. A three-judge Bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan asked them to approach the concerned lower courts for interim relief, including bail. The court also rejected their plea to quash the FIRs. The court did not appear convinced when the makers and artists explained that the web series was a political satire and urged the court to protect their freedom of artistic speech and expression. Justice M.R. Shah, on the Bench, said free speech is not absolute and is subject to reasonable restrictions. One of the actors, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, described to the court that he had enacted a character whose dialogues in the series had no connection whatsoever to his own individual beliefs. You cannot play the role of a character which hurts the religious sentiments of others, Justice Shah responded.


A) Iran says Israel is waging a psychological war. 

A top Iranian official on Wednesday said Israel was waging a psychological war after the Jewish state’s Army said new offensive options were being drawn up in case they were needed against the Islamic republic. Mahmoud Vaezi, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s chief of staff, also vowed that his country was ready and willing to defend itself. They have no intention of going to war, but they are serious about defending the country, he said. Israel, a close U.S. ally, accuses Iran of seeking to build a nuclear bomb, a charge Tehran denies. Israel’s military chief General Aviv Kochavi said on Tuesday he had ordered new plans be drawn up this year to counter Iran’s nuclear capabilities, in case political leaders decided to target the country. The power to initiate them lies with the political echelon, Gen. Kochavi stressed. However, the offensive options need to be prepared, ready and on the table. Mr. Vaezi shot back on Wednesday, accusing Israel of conducting a psychological war. Iran’s recent military manoeuvres, testing missiles and drones, Mr. Vaezi added, showed that our armed forces are trained to defend Iran. Gen. Kochavi’s remarks came nearly a week after the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden, who has signalled he wants to return to dialogue with Iran.

B) Pak. plans to hold Senate polls through open vote. Pakistan Cabinet has decided to table a Bill in Parliament to amend the Constitution for holding the Senate elections through open vote. The decision was taken during the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan. The government wants the (Senate) polls to be held in a transparent manner and without horse-trading. This is why we want Senate polls to be held through an open ballot, Information Minister Shibli Faraz told the media after the meeting. He said that in the past, money was used in Senate elections and votes were bought making the House election a mockery. The Minister asked what was the use of an upper house in which people come through purchasing of votes. Mr. Faraz also said that people opposing the proposed move are forgetting that their own party had demanded open ballot in the past. The government will present a constitutional amendment Bill in the Parliament so that Senate polls are held through open ballot, he said.

Latest Current Affairs 27 January 2021

27 January 2021



A) Farmers’ protests take a violent turn on Republic Day. 

Tens of thousands of farmers atop tractors broke barriers, clashed with police, and entered the city from various points to reach the Red Fort on Republic Day. One young man was seen hoisting a yellow triangular flag at the Red Fort’s flagpole – the centrepiece of the country’s Independence Day celebrations. The flag was the ‘Nishan Sahib’, a symbol of Sikh religion seen at all Gurdwara complexes. One farmer, Navdeep Singh Hundal, 26, died amid the clashes in central Delhi. While the police claimed that he died when his tractor overturned, some farmers alleged that he was killed in police firing and have begun a sit-in protest. Farmer union leaders, who have been spearheading the two-month protest at the national capital’s border points to demand a repeal of the farm laws, disowned the protesters who deviated from the route approved by the police. Earlier in the day, a clash broke out between police and protesting farmers after the latter reached ITO and tried to push towards Lutyen’s Delhi, and the police responded with a lathi charge and use of tear gas shells against them. The farmers, who began their march from different border points much before the time allotted to them for their tractor rally, reached ITO in Central Delhi despite the police denying them permission for it. The Delhi Police had given permission for a tractor parade on selected routes only, and with the proviso that the rally takes place after the official Republic Day parade on Rajpath concluded. However, chaos ensued as the farmers decided to head towards central Delhi in the morning itself. Notwithstanding the violence and chaos in the capital on Republic Day, the Centre is inclined to continue talks with the agitating farmer leaders, a top government source told. 

B) India’s heritage, military might on display at Rajpath. 

India celebrated its 72nd Republic Day on Tuesday across the country, albeit in a muted manner, due to the pandemic. Delhi Police advised people to watch the live telecast of Republic Day parade at home due to Covid-19 protocols. Invitees attending the parade at Rajpath had to comply with the Covid-19 advisory that included temperature check, use of sanitiser, mask, and social distancing. The Camel Contingent of Border Security Force take part at Republic Parade. The Camel Contingent of Border Security Force take part at Republic Parade. This time, there was no chief guest at the Republic Day parade. Additionally, the route of the marching contingent ended at the India Gate C-Hexagon instead of at the Red Fort. The parade culminated in a single Rafale aircraft flying at a speed of 900km/hr. This year also marked the first time that the newly inducted Rafale fighter aircraft featured in India’s Republic Day fly past as it carried out the ‘Brahmastra’ formation by itself, and participated in the ‘Eklavya’ formation with four other fighter jets.

C) Padma awards for 2021 announced; late Col. Santosh Babu bestowed Maha Vir Chakra. 

Late singer and music composer S.P. Balasubramaniam, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and Islamic scholar Maulana Wahiduddin Khan have been conferred India’s second highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan. In the annual national honours list, singer K.S Chithra, former Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan, and Nripendra Misra, former principal secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, are among the 10 recipients of the Padma Bhushan. The Padma Bhushan will be conferred posthumously to former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi, Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan, former Gujarat chief minister Keshubhai Patel, and Shia cleric Kalbe Sadiq. Colonel B Santhosh Babu, Commanding Officer of 16 Bihar Regiment, who was in Galwan as part of Operation Snow Leopard, and lost his life along with 19 others in the violent clash with China’s People Liberation Army (PLA) in June last year, has been posthumously awarded the Maha Vir Chakra (MVC), the country’s second highest war time gallantry award. Five other personnel deployed in Galwan have been awarded the Vir Chakra four of them posthumously. The Vir Chakra is the third highest war time gallantry award. Babu’s father said he was not 100% satisfied with the Maha Vir Chakra posthumously awarded to his son. More than 900 police and central armed police force (CAPF) personnel received medals, including 207 gallantry medals, on the eve of Republic Day. Assistant Sub Inspector Mohan Lal of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), who was killed in the suicide attack in Pulwama on February 14, 2019, was awarded the President’s Police Medal for Gallantry (PPMG) posthumously. None of the 21 Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel who faced Chinese aggression and thwarted incursions in various sectors in Eastern Ladakh last year in April-May received any medal this year. ITBP had recommended gallantry medals for the 21 personnel in August last year.

D) Supreme Court dismisses plea seeking transfer of petitions against U.P. anti-conversion law. 

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the Uttar Pradesh government’s plea to transfer to the court all petitions filed in the Allahabad High Court challenging the new law that criminalises inter-faith marriages, Live Law reported. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde took exception to the request, and asserted that no constitutional court should be taken lightly. If the Allahabad High Court is going to decide the cases, why should we interfere? the top court asked. People are making light of High Courts these days. The High Court is a constitutional court.

E) Ayodhya mosque construction starts. 

The formal construction of the Dhannipur Mosque Project was launched on Republic Day with the unfurling of the tricolour, singing of the National Anthem, and the planting of saplings of various trees, including tamarind, mango, neem and guava at the five-acre plot in Dhannipur village here. The plot was allotted by the Uttar Pradesh government on the directions of the Supreme Court in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi title suit. The soil testing procedure for the structure has also been initiated. The members of the Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation (IICF), which is overseeing the construction, assembled at the place at 8:30 am. After a brief Republic Day ceremony, conducted in the presence of police personnel, IICF chief trustee Zufar Faruqi planted the first sapling, a tamarind tree, to mark the symbolic and low-key start of the project in the one-third area of the plot that will be developed as a green patch. IICF chief trustee Zufar Faruqi planted a sapling, followed by other members to mark the symbolic and low-key start of the Dhannipur Mosque Project. IICF chief trustee Zufar Faruqi planted a sapling, followed by other members to mark the symbolic and low-key start of the Dhannipur Mosque Project. The project would comprise three parts: a mosque based on a modern design and a solar panel roof; a multi-specialty 200-bed hospital and community kitchen; and an Indo Islamic Cultural Research Centre, consisting of a library, underground museum and publication house. The project is estimated to cost around ₹100-110 crore, which would be collected through charity but without any door to door fund-raising, Hussain said. Incidentally, the organisers did not invite any of the former litigants or persons associated with the Babri Masjid case to the event. 


A) Biden reimposes ban on travellers from Europe, adds South Africa to restricted list.

Reversing his predecessor Donald Trump’s policy, U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday reimposed a ban on travellers from Europe and Brazil. The White House also barred travelers from South Africa from entering the U.S. due to the emergence of a new variant of coronavirus in that country. The President is taking these steps on the advice of his COVID-19 and medical team, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at her daily press briefing. President Biden has decided to maintain the restrictions previously in place for the European Schengen area, the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland and Brazil, Psaki said. The U.S. government has said that it will require airline passengers entering the country to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before boarding their flights. With the pandemic worsening and more contagious variants spreading, this isn’t the time to lift restrictions on international travel, Psaki said. And in light of the contagious variant B1351, South Africa has been added to the restricted list, she said. Additionally, beginning January 26, international travellers to the United States must provide proof of a negative test within three days of travel to airlines prior to departure, she added. This applies regardless of citizenship, she asserted.

B) Dutch police detain over 180 in third night of curfew.

Dutch police detained more than 180 people in a third night of unrest in cities across the Netherlands, where roaming groups of rioters set fires, threw rocks and looted stores in violence triggered by a night curfew aimed at curbing the coronavirus. The first curfew since the Second World War followed a warning by the National Institute for Health (RIVM) over a new wave of infections due to the British variant of the virus, and was imposed on Saturday despite weeks of declines in new infections. They have had riots in the past, but it’s rare to have this for several nights across the entire country, said National Police spokeswoman Suzanne van de Graaf. It’s not only in known problem areas, but much more widespread. Riot police with shields and batons were called out in more than 10 cities, many of which had issued emergency ordnance to provide officers with greater powers to conduct searches. Police scuffled with rioters in several cities late into the night, chasing them down narrow streets with vans or on foot as helicopters hovered overhead. In the capital Amsterdam, groups of youths threw fireworks, broke store windows and attacked a police truck, but were broken up by massive police presence. Ten police were injured in Rotterdam, where 60 rioters were detained overnight after widespread looting and destruction in the city centre, a police spokeswoman said. Supermarkets in the port city were emptied, while rubbish bins and vehicles were set ablaze. Two photographers were hurt after being targeted by rockthrowing gangs, police said. The Dutch government said it will not back down on its curfew. They don’t capitulate to people who smash shop windows. That is not the case, Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra was quoted as saying by Dutch news agency ANP.

Latest Current Affairs 26 January 2021

26 January 2021



A) Delhi Police permits tractor rally, with 37 conditions; farmers announce Budget Day march to Parliament.

The Delhi Police on Monday issued a No Objection Certificate (NOC) to the farmers’ proposed tractor rally in New Delhi during Republic Day on Tuesday, after union leaders agreed to 37 conditions during a meeting with the police. According to the conditions agreed to, the organisers shall limit the number of participants in the rally to 5,000 persons, along with 5,000 tractors. The rally shall be held within the prescribed time period i.e. from 1200 hours to 1700 hours only on January 26, 2021. The participants in the rally should not indulge in any acrobatics, display of martial arts, or stunt driving. No weapons such as firearms, swords, spear, mashaals and lathis, including religious symbols other than the permitted ones, shall be carried. Meanwhile, farmer unions on Monday announced that they will march towards Parliament from different locations on February 1 when the annual Union Budget is scheduled to be presented, PTI reported. Darshan Pal of the Krantikari Kisan Union said the protesting farmers remain firm in their stand of repealing the three new farm laws and their agitation will continue till their demands are met. They will march towards Parliament on foot from different locations on the Budget day on February 1. As far as the tractor rally is concerned, it will give the government an idea of our strength and they will know the agitation is not just limited to Haryana or Punjab but it is an agitation of the whole country, he said. The farmers who have come for the tractor parade will not go back now and will join the protest. The agitation will continue till our demands met. Our stand remains the same, Pal told a press conference. Thousands of armed personnel have been deployed at the Rajpath and several border points of the national capital, which has been brought under a multi-layered security cover in view of Republic Day celebrations as well as the proposed tractor rally.

B) Indian billionaires increased their wealth by 35% during lockdown.

Indian billionaires increased their wealth during the lockdown by 35% to ₹3 trillion. The sharp increment in their wealth since the lockdown in March is enough to give every one of the 138 million poorest Indians a cheque for ₹94,045 each, according to Oxfam’s Inequality Virus Report, released on the opening day of the World Economic Forum in Davos. The spike in the wealth of just the top 11 billionaires during the pandemic could easily sustain the MGNREGS or the Health Ministry for the next 10 years, stated the report, which also underscored how Covid-19 has deepened inequalities. While the wealthiest escaped the worst impact of the pandemic, the poor faced joblessness, starvation and death, the report noted. Mukesh Ambani, who has emerged as the richest man in India and Asia, was earning ₹90 crore an hour during the pandemic. At the same time, during the lockdown, 24% of the people in the country were earning under ₹3,000 a month. The increase in Ambani’s wealth alone could keep 40 crore informal workers out of poverty for at least five months, said the report. Meanwhile, 170,000 people lost their jobs every hour in the month of April 2020, the report said. The Oxfam report recommended reintroducing the wealth tax and effecting a one-time Covid-19 cess of 4% on taxable income of over ₹10 lakh to help the economy recover from the lockdown. According to its estimate, wealth tax on the nation’s 954 richest families could raise the equivalent of 1% of the GDP. The report also delved deeper into different forms of inequities, including educational, gender and health. These inequalities meant that the amenities to be able to wash hands and maintain distance, essential to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, were not available for a majority of the population. According to the report, only 6% of the poorest 20% have access to non-shared sources of improved sanitation, compared to 93.4 % of the top 20 %. About 59.6% of India’s population lived in a room or less, which meant that protocols necessary to prevent the spread of Covid-19 could not be followed. Calling the coronavirus pandemic the world’s worst public health crisis in a hundred years, the report said it triggered an economic crisis comparable in scale only with the Great Depression of the 1930s.

C) WhatsApp’s differential treatment of Indian citizens a cause for concern, says Centre. 

The Centre on Monday told the Delhi High Court that WhatsApp’s differential treatment of Indian users – in comparison to their European users when it came to its privacy policy was a cause for concern to the government. Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Chetan Sharma, appearing for the Central government, said that the privacy policy offered by WhatsApp to its European users, specifically prohibition of any information shared with Facebook, while this provision is not present in the privacy policy offered to Indian citizens who form a very substantial part of WhatsApp user base. This differential treatment is a cause for concern to the government, the ASG said. The government is also concerned with the way Indian users have been subjected to these changes rather unilaterally. By not providing the Indian users the ability to opt out of this data being shared with other Facebook companies, WhatsApp prima facie seems to be treating Indian users with an all-or-nothing approach, ASG Sharma said. This, Sharma said, may infringe on Indian users’ interests in relation to information privacy and information security. Though the issue is between two private parties, Sharma said, the scope and expanse of WhatsApp makes it a germane ground that reasonable and cogent policies are put in place which is being done by the Personal Data Protection Bill. The Personal Data Protection Bill is being discussed by the Joint Committee of the Parliament, Sharma added. Taking note of the fact that the matter is being looked into at the highest level, Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva adjourned the hearing in the case for March 1, by which the Centre will place on record the steps being taken on the issue. The court, however, declined to grant the plea of petitioner Manohar Lal to issue notice to WhatsApp. Lal, in his petition, has claimed that WhatsApp’s new privacy policy violates the right to privacy guaranteed under the Constitution. It said the new policy virtually gives a 360-degree profile into a person’s online activity without there being any supervision by the government.

D) Indian and Chinese troops clashed at Naku La in Sikkim. 

Indian and Chinese troops clashed at Naku La in North Sikkim last week. The clashes resulted in some minor injuries on both sides, it has been learnt. It is clarified that there was a minor face-off at Naku La area of North Sikkim on January 20, 2021 and the same was resolved by local commanders as per established protocols, the Army said in a statement. The clash occurred as People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops attempted to intrude into Indian territory, a defence source said. There were some minor injuries on both sides but the situation was resolved and under control, the source said. The clash occurred amid high alert and heavy deployment of troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) on both sides since the standoff began. Given that this is peak winter and temperatures are extremely low, the situation has been largely quiet as both sides dug in while diplomatic and military-level talks continue attempts to work out an agreement for disengagement and de-escalation.

E) Beant Singh killing: SC gives govt. two weeks to decide on mercy plea.

The government told the Supreme Court on Monday that a decision on the mercy plea of Balwant Singh Rajoana, in jail for 26 years for the assassination of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh, would have some repercussions now. Appearing before a Bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, for the Centre, sought three weeks’ time. Why three weeks? What are you doing? You said you will take a decision before Republic Day, Chief Justice Bobde asked Mehta. What are they doing? It has been 26 years of jail for him (Balwant Singh). Your Lordships have given them (government) a long rope, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, for Balwant Singh, said, objecting to Mehta’s submissions. He is in jail for 26 years, yes, but he is in jail for the assassination of a former Chief Minister of Punjab, Mehta responded, adding that the government was examining the petition. Any decision, either way, may have some repercussions now, Mehta stressed. The court finally gave the government two weeks. Balwant Singh’s plea for Presidential mercy has been in limbo despite the government having decided over a year ago, in 2019, to spare his life in commemoration of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. In a petition to the Supreme Court from his jail cell, Balwant Singh has said his repeated pleas to the government about the fate of the mercy plea were met with silence. He called the delay inexplicable. The mercy petition was filed in 2012.

F) Allahabad HC defers final hearing of writ against U.P. anti-conversion ordinance. 

The Allahabad High Court has deferred the final hearing of the writ filed against the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020 to February 2, citing the petition moved by the Yogi Adityanath-led government to transfer the case to the Supreme Court. On Monday, the State government said an application to transfer the petition was pending in the apex court. Reports said the SC declined to accept the plea and said it would not intervene in the case. A HC Bench of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Siddhartha Varma listed the matter for February 2. The court is hearing a bunch of PILs challenging the constitutional validity of the ordinance.


A) Biden to sign executive order to boost ‘Buy American’ rules.

U.S. President Joe Biden will sign an executive order on Monday requiring the federal government to increase its purchases of American goods, relative to foreign goods. Monday’s order asks agencies to update the existing ‘Buy American’ government procurement rules including by requiring an increase in the amount of domestic content that has to go into products being sold to the federal government and updating how the composition of products is measured. It also increased the government’s price differential for American products relative to foreign ones. The order also mandates the creation of a new senior position to oversee the Buy American programme and a website to publish any waivers to the sourcing requirements. Mr. Biden has been undoing a number of his predecessor Donald Trump’s policies such as those that were viewed as divisive, or harmed particular minority groups, or promoted American retrenchment from the world. However, Monday’s order is in the same thematic direction as at least some of Mr. Trump’s policies that sought to use the power of the federal government $600 billion a year in contracts to promote domestic rather than foreign industry. Some two-thirds of the purchases were made by the Defense Department. Manufacturing jobs have been on the decline in the U.S. over the last two decades, not just because sourcing abroad was more cost effective but also due to a significant increase in automation.

B) Israel extradites woman wanted for sex crimes.

Israeli authorities on Monday extradited a former teacher accused of sexually abusing her former students in Australia, capping a six-year legal battle that strained relations between the two governments and antagonized Australia’s Jewish community. Malka Leifer, who is wanted on 74 charges of child sex abuse in Australia, was placed on a flight early in the day, several hours before Israel was to close its international airport to nearly all air traffic due to a raging pandemic. Israeli media photographed Leifer boarding a plane at Ben Gurion Airport, her ankles and wrists shackled. Her lawyer, Nick Kaufman, confirmed the extradition. Leifer, a former teacher accused of sexually abusing several former students at a Jewish school in Melbourne, had been fighting extradition since 2014. Leifer, however, maintains her innocence. The protracted court case and repeated delays over her extradition had drawn criticism from Australian officials as well as the country’s Jewish leaders. This is an incredible day for justice! said Manny Waks, head of Voice against Child Sex Abuse, an organisation representing Leifer’s victims. They can now truly look forward to Leifer facing justice in Australia on the 74 charges, he said.



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