After the uproar over the insistence on the use of the word “Dahi” prominently as the nomenclature on the curd packet marketed by milk federations in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on March 30 withdrew the order. In fresh changes to labelling provisions, FSSAI has enabled the use of curd prominently and its nomenclature in regional languages in brackets. Following the order, the milk federations have been allowed to use curd prominently and use its regional nomenclatures as Mosaru, Thayir, Perugu, Zaamt Daud and Dahi in brackets.
Eleven persons died after the roof of a ‘ bawdi’ (well) collapsed during a havan’, a fire ritual, on the occasion of Ram Navami at a temple in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore city on March 30, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said. Earlier, Indore Collector Illaiyaraja T. had given the death toll as 12. Ten women and a man died in the accident, State Home Minister Narottam Mishra told reporters in Bhopal. It is feared that a few kids are also missing and a search is on to trace them by pumping out the bawdi’s water, Mr. Mishra said.
After a Gujarat court sentenced Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to two years in prison, a Patna court has reportedly summoned him on March 30 to appear before it on April 12 to record his statement in the defamation case filed by senior Bihar BJP leader and Rajya Sabha member Sushil Kumar Modi over Mr. Gandhi’s “Modi surname” remark of 2019 in Karnataka’s Kolar while campaigning for Parliamentary elections. “Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, with his remark made during the 2019 Lok Sabha election that all those having Modi surname are thieves, in Kolar in Karnataka, insulted Backward Class people like me, and I had filed a defamation petition against him at the court of Patna’s Chief Judicial Magistrate. Now the MP/MLA Court has issued summons to him to appear before it to record his statement,” Mr. Modi said in a video message.
As Germany weighed into the debate over the prison sentencing and parliamentary disqualification of opposition Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi in a defamation case, both the ruling BJP and the Congress exchanged words, further fuelling the debate over whether the Modi government faces a concerted attack by governments in the west. At a press briefing on March 30, the Germany Foreign Ministry spokesperson said that Berlin had “taken note” of the verdict, and was watching the next steps, including his ability to appeal the verdict and whether the “suspension of his mandate” was justified. “[Germany] expects that standards of judicial independence and fundamental democratic principles will equally apply to the proceedings against Rahul Gandhi,” the spokesperson added.
The Central Government has given full exemption from basic customs duty on all drugs and food for special medical purposes imported for personal use for treatment of all Rare Diseases listed under the National Policy for Rare Diseases 2021 through a general exemption notification. In order to avail this exemption, the individual importer has to produce a certificate from Central or State Director Health Services or District Medical Officer/Civil Surgeon of the district. Drugs/Medicines generally attract basic customs duty of 10%, while some categories of lifesaving drugs/vaccines attract concessional rate of 5% or Nil.
Delhi Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj on March 30 said that COVID-19 cases are increasing but there is no need to panic and the government is closely monitoring the situation. “COVID-19 positivity is more than 10%, but it is not a cause of worry as number of tests being done are less. There is no need to panic. The strains that are coming up in genome sequencing are not worrying,” he said. Mr. Bharadwaj said that people who have influenza or flu-like symptoms should wear masks. People visiting hospital should wear masks.
Russia’s top security agency says a reporter for the Wall Street Journal has been arrested on espionage charges. The Federal Security Service (FSB), the top domestic security and counterintelligence agency that is the top successor agency to the Soviet era KGB, said on March 30 that Evan Gershkovich was detained in the Ural Mountains city of Yekaterinburg while allegedly trying to obtain classified information. Mr. Gershkovich is the first reporter for an American news outlet to be arrested on espionage charges in Russia since the Cold War. His arrest comes amid the bitter tensions between Moscow and Washington over the fighting in Ukraine.
Four bankers who helped a close friend of Vladimir Putin move millions of francs through Swiss bank accounts have been convicted of failing to perform due diligence in financial transactions. The four were found guilty on March 30 of helping Sergey Roldugin, a concert cellist who has been dubbed “Putin’s wallet” by the Swiss government. The executives — three Russians and one Swiss — helped Mr. Roldugin, who is godfather to Mr. Putin’s eldest daughter Maria, deposit millions of francs in Swiss bank accounts between 2014 and 2016.
Taiwan’s President is beginning a swing through the United States and Central America, a visit aimed at showing that her self-ruled island has allies as it faces a rising threat from China. Taiwan was carefully calibrating President Tsai Ing-wen’s stops in the United States, and as always forgoing any official meetings with senior U.S. leaders in Washington, in an effort to contain what China said would be a strong but as yet unspecified response.
China must play a part in pressing for a “just peace” in Ukraine and its role in the conflict will be vital in shaping relations with the European Union, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said on March 30. China, as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, had a responsibility to play a constructive role in advancing a peace based on the territorial integrity of Ukraine, with the withdrawal of invading Russian forces. “Any peace plan which would in effect consolidate Russian annexations is simply not a viable plan. We have to be frank on this point,” Ms. von der Leyen said in a speech in Brussels on the eve of a trip to Beijing.
India will unveil its much-awaited new Foreign Trade Policy 2023-28 on March 31. with a view to boost exports amid slowing global trade. Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal will announce the foreign trade policy, according to the ministry. The current foreign trade policy (2015-20) is in force till March 31, 2022. The term of the previous five year policy had ended in March 2020. However, it has been extended repeatedly in wake of Covid outbreak and resulting lockdowns.
Pakistan threatened to not take part in ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 scheduled to be held in India later this year if the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) would not allow the Men in Blue to participate in Asia Cup 2023, as per a source. Pakistan wants to play their World Cup matches in Bangladesh or Sri Lanka, according to a source. The World Cup 2023 is slated to take place in October-November this year. The International Cricket Council (ICC) is yet to announce the detailed schedule.
Former Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius has applied for parole and is expected to attend a hearing on Friday that will decide if he can be released from prison 10 years after killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp by shooting her multiple times through a toilet door in his home. Pistorius, who was convicted of murder in Steenkamp’s Valentine’s Day 2013 killing, could leave the Atteridgeville Correctional Centre in Pretoria on Friday if his parole is granted, although the Department of Corrections said the process may take days to finalize if his application is successful.