Morning Digest | India sees lowest August rainfall in a century; Chinese President yet to confirm presence at Delhi’s G-20 summit, and more


Core sectors grew 8% in July, but output 2.2% below June levels

All of India’s eight infrastructure industries reported growth for the first time in 14 months this July, with core sectors’ output rising 8% after a five-month high surge of 8.3% in June. While July’s performance was buoyed by a 14.9% in coal production, steel output also rose in double digits for the ninth successive month, rising 13.5% in July. Natural gas production grew 8.9% in July, the fastest pace recorded since February 2022.

India sees lowest August rainfall in a century; September is likely to be ‘normal’: IMD

Rainfall in August had been the least in over a century, with India getting 36% less rain than it usually does in the month. Of the four monsoon months, August usually sees the most amount of rainfall (25.4 cm) after July’s 28 cm. The last time India recorded such severe deficits in August was in 2005, when the shortfall was about 25% of the normal, and in 2009, when India saw its biggest drought in half a century and August rainfall was 24% less than what was due.

Chinese President Xi Jinping yet to confirm presence at G-20 summit in Delhi

With just a week to go for the G-20 summit in Delhi, Chinese President Xi Jinping has not confirmed his presence at the meeting on September 9-10, sources in Delhi and Beijing said, amid reports that he may skip the high-powered meeting. Most other leaders, including U.S. President Joseph Biden, and leaders of the U.K., France, Germany, Canada, Japan, Brazil, Indonesia etc have already confirmed they will be present, and are expected to arrive at various times on September 8. In addition, Saudi Prince MbS is likely to be given an exceptional welcome as a State guest, and will stay on for a bilateral visit on September 11. 

Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia protest China’s map

The Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia released separate statements voicing their opposition to China’s new “standard map” for 2023, which has also drawn a strong protest from India. Beijing on August 31 again defended the issuing of the map on August 28, when asked about the protests from India, Malaysia and the Philippines. The map showed within China’s borders all of the Indian State of Arunachal Pradesh, Aksai Chin, as well as the entire South China Sea. While these were also displayed on previous versions of China’s official map, the issuing of the new map has been seen by China’s neighbours as complicating territorial disputes that are being negotiated.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump pleads not guilty and waives arraignment in Georgia election case

Former President Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty and waived arraignment in the case accusing him and others of illegally trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Georgia. Mr. Trump and 18 others were charged earlier this month in a 41-count indictment that outlines an alleged scheme to subvert the will of Georgia voters who had chosen Democrat Joe Biden over the Republican incumbent in the presidential election.

One in four Ujjwala Yojana beneficiaries took zero or one LPG cylinder refills last year despite ₹200 subsidy, RTI data reveals

One out of every four beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana — a scheme aiming to make LPG gas cylinders available to rural and deprived households — either did not take any cylinders during the last financial year 2022-2023, or took just one refill. One in nine PMUY beneficiaries, or over 1.18 crore households, bought no refill cylinders at all last year. Another 1.51 crore beneficiaries bought only one refill cylinder, according to data from the three major gas companies.

Karnataka likely to declare extent of drought on September 4

The decision to recommend drought in affected areas will be taken on September 4 when the cabinet sub-committee on drought-related issues meets while the extent of crop damage due to deficit rainfall will be known in the next 10 days. Data provided by the government shows that as against the normal 660 mm rainfall expected between June 1 and August 30, Karnataka received 446 mm rainfall, which translates to a 26% deficit. In 29 districts, 70% deficit rainfall has been recorded in August, and rainfall has not been recorded for three consecutive weeks.

Assam to relaunch drive against child marriage in September

The drive against child marriages in Assam will be relaunched in September, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said. The fresh push against child marriage followed the Chief Minister’s announcement on Independence Day that the State government was determined to come up with a piece of robust legislation for abolishing polygamy. On Thursday, Mr. Sarma said that he had instructed officials at the fourth conference of the Superintendents of Police on July 28 to start another drive and prepare specific operating procedures to deal with child-marriage accused up to August 31. 

Suicide major cause of unnatural deaths among prisoners in India: SC committee tells apex court

Suicide is a major cause of the 817 unnatural deaths reported in jails across the country between 2017 and 2021, the Supreme Court Committee on Prison Reforms has told the apex court while emphasising the need for building suicide resistant barracks. It said in five years starting from 2017 to 2021, there were 462 deaths on account of old age and 7,736 prisoners died due to illness. “Out of a total number of 817 unnatural deaths in India’s prisons between 2017-2021, there were 660 suicides and 41 murders in the prisons across India during last five years from 2017 to 2021,” it said.

J&K police start drive to trace 734 absconders for their involvement in militancy

The Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) police have started a major exercise to identify and trace 734 absconders in the Union Territory, suspected to have a role in militancy-related cases. The police said these terrorists had managed to escape from the clutches of law for decades “by going underground and remaining untraced”. “Then they resurfaced to enjoy normal family life at their native or some distant places. Some of these terrorist absconders have managed to get government services and contracts, others found engaged in private businesses and even working in the court,” the police said.

Adani shares fall after report alleging overseas investors’ ties to promoters

Adani Group companies’ shares fell on Thursday, with the flagship Adani Enterprises sliding as much as 5%, in the wake of a report by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) that sought to affirm earlier allegations of share price manipulation by people close to the promoters. Shares of Adani Enterprises had pared losses and were trading 2.3% lower on the BSE at ₹2,457 as of 12:49 p.m. Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone Ltd. was also down 2.3% while Adani Power was 2.9% lower and Adani Green Energy was down 3.4%.

Anti-cancer jab taking 7 minutes to administer rolled out in England

An anti-cancer jab that can cut down treatment time for some by three quarters has been rolled out by National Health Service (NHS) England, the U.K.’s publicly funded healthcare system. The jab takes as little as 7 minutes to administer, NHS England said in a statement, adding that it will be the first health system in the world to roll out the seven-minute injection to hundreds of NHS cancer patients each year.

Asia Cup 2023 | After pummelling Nepal, Babar Azam says Pakistan are ready for India

Pakistan captain Babar Azam said his team will be brimming with confidence for Saturday’s Asia Cup blockbuster against arch-rivals India after kicking off their campaign with a comprehensive victory against Nepal on Wednesday. Against Nepal, Babar took 72 balls to bring up his 50 but the number one ranked ODI batsman soon stepped on the gas and raced to a 109-ball hundred. After that, he batted in T20 fashion, milking 51 off the next 22 balls he faced.


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