Morning Digest | Centre says no proposal to scrap sedition law; PM Modi moots social media, cryptocurrency norms, and more

Law Minister Kiren Rijiju on Friday told the Lok Sabha that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has no proposal under consideration to scrap Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) that deals with sedition. Mr. Rijiju also informed the House that “the question of law” regarding Section 124A is pending for adjudication before the Supreme Court.

With the detection of seven new cases of the Omicron variant of novel coronavirus in Maharahstra, the total number of cases in the country touched 32 on Friday. Maharashtra now has 17 cases, followed by nine in Rajasthan, three in Gujarat, two in Karnataka, and one in Delhi.

Democracies should jointly deal with social media and crypto currencies, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Official Intervention at the Summit for Democracy convened by U.S. President Joe Biden.

The first thing that hits travellers landing in Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok airport is the emptiness. Hong Kong International Airport (HKG to frequent fliers) used to be among the world’s busiest. It handled 71.5 million passengers in 2019, which is close to 2,00,000 a day. Now, a busy day means 1,500 passengers at most. On a lean day, sometimes only half that number walks through the airport’s doors.

The Government on Friday avoided a direct response to a question whether there was a rise in malnutrition during COVID-19. In the Lok Sabha, Congress member Deepak Baij asked whether malnutrition among children had increased during the pandemic period.

Ten days into the protest against the government for the “illegal” suspension of 12 Rajya Sabha members, a section of the Opposition feels that there should be a parallel agitation outside Parliament to make an impact.

The nation on Friday bid farewell to its first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen Bipin Rawat as he was cremated with full military honours along with his wife Madhulika Rawat. Military Advisor to CDS Brig L.S. Lidder also killed in the Mi-17V5 helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu was also cremated with full military honours.

The government on Friday warned about the declining compliance to mask usage in the country amid concerns over the Omicron variant of the coronavirus and urged people to follow COVID-appropriate behaviour and get vaccinated to prevent surge in cases.

The Union government was working on a plan to use stubble as a biofuel and manure as a part of an effort to deal with stubble burning that was often cited as a source of pollution in northern India, Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav told the Lok Sabha on Friday.

President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday said time was running out for preserving nature for future generations and called for a debate on the right to climate justice. Speaking at the National Human Rights Commission’s (NHRC) Human Rights Day event here, Mr. Kovind said while the world was waking up to harsh realities, decisive changes were yet to be made.

The western half of Meghalaya comprising five Garo Hills districts have become “Congress-free”. The damage has been done by the Trinamool Congress (TMC), not the BJP that had coined the slogan. The Garo Hills are dominated by the Garos, one of the three matrilineal communities of Meghalaya.

The Supreme Court in an order has said that “State force” should not be used to “browbeat a political opinion” and journalists should not be made to suffer the consequences of reporting on what is already in the public domain.

As U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday hosted world leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on the second day of a democracy summit, China’s government capped a week-long campaign criticising liberal democratic systems by attacking America’s “democratic malaise”.

Joe Root and Dawid Malan put on a defiant unbeaten partnership of 159 to give England hope of salvaging a draw in the opening Ashes Test at the Gabba on Friday. A rejuvenated England was 220 for two at close of play, with skipper Root on 86 and Malan 80, only 58 runs behind Australia.

As anticipated, Magnus Carlsen ended Ian Nepomniachtchi’s agony with three games to spare after winning the 11th game of their best-of-14 game World chess championship match in Dubai on Friday.

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