Times Top10: Today’s Top News Headlines and Latest News from India & across the World

5 THINGS FIRSTUK PM Boris Johnson in Delhi; Jharkhand High Court hearing in Lalu Yadav‘s bail plea in fodder scam case; Guwahati civic polls; IPL (DC Vs RR); Earth Day1. ‘Do you need bulldozers to remove stalls and chairs?’Stop it!
The Supreme Court on Thursday stopped the demolition drive against encroachments in Jahangirpuri area of Delhi for two more weeks, and said it took serious view of the complaint that the drive continued the previous day in breach of its status quo order.“We will take a serious view of the demolition, which was carried out even after Supreme Court orders, even after the NDMC mayor was informed. We will take that up later,” the court said.The area witnessed violent clashes, including stone pelting, arson and firing, between two communities during a Hanuman Jayanti procession on Saturday. Eight police personnel and a local resident had sustained injuries.A question
“The SC and HC have repeatedly held that removal of encroachments on road and footpaths need no prior notice and the law provides that the kiosks, benches and chairs illegally placed on footpaths and roads are to be confiscated,” solicitor general Tushar Mehta told the court.”Was the North DMC removing only chairs and benches from the footpaths? If so, why did they need bulldozers?,” the court asked.The situation
A day after the NDMC’s demolition drive, Jahangirpuri’s C-Block, the epicentre of Saturday’s violence, remained out of bounds for the media.The politics
The NDMC mayor said the BJP-ruled civic body will not conduct the anti-encroachment drive in Jahangirpuri, but notices will be sent to encroachers in other areas under its jurisdiction. BJP’s Delhi unit chief Adesh Gupta said he would write to east and south Delhi mayors also to conduct similar drives in their areas to bulldoze “illegal encroachments by Rohingyas and Bangladeshis”The demolition drive by the NDMC was launched in Jahangirpuri following Gupta’s letter that came after violence erupted in the area.2. Putin declares Mariupol ‘liberated’After nearly two months of siege, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday claimed victory in the biggest battle of the Ukraine war, declaring the port of Mariupol “liberated”. However, hundreds of defenders are still holed up inside a giant steel plant.Putin ordered his troops not to storm the Azovstal steel plant, calling it “unnecessary”. “There’s no need to climb into these catacombs and crawl underground through these industrial facilities … Block off this industrial area so that not even a fly can get through,” the President told Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu in a televised meeting at the Kremlin.Significance
Capturing Mariupol would be significant as it will firmly link territory held by the Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region and Crimea, the peninsula Moscow seized in 2014.After failing to capture Kyiv last month and being forced to withdraw from northern Ukraine, Russia has regrouped to launch a major new offensive this week in Donbas.Putin’s decision not to storm the Azovstal steel plant, however, found few takers in Kyiv with Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych firmly saying that “our defenders continue to hold it”.Long-drawn battle
Mariupol, once home to 400,000 people, has witnessed the most intense battle as well as a massive humanitarian catastrophe, with hundreds of thousands of civilians cut off for nearly two months under incessant Russia assaults.Russian forces had killed more than 4,000 Ukrainian troops in Mariupol, and that 1,478 had laid down arms, Shoigu told Putin.3. Johnson’s visit: Countering China key focus areaBritish Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who arrived in India on Thursday on his two-day maiden visit, is expected to discuss defence and security matters in order to counter China’s growing aggression in the Indo-Pacific region.Why China
India is part of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), which also comprises the US, Australia and Japan. The bloc calls for a free and open Indo-Pacific, a narrative that is aimed at checking China’s increasing dominance and expansionist ambitions in the region. Beijing, on the other hand, has criticised this alliance calling it the “Asian NATO”.Foreign policy analysts believe the UK, a fast-emerging stakeholder in the Indo-Pacific, is looking to partner with India for long-term strategic goals. Britain also maintains military deployment and patrols in the region.In July 2021, a UK Carrier Strike Group led by HMS Queen Elizabeth sailed through the highly contested South China Sea, which Beijing claims as its own territory. While London termed this as a “freedom of navigation” exercise, Beijing warned it against carrying out any “improper acts”.Bilateral talks
Johnson will be meeting PM Narendra Modi on Friday. The two sides are expected to encourage further negotiations on a free trade agreement given India and the UK have already completed two rounds of talks on the matter.However, it is not clear yet if the British PM will talk about India’s ties with Russia, which has received global condemnation for invading Ukraine. A 10 Downing Street spokesperson had earlier said that “this visit was not framed on the Russia-Ukraine crisis”.Johnson’s trip was cancelled twice last year owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. “The PM has been wanting to make this trip to build our partnership across trade, investment, security, defence and green energy, so we will be discussing all these issues,” the spokesperson added.Meeting with Adani
After he landed in Ahmedabad on Thursday, the UK PM visited Mahatma Gandhi’s Sabarmati Ashram. He also met industrialist Gautam Adani and they discussed key sectors such as energy transition, climate action, aerospace and defence collaboration, among others.4. Power crisis may add to summer woesAmid a sweltering summer, India could be staring at a massive power crisis owing to acute shortages of coal. A surge in demand for electricity has prompted northern states such as Punjab and Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh in the south to cut off supply. In some places, daily outages, as long as eight hours, have become the norm. Coal shortages
The blackouts are triggered by the scarcity of coal, which accounts for 70% of India’s electricity generation. A persistent shortage of coal could weigh on the country’s industrial output and become another “stagflationary shock”, according to a Nomura report cited by Bloomberg.Experts say there are demand-supply factors behind this – while the power demand has shot up due to the reopening of the economy as well as the summer season, supply has been disrupted due to the reduced availability of railway rakes to transport coal and lower coal imports. As of April 18, electricity companies had stock that could last an average of just nine days, according to the power ministry data. Despite boosting output by 27% in the first half of this month, state-owned Coal India Ltd said it hasn’t been able to keep pace with the “intense demand”.Rising temperatures
The national capital, New Delhi, recorded 42.4 degrees Celsius on April 9, its hottest day in five years. The national average reached almost 92 degrees in March, the highest on record since authorities started collecting the data in 1901.6. How a tweet took an MLA from Gujarat to AssamThe flight: Assam police arrested Gujarat MLA and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani from Palanpur town in Gujarat’s Banaskantha district and took him to the north-eastern state by air in the early hours of Thursday.The ride: He was flown to Guwahati and then taken to Kokrajhar by road, over 220 km from Guwahati, as the case under which he was arrested was registered there. The crime: According to the FIR that led to Mevani’s apprehension, he had purportedly written a tweet, claiming that Prime Minister Narendra Modi “considered Godse as God”. He had used the same tweet to also urge Modi to appeal for communal harmony during his visit to Gujarat, the FIR at Kokrajhar Police Station, which was accessed by PTI, said.Who is he? “I don’t know. Who is he?” Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma sought to know when asked for his reaction to the arrest. Mevani had won as an independent MLA from Vadgam (SC) seat of Banaskantha in 2017 through Congress support.7. Is this Israeli-Palestinian conflict heading to 2021?The similarity: Israel’s air force and Palestinian militants traded fire across the Gaza frontier early Thursday as clashes erupted again at Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site, worsening an escalation that has been eerily similar to the lead-up to last year’s Israel-Gaza war.The escalation: The violence along the Gaza front, fuelled by the unrest between Israeli police and Palestinians in Jerusalem, appears to be the heaviest-cross-border fighting since last year’s 11-day war and comes despite efforts to prevent a repeat. A rocket fired from Gaza this week shattered a months-long period of calm that followed the war.The trigger: The latest Israeli-Palestinian tensions boiled over after a series of deadly attacks by Palestinians against Israelis, which then sparked days-long arrest raids by the military in a flashpoint West Bank city and spread into daily clashes in Jerusalem. This year, the Muslim holy month of Ramadan has coincided with Passover, a time of heightened religious observances and visits by large numbers of people to Jerusalem. The Palestinians have accused Israeli police of using excessive force at the holy site.The signs: On Wednesday, hundreds of flag-waving Israeli ultra-nationalists marched toward predominantly Palestinian areas around Jerusalem’s Old City, a demonstration of Israeli control over the disputed city seen as a provocation by Palestinians. Last year’s war erupted during a similar march, when Gaza militants, declaring themselves the guardians of Jerusalem, fired a barrage of rockets toward the holy city. Those events, along with other developments, led to an 11-day war between Israel and Hamas that killed over 250 Palestinians and 14 people in Israel, causing extensive damage in Gaza. More details here8. Afghanistan’s Hazaras targeted againThe violence
A powerful explosion in a Shiite mosque in northern Afghanistan on Thursday killed at least 10 worshippers and injured another 40, according to a hospital official.Earlier Thursday in the capital, Kabul, a roadside bomb exploded and injured two children. That bomb also targeted the country’s minority Shiites.While no one took responsibility for either attack, the bombings had all the hallmarks of the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, or IS-K.Two days earlier in the same area, multiple explosions targeting educational institutions killed at least six people, mostly children, and wounded 17 others.The target
Hazaras, who make up around 9% of the population of Afghanistan’s 36 million people, are targeted because of their ethnicity — distinct from the other ethnic groups, such as Tajik and Uzbek and the Pashtun majority — and their religion. Most Hazaras are Shiite Muslims, despised by Sunni Muslim radicals like the Islamic State group, and discriminated against by many in the Sunni-majority country. More details here9. I will become Pak’s foreign minister if…What: Pakistan’s new coalition government was rocked by early signs of discontent among the constituents on Thursday as PPP chairman and foreign minister-in-waiting Bilawal Bhutto Zardari linked his joining the federal cabinet with the induction of lawmakers representing smaller parties that played a hand in former PM Imran Khan’s ouster.Who: Bilawal won’t be a part of the Shehbaz Sharif government if there is no place in the cabinet for Moshin Dawar, leader of the anti-military rights group Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), along with lawmakers of allies like Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP) and Awami National Party (ANP), sources said.Where: The PPP chief is currently in London to discuss with former three-time PM Nawaz Sharif the promises and agreements that his party made with coalition partners who supported the no-trust move against Imran. But: The security establishment has been against Dawar being made a minister due to his party’s stand on accountability of the powerful military for alleged rights abuses committed against the Pashtun community, including enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings, during its nearly two-decade war against terrorist outfits in the country’s northwest.So what? It has been a tightrope walk for PM Shehbaz to keep intact the biggest coalition government in the country’s history that has representation of parties and groups with different ideologies. Earlier this week, a 36-member cabinet took oath in the first phase of government formation amid rumours of differences over portfolios among the partners.Answer to NEWS IN CLUES
China. Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday called on Asian nations to keep the future of the region in their hands and proposed a Global Security Initiative respecting the sovereignty of all countries amidst Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in a veiled attack on the US’ forays into the region with the Indo-Pacific strategy. More details hereFollow news that matters to you in real-time.
Join 3 crore news enthusiasts.Written by: Rakesh Rai, Tejeesh Nippun Singh, Jayanta Kalita
Research: Rajesh Sharma