QBullet: India Grounds Boeing 737 MAX; CWC Meet in Gujarat

Catch the top headlines of the day here.

5 min read
File image of a Boeing 737 Max aircraft.

1. Amid Concerns, India Grounds Boeing 737 Max

India's Aviation sefety regulator, the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), late on Tuesday, 12 March, night decided to ground Boeing 737 MAX aircraft with immediate effect until appropriate modifications and safety measures are undertaken to ensure their safe operations.

The DGCA's decision came shortly after the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) announced suspension of flight operations of Boeing's flagship narrowbody aircraft across Europe. A senior DGCA official had earlier told The Indian Express that it would take inputs from other regulatory authorities and airlines before deciding the further course of action.

(Source: The Indian Express)


2. Cong Kicks Off Campaigning Blitz on Modi's Home Turf

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is "cynically exploiting the national security to hide his colossal failures", Congress said in a statement on Tuesday, 12 March, following a meeting of its top-most decision-making body that marked the launch of its Lok Sabha campaign from the ruling BJP stronghold in Gujarat on the 89th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi's Dandi salt march.

Congress leaders attended a prayer meeting at the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad before convening for a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) – its first in the state in 58 years – followed by a public rally where Priyanka Gandhi Vadra delivered her first speech since being appointed a general secretary.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

3. Speeches, Cyber Trail in India’s Pulwama Proof

India’s investigations into the Pulwama terror attack have established the involvement of the Pakistan-based Jaishe-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist group, which had anyway claimed responsibility for the attack.

This proof – the group used the same Internet Protocol (IP) address from a location near Rawalpindi, Pakistan, to upload the video confession of the suicide bomber Adil Ahmad Dar, and also the statement of its spokesperson Mohammed Hassan – is part of the body of evidence India has handed over to Pakistan and also to top diplomats of other countries (including permanent members of the United Nations Security Council) as New Delhi attempts to once again get Pakistan to act against the terror group, and to have its leader Masood Azhar listed by UNSC as a global terrorist.

(Source: Hindustan Times)


4. Religious Leaders Rally Behind Mirwaiz, Slam Central ‘Interference’

Terming the NIA summons to Hurriyat Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq to appear in Delhi in a terror funding case as a “direct interference in the religious affairs of Muslims”, all religious leaders across the divide rallied behind him on Tuesday, 12 March.

Signalling a new fault-line, this is the first time religious leaders in Jammu and Kashmir across the Shia-Sunni, Salafi-Sufi divide have come together against what they call the government’s crackdown.

The NIA, investigating a case related to terror funding in Kashmir, carried out a series of raids on separatists, including the Mirwaiz — head of the moderate Hurriyat faction — and summoned him for questioning in Delhi.

(Source: The Indian Express)

5. DU Issues Advisory for Holi Festivities

The Delhi University has announced it would set up a control room in north and south campuses for the upcoming Holi festival. The control room will be manned by police, DTC authorities and university officials.

The university said that strict action would be taken against those indulging in “acts of hooliganism and rowdyism.”

“All are requested to desist from playing of Holi in a rowdy manner and with wet colours/ balloons/pistons in any educational institution. Entry to colleges/ departments/centres/ halls/hostels would be regulated with identity cards during the festival,” the advisory added.

(Source: Hindustan Times)


6. EC Directs Facebook: Drop Pilot’s Photo Shared by BJP MLA

In what is probably the first instance of action against a violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) on social media, the Election Commission (EC) Tuesday, 12 March, asked Facebook to remove two political posters with Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s photograph, shared by BJP leader and Delhi MLA Om Prakash Sharma.

The EC is learnt to have flagged the content to Shivnath Thukral, Director, Public Policy for India and South Asia, at Facebook, based on a complaint received on its cVIGIL app. It is a new Android-based mobile application, introduced during the Karnataka Assembly election last year, on which citizens can with proof to the EC.

(Source: The Indian Express)

7. Asthana Met Me, Threatened to Make Life Hell: Michel in Court

Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in AgustaWestland chopper scam case, claimed in a Delhi court Tuesday, 12 March, that former CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana met him in Dubai and threatened to make his life hell inside jail if he did not toe the line of the agency in its investigation in the scandal.

“Sometime back Rakesh Asthana met me in Dubai and threatened that my life would be made hell and that’s what is going on. My next door inmate is (gangster) Chotta Rajan… I don’t understand what crime I have committed to be put along with those who have killed several people,” he said.

(Source: The Indian Express)


8. Google Agreed to Pay Tainted Ex-Exec $45 Million

Google agreed to pay its former senior executive Amit Singhal $45 million as an exit package when he resigned in 2016 after being accused of sexual harassment, according to the New York Times.

The amount was revealed in a shareholder lawsuit accusing the board of directors of Google parent company Alphabet of shirking their responsibilities by agreeing to pay executives accused of misconduct instead of firing them. Google agreed to pay Singhal $15 million each for two years and between $5 million and $15 million in the third year as long as he was not employed by a competitor.

(Source: The Times of India)

9. In 2018, India Had Fewer Road Accidents But More Fatal Ones

Road deaths in India increased to nearly 1.49 lakh in 2018 with Uttar Pradesh registering the maximum spike in fatalities. While the country’s most populous state saw its road deaths count increase by more than 2,000 last year over 2017, Tamil Nadu recorded the maximum decline in fatalities, of almost 25%. The southern state saw 3,941 fewer road deaths last year than the year before.

The increase in road fatalities comes as bad news considering that in 2017 the country had registered a 3% decrease in road deaths, from 1.51 lakh in 2016 to 1.48 lakh. The Centre and state governments were hoping to maintain the downward trend in the number of road accident deaths.

(Source: The Times of India)

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