QWrap: Govt Grounds Boeing 737 Max 8 Aircraft; Gadkari on Balakot

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1. All Boeing 737 MAX 8 Flights Grounded: Civil Aviation Secretary

Following the meeting with all airlines, the Ministry of Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said that all flights of Boeing 737 MAX have been grounded and that Thursday, 14 March will be a “challenging” day.

This comes after a number of flights were cancelled following the Ethiopian Airline crash on Sunday.

On Wednesday morning, airline SpiceJet said that it had suspended Boeing 737 MAX operations following the Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) decision to ground the aircraft.

Air safety regulators in at least 40 countries have either grounded Boeing 737 MAX planes or banned them from their airspace after the 10 March crash in Ethiopia.

Read the full story here.


2. People Were Curious, So BJP Gave Death Toll: Gadkari on Balakot

Responding to a question on the ‘politicisation’ of the Balakot airstrikes by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Union Minister Nitin Gadkari accused the media of sensationalising what “insignificant” district leaders said. He said no top leaders of the saffron party had indulged in politicisation of the airstrikes carried out by the Indian Air Force (IAF) on 26 February, in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack that killed 40 CRPF jawans.

When he was cross-questioned about BJP chief Amit Shah publicly placing the casualty figures of the airstrikes at ‘250-300’ despite no confirmation from the government or the armed forces, Gadkari told The Quint, “When the incident happened, people were curious.” He added, “We responded to the questions of the people.”

Read the full story here.

3. Declare Bengal Super Sensitive State For Fair Polls: BJP to EC

A delegation of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday, 13 March, met Election Commission (EC) officials, urging them to declare West Bengal a “super sensitive state” to ensure a fair Lok Sabha election.

Addressing media outside the EC office in Delhi, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the delegation put forth certain demands, including freedom of press and deployment of central forces in the state.

The delegation included Prasad, Nirmala Sitharaman, Kailash Vijaywargiyya, Mukul Roy and JP Nadda.

He further said that the delegation requested EC to remove officers whose electoral impartiality is questionable and central forces should be deployed at all polling booths.

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4. Theresa May’s Brexit Deal Fails, Again

The United Kingdom Parliament has rejected UK PM Theresa May’s Brexit deal on Wednesday, 13 March. It was defeated by 391 votes to 242 – a margin of 149. The first version of the deal was defeated in January by a margin of 230.

Lawmakers will now vote on whether to have a no-deal Brexit on the scheduled date of 29 March, or to ask the bloc to postpone Britain's departure and extend Article 50.

EU has done “everything it can” to get Brexit deal through, said European Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier.

Read the full story here.

5. PM Modi Urges Rahul, Mamata to Encourage Voters to Cast Ballot

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, 13 March, urged leaders across the political spectrum – including Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee and Mayawati – to encourage people to caste their votes in large numbers in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

In his first tweet, Modi tagged Rahul Gandhi (Congress), Mamata Banerjee (Trinamool Congress), Mayawati (BSP), Akhilesh Yadav (SP), MK Stalin (DMK), Tejashwi Yadav (RJD) and Sharad Pawar (NCP).

The prime minister also tagged businessmen, actors, journalists, spiritual leaders and sports stars, asking all of them to “participate in the elections” and “motivate youth to vote.”

Read the full story here.


6. Christians Left Upset After Good Friday Holiday Scrapped in 2 UTs

The Christian communities of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu are reportedly unhappy after the district administration scrapped the public holiday for Good Friday for the first time ever.

An official notification of the Dadra and Nagar Haveli (DNH) moved the national holiday from Schedule 1 of Public Holidays (Gazetted) to the schedule 2 restricted holiday category.

Priests and other community leaders are trying to convince the District Collector to reconsider the decision. “We have requested the District Collector to review the list and make changes and put Good Friday back in the list of public holidays in DNH,” Christian community leader Malcolm Ferreira said.

Read the full story here.

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