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Pakistan after Nawaz Sharif, Gujarat Congress in disarray, Trump gets a new chief of staff: Top stories to bring you up to date

Nawaj Sharif resigns as Pakistani PM, exodus-hit Congress flies its Gujarat MLAs to Bengaluru, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar to back UPA nominee Gopal Gandhi as vice president, CAG raises questions over Akash missile’s reliability, President Donald Trump replaces White House chief of staff: Here’s a list of top stories to bring you up to date

india Updated: Jul 29, 2017 07:54 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
‪‪Nawaz Sharif‬,‪Prime Minister of Pakistan‬,‪Shehbaz Sharif‬
In this photograph taken on November 26, 1999, shows deposed Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif (R) exiting from an armoured personal carrier to attend court proceedings in an alleged case of treason and conspiracy in the port city of Karachi. (AFP File Photo)

Nawaz Sharif resigns after court disqualifies him, younger brother Shehbaz could be next Pak PM

Pakistan’s Supreme Court disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday over undeclared assets and ordered the filing of criminal charges against him and his family, plunging the country into turmoil ahead of elections due next year. Sharif, 67, resigned soon after the five-judge bench said in a unanimous decision he was disqualified as a member of the National Assembly or lower house of Parliament for not remaining “truthful and honest”. Pakistani news channels reported Sharif had recommended to leaders of his PML-N party during a meeting that his younger brother, Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif, should be made the prime minister. Another party leader is expected to serve as interim premier till Shehbaz is elected to Parliament. Read the story here.

Congress flies its Gujarat MLAs to Bengaluru as party grapples with exodus

Congress flew most of its Gujarat MLAs out of the state in a midnight flight to Bengaluru on Friday, an apparent attempt to keep the flock together after a string of resignations rocked the party. Six MLAs have resigned from the party in the last two days, reducing the party’s strength in the Gujarat assembly to 51 and spelling trouble for Ahmed Patel, Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary, who has filed papers seeking a fifth term in the Rajya Sabha from the state. “The Congress MLAs have been threatened, coerced and bribed by the BJP in Gujarat. They are no longer feeling safe here. So they have decided to go out of the state”, said senior Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia. Read the story here.

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar ‘breaks’ ranks again, to back UPA nominee Gopal Gandhi as vice president

Though Nitish Kumar has switched partners to head a JD (U)-led NDA government in the state, he is set to stand by his promise to support UPA’s vice presidential nominee Gopal Krishna Gandhi. The question has been doing rounds over JD (U)’s stand, since Wednesday’s political upheaval, in the changed circumstances. Confirming the development, a senior party leader said Kumar has cleared his stand on the issue, saying “the tie-up with BJP has been done in the interest of the state, but the decision to support Gandhi was taken keeping his ability and identity in mind.” Read the story here.

Congress seethes over graft slur on Rajiv Gandhi in Maharashtra textbook

The Congress demanded on Friday action against Maharashtra’s state-owned school textbook publishers and immediate withdrawal of a revised Class IX political science book that defames former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi by calling him corrupt. Publishers Bal Bharti came out with a reprint of the textbook in which portions of contemporary history were rewritten. “Rajiv Gandhi faced a lot of criticism in the context of corruption that took place during a defence equipment deal, especially the purchase of long-range canons from a foreign company called Bofors,” says an extract from a chapter. Read the story here.

SC dismisses 10-yr-old rape survivor’s abortion plea after doctors say it’s unsafe

The Supreme Court noted on Friday a sharp rise in pleas from women seeking to abort pregnancies beyond the legally permissible time limit while rejecting a 10-year-old rape survivor’s request to terminate her 32-week pregnancy. Medical opinion placed before the court said the abortion would not be in the interest of either the girl or the foetus. A bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar asked the central government to consider setting up a permanent medical board in every state to quickly decide on pleas from pregnant women asking for terminations beyond the permissible 20-week period. Read the story here.

Hindi to be dropped from metro signboards: Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah tells govt

Signage in Hindi will be dropped from the newly built metro railway network in Karnataka, chief minister Siddaramaiah said in a letter to the central government on Friday amid mounting pressure from pro-Kannada groups. Signboards at Bengaluru metro stations that use three languages — Kannada, English and Hindi — are viewed as another instance of central government trying to foist their language on the southern state. Kannada outfits had defaced the Hindi words on metro signboards twice this July. Read the story here.

CAG raises questions over Akash missile’s reliability

The Comptroller and Auditor General has raised questions over the reliability of an indigenously developed surface to air missile inducted by the Indian Air Force, revealing that a third of the missiles tested failed. In its latest report tabled in the Parliament on Friday, the national auditor also revealed that the missiles were to be deployed in the ‘S’ sector (reference to northeast) during 2013-15 for deterrence but the target has still not been achieved. Though the report has identified the weapon as ‘Z’ missile, sources identified it as the Akash missile. Read the story here.

Unicef slams rote learning, teaching methods in preschools

Given a choice between private preschools and anganwadi centres and government schools, there is a growing preference for private preschools and schools even in Indian villages, found a Unicef study. Also, reading, writing and arithmetic defined as 3Rs in the study don’t have much benefit in preschool education, as is commonly believed. “The overall picture emerging from the observation of classrooms is not very promising, as the curriculum followed by the government and the private schools focuses on the formal teaching of the 3R’s (reading, writing and arithmetic), with limited emphasis on developmentally appropriate classroom practices. Formal learning and teaching of the 3Rs in preschool was found to have a negative relationship with developmentally appropriate activities,” the study points out. Read the story here.

Reince Priebus gives way to Gen. John Kelly as Trump’s chief of staff

President Donald Trump replaced his beleaguered White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, after only six months on the job on Friday, installing retired General John Kelly in his place in a major shake-up of his top team. Trump announced the move in a tweet a day after his new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, accused Priebus of leaking information to reporters in a profanity-laced tirade. Kelly, 67, a retired four-star Marine Corps general, was most recently secretary for the Department of Homeland Security. Read the story here.

US, Japan detect missile launch from North Korea, Pentagon claims 1000-km range

North Korea fired a ballistic missile Friday night which flew longer than any of its previous missiles and landed in the ocean off Japan, according to officials from Japan, South Korea and the United States. “We assess that this missile was an intercontinental ballistic missile, as had been expected,” Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said. “The missile was launched from Mupyong-ni and traveled about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) before splashing down in the Sea of Japan,” he said Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said the missile flew for about 45 minutes — about five minutes longer than the ICBM on July 4 — and landed west of Japan’s island of Hokkaido. Read the story here.

Virat Kohli-Abhinav Mukund stand a statistical delight for India vs Sri Lanka

Virat Kohli and Abhinav Mukund fired quick runs off dispirited Sri Lankan bowlers on Friday to power India to a hefty second-innings lead of nearly 500 in the first Test. Skipper Kohli hit an unbeaten 76 and Mukund was out for 81 on what turned out to be the final ball of the third day’s play in Galle. It was a crushing day for the home side. After smashing 600 in the first innings and then bowling out Sri Lanka for 291 earlier in the day, India reached 189-3 and a lead of 498. The 133-run stand between Virat Kohli and Abhinav Mukund on Day 3 of the Galle Test against Sri Lanka is the fifth time when over 100 runs were added for the third wicket for India in Sri Lanka. Read the story here.

First Published: Jul 29, 2017 07:53 IST