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Expresso Top National and International Headlines of the Week on 12 May 2024

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Expresso Top National and International Headlines of the Week on 12 May 2024 Transcript

In top national news: The Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) has moved a petition in the Madras High Court, seeking judicial intervention against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s alleged communal statements during campaigning for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. The TNCC, through its president K Selvaperunthagai, said Prime Minister Modi’s speeches have not only been inflammatory but also derogatory, particularly targeting the Muslim community and the Congress party. The petition, represented by counsel A P Suryaprakasam, confronted procedural hurdles in getting numbered by the HC Registry on Wednesday. Refusal to expedite the process, citing the sensitive nature of allegations against the Prime Minister, prompted the TNCC to seek judicial guidance.


Sam Pitroda, one of the closest associates of the Gandhi family, stepped down as chairman of the Indian Overseas Congress on Wednesday after his politically incorrect remarks to underline India’s diversity triggered a firestorm, drawing sharp reactions from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP’s chief ministers in the Northeast. Emphasising the diversity of India, Pitroda in an interview with The Statesman, said: “People in the East look like the Chinese, people in the West look like the Arabs, people in the North look like, maybe, White, and people in the South look like Africans,” adding, “It does not matter. All of us are brothers and sisters.”


Moving on: A cameraman and columnist with a Malayalam TV channel Mathrubhumi News who was part of a news team covering wild elephant menace in Kerala’s Palakkad district was trampled to death by a jumbo, the police said. The deceased has been identified as A V Mukesh, 34, who was attached to the Palakkad bureau of the news channel. According to the police, Mukesh and his team were on an assignment at Kottekkad village in Palakkad district early in the morning, following an alert that a herd of wild elephants was spotted in the area.
In a veiled reference to the pro-China tilt of the Maldives government led by President Mohamed Muizzu, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar told his Maldivian counterpart Moosa Zameer Thursday that the development of India-Maldives ties was based on “mutual interests” and “reciprocal sensitivity” given that they are “close and proximate neighbours”. The Maldives Foreign Minister and Jaishankar met in New Delhi a day ahead of the May 10 deadline set by President Muizzu for India to withdraw its military personnel from the island nation. Zameer’s visit is the first high-level visit to India after Muizzu came to power last November. Jaishankar and Zameer held “extensive discussions” on the “bilateral relationship” and “regional security issues”.


In top international news: Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the West on Thursday of risking a global conflict and said no one would be allowed to threaten the world’s biggest nuclear power as Russia marked the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two. As Russian troops advance against Ukraine’s Western-backed forces, Putin accused “arrogant” Western elites of forgetting the decisive role played by the Soviet Union in defeating Nazi Germany, and of stoking conflicts across the world. “We know what the exorbitance of such ambitions leads to. Russia will do everything to prevent a global clash,” Putin said on Red Square after Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu reviewed troops lined up in a rare May blizzard.


US President Joe Biden warned on Tuesday that the threat of antisemitism is growing in the United States, including on college campuses, as his support for Israel’s assault on Gaza divides Democrats and alienates some young voters. In a speech honouring the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust, Biden joined a heated American debate about Jewish security, Zionism, free speech and support for Israel, in the country with the largest Jewish population after Israel. Addressing a bipartisan audience at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s annual commemoration, he warned of the risk that the truth about the systematic killing of Jews during World War Two would be lost.


France’s president hosted China’s leader at a remote mountain pass in the Pyrenees on Tuesday for private meetings after a high-stakes state visit in Paris dominated by trade disputes and Russia’s war in Ukraine. French President Emmanuel Macron made a point of inviting Chinese President Xi Jinping to the Tourmalet Pass near the Spanish border, where Macron spent time as a child visiting his grandmother. It is meant to be a reciprocal gesture after Xi took Macron last year to the residence of the governor of Guangdong province, where the Chinese president’s father once lived. Snow coated nearby slopes after new snowfall overnight, and security was tightened around the area.


Lastly: China’s former defence minister General Wei Fenghe whose prolonged absence from the public has sparked speculation about his fate after he paid tribute to a senior Chinese legislator who passed away early this week suggesting that he was politically safe, a media report said. A floral tribute at the funeral of a senior official on Monday suggests Wei, 70, could be politically safe, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported. However, there is no word about the fate of Wei’s successor General Li Shangfu who disappeared from the public and was later sacked.

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