QBullet: Pak Opens Airspace; Century-Old Mumbai Building Collapses

1. Pakistan Reopens Airspace After Five Months, Sigh of Relief in India

Pakistan fully closed its airspace after an Indian Air Force strike on a terror camp in Balakot on 26 February.

In a move that brings relief to Indian and foreign airlines, and travellers, Pakistan opened its airspace fully in the early hours of Tuesday, five months after closing it on February 26 following the IAF strike at a terror camp in Balakot.

In Delhi, government officials described it as a “strategic move” and indicated the possibility of a diplomatic breakthrough between the two countries. The move comes days after Pakistan’s civil aviation authority reportedly intimated Indian officials that the curbs would stay in place until India withdrew its fighter jets from forward positions.

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read: Pak Reopens Airspace Post Balakot: What Does It Mean for Airlines?

2. Thirteen Killed After Century-Old Mumbai Building Collapses

Thirteen people died, nine were injured and 30 were feared trapped after an illegal extension of a 100-year-old four-storey building collapsed in south Mumbai’s Dongri area on Tuesday morning, spotlighting the decaying infrastructure of India’s crumbling financial capital that is corroded by poor oversight and monsoon showers.

The extension of Kesarbai building, which housed 16 families and four shops on the ground floor, caved-in at around 11.40 am, causing tremors in several dilapidated buildings in the low-income neighbourhood in south Mumbai, which also houses some of the city’s most upmarket areas. Chief fire officer P Rahangdale said many adjoining buildings were rendered unstable, and had to be evacuated. Some part of Kesarbai building was left standing after the collapse.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: Mumbai Building Collapse: Death Toll at 11, Rescue Ops Underway

3. ICJ to Deliver Verdict in Kulbhushan Jadhav Case on Wednesday

FIle image of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav.

The International Court of Justice will deliver on Wednesday its verdict in a case relating to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, whose death sentence by a Pakistani military court based on an "extracted confession" has been questioned by India.

Jadhav, 49, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by the Pakistani military court on charges of "espionage and terrorism" after a closed trial in April 2017. His sentencing evoked a sharp reaction in India.

President of the Court Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf will read out the verdict during a public sitting which will take place at 3 pm (6.30 pm IST) on Wednesday at the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands.

The verdict in the high-profile case comes nearly five months after a 15-member bench of ICJ led by Judge Yusuf had reserved its decision on February 21 after hearing oral submissions by India and Pakistan. The proceedings of the case took two years and two months to complete.

(Source: The Times of India)

Also Read: Kulbhushan Jadhav Case: ICJ to Deliver Verdict on Wednesday

4. Karnataka Crisis: SC to Pronounce Order on Rebel MLAs' Plea on Wednesday

Congress’ DK Shivakumar, BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa and JD(S)’ HD Kumaraswamy.

The Supreme Court will pronounce its order Wednesday morning on the pleas of 15 rebel Congress-JD(S) MLAs seeking direction for Karnataka Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar to accept their resignations from the Assembly.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi concluded the hearings of the rebel MLAs, the Speaker and Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy.

Summing up the arguments, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the 15 rebel MLAs, asked the bench, also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose, to continue with its interim order directing the Speaker to maintain status quo on the issue of resignations and disqualification of the MLAs.

(Source: The Times of India)

Also Read: Karnataka crisis: SC takes up row over anti-defection law

5. India Makes Pitch to Grill Dawood Aide

Photo used for representational purposes

India is hoping the UK will approve its request to interview Jabir Siddiq, aka Motiwala, considered one of Dawood Ibrahim’s closest aides, because it believes this will help get some insights into the drugs and extortion operations the main accused in the 1993 Mumbai terror attacks still runs in the country, and perhaps even provide some proof of the fugitive’s presence in Pakistan.

According to Jabir’s dossier with Indian security agencies, which has been reviewed by Hindustan Times, he is the only one of Dawood’s associates who is a trustee in the Karachi-based Islam Baba Trust, where Ibrahim, his wife, his son and two sons-in-law are trustees. This trust is described by the Indian national security establishment as a religious front to manage properties of the D-company.

(Sources: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: Dawood’s Acts From ‘Safe Haven’ Pose Real Threats: India to UNSC

6. PM Seeks List of Ministers Who Skipped House Roster Duty

PM Narendra Modi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, 16 July cautioned Union ministers against skipping their roster duties in Parliament and said that he should be given names of all absentee ministers the same evening, sources said.

Modi's displeasure over the issue of absence of ministers came at a BJP's parliamentary party meeting, where he has in the past often pulled up MPs for absenteeism when it is in session. This is the second time in the month, Modi has expressed unhappiness over the issue of absence of lawmakers in Parliament.

(Source: The Times of India)

Also Read: If MPs Skip Parliament, I need to Know: Modi Tells Party Leaders

7. In Undecided Congress, First Open Call for Priyanka: She Should Be Party Chief

At this moment, Priyanka Gandhi’s biggest asset is the freshness of her start.

With its senior leadership unable to arrive at a consensus on Rahul Gandhi’s replacement, the Congress Working Committee (CWC) is unlikely to meet this week to appoint a new party president. But amid the chaos and uncertainty, a murmur is now gaining ground in the party for AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to take charge.

Congress leaders have, so far, not pushed her name openly because Rahul Gandhi, while conveying his decision to step down at the CWC meeting on May 25, had said that the party should find someone other than a member of the Gandhi family for the post.

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read: No CM Yogi, Priyanka Gandhi Didn’t Teach Abuses to Amethi Children

8. Rain Deficit Causes Acute Water Shortage in Southern Peninsula

Photo used for representational purposes

Deficient rains over southern India this year have raised fears of a drought-like situation in the region, and a 2016-type trickledown effect.

In 2016, poor monsoon rainfall in the catchment area of the Cauvery river caused an acute water shortage. This led to massive protests in Bengaluru, and an escalation of tensions between the neighbouring states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, which have been involved in a protracted conflict over the sharing of water from the river.

Monsoon rains are crucial to the water security of the southern peninsula, which lacks the perennial snowfed rivers of the northern plains. As of July 10, there was a shortfall of 28 percent in monsoon rainfall in the southern peninsula as compared to the long-period average between 1951 and 2000. As of July 12, about 31 reservoirs out of 91 located in the southern states had a combined water shortfall of 30 percent.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: Satellite Images of Parched Water Bodies Highlight Chennai Drought

9. Mumbai Coastal Road Project: Bombay HC Quashes CRZ Permission for Southern Stretch

The Bandra-Worli Sea Link 

Underlining “a serious lacuna in the decision-making process” and “lack of proper scientific study”, the Bombay High Court Tuesday quashed the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearances granted for the southern part of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s Rs 12,000-crore coastal road project.

The go-ahead had been granted by the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA), Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) and the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) in 2017. The High Court said that the BMC cannot proceed with the works without obtaining environmental clearance under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) notification.

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read: HC Quashes CRZ Clearance to ₹14,000 Cr Mumbai Coastal Road Project

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