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HT Top Stories: The Ganganyaan Fab Four, Cong loses Himachal thriller, reinventing the UN and more…

Feb 28, 2024 09:08 AM IST

Also read: AAP announces Lok Sabha candidates for Delhi, Haryana

HT brings you a round-up of the most important and interesting stories, so you don’t miss your daily dose of news.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi hands-over wings to astronauts-designate Shubanshu Shukla, Prashanth Balakrishnan Nair, Angad Prathap and Ajit Krishnan who have been selected to be the astronauts on India’s first crewed mission to space 'Gaganyaan Mission', at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), in Thiruvananthapuram. (PTI)(HT_PRINT)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi hands-over wings to astronauts-designate Shubanshu Shukla, Prashanth Balakrishnan Nair, Angad Prathap and Ajit Krishnan who have been selected to be the astronauts on India’s first crewed mission to space 'Gaganyaan Mission', at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), in Thiruvananthapuram. (PTI)(HT_PRINT)

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1) PM names 4 astronauts for Gaganyaan mission

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday introduced to the world India’s four “astronaut designates”, elite fighter pilots of the Indian Air Force (IAF), who have been selected to be sent to space as part of India’s first human-crewed spaceflight - the Gaganyaan mission.

The announcement was made during Modi’s visit to the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (Isro) Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) research institute in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.

The four astronauts - IAF’s group captain Prasanth Balakrishnan Nair, group captain Ajit Krishnan, group captain Angad Pratap and wing commander Shubhanshu Shukla - have been training extensively for the Gaganyaan mission for the last five years in Russian and Indian facilities. They were awarded “Antriksh Yatri Pankh” (astronaut wings) by the Prime Minister at a ceremony on Tuesday.

Introducing the astronauts, Modi said they were the “four forces” who will carry on their shoulders the aspirations of 1.4 billion people. Read more.

2) Cong loses RS thriller: Is Himachal govt on the brink of collapse?

The Congress government in Himachal Pradesh teetered on the brink on Tuesday after six of its lawmakers cross-voted in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate in the Rajya Sabha polls, leading to a tie and the eventual victory of the latter by a dramatic lottery.

Congress candidate Abhishek Singhvi received 34 votes after six Congress lawmakers and three independents previously backing the government supported BJP nominee Harsh Mahajan, who also received 34 votes. The tie was then resolved by a draw-of-lots, which favoured Mahajan.

But the embarrassing loss also meant that the Congress was unable to cross the simple majority mark of 35 in the 68-member House, fuelling speculation that the Sukhvinder Sukhu government had been reduced to a minority, and sparking calls for the chief minister’s resignation. Read more.

3) Reinventing the United Nations

The near-total failure of the United Nations (UN) to cope with most crises in recent years is perhaps the reason why the Ukraine conflict has been taken up at the G20 for the past two years. Though most of the players at the G20 knew it was hardly the forum to address such a geopolitical matter, they persisted with it, reflecting the growing frustration with the UN’s ability to respond speedily to a global crisis.

Against this backdrop, it is understandable that the Indian side, especially external affairs minister S Jaishankar, has often called for speeding up the efforts to reform the UN and the Security Council, both to reflect the realities of the contemporary global order and to give more countries a seat at the main decision-making table. Jaishankar reiterated this position at the recent Raisina Dialogue, emphasising the need to reform global forums amid the ongoing wars in Ukraine and Gaza. Read more.

4) President appoints ex-SC judge Ajay Manikrao Khanwilkar as Lokpal chairperson

The President of India, Droupadi Murmu, on Tuesday appointed former Supreme Court judge, justice Ajay Manikrao Khanwilkar as the chairperson of Lokpal. The appointment was announced nearly three weeks after a selection committee of the Prime Minister, speaker of Lok Sabha, leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India, shortlisted his name. Read more.

5) AAP announces Lok Sabha candidates for Delhi, Haryana

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Tuesday named four Lok Sabha candidates for Delhi and Haryana three days after it announced a seat-sharing pact with the Congress under which it will contest four of the seven seats in the national capital. Kuldeep Kumar, a legislator from Kondli, will be the party’s candidate for East Delhi Lok Sabha seat. Somnath Bharti, who represents Malviya Nagar in the assembly, has been fielded from New Delhi. Read more.

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