Tuesday, Dec 26, 2023

The Expresso News Update

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Episode 1618 December 26, 2023

Today’s Top News Headlines and Latest News at 10:30 am on 26 December 2023

In Top News Highlights: Army Chief General Manoj Pande reviews security in Poonch after militant ambush, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar visits Moscow amid PM Modi’s absence, Alexei Navalny located in Arctic prison colony, and more.

Today’s Top News Headlines and Latest News at 10:30 am on 26 December 2023In Top News Highlights: Army Chief General Manoj Pande reviews security in Poonch after militant ambush, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar visits Moscow amid PM Modi's absence, Alexei Navalny located in Arctic prison colony, and more.

Today's Latest News Transcript at 10:30 AM on 26 December 2023

In top national news: Four days after a militant ambush on Army vehicles killed four Army personnel in Poonch, Army Chief General Manoj Pande reviewed the security situation in the sector on Monday and asked commanders on the ground to conduct operations in the “most professional manner”. Three local civilians were found dead after interrogations by the Army during the cordon-and-search operations to trace the militants a day later. The Indian Express had reported Saturday that of the eight civilians picked up by security personnel, three died and five were injured and admitted in the Government Medical College in Rajouri. According to sources, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is expected to visit Rajouri and Poonch beginning December 27.


One of the men who was allegedly picked up by security forces in Poonch has told The Indian Express that he and the other detainees were stripped, beaten and smeared with “chilli powder on the wounds” until they lost consciousness. Speaking from his hospital bed, Mohammad Ashraf (52) claimed he and four others were picked up by security forces last week after which “they removed our clothes and beat us with lathis and iron rods, and rubbed chilli powder on our wounds”. The civilians were allegedly picked after four Army soldiers were killed in a militant ambush in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch on Thursday.


In other news: With Prime Minister Narendra Modi skipping Russia for the annual summit for the second year in a row, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday reached Moscow on a five-day visit to meet the Russian leadership. Shortly after his arrival, Jaishankar tweeted, “Arrived in Moscow. Look forward to my engagements.” India and Russia have an annual summit at the leaders’ level, where the Indian Prime Minister and the Russian President visit each other’s country every alternate year. So far, 21 annual summits have taken place alternatively in India and Russia.


Saying that its preliminary assessment pointed to a drone attack on the India-bound merchant vessel, MV Chem Pluto, which arrived at Mumbai’s outer anchorage on Monday afternoon, the Indian Navy announced the deployment of guided missile destroyers “to maintain a deterrent presence” given the recent attacks in the Arabian Sea. Chem Pluto, a chemical/ oil tanker with a crew of 21 Indians and a Vietnamese, was on its way to New Mangalore from Al Jubail (Saudi Arabia) when it came under attack on Saturday, 200 nautical miles southwest of Veraval, Gujarat, leading to an explosion and fire. No casualty was reported.


In top international news: Associates of imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said Monday that he has been located at a prison colony above the Arctic Circle nearly three weeks after contact with him was lost. Navalny, the most prominent foe of Russian President Vladimir Putin, is serving a 19-year sentence on charges of extremism. He had been imprisoned in the Vladimir region of central Russia, about 230 kilometres (140 miles) east of Moscow. Still, his lawyers said they had not been able to reach him since Dec. 6. His spokesperson, Kira Yarmysh, said he was located in a prison colony in the town of Kharp, in the Yamalo-Nenets region about 1,900 kilometres (1,200 miles) northeast of Moscow.


A man was fatally shot and three people were hurt as gunfire rang out at a shopping centre in Colorado on Christmas Eve, police said Sunday. A fight broke out between two groups of people in the afternoon at the Citadel Mall in Colorado Springs and officers received a report of gunshots and responded, the Colorado Springs Police Department said in a series of posts on the social media platform X. One adult male was dead at the scene with a gunshot wound, and two more, each of whom had been shot at least once, were taken to hospitals in serious condition, police said. A female also was taken to a hospital with what were said to be minor injuries.


In other news: At a funeral in Gaza on Monday a line of Palestinians touched the white shrouds containing the bodies of at least 70 people who Palestinian health officials said were killed by an Israeli airstrike targeting Maghazi in the centre of the besieged strip. The funeral followed one of the enclave’s deadliest nights in the 11-week-old battle between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that runs Gaza. One man hugged a dead child, while others were hysterical. One man, Ibrahim Youssef, said his wife and four children including a four-month-old baby, were trapped under the rubble after an airstrike hit the house where they were staying in the Maghazi refugee camp.


Lastly: Ukraine’s air force on Monday reported that it shot down two Russian fighter jets during the night along with two cruise missiles and 28 Shahed-type drones. The report said the attacks were aimed at southern and central regions of Ukraine, but that no casualties were immediately known. It said that 31 drones were launched, but details of what the three that weren’t intercepted may have struck weren’t given. A summary from the Ukrainian presidential office said that one civilian was killed and at least four wounded in Russian attacks over the previous 24 hours. The death occurred in the town of Chornobaivka in the Kherson region, which is partly under Russian control and experiences daily fighting.

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