India has blocked the airing of a BBC documentary which questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership during the 2002 Gujarat riots, saying that even sharing of any clips via social media is barred.
Directions to block the clips from being shared have been issued using emergency powers available to the government under the country’s information technology rules, said Kanchan Gupta, an adviser to the government, on his Twitter handle on Saturday.
The government has issued orders to Twitter to block over 50 tweets linking to the video of the documentary and YouTube has been instructed to block any uploads of the video, Gupta said. Both YouTube and Twitter have complied with the directions, he added.
Modi was the chief minister of the western state of Gujarat when it was gripped by communal riots that left more than 1,000 people dead, by government count – most of them Muslims. The violence erupted after a train carrying Hindu pilgrims caught fire, killing 59.Human rights activists estimate at least double that number died in the rioting.
Modi denied accusations that he failed to stop the rioting. A special investigation team appointed by the Supreme Court to investigate the role of Modi and others in the violence said in a 541-page report in 2012 it could find no evidence to prosecute the then chief minister.Modi was named the candidate for prime minister of his party, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, in 2013 and led it to power in general elections in 2014 and then in 2019.
Last week, a spokesperson for India’s foreign ministry termed the BBC documentary a “propaganda piece” meant to push a “discredited narrative”.
Huge power outage in Pakistan
Pakistan suffered a huge power cut early on Monday following a breakdown in its national electricity grid, the energy ministry said.
Power was out in all the country’s major cities, including the biggest city Karachi, the capital Islamabad as well as Lahore and Peshawar.
Power minister Khurrum Dastagir said the grid failure followed a “frequency variation” in southern Pakistan.
He insisted this was “not a major crisis” and power would be back soon.
In a statement. the energy ministry said that at about 07:30 local time (02:30 GMT) the grid “experienced a loss of frequency that caused a major breakdown”, adding that “swift work” was taking place to revive the system.
Some grids in the country had already been restored and power would be fully restored in 12 hours, Mr Dastagir told Geo TV.
“In winter, the demand for electricity reduces nationwide, hence, as an economic measure, we temporarily close down our power generation systems at night,” he said.
When they were turned on in the morning, “frequency variation and voltage fluctuation” were observed in southern Pakistan “somewhere between Dadu and Jamshoro” and subsequently “power generating units shut down one by one”, he told the TV channel.
It means that across the country, traffic lights are down, fans have stopped and lights are off.
Many in Pakistan are used to dealing with fluctuating power supplies and load shedding – where electricity to some areas is temporarily reduced in order to prevent the failure of the entire system – is common.
Businesses, industries and homes often have their own generators which kick in when the electricity is cut.
Officials at Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar, capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, told the BBC that hardly any department had been affected by the power cut because generators have been used to provide electricity to every department, including the emergency wards and intensive care units.
However, while hospitals and larger industries may have bigger generators, other smaller organisations or private homes will not necessarily have enough power to last for many days.
Earlier this month the government ordered all malls and markets to shut by 20:30 and restaurants by 22:00 under a new energy saving plan.
The cabinet said that this was expected to save the country around 62bn Pakistani rupees ($270m; £220m). Federal departments have been told to reduce their electricity usage by 30%.
Pakistan generates most of its power using imported fossil fuels.
As global energy prices have increased in the last year, further pressure has been put on the country’s finances and its foreign reserves which it needs to pay for energy imports.
7 injured in twin blasts in Jammu’s Narwal area
Two mysterious blasts were reported in yard number 7 of Transport Nagar in Narwal.
Seven people were injured in twin blasts in Narwal area of Jammu on Saturday, police said. The blasts were reported in yard number 7 of Transport Nagar of Narwal. The nature of the blasts is yet to be determined.
“The whole area has been cordoned off and the injured evacuated to hospital,” PTI quoted a police official as saying.
The area is a hub of commercial activity and remains busy throughout the day with people owning vehicles of all types visiting the place for repairs and maintenance. It has many shops of tyres, spare parts, junk dealers and car accessories.
The blasts occurred at a time when Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Yatra is passing through Jammu.
Chris Hipkins set to replace Jacinda Ardern as New Zealand PM
New Zealand Labour MP Chris Hipkins is set to replace Jacinda Ardern as prime minister after becoming the only nominee for the party’s leadership.
He was first elected to parliament in 2008 and was appointed minister for Covid-19 in November 2020.
In Ms Ardern’s shock announcement on Thursday she said she did not have “enough in the tank” to lead.
How long Mr Hipkins will be in office is uncertain as New Zealand holds a general election in October.
Mr Hipkins, 44, is currently minister for police, education and public service.
He will still need to be formally endorsed by the Labour Party in the House of Representatives on Sunday before he can become leader.
Should he receive that backing, Ms Ardern will formally tender her resignation to the governor-general, who will then – on behalf of King Charles III – appoint Mr Hipkins as prime minister.
But the incoming Labour leader faces an uphill battle if he wants to remain in the top job after the 2023 election.
Inflation and increasing social inequality saw Ms Ardern’s popularity fall to all-time lows according to opinion polls.
They also suggested public approval of the country’s Labour Party was similarly low.
Mr Hipkins’ appointment removes the immediate possibility of Justice Minister Kiri Allan becoming the country’s first Maori prime minister.
During her resignation announcement, Ms Ardern – who at 37 became the youngest female head of government in the world when she took office in 2017 – said the past five-and-a-half years had been the “most fulfilling” of her life.
However, she added that leading the country during “crisis” had been difficult – with the Covid pandemic, Christchurch mosque shootings and White Island volcanic eruption taking place during her premiership.
Reaction to Ms Ardern’s announcement was mixed, with some suggesting she was “running away before getting thrown out”.
But renowned New Zealand actor Sam Neill said she had faced “disgraceful” treatment from “bullies” and “misogynists”.
If Labour loses the general election Mr Hipkins will have only spent eight months as the nation’s leader – although the shortest prime ministerial stint was Harry Atkinson’s term in 1884, which lasted just eight days.