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Top News of the Week: PM Modi responds to no-confidence motion, criticises Opposition; CBI takes over Manipur violence cases, including gangrapes; Maui wildfire death toll reaches 53; Thai king’s estranged son returns after 27 years abroad; and much more.
Top National and International headlines of the week transcript
In top national news: In a strong rebuttal to the no-confidence motion against his government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday hit out at the Opposition INDIA alliance, the Congress and the Gandhi family in particular, saying “people of the country” have “no confidence” in them. Wrapping up a three-day discussion on the no-trust motion in Lok Sabha, Modi said, “With the way you abuse democracy and this country, with the way you abuse me, I am sure the country will brighten the prospect of a BJP-led NDA” and it will return to power in 2024 for a third consecutive term. The no-trust motion was defeated by a voice vote after the Prime Minister’s reply.
Earlier, the Opposition staged a walkout, protesting that he had not mentioned the issue of Manipur even after 90 minutes into his speech. As the Opposition members left, Modi, while holding the Congress responsible for “being the origin of all problems in the North-East”, assured the people of Manipur that the country was with them and the “sun of peace” would rise again in the state. Charging the Opposition with “playing politics” over the Manipur situation, he backed the efforts of the state government and said, “The Centre is working hard to give the harshest punishment to those involved in crimes in Manipur… people of Manipur – mothers, sisters, daughters – the country is with you."
Meanwhile, Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a frontal assault on the Congress and the Opposition INDIA alliance while replying to the no-confidence motion in Lok Sabha, the Congress accused him of using the stage of the Parliament to deliver an election speech. The party said the Prime Minister has been gripped by “Congress-phobia”. Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge thanked the Prime Minister for speaking on Manipur in the House at last. Kharge said had the PM agreed to a discussion earlier, shedding his “stubbornness and arrogance”, Parliament’s valuable time would have been saved and important Bills would have been passed after a good discussion.
In news from Manipur: Among the 11 cases relating to the Manipur violence that have been transferred from state police to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), three are of alleged gangrapes and one in which a CRPF assistant commandant is accused of publicly kicking the private parts of a 56-year-old woman. The Indian Express has also learnt that four of the cases relate to mob violence — three registered against Meitei community members and one against Kuki community members. Since May 3, clashes between the two communities have led to the filing of 6,523 FIRs at various police stations across the state till July 25.
Moving on to top international news: The death toll from devastating wildfires in Maui climbed to 53 Thursday, Hawaii Gov Josh Green told The Associated Press. Regine Webster, vice president of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, says the full scope of need may not be known for up to a week as firefighters finish up their response. She also urged potential donors to support organisations with deep local ties and community knowledge. People can also donate through the crowdfunding site GoFundMe, which vets fundraisers for those who have lost property or were injured.
In news from Thailand: The estranged son of Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn visited a daycare centre for underprivileged children in Bangkok on Tuesday following a surprise return to the country after 27 years of living abroad. Vacharaesorn Vivacharawongse’s return was first revealed in a video posted online Sunday showing him in the arrival area of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport being greeted by well-wishers. His return came at a sensitive time for the Thai royal family, with the eldest daughter of the king being in a coma since December.
In news from Sri Lanka: President Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Thursday that Sri Lanka seeks to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade bloc comprising major economies like China and Japan as the country strives to rebuild its crisis-hit economy. Addressing the 56th anniversary of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) held at Indonesia’s embassy in Colombo, he said Sri Lanka will work closely with ASEAN nations. Sri Lanka is currently working with its external creditors to renegotiate over USD 40 billion to meet an IMF deadline by next month.
Lastly, in news from France: A devastating fire that raged through a vacation home for adults with disabilities in eastern France on Wednesday left 11 people dead, an official said. Nathalie Kielwasser, the deputy prosecutor for Colmar, said 11 people who were sleeping on the upper floor and in a mezzanine area of the private accommodation in the town of Wintzenheim were trapped by the fire, while five managed to escape. Twelve people who were staying on the ground floor were able to evacuate, she said. The adults, who had “slight intellectual disabilities,” were on a vacation sponsored by two specialised associations, she said.