Times Top10: Today’s Top News Headlines and Latest News from India & across the World



Full bench of ECI on a 4-day visit to three poll-bound NE states; Govt panel likely to decide on Covovax as a heterologous booster dose for adults; Union Minister Piyush Goyal to participate in 13th India-US Trade Policy Forum in Washington DC; 80th edition of the Golden Globe Awards 2023; Opening ceremony of the Hockey World Cup 2023 in Odisha

1. Demolition squads to save a sinking city?
1. Demolition squads to save a sinking city?
Rescue Joshimath

  • The authorities began the process for demolishing unsafe buildings and houses in Uttarakhand’s Joshimath, the pilgrimage town facing acute land subsidence.
  • The agencies have divided Joshimath into three zones — ‘Danger’, ‘Buffer’, and ‘Completely Safe’ — to execute their rescue Joshimath plan aimed at preventing a bigger calamity in future.

The scale

  • About 30% of Joshimath is affected by land subsidence, 678 houses having developed cracks. Roads, lanes and structures have caved in at places. Water is continuously gushing from under the ground. More updates here

The demolition

  • A team of the Central Building Research Institute of India (CBRI) and the state disaster response force (SDRF) surveyed the building on Tuesday, deciding to begin demolition from today.Two hotels — Malari Inn and Mount View — are among the buildings to be demolished first. Built on the Rishikesh-Badrinath highway, the two hotels have leaned towards each other.The PWD is demolishing the structures under CBRI’s supervision. Explosives won’t be used for demolition. An NDRF team is on standby to assist the district administration in the demolition work.

Leaning Hotels

Eyes on the earth

  • The Centre has decided to install micro seismic observation systems at Joshimath by Wednesday, said Earth Sciences Minister Jitendra Singh noting, human consequences of natural disasters in India are rising rapidly.
  • Seismic microzonation study for the area would generate risk resilient parameters for safer dwellings and infrastructure.
  • Joshimath falls under the highest seismic hazard Zone V.

A judicious call

  • The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined urgent hearing on a plea seeking its intervention to declare the Joshimath crisis a national disaster.
  • CJI DY Chandrachud-led bench will hear the plea, filed by Swami Avimukteshwaranand Saraswati, on January 16, saying, “There are democratically elected institutions to look into it. Everything important should not come to us.”


  • The Karnprayag town in the same Chamoli district reported cracks in some houses.
  • Gujarat’s Ahmedabad, a study instituted two years ago found, is also sinking 25 mm a year. More here
2. Fly safe, go first, think later
2. Fly safe, go first, think later
Emergency landing

  • The Moscow to Goa international flight, which had made an emergency landing at Jamnagar airport in Gujarat following a bomb threat, took off for its destination on Tuesday afternoon after nearly 15 hours as nothing suspicious was found onboard.

No explosives found

  • After evacuating all 236 passengers and eight crew members, the plane as well as the luggage was thoroughly checked by National Security Guards (NSG) and the Gujarat police but nothing suspicious was found, officials told PTI.

A night’s stay

  • The crew and passengers spent the night at the Jamnagar airport lounge. Earlier, Jamnagar Collector Sourabh Pardhi had said, “the Jamnagar Air Force base informed us about the bomb threat. Perhaps, the threat was received by the Goa ATC (Air Traffic Control). The search has been completed and nothing suspicious was found”.

And…Go First goes sans flyers

  • What: Aviation watchdog DGCA on Tuesday issued a show cause notice to Go First (erstwhile GoAir) for leaving behind 55 passengers in a coach at the Bengaluru airport, after finding that “multiple mistakes” led to the incident.
  • How: On Monday, Go First operated flight G8-116 from Bengaluru to Delhi but left behind 55 passengers in the passenger coach at the airport. “… in the instant case, multiple mistakes such as lack of proper communication, coordination, reconciliation and confirmation have resulted in a highly avoidable situation,” the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in a statement.
  • Show-cause notice: The regulator has issued the show-cause notice to Accountable Manager/ Chief Operating Officer of Go First as to why enforcement action should not be taken against them for dereliction of their regulatory obligations.
3. Women with big guns and a message to China
3. Women with big guns and a message to China
Pushing the ceiling

  • The Indian Army has decided to induct women officers into its artillery division, one of the most important parts of the force.
  • Artillery has about 300 regiments, each with 18 guns, and about 5,000 officers. More here

Why it matters

  • In the past, officers from the Artillery have risen to be Chief of Army Staff.

Already here

  • Women officers are already in the combat support arms such as Army Air Defence (AAD), earlier called Air Defence Artillery, Army Signals Corps, the Army Aviation Corps and the Engineers.
  • In 2021, five women officers became colonels in the combat support arms for the first time.
  • So, an Artillery for women officers as “gunners” is a natural progression.


  • There are no women officers in the Infantry, Mechanised Infantry and the Armoured Corps — all combat arms.


  • There are women officers in other services such as the Army Service Corps, Army Ordnance Corps, the Army Medical Corps and also the military police.

With eyes on China…

  • In yet another Make in India push, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh-headed Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) cleared three capital acquisition proposals — including that of Helina anti-tank guided missiles — worth Rs 4,276 crore for the armed forces on Tuesday.
  • It comes days after Indian and Chinese troops clashed in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh. More here


  • In December, the DAC had given Acceptance of Necessity (AON) to 24 capital procurement proposals worth Rs 84,238 crore — six each for the Army and the Air Force, 10 for the Navy, and two for the Coast Guard. Of these 21 proposals worth Rs 82,127 crore had been approved for procurement through the indigenous route.
4. Is China rethinking its ‘wolf warrior’ diplomacy?
4. Is China rethinking its ‘wolf warrior’ diplomacy?
China has transferred a senior diplomat closely associated with the Foreign Ministry’s more confrontational shift in recent years to a new role, in the latest sign that Beijing is rethinking its so-called ‘wolf warrior’ approach, according to Bloomberg.

Who is Zhao Lijian?

  • Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian, 50, has been named deputy director of the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs, the Foreign Ministry said on its website on Monday.

New role

  • While technically a lateral move, the new post is far less prominent than the spokesperson’s podium, where Zhao had since February 2020 become one of China’s most prominent public officials, with almost 8 million followers on the Weibo social media platform.


  • The move comes less than two weeks after China’s former ambassador to the US, Qin Gang — a one-time Foreign Ministry spokesman himself — was named foreign minister. Qin, 56, has demonstrated a more traditional, less social-media-driven approach and signalled a desire to mend ties with nations like the US and Australia, some of the most prominent targets of Zhao’s criticism.

The timing

  • The personnel shifts coincide with a push by President Xi Jinping to reengage the US and its allies, holding his first in-person summit with President Joe Biden in Bali, Indonesia, in November. Xi has sought to improve relations with leaders of top US allies, including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Australian leader Anthony Albanese. More details here
5. Identify this illustrious agency
Clue1: It was sued by three Yemen nationals who claimed Mars was their family inheritance
Clue 2: Its most glorious moment came when words “one small step for a man…” were said
Clue 3: A scientist working for it invented Super Soaker, often seen in cricket fields

Scroll below for answer

6. When lawyers boycotted a judge
6. When lawyers boycotted a judge
  • Justice Rajasekhar Mantha of the Calcutta High Court on Tuesday initiated contempt proceedings against lawyers who allegedly disrupted functioning of his court a day before.
  • Protests were held by a section of lawyers outside Justice Mantha’s courtroom on Monday over certain orders passed by him. On Tuesday, a section of lawyers boycotted his proceedings in the judge’s court.
  • However, the Calcutta High Court Bar Association has distanced itself from the agitation against the judge.

Politics in court

  • The agitation by lawyers was over some orders passed by the judge, including one passed in December 2022 that gave protection to the Leader of Opposition in West Bengal Assembly and BJP MLA Suvendu Adhikari from being booked by the state police in some cases without the high court’s permission.
  • Justice Mantha had also stayed a bunch of 26 FIRs referred to in a petition by Adhikari, wherein he claimed that FIRs were registered against him in different police stations of the state to prevent him from performing his function as a people’s representative at the instance of the ruling dispensation in the state, reported news agency PTI.
  • Similar protests were seen outside the courtroom of Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay in April last year. Justice Gangopadhyay had, prior to the protests, ordered CBI enquiry in some cases over alleged irregularities in appointments of teaching and non-teaching staff in Trinamool Congress-ruled West Bengal’s government-sponsored and government-aided schools.
7. ‘You can’t dismiss sexual harassment like this’
7. 'You can't dismiss sexual harassment like this'
  • The Delhi High Court has said sexual harassment complaints deserve to be treated with seriousness and cannot be quashed if internal complaints committees fail to conclude the proceedings within the legally stipulated 90 days, reported news agency PTI.

Interest of both parties

  • “Needless to say that such complaints containing allegations of sexual harassment deserve to be treated with a certain amount of seriousness and responsibility and accordingly, the same have to be inquired into and taken to their logical conclusion for it is both in the interest of the complainant as well as the person against whom the allegations of sexual harassment have been levelled,” the court’s order said.

A petition dismissed

  • The court’s observations came on a petition by a chartered accountant challenging the initiation of proceedings against him – on the basis of a complaint filed under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Work Place (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 – on several grounds including that the Internal Complaints Committee failed to conclude its probe even 90 days after the complaint was filed.
  • The court said there was no substance in the petitioner’s stand on the proceedings getting vitiated on account of lapse of 90 days and that he has also not pointed out any prejudice caused to him on account of delay.
  • It noted it was not the case of the petitioner that the delay was attributable to the complainant, even as it refused to interfere with the proceedings “at this stage” and sought response from the complainant and ICC on the plea.
8. And the most polluted city in India is…
8. And the most polluted city in India is…
  • Delhi emerged as the most polluted city in India in 2022 with PM 2.5 levels more than double the safe limit and the third-highest average PM 10 concentration in its air, reported news agency PTI citing an analysis of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data.

The toppers

  • The national capital recorded an average PM 2.5 level of 99.71 micrograms per cubic metre. Haryana’s Faridabad (95.64 micrograms per cubic metre) ranked second and Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad (91.25 micrograms per cubic metre) third, according to the analysis of CPCB data.
  • Delhi topped the chart for PM 2.5 pollution in 2022 despite improved performance compared to the year 2019 when it had recorded an average PM 2.5 level of 108 micrograms per cubic metre.
  • In terms of PM 10, Ghaziabad (217.57 micrograms per cubic metre) topped the list. While Faridabad (215.39 micrograms per cubic metre) ranked second, Delhi (213.23 micrograms per cubic metre) stood third.
  • In 2021, Ghaziabad was the most polluted with respect to PM 2.5 levels while it ranked third in terms of PM 10 levels.

Understanding particulate matter

  • PM 2.5 is tiny particulate matter that is less than 2.5 microns in diameter and can enter the lungs and bloodstream.
  • The country’s current annual average safe limits for PM 2.5 and PM 10 are 40 micrograms per cubic metre and 60 micrograms per cubic metre respectively.

The tracker

  • The analysis, according to PTI, was done by NCAP Tracker – a joint project of news portal Carbon Copy and a Maharashtra-based start-up ‘Respirer Living Sciences’. It is designed to track India’s progress in achieving clean air targets.
  • The Centre launched the National Clean Air Programme on January 10, 2019 to reduce PM 2.5 and PM 10 levels in 102 cities by 20% to 30% by 2024 (with 2017 being the base year). In September 2022, the government set a new target of a 40% reduction in particulate matter concentration by 2026.
9. How a groundbreaking satellite launch ended in failure
9. How a groundbreaking satellite launch ended in failure
Britain’s attempt to become the first European nation to launch satellites into space ended in bitter disappointment early on Tuesday when Virgin Orbit said its rocket had suffered an anomaly that prevented it from reaching orbit.

‘Cosmic Girl’

  • The “horizontal launch” mission had left from the coastal town of Newquay in southwest England, with Virgin’s LauncherOne rocket carried under the wing of a modified Boeing 747 called ‘Cosmic Girl’, and later released over the Atlantic Ocean.

A series of setbacks

  • The failure dealt a further blow to European space ambitions after an Italian-built Vega-C rocket mission failed after lift-off from French Guiana in late December. The rockets have since been grounded.
  • Europe has suffered a series of setbacks in the past year, with its key Ariane 6 launcher delayed, access to Russian Soyuz rockets blocked by the Ukraine war, Vega grounded and now a showcase launch for the burgeoning small launcher industry abandoned.

UK’s space ambitions

  • While failed space shots aren’t unusual, the unfortunate outcome of the UK endeavour carries additional weight after the patriotic fanfare that had been attached to putting Britain — a world-leading satellite producer but lacking launch capability — on the space map.

First mission outside US

  • Virgin Orbit, part-owned by British billionaire Richard Branson, had planned to deploy nine small satellites into lower Earth orbit (LEO) in its first mission outside its United States base.
  • The mission had been heralded as a historic first for Cornwall, Britain and Europe, and thousands of enthusiasts watching from beside the runway cheered when ‘Cosmic Girl’ took off and when they were told the rocket had been deployed.

A technical glitch

  • A first stage burn had taken the rocket into space but the second stage had a “technical anomaly and didn’t reach the required orbit”, according to officials.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Nasa has appointed an Indian-American, AC Charania, as its chief technologist, a role that involves serving as principal advisor to the space agency’s administrator, Bill Nelson, on technology policy and programmes. Before joining Nasa, Charania served as vice president of product strategy at Reliable Robotics, a firm that works to bring certified autonomous vehicles to commercial aviation. He replaced another Indian-American scientist Bhavya Lal, who served as acting chief technologist. More here
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Written by: Rakesh Rai, Jayanta Kalita, Prabhash K Dutta, Abhishek Dey
Research: Rajesh Sharma


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