China has one of the fastest growing economies in the world, and it holds some prestigious positions such as being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations. As well as being one of the world’s nuclear powers, China also has some dark secrets buried beneath all its splendor.

And no, we are not talking about conspiracy theories behind the origin of the coronavirus. These are statistical open fathomable secrets which can be easily validated with some internet research. We are listing down some of them for you to know our neighbour better.

China may be a fast-growing economy, but the poverty and hunger in the rural parts of this country is often swept under the table. According to the World Bank report, 100 million Chinese people are living a destitute life and their income is less than Rs.82/day.

China is known for its strict penal law, but when it comes to capital punishment, ruthless executions by shooting and lethal injection are permissible. Apart from this, 4 times more death sentences are handed out in China than the rest of the world.

An MLA from Kerala’s Chengannur constituency, Saji Cherian, who resigned as a minister in July over alleged remarks insulting the Constitution, will be re-inducted on January 4 in Thiruvananthapuram during a swearing-in ceremony.

The Thiruvalla judicial first-class magistrate court ordered a case against Cherian under Section 2 of the Prevention of Insults To National Honour (Amendment) Act in July 2022. The opposition protested and demanded Cherian’s resignation.

Cherian was then minister of culture, fisheries, and youth.

VD Satheesan, the opposition leader, said the Congress would boycott the swearing-in ceremony as a protest, and the chief minister should clarify the circumstances surrounding Cherian’s reinstatement.

After a year-end break, the Congress’s Bharat Jodo Yatra resumed on Tuesday with a milling crowd and several leaders joining Rahul Gandhi, described by his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as a “warrior” who is not afraid of government might.

After a nine-day break on December 24, the yatra resumed its journey this morning from the Kashmiri Gate area of the national capital.

As the Congress entered the national capital on December 24, the police made elaborate arrangements amid a heavy deployment of force.

In several parts of the city on the Ring Road, traffic was thrown out of gear as the yatra started from the Hanuman Mandir at Kashmiri Gate at 10 AM.

Along the Ring Road in Delhi, party workers lined up on both sides of the road, and top leaders gave the yatra a rousing welcome. The yatra then reached the Loni border in Ghaziabad, where Priyanka Gandhi Vadra joined Rahul Gandhi.

There is usually a method to the madness in Congress, and nothing is ever said without thought. Kamal Nath’s surprise announcement of Rahul Gandhi being the party’s prime ministerial candidate for 2024 had many within the Congress intrigued as to why he said it – an opinion quickly echoed by Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel. The veteran political strategist was integral in forming UPA in 2004, and has been close to the Gandhis for years, so his statement wasn’t made without consideration. It was mirrored by Baghel’s endorsement too; he too has been close to Priyanka over the years.

Is Rahul going to be the PM’s face?

Rahul Gandhi has not been the PM face for Congress leaders for the first time, but from the moment he became Congress president (and later relinquished the position). Rahul made it clear that he did not want the post but took it up after the party demanded it, and many close to him mellowed down and responded meekly to any question about him facing off against Narendra Modi.

Recently, however, many top party leaders have been saying in one voice, “It’s time to bite the bullet, i.e., Rahul Gandhi should be the main face against the BJP in 2024.” These discussions took place with poll strategist Prashant Kishor and the announcement that Sonia Gandhi would be exiting the party.

The ancestral home of former Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb in Jamjuri village of the Gomti district was attacked Tuesday evening. Some attackers allegedly stormed the house, broke some windows, and set it on fire. Outside the house, they vandalized Deb’s car and bike.

The police and official administration have arrived at the scene and are investigating.

A day before Deb’s father’s death anniversary, which takes place on January 4, the incident occurred.

It was planned to hold a ‘havan’ on Wednesday in remembrance of his father. In the presence of saints from the state and beyond, a puja will be held.

Sources within the BJP have claimed that the attack was the result of a “conspiracy” by the CPI (M). The BJP claims that people from a particular community committed the attack.

Ratan Bhowmik, who served as a minister in the CPI(M) government, met with the people of Kakraban on Tuesday.

Old Mysore in Karnataka has traditionally voted for the Congress and the JDS. This time around, the BJP is making it their ‘foremost agenda’ to win its confidence and votes in this Vokkaliga-dominated area.

Over the last few decades, despite concerted efforts by both state and central leadership, the BJP has been unable to penetrate the Old Mysore region.

There are 59 assembly seats in this region, for which the BJP has won only nine seats in the 2018 elections. The BJP fell short of a full majority in 2008 (110 seats) and 2018 (104 seats).

Old Mysore includes the districts of Mysuru, Chamarajanagar, Bengaluru Rural, Kolar, Chikkaballapur, Mandya, Hassan, and Tumakuru and is dominated by Vokkaligas, who account for close to 16 percent of the state’s voters.

Vokkaligas are the second-most influential vote bank in Karnataka after Lingayats, and the BJP has not been able to win their support.

In this case, the party is going aggressive. In a multi-pronged strategy devised by the BJP leadership, Karnataka state leaders have been asked to activate and energise the local ‘karyakartas’ in the region, identify key voters and leaders from the Vokkaliga community and convince them to join the party. Additionally, they have been asked to keep a watchful eye out for disillusioned leaders of other parties who might be interested in joining the BJP.

During Amit Shah’s visit to Karnataka last week, as the state prepares for elections, party insiders told News18 that he has instructed all Vokkaliga BJP leaders, including CN Ashwath Narayan, CT Ravi, and Dr K Sudhakar, to camp in these areas and spread the national party’s message of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ among the local voters.

With Sunil Bansal, national general secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), considered one of the architects of the victory in Uttar Pradesh, at the helm of organisational strengthening, the party’s West Bengal unit will meet on Thursday to formulate a strategy for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

In the previous Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state. The Trinamool Congress (TMC) won 22.

While the strategy cannot be discussed in that group, it was decided to convene another meeting in the state to take on the TMC,” said the source.

The meeting will also discuss counter strategies in case any central government scheme cannot be implemented in the state, sources said. Mithun Chakraborty is also among those invited.

According to sources, the meeting, which will be entirely organizational in nature, will also determine the party’s strategy for reaching out to voters.

“We already had 18 seats and now won 77 seats in the assembly. The organization has a solid foundation here, unlike in the past. It is our intention to win seats and hope to make inroads even in seats that went to the TMC and others last year. The strength of our cadre will guarantee that the state contributes to Modi’s comeback,” said a senior party official.

As a result of two stampedes at TDP events, the Andhra Pradesh government has banned public rallies and meetings on roads.

Eight people died in the stampede that was triggered as the crowd rushed to meet party chief Chandrababu Naidu in the first event called ‘Idem Kharma’ at Kandukuru in Nellore district. The victims choked to death when they fell into Naidu’s open jeep parked in a narrow lane beside a drain.

After three days, three women were killed while attempting to collect sarees the former chief minister was distributing as Sankranthi gifts in Guntur district.

In the wake of the stampedes, the ruling YSRCP blamed Naidu for the deaths of innocent people. Sources said Naidu had arrived late to the venue, and there were not enough counters to distribute the sarees.

On the other hand, the TDP blamed both the state government and the police. Prem Kumar Jain, TDP national spokesperson, told News18: “The state government and the police didn’t make the necessary arrangements.” As a party, the TDP is committed to helping the poor. Our president wanted to help them through these programs. I urge the state not to repeat these accidents. Jagan Mohan Reddy must take responsibility for the tragic accident.

It is the government’s job to finalise the route and make proper arrangements. The second incident occurred after Naidu left. Everything was fine while he was there.”

In India, stampedes are a regular occurrence at religious and political gatherings. While the blame-game continues, it is difficult to determine the exact reasons behind the mishaps without a thorough investigation.

He is the convenor of the Indian Institute of Science’s Sustainable Transportation Lab (IST Lab), which conducts extensive research on crowd safety and control.

Congress supporters from Noida arrived in Ghaziabad on Tuesday to join Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra. Congress workers from Noida and other parts of Gautam Buddh Nagar district gathered at the Loni border in Ghaziabad to join the Yatra led by local leader Pankhuri Pathak.

During the Yatra rush, traffic diverted in the Loni area from 10 am to 6 pm.

According to traffic police, vehicles, including e-rickshaws and cars, are not permitted between the Loni Border (with Delhi) and the Mandola Border (with Baghpat) during this time.

The Rahul Gandhi-led Congress’ Bharat Jodo Yatra resumed today from Delhi after a nine-day winter break. So far, the Yatra has covered 3,000 km over 110 days, crossing southern states and then going through Rajasthan and Delhi.

As the BJP shifts focus to Bengal ahead of panchayat elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and BJP chief JP Nadda will campaign there.

CNN-News18 reported that the party would hold 40 big rallies across Bengal. Nadda will launch the campaign in East Medinipur, the bastion of Suvendu Adhikari. Nandigram is also located in East Medinipur, and political experts say it is significant that the BJP president will meet here.

According to the sources, Shah and PM Modi will meet in Bengal after Nadda’s visit.

It is believed by party insiders that the BJP did well in the 2019 elections due to its aggressive campaign since the 2018 panchayat elections. Bengal BJP plans to bring high-profile campaigners from January onwards to not only help with the panchayat elections, but also lay the foundation for the Lok Sabha elections of 2024.