News18 Afternoon Digest: India-US Clinch Defence Deal on Sat Data, 7 Killed in Pakistan Bomb Blast and Other Top Stories

File Photo: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo greets Indian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar at the State Department in Washington, US, December 18, 2019. (REUTERS)

File Photo: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo greets Indian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar at the State Department in Washington, US, December 18, 2019. (REUTERS)

These are the top stories we are covering this afternoon: India and US to sign landmark defence deal on sharing satellite data in 2+2 talks; at least seven killed in bomb blast at seminary in Pakistan’s Peshawar; CBI chargesheet says father-son duo who were killed in police custody in Tamil Nadu were tortured for over seven hours; Abhishek Bachchan trashed rumours of father Amitabh Bachchan’s hospitalization; Google Pay remains unavailable on iPhone amid online shopping frenzy; #BoycottFrenchProducts trends on Twitter following Macron’s comments on Islam.

India, US Clinch Defence Pact on Satellite Data in 2+2 Talks During Pompeo-Esper Visit

India will on Tuesday sign a military agreement -- the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement on Geospatial Cooperation -- with the United States for sharing of sensitive satellite data as the two sides began a top-level security dialogue aimed at countering China's growing power in the region. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper flew into New Delhi for talks with Indian counterparts at a time when India is locked in its most serious military standoff with China at the disputed Himalayan border in decades. READ MORE

Pakistan Bomb Blast: 7 Children Killed, 70 Injured After Explosion at Madrasa in Peshawar

A bomb blast at a religious seminary in the Pakistani city of Peshawar on Tuesday killed at least seven people, including children, and wounded at least 70 others, police and hospital officials said. A senior police official said the explosion occurred during a Quran class, adding that someone took a bag inside the seminary and left the lecture hall before the blast. No group claimed immediate responsibility for the attack. READ MORE

Tamil Nadu Father-Son Duo, Who Were Killed in Police Custody, Were Tortured for Over 7 Hours: CBI Chargesheet

Jayaraj and Bennicks, the father-son duo who were killed in police custody in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi, were subjected to “brutal torture” between 7:45 pm on June 9 and 3 am the next day, a CBI chargesheet has revealed. Accused inspector S Sridhar repeatedly instigated the accused police officers to beat Jeyaraj and Bennicks even more severely, it added. READ MORE

Amy Coney Barrett Confirmed to US Supreme Court in Pre-election Triumph for Trump

The US Senate has confirmed conservative jurist Amy Coney Barrett as the Supreme Court's newest justice, delivering President Donald Trump a landmark win just eight days before the election. Barrett, a 48-year-old religious conservative, replaces late justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the liberal icon and women's rights advocate who died on September 18 at age 87. Barrett is the third Trump nominee to reach the high court and cementing a six-to-three conservative majority. READ MORE

Global FDI Halved in First Six Months of 2020, Says UN

Global foreign direct investment (FDI) plunged by 49% in the first half of 2020 from the same period a year ago and is on course to fall by up to 40% for the year, driven by fears of a deep recession, the United Nations said on Tuesday. FDI flows to European economies turned negative for the first time ever, falling to -$7 billion from $202 billion, while flows to the United States fell by 61% to $51 billion. Industrialised countries, which normally account for some 80% of global transactions, were hardest hit, with flows falling to $98 billion – a level last seen in 1994, the report said. READ MORE

Abhishek Denies Amitabh Bachchan's Hospitalisation Rumours, Says 'That Must be Dad's Duplicate'

Bollywood actor Abhishek Bachchan has denied rumours of his father and superstar Amitabh Bachchan being hospitalized again weeks after receiving treatment for Covid-19. Dismissing reports that surfaced online yesterday, Bachchan junior tweeted that his father was “sitting right in front of me”, joking that the person supposedly hospitalized must be a duplicate. READ MORE

Google Pay Remains Unavailable On iPhone & There is No Warning on Possible Payment Issues

Digital payments app Google Pay still remains unavailable for Apple iPhone users in India. The Google Pay app, earlier known as Google Tez, was unlisted from the Apple App Store yesterday. Google had confirmed that the app was unlisted to fix some issues. This comes at a time when there is considerable excitement around online shopping, particularly with sales on multiple shopping websites including Amazon and Flipkart, ahead of the Diwali festival. READ MORE

Why is #BoycottFrenchProducts Trending on Twitter?

Middle East countries and Arab trade associations have called for a boycott of French products, following French President Emanual Macron's robust defence of the right to mock religion. Turkish leader Tayyip Erdogan, who has a history of fraught relations with Macron, said France was pursuing an anti-Islam agenda after Macron’s comments following the murder of a French schoolteacher who had shown his class cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. French goods have already been pulled from supermarket shelves in Qatar and Kuwait, among other Gulf states, whereas in Syria people have burned pictures of Macron and French flags have been torched in the Libyan capital Tripoli. READ MORE

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