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India’s opposition leader arrested, supporters flock to capital to protest

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Supporters of an anti-corruption crusader and one of India’s most consequential politicians of the past decade held protests Friday against his arrest, which opposition parties say is part of a crackdown by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government before national elections.

Arvind Kejriwal, who is New Delhi’s top elected official, was arrested Thursday night by the federal Enforcement Directorate, which is controlled by Modi’s government. The agency accused his party and ministers of accepting $12 million in bribes from liquor contractors nearly two years ago.

Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party, or Common People’s Party, denied the accusations and said they were fabricated. The party said Kejriwal will continue to be Delhi’s chief minister while it fights the accusations in court.

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Adding to the party’s troubles, as part of the same case, the agency also arrested Kejriwal’s deputy Manish Sisodia and AAP lawmaker Sanjay Singh in 2023.

In the lead up to the general election, which starts April 19, India’s opposition parties accuse the government of misusing its power to harass and weaken its political opponents to gain an unfair advantage in the polls. They point to a spree of raids, arrests and corruption investigations against key opposition figures. Meanwhile, some probes against erstwhile opposition leaders who later defected to Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party have been dropped.

“It looks like harassment because only opposition leaders are being singled out,” said political commentator Neerja Chowdhury, adding that there’s been no probe against anyone in the BJP. “It’s not a level playing field.”

A supporter of Aam Admi Party, or Common Man's Party, is detained by the police officials

A supporter of Aam Admi Party, or Common Man’s Party, is detained by police officials during a protest against the arrest of their party leader Arvind Kejriwal, in New Delhi, India, on March 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

The BJP denies using law enforcement agencies to target the opposition and says the agencies act independently.

On Friday, hundreds of AAP supporters and some senior party leaders clashed with the police, who whisked a number of them away in buses.

“This is dictatorship. All this is done to win the national polls,” said AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj, referring to the BJP.

Kejriwal’s AAP is part of a broad alliance of opposition parties called INDIA, the main challenger to Modi’s BJP in the elections to be held in April-June.

His arrest is another setback for the bloc, and came after the Congress party accused the government Thursday of crippling the party by freezing its bank accounts in a tax dispute. But it has also led to a rare show of strength by the opposition figures who slammed the move as undemocratic, and accused Modi’s party of misusing the agency to weaken them.

“A scared dictator wants to create a dead democracy,” Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said about the arrest in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

“India is under an undeclared Emergency. Our democracy stands critically endangered today,” said Raghav Chadha, a lawmaker from the AAP.

Meanwhile, the BJP’s spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla said Kejriwal’s party was playing the “victim card,” and that the leader should resign from his chief minister post.

The Enforcement Directorate has investigated many key opposition leaders and others have faced a variety of legal sanctions.

In January, the agency arrested Hemant Soren — who was, until then, the chief minister of eastern Jharkhand state — for allegedly facilitating an illegal land sale. Soren’s party denies the accusations.

Gandhi was convicted of criminal libel in 2023 after a complaint by a member of Modi’s party. A two-year prison sentence disqualified him from parliament for a time, until the verdict was suspended by a higher court.

Kejriwal launched the AAP in 2012 and campaigned on a promise to rid the Indian political system and governance of corruption and inefficiency. The party’s symbol — a broom — and its promise to sweep the administration of graft struck a chord with Delhi residents.

The party won the Delhi state legislature election a year later, when he became the chief minister — a feat he repeated in 2015 and 2020. Kejriwal’s party also governs northern Punjab state.

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Modi has previously said his party is targeting 370 seats out of 543 in the upcoming national polls. To achieve that, experts say the BJP will have to repeat its electoral triumph in 2019, in which they won an overwhelming majority of the seats in northern India, including all seven seats in Delhi.

Chowdhury, the commentator, said Kejriwal is the star face of his party. “He’s very politically savvy and in Delhi, the AAP has goodwill — their tie-up with the Congress for the elections would have posed a challenge for the BJP to pull that off again.”

“But the big question is: Will Kejriwal’s arrest galvanize voters? The investigations against opposition leaders so far has not had the kind of traction they may have expected,” Chowdhury said, “but now with this arrest, will public opinion start to turn?”

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Barcelona 1-4 Paris St-Germain (Agg: 4-6): Kylian Mbappe scores twice as PSG reach last four

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PSG players celebrate
Paris St-Germain are into their first Champions League semi-final in three years

Kylian Mbappe scored twice as Paris St-Germain thrashed Barcelona to turn around a first-leg deficit and reach the semi-finals of the Champions League.

PSG had trailed 3-2 after the first leg in France but took advantage of an early Barcelona sending off to secure their place in the last four for the first time since 2021.

Luis Enrique’s side face a semi-final against Borussia Dortmund, who beat Atletico Madrid 5-4 on aggregate in a thrilling encounter in Germany.

The semi-final first leg takes place on 30 April with the second leg on 7 May.

More to follow.

helpHow to play

Rate players out of 10 throughout or after the game. The rater will close 30 minutes after the final whistle.

Rating range key1 = Give it up10 = Pure perfection

Barcelona

  1. Squad number1Player nameter Stegen

  2. Squad number23Player nameKoundé

  3. Squad number4Player nameAraujo

  4. Squad number33Player nameCubarsí

  5. Squad number2Player nameJoão Cancelo

  6. Squad number8Player namePedri

  7. Squad number22Player nameGündogan

  8. Squad number21Player nameF de Jong

  9. Squad number27Player nameYamal

  10. Squad number9Player nameLewandowski

  11. Squad number11Player nameRaphinha

  1. Squad number5Player nameMartínez

  2. Squad number7Player nameF Torres

  3. Squad number14Player nameJoão Félix

  4. Squad number32Player nameLópez

Paris Saint Germain

  1. Squad number99Player nameG Donnarumma

  2. Squad number2Player nameHakimi

  3. Squad number5Player nameMarquinhos

  4. Squad number21Player nameHernández

  5. Squad number25Player nameNuno Mendes

  6. Squad number33Player nameZaïre-Emery

  7. Squad number17Player nameVitinha

  8. Squad number8Player nameRuiz

  9. Squad number10Player nameDembélé

  10. Squad number7Player nameMbappé

  11. Squad number29Player nameBarcola

  1. Squad number4Player nameUgarte

  2. Squad number11Player nameAsensio

  3. Squad number19Player nameLee Kang-in

  4. Squad number23Player nameKolo Muani

Line-ups

Barcelona

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1ter Stegen
  • 23Koundé
  • 4AraujoBooked at 29mins
  • 33Cubarsí
  • 2CanceloSubstituted forJoão Félixat 82′minutes
  • 8PedriSubstituted forF Torresat 62′minutes
  • 22GündoganBooked at 64mins
  • 21F de JongSubstituted forLópezat 82′minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 27YamalSubstituted forMartínezat 34′minutesBooked at 40mins
  • 9LewandowskiBooked at 50mins
  • 11RaphinhaBooked at 90mins

Substitutes

  • 5Martínez
  • 7F Torres
  • 13Peña Sotorres
  • 14João Félix
  • 17Alonso
  • 18Romeu
  • 19Roque Ferreira
  • 26Astralaga
  • 30Casadó
  • 32López
  • 38Guiu
  • 39Fort

PSG

Formation 4-3-3

  • 99G DonnarummaBooked at 87mins
  • 2Hakimi
  • 5MarquinhosBooked at 62mins
  • 21Hernández
  • 25Nuno Mendes
  • 33Zaïre-EmerySubstituted forUgarteat 80′minutes
  • 17Vitinha
  • 8RuizBooked at 45minsSubstituted forAsensioat 77′minutes
  • 10DembéléSubstituted forKolo Muaniat 88′minutes
  • 7MbappéBooked at 40mins
  • 29BarcolaSubstituted forLee Kang-inat 77′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Navas
  • 4Ugarte
  • 9Gonçalo Ramos
  • 11Asensio
  • 15Danilo
  • 19Lee Kang-in
  • 23Kolo Muani
  • 26Mukiele
  • 28Soler
  • 35Lopes Beraldo
  • 37Skriniar
  • 80Tenas

Referee:
István Kovács

Live Text



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Magnitude 2.8 earthquake reported in View Park-Windsor Hills

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A magnitude 2.8 earthquake was reported Tuesday at 8:19 a.m. Pacific time in Los Angeles’ View Park-Windsor Hills neighborhood, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The earthquake‘s epicenter was 7.1 miles beneath the intersection of Overland Drive and Northridge Drive, near Windsor Hills Elementary School. .

In the last 10 days, there have been no earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater centered nearby.

An average of 59 earthquakes with magnitudes between 2.0 and 3.0 occur per year in the Greater Los Angeles area, according to a recent three-year data sample.

Did you feel this earthquake? Consider reporting what you felt to the USGS.

Are you ready for when the Big One hits? Get ready for the next big earthquake by signing up for our Unshaken newsletter, which breaks down emergency preparedness into bite-sized steps over six weeks. Learn more about earthquake kits, which apps you need, Lucy Jones’ most important advice and more at latimes.com/Unshaken.

This story was automatically generated by Quakebot, a computer application that monitors the latest earthquakes detected by the USGS. A Times editor reviewed the post before it was published. If you’re interested in learning more about the system, visit our list of frequently asked questions.

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Justice Thomas returns to Supreme Court after 1-day absence

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is back on the bench after an unexplained one-day absence.

Thomas, 75, was in his usual seat, to the right of Chief Justice John Roberts as the court met to hear arguments in a case about the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.

Thomas has ignored calls from some progressive groups to step aside from cases involving Jan. 6 because his wife, Ginni, attended then-President Donald Trump‘s rally near the White House before protesters descended on the Capitol. Ginni Thomas, a conservative activist, also texted senior Trump administration officials in the weeks after the election offering support and reiterating her belief that there was widespread fraud in the election.

On Monday, Roberts announced Thomas’ absence, without providing an explanation. Justices sometimes miss court, but participate remotely. Thomas did not take part in Monday’s arguments.

He was hospitalized two years ago with an infection, causing him to miss several court sessions. He took part in the cases then, too.

Thomas is the longest serving of the current justices, joining the Supreme Court in 1991.

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