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Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Daily briefing: Why Centre changed its mind on flights; al-Qaeda operative lands in Amritsar

Good morning. Today's Indian Express has stories on the Centre's revised guidelines for air travel, the Chinese transgressions into the Indian side, the relief work after Cyclone Amphan in West Bengal, and more.

Written by Liu Chuen Chen , Leela Prasad | New Delhi | Updated: May 22, 2020 9:19:11 am
cyclone amphan, coronavirus, india lockdown, coronavirus india, india china tension ladakh, india lockdown migrant workers A look at the top news today, May 22, 2020.

Dear Reader,

On May 17, the Centre, in its revised guidelines for lockdown 4.0, said domestic air travel will remain prohibited till May 31. But in just three days, it had a change of mind. The reason: An imminent threat of more than one airline folding up, both on account of the extended lockdown and little to no relief in the economic package.

Bonus reading: Aviation ministry has introduced fare caps — notably, they do not include the additional fees and taxes

A special flight from the US that landed in Amritsar on May 19 was carrying 167 deportees. Among them was a convicted al-Qaeda operative from Hyderabad. As he serves the mandatory 14-day quarantine, intelligence agencies mull over their options.

Data on Chinese transgressions into the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) show there has been a marked increase in the western sector, which falls in Ladakh. Officials contend that they occur because both the militaries try to patrol the area up to their respective perceptions of the LAC, but concede that the Chinese are coming to the Indian side more often.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be travelling to Odisha and West Bengal to hold an aerial survey of the devastation caused by Cyclone Amphan which claimed 72 lives. Track our live coverage here

The threat of hunger, evictions and unemployment created by the COVID fear and subsequent lockdown forced hundreds of thousands to return from the city to their native place. However, Uttarakhand’s ‘ghost villages’ are symptomatic of what forced them out in the first place. Not one of the more than two lakh residents of the state who have registered to return have opted for its 1,700-odd “nirjan” villages, areas with no road connectivity or opportunities, which now house just one-two families.

In today’s oped, senior advocate Justice Fali Nariman lauds the “humanitarian approach” of a division bench of the Karnataka High Court who had recently questioned the state government’s decision not to fund the travel of migrant workers if their home states do not deposit funds for train fares. “Like Abou Ben Adhem (in the poem by James Hunt) ‘May their tribe increase’,” he writes.

In poll-bound Bihar, high-decibel political activities are on hold, given the pandemic and the unprecedented reverse migration. But BJP leaders pointed out that the initiatives of the government and party would “eventually create goodwill for the party”.

On Sunday, India decided to keep schools closed for another two weeks. In Europe, millions of children have begun returning to classrooms. Will reopening make children vulnerable? Are there any findings to suggest that school reopening has led to a rise in cases in Europe? We try to answer these questions.

The World Health Organisation has poured water over the claims on the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine in treating Covid-19. Its warning comes two days after US President Donald Trump said he is on the drug, and at a time when India is going through heated discussions within the government on whether to reconsider its use.

With cricket suspended around the globe, a tiny corner of the Caribbean has started its own league, with all health protocols to be risk-free from any Covid-19 interruption. But before they start putting their talent on display, we take a look at a few old habits the players will have to unlearn before they begin internalising new ones.

🔊 In today’s Three Things podcast, we look at issues that cropped up in Delhi’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Until tomorrow,

Leela Prasad G and Liu Chuen Chen

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