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Thursday, July 09, 2020

Daily briefing: Trump wades into India-China border row; NASA launch called off

From Indo-China border to NASA-SpaceX launch, here are the top stories you should read today.

Written by Leela Prasad , Liu Chuen Chen | New Delhi | Updated: May 28, 2020 9:26:12 am

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Dear Readers,

“If your strength is small, don’t carry heavy burdens. If your words are worthless, don’t give advice.” Goes the Chinese proverb. Wading into the India-China border tensions, US President Donald Trump offered to mediate a truce between the two. This after the American’s offer to mediate between India and Pakistan on Kashmir was rejected by New Delhi, and at a time when US relations with China have been worsening over coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Nepal did not move ahead with its plan to introduce a Bill in its Parliament to legitimize the changes it made to its new map that includes parts of Indian territory. A constitution amendment requires a two-thirds majority vote. But the government is a bit short on numbers.

The coaches had hard benches. There were no berths or seat numbers. The toilets stank. And there were fights over seats and food. But it is the thought of reaching home that kept everyone going. A university student recounts his 24 hours inside a Shramik Special train.

Detailed bills — ranging from Rs 2.6 lakh to Rs 16.14 lakh — of six Covid patients admitted in top private hospital chains in Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata revealed two striking trends: those with comorbidities end up with heftier bills; and, second, with no specific treatment or drug available, the cost of drugs and PPE of staff constitute the biggest variable.

After weeks of remaining static, the sweltering heat in north India coupled with the partial resumption of factories have pushed the demand for power with Tuesday registering the highest figure since last year.

Talking of the extreme temperatures, severe to very severe heatwave conditions are sweeping across north India. In its very first spell this summer, this heatwave pushed day temperatures significantly above normal, with Churu in Rajasthan reporting 50 degrees on Tuesday. We help you understand why the country will be experiencing an unusual summer till the third week of May.

Already reeling under the COVID pandemic and the intense heat wave, swarms of locusts have only added to our problems. “Active swarms of immature locusts” have now reached 15 districts of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. However, there is no possibility of the insects moving towards Delhi as of now, because the “wind current is different”.

It has been nine years since NASA astronauts have taken off from US soil on an american rocket. The wait just got a bit longer after bad weather forced the American space agency to call off the launch. Elon Musk will also have to wait till this weekend to pop the champagne as the two NASA astronauts will be travelling abroad a rocket developed by SpaceX.

When was the last time you watched an Emran Hashmi movie without any of the hugs and kisses? Well, that might soon be the new normal in Bollywood as the Producers Guild of India has released a 37-page “working protocol” to do away with some of the “general practices” in order to ensure social distancing between crew members in these Covid times.

🔊 In today’s episode of the Three Things podcast, we’re looking at how one set of frontline workers – India’s police forces – have been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Until tomorrow,

Leela Prasad G and Liu Chuen Chen

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