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Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Daily briefing: Covidiplomacy pitch by PM Modi; IPL 2021 auction; and more

Top news today: PM Narendra Modi's Covid diplomacy pitch; IPL 2021 auction; rail roko protests; NASA's Perseverance landing on Mars; and much more.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
February 19, 2021 8:37:26 am
A look at the top news today, February 28, 2021.

Good morning,

The Big Story

Applauding the “spirit of collaboration” among South Asian countries as “a valuable takeaway from this pandemic”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has suggested the creation of a regional platform for collating data on the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines, a special visa scheme for doctors and nurses to travel within the region during health emergencies, and a regional air ambulance agreement for medical contingencies. Sources later said “all countries, including Pakistan, supported the PM’s proposals”.

Only in the Express

Tamil Nadu’s swashbuckling middle-order batsman M Shahrukh Khan was signed for Rs 5.25 crore by the Punjab Kings at the IPL 2021 auction. While you may be surprised by his price tag, those following domestic cricket saw it coming. In his nascent first-class career, Shahrukh has displayed the ability to be a reliable finisher, the kind that makes T20 MVPs. Speaking to Express, the 25-year-old is amused by the SRK connection but admits he is a die-hard Rajinikant fan.

From the Front Page

Reliance Jio’s wireless subscriber base in Punjab and Haryana recorded a slide in December 2020, in what is being seen as a potential outcome of the backlash from the ongoing protests against farm laws. Data released by TRAI showed the states were the only two in which Reliance Jio lost subscribers during the month.

Observing that the Justice A K Patnaik inquiry committee, constituted to examine if there was a conspiracy behind the sexual harassment charges against then Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, had said that “the existence of a conspiracy cannot be completely ruled out,” the Supreme Court Thursday closed the case it had initiated in 2019 in the wake of the controversy.

A day after the bodies of two Dalit girls, aged 13 and 16, were found in the family’s fields in Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh, along with a 17-year-old in a serious condition, the police said that the post-mortem report had not found any injuries and was inconclusive on the cause of death. The eldest girl, who continues to be critical, is being treated for poisoning.

Must Read

The movement of around 200 trains across the country was affected yesterday during the nationwide ‘Rail Roko’ protest by farmers against the Centre’s contentious new farm laws. Protestors halted trains for anywhere between two to 90 minutes. The Railways, however, maintained that the protests were peaceful and there was no incident of violence.

Hours after taking charge as the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry, Tamilisai Soundararajan ordered a floor test in the legislative assembly on February 22 to ascertain whether the Congress-led government in the Union Territory has the majority. This comes after Kiran Bedi was removed as L-G amid a growing political crisis in the state. On Tuesday, the Congress-led government lost majority after a second party MLA resigned in two days.

“Of what use are good roads, hospitals and schools if our religion and country are not safe?” Campaigning for the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation elections, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said the Gujarat government will bring a legislation to check “love jihad” in the coming Assembly session, adding that this was required for the safety of Hindu girls and women.

ICYMI

Climate activist Disha Ravi, arrested last week in connection with the probe into the toolkit Google document tweeted by Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, approached the Delhi High Court to restrain police from “leaking” her private chats to the media

Facebook has started blocking users, and news organisations in Australia from sharing news and other links on the platform. This comes as the country is planning a new ‘media code’ to correct the bargaining imbalance between newsrooms and digital giants.

NASA’s science rover Perseverance streaked through the Martian atmosphere and landed safely on the floor of a vast crater, its first stop on a search for traces of ancient microbial life on the Red Planet.

Serena Williams’s quest for a 24th Grand Slam continues after she lost the Australian Open semi-final in straight sets to Naomi Osaka.

And Finally

South African all-rounder Chris Morris set off a bidding war and emerged the most expensive player in the league’s history, when Rajasthan Royals doled out Rs 16.25 crore to acquire his services. We take a look at how IPL auctions work and why some cricketers are able to fetch a substantial sum, while others are not.

Delhi Confidential: With Minister Piyush Goyal joining Koo, there is some enthusiasm in Railways to get more and more officials to sign up for the microblogging site.Goyal amassed over 3.25 lakh followers on the platform, while several of his ministerial colleagues, too, have gathered quite a following. All eyes are now on PM Modi, who is yet to take the leap.

In today’s episode of 3 Things, we look at the acquittal of Priya Ramani in the MJ Akbar defamation case, Nodeep Kaur, and the death of two Dalit girls in Unnao.

Until tomorrow,

Rahel Philipose and Leela Murali 

Business As Usual by E P Unny

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