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Thursday, January 28, 2021

Daily briefing: Govt-farmer talks on MSP, repeal of laws to continue; BJP inducts Shaheen Bagh shooter, expels him hours later

From govt-farmer talks to UK clearing shot of Oxford Covid-19 vaccine, here are today's top stories.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: December 31, 2020 11:21:02 am
A look at the top news on December 31, 2020.

Good morning,

The Big Story

It took five rounds of frosty talks between the farmers and Centre to reach consensus on two of the four demands raised by farmer unions. However, there was no headway on the main items of the agenda—repealing the farm laws and providing legal guarantee for MSP. The two sides agreed to meet again on January 4.

From the Front Page

The Army and police claim they were terrorists planning a big strike along the Srinagar-Baramulla highway. Their families, however, claim they were innocent and had no militant links. Three youths were killed in an “encounter” in Srinagar on Wednesday. The allegations of fake encounter come days after police chargesheeted an army office over the killing of three labourers in another such encounter. 

Kapil Gurjar, the 25-year-old man who allegedly fired at least two shots at the Shaheen Bagh anti-CAA protest on February 1, joined the BJP’s Ghaziabad unit on Wednesday. Hours later, though, the party backtracked and revoked his membership, claiming it was not aware of his criminal antecedents.

In a significant boost for its chances of getting emergency approval in India, a Covid vaccine jointly developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca has been cleared by the United Kingdom drug regulator. In India, the variant of the vaccine being tested and manufactured under licence by Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII), will become the first vaccine to be approved for use in this country. A final decision on the clearance is likely to come by the end of this week.

Only in Express

Abdul Rafeeq, along with his family of 19, lived in a two-storey house in a Muslim-dominated locality in Ujjain. It was razed by police after videos showed two women pelting stones from an adjoining house at a Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha rally in which provocative slogans were allegedly raised, triggering clashes. Rafeeq and his family are now being sheltered in one room by his neighbour, Meera Bai.   

Telangana is cracking down against apps that clear loans within half-an-hour, but charge a high interest. The app companies are accused of constantly harassing a defaulter, over phone, including sending them messages of fake FIRs and court notices, and humiliating them before friends and relatives. These are the stories of the three who were allegedly driven to suicide. 

2020 started and is ending on a stormy note; 2021 may be no different. The government could face protests on the street, and hard-fought Assembly elections could raise political temperatures. Major diplomatic challenges lie ahead. For the Opposition, 2021 could be a make-or-break year. We look into our crystal ball and forecast what to expect next year.  

Must read

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has given a renewed call for ‘One Nation, One Election’ call, has now mooted holding elections to local/urban bodies, assembly and the Lok Sabha together, saying good governance, and not holding polls, should be the objective of democracy. 

Amid the ongoing farmers’ protest, the BJP-JJP alliance in Haryana suffered a jolt in mayoral polls for three Municipal Corporations — Ambala, Panchkula and Sonipat — which were held on December 27. The BJP only won the mayoral poll in Panchkula, while the Congress too could not secure big gains even as it won in Sonipat.


The Supreme Court is likely to take up on January 6 two petitions challenging the Constitutional validity of the anti-conversion laws passed in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

 The government extended the due dates for various tax filings, including for making declaration under the direct tax dispute resolution scheme Vivad Se Vishwas.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday dismissed an RJD leader’s claim of 17 JD(U) MLAs being in touch with them.

The Union Cabinet approved export of the Akash surface-to-air missile to “friendly countries” and constituted a committee for faster approval of export of defence platforms.

And Finally…

West Bengal, Punjab and Bihar provided security to highest number of VIPs while states such as Chhattisgarh—which recorded 112 incidents of Maoist encounters, 46 civilian deaths and 77 IED explosions in 2019—put the least number of VIPs under protection, according to the latest data on police organisations published by BPR&D.

Delhi confidential: President Ram Nath Kovind has chosen videos of his morning jogging on the beach to give a new year message. The President’s official Twitter handle shared visuals of him jogging on the pristine Ghoghla beach in Diu. 

What do India’s toppers end up doing after finishing school? Who is more likely to be a topper? And to what extent does your gender, caste and city affect your results? We answer these questions in the latest episode of the Three Things. 

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