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Daily briefing: Postcards of hope on New Year’s day; PM on Covid vaccine; and more

It’s here. The end of the year that seemed endless. As a virus locked us down and, in some cases, threw the keys away. There couldn’t be a more fitting way to bid goodbye to it than listening to voices telling us that 2021 will be a new year.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | January 1, 2021 8:09:32 am
January 1, 2021: A look at the top news today

The Big Story

It’s here. The end of the year that seemed endless. As a virus locked us down and, in some cases, threw the keys away. There couldn’t be a more fitting way to bid goodbye to it than listening to voices telling us that 2021 will be a new year. From the Wuhan student who returned home to the vaccine volunteers. From shelter homes not shut, with migrants back at work, to a Covid-positive mother with a healthy newborn — The Indian Express marks 2021 with 21 postcards of hope from across the nation.

From the Front Page

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said efforts to rapidly deliver a Made-in-India Covid-19 vaccine to sections which needed it the most were in the final stages. “Now the vaccine is on the horizon. It’s a matter of time. But I still want to say: dawai bhi aur kadai bhi (get vaccinated, but take every precaution),” he said.

The Working Group of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) has said the Centre’s appeal to farmer leaders to suggest an alternative to the repeal of the three farm laws is an impossibility because the laws were imposed in an undemocratic manner.

Meanwhile, BJP’s lone legislator in Kerala, O Rajagopal, on Thursday backed an Assembly resolution demanding a repeal of the laws. However, hours later, Rajagopal said he had, in fact, vehemently opposed the resolution.

Only in Express

The three key learnings from the first Covid vaccine dry run, conducted earlier this week in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, and Assam, were better mapping of remote locations, real-time reporting of adverse events and ramping up training, sources told The Indian Express.

After a year-and-a-half in a detention centre as ‘illegal foreigners’, the New Year has brought freedom and citizenship to Mohammad Nur Hussain, 34, his wife Sahera Begum, 26, and their two minor children, who have been declared Indians in a re-trial by a Foreigners’ Tribunal. “They wrongly accused us of being Bangladeshis. How is that possible? I was born here,” Hussain told The Indian Express.

With the Covid-19 pandemic having made working from home the new normal, various technologies are emerging to adapt to this new reality. From 5G-powered extended reality headsets to virtual healthcare and gaming, expect 2021 to tailor technology to your life indoors.

New Year’s eve in Gulmarg.

Must Read

This was a year of the shrinking public sphere, which must be reclaimed by the citizens themselves. Because its shrinking and diminishment makes them isolated and powerless. If the pandemic has a message, if it has delivered a warning, it is this: The people need to step out, and reach out to one another again, in new and old life-affirming ways. Here’s to stepping out, without stepping over. Read The Indian Express editorial.

Three months after he announced his new team, BJP president J P Nadda on Thursday reshuffled RSS pracharaks working in the party. The changes are expected to create fresh vacancies for new pracharaks from the RSS in the new central team.

A new study by Indian scientists has been able to support the ‘hygiene hypothesis’, which states better hygiene and sanitation in developed countries could be the reasons for the high rates of coronavirus-related deaths, compared to lower-income countries with higher population densities and much lower sanitation standards.

ICYMI

CBSE will conduct board examinations for Classes 10 and 12 from May 4 to June 10. The results are expected around July 15.

The EPFO has begun crediting 8.5 per cent interest rate for 2019-20 for its over six crore contributing subscribers.

Budget airline IndiGo said some of its servers were subject to a hacking incident earlier this month, and some internal documents may have been leaked to the public.

Organisers of Elgaar Parishad, who were denied permission by Pune City Police to hold the conference on December 31, have said they will hold it in Pune on January 30.

And Finally…

Oh topi bhaavey sone di lai la… pagg da muqabla ni koi... (Even if you wear a cap made in gold, it is nowhere close to a turban)” — at a time when tying turbans is slowly eroding even among Punjabis, some government school students are bringing the culture alive, in their own style.

Delhi Confidential: Sources say the BJP leadership has taken its lone MLA in Kerala, O Rajagopal’s vote against the farm laws in the state Assembly seriously, and may seek a report from the state unit.

Until tomorrow,

Leela Murali

Express cartoon by E P Unny

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