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Monday, January 24, 2022

Daily Briefing: PM holds Covid review meet as new cases reach 7-month high; J&K counter-terrorism operations significantly expanded since 2019

Read our latest  coverage on the Omicron situation in the country, a study of four-year data on J&K's counter-terrorism encounters, our Idea Exchange with IIT-Kanpur professor and mathematician Manindra Agrawal and more here.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
January 10, 2022 8:37:45 am
A look at the top news today, January 10, 2022.

The Big Story

With the daily count of new Covid cases touching 1.75 lakh on Sunday, the highest single-day tally in 226 days, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a high-level review meeting with his Cabinet colleagues and top officials, and decided to convene a meeting of chief ministers to discuss “state-specific scenarios, best-practices and the public health response”. However, among key cities, the surge in Mumbai showed some signs of stabilising with a slight dip in cases for the second successive day. 

Only in The Express

The Jammu-Kashmir administration has significantly expanded its counter-terrorism operations beyond physical encounters ever since the erstwhile state was split into two Union Territories. A study of four-year data reveals a renewed push in cracking down on terror networks, with over 1,900 persons being arrested on charges of providing logistical support to the militants.

In this edition of the Idea Exchange, IIT-Kanpur professor and mathematician Manindra Agrawal talks about his prediction of the third wave peaking in Mumbai and Delhi in mid-January, projecting four to eight lakh cases a day in India and why he thinks the SUTRA model is more accurate than others. 

From the front page

A legal battle is brewing between Ashneer Grover, co-founder and Managing Director of fintech company BharatPe, and the Kotak Mahindra Group over financing of the initial public offering (IPO) of FSN E-commerce Ventures, the parent company of Nykaa. Grover’s law firm sent a legal notice to Kotak Group accusing them of going back on its assurances that the shares of FSN would be allotted to him and his wife Madhuri, while the bank said it is pursuing “appropriate legal action” against the two for allegedly abusing a Kotak employee over phone. 

Six months after registering FIRs against unknown persons for an app which posted pictures of Muslim women captioned “deal of the day”, the Delhi Police arrested Aumkareshwar Thakur, 25, a BCA (Bachelor of Computer Application) graduate, from Indore on Saturday. Police said he admitted he was a member of a ‘trad’ group – a group of individuals on social media targeting Dalits, Muslims and women – on Twitter. 

Must Read

Though the BJP has so far projected the Samajwadi Party as its main rival in the Assembly elections, in the 58 seats of western Uttar Pradesh that will vote in Phase 1 of the polls on February 10, the ruling party is likely to face a bigger challenge from the BSP — at least going by the Mayawati-led party’s performance in past elections in the region.  In the 2017 elections, the BJP had swept the region too, winning 53 of the 58 seats. 

The two political outfits formed by farmer leaders to contest the forthcoming Punjab Assembly elections have initiated talks for entering a pre-poll alliance. The decision of both entities — Gurnam Singh Chaduni’s Samyukt Sangharsh Party and Balbir Singh Rajewal’s Samyukta Samaj Morcha — exploring a poll pact came as Rajewal categorically ruled out an alliance with AAP.

The Karnataka Congress has launched a 10-day foot march amid Covid curbs to push for the creation of the Mekedatu reservoir. With South Karnataka being home to the Vokkaliga — one of the two dominant communities in the state — that makes up 15 per cent of the population, on the party’s mind, however, is more than the project on the Cauvery that is meant to supply drinking water to Bengaluru and its surrounding regions in the southern part of the state.   

The crime branch of Kerala Police has registered a new case against Malayalam actor Dileep after allegations that he had planned to kill the officers who had probed him over the sexual assault and abduction of an actress in 2017. Dileep is one of the accused in the sexual assault case being heard in a special court in Kochi.  

And Finally

Despite the looming shadow of a third wave, a doubling of reported cases over the past four days and a weekend curfew, Delhi is about to host the India Open Super 500 tournament with the cream of Indian badminton — P V Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth and Lakshya Sen — expected to compete at the IG Stadium. But India’s biggest badminton tournament will not be fully covered by a “bio-secure bubble”. 

Delhi Confidential: As External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar was greeted by many on his birthday, two wishes stood out. First was from PM Narendra Modi who said Jaishankar has been making outstanding contributions to Indian foreign policy as an officer and now as a minister. And the second was from French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian who spoke to Jaishankar and wished him on his birthday as they discussed their strategic priorities.  

In the latest episode of the ‘3 Things’ podcast, Amitabh Sinha joins host Snigdha Sharma to discuss the third wave of Covid-19 in India, from the emerging trends to the progress we have made since the pandemic hit us two years ago. 

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