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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Daily briefing: China makes new claim in eastern border with Bhutan; India on high alert against locust strike

From New Delhi's Special Representative (SR) mechanism to resolve the ongoing border dispute with China to Food and Agriculture Organization's "high alert" against locust strike, read the top stories from the print edition today.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: July 6, 2020 8:38:20 am
top news briefing today, top news today, latest news today, breaking news today, india coronavirus latest updates, india china border news, galwan faceoff, china bhutan news, anti-caa protests, locust attack, coronavirus vaccine July 06, 2020: A look at the top news today.

Dear Reader,

Big Story

Even as the official stand of the Centre remains that there is no community transmission of Covid-19, the last denial came some time in mid-June, India’s has claimed the third spot from Russia in the list of countries with the largest caseload. The surge in cases, which are nearing seven lakh, has been powered by a sharp rise in case numbers in the southern states, most notably in Telangana and Karnataka. And Bengaluru is staring at a growing healthcare crisis as there is a paucity of ICU beds with ventilators. Meanwhile, some of India’s most eminent scientists were not happy with the ICMR’s target of August 15 to launch Covid-19 vaccine.  

From Front Page

After several rounds of talks with China on the border stand-off, New Delhi is now looking to activate the Special Representative (SR) mechanism that would allow National Security Advisor Ajit Doval to talk to his counterpart. This comes amid signs of some “withdrawal of manpower and dismantling of structures, at least in the Galwan region”. But a senior security establishment officer said that the progress is “tardy…not as desired”. And de escalation at Pangong Tso still needs to be ascertained. 

Days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the “era of expansionism is over”, China has made a new territorial claim in the eastern border with Bhutan. The Sakteng wildlife sanctuary in eastern Bhutan’s Trashigang district is spread across 650 sq km and has not been disputed by China in the past. To complicate matters further the Chinese foreign ministry in a statement said “a third party should not point fingers” in the China-Bhutan border issue – an apparent reference to India.

Days before a blowout in its Baghjan oil field bordering the Dibru Saikhowa national park in Assam put “all life forms” in the vicinity at risk, Oil India Limited (OIL) obtained environment clearance for exploring and extracting gas from inside the park — despite restrictions in the mining lease on carrying out surveys inside sanctuaries and national parks.

The Pandemic

Thiruvananthapuram became the latest capital city in the country where authorities have imposed a complete lockdown. Guwahati went into lockdown on June 28 (read how it coped) and Chennai will be coming out of one from today. On Sunday, Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran told the media that Thiruvananthapuram “is perched on a volcano, which can erupt anytime”. 

As several patients struggle to keep up with the hospital bills, a doctor at a government hospital in Hyderabad has filed a police complaint alleging that she was charged Rs 1.19 lakh for a day by a private hospital for Covid-19 treatment in violation of the state government’s guidelines on treatment costs.

The Indian Express’ editorial on the ICMR’s August 15 deadline to vaccine makers says: “The WHO does note that participation in these trials ‘would be least risky for young healthy adults’. But the global health agency also underlines that ‘preserving public trust in research requires minimising harm not only to volunteers but also to research staff and third parties’. The ICMR, which has so far creditably anchored the country’s fight against COVID 19, cannot afford to relegate this imperative.”

Beyond Covid-19

Two activists among 57 people in Lucknow accused of vandalism during anti-CAA protests and asked to pay Rs 1.55 crore in damages have alleged that officials visited their houses and allegedly threatened to seize their properties if they failed to pay for the loss. Neither activist was at home during the visit.

India should remain on high alert against locust attack for the next four weeks, the Food and Agriculture Organization has warned amid the country facing the worst locust attack in 26 years. Rajasthan is the most affected state in the country. The other affected states are Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Bihar.

And finally

Like many in his village in Bengal, Sheikh Aulad Ali is an experienced goldsmith, whose artisanship earned him a monthly salary of Rs 19,000 until before the lockdown. He returned from Punjab on a Shramik Special train and spent 14 days in quarantine before getting MNREGA work that earns him Rs 204 daily. Every day, he waits for his boss in Punjab to call him back.

🎧 In today’s episode of Three Things Podcast, we discuss the options left with India to tackle the crisis at the LAC with China,

Until tomorrow,

Leela Prasad and Liu Chuen Chen

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