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Daily briefing: In surprise move, Pilot speaks to Chidambaram; Amphan relief leaves bitter taste in Bengal’s paan belt

From rebel Congress leader Sachin Pilot's meeting with his senior counterpart, P Chidambaram, amid the Rajasthan government crisis to concerns over India-China talks on Pangong Tso, read the top stories from print edition today.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: July 17, 2020 8:25:48 am
top news briefing today, top news today, latest news today, india coronavirus latest updates, india china border news, india coronavirus 1 million cases, rajasthan government crisis, cyclone amphan relief, sachin pilot, ashok gehlot July 17, 2020: A look at the top news today.

Dear Reader

The Big Story

“Process is intricate and requires constant verification”: The terse statement from the Army on the fourth round of Corps Commander-level talks indicated that the standoff with Chinese troops along Line of Actual Control could go on for a while. This means more meetings are on the horizon.

From Front Page

The country hit a grim milestone in its battle against the Covid pandemic. The number of infections crossed the 1 million mark, with over 35,000 new cases reported on Thursday alone. And worryingly, India’s journey from half a million to 1 million cases has taken just 20 days.

As Sachin Pilot and his camp fight in the court to avoid disqualification, he sprang a surprise by reaching out to senior Congress leader P Chidambaram. He was advised to meet the party leadership and thrash things out. Another senior leader said the party’s leaders, who were in talks with Pilot, have assured him of an “honourable return” if he decides to come back.

A former legal advisor to the Election Commission has red-flagged the Centre’s order setting up a Delimitation Commission for Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Assam and Nagaland, calling it “unconstitutional” and “illegal”. His argument: delimitation falls within the EC’s remit.

The Pandemic

After three states have imposed complete or partial lockdowns, the Centre underlined that “merely announcing or notifying a lockdown is not sufficient”, and the period “must be utilised gainfully” by implementing a three-pronged strategy to contain the spread of the infection.

Since April, a leading government hospital in Bengaluru has seen a 97% death rate among Covid-19 patients put on ventilators. The percentage is far in excess of comparative numbers for countries like the UK, US and Italy with high coronavirus fatalities. 

With a pause on client meetings and reliance on social-distancing, the Covid-19 pandemic has only increased communication expenditure for major Indian IT firms TCS, Infosys and Wipro. While their travel expenditure has fallen by up to 86 per cent in the June quarter, their bills on communication have seen a 20 to 30 per cent increase.

Beyond Covid-19

After widespread outrage over alleged police brutality against a Dalit farmer couple, caught on tape, during an anti-encroachment drive in Guna district of Madhya Pradesh, six policemen were suspended Thursday. Photographs and videos of the incident went viral – some showing the couple’s six children crying next to their unconscious parents, and others with police raining blows and kicking their relatives.

Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh and a top state BJP leader are allegedly applying pressure on the state Narcotics and Affairs of Border Bureau to drop a case against a person accused in a drug seizure raid in which illegal narcotics and cash worth more than Rs 28 crore were recovered. 

ICYMI

  • Writer Varavara Rao, who has been behind bars since 2018 in the Elgar Parishad case, tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday. 
  • The Election Commission has decided against extending the postal ballot facility to voters above 65 years in the upcoming Bihar Assembly elections, citing logistical challenges.
  • The Indian consular officers who were allowed access to death row convict Kulbhushan Jadhav in Pakistan have left from the meeting as the consular access provided by Pakistan was “neither meaningful nor credible”
  • A serving IAS officer and three retired IAS officers were among 10 people booked for alleged cheating while implementing the Bihar government’s initiative to provide vocational training to Scheduled Caste communities.
  • With V K Sasikala, close aide of former AIADMK chief late J Jayalalithaa, expected to be released from a Bengaluru prison soon, the Tamil Nadu government is looking to keep the late Chief Minister’s property in its custody.

And finally

The third part of the investigation into the Cyclone Amphan relief fund revealed that several panchayats in the heart of West Bengal’s betel-vine belt, which produces the leaves that drive the state’s “paan” sales, have been deprived of the Rs 200 crore compensation announced for the sector. 

🎧 In today’s episode of Three Things Podcast, we discuss the appointment of Ashok Lavasa, who was set to be the next Chief Election Commissioner of India, to a post in the Asian Development Bank. 

🎥 Official twitter accounts of prominent personalities from political, tech, entertainment, and other spheres like Barack Obama, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Kim Kardashian and tech companies such as Apple and Uber were hacked for promoting a bitcoin scam. Here’s what happened.

📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines

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