Good morning Readers,
We are looking at the nature of the Supreme Court verdicts on the various speech cases, the massive fire in a Telangana hydroelectric plant and the Election Commission’s guidelines on Bihar elections.
The Big Story
The impact of the current conflict with China along the border continues to deepen with the Centre deciding to place visas for persons connected to certain Chinese think tanks, business fora, and advocacy groups under the “requirement of prior screening/clearance”.
From The Front Page
Multiple red flags were raised about the poor maintenance of Srisailam dam of a hydroelectric power station in Telangana where a massive late night fire claimed nine lives on Thursday. Officials said that over Rs 50 crore would be needed to take up works to address the concerns.
Since January, 10 cases seeking enforcement of the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression have appeared before the Supreme Court, and all of them have a telling pattern: Whenever the state was the defendant and objected, there was no relief to the petitioner.
Covid patients will not be excluded from exercising their electoral rights as Bihar prepares to become the first state to go to the polls amid the pandemic. They will be allowed to vote in the “last hour of poll day”, the Election Commission announced on Friday.
Indian students aren’t keen on showing up for virtual lessons. At least 61% of them have deferred their decision to study abroad by a year, fully aware that the virus pandemic may be here to stay. Also, at least 82 per cent of students expect foreign universities to reduce their tuition fee if they are expected to study online.
Rajya Sabha members Subramanian Swamy and Vivek Tankha’s efforts to postpone JEE (Main) and NEET have proven to be futile as the National Testing Agency is firm on conducting the examinations next month as per schedule.
Union Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Naik, who tested positive for Covid-19 a few days ago, has returned from the “doors of death”, the Goa government Friday said, admitting for the first time the critical nature of his case.
RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das says there was a clear disconnect between the sharp surge in stock markets and the state of real economy. He adds that this was a global phenomenon and he expects “definitely a correction ahead”.
Indian Railways has cancelled the tender for 44 Vande Bharat trainsets, whose sole foreign bidder was a Chinese firm. Now, a fresh tender will be called within a week as per India’s revised public procurement policy.
- A week after The Wall Street Journal reported that a senior executive of Facebook in India had opposed applying hate speech rules to BJP-linked groups, the company on Friday stated that it “denounce(s) hate and bigotry”.
- The recent induction of over 50 people from Shaheen Bagh into the BJP, which prompted an attack on the party by the AAP, has left a section of BJP’s leadership unhappy, it is learnt.
- The Bombay High Court has noted that while activist Varavara Rao’s electrolyte levels have been normalised, he is still disoriented and would require close monitoring.
- An ophthalmologist from Bengaluru, who was arrested by the NIA for alleged involvement with the Islamic State, had visited Syria in the early days of the formation of the militant group.
- With floods claiming more than 800 lives and affecting millions, the Centre has asked state governments to take “urgent action” for “enactment of suitable legislation”, to mitigate damage.
Even though several players have reached the UAE for the IPL match next month, they will have no human contact among themselves for the first week at least — at the end of which they will be tested for Covid-19 and then be allowed meetings accordingly.
Delhi confidential: Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) – or HAM-S – may have announced its decision to quit the RJD-led Opposition grand alliance in Bihar, but the former chief minister is still engaging the Congress.
Video: A college in Kolkata has decided to set its admission fees at Re 1 for its undergraduate courses