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Monday, September 21, 2020

Daily briefing: BJP tops political ad spend on Facebook India; Narcotics case against Rhea Chakraborty

From the GST Council meeting scheduled for today to the chats prior to the Pulwama attacks, read the top stories from the print edition today.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: August 27, 2020 8:37:25 am
top news briefing today, top news today, india top news today, express investigation, fincen files, what are fincen files, rajya sabha chaos, farm bills, gauri lankesh, anurag kashyap sexual harassment caseSeptember 21, 2020: A look at the top news today.

Good morning Readers,

We are covering BJP’s ad spend on Facebook, NIA retrieving terror chats before the Pulwama attack, and states under strain due to delay in GST compensation.

The Big Story

Today’s GST Council meeting looks set for a showdown, with several states irked over not receiving GST compensation payments from the Centre for the last four months. As GST accounts for almost 42 per cent of the states’ own tax revenues, over a dozen states are feeling the squeeze, resulting in delays in salary payments and sharp cuts in capital expenditure outlays.

From The Front Page

At a meeting called by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, seven Opposition Chief Ministers have agreed to move the Supreme Court to seek postponement of the JEE-NEET examinations in view of the pandemic

Meanwhile, the Higher Education Secretary Amit Khare said that postponing these entrance tests till after Diwali would wash out an entire semester and affect fresh admissions over the next few years.

The National Investigation Agency meticulously pieced together nearly 350 deleted voice messages exchanged between the terrorists behind Pulwama attack and their handlers in Pakistan. The messages, running into hours, have detailed instructions and information,  ranging from finances for the attack to movement of fighter aircraft after the Balakot air strike.

The BJP and four other Facebook pages with links to the party account for about 64 per cent of the total ad spend by the top 10 advertisers in the “social issues, elections and politics” category on the social media platform. The main Opposition Congress party spent Rs 1.84 crore and Aam Aadmi Party Rs 69 lakh.

The Pandemic

Two male volunteers became the first in the country to be injected as phase 2/3 clinical trials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine candidate began in India. One of them was a 48-year-old gynaecologist who had also volunteered 10 years ago for a vaccine against the H1N1 (swine flu) virus.

Unlike other states, a lot of Covid-19-dedicated hospital beds have been found lying vacant in Bihar. A “disproportionately” large number of patients in home isolation and Covid testing which is “lopsided” in favour of rapid antigen have caught the attention of the Centre which has sought a report in this regard.

Beyond Covid-19

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad is not “bothered” whether Rahul Gandhi becomes the next Congress president, or anyone else. All that matters to him is the appointment of a fulltime chief in the next six months, he tells The Indian Express

While India is ready to give China “a bloody nose” for the second time, raging any war with them will also include Pakistan, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has told The Indian Express, adding that India must strengthen its military capacity to deal with the situation. 

The Union government has moved a proposal to amend the Representation of the People (RP) Act 1950 to give legality to its March 6 order setting up a Delimitation Commission for Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Assam and Nagaland.


  • The Narcotics Control Bureau has filed a criminal case against actor Rhea Chakraborty and three of her acquaintances, claiming proof about consumption of banned substances.
  • A villager in Surat was booked for cremating his father on the road, after the crematorium managers refused permission for the same without payment of the full fee. 
  • West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday announced that flight services to Kolkata from six states with a high number of Covid-19 cases can resume from September.
  • Over 60,000 personnel from state police forces and Central Armed Police Forces have till now tested positive for Covid across India and over 340 Covid-related deaths have been reported.
  • BJP MP Nishikant Dubey has urged Congress MP Shashi Tharoor to cancel the IT parliamentary panel’s upcoming meeting on the withdrawal of the 4G services in J&K.

And finally

The protocol that raised the most hackles among IPL players, during a recent webinar in the UAE, is the one that prohibits going to another player’s room despite staying in quarantine both before and during the tournament. Rajasthan Royals seamer Jaydev Unadkat says, “You need someone to talk to when you are away from home for such a long time.”

Delhi Confidential: After coming up with novel ideas such as free distribution of lemon juice and pineapple to improve immunity to battle coronavirus, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb now wants to introduce ways to strengthen them spiritually. Deb is distributing books on Swami Vivekananda to Covid-19 patients.

🎧 In our latest episode of Three Things Podcast, we discuss how the quick thinking of two residents helped save lives during the building collapse in Maharashtra’s Raigad district.

Until tomorrow,

Leela Prasad and Liu Chuen Chen

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