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Thursday, November 26, 2020

Daily briefing: Little Covid effect as over 54% come out to vote in Bihar Phase I; India slams Turkey, Pakistan for attacks on Macron

The top headlines this morning: top private labs say some districts trying to control Covid testing, Defence Ministry blocks Parliament panel's Leh visit, and self-employed hit hardest by lockdown.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: October 29, 2020 8:46:34 am
top news briefing today, top news today, india news briefing today, india latest news, nirmala sitharaman, ipl, asif bagra, bihar elections congressNovember 13, 2020: A look at the top news today.

Good morning,

The Top Story

As over 54% have come out to vote in the first phase of Bihar polls, one question that many voters had been asking, often mockingly, is that “will corona catch us in the voting booth?”
“The elections are happening, rallies are taking place, markets are open…,” they say looking at the safety preparations at the voting booth.

From The Front Page

The Chhattisgarh government has not only refunded a Rs 28.79-crore penalty it collected from Tata Projects Ltd, it also decided not to deduct another Rs 200 crore in fines for twice failing to meet the deadline in connection with an optical fiber project connecting gram panchayats. 

Several top private diagnostic firms across the country claimed that district administrations in some states have been trying to “control” the process of testing for the novel coronavirus in order to show a “better scorecard”. As a result, firms are unable to ramp up testing to their full capacity. 

The Defence Ministry cited the standoff with China to block the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) visit to Leh. However, only a day earlier the ministry said visit is “considered feasible” provided the weather is stable. The PAC, led by Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, wants to study the working conditions of soldiers deployed in high altitude areas.

Thermal scanning being carried out at a polling booth in Paliganj, in Bihar on Wednesday. [AP]

Decision 2020

With the assembly polls near, the Bihar government would have hoped the Rs 6,000 given to every family affected by the floods would help it tide over public anger. Only, not everyone got the money as some areas haven’t been declared flood-hit despite the flood waters not receding from fields even after four months. 

Lalu Prasad Yadav, who has been synonymous with Bihar politics for four decades, is serving his prison term and is away from the heat and dust this time. Tejashwi has been saying at rallies that his father will be out of jail on November 9, and it will be Nitish Kumar’s vidaai (farewell) the next day, when the election results are declared. Is he looking at arguably the greatest homecoming for a politician? The RJD hopes so.

Must Read

US Elections 2020: America’s two worlds, Red and Blue, collide in purple Pennsylvania’s geography and demography. Republicans focus on the rural middle, straddled by Democratic footholds in the eastern and western cities. And the road to the White House for both sides has to pass through here.

In J&K, activists, NGOs and news organisations on Wednesday came under the radar of the National Investigation Agency, which held searches in connection with a case of funds being raised and allegedly used “for carrying out secessionist and separatist activities” in the Union Territory. 

Since March, Akash Baudh has sold eight of his 15 sewing machines to pay his bills. The young father of three is among thousands in Mumbai yet to see any glimmer at the end of the lockdown tunnel. As the Covid shutdown winds down, small businesses don’t know where the keys to demand are.

Preparations for Eid-E-Milad underway in Mumbai.

ICYMI

  • India on Wednesday came out in support of France’s President Emmanuel Macron, whom Pakistan and Turkey have targeted for strongly defending the French people’s right to freedom of expression.
  • The crash of Air India Express plane at the Kozhikode airport has cost global reinsurers and Indian insurers Rs 660 crore, the largest claim pay-out in the Indian aviation market.
  • The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday arrested Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s former principal secretary in connection with a case of alleged money laundering. 
  • ABVP national president DR Subbiah Shanmugam, who was accused of harassment, has been appointed as a board member of an AIIMS project in Madurai. 
  • Former CBI Director R K Raghavan has alleged that “false charges” were levelled against him because he gave Narendra Modi a clean chit in the 2020 Gujarat riots case.

And Finally

A federal court in the United States has asked Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organization, to pay Bengaluru start-up Devas Multimedia Pvt Ltd compensation amounting to $1.2 billion for canceling a January 2005 deal to build and launch two satellites to provide multimedia services via the space band spectrum.

Delhi Confidential: On Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi brought cheer to one of his Cabinet colleagues — Ravi Shankar Prasad — who has been camping in Bihar for the Assembly elections.

In today’s episode of Three Things Podcast, we discuss the economic cost India bears for breathing air that US President Donald Trump recently described as ‘filthy’.

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