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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Daily Briefing: Seven branches of China’s ruling party have India link; SC to set up panel to resolve deadlock in farmer talks

From an analysis of the Kerala Local Body Election results, to a government-appointed panel's suggestion to do away with reservations for faculty positions in IITs; here are today's top stories.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: December 17, 2020 8:47:58 am
top news briefing today, top news today, india latest news today, air india express crash, air india kozhikode crash, air india plane crash, india china border news, sushant singh rajput suicide cbi probe, bihar floods, ayodhya ram templeA look at the top news today, January 20, 2021.

Good morning,

The Big Story

For the first time ever, a dataset has revealed that multinational corporations with India operations have Communist Party of China members as their employees. The dataset, accessed by The Indian Express as part of its ‘China is Watching’ investigation, reveals that at least seven branches of the CPC have an India connection, and at least one CPC member was hired by the Indian consulate in Shanghai using the services of a Chinese state-owned recruitment agency.

From the Front Page

Telling the Centre its negotiation “does not seem to work”, the Supreme Court on Wednesday said it would constitute a committee, comprising representatives of the government and farmer unions, to try and resolve the deadlock in talks. This will soon become a national issue, the apex court said.

Miffed that a meeting of top Army officers was being used to discuss uniforms instead of more pressing national defence issues, Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday walked out after a heated exchange with a BJP member.

The Union Cabinet has approved the sale of 2251.25 MHz of spectrum across seven frequency bands at a reserve price of Rs 3.92 lakh crore. Incidentally, the reserve price being auctioned in this round is lower than the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s recommendations.

Only in Express

US-based investment firm Interups Inc is among the bidders for Air India. In fact, the company has made a series of acquisition bids through the NCLT this year. A closer look at the deals the company claims to be ‘pursuing’ in India, however, shows a patchy, if not poor, record.

What’s the difference between the Shaheen Bagh protests and the ongoing farmers’ agitation? Well, for the government, Shaheen Bagh polarised the national narrative at the behest of the ruling establishment which extracted political capital out of it. But, several BJP leaders admit, the farmers’ protest makes for “poor political optics and messaging” for the party.

A day after the Kerala local body election results were declared, we explain why the outcome is a boost for the CPM before the big test; a blow for the Congress, which faces a worrying trend; and how it has helped the BJP make new inroads.

Farmers protests, Delhi farmers protests, Farmers at Singhu border, Shaheen Bagh, CAA protests, MSP, Farmer talks, Indian Express A child with tricolour during farmar protest at Tikari Border on Wednesday. (Express Photo by Prem Nath Pandey)

Must Read

Two years after man-eater tigress T-1, nicknamed Avni, was shot dead in Maharashtra, authorities are set to release her female cub into the wild after successfully radio-collaring her. The three-year-old cub, named T1C2, is being trained to adapt to the wild through “re-wilding” exercises, where authorities release natural prey to let her gain experience in hunting.

The death of 9-year-old Ella Kissi Debrah, who was possibly the first in the world to die due to air pollution, is a reminder to the Indian government to take the situation seriously and ensure clean air for children, experts tell The Indian Express. It may even set a precedent for future battles for the ‘right to breathe clean air’.

In a report submitted to the Ministry of Education in June, a government-appointed panel comprising top IIT officials recommended that the 23 engineering schools should be exempted from caste-based reservations for faculty positions. Instead, the report suggested that diversity issues should be addressed through outreach campaigns and targeted recruitment.

ICYMI

“Pained” by the plight of farmers and the “injustice” caused by the government, a Sikh priest from Haryana, who was part of the farmers’ protest, shot himself near the Singhu border on Wednesday.

Three weeks after resigning as West Bengal Transport minister, rebel TMC leader Suvendu Adhikari submitted his resignation as an MLA and later met other rebel party leaders, one of whom suggested they had “no option but to join the BJP”.

Bharat Biotech has claimed its indigenous Covid vaccine candidate, Covaxin, was found to be well-tolerated, with no vaccine-related serious adverse events, and triggered a robust immune response in its early Phase 1 clinical trial.

In a setback to the Maharashtra government, the Bombay High Court stayed an order passed by the Mumbai suburban district collector allotting 102 acre of land in the city’s Kanjurmarg area to build a Metro car shed.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said he discussed the ongoing farmers’ protests in India with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and underlined that “your politics” is, in some sense, “our politics” because of the Indian diaspora in Britain.

And Finally…

A Bengaluru-based woman, who has committed thefts in cities across the country for over a decade, has finally been arrested in Mumbai. Her modus operandi? The 46-year-old would book a flight to a city in the morning, go to a high profile shop or mall, steal the handbags of customers there, and fly back home to Bengaluru by evening.

Delhi Confidential: In the face of humiliating defeats in Gujarat and Hyderabad, the Congress is set to make organisational changes. Expectedly, lobbying has begun for the positions.

In today’s episode of 3 Things, we talk about what the story of a 104-year-old man who died a “foreigner” in Assam tells us about the fate of CAA; how India picks its Republic Day chief guest; and what the Supreme Court said about the farmers’ protest.

Until tomorrow,
Leela Murali and Rahel Philipose

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

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