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Sunday, January 17, 2021

Daily Briefing: Central Vista gets SC’s all-clear; Kohli invested in gaming platform first which is Team India’s kit sponsor

From the Union Health Ministry's plans to roll out the mass immunisation programme against Covid-19 within 10 days, to the stunning revelations in late President Pranab Mukherjee's memoir; here are today's top stories.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | January 6, 2021 8:52:02 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 17, 2021.

Good morning,

Big story 

The central vista project was given the all clear by the Supreme Court in a 2:1 verdict. Only Justice Sanjiv Khanna disagreed with the judgment on change of land use and on the grant of environmental clearance for the project.  

Only in the Express

Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli had invested in a company that owns the online gaming platform Mobile Premier League (MPL). That was before BCCI announced MPL Sports as the  new kit sponsor and official merchandise partner for the Indian cricket team. Months before the deal was signed, Kohli was also named as MPL’s brand ambassador. 

From the Front Page

The Union Health Ministry says it is prepared to roll out the mass immunisation programme against Covid-19 within 10 days of the vaccines getting approval. However, the final call on this will be taken by the Centre. 

Meanwhile, minutes from the expert committee’s meetings show how they changed their decision within 24 hours and recommended Bharat Biotech’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate for approval without proof of its efficacy in humans. 

India has to now look for an alternative Chief Guest for the Republic Day celebrations after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called off his visit. In a phone call to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Johson expressed regret saying it was important for him to remain in the UK in light of the national lockdown and the speed at which the new coronavirus variant is spreading. 

Fugitive diamond jeweller Nirav Modi’s younger sister and brother-in-law have agreed to testify against him in two Enforcement Directorate cases. Their applications for pardon have been granted by a special court on the condition that they make full and true disclosures. The couple said they could provide “substantial and important evidence” relevant to Nirav.

Must read

In his memoir, late President Pranab Mukherjee offers an insight into his political career, the Congress’ internal power struggle, and a scathing critique of the BJP government. From disclosing that PM Modi met him after announcing demonetisation to seek his “explicit support”, to revealing that he once advised Arvind Kejriwal to leave his “penchant” for sitting on dharna over “frivolous issues” — the book is both revelatory and observational. 

What makes Burari Ground in Delhi stand out amongst other protest sites along the city’s borders? The ground had initially earned the reputation of being an “open jail” after agitating farmers were sent here by authorities instead of heading towards Jantar Mantar or Ramlila Maidan. But today the Burari Ground has evolved into a protest site unlike any other — complete with small patches of onion, corn and marigold flowers and even a volleyball court. 

With thousands of birds dying in five states across the country and confirmation of the H5N1 avian influenza virus in samples from migratory birds found dead in the Pong Dam Lake in Himachal Pradesh, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change issued a high alert and asked all Chief Secretaries to take “urgent measures” to control the situation. 

The Shiv Sena-led government in Maharashtra is set to reinstate a tax waiver granted in 1996 to a Michael Jackson concert held in Mumbai, which was conceptualised by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena head Raj Thackeray and was believed to be one of the biggest musical events of its time. If the waiver is approved by the Cabinet, the concert’s event managers will be able to take back Rs 3.36 crore in ticket sales.


In an effort to “sensitise and educate”people about the importance of cows, the government plans to conduct a nationwide voluntary online examination on cow science next month.

In yet another setback to the ruling Trinamool Congress party in West Bengal, minister and former cricketer Laxmiratan Shukla resigned from the Mamata Banerjee cabinet on Tuesday.

Madhya Pradesh Congress secretary Vivek Khandelwal has said he launched a donation drive for the construction of the Ram Temple, which he will continue till the end of January. 

British PM Boris Johnson announced a third national lockdown across England to try and slow a surge in Covid-19 cases that threatens to overwhelm parts of the health system before a vaccine programme reaches a critical mass.

And Finally

“Meet and Greet with the Indian Cricket Team,” read several fliers seen at stadiums all through the India-Australia ODI and T20 series. On Tuesday, close to 200 ticker-holders — who paid 550 Australian dollars to meet India’s finest over “amazing food, beer, wine and soft drink” — were expected to arrive at the venue only to be greeted by local police, who would inform them that they had been conned. 

Delhi Confidential: Congress leaders considered close to Rahul Gandhi have told other party leaders privately that he has finally relented and agreed to return as Congress President. But some wonder whether the political chatter that NCP chief Sharad Pawar should head the UPA is the reason for this new messaging.

In today’s 3 things episode, we look at the three anti-conversion laws in Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, the problem of ‘VIP culture’, and UK PM Boris Johnson cancelling his Republic Day visit to India. 

Until tomorrow, 

Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose 

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

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