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Monday, January 18, 2021

Daily Briefing: After pro-Trump mob storms Capitol, Congress confirms Biden; India’s GDP projected to contract 7.7% in FY21

From a first-of-its-kind 'period room' in Thane's Lokmanya Nagar slum public toilet complex, to the Karnataka State Brahmin Development Board's new marriage schemes; here are today's top stories.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | January 8, 2021 8:43:10 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 

In an overwhelming repudiation of President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn his defeat after it culminated in a mob of loyalists storming and occupying the Capitol, Congress confirmed President-elect Joe Biden’s victory just after 3.40 am in Washington. And it was Vice-President Mike Pence who made it official, saying “Violence never wins. Freedom wins.” Shortly after the confirmation, Trump promised there “will be an orderly transition on January 20th.”

Only in the Express

One of the 10 toilets in Thane’s Lokmanya Nagar is now a ‘period room’, the first of its kind in a public toilet in a slum. The room has a urinal, a jet-spray, a toilet-roll holder, soap, running water and what public toilets needed most — a dustbin. The Thane Municipal Corporation is now hoping to replicate this in all of its community toilets. 

As he wraps up his stint in New Delhi ahead of the Joe Biden Administration taking charge, US Ambassador to India Kenneth I. Juster spoke to The Indian Express on the violence in Capitol Hill, his visit to Kashmir, human rights in India, and China. 

Pratap Bhanu Mehtra writes on the Capitol Hill siege: The assault on the Capitol is a sign of many challenges. The first is the racial question. The politics of protest will remain racialised. It is difficult not to wonder if a Black Lives Matter kind of movement would have been allowed to assault the Capitol in this way; there is more than a touch of white entitlement here. 

From the Front Page

India’s gross domestic product (GDP) will contract 7.7 per cent in the current financial year, deeper than the 7.5 contraction estimated by the Reserve Bank of India in its monetary policy review. Only agriculture and electricity generation are the two sectors projected to be in positive territory, with an estimated growth rate of 3.4 per cent and 2.7 per cent respectively.

On eve of the eight round of talks with famer unions, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Thursday met religious leader Baba Lakha Singh, who has been organising langar at the protest sites. While Tomar played down the meeting, the farm unions said the religious leader wasn’t speaking for them.

Tractor rally by the farmers at NH 24 against farm laws, Express photo by Gajendra Yadav

Must read

Through an ordinance, the Centre has merged J&K cadre IAS, IPS and IFS officers with that of Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram and Union Territory (AGMUT), also called the Union Territory cadre. This will allow officers posted in these states and UTs to work in J&K and vice versa. The merger is both a political and administrative move as it sends the message of total integration of J&K with the Centre while putting a question mark on the time it may take to return the region’s statehood. 

Back to school! After 9 months, schools reopen for class 5 to 8 in Punjab. Of 92, just ten class-5 students arrived at the Government Primary School at Sarabha Nagar in Ludhiana on Thursday. Express Photo by Gurmeet Singh

Little over a year after its creation, the Karnataka State Brahmin Development Board has obtained approvals to launch two marriage schemes on a pilot basis – one offering financial bonds of Rs 3 lakh to 25 Brahmin women who marry priests from economically weak background and the other offering Rs 25,000 each for the marriage of 550 women from economically weak families from the community.

Trying to counter journalist Priya Ramani’s argument that she was targeted by former Union minister M J Akbar who filed a criminal defamation complaint against her, Akbar’s lawyers told a Delhi court that it was Ramani who attacked his reputation after her tweet triggered sexual harassment charges against him.


Four days after a 50-year-old woman was allegedly gang raped in a village in UP’s Badaun district, the local temple priest — the main accused in the case — was arrested from a nearby village in the district late on Thursday, the police said.

The Raigad police has sought arrest warrants against three accused of abetting the suicide of interior designer Anvay Naik, including Arnab Goswami, after they failed to appear before an Alibag court Thursday. 

Veteran designer Satya Paul died on Thursday at Isha Ashram in Coimbatore. The 78-year-old had been unwell for some time, after having suffered a stroke in December last year.d 

The Bombay High Court on Thursday allowed writer-poet Varavara Rao, arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the Elgaar Parishad case, to remain at Nanavati hospital in Mumbai till it hears his bail plea on January 13.

The Bombay High Court Thursday concluded the hearing in a petition by the two sisters of late actor Sushant Singh Rajput seeking to quash an FIR by Mumbai Police against them and a doctor from Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital, Delhi.

And Finally

It has been a long and arduous winter for farmers protesting against the Centre’s contentious new farm laws near Delhi’s borders. Alarmingly so far, three of the protesting farmers have committed suicide and one has attempted suicide. Fearing a spurt in cases as the long stay in the open and in the cold, with no quick resolution in sight, plays on the minds of farmers, an NGO called United Sikhs decided to offer counselling services at Singhu border and will soon begin at Ghazipur. 

Delhi Confidential: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) begins a five-day trip of West Bengal this weekend, holding meetings in Kolkata as well as Chairman Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury’s constituency Baharampur. The panel members will have meetings related to rural drinking water scheme, Ganga rejuvenation, and Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, among other things. 

In today’s episode of 3 things, we talk about why sugarcane farmers are protesting near the Delhi-UP border, the current bird flu outbreak, and the fall in the number of active Covid cases in cities across the country. 

Until tomorrow,
Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

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