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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Daily Briefing: No headway in talks, say farmers; UK air arrivals stranded as Delhi orders quarantine without notice

From the Trump administration amending its H-1B visa regime to give priority to higher wages and skills, to the man behind the Indian Tricolour at the US Capitol protest; Here are today's top stories

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | January 9, 2021 8:30:54 am
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Perhaps the best way to sum up yesterday’s round of talks between the farmer unions and the Centre is to borrow this quote from one of the union representatives: “It was back to square one today.” Farmer unions even claimed the Government suggested leaving it to the Supreme Court to decide on repealing of the new farm laws. 

Only in the Express

With labour hard to find in the remote village of Ratir Kethi in Uttarakhand, locals would often promise other residents liquor instead of money for helping them out during weddings. But in December, driven as much by the money spent on this tradition as complaints of drunken brawls and domestic violence, Ratir Kethi passed a resolution banning the sale, distribution and serving of liquor at all religious and social events, including wedding ceremonies. 

From the Front Page

When their flight took off from London on Thursday, passengers arriving in Delhi were allowed to exit the airport after testing negative. However, the 250 passengers who arrived the next morning were taken by surprise as they were bunched in groups to be taken to two hotels for seven days of institutional quarantine even if they test negative. 

Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi, who was behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks, got five years in jail for terrorism financing. But the charges or sentence are not related to the 26/11 attack in Mumbai. The United States welcomed his arrest but called for him to be tried for the Mumbai attacks, too.

Breaking tradition, US President Donald Trump said he won’t attend his successor Joe Biden’s inauguration later this month.  “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th,” Trump tweeted.

While the Congress and Shiv Sena continue to spar over renaming Aurangabad, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said the coalition’s agenda adheres to secularism, Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb “does not fit into it”. Uddhav has been referring to the city as Sambhaji Nagar on his official Twitter handle over the past two days.


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US President Donald Trump’s administration has once again amended its H-1B visa regime to give priority to higher wages and skills instead of the prevailing lottery system for selection of candidates looking to work in the country. As per the amended rules, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will first select registrations where the “proffered wage equals or exceeds” the prevailing level in that area of employment.

During the attack on the US Capitol by a mob of pro-Trump supporters, observers in India were quick to point out the Indian tricolour fluttering in a sea of US flags outside the historic building. The flag-bearer was 54-year-old Virginia-based entrepreneur Vincent Xavier Palanthigal, who moved to the US from Kochi in 1992 and is a member of the Virginia Republican Party. “It was because of my patriotic fervour and love that I took the Indian flag. Not to defame it or give it a bad name,” Palanthigal explained, after facing backlash on social media. 

With several farmer deaths and many protesters falling ill in the harsh weather, a temporary, four-bed ‘hospital’ has come up at Singhu, near the main stage, particularly with an eye on the elderly and heart patients. Life Care Foundation, an NGO from Punjab’s Dera Bassi, said they set up “24-hour emergency hospital” after they felt the need to move beyond providing just first-aid.


Andhra Pradesh CM Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy laid the foundation stone for the reconstruction of nine temples that were dismantled or demolished by the previous TDP regime to widen roads or construct flyovers in Vijayawada

Kangana Ranaut and her sister Rangoli Chandel appeared before the Bandra police in connection with an FIR registered against them in October for “allegedly creating enmity between different groups of people” through their social media posts. 

Hours after the Madras High Court temporarily stayed its original order, the Tamil Nadu government Friday scrapped its decision to allow full occupancy in cinemas and restored the centrally-mandated cap of 50 per cent.

Customs would question Kerala Assembly Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan and a few other top functionaries of the state government in connection with a case pertaining to smuggling foreign exchange out of the country, the Indian Express has learnt. 

And Finally

How does a teenager manage to become a Chess Grandmaster? From criss-crossing seven European countries to play in 16 tournaments, undergoing innumerable Covid-19 tests and staying in budget accomodation, to dealing with the unpredictability of changing travel restrictions and curfews, 14-year-old Leon Mendonca and his father share their journey. 

Delhi Confidential: When Tripura CM Biplam Kumar Deb visited the BJP headquarters to meet party chief J P Nadda on Friday, he made it a point to go from floor to floor to meet the staff too. He recently upset BJP leadership for unilaterally calling a public meeting to seek the people’s mandate on whether he should continue in office in the face of intense factionalism in the state party unit.

Until tomorrow, 
Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose

Express Photo by EP Unny.

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