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Thursday, March 04, 2021

Daily Briefing: Farmers reject Centre’s offer to stay farm laws; Fire at Serum Institute campus in Pune kills 5

From the unusual rise in milk prices defying seasonal trends, to the SC issuing a notice to the makers of 'Mirzapur'; here are today's top stories.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
January 22, 2021 8:41:59 am
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Good morning, 

Big story 

The farmers protesting at Delhi borders are not prepared to settle for anything less than the full repeal of the new agriculture laws. The Centre’s offer to suspend the laws for 18 months and form a joint committee to address grievances was firmly rejected before today’s talks. However, it wasn’t an easy decision as more than a dozen of the 32 farmer unions were in favour of accepting the offer. 

Meanwhile, experts have raised questions how the Government plans to put the farms in abeyance for 18 months as there is no vocabulary in the Constitution or Parliamentary procedure for such issues. 

Only in the Express

Getting into the Indian cricket squad might have got a lot more difficult with the BCCI looking to introduce 2-km time trials. Players need to run the distance in 8 minutes and 30 seconds. To put this in perspective, elite athletes are expected to complete 2 km in around 6 minutes, and amateurs in 15 minutes. 

It has been five months since Shardul Thakur had seen his parents, the longest he had been away from home. Reaching home at Palghar after the historic win in Brisbane, Thakur spoke to The Indian Express about his crucial 67 runs in the first inning at Gabba, and the seven-wicket match haul. 

From the Front Page

Five died in a major fire at a newly-constructed six-storey building inside one of the campuses of Serum Institute of India (SII), the makers of Covishield vaccine. SII CEO Adar Poonawalla told The Indian Express that the fire had caused “lots of damage”.

Thursday was the first time ever that the benchmark Sensex breached the 50,000-mark. The market sentiments were lifted due to a combination of external factors: global liquidity, vaccine hopes, US election outcome, alongside the growing strength in the domestic recovery. 

Incidentally, the affected building was part of the facilities that Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited last month, when he came to see Serum’s vaccine-making processes. (Express Photo)

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A call on the Tamil Nadu government’s recommendation to pardon Rajiv Gandhi assassination convict A G Perarivalan will be taken by the Governor within three-four days, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the Supreme Court on Thursday.

Defying seasonal trends, dairies are paying more for milk during the current “flush” season and international market trends indicate that the prices are set to climb even further. The reason behind this unusual rise in milk prices? The Covid-19-induced lockdown. The demand destruction and price crash after hotels and restaurants were closed and marriages and other events were cancelled resulted in farmers underfeeding their animals.

Ahead of the West Bengal Assembly elections, 34-year-old Prizada Abbas Siddiqui, cleric of India’s second most prominent Sufi shrine, has launched a new political party, Indian Secular Front, and said that his party plans to contest all 294 seats with its alliance partners. But Siddiqui will not be contesting the election himself. “I want to be the kingmaker,” he explained. 

After several FIR’s were filed against the web series ‘Tandav’ for hurting religious sentiments, Amazon Prime’s ‘Mirzapur’ has now come under the scanner. The Supreme Court issued a notice to the makers on a plea seeking a ban on the second season of the web series on the ground that it “has completely tarnished the historical and cultural image of the city/district”.


V K Sasikala, the close aide of late J Jayalalithaa, who was hospitalised due to difficulty breathing ahead of her release from prison on January 27, has tested positive for Covid-19.

The Parliamentary panel on Information Technology questioned representatives of WhatsApp over its proposed changes in privacy policy and raised concerns of Indian citizens, sources said.

The Supreme Court has granted bail to Kannada actor Ragini Dwivedi, who was arrested in connection with the Sandalwood drugs case. 

Four days after three women escaped and approached the police with allegations of being sexually abused at a Ujjawala shelter home, police on Thursday evening arrested Jitendra Mourya (50), President of Shivmangal Shikshan Samiti, the NGO that runs the home.

PM Narendra Modi will distribute more than 1 lakh land documents to people from indigenous communities of poll-bound Assam in Sivasagar district on Saturday.

And Finally…

On Wednesday, Donald Trump exited the White House and flew to Florida, where he is expected to slowly transition back to civilian life at his luxury Mar-A-Lago golf property. Even while serving as president, he consistently sought refuge in golf. We explain how Trump’s whims on the golf course turned out to be a microcosm of his presidency.

Delhi Confidential: Amid a strain in ties between the Congress and DMK in Puducherry, Rahul Gandhi met with CM V Narayanasamy and Pradesh Congress Committee president A V Subramanian to review preparations for the forthcoming assembly polls. While the DMK issue did come up for discussion, the party decided to go ahead with poll preparations.

In today’s episode of 3 Things, we talk about the ‘Tandav’ controversy, how India-US ties will change under the Biden administration, and finally, we take a look at the fire that broke out at the Serum Institute of India (SII) campus in Pune, killing five. 

Until tomorrow, 

Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

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