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Daily Briefing: Centre asks farmers to reconsider offer; Bihar warns of action for online posts against govt

From the Rs 1,000 crore losses incurred by the Serum Institute of India (SII) following the fire at one of its campuses, to the latest on the Arnab Goswami WhatsApp chats controversy; here are today's top stories.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
January 23, 2021 8:46:00 am
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Good morning, 

Big story 

A day after the farmer unions rejected its offer and demanded repeal of the farm laws, the Centre has made it clear that the proposal to suspend the laws for 18 months was the “best” it could offer. And with no new date set for the next round of talks, the spotlight now is on the run-up to January 26 when farmers intend to hold a tractor parade. 

Only in the Express

Installation of Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray’s first statue in Mumbai has brought to light the mystery over a missing replica sculpture that was unveiled in 2002. ‘Spark’, a peacock-shaped sculpture built by artist Pilloo Pochkhanawala, came up in the early 1990s at Haji Ali Circle. But it was lost to a road expansion project. Now, with Colaba traffic island being spruced up for Thackery statue, the ‘Spark’ replica has gone missing, too.

Model of Ram Temple included in the UP Tableau for the forthcoming Republic Day parade in New Delhi on Friday. (Express Photo by Praveen Khanna)

From the Front Page

The Rajasthan government has moved an application before a special court  to withdraw a corruption case against three bureaucrats, including an IAS — who is now retired and is an advisor to the Rajasthan Cricket Association led by Vaibhav Gehlot, son of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. 

 Bihar Police have issued a circular warning that those making “objectionable and indecent” comments online against the state government, Ministers, MLAs, MPs and officials can be booked under the IT Act and the Indian Penal Code.

Vaccine-maker Serum Institute of India has pegged the losses due to Thursday’s fire tragedy at at least Rs 1,000 crore. Though the production of the Covid-19 vaccine remained unaffected, the fire damaged the rotavirus and BCG vaccine manufacturing and storage facilities.

An artist participating in the forthcoming Republic Day parade gets a Covid-19 test in New Delhi on Friday. (Express Photo by Praveen Khanna)

Must read

The BJP and Centre have avoided reacting to the WhatsApp chats between Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami and former BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta submitted to the court by the Mumbai Police in the TRP case. Given the negative references to senior leaders, Goswami’s remark that “all ministers are with us”, and his offer to mediate with political leadership — most party leaders have held back from responding to the controversy. 

“Yeh online classes mein kuchch samajh nahin aata (I can’t get anything in these online classes),” a 14-year-old wrote in a note, apologising to his parents before running away from his home in Surat to an uncle in Bhander, Mumbai. Four days later, his parents, who work as tobacco vendors, got him back. Cooped up in a one bedroom flat without meeting his friends for months, the boy says he felt “ghunglaman (suffocated)” since the Covid lockdown began. 

An elephant has died near Ooty due to severe bleeding after local residents threw a burning tyre filled with kerosene at the animal on January 8. Two days after its death, Tamil Nadu Police on Friday arrested two people in this connection.

West Bengal Forest Minister Rajib Banerjee resigned on Friday, dealing another blow to the Trinamool Congress fighting to stanch a steady stream of desertions to the BJP ahead of Assembly elections. Transport Minister Suvendu Adhikari and Minister of State for Sports Laxmi Ratan Shukla had earlier resigned their posts in the government and party.

ICYMI

The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) has issued a show cause notice to the chief district medical officer of Delhi’s West district after officials were unable to trace 200 samples collected for the fifth round of the serological survey in the National Capital.

Nominated to Rajya Sabha by the government months after his retirement in November 2019, former Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi has been accorded Z plus security by the Centre. He will be protected by around a dozen CRPF commandos at all times. 

The CBI on Friday registered a case against British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica for “illegal harvesting of personal data from Facebook users in India” for commercial purposes.

Popular bhajan singer Narendra Chanchal passed away on Friday in New Delhi due to age-related issues. He was 80.

The Congress Working Committee Friday unanimously decided to put off the process of holding election for appointment of a new president until June in view of the forthcoming Assembly elections. But the decision caused clashes within the party. 

And Finally

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Japan is pressing on with its plans to host the Olympics from July 23 to August 9. But the residents of Tokyo are not keen on the Games being hosted as they deal with the health and financial stress caused by the pandemic. “People wonder how things will be managed if double the number of people land up in Tokyo for a month. Job losses are severe, poverty has increased and come out in the open,” says Delhi-born Japanese resident, Randeep Rakwal. 

Delhi Confidential: After coming across a video of a CISF man saving the life of a passenger who had suffered a heart attack at a Delhi Metro station, Home Minister Amit Shah may not have publicly lauded the personnel, but has expressed his desire to meet him. He called the CISF man’s intervention an example of the “unwavering commitment towards serving the motherland and humanity” by Central Armed Police Forces. 

Until tomorrow, 

Leela Prasad G, Vidhi Verma and Rahel Philipose

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

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