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Thursday, July 29, 2021

Daily Briefing: Two-thirds of Indians have Covid antibodies, says ICMR; Storm in House over Pegasus row

The row over an alleged surveillance operation using the Pegasus spyware rocked Parliament Tuesday as the Opposition and some parties friendly to the ruling coalition, sought answers from the government.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
July 21, 2021 8:23:41 am
A look at the top news today, July 21, 2021.

Good morning,

The Big Story 

About 40 crore people in the country are susceptible to Covid-19, according to the latest nationwide serological survey. The survey,  the fourth such exercise, found that up to two-thirds of the Indian population above the age of six have already been infected with the coronavirus, reducing the possibility of a fresh round of infections as severe as the second wave was.  

Only in the Express 

Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes on the Pegasus surveillance scandal: “It has great implications for our institutions. Government cannot sidestep questions by alleging conspiracy.”

From the Front Page 

Both Houses of Parliament witnessed stormy scenes as Opposition members raised slogans, showed placards, and demanded a probe by a Supreme Court judge over the alleged surveillance operation using the Pegasus spyware . 

A Rs 5.33 crore apartment in Mumbai’s upscale Nariman point purchased by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s former advisor has come under the Income Tax department scanner. It is alleged that its previous owner was a “shell entity made only for the purpose of holding benami properties”.

Businessman Raj Kundra, arrested in a pornographic films case, was “actually running” the mobile application which streamed these videos, overseeing the content as well as financial dealings, Mumbai police said.

Must Read

No deaths due to lack of oxygen were specifically reported by states and union territories, according to the Union Health Ministry. But ground reports during the second wave told a different story. Dozens of people died at hospitals across India — from New Delhi to Goa — due to an acute shortage of oxygen.  

In May, The Indian Express had profiled lives lost for the lack of oxygen in various parts of India.

Swiggy has closed a chunky $1.25-billion funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and existing backer Prosus, in what is the food delivery platform’s largest funding round since it was launched in 2014. Apart from building its core food delivery business, the investment will also help accelerate growth in its non-food-related business, which is expected to bring in a major chunk of the company’s revenues. 

“Elections in the state are still two-and-half years away but leaders of all political parties are behaving as if elections are due shortly.” Telangana’s Director of Public Health G Srinivasa Rao did not shy away from reprimanding politicians of all hues for flouting Covid rules and putting people’s lives in danger. “It is an invitation to the third wave of Covid-19,” he said. 

Kerala’s Forest Minister and senior NCP leader AK Saseendran is under fire after an audio clip of an alleged conversation between him and the father of a woman who had accused one of his party leaders of sexual harassment was aired by TV channels. In the purported conversation, a voice resembling that of the minister was heard asking the father to settle the issue.

And Finally 

There is a fascinating symbiotic link between sports manga/anime and Japanese Olympians. The relationship traces back to 1964, when the Japanese women’s team won the inaugural volleyball gold at the Tokyo Games. Volleyball manga ‘Attack No.1’ capitalised on the historic triumph, and also created a captivated young female manga demographic. 

Delhi Confidential: Unhappy with a prayer for adjournment, Supreme Court judge Justice D Y Chandrachud on Tuesday told a counsel, who sought it, “We are not a ‘tareekh pe tareekh’ court. We are a hearing court. So please argue.”

In today’s episode of ‘3 Things’, we talk about the Indian Express’ recent series on post-poll violence in West Bengal. We look at four such incidents – an alleged murder, a rape, houses being ransacked, and a social boycot – and the extent to which people in the state have suffered after the Assembly elections. 

Until tomorrow,
Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

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