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Daily Briefing: Experts will take call on booster dose, says govt; Akhilesh says Congress will get zero seats in 2022

At Rs 23,213 crore, the combined ad revenues of Facebook and Google is higher than the combined ad revenues of the top 10 listed traditional media companies at Rs 8,396 crore.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: December 4, 2021 8:37:59 am
A look at the top news today, January 16, 2022.

Good morning,

Big Story 

With several states demanding the rollout of booster doses of Covid vaccines for adults and vaccination for children, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said in Parliament that the Government will move forward on these two key issues only on the basis of scientific recommendations of its two expert groups on vaccine administration. 

Following the detection of Omicron as the new variant of concern, top genome scientists have recommended a booster dose of the Covid vaccine for those above the age of 40 years with priority for high-risk and high-exposure populations, according to the weekly bulletin of Indian SARS-CoV2 Genomics Sequencing Consortium, a network of national testing laboratories set up by the Government to monitor genomic variations of the virus. 

Only in the Express 

That online advertising was gradually chipping away from other media was known, but the latest advertisement revenues from the India operations of BigTech companies Facebook and Google has put traditional media companies on notice. At Rs 23,213 crore, their combined ad revenues is higher than the combined ad revenues of the top 10 listed traditional media companies at Rs 8,396 crore, an analysis by The Indian Express showed.

December 4 will mark three years since British arms agent Christian Michel was extradited from Dubai as the most high-profile suspect in the alleged bribery scam linked to the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland helicopter deal. While Michel awaits trial in Tihar jail, The Indian Express has accessed the voluminous report on his interrogation by the Enforcement Directorate. Michel, in a dispatch to his bosses, had written: “We know the Indian Prime Minister had thrown this business open for all the Ministers to look at…What happened for me was a nightmare…the statement (of the Prime Minister) threw us to the wolves…”   

From the Front Page 

A day after Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra accused him of running a ‘jaativaad’ (casteist) and ‘gundayi’ (criminal) government in Uttar Pradesh between 2012 and 2017, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav hit back, saying there is a possibility that the Congress may get “zero seats” in the upcoming Assembly elections. “The Congress is not in competition this time. They are here only for advertisement. It is possible that they may get zero seats in UP this time,” he said.

Must Read 

As the Winter Session gets off to a rocky start, one of the noticeable protesters in both Houses has been the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), a party that has mostly remained neutral in Parliament since Narendra Modi became the PM in 2014. But with paddy farmers facing a major crisis in the state, and the party’s recent defeat in the Huzurabad by-election — the TRS has turned combative. We explain what has led to the TRS’ agitation in Parliament. 

The two-day centennial celebrations of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) are set to begin today. While the President will be attending the event, one key dignitary is yet to confirm their presence — Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “We still hope the PM will accept our request, and come either for the inaugural function or the valedictory,” said Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Congress leader in Lok Sabha who heads the PAC. “But if he doesn’t, what can we do? Yes, we will all feel sad that a 100-year-old institution is marking its centenary and the PM is not there.”

Months ahead of the Assembly polls, popular singer, lyricist and actor, Sidhu Moosewala joined the ruling Congress party in Punjab. Moosewala has millions of fans across the country and overseas, but he is also no stranger to controversy. He had been booked in multiple cases for promoting gun culture and also under the Arms Act — a factor that was raised by BJP national general secretary Tarun Chugh, who accused the Congress of supporting “criminal elements”. 

Two months after India sent a request to Pakistan for sending aid to Afghanistan via the land route, Islamabad told New Delhi on Friday that it will allow “Afghan trucks” for transportation of wheat and life-saving medicines. In an official statement, Pakistan said that this “demonstrates the commitment and seriousness of the Government of Pakistan to facilitate the proposed humanitarian assistance”.

And Finally 

Harshad Patel’s has been an eventful journey, one laden with rejection and dejection, doubts and setbacks, but from one which he emerged stronger to blossom late with a little inspiration from Dylan songs. There is music in his bowling, The rhythmic strides into crease, the unhurried gather and release, and the note-perfect riffs of his deliveries. In a freewheeling chat with The Indian Express, he talks Dylan and pistol shooting, Zaheer Khan and dipping yorkers, failures and resurgence, besides the riffs that make his life.

Delhi Confidential:  A bureaucrat-turned-cabinet minister was at the receiving end of BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh’s unusual outburst Friday. Saying he had won elections six times and he wasn’t “scared” of anyone, Singh walked up to the minister in Parliament’s corridors and told him that he had been seeking an appointment with him for the last three months and was yet to get one.

Until tomorrow, 
Rahel Philipose and Rounak Bagchi

Express cartoon by EP Unny.

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