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Daily Briefing: 2 more cases of Omicron recorded; DU panel flags unequal undergrad admission opportunities

🔴 Half of the eligible population in the country is now fully vaccinated, with over 1.03 crore doses being administered on Saturday.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: December 5, 2021 7:53:45 am
A look at the top news today, December 8, 2021.

Good morning,

Big Story 

Two more cases of Omicron were reported in the country on Saturday, one each from Gujarat’s Jamnagar and Mumbai, taking the total to four. Both have mild symptoms of Covid. The first two cases of Omicron were reported from Bengaluru, of whom one flew out of the country. While one is a 33-year-old who travelled to India from Cape Town in South Africa, the other is a 72-year-old NRI who flew in from Zimbabwe on November 28, and is Gujarat’s first case.

Half of the eligible population in the country is now fully vaccinated, with over 1.03 crore doses being administered on Saturday. Around 21.38 crore unutilised doses are still available with states. More than 10 lakh vaccination doses were administered on Saturday in Bihar (15.33 lakh), Tamil Nadu (14.84 lakh), Rajasthan (10.8 lakh) and Uttar Pradesh (10.24 lakh), amidst the government’s push for vaccination in the light of the new Omicron variant.

Only in the Express

In April 2019, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) filed a chargesheet on British arms agent Christian Michel’s alleged role in the AgustaWestland case — and his statements during custodial interrogation. The complete set of custodial statements, accessed by The Indian Express, reveals much more — from what Michel claims was an intervention by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to purported discussions in the Cabinet Committee on Security.

Speaking about the recently released Annual Status of Education Report and National Family Health Survey-5, P Chidambaram writes: “The two reports — ASER 2021 and NFHS-5 — capture the picture of real India, unlike the BSE index or the NIFTY index that capture the health of no more than 100 listed companies. These reports have been in the public domain for the last two weeks, but I cannot recall the Prime Minister or the Education Minister or the Health Minister speaking on the two subjects.”  

From the Front Page 

No one has visited Dilip Kumar Yadav, 30, in the two months since he was sentenced to “life till his last breath” for the rape of an eight-year-old. The conviction, on October 4, by a POCSO court is now being called by the Bihar government as “the shortest trial in the country” under the Act — lasting one day. Yadav was convicted for raping the child, a student of Class 2, on July 22. The FIR was lodged a day later and Yadav was arrested within a week. 

Must Read 

Flagging unequal admission opportunities to Delhi University for students of different boards, a panel constituted to examine admission related issues there has recommended that admissions to the university be carried out through a Common Entrance Test, conducted either by the university through an internal arrangement or through an external agency. 

On Friday, five of 10 crew members of a sinking barge were rescued off the coast of Goa. Nitesh Kumar Vishwakarma, one of the survivors, recalls how he narrowly escaped death after being flung into the ocean and spending more than 24 hours trying to remain afloat.  “By the time I saw the (Coast Guard) helicopter, I was just floating on water,” Vishwakarma said. “I was exhausted, I could not swim anymore. I raised my hand and shouted for help. I was not sure they had seen me…. I saw the helicopter fly past but then return soon after; they lowered it to rescue me.

The new CEO of Twitter takes over at a time when the social media platform is negotiating the free-speech line with governments around the world, including in India. The Sunday Express traces Parag Agrawal’s journey from IIT Bombay to Stanford University to Silicon Valley and finally, Twitter. 

With the UP elections around the corner, we follow Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav as he addresses throngs of supporters from across the state. Akhilesh talks about the price rise, as well as “rising custodial deaths”, “discrimination against minorities” and “farm distress” under the Yogi Adityanath government. But while many SP supporters believe the party has a fair shot at forming government, some seem divided on whether Akhilesh will be able to bring in votes. “The crowds are coming, but let’s see how many votes Akhilesh gets,” one supporter said. 

And Finally 

It was in 1961 that noted Malayalam writer M Mukundan first arrived in Delhi. In fact, seven years after he made Delhi his home, Mukundan first wrote about his beloved city in ‘Delhi’ (Current Book), his first major work that gave the young novelist a cult following in his language, Malayalam. Four decades later, he returned to mine Delhi for another novel. Delhi: A Soliloquy (Delhi Gathakal; DC Books), a translation of which won the JCB Prize for Literature last month, is a more mature work that has an epic quality. Mukundan recalls his journey in the city that grew to become his muse.

Until tomorrow, 
Rahel Philipose and Rounak Bagchi

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