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Daily Briefing: New Omicron cases in Delhi, Rajasthan, Maha takes caseload to 21; Pakistan’s GDP to grow by 5%

🔴 In Jaipur, nine persons who took part in a wedding on November 28 have tested positive for the Omicron variant, health officials said.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
December 6, 2021 9:02:30 am
Indian express daily newsletterA look at the top news today, December 6, 2021.

Good Morning,

The Big Story

Nagaland continued to remain tense on Sunday, a day after six civilians, all said to be coal mine workers, were killed in an ambush by security forces while they were returning home in a vehicle. The incident triggered violence in the area Saturday night and late Sunday afternoon, in which eight more civilians (seven on Saturday, and one Sunday) were killed after security forces allegedly opened fire. Shattering the relative calm in Nagaland, the killings and the subsequent violence put a question mark on peace talks.

Only in the Express

Several “service contracts” signed between British middleman Christian Michel and his main client Agusta Westland were “sham contracts” to camouflage alleged kickbacks from the Rs 3,600-crore helicopter deal in India, according to documents submitted in court by the Enforcement Directorate. In its prosecution complaint, the agency said that these were meant to “create a legal facade and to route the kickbacks” under these agreements.

To improve recovery of bad loans in the agriculture sector, leading banks have made a pitch for setting up an Asset Reconstruction Company specifically to deal with collections and recovery of farm loans. The announcement of farm loan waivers by states around elections leads to “deteriorating credit culture”, a senior banker said. Ahead of Assembly elections in seven states in 2021, there is a concern among banks that NPAs may rise in the farm sector.

In this edition of the Idea Exchange, Israeli ambassador Naor Gilon about India and Israel coming closer post 26/11, Israel’s vaccination drive and lessons it learnt from the pandemic, the Pegasus spyware and loss of privacy.

From the Front Page

Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Delhi reported cases of the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus on Sunday, taking the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 21. In Jaipur, nine persons who took part in a wedding on November 28 have tested positive for the Omicron variant, health officials said. At least 100 people had turned up for the November 28 wedding; health officials have so far collected samples of 34 people.

Must read

The November 30 photographs of Prime Minister Narendra Modi leading Janata Dal Secular (JDS) supremo H D Devegowda by his hand before the two held a “cordial meeting” at Parliament House have put the spotlight on the two parties ahead of a crucial Vidhan Parishad election scheduled for December 10. The ruling BJP and the opposition JDS have shared a blow hot, blow cold relationship in Karnataka ever since the latter parted ways with the Congress in July 2019.

As the West Bengal government reaches out with a rehabilitation and compensation package to the 16 villages situated on what is estimated to be the second largest coal block in the world, there is a mix of expectation and apprehension in the region that is home to 3,010 families, including 1,013 from tribal communities. With several questions about livelihood and new homes emerging, it is found that while there is support for the project, there are some concerns as well.

Pakistan’s GDP growth is projected to touch a 4-year high of 5% in the fiscal year ending June 2022 — at the same time, heightened inflationary risks and an imminent balance-of-payments crisis has the country teetering on the brink, dependent on external debt bailouts in order to stay afloat. The two immediate threats to the country’s $263-billion economy come from the build-up of inflationary pressures, and a payments crisis that stems from a combination of global and domestic factors.

Eleven years after the first elephant sighting was recorded in Madhya Pradesh, a seven-member committee of wildlife experts will hold a two-day meeting in Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve starting today to look for ways to address what officials say is a growing problem of human-elephant conflict. The state recorded a new high of nearly 110 elephants this year.
And finally…

It’s been two years since Rourkela was announced as the co-host of the 2023 Hockey World Cup but 2000 Olympian Lazarus Barla still finds it tough to believe that the world’s 16 best nations will play in this quiet steel city. Rourkela — divided into two separate townships, steel and civil — is using the Hockey World Cup as a catalyst to transform itself completely.

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