Updated: December 13, 2021 9:00:53 am
The Big Story
Even as the final decision on recommending a booster Covid vaccine shot is yet to be taken, there is consensus in the country’s top technical advisory body on Covid-19 vaccination that the third dose when administered, should be of a vaccine based on a platform different from that of the first two doses, The Indian Express has learnt. But that doesn’t mean that the third dose for an individual who has been double vaccinated with Covishield will be Covaxin, and vice versa.
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Delhi is working on plans to get leaders of five Central Asian countries, three of which share a border with Afghanistan, as chief guests for the Republic Day parade and celebrations on January 26, sources told The Indian Express. An informal outreach has already been made through diplomatic channels, and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is likely to hold a dialogue with the foreign ministers of these five countries over the next weekend — December 18-19.
In this edition of the Idea Exchange, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia talks about the learning loss in the pandemic, AAP’s poll prospects and whether the BJP has forced parties to shift to the right.
From the Front Page
Cyber security officials will reach out to Twitter and Google as part of the probe into the hacking of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Twitter account for a brief while early Sunday when a tweet on Bitcoin was posted, The Indian Express has learnt. Sources said Twitter will be asked about how the account was not flagged for breach by its automated systems when someone else tried to log in. Google will be asked to furnish details of the blogspot account linked to the Bitcoin tweet, they said.
In a year marked by the devastating second wave of Covid-19, Kerala’s all-cause mortality numbers, including official Covid deaths, are likely to touch a record high, with 2021 already recording the highest number of January-June deaths in recent years. In the first six months of the year, Kerala registered 1,55,520 all-cause deaths — a 35 percentage jump from the corresponding period in 2020 (1,15,081 deaths), a year of Covid-imposed lockdown, and a 21 percentage jump from the toll in the first six months of the pre-pandemic year of 2019 (1,28,667 deaths).
Raising potential questions of propriety and conflict of interest, Congress MP Abhishek Manu Singhvi has asked a question in the Rajya Sabha on a subject that he has been involved in as a lawyer: government policy on betting and online gaming. Although he denies any conflict, records show that Singhvi, who is also a senior advocate, appeared before the Karnataka High Court for a petitioner company which has challenged the Constitutional validity of the Act that bans all online gambling and betting.
The closing paragraph of a comprehension passage that several students got in their Class 10 Term 1 CBSE board exam English paper has drawn criticism for being “retrograde” and offensive to women. It reads: “What people were slow to observe was that the emancipation of the wife destroyed the parent’s authority over the children.” Several politicians, including Congress leader Piyanka Gandhi Vadra, took to Twitter to call out the Board, saying that the “government endorses such views on women”.
As the last of the makeshift homes at the Singhu border were dismantled or packed up, barricades put up by the Delhi Police were being taken apart. Heavy machinery was deployed to clear the concrete blocks while some shipping containers and concertina wires are yet to be removed. Police have also cleared up most of the tents used by the force that was posted at the site round-the-clock.
Banks have written off of bad loans worth over Rs 2 lakh crore in the fiscal that ended March 2021 when the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country and the Reserve Bank of India allowed banks to announce reliefs like loan moratorium for borrowers. With this, banks have written off a whopping Rs 11,68,095 crore worth of bad loans, or non-performing assets, in the last ten years with most of the write-offs coming in the last seven years, the RBI said in an RTI reply to The Indian Express.
The racing gods smiled upon Red Bull’s Max Verstappen as a safety car incident in the 53rd lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix allowed the Dutchman to beat race leader Lewis Hamilton in the final lap of the final race of the season to win his first World Championship. The Red Bull driver, following his overtake to clinch the top spot, kept his cool and closed off any gaps that could have been exploited. As he turned into the final corner, Verstappen took the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, as well as his first World Championship.
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