December 26, 2021 8:07:54 am
The Big Story
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a surprise in store for children on Christmas night — those in the 15-18 age group will be eligible for Covid vaccination from January 3. PM Modi also said that healthcare and frontline workers will be administered a booster — he called it “precaution dose” — from January 10. The ”precaution dose” option, he said, will also be available from January 10 for citizens above the age of 60 with co-morbidities. They can take this shot on the advice of their doctors.
The Prime Minister’s surprise address to the nation last night came at a time when the R-value, a measure of how fast the disease is spreading, has crossed the value of 1 in several states, the threshold after which cases begin to rise rapidly. “
The ‘precautionary’ shot that he announced could be of a vaccine platform different from that of the first two doses. “So the preliminary consensus (among members of the advisory body on Covid vaccination) is that a beneficiary cannot take three doses of Covishield or Covaxin,” sources said.
Only in the Express
As the year draws to a close, former Union minister P Chidambaram writes about an unwanted visitor who brought unwanted gifts.
From the Front Page
The investigation into the Pandora Papers, conducted by a global consortium of news organisations including The Indian Express, has set off unprecedented cooperation between Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) of different countries. India has sent out 161 requests to its counterparts in 33 countries, mostly the tax havens named in the Pandora Papers investigation, and have already received responses in over 35 cases.
Unlike during the first two waves of the Covid pandemic, the new Omicron variant has not yet disrupted the uptick in domestic air travel demand. But there’s a perceptible dampening of international travel sentiment – to and from India. One of the main reasons for the subdued expectation on international travel is the numerous restrictions being imposed by not only India but also other jurisdictions.
“You know a little too much about law…you file RTI applications.” These words of his attackers echo constantly in 30-year-old RTI activist Amra Ram Godara’s head as he lies in an immobile state on a hospital bed in Jodhpur. Attacked in Rajasthan’s Barmer district on December 21, with nails pierced in his legs, and forced to drink urine, Godara has undergone surgery and is now recuperating. Meanwhile, CM Ashok Gehlot has written to PM Modi urging him to frame rules to protect activists and whistleblowers.
After R Ashwin’s fitness repeatedly let him down, most glaringly on the big tours of Australia and in 2018 and 2019, it was trainer AT Rajamani Prabhu who brought him back on track. So what had Ashwin been missing? “I am not against Olympic lifting. But if you are not doing it properly… it is from a completely different sport after all,” he said. Instead, he focussed on normal exercises “with emphasis on explosiveness and safe movements”.
Since 2014, former Shiromani Akali Dal minister Bikram Singh Majithia has managed to evade all allegations of drug trafficking that have come his way. But with the Punjab assembly polls right around the corner, will the charges that he has so far dodged finally bring him down? The Sunday Express traces the political career and controversies of the scion of Punjab’s most powerful family, known for his wit, suave and muscular politics.
“Whenever in doubt, embark on a yatra”. This has been the defining feature of every political yatra Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has undertaken since 2005, when he took over the reins of power in Bihar. Nitish’s ongoing “Samaj Sudhar Abhiyan” (social reform campaign) yatra seeks to create public awareness against alcoholism, dowry and child marriage. But with no polls in the near future, why is he embarking on another political yatra? Well, one of the reasons is the political pressure to justify the state’s liquor prohibition law enforced since April 2016.
Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose