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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Daily Briefing: Blasts near Kabul airport kill at least 60; 50% adults in India given at least one shot of Covid-19 vaccine

A day after The Indian Express reported about the deportation of a woman member of Afghan parliament from New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport on August 20, the Centre said that it was an inadvertent error.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
August 27, 2021 7:44:15 am
Daily Briefing: Amid criticism, Government relook at draft rules for e-commerce; Goa rammed through land ownership Bill despite objections by Revenue, Law, FinanceA look at the top news today, August 31, 2021.

Good morning,

Afghanistan crisis 

Two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to Kabul’s airport, transforming a scene of desperation into one of horror in the waning days of an airlift for those fleeing the Taliban takeover. At least 60 Afghans and 12 US troops were killed, Afghan and US officials said. 

The government is adopting a “wait-and-watch” approach in dealing with the Taliban, depending on the evolving situation, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is learnt to have said on Thursday while briefing all-party leaders on the Afghanistan situation. Describing the situation as “critical”, he said the government is committed to “full evacuation” of Indians.

A day after The Indian Express reported about the deportation of a woman member of Afghan parliament from New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport on August 20, the Centre said that it was an inadvertent error. It also reached out to Rangina Kargar, member of the Wolesi Jirga representing the Faryab province, and “apologised” for what had happened and asked her to apply for an emergency visa.

Only in the Express

The fate of around 210 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, who were scheduled to be airlifted to India, hung in balance after two explosions were reported near Kabul’s airport. The Pentagon has so far said that some civilians and US service members are among casualties, even as a Taliban official said that at least 13 people were killed in the blast, including children, and many Taliban guards were wounded.

From the Front Page 

India has administered at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to half its eligible adult population, as it crossed 61.10 crore cumulative vaccinations across the country. According to the government, based on the projected mid-year count for 2020, the total population of the country aged 18 years and above is approximately 94 crore. On Thursday, India completed administering 47.29 crore first doses — which is 50.30 per cent of this projected adult population.

Must Read

Despite a decisive victory at a local tournament in Jaisalmer, a cricket team from Choudhriya village in Rajasthan has been suspended from the event over a typo. When the scores of the match were being uploaded on an app, autocorrect changed the name of the team from Talib Cricket Club to Taliban Cricket Club. In the days that followed, right-wing outfits accused the team of being “inspired by the Taliban ideology”, and calls were made for action against its members.

The Civil Aviation Ministry has notified the Drone Rules 2021, making it simpler for operators to start using drones by lowering entry barriers — including cutting the number of registration forms to be filled to five from 25, and the number of fees payable to four from 72. Significantly, however, the restrictions on operations “beyond visual line-of-sight” (BVLOS) have not been lifted.

The Manipur High Court has challenged a recent order by the Deputy Commissioner of the Bishnupur district, Krishna Kumar, asking all government employees to get vaccinated against Covid by August 31, failing which their salaries will be withheld from next month. “The idea behind the order was that district government employees have a lot of public dealings and come in contact with people,” Kumar said, claiming that he had already withdrawn the order. 

What exactly is a “size 14”? How does a “medium” tag in the US fit a person with a “larger” physique in India? An Indian survey called INDIAsize is attempting to answer all of these questions. A joint initiative of the Ministry of Textiles and National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), the aim of the project is to introduce a new standardised size chart for India in the ready-to-wear clothing sector.

And Finally 

Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra asked people not to amplify their ‘vested interests and propaganda’ by twisting his comments from an interview and alluding to Pakistani javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem taking his javelin on purpose during the final in Tokyo. “Sports teaches us to be together and united. I’m extremely disappointed to see some of the reactions from the public on my recent comments,” he tweeted. 

Delhi Confidential: Having worked with three generations of the Gandhi family, been a minister with four Prime Ministers and the AICC in charge of almost all states, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad understands the inner workings of the party. Now with his autobiography in the works, it is to be seen whether his memoir will be a tell-all book.

Until tomorrow, 

Rahel Philipose and Rounak Bagchi

Express cartoon by EP Unny.

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