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Daily Briefing: First Covid vaccine for children above 12 gets nod; Sonia Gandhi calls for unity to fight BJP in 2024

Around Rs 935 crore was found to have been misappropriated under various schemes of MGNREGA, according to data obtained by The Indian Express through the Management Information System of the Rural Development Ministry.

A look at the top news today, October 13, 2021.

Good morning,

Big Story 

Gujarat-based Zydus Cadila’s three-dose Covid-19 vaccine has been granted emergency use authorisation for use in adults and children above 12 years, making it potentially the first vaccine to be administered to the adolescent population in India. With the central drug regulator clearing the vaccine, Zydus Cadila’s ZyCoV-D is set to become the first Covid vaccine candidate developed on a plasmid DNA platform to be commercially introduced anywhere in the world.

Only in the Express 

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As India steps into its 75th year of Independence, Ratan Tata, while stating that if had the opportunity of writing to the young Indian citizens in 2047, the year in which India would attain a 100 years of independence, says: “I would like to congratulate you as members who have voted to keep India as a freely voting democracy which has peacefully settled border disputes and religious controversies. During these years, I would hope that India will have achieved a meaningful position in the global economic arena with its stable economic policies with the vision of the government in power.”

Commenting on the decision of America to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan and its aftermath, Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes: “The wars in Iraq, Libya, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Somalia, Lebanon; the coups from Iran to Chile; the creation of secret instruments of violence in assorted places from Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Laos, Honduras, El Salvador, each of whom have subverted the US’s own aims. Ask the question: “Did intervention leave a place in a better condition or achieve an objective with least violence possible?” The answer often turns out to be no.” 

From the Front Page 

In what could turn out to be a tricky scenario for Tokyo Olympics medal-winning wrestlers Ravi Dahiya and Bajrang Punia as well as other top wrestlers like Vinesh Phogat, Wrestling Federation of India president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh has warned players who are associated with private, not-for-profit companies that they will not be considered for selection going ahead.

Former Deputy Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and senior BJP leader Kavinder Gupta, who described the transfer of state land under the controversial Roshni Act (now annulled) to private individuals as “land jihad” in the run-up to the District Development Council elections last November, was himself an illegal occupant of state land from 2010 till the beginning of 2017.

Speaking for the first time on the need for Opposition parties to come together ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Congress president Sonia Gandhi told top Opposition leaders that there is “simply no alternative” before them but to work “cohesively together”. At a meeting of 19 Opposition parties, including Congress, Gandhi said all parties have some “compulsions” but it was time to rise above them.

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Any investigation against gangster Vikas Dubey and his associates was “never impartial” and “there was no serious opposition by the state authorities or the government advocates” against them in the courts, according to a report by a three-member judicial commission formed on the direction of the Supreme Court. The Commission also said that 21 files detailing criminal cases of Dubey could not be traced despite giving officials sufficient time to locate them.

Around Rs 935 crore was found to have been misappropriated under various schemes of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), according to data obtained by The Indian Express through the Management Information System (MIS) of the Rural Development Ministry. Only about Rs 12.5 crore of this amount — 1.34% — has been recovered so far, the data shows.

From an apparel firm that claimed its shirt kills 99 per cent of the virus that causes Covid, to a paint brand which claimed that its product has over 99 per cent efficacy in eliminating the virus — the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has cracked down on companies which have released “misleading ads” related to the pandemic and has issued notices to them. As many as six companies were made to withdraw their ads. 

And Finally 

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In Afghanistan, parkour meant freedom. The practitioners, who are currently laying low following the return of the Taliban, have spent their lives running through obstacles and never staying still. The streets patrolled by gunmen now were once a playground and canvas rolled into one.  “In Taliban’s minds, we were breakdancing, free-running with foreigners and journalists. We were introducing the culture to them, which is out of Islam,” one practitioner explained. 

Delhi Confidential: On the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday paid tributes at Parliament. The gesture comes at a time when battle lines are hardened between the Government and the Opposition since the Monsoon Session of Parliament, which was a near washout.

Until tomorrow, 

Rahel Philipose and Rounak Bagchi

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

First published on: 21-08-2021 at 07:48 IST
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Taliban across 20 years: A Quixplained on the Afghanistan crisis

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