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Daily Briefing: Fear & foreboding in Kabul as Taliban close in; Venkaiah mulls action against ‘unruly’ Opposition MPs

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, says the government was not letting the Opposition have its say on issues affecting the public, be it Pegasus, the farmer protests, Covid-19 management or rising prices.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
August 14, 2021 8:12:43 am
A look at the top news today, August 17, 2021.

Good morning,

Express in Afghanistan 

Kabul’s airport has a sense of calm to it, but that seems deceptive. This is on a day when the Taliban swept the country’s south and west and, after Herat and Kandahar, took four more provincial capitals — Lashkar Gah (Helmand), Qalat (Zabul), Tirin Kot (Uruzgan), Feroz Koh (Ghor) — in a lightning offensive, hoping to eventually encircle Kabul. This is a city nervous and fearful of what lies ahead, dreading the thought of a return to times when women had no rights, music was taboo and life, as they have known it these past many years, did not exist.

The Big Story 

Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu is said to be actively considering some kind of action against “unruly” members of the Opposition over their conduct in the well of the Rajya Sabha Wednesday when the monsoon session of Parliament ended on a bitter note amid chaotic scenes. Naidu has started examining precedents and holding legal consultations with former and serving senior members of the Rajya Sabha secretariat on the next steps for appropriate action against the MPs.

From the Front Page 

Speaking at the Idea Exchange programme of The Indian Express, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said the government was not letting the Opposition have its say on issues affecting the public, be it Pegasus, the farmer protests, Covid-19 management or rising prices. “If we are alive, only then can we discuss other things. If we have a voice, then we can speak for others. If we don’t have a voice, then there will be no farmer issue, no inflation, no price-rise, neither Covid,” he said.  

Those who scrap their old vehicles will get a waiver on the registration fee for their new vehicle, and will be entitled to relief in road tax, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said. Modi, who formally launched the national vehicle scrapping policy, said the policy will give a new identity to mobility of New India, and the automobile sector.  

Must Read 

For the fourth time in over two years, the Centre has returned the Supreme Court collegium’s recommendations on postings to the Jammu and Kashmir High Court. This time, the Central government returned the SC collegium’s recommendation to appoint advocate Moksha Khajuria-Kazmi as judge of the J&K High Court. 

The Central Information Commission has rejected a plea for disclosure of the file regarding abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution, citing a provision in Right to Information Act that exempts information that affects the country’s security and strategic interests among others. On an appeal filed by The Indian Express, Chief Information Commissioner Y K Sinha said: “The Commission concurs with the stand of the CPIO [Central Public Information Officer] that the information is exempted.”

Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes on where India stands on the Partition, 75 years after Independence: “India was born amidst the failure of its nationalist project. Nineteen forty-seven was both Partition and freedom; self-determination and slaughter. Pakistan decided to continue with the Partition project; it homogenised its territory, set religious benchmarks for identity. India in an act of creative resetting decided to make a fresh start. ”

Bracing itself for a possible third wave of the pandemic, the government has announced that over 50 per cent of paediatric oxygen beds, approved under the Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package, will be set up in six states that predominantly have a rural and peri-urban population. This step is being taken to avoid a replay of the second wave, which hit rural parts of the country particularly hard. 

And Finally 

“Mumbai ka king main nahin hoon… The king of Mumbai in entertainment is OTT,” actor Manoj Bajpayee said at the recent Express e-Adda. Bajpayee’s remarks were, of course, a nod to his famous dialogue in Satya (1998). But it also pointed at the distance the actor and Hindi cinema have travelled since then — with the OTT media space revolutionising the way Indians have consumed their movies.

Delhi Confidential:  Launching events to mark the 75th year of Independence, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in his address spoke about how even during the Olympics it was the armed forces that had to finally step up to win a gold medal for India. He was referring to Neeraj Chopra, an Army subedar, who won a gold medal in javelin throw. 

Until tomorrow, 

Rahel Philipose and Rounak Bagchi

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

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