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Daily briefing: Covid-19 surge in some states; Simlipal forest fires; and more

With some states and UTs reporting a surge in coronavirus cases, the Centre has urged them to step up vaccination of priority groups, tie up with private hospitals for opening up the vaccination time-table for at least 15 days, and increase contact-tracing.

Written by Rahel Philipose | Panaji |
March 7, 2021 8:29:49 am
Here's the top news on March 8, 2021

Good morning,

Big Story

With six states and two Union Territories reporting a surge in coronavirus cases, the Centre has urged them to step up vaccination of priority groups, tie up with private hospitals for opening up the vaccination time-table for at least 15 days, and to increase contact-tracing to at least 20 people for every positive case.

Only in Express

In what could turn out to be the Biden administration’s first high-level foreign visit since assuming office, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J Austin is likely to visit India later this month, sources said. Once confirmed, the visit will be a clear signal to counter China’s assertive actions in the Indo-Pacific, which has brought Indian and American militaries and political establishments closer in recent years.

Over the years, West Bengal and the country have learned not to underestimate Mamata Banerjee. She has taken lathis and more to do the impossible and topple the Left Front in the state. A decade hence, Mamata finds herself in the same spot, and the country is watching once again. Does the two-time Chief Minister still have the fight in her to stop another opponent? The Indian Express tracks an election that will decide the contours of national politics.

From the Front Page

Days after TV channels in Karnataka began airing a video CD allegedly featuring Water Resources Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi and an unidentified young woman, sparking a political storm and ultimately leading to his resignation, a Bengaluru court has granted a temporary media gag order in favour of six BJP ministers after they expressed apprehension of being defamed.

A court in Gujarat’s Surat has acquitted all the 127 accused booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in 2001 for participating in a meeting allegedly organised to promote the banned Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). According to the court, the evidence against them was not “reliable or satisfactory enough”.

Must Read

The mystery around the recent bomb scare outside Mukesh Ambani’s residence continues to deepen. The latest twist in the tale? After the owner of the SUV parked outside Ambani’s home was found dead in a creek, police were unable to ascertain the cause of death. In a four-page letter, the man alleged he was being chased by the media and harassed by various agencies, including the INA.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has announced that a set of Delhi government schools will be de-affiliated from the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and will be affiliated to a new Delhi Board of School Education in the upcoming 2021-2022 academic year.

It’s a race against time at the Simlipal National Park and Tiger Reserve in northern Odisha, one of the largest biosphere reserves of the country, where the early onset of summer and a lack of precipitation have sparked raging forest fires for more than a fortnight now. The only consolation is that the situation seems to be under control, with the fires not reaching the core tiger area.

Elections Wrap

Throwing down another gauntlet ahead of the high-voltage runup to the West Bengal assembly elections, the BJP announced it will be fielding Suvendu Adhikari, the Trinamool leader who recently crossed over to the saffron party, from Nandigram against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Hitting back at the Customs, which had submitted an affidavit linking him to the case on smuggling of foreign currency, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the central agency has suo motu taken over the election campaign in Kerala.

Two former Indian Police Service (IPS) officers will be contesting against each other in Bengal, with TMC fielding Humayun Kabir and BJP giving a ticket to Bharati Ghosh from Debra.

The Congress office in Guwahati witnessed tense scenes on Saturday, as some party workers objected to the seat-sharing arrangement with partner AIUDF in Assam. According to sources, Mahila Congress national president Sushmita Dev is upset about the allocation of some seats to the AIUDF in her stronghold of Barak Valley.

And Finally…

A sacrilegious recipe for the Italian staple, pasta carbonara, recently published in The New York Times, has sparked a storm on social media and reignited a debate about the authenticity of food. In a globalised world, where no food feels foreign and tastes are transforming rapidly, how does the debate over authenticity in recipes play out?

Until tomorrow,

Rahel Philipose

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