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Friday, July 23, 2021

Daily Briefing: Twitter locks IT Minister out of his account; foolish to expect restoration of Article 370, says Omar

Stricter ‘level 3’ restrictions were imposed in Maharashtra after an 80-year-old woman with comorbidities succumbed to the infection in Ratnagiri — marking the state’s first death due to the Delta Plus variant.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
June 26, 2021 8:07:21 am
Daily briefing: Delta surge makes Quad rethink, rollout may be year early; Article 370 disputed, 371 can be a way out, says ex-J&K Deputy CM Muzaffar Hussain BaigA look at the top news today, July 6, 2021.

Good morning,

Big Story 

The ongoing tension between Twitter and the Central government ratcheted up after Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology and Union Minister for Law and Justice, was locked out of his official account on the social media platform over a tweet posted by him three and a half years ago. 

Only in the Express

Speaking to The Indian Express a day after the Prime Minister’s meeting with 14 senior leaders from J&K, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said it would be foolish to demand restoration of Article 370 from the current government as it took the BJP 70 years to fulfill its political agenda.

From the Front Page 

As the country returns to life after the deadly second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Union Health Ministry has said that the highly transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus is present in at least 174 districts of the country — and its sub-lineage, Delta plus, has been detected in 48 samples in 10 states. 

The Enforcement Directorate was seen knocking on the doors of former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh’s residence in Nagpur in connection with its money laundering probe against him. Sources said that the probe agency has also established a money trail of Rs 4 crore, allegedly paid by about 10 bar owners in Mumbai to Deshmukh over three months.

In a push to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s make-in-India initiative, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that India’s first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier, INS Vikrant, is likely to be commissioned next year. It has been under construction at the Cochin Shipyard for over a decade.

Must Read 

An interim report of a sub-group, constituted by the Supreme Court last month for the oxygen audit of Delhi, which questions the Delhi government’s demand for liquid medical oxygen during the peak of the second wave, has set off a political firestorm. Not only has the AAP government criticised the “sweeping claims” made in the report, two members of the sub-group have also flagged their objections in two separate notes.

Weeks after the second Covid-19 wave led to a surge in demand for medical oxygen, a web of oxygen plants, deep inside districts and remote locations, is fast emerging across states. The Centre is aiming at 1500 such plants by August-end, more or less translating to two such plants in every district of the country, officials said.

Stricter ‘level 3’ restrictions were imposed in Maharashtra after an 80-year-old woman with comorbidities succumbed to the infection in Ratnagiri — marking the state’s first death due to the Delta Plus variant. Under the new level 3 restrictions all shops and stores will be allowed to function only till 4 pm, while malls and theatres will remain closed. 

The Kerala High Court granted anticipatory bail to filmmaker Aisha Sultana in the sedition case registered against her over a remark she made during a Malayalam news debate. Sultana, who has become a face of Lakshadweep’s protests against a slew of draft proposals mooted by Administrator Praful K Patel for the “development” of the islands, had alleged that Centre had used Covid-19 as a “bio weapon” against the people of the archipelago.

And Finally 

At an international Olympic qualification meet in Uzbekistan in April, Indian swimmer SP Likith noticed that organising officials were manipulating race timings to aid home swimmers. Not one to stand on the sidelines and remain silent, Likith questioned the authorities, who in turn offered him a bribe and told him to write a letter declaring that he was “mentally ill and deaf”. This week, the tournament was declared “invalid” by FINA, swimming’s world governing body, and all the scores disappeared from official records.

Delhi Confidential: Jammu & Kashmir L-G Manoj Sinha had to rush from the all-party meeting of J&K political leaders called by PM Narendra Modi, to another important engagement — the wedding of his son — later that evening. 

Until tomorrow, 

Rahel Philipose and Rounak Bagchi 

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

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