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Monday, January 18, 2021

Daily Briefing: India records 1 crore Covid-19 cases; Hathras victim was gangraped, killed, says CBI chargesheet

From the latest on the Centre's stalemate with farmers, to rising tensions between the Andhra Pradesh government and the state’s High Court; here are today's top stories.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | December 19, 2020 8:44:40 am
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Good morning,

The Big Story

India has crossed the grim milestone of 10 million (1 crore) cases of the novel coronavirus. It is only the second in the world, after the United States, to have these many confirmed cases. However, the epidemic in India now seems to be in steady decline, bringing hope that the worst may be over.

From the Front Page

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a chargesheet against four accused in the Hathras case on charges of gangrape and murder, contradicting the Uttar Pradesh Police’s claim that the 19-year-old Dalit woman had not been raped. The victim’s family, now hopeful of getting justice, said the truth can’t be hidden.

Saying the MSP system would continue, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stepped up his attack on the Opposition by accusing them of “repeatedly lying” to farmers about the new farm laws and “using them for their politics”.

The exodus of Trinamool Congress leaders has left party workers in despair. Despite leaders saying there is time and believing Mamata Banerjee can tide over the crisis, they know the BJP is taking advantage of the situation. Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to the state this weekend could be some indication of what is to come, months ahead of the Assembly elections.

The Health Ministry, in a set of FAQs released ahead of India’s Covid-19 vaccination drive, says those who have recovered from the disease are advised to get a vaccine shot to develop strong immunity; those who have tested positive should defer vaccination for 14 days after symptoms are resolved; all beneficiaries have to register officially for vaccination.

A man cycles past a mural in Mumbai urging people to wear masks. (Express Photo: Amit Chakravarty)

Only in Express

BJP leader and former Union Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh broke ranks and joined a dharna in support of farmers in Haryana’s Jhajjar district on Friday. He told The Indian Express he was keen on visiting Singhu, the epicentre of the agitation. “I stand by them… If I am not in the frontline, then people will feel that I am just doing politics,” he added.

Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand is nervous. And not because of a chess tournament, but as the announcement of his biopic has been made. Anand is known to be fiercely protective of his privacy but insists the movie will open a window to his personal life and debunk the notion that “chess players are from an alien planet”.

Pornhub, the world’s most popular porn site, has pulled down over 10 million videos uploaded by unverified users over allegations that it had too much footage of children being exploited and abused. The move is not only going to have a significant impact on the porn industry, but may also end up being the start of something big. We explain.

Must Read

Pt Ravi Shankar Upadhyay, a noted pakhawaj player and a guru at Delhi’s Kathak Kendra, was arrested for alleged molestation after a complaint by a 23-year-old student of the institute. Purported CCTV footage of the incident has been handed to the police by the director of the institute.

A battle is brewing between the Andhra Pradesh government and the state’s High Court. The latest development? The Supreme Court stayed an order of the HC to examine if there has been a constitutional breakdown in the state under the Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy government, calling it “disgusting”. Earlier, in a letter addressed to the CJI, Jagan alleged judicial impropriety by some HC judges and senior SC judge N V Ramana.

A 76-year-old was buried in Malegaon in September after officials suspected she died of Covid-19. However, as it was her wish to be buried in Manmad, near her husband’s grave, her son went through the laborious task of securing permissions to exhume the body and repatriate it. On Thursday, the body was finally buried at Manmad’s St. Barnaba Church cemetery. “A weight has been taken off my chest…” he sighed.


Resuming diplomatic talks on their military standoff, India and China have agreed to continue working towards complete disengagement of troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh.

Media should not try to discredit the change the country is witnessing just because it is contrary to the media’s long-standing position, and should not try to weaken the spirit of nationalism, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said Friday.

The Supreme Court issued notices to stand-up comic Kunal Kamra and cartoonist Rachita Taneja on pleas for contempt action against them for tweets allegedly scandalising the court.

After a rigorous search operation, Maharashtra’s forest department gunned down a “man-eater” leopard, which is believed to have killed seven people and injured four in Beed, Aurangabad and Solapur forest divisions since November 15.

Staying criminal proceedings against a man who had been charged under Uttar Pradesh’s new anti-conversion ‘love jihad’ law, the Allahabad High Court noted that the couple involved were adults with a “fundamental right to privacy”.

In a significant step that could further expand the US’ vaccination campaign, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has overwhelmingly endorsed Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine for emergency use approval.

And Finally…

After an arduous and unprecedented 113 days on a ventilator, 59-year-old Devendra Parmar, who tested positive for Covid-19 in August, was finally discharged from a civil hospital in Sola, Gujarat on Friday. His case has been described as the first of its kind in terms of the duration of hospitalisation by the state’s Deputy CM Nitin Patel.

Delhi Confidential: The BJP is mulling launching a mass awareness campaign on the new farm laws on December 25 amid the Centre’s stalemate with farmers. Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Friday held a video conference with BJP state unit chiefs, state in-charges and organisation secretaries to go over the provisions of the legislations.

In today’s episode of the Express Sports podcast, historian and cricket fanatic Ramchandra Guha discusses the sophistication, tamasha and politics of Indian cricket.

Until tomorrow,
Leela Murali and Rahel Philipose


Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

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