From the latest on the ongoing farmer protests, to a timeline of the Covid pandemic in India; here are today's top stories.
The Big Story
The government respects the decision of the apex court to put the three farm laws on hold, President Ram Nath Kovind told Parliament at the start of the Budget session. President Kovind also referred to the storming of the Red Fort and vandalism on Republic Day.
Only in the Express
Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes: “The scenes at the Red Fort may have been disturbing. But the real darkness on the horizon is not the protest, or the turn it might have taken. It is the turn Indian democracy is taking, almost as if it is on the road to perdition.”
From the Front Page
Even though the violence on Republic Day gave the Centre some elbow room in its negotiations with the protesting farmers, a section of BJP MPs from Uttar Pradesh fear that the state government’s bid to get the farm protest site at Ghazipur vacated has the potential to revitalise the agitation against the Centre’s new agriculture law.
The Economic Survey has called for an expenditure push in 2021-22 to boost growth. The Survey projects real GDP to record a 11 per cent growth and also captures the V-shaped recovery in the economy.
Stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra, who is facing contempt of court charges for his tweets against judges and judiciary, told the Supreme Court that “my tweets could shake the foundations of the most powerful court in the world is an overestimation of my abilities.” He also said: “I believe there need be no defence for jokes”.
Since the initial days of the farm protest, Ghazipur was a pale shadow of the largest protest at Singhu and another stir at Tikri, where majority of the protesting farmers had gathered. All of this changed on Thursday night when under the shadow of heavy police deployment, the Ghazipur protest site grew overnight. We break down what happened that fateful night.
A crude bomb went off near the Embassy of Israel in New Delhi on Friday evening, shattering the windscreens of three cars on the road, police said. While no one was injured in the explosion, a letter in an envelope found near the site of the blast suggests an Iranian ‘link’.
Nearly a year after the coronavirus pandemic first gripped the world, it continues to rage in several American and European countries, but India seems to be on an irreversible path towards exit. We take a look back at how the deadly infection first arrived in the country, and why the current trend in Covid numbers offers a glimmer of hope.
“Before BJP supporters we are farmers and how can we tolerate such anti-farmer policies of our own government.” Among scores of pakka morchas currently underway across Punjab, there is one that stands out for being run by a majority of BJP supporters to oppose farm laws brought by the BJP-led Union government. Further, it is being staged inside the Lok Sabha constituency of BJP MP and Union Minister Som Prakash.
After schools in Delhi opened for class X and XII students last week, the government announced that students in classes IX and XI, as well as colleges, polytechnics and diploma institutions, may attend physical classes from February 5.
The Editors Guild of India strongly condemned the “intimidating manner” in which several journalists have been targeted for reporting and spreading information on the farmer’s tractor rally and the ensuing violence on Republic Day in the national capital.
The Centre has directed states to begin vaccinating around 2 crore frontline workers — including central police force personnel and the armed forces — along with healthcare workers from the first week of February onward, senior Health Ministry officials said.
Nearly 10 months after regular operations of the suburban train services were shut down, the Maharashtra government and the Indian Railways have decided to allow the general public to travel by Mumbai local trains during non-peak hours.
Johnson & Johnson announced that its single-shot candidate has been found 72% effective in the US; 66% effective overall at preventing “moderate to severe” Covid-19; and 85% effective in preventing severe disease across all regions studied, 28 days after vaccination in all adults 18 years and older.
For taking the next step forward in Indian badminton’s doubles journey, the national association has roped in 2012 London Olympics silver medallist Mathias Boe as coach. The Dane, known for his tactical acumen, is expected to build upon the strides taken by Ashwini Ponnappa, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty on the international circuit, helping add nous to their games.
Delhi Confidential: From citing Assam’s Kesari Ambikagiri Raichoudhury and West Bengal’s Jyotirindranath Tagore to Kerala’s Vallathol Narayana Menon, President Ram Nath Kovind took a poetic route in his address to the joint session of Parliament. But many MPs were quick to notice he had referred to poets of poll-bound states.
Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose
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