Daily Briefing: After Covishield, Bharat Biotech’s vaccine candidate gets restricted clearance

UP farmer kills himself ‘to oppose bills’; third suicide at protest site; Day after Oxford’s, expert panel clears indigenous Bharat Biotech vaccine, take a look at the top headlines this morning.

The Big Story 

The country’s top drug regulator is likely to make a statement today at 11 am on granting emergency use approval for one or more vaccine candidates after an expert panel under it made the recommendation for Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Serum Institute of India’s Covishield. Covaxin’s efficacy is, however, unknown as it is yet to begin phase 3 clinical trials. 

From the Front Page

This Republic Day we might get to see a parallel parade in the national capital as farmer unions opposed to the new agriculture laws are threatening to lead a tractor rally into Delhi. The government and farmer unions are scheduled to meet again on January 4, with the former still to decide on two of their four key demands. 

In the third case of suicide among protesters at the Capital’s borders, a farmer in his 70s from Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur district killed himself. In a purported suicide note, he wrote: “More than 50 farmers from Punjab have already died in this agitation. But no farmer from UP and Uttarakhand has given their lives… (so) I am sacrificing my body to oppose the three farm bills.”

Only in the Express

The recent DDC polls has seen the redrawing of political lines and the emergence of a new leadership — from a law student in North Kashmir to a dentist in the South, a school teacher in Jammu to the wife of a seasoned politician in Kashmir. The Indian Express in Jammu tell some of their stories.

At The Indian Express e-Adda held earlier this week, actor Pankaj Tripathi spoke on his journey from television to films, maintaining his composure in a frenetic city, why OTT platforms should duck formula, and Bollywood being a democratic space. Here is a full transcript of his conversation.  


BCCI president and former cricketer Sourav Ganguly suffered a “mild heart attack” and underwent a “quick primary angioplasty” to clear a blocked coronary artery. 

The new decade is for the “building of new multinational companies within India”, and the time is perfect for “India’s influence to spread across the world”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said. 

Five India players, Test vice-captain Rohit Sharma included, were placed in isolation after they committed a possible breach in biosecurity protocols by eating at a Melbourne restaurant.

Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan announced that healthcare workers and frontline workers will get the Covid-19 vaccine for free.

Must read

Incorporating the concept of ‘work from home’ and flexible shifts in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Labour Ministry has issued draft model standing orders—rules of conduct for workers employed in establishments—for the services sector for the first time.

Does boredom spark creativity and problem-solving? The pandemic revealed what researchers have long known—ennui could be the gateway to re-engaging with the world

Luxury cruise liners are queuing up at Alang, one of the world’s biggest ship-breaking yards in Gujarat. Since the outbreak of the Covid pandemic, cruise line operators, who largely rely on American and European tourists, are going into debt and are being forced to sell them as scrap.  

Cracking the whip on habitual latecomers, Maharashtra has decided to start penalising staff, including senior state employees, who turn up late for work. It has decided to start deducting earned leaves of latecomers.

And Finally

Open air gyms have come up at the farmer protest at Delhi’s Singhu border. One such gym operated by a volunteer organisation says it bought the gym equipment from different parts of Punjab and set it up for use by anyone at the protest. According to farmers, the gyms are an attempt to keep the protesters engaged for the long haul.

In this week’s episode of Game Time, we look into the challenges of promoting and hosting the Olympics by one city. And debate whether breakdancing, surfing and esports will become mainstream in the future. 


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