Daily Briefing: Centre extends tenure of CBI, ED; Veena George explains Kerala Covid strategy

The ordinance now opens the door for a further extension of Mishra's tenure even as the Supreme Court had asked the government not to extend it any further.

Good morning,

The Big Story

Days before the extended tenure of Enforcement Directorate (ED) Director Sanjay Kumar Mishra is scheduled to end, the Centre has brought in ordinances to extend the tenures of the chiefs of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED for up to five years. The ordinance now opens the door for a further extension of Mishra’s tenure even as the Supreme Court had asked the government not to extend it any further.

Meanwhile, the Opposition questioned the motive and intentions behind the government’s “tearing hurry” to promulgate an ordinance to ensure that Directors of the ED and CBI could have longer tenures, given that Parliament is scheduled to meet later this month.

Only in the Express

In this edition of Idea Exchange, Kerala’s Health Minister Veena George talks about her state’s Covid strategy and explains why she has reached out to the Centre on booster doses.

From the Front Page

In a big boost to India’s air-defence capabilities, Russia has started delivery of the much-awaited S-400 missile system for deployment on schedule this year, official sources have confirmed. The S-400 is among the most advanced air-defence systems in the world, with a range of around 400 km. The system is already available with China, which has deployed it along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.

Milind Teltumbde, a Central Committee member of the banned CPI (Maoist) organisation, was among the 26 Maoists killed in Saturday’s encounter with security personnel in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district, a senior police officer said. He was also the younger brother of former IIT professor, Dalit intellectual and writer, Anand Teltumbde, who has been jailed in connection with the Elgar Parishad case.

Based on a complaint by Vishva Hindu Parishad activists, two women journalists reporting on recent instances of alleged religious vandalism in Tripura were detained by the Assam Police. A senior officer said a few videos posted by the journalists on social media are suspected to have been “doctored”. They have been booked under sections relating to spreading communal disharmony, committing insult with the intent of provoking breach of peace and criminal conspiracy.

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Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has claimed that Chandragupta Maurya, who founded the Mauryan kingdom, had defeated Alexander of Macedonia, and yet historians did not describe him as “great”. Alexander died in 323 BC, a few years after his Indian campaign. There is some debate among historians over when Chandragupta came to power, but it is generally believed to have been after Alexander’s death.

Shops owned by the minority Muslim community were targeted for arson and destruction during a bandh called by the BJP in Amravati, 150 km west of Nagpur in central Maharashtra, officials told The Indian Express. In the Kotwali area, where the violence took place, police officials said they were outnumbered by a massive gathering of activists of the BJP, Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena.

The decision to rename the newly built railway station of Bhopal, which will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi today, reflects an attempt by the BJP to regain some of the ground that it lost among tribal and Scheduled Caste voters in the Assembly elections of 2018. The station has now been named after Rani Kamlapati, the first Gond queen of Bhopal. Earlier, it was called Habibganj. The Gonds, who number more than 1.2 crore, are India’s largest tribal group.

A visit to the National Museum in the capital feels decidedly different this festive season. India’s largest museum has quietly leaped to the age of immersive digital technology — a first in the country. Now, visitors don’t just have to view an inscription of a prehistoric cave, read about it on a display and move on to the next object. They get a 270-degree digitally-projected experience of actually being in that cave as well as learning about that era, thanks to an augmented reality projection system.

And finally…

What was once a grazing land has now become the breeding ground for some of India’s most talented hockey players. In 2004, while travelling to Sonepat, former India captain Pritam Rani Siwach spotted a parcel of unkempt land large enough to play hockey. For a player who was rated highly for her leadership qualities and game intelligence, coaching seemed to be a logical step. On Saturday, 17 years later, Siwach, who had earlier won an Arjuna Award, received the prestigious Dronacharya Award, making her one of the few recipients of the National Sports Award as both a player and now a coach.

Until tomorrow, 

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