Daily Briefing: Taliban at Kandahar gates, India pulls out nationals from consulate in city; Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra likely to step down

From India pulling out nationals from its consulate in Kandahar to the possibility of Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra stepping down, here are the top news stories for the day.

The Big Story 

With the advancing Taliban forces at the gates of Kandahar, India has evacuated Indian staff and personnel from its consulate in the southern Afghanistan city. MEA spokesperson Arindam Baghci said the Kandahar consulate has not been shut down and is operational with Afghan staffers. 

Only in the Express

Senior Trinamool leader Amit Mitra is likely to step down as West Bengal Finance Minister, a post he has held since 2011, when the party first came to power in Bengal. Sources said he informed the party that he did not want to continue in the post. 

In this edition of the Idea Exchange, Economist and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen fields questions on his new book, Home in the World, holding polls during the Covid pandemic, and Father Stan Swamy’s death.

From the Front Page

Days after unveiling a draft Bill on population control, the UP government released a 40-page Population Policy document that promises to bring down the gross fertility rate in the state and improve access to contraceptive measures. “Attempts would be made to ensure there is a population balance among various communities,” the government said.  

Will Chhattisgarh see a change of guard? Chief Minister Bhupesh Bhagel, however, made his position clear on the issue saying that rotating chief ministers is a feature of coalition governments while his party has a clear majority. But those in Health Minister T S Singh Deo’s camp are hopeful. 

Must Read 

Among the five people who accompanied business magnate Richard Branson to space on Sunday was a 33-year-old woman with roots in Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur. She became the  third woman of Indian origin — after NASA astronauts Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams — to fly to space.

And another person of Indian origin with roots in Andhra Pradesh is Samir Banerjee, who had just become the new Junior Boys Wimbledon champion. He defeated fellow American Victor Lilove 7-5, 6-3. 

In India, the monetary value of an Olympics medal depends on where the medallist hails from. While Haryana has announced cash awards for medallists ranging from Rs 6 crore (gold) to Rs 2.5 crore, West Bengal will award amounts from Rs 25 lakh to Rs 10 lakh.

And Finally 

It’s going to Rome. England’s wait for a major international trophy continues as the team lost to Italy on penalties in the Euro 2020 final. Meanwhile, Argentina’s Lionel Messi ended his long wait for a senior trophy after his side beat Brazil in the Copa America final. 

In today’s podcast episode, we discuss rural polls in UP. We also talk about the Kappa variant along with the latest on the government’s IT rules.

Delhi confidential: In a departure from the norm, newly-appointed Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav turned up to work on Sunday at the ministry headquarters, Indira Paryavaran Bhavan. 

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