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Morning Digest | 15-17 age group to get Covaxin from January 3; Australia retains Ashes, and more

A select list of stories to read before you start your day

15-17 age group to get Covaxin from January 3

Teenagers aged 15 to 17, who will be eligible for vaccination from January 3, will be administered only Covaxin doses, a note from the Health Ministry said on Monday.

Healthcare workers and frontline workers who have received two doses would be eligible for a “precaution dose” from January 10, though those with a gap of at least 39 weeks since the second dose would be prioritised.

Panel recommends EUA for COVID-19 vaccines Covovax, Corbevax and anti-Covid pill molnupiravir

An expert panel of the country’s central drug authority has recommended granting emergency use authorisation to Serum Institute of India’s COVID-19 vaccine Covovax and Biological E’s vaccine Corbevax with certain conditions, official sources said on Monday.

Debutant Boland destroys England as Australia retains Ashes

Australia retained the Ashes with a thumping innings and 14-run win over England in the third test in Melbourne on Tuesday, December 28, 2021 with paceman Scott Boland taking a six-wicket haul in a fairytale debut.

MHA refuses to renew FCRA of Mother Teresa’s group

The Union Home Ministry (MHA) said on Monday that it has refused to renew the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) registration of Missionaries of Charity (MoC), a Catholic religious congregation set up by Nobel laureate Mother Teresa, as “some adverse inputs were noticed.”

MoC said that as their FCRA application has not been approved, they have asked their centres not to operate the bank accounts associated with it.

Former China envoy Vikram Misri appointed Deputy NSA

Vikram Misri, who returned to Delhi last week after completing his stint as Ambassador to China, has been appointed the Deputy National Security Advisor (Dy NSA), working with NSA Ajit Doval at the National Security Council Secretariat here

Omicron cases rise to 578 across India

The number of Omicron cases has risen to 578 in the country and at least 151 patients have recovered, the Health Ministry said on Monday. India reported 6,531 new coronavirus cases and 315 deaths on Monday, hiking the total active cases to 75,841 and the death count to 4,79,997.

MHA silent on panel formation on AFSPA withdrawal from Nagaland

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has maintained a studied silence on the constitution of a committee on withdrawal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from Nagaland.

The committee formation announcement was made by Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio in Kohima on December 26 even though the meeting chaired by Home Minister Amit Shah was held at North Block on December 23.

Third Front will only benefit BJP; Cong. must talk to ex-leaders, says Thirumavalavan

Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) president and Lok Sabha MP Thol. Thirumavalavan recently appealed to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK leader M.K. Stalin to bring together political parties to form an anti-BJP front. He urged the Congress leadership to begin interaction with former leaders now heading various parties, warning that a third front should not be allowed to take shape as it will split the anti-BJP votes.

Recall directive on MP local body poll, Centre urges Supreme Court

The Centre has moved the Supreme Court seeking recall of its December 17 order directing the Madhya Pradesh State Election Commission (SEC) to stay the poll process on seats reserved for Other Backward Classes in the local body there and re-notify those seats for the general category.

J&K throws open local real estate to all citizens of country

The Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory governments, at the first ever ‘J&K Real Estate Conference’ held in Jammu on Monday, have decided to throw open local real estate for “second homes and summer homes” to all the citizens of the country, in a major push to attract investments from real estate bigwigs.

Ex-China envoy Vikram Misri appointed Deputy NSA

Vikram Misri, who returned to Delhi last week after completing his stint as Ambassador to China, has been appointed the Deputy National Security Advisor (Dy NSA), working with NSA Ajit Doval at the National Security Council Secretariat in New Delhi.

Big boost for AAP in Chandigarh Municipal Corporation polls

The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation election results on Monday threw a hung House as no single political party secured a clear majority, even as Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) emerged as the single largest party in the Corporation elections by winning 14 wards (seats) in the 35 members Corporation.

Data | Why is the Indian rupee weakening

On December 16, the Indian rupee’s exchange rate slid past the 76-per-U.S.-dollar-mark for the first time since June 2020 and stood at 76.25. It had fallen beyond 76 in March 2020 when COVID-19 cases surged and economies came to a grinding halt. However, this time its fall was driven by widening trade deficit and foreign investors pulling out funds from equities. India’s trade gap widened to a record high of $22.9 billion on account of rise in imports. Foreign portfolio investments (FPI) also plunged for the third consecutive month, thus weakening the rupee further. But the rupee’s fall is modest when compared to the currencies of other emerging economies.

Explained | The ‘India Out’ campaign in the Maldives

The story so far: Over the last three years since Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih was elected to office, an ‘India Out’ [#IndiaOut] campaign has cropped up every now and then within the Indian Ocean island nation, mostly on social media. The campaign is led by government critics who accuse the Solih government of “allowing Indian boots on the ground”, and thereby “compromising the sovereignty” of the island nation. The ruling administration has denied there is any Indian military presence in the country, or a threat to Maldives’s sovereignty. More recently, the campaign has gained momentum with former President Abdulla Yameen leading it, after the Supreme Court on November 30 set him free, overturning his conviction in a case of alleged money-laundering.

RBL Bank’s financial health stable, says RBI; stock slides 18%

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Monday said the financial position of RBL Bank Ltd. remains ‘satisfactory’ and that depositors need not worry. “There has been speculation relating to RBL Bank Ltd. in certain quarters, which appears to be arising from recent events surrounding the bank,” the RBI said in a statement.

On Monday, the bank’s stock plunged 18.3% to ₹140.90 on the BSE.

India vs South Africa first Test | Unrelenting rain results in washout on the second day

The day’s play was abandoned in the afternoon without a ball being bowled. India held the aces finishing day one at 272 for three with K.L. Rahul unbeaten on a 248-ball 122. And the freestroking Ajinkya Rahane, finally finding some form, was on a busy 40.

India would have sought to consolidate on the second day. Now it has to race against the clock with an entire day’s play being washed out.

The Ashes | England in big trouble in third Test amid virus scare

On an extraordinary of cricket both on and off the field, England faced an uphill battle to save the third test against Australia and with it the Ashes.

Before play even began Monday. Cricket Australia called for calm after a COVID-19 scare involving two members of England’s support staff resulted in a delay to the start of the second day of play at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

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