Tue, 16 February 2021
Clear misconceptions about farm laws: BJP top brass
23:39 Clear misconceptions about farm laws: BJP top brass to its leaders
In the wake of mahapanchayats being organised by protesting farmer leaders, Bharatiya Janata Party president J P Nadda and Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday held a meeting with party leaders from farm community of Haryana, Rajasthan and western Uttar Pradesh and told them to clear misconceptions about the agri laws.
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and his cabinet colleague Sanjeev Balyan were also among those who attended the meeting.
Mahapanchayats are being organised in these states by farmer leaders, who are protesting against the Centre's three new farm laws.
Sources in the BJP said that the meeting is being held by Shah and Nadda in the wake of mahapanchayats being organised by khap panchayats (caste councils) of Jats in Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh and parts of Rajasthan.
BJP leaders, functionaries, MPs, MLAs, mostly from the Jat community, were called in this meeting, they said.
The party's top brass told these leaders to go in the public, especially to their respective community, and clear misconceptions and misgivings about the three new farm laws, the sources said.
During the meeting, leaders mostly from Haryana expressed concern over political implications of the ongoing farmers' protest, they said.
Farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, are protesting at Delhi's borders against the laws since November 28 last year and demanding they be withdrawn.
They are protesting against the the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act.
The government has held 11 rounds of negotiation with protesting farmers and these have remained inconclusive. -- PTI
23:19 Flirting with junior official not acceptable conduct for judge: SC
"To flirt with a junior official is not acceptable conduct for a judge", the Supreme Court on Tuesday observed while hearing an appeal of a retired District Judge against the Madhya Pradesh high court's decision to order an "in-house departmental inquiry" against him on sexual harassment allegations from a junior judicial officer.
The top court, however, took note of the submission of the counsel of the former judge that it (sexual harassment allegations) all had started only when he was in the zone consideration for elevation as a high court judge.
"This is a ubiquitous phenomenon to raise complaints all kinds of allegations are levelled in such cases, a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said, adding that however, the issue before it was whether the high court was empowered to order the departmental enquiry.
The bench, also comprising justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, took note of the WhatsApp messages of former judicial officer referred to by the counsel for the high court Registrar and said that they were quite "offensive".
"To flirt with a junior official is not an acceptable conduct for a judge," it said, adding that if such behaviour is permitted then the work atmosphere cannot remain conducive for judicial work.
"We find the WhatsApp messages quite offensive and improper," the bench said and suggested that the former judge should withdraw his appeal against the high court's order and face the inquiry.
The bench said it did not want to further hear the matter and the high court was always competent to order the departmental enquiry and the former judicial officer must face it. -- PTI
22:53 MJ Akbar vs Priya Ramani: Court likely to pronounce verdict tomorrow
A Delhi Court is likely to pronounce on Wednesday its verdict in M J Akbar's criminal defamation complaint against journalist Priya Ramani for her allegations of sexual harassment against him.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ravindra Kumar had on February 1 reserved the judgment for February 10 after Akbar as well as Ramani completed their arguments.
However, on February 10, the court deferred the judgment for February 17, saying the verdict was not complete since both the parties filed their written submission late.
Ramani had made allegation of sexual misconduct against Akbar in the wake of #MeToo movement in 2018.
Akbar had filed the complaint against Ramani on October 15, 2018 for allegedly defaming him by accusing him of sexual misconduct decades ago.
He resigned as Union minister on October 17, 2018.
He has denied all the allegations of sexual harassment against the women who came forward during #MeToo campaign against him. -- PTI
22:39 2 PFI members held with explosives in UP
Two members of the Popular Front of India, planning a series of terrorist attacks at various places in the country, were arrested by the Special Task Forces in the state capital on Friday with a huge quantity of high quality explosives, a senior official said here.
"Ansad Badruddin and Firoz Khan have been arrested from Kukrail trisection in Gudamba area here. With their arrest, the STF has foiled a series of terrorist attacks in various parts of the country on Basant Panchmi. Huge quantity of high quality explosives has been recovered from them," Additional Director General of Police (ADG), Law and Order, Prashant Kumar told reporters in Lucknow.
The Uttar Pradesh government has earlier sought a ban on the PFI accusing it of inciting violence. -- PTI
21:59 Over 88 lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses administered: Govt
Over 88 lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered till now with more than 1.3 lakh jabs given on Tuesday, the health ministry said.
The 88,57,341 vaccine doses administered through 1,90,665 sessions include 61,29,745 healthcare workers who have taken the first dose and 2,16,339 health workers the second dose, along with 25,11,257 frontline workers who have received their first dose.
The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16 and vaccination of the frontline workers started from February 2.
The ministry further said that nine adverse events following immunisation have been reported related to first dose vaccination and one AEFI has been related to second dose of vaccination till 6 PM on the 30th second day of vaccination.
The highest number of doses have been administered in Uttar Pradesh at 9,34,962 followed by Gujarat at 7,10,082, Rajasthan at 6,28,400, Madhya Pradesh at 5,75,728, West Bengal at 5,55,959 and Karnataka at 5,32,208, the ministry said.
"The vaccine coverage till 6 pm today is 1,34,691, the thirty second day of nationwide COVID-19 vaccination. Out of which, 78,643 beneficiaries were vaccinated for first dose and 56,048 healthcare workers received second dose of vaccine as per the provisional report," it said. -- PTI
21:38 Kiran Bedi removed as Puducherry Lt Guv
Kiran Bedi will "cease to hold" the office of the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry, a Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson said Tuesday night.
Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan has been given the additional charge of Puducherry.
"The President has directed that Dr. Kiran Bedi shall cease to hold the office of the Lieutenant-Governor of Puducherry and has appointed Dr. Tamilisai Soundararajan, Governor of Telangana, to discharge the functions of the Lieutenant-Governor of Puducherry, in addition to her own duties, with effect from the date she assumes charge of her office, until regular arrangements for the office of Lieutenant-Governor of Puducherry are made," Ajay Kumar Singh, press secretary to the President, said in a statement. -- PTI
21:35 Kangana withdraws suit against BMC's notice
Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut on Tuesday withdrew her suit filed in a civil court here against the notice issued by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai for alleged illegal merger of flats.
The MCGM, also known as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), had in March 2018 issued a notice to Ranaut over merger of three flats owned by her in the Orchid Breeze building in Khar area.
It was alleged that the flats were merged into a single unit in violation of sanctioned plans.
In December last year, the Dindoshi civil court had dismissed her application challenging the notice, following which she moved the Bombay high court. But later Ranaut withdrew the appeal and told the high court last week that she would apply to the MCGM for regularisation of changes in the flat.
Last year, the civic body had initiated demolition of the alleged unauthorized construction at Ranaut's bungalow in Pali Hill area, but the high court subsequently termed the action as illegal and malicious.
21:29 Kerala cardinal asks CEC to not hold polls in Easter week
Head of the Kerala-based Syro-Malabar Church, Cardinal George Alencherry, on Tuesday wrote to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, requesting him to consider the holy week of the faithful while deciding the dates of the assembly election, due in April-May.
The senior priest, in his letter, said the most important days for the community are the Feast of the Passover, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday, which fall between April 1 and 4.
"Since the Christian officials will have to discharge election duties even on the days succeeding Easter Sunday, it is requested to please schedule the elections in the state in such a way that April 5 and 6 are also kept free to enable the Christian faithful to observe these days with the solemnity it demands", the Cardinal said in the letter.
He expressed the hope that the decision taken in this regard would be favourable, safeguarding the religious interests of the Christian voters, election officials and politicians.
The priest said he was writing such a letter following media reports that the Election Commission was considering holding the assembly elections between April 1 and 14.
20:55 Follow Covid norms or face fresh lockdown: Uddhav
Concerned over the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday asked citizens to strictly follow government-mandated guidelines on masks and social distancing or be prepared to face another round of lockdown.
After reporting 4,092 COVID-19 cases on last Sunday, highest single-day tally in more than a month, Maharashtra registered 3,663 new cases on Tuesday, 461 of them in Mumbai.
This was the seventh straight day when the state's daily count remained above the 3,000-mark, indicating a steady rise in infections as compared to the previous few weeks.
Expressing concern over the lackadaisical attitude in following COVID-19-related safety protocols in the wake of phase-wise lifting ofrestrictions, he said it was up to citizens to decide if they want to go into a complete lockdown again to curb the spread of the infection.
"It is up to the people of the state to decide if they want a lockdown or live freely with some restrictions. Wear face masks and avoid crowds or else (you) will need to go into a lockdown again," Thackeray said.
Alarmed over thesurge in COVID-19 cases in the last few days in some districts, Thackeray held a review meeting with divisional commissioners and collectors through video conferencing to take stock of the situation.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar was among those present on the occasion.
The CM asked the administration to ensure safety norms like wearing face masks in public and social distancing are followed and authorised officials to take action against offenders.
"People may have become complacent but the authorities should not (drop guard)," Thackeray said and asked the administrationto regularly sanitise and disinfect public places.
Mobile vans should be used in rural areas to increase the number of COVID-19 tests, the chief minister said.
Speaking at the meeting , Thackeray said, Non-implementation of COVID-19 safety SoPs is a serious matters.
"The administration should contact commercial establishments and organisations and check if they are following SoPs. Wherever necessary, declare containment zones."
He stressed on the need for contact tracing of each patient in areas where COVID-19 cases are rising.
"Contact tracing must be done in a targeted manner. At least 20 contacts of each patient should be traced and tested," the CM suggested.
Police permission will be required for organising marriage functions, Thackeray said.
"Marriage ceremonies held up for the last one year have resumed...social gatherings and parties have also begun without any safety rules.
"Timings of hotels and restaurants have been extended but safety norms have been neglected," Thackeray said, adding local authorities should keep a vigil on crowding and take immediate action wherever necessary.
Banquet hall owners should be punished if anybody is found moving in the premises without a face mask, he said.
The chief minister said agitations, public meetings and processions should not be permitted given the present COVID-19 situation.
He said the authorities should cancel permits and licences of halls and auditoriums where safety SoPs are not followed during marriages and other social functions. -- PTI
20:16 SC launches contempt case against Rajdeep Sardesai
The Supreme Court has registered a suo motu criminal contempt case against journalist Rajdeep Sardesai for his August 2020 tweets that were critical of the judiciary, based on a petition from one Aastha Khurana, reports Debayan Roy in barandbench.com.
'The petition was filed by Khurana in September 2020, and has only now been registered as a suo motu criminal contempt case,' he states, adding that Attorney General KK Venugopal had earlier refused to grant consent to initiate contempt proceedings against Sardesai.
Sardesai had made those tweets on August 14 last year, when advocate Prashant Bhushan was convicted for contempt of court.
Khurana also referred to older tweets in which Sardesai allegedly cast aspersions on Justice Arun Mishra, who had heard Prashant Bhushan's contempt case, and former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, reports Debayan Roy, here.
19:53 Amnesty's assets attached in money laundering case
The Enforcement Directorate has attached the movable properties -- worth Rs 17.66 crore -- of the global human rights advocacy group, Amnesty International.
Last year, Amnesty International claimed that it halted all activities in India due to freezing of its accounts and claimed that it is being subjected to an "incessant witch-hunt" over unfounded and motivated allegations.
19:30 Nikita Jacob admits attending Zoom meeting with PJF
Climate activist Nikita Jacob, who is involved in the controversial "Toolkit" document case related to farmers' protest, has admitted that there was a Zoom meeting before Republic Day, which was attended by Poetic Justice Foundation founder MO Dhaliwal, and other fellow activists including Disha Ravi.
In a document submitted by Jacob's lawyer to Mumbai police, she claimed that the "Toolkit" was being prepared by Extinction Rebellion (XR) India volunteers for presenting the whole picture with a simple breakdown for an international audience.
Despite this admission, Jacob has denied sharing any information with Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg and added that the document was an "informational pack" and was not intended to incite violence.
She also claimed that she has "no religious, political and financial motive or agenda for researching, discussing, editing and circulating toolkits for raising awareness."
Apart from this, Jacob has sought protection from arrest for four weeks, interim protection from any coercive action and a direction to the Delhi Police to share with her a copy of the FIR registered against her.
This comes a day after MO Dhaliwal, the founder of pro-Khalistani Poetic Justice Foundation contacted activist Nikita Jacob through his colleague Puneet, a Canadian citizen, to create a storm on Twitter ahead of Republic Day, according to the police sources.
Earlier, an investigation into the toolkit conspiracy has revealed the deeper conspiracy associated with the Google document.
According to the sources, four days ago Special Cell team went to Nikita Jacob's house and examined her electronic gadgets. Delhi police told her that they would again question her but she is currently not available. -- ANI
18:32 Activist Shantanu Muluk gets temporary pre-arrest bail in toolkit case
The Bombay high court on Tuesday granted 'transit anticipatory bail' to Shantanu Muluk, a suspect in the 'toolkit' case related to the farmers' protest in which climate activist Disha Ravi has been arrested.
Justice Vibha Kankanwadi of the Aurangabad bench of the high court granted Muluk ten days' pre-arrest bail to enable him to apply for protection before the appropriate court in Delhi.
Another suspect, lawyer Nikita Jacob's similar plea was heard by Justice P D Naik at the high court's principal bench in Mumbai, which said it would pass order on Wednesday.
Ravi along with Jacob and Shantanu created the toolkit and shared it with others to tarnish India's image, the Delhi Police had alleged on Monday. -- PTI
17:59 Maharashtra, Kerala report highest Covid cases
Maharashtra and Kerala continued to report the highest number of COVID-19 cases and have the maximum number of active cases, said the Union health ministry on Tuesday.
Speaking at a press conference, Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Union health ministry said: "Similarly like last week, the main causes of worry are again from two states because Kerala has 61,550 cases while 27,383 cases are in Maharashtra."
However, Bhushan informed that Kerala has reported 2,084 new cases in the last 24 hours, which is a significant decline as compared to what it had reported in previous days.
"In the last 24 hours, Maharashtra has 3,365 new cases, which is higher than Kerala," he added.
17:37 Govt plans another visit by foreign envoys to J-K
Envoys from Europe and Africa will visit Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday to assess the development work and the security situation in the union territory, especially after the successful completion of the District Development Council elections, officials said on Tuesday.
They said during their two-day visit, the envoys would receive first-hand information on the development work undertaken by the union territory administration after abrogation of the special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, 2019.
Showcasing the efforts of the Centre for ensuring democracy at grass-roots level, the newly-elected members of the DDC would be meeting besides holding a meeting with a few prominent citizens and administrative secretaries.
Strengthening of democratic institutions at the grass-roots level would be significantly highlighted, the officials said, adding that during a presentation the envoys would be shown how panchayats have been empowered by giving them financial powers.
On the second day, the ambassadors would visit Jammu where they would be meeting Lt Gov Manoj Sinha besides some of the DDC members and epresentatives of some social organisations, they said.
This is an another diplomatic exercise being undertaken by the government to counter the propaganda that is being orchestrated by Pakistan at international foras, the officials said.
The envoys would be briefed about the security situation by senior officers involved with the law-and-order situation in the Kashmir valley, especially attempts of Pakistan to push terrorists into India through the Line of Control and also about the frequent ceasefire violations, they said.
Last year, envoys from 17 nations including the US had visited Jammu and Kashmir. The team also comprised ambassadors from Vietnam, South Korea, Brazil, Uzbekistan, Niger, Nigeria, Morocco, Guyana, Argentina, Philippines, Norway, Maldives, Fiji, Togo, Bangladesh and Peru.
Three months after the Centre withdrew the special status of Jammu and Kashmir by revoking Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcated it into two union territories, a delegation of 23 EU MPs was taken on a two-day visit to assess the situation in the Union Territory by the International Institute for Non-Aligned Studies, a Delhi-based think tank. -- PTI
17:30 No fresh COVID-19 cases in 6 states in 24 hrs
As many as 17 states and UTs have reported no COVID-19 death in the last 24 hours, while six of them have recorded no new case during the period, the Union health ministry said on Tuesday.
The recoveries have surged to 1,06,33,025 with 11,805 more patients having recuperated in a day, and India's Recovery Rate of 97.32 percent is amongst the highest in the world, it said in its update of cases till 8 AM.
The difference between the recovered and active cases has further increased to 1,04,96,153, the ministry underlined.
"In another positive development, 31 states and UTs have reported a recovery rate of more than the national average. Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli have a recovery rate of 99.88 percent," the ministry said.
Seventeen states and UTs reported no death in 24 hours.
These are Lakshadweep, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Meghalaya, Ladakh, Manipur, Haryana, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Rajasthan, Nagaland, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh and Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
"Also, six states and UTs have reported no new case in the last 24 hours. These are Sikkim, Meghalaya, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Nagaland, Tripura and D&D and D&N," the ministry stated.
India's COVID-19 active cases dropped to 1.36 lakh and consist of just 1.25 percent of its total case tally.
Till 8 AM on February 16, the cumulative number of healthcare (HCW) and frontline workers (FLW) vaccinated against COVID-19 in the country has surpassed 87 lakh.
The COVID-19 vaccination drive was launched in India on January 16.
As many as 87,20,822 beneficiaries have been vaccinated through 1,84,303 sessions, as per the provisional report till 8 AM. These include 61,07,120 HCWs (1st dose), 1,60,291 HCWs (2nd dose) and 24,53,411 FLWs (1st dose).
Till day 31 of the vaccination drive (15th February 2021), a total of 4,35,527 beneficiaries were administered the vaccine. Out of which, 2,99,797 beneficiaries were vaccinated across 10,574 sessions for the first dose and 1,35,730 HCWs received the second dose of vaccine.
A total of 9,121 new cases were recorded in 24 hours of which 80.54 percent of the new cases are from five states, the ministry said.
Maharashtra reported the highest daily new cases at 3,365. It is followed by Kerala with 2,884, while Tamil Nadu reported 455 new cases.
The ministry said 81 deaths were recorded during the period, and five states account for 70.37 percent of them.
Maharashtra saw the maximum casualties (23). Kerala follows with 13 deaths and Punjab has reported 10 new deaths. -- PTI
17:00 4 detected with South African strain of Covid: Govt
The South African strain of the coronavirus has been detected in four people in India, the government said today.
All five have been quarantined.
There are 187 cases of the UK strain, the government said.
The South African variant is circulating in 41 countries around the world including the United States.
16:56 Akshay Kumar remembers Sandeep Nahar, co-star in 'Kesari'
Superstar Akshay Kumar on Tuesday paid homage to Sandeep Nahar, his co-actor from the 2019 hit Kesari, remembering him as a "smiling" and "passionate" young man.
Nahar, who was in his 30s, killed himself on Monday by hanging in the bedroom of his flat in suburban Goregaon in Mumbai, as per preliminary probe by the police, an official said.
Kumar said the news of Nahar's demise has left him heartbroken.
"Heartbreaking to know about #SandeepNahar's passing away. A smiling young man passionate for food as I remember him from 'Kesari'. Life's unpredictable. Please seek help if ever feeling low. Peace for his soul," the actor posted on Twitter.
Hours before his death, Nahar, also known for his supporting role in Sushant Singh Rajput-starrer MS Dhoni, had posted a video and a "suicide note" on Facebook.
On the basis of a primary information, the Goregaon police has registered a case of accidental death and awaiting the postmortem report.
16:19 Court allows Disha Ravi copy of toolkit FIR
A Delhi Court has allowed pleas moved by 21-year-old activist, Disha Ravi seeking a copy of the FIR registered over the toolkit in connection with the farmers protests, as well as a copy of the remand application.
The request for the FIR copy and remand application was opposed by Delhi Police.
Pankaj Sharma, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Patiala House Court has also allowed her access to warm clothes, books.
Disha has also been allowed access to her lawyer and talk time with family during the police custody.
As per the Court's direction, during the police custody, Ravi will be allowed to speak with her lawyer for 30 mins and to her family for 15 mins, on a daily basis.
Applications seeking the aforesaid relief were sought by Ravi through her counsel. Ravi's police custody ends on February 19.
Ravi was apprehended by the Delhi Police on Saturday night alleging that she had made edits to a Google document that was shared as a toolkit related to the ongoing farmers protests.
The toolkit has been the basis for the case registered by Delhi Police after Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg had tweeted the same expressing support for the farmers protests.
The Delhi Police has claimed that the toolkit itself was created by a Khalistani group, Poetic Justice Foundation and was edited by Disha Ravi. It was Ravi who shared the same with Thunberg, the police alleged.
It was part of the wider conspiracy to defame India, it has been claimed.
The Delhi Police had lodged an FIR on February 4 against unnamed persons in relation the toolkit.
15:50 Women's panel sends notice on Disha's arrest
Delhi Commission for Women on Tuesday sent a notice to Deputy Police Commissioner, Cyber Crime Cell, Delhi Police over climate activist Disha Ravi's arrest in the toolkit case.
The Delhi Commission for Women has sent a notice to the Delhi Police over the allegations that due procedure was not followed after Disha Ravi was "picked up" on Sunday from her house in Bengaluru.
The Delhi Commission for Women asked the Delhi Police to provide a copy of the FIR, reasons for allegedly not producing her before a local court for transit, "not providing the lawyer of her choice" when she was produced before the Patiala House court and a detailed action taken report.
"It has been alleged that she was brought to Delhi from Bengaluru with no disclosure of her whereabouts, not even to her parents. It has been alleged that she [Disha Ravi] was taken to Delhi for Bengaluru without presenting her before a local court for transit remand."
The notice reads: "It has been further alleged that Ms. Disha Ravi was produced before a court in Delhi without a lawyer of her choice being present in the court. This is a very serious matter."
"In the light of the above, please provide the following information to the Commission: (i) Copy of the FIR registered in the matter, (ii) Reasons for allegedly not producing the arrested girl before the local court for transit remand, (iii) reasons for allegedly not providing a lawyer of her choice to the girl when she was produced before the court in Delhi, (iv) detailed action taken report in the matter," the notice read.
Delhi Police has been asked to provide the details by February 19, 2021.
Disha Ravi, a 21-year-old climate activist, was "picked up" from Bengaluru in Karnataka for questioning in Greta Thunberg "toolkit" case on Sunday. The student-cum-activist, identified as Disha Ravi, was picked up from her house in Soladevanahalli area of Bengaluru in connection with the case regarding 'toolkit', shared by Greta Thunberg in connection with the farmers' protest. Disha Ravi is accused of disseminating the toolkit.
15:28 Naqvi offers chadar at Ajmer dargah on behalf of PM
Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi today offered 'chadar' at the Ajmer Sharif Dargah in Rajasthan on the 809th Urs of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, on behalf of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In a letter read out by Naqvi, PM Modi said, "This occasion signifies 'Quami Ekta' & brotherhood. Sufi preacher Moinuddin Chishti's is the symbol of spiritual traditions. With this 'chadar', I extend my tribute to him."
15:22 Pangong Tso disengagement to be done in 24 hours
Fast-tracking disengagement with India on the banks of Pangong Lake in Eastern Ladakh, 200 Chinese tanks have receded more than 100 kilometres in a span of merely eight hours.
The PLA has dismantled its jetty, helipad, tents and observation points and everything it had constructed after April 2020 between Finger 4 and Finger 8.
The 134km of Pangong Lake's northern bank protrudes out like a palm, and the various extensions are identified as fingers to demarcate territory.
"It is surprising to see that speed of disengagement," top government officials said.
Images show Chinese troops and tanks disengaging from the banks of Pangong Tso where they had been deployed opposite India for almost ten months now.
The images and videos also reveal that Chinese troops using cranes to deconstruct everything that was built in the last 10 months as part of their military exercise along with that of trucks carrying back their infantry.
15:17 Lockdown may be reimposed: Mumbai mayor
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation mayor Kishori Pednekar on Tuesday said that a lockdown may have to be imposed in Mumbai in view of the rise in Covid-19 cases "if people don't follow rules", news agency ANI reported.
On Monday, Maharashtra registered a total of 3,365 fresh Covid-19 cases, overtaking Kerala. Maharashtra emerged at the top spot in the country again after 42 days of slump in the number of cases.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar had on Sunday said in Aurangabad, "We will have to take strict action after talking to the chief minister if cases continue to rise."
Meanwhile, additional municipal commissioner in-charge of the BMC's public health department Suresh Kakani was quoted as saying by India Today that the state had decided to keep its jumbo Covid-19 centres open till March 31.
14:54 PM Modi expresses grief over bus accident in Sidhi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday expressed grief at the "horrific" bus accident in Madhya Pradesh's Sidhi district and approved an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each for the next of kin of those who lost their lives.
At least 37 people died after a bus fell off a bridge into a canal near Patna village in Sidhi district on Tuesday morning, police said.
Modi said, "The bus accident in MP's Sidhi is horrific. Condolences to the bereaved families. The local administration is actively involved in rescue and relief work."
His office added in a tweet, "PM Narendra Modi has approved an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each from Prime Minister's National Relief Fund for the next of kin of those who have lost their lives due to the bus accident in Sidhi, Madhya Pradesh. Rs 50,000 would be given to those seriously injured."
14:32 Cops rule out foul play in Sandeep Nahar suicide
Actor Sandeep Nahar, who shared screen space with Sushant Singh Rajput in MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, died by suicide on Monday, February 15.
Mumbai Police confirmed his death, and after preliminary examination, has ruled out foul play for now.
However, further details, according to the police, can only be revealed after post mortem reports are received.
Sandeep Nahar had shared a suicide note on social media where he mentioned personal problems as the reason for taking this drastic step. The post is currently unavailable.
DCP Vishal Thakur of Mumbai Police Zone 11 said, "We have registered ADR in the matter. He was found hanging from the ceiling fan with the help of a bedsheet. His wife Kanchan informed the Goregaon Police Station about Sandeep's death. Goregaon Police is now investigating the matter."
DCP Vishal Thakur said, "The body has been sent for post mortem. For now, foul play is not visible. It looks like suicide. However, post mortem report and other inquiry will give more details."
14:23 Badrinath temple to reopen on May 18
The sacred portals of Badrinath will reopen for devotees on May 18 this year.
The gates of the famous Himalayan temple located in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district are closed every year with the onset of winter during which it remains snowbound.
The temple will be reopened for devotees at 4.15 am on May 18, a Chardham Devasthanam Board official said.
The auspicious hour and date for the reopening of the Himalayan temple was decided at a ceremony held on the occasion of Basant Panchami on Tuesday at Narendra Nagar palace, the residence of the erstwhile Tehri royals, he said.
The oil containing pitcher (Gadu Ghada) which is sent from the palace to the temple ahead of the opening of its gates will leave for its journey to Badrinath on April 29.
Badrinath had a delayed opening last year due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and a substantially reduced number of pilgrims could visit it owing to Covid-19 restrictions.
14:03 Anti-India elements want to spread instability, says MoS Home
The Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy on Tuesday said that many anti-India elements want to spread instability within the country and the national capital had been the focal point.
MoS Home Affairs was speaking at the 74th Raising Day of Delhi Police as the Chief Guest of the event. Addressing the Delhi Police personnel at the event, Reddy said, "There are many anti-India elements that want to spread instability. Delhi remains their focal point. The riots and illegal protests that took place in February 2020 were a part of this scheme."
Appreciating the efforts of the Delhi Police the MoS said the way Delhi Police handled the riots and illegal protests are examples for other police forces.
The northeast Delhi violence took place in February 2020, in which at least 53 people were killed and several others were injured. So far, over 250 charge sheets have been filed in the violence-related cases.
Reddy further said, "On January 26, we witnessed how anti-India powers used farmers' protest to disrupt the law and order situation in Delhi."
"Despite their anti-national activities and provocative behaviour, Delhi Police exercised restraint and tackled the situation responsibly," he added.
Illustration: Dominic Xavier/Rediff.com
13:41 U'khand CM orders probe into Jaffer's resignation
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has ordered a probe into the controversy surrounding the resignation of Wasim Jaffer as the head coach of the state's senior men's cricket team.
The probe was ordered after a delegation of Cricket Association of Uttarakhand (CAU) met the chief minister, an official at Rawat's office said.
A controversy had erupted after Jaffer resigned as the head coach of the state's senior men's cricket team on February 8 over charges of religious bias in the selection of players.
13:20 SC to hear PIL for including judges, judicial staff in priority category for COVID-19 vaccine
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a PIL seeking inclusion of judges, judicial staff and lawyers in the priority category for administration of COVID-19 vaccine.
A bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian posted the petition filed by an advocate for hearing after two weeks.
The top court was hearing a PIL, filed by Arvind Singh, which said the Centre has not considered the claim of members of the judiciary, judicial staff, lawyers and their staff to be included in the priority category of group of population for COVID-19 vaccine.
"The purpose of the petition is to ensure that Judges, lawyers, court staff and the staff of the lawyers, who are also providing one of the 'essential services' in the form of Judicial Administration, are included in the priority category of group of the population for the administration of COVID-19 vaccine.
They ought to be treated at par with other essential service providers for the purpose of administration of vaccine, said the plea, filed through advocate Rishi Sehgal.
The PIL stated that the Centre has identified the population group which are to be vaccinated first but the same is not based on any set criteria and apparently suffers from arbitrariness and non-application of mind.
"The 'Operational Guidelines' published by Respondents nowhere provides for any mechanism and criteria upon which such priority population groups have been identified, showing arbitrariness The said decision of Respondents is ad-hoc and not based on a rational basis," the plea said.
13:00 MP: 18 dead, 20 missing as bus falls into canal
At least 18 people, including seven women, died while 20 others remained missing after a bus fell off a bridge into a canal near Patna village in Madhya Pradesh's Sidhi district on Tuesday morning, the police said.
Eighteen bodies have been fished out of the Bansagar canal until now, said Umesh Joga, inspector general (Rewa zone).
"At least 20 other passengers are feared missing, and a search and rescue operation is underway," he told reporters.
Joga said at least seven persons swam to safety after the bus landed in the canal near Patna village, around 80 km away from the Sidhi district headquarter, around 8:30 am.
Sources said at least 50 passengers were travelling in the ill-fated bus at the time of the accident.
he Madhya Pradesh government has cancelled the 'grih pravesh' or house-warming ceremony to be attended virtually by Union Home Minister Amit Shah in view of the bus accident.
The cancellation of the event, which was scheduled to start at 11 am at Minto Hall in Bhopal, was announced by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan after he reached the venue.
Amit Shah was scheduled to take part via video conferencing in this programme for the beneficiaries of over one lakh houses constructed in Madhya Pradesh under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY).
12:50 Disha Ravi's arrest in accordance with law: Cop
Delhi Police Commissioner S N Shrivastava on Tuesday said the arrest of climate activist Disha Ravi was made in accordance with law which "doesn't differentiate between a 22-year-old or 50-year-old".
Talking to reporters at an event, Shrivastava said it is wrong when people say that there were lapses in the arrest of the 22-year-old activist.
Ravi was arrested from Bengaluru on Saturday in connection with a protest toolkit backing the farmers' agitation.
Police claimed that she had sent the toolkit to teen climate activist Greta Thunberg through the Telegram app, and also "coaxed her to act on it".
"Disha Ravi's arrest has been made in accordance with law which doesn't differentiate between a 22-year-old or a 50-year-old," the Delhi Police chief said.
He said Ravi has been sent to five-day police custody and the matter was being probed.
Ravi along with Mumbai lawyer Nikita Jacob and Pune engineer Shantanu created the toolkit and shared it with others to tarnish India's image, the Delhi Police had said on Monday.
The data was also deleted, police claimed, adding that Ravi's Telegram account shows many links related to the toolkit had been removed.
Non-bailable warrants have been issued against Jacob and Shantanu.
12:34 ED summons Armaan Jain in money laundering case
The Enforcement Directorate has summoned Armaan Jain in an alleged money laundering case.
The investigating agency had earlier asked him to appear before them on several occasions but the actor did not show up.
The ED has once again summoned Armaan Jain and has asked the actor to appear before them tomorrow.
12:25 Nagarjuna wraps up 'Brahmastra' shoot, shares pic from sets
South superstar Nagarjuna Akkineni on Tuesday finished shooting for the upcoming fantasy-adventure Brahmastra and said he is waiting for the audience to experience the film's "outstanding" universe.
Directed by Ayan Mukerji, Brahmastra is billed as a three-film series and stars Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt.
The first part will see Kapoor play Shiva, a man with special powers.
Nagarjuna took to Twitter and shared pictures from the sets, with Kapoor, Bhatt and Mukerji.
"And it's a wrap for me on #Brahmastra. Such an amazing experience it has been with our stellar performers #Ranbir and @Aliaa08.
"Can't wait for you guys to witness the outstanding world #AyanMukerji has created #TheBigIndianMovie," the 61-year-old actor wrote.
The long in the making project also features megastar Amitabh Bachchan and Mouni Roy.
The film, produced by Karan Johar's Dharma Productions and Fox Star Studios, will release in five languages -- Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada.
Brahmastra was earlier scheduled to release in December 2019 but was pushed to summer 2020, as Mukherji had said he needed more time in order to get the film's VFX right.
In February last year, the team announced a December 2020 release, but the film was further delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
12:05 Centre to use home-grown Koo for public communication before tweeting
India's microblogging platform Koo, rival to Twitter, is likely to be used by the Centre as their primary port of communication with the public, top government officials aware of the development informed News18 on condition of anonymity.
Important updates, notifications and announcements will be shared 1-3 hours before on Koo and then on Twitter, said sources.
This comes amid the standoff between Twitter and the Centre over the removal of several accounts related to farmers' protests, who were trending the hashtag on farmers genocide.
Meanwhile, the ministry of electronics and IT, the Union ministry of railways and some other government departments have already set up accounts on the application.
11:42 Delhi Police writes to Zoom over toolkit matter
Delhi Police writes to Zoom, seeking details of Zoom meeting over toolkit matter in connection with violence on January 26.
Earlier, climate activist Nikita Jacob, who is involved in the controversial "toolkit" document case related to farmers' protest, has admitted that there was a Zoom meeting before Republic Day, which was attended by Poetic Justice Foundation founder MO Dhaliwal, and other fellow activists including Disha Ravi.
In a document submitted by Jacob's lawyer to Mumbai police, she claimed that the "toolkit" was being prepared by Extinction Rebellion India volunteers for presenting the whole picture with a simple breakdown for an international audience.
11:24 RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat meets Mithun in Mumbai
Ahead of the crucial West Bengal assembly elections, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Monday met actor Mithun Chakraborty at the latter's residence in Mumbai, setting off speculation if the actor would be joining the BJP.
Chakraborty was a member of the Rajya Sabha from the Trinamool Congress and had resigned in December 2016 over health concerns.
He had met the RSS chief earlier in Nagpur as well, and had invited Bhagwat to his home in Mumbai.
10:56 Actor who played Sushant in 'MS Dhoni' dies by suicide
Actor Sandeep Nahar died on Monday evening in Mumbai after posting a video and a "suicide note" on Facebook in which he purportedly blamed his wife and also mentioned "politics" he faced in Bollywood, the police said.
Nahar, who was in his 30s and featured in films like Akshay Kumar's Kesari and Sushant Singh Rajput starrer MS Dhoni, was found unconscious at his flat in suburban Goregaon in evening by his wife hKanchan and friends who took him to hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival, a police official said.
The actor had posted a "suicide note" on Facebook, along with a nine-minute video.
In the video in Hindi, the actor can be heard saying, "I would've died by suicide a long time ago but I chose to give myself the time and hope that things would get better, but they didn't. I now have nowhere to go. I don't know what awaits me after I take this step, but I've been through hell in this life."
The police official said Nahar probably made this video around three hours before his death. The official said they are awaiting postmortem report to understand the cause of Nahar's death and how he died.
In the "suicide note", purportedly written by Nahar, he mentioned about "politics" he faced in Bollywood, "unprofessional functioning and the lack of emotions in people working in the industry".
Further investigation is underway, the official added.
10:30 Deep Sidhu's police custody extended for 7 days
The custody of punjabi actor-activist Deep Sidhu, who has been arrested in the Red Fort violence case, has been extended by seven days.
The actor-turned-activist was caught in Haryana's Karnal, about 100 km from the national capital. Reports said he kept changing his location to evade arrest.
The police had announced a cash reward of ₹1 lakh for information leading to Sidhu's arrest.
The probe into the 26 January violence is being conducted at three levels - local police, Special Cell and Crime Branch.
On 26 January, tens of thousands of protesting farmers who reached ITO from the Ghazipur border clashed with police.
Agitating farmers were seen climbing the iconic Red Fort and placing a Sikh religious flag, besides clashing with the police in the widely condemned violence.
The 36-year-old was accused of fueling chaos and clashes when a tractor parade by farmers protesting the government's three farm laws went rogue on Republic Day, with protesters defying agreed routes and schedules and forcing their way into the Red Fort.
10:13 Meghan Markle and Prince Harry to break silence in Oprah interview
A day after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their second pregnancy, it has now been reported that the couple will make their first television appearance since the royal split, on Oprah Winfrey's show next month.
In January 2020, the couple announced their exit from front-line roles and relocation with their son Archie to focus on the "next chapter," stunning the monarchy and drawing sharp criticism from the British media.
Their announcement, labelled online as Megxit, has been described as "personal" and had not been approved by the palace.
According to CBS, the interview with Oprah will be broadcast on March 7.
"Winfrey will speak with Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, in a wide-ranging interview, covering everything from stepping into life as a Royal, marriage, motherhood, philanthropic work to how she is handling life under intense public pressure," CBS said in a statement.
"Later, the two are joined by Prince Harry as they speak about their move to the United States and their future hopes and dreams for their expanding family."
Meanwhile, this new baby, like Archie, is set to grow up thousands of miles away from the Queen, Prince Charles, and Prince William, as the Sussexes now live in Montecito, California.
The couple has been busy securing funding for their new life, signing a lucrative deal with streaming giant Netflix rumoured to be worth more than 150 million pound, and another multi-million-pound podcast deal with Spotify.
10:08 Nikita, Shantanu's bail pleas to be heard today
The Bombay high court will on Tuesday hear the petitions filed by Mumbai-based lawyer Nikita Jacob and engineer Shantanu Mulud, seeking protection from arrest after a non-bailable warrant was issued against them by a Delhi court in connection with Greta Thunberg 'toolkit' case.
The plea by Nitika Jacob will be heard before the bench of Justice PD Naik today, while that of Muluk's was mentioned before Justice Vibha Kankanvadi of the Aurangabad bench.
Nikita Jacob and Shantanu Mulk on Monday moved the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court seeking transit anticipatory bail after they were named as suspects in a case filed by the Delhi police with regard to the "toolkit" shared by climate activist Greta Thunberg over the farmers' protest.
Both the pleas sought transit anticipatory bail for a period of four weeks so that the applicants -- Nikita Jacob and Shantanu Muluk -- can approach the court concerned in Delhi to apply for pre-arrest bail.
While Shantanu Muluk's petition in Aurangabad, listed on bottom of the board, will come up for hearing by evening, Nikita Jacob's plea will be ehard after 2pm.
Nikita Jacob and Shantanu Muluk, both Maharashtra residents, filed separate pleas in the high court. Delhi Police has so far arrested one person for interrogation in connection with the Greta Thunberg "toolkit" case. Disha Ravi was "picked up" from her house in Bengaluru on Sunday.
Disha Ravi, who was later remanded to five-day Delhi Police Special Cell custody by the Patiala House court in Delhi, has been accused of editing and sharing the toolkit related to farmers' protest with Greta Thunberg who then shared it on her Twitter handle, garnering huge international support and attention to the protests.
According to Delhi Police, climate activist Disha Ravi, Mumbai lawyer Nikita Jacob and Pune engineer Shantanu Muluk created the "toolkit" related to the farmers' agitation and shared it with others to tarnish India's image.
09:36 India's 24-hr Covid tally: 9,121 cases, 11,805 discharges
India reports 9,121 new COVID19 cases, 11,805 discharges, and 81 deaths in the last 24 hours, as per data provided by the health ministry.
India's caseload is now as follows:
Total cases: 1,09,25,710
Total discharges: 1,06,33,025
Death toll: 1,55,813
Active cases: 1,36,872
Total Vaccination: 87,20,822
09:28 Kanhaiya to face trial, summoned on March 15
Former Jawaharlal Nehru University student leader Kanhaiya Kumar and nine others are set to face trial in the 2016 sedition case after a court in Delhi on Monday took cognisance of the chargesheet filed against them, and summoned the accused on March 15, reported The Indian Express.
The action came a year after the Delhi government gave the sanction to prosecute the accused.
The sanction to prosecute accused persons has already been filed by the Home Department, GNCT [Delhi government], dated February 27, 2020, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Pankaj Sharma of the Patiala House Courts said. After careful perusal of the chargesheet and consideration of the material, all the accused persons are summoned to face trial and they have been summoned through investigation officer for March 15, 2021.
The Delhi Polices anti-terrorism wing Special Cell had filed a chargesheet in the case in January 2019, naming Kumar along with student activists Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya in the sedition case. The other accused include Kashmiri students Aquib Hussain, Mujeeb Hussain, Muneeb Hussain, Umar Gul, Rayees Rasool and Basharat Ali and Bashir Bhatt.
The police said the accused chanted anti-national slogans at a campus event in February 2016 marking the death anniversary of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. Kumar was the president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union at the time of the incident, which had become a national flashpoint in 2016.
09:19 Aung San Suu Kyi's detention extended till Feb 17
The detention of State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint has been extended until February 17 as both have been under house arrest since the military took control of Myanmar in a military coup on February 1.
While people have been staging nationwide protests for the release of civilian leaders chanting and holding signs that read: "Free our leader." "Daw Aung Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint will be detained for two more days until February 17 as their trial continues," Myanmar Times quoted U Khin Maung Zaw, who is representing Daw Suu in court.
They will appear in court by video-conference, said U Khin Maung Zaw.
According to the Myanmar Times, Daw Suu was charged with the Export and Import Law, while President U Win Myint charged under the National Disaster Management Law.
On February 1, Myanmar's military staged a coup and overthrew the democratically elected government of the National League for Democracy, alleging voter fraud in November 2020 elections that saw the NLD securing a resounding victory.
08:53 Uttarakhand govt to probe Chamoli glacier burst
Uttarakhand Irrigation Minister Satpal Maharaj on Monday, said that the state government will create a department to investigate the cause of the glacier burst incident in Chamoli and monitoring of the glaciers through satellite.
"All angles (related to the Chamoli glacier burst) should be investigated. We will form a department in our ministry to monitor and study all the glaciers through satellite," he said. " We are concerned over the way glaciers are melting and the tidal wave created in the mountains. The plutonium pack that was kept to monitor China's movement should also be investigated,"Satpal said.
"Orders were made to place plutonium pack to monitor China's movement at the borders. We request the government to investigate the pack too," he added.
He further stated that the railway projects in the area are safe.
"As the water in the Srinagar dam was depleted, the debris flowing to the dam came to halt, keeping the railway projects safe," Maharaj said.
The death toll in the avalanche triggered by the bursting of a glacier in Chamoli has gone up to 58 as a total of 11 bodies are recovered from the Tapovan tunnel, whereas 146 people are still missing, said Uttarakhand Police on Tuesday.
Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel along with National Disaster Response Force and other sister agencies have been conducting search and rescue operations in Chamoli district.
08:05 Modi to inaugurate, lay foundation stone of key projects of oil and gas sector in Tamil Nadu
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will dedicate to the nation and lay the foundation of key projects of the oil and gas sector in Tamil Nadu on February 17.
An official release said the PM will dedicate Ramanathapuram-Thoothukudi natural gas pipeline and Gasoline Desulphurisation Unit at Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited, Manali.
He will also lay the foundation stone of Cauvery Basin Refinery at Nagapattinam.
The release said these projects will result in substantial socio-economic benefits and will boost the country's march towards 'Urja Aatmanirbharta'.
The Ramanathapuram-Thoothukudi section (143 km) of the Ennore- Thiruvallur- Bengaluru-Puducherry-Nagapattinam-Madurai-Tuticorin Natural Gas Pipeline has been laid at the cost of about Rs 700 crore.
It will help utilise gas from ONGC gas fields and deliver natural gas as feedstock to industries and other commercial customers.
07:56 Over 200 YouTube channels under scanner
The security agencies in Punjab are keeping a close watch on over 200 YouTube channels that have sprung up in the last few months in the name of supporting the ongoing agitation of farmers.
They are under watch not only for their content but also for their funding sources. Intelligence agencies suspect that some of these channels could be fuelling anti-India sentiments under the grab of farmers' stir.
Sources in the intelligence wing of the State police revealed that since November 26, there has been a number of YouTube channels mushrooming and routinely covering live from Tikri, Ghazipur and Singhu borders of Delhi. These channels also run Facebook lives from these locations.
Sources said that though many of them have clean operations which focus on the agitation, a significant number of these channels has raised concern among the security agencies.
There is a need to keep a constant monitoring of these channels. The kind of content which is disguised as genuine stir reporting is actually nothing but fanning extremist viewpoints, said a source in the intelligence department.
02:11 WHO gives emergency nod to Astrazeneca vaccines
The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Monday (local time) gave emergency use approval (EUA) to two versions of AstraZeneca-Oxford-developed COVID-19 vaccines, allowing these shots to be rolled out globally through COVAX.
The vaccines are being produced by AstraZeneca-SKBio (Republic of Korea) and the Serum Institute of India.
WHO's EUL assesses the quality, safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines.
It also allows countries to expedite their own regulatory approval to import and administer COVID-19 vaccines.
Speaking at the daily press briefing, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said, "Today, WHO gave emergency use listing to two versions of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, giving the green light for these vaccines to be rolled out globally through COVAX."
He informed that the listing was completed in just under four weeks from the time WHO received the full dossiers from the manufacturers.
Highlighting that the number of reported cases of COVID-19 globally has now declined for the fifth consecutive week, he said that 'the fire is not out'.
"The number of reported cases of COVID-19 globally has now declined for the fifth consecutive week. Last week saw the lowest number of reported weekly cases since October.
"What matters now is how we respond to this trend. The fire is not out, but we have reduced its size. If we stop fighting it on any front, it will come roaring back," he warned.
In addition to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, these are now the second and third vaccines to receive emergency use listing, he added.
This comes days after a team of researchers at the University of Oxford announced plans to start testing AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine on children as young as six in Britain.
According to CNN, a team at the University of Oxford, which developed the vaccine, said it will test the vaccine on children and teens aged 6-17 there and at sites in London, Southampton and Bristol.
Few trials of coronavirus vaccine involve children as yet.
In the US, Pfizer/BioNTech's and Moderna's vaccines are being tested in children as young as 12.
Earlier, the WHO's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) had said, according to Sputnik, that the benefits of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine outweigh the potential risks. -- ANI