Top news of the day: Union Ministers, farmer groups to meet on Jan. 8 over agri laws; UK judge refuses extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and more

The major news headlines of the day, and more.

January 04, 2021 07:24 pm | Updated 07:44 pm IST

Kisan union leaders after the meeting with Union Ministers at Vigyan Bhawan, in New Delhi on January 4, 2021.

Kisan union leaders after the meeting with Union Ministers at Vigyan Bhawan, in New Delhi on January 4, 2021.

Union Ministers, farmer groups to meet again on January 8

The seventh round of talks between protesting farmer unions and three central ministers got underway here on Monday afternoon to break the over-a-month-long deadlock on recent farm laws.

Also read: Probe ‘illegitimate’ police action against farmers, students ask Supreme Court

U.K. judge refuses extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

A British judge has rejected the United States’ request to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to face espionage charges, saying it would be “oppressive” because of his mental health.

SC asks govt. to repeal law which confiscates cattle before owner is found guilty of cruelty

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to “delete” its three-year-old law which allowed seizure and subsequent confiscation in ‘gaushalas’ of livestock from people, who depended on these animals for a livelihood, even before they were found guilty of cruelty towards them.

World’s biggest COVID-19 vaccination programme set to begin in India: PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday that the world’s biggest inoculation drive against coronavirus is set to begin in the country, a day after the drugs regulator approved two vaccines for restricted emergency use.

Also read: Coronavirus live updates | January 4, 2021

Team India, support staff negative in latest COVID-19 tests, says BCCI

The Indian cricket team and its support staff have returned negative in the latest COVID-19 tests conducted in Melbourne ahead of the third Test against Australia in Sydney, the BCCI said on Monday.

Reliance moves Punjab and Haryana High Court against vandalism of mobile towers

Amid several cases of vandalism of mobile towers and disruption of telecom services in Punjab during the ongoing farmers’ agitation against farm laws, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court, seeking the intervention of government authorities to bring a complete stop to such acts.

Sourav Ganguly under pressure to join politics, claims CPI(M) leader

Senior CPI(M) leader Ashok Bhattacharya's statement that BCCI president and former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly, who suffered a heart attack and is now hospitalised, was under pressure to join politics created a storm on Sunday.

Can spiders weave webs without gravity?

About 400 km above Earth, the International Space Station has housed not just humans but various critters including frogs, snails, ants, mice, swarms of flies, and over a million microbes. Spiders were sent into space for the first time in July 1973. Two European garden spiders ( Araneus diadematus ) were sent to the then U.S space station called Skylab to see if they could build webs in zero gravity. And voila, they could. But only five photographs could be taken and the researchers found that the webs were irregularly shaped. But they couldn't conclude if lack of gravity or lack of food and moisture made them build deformed webs.

TN permits theatres to screen movies with full seating capacity

The Tamil Nadu government on Monday said that movie halls in the State will be permitted to screen movies at full seating capacity. Though the State government allowed cinema halls to reopen with 50% seating capacity in November last year, movie fans did not return to theatres in large numbers for several reasons. While the risk of contracting COVID-19 was one of the reasons, the theatres weren’t able to screen new releases as producers were reluctant to release their movies with just 50% capacity.

Cricket Australia rejects reports of India seeking to shift fourth Test out of Brisbane

Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley on Monday dismissed reports that the Indian team is reluctant to play the fourth Test in Brisbane because of stricter quarantine rules there. Hockley said the Indian cricket board was "fully across (and) supportive" of quarantine requirements in Queensland.

Total 38 samples are positive for U.K. variant of coronavirus, says Health Ministry

A total of 38 samples have been found to be positive with the new U.K. variant genome of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, confirmed the Health Ministry on Monday.

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