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Top news of the day: Genome sequencing studies find a novel coronavirus variant in India; Attorney General denies consent to contempt proceedings against Rahul Gandhi, and more

A health worker takes a swab sample at a court premise in Mumbai on March 24, 2021.   | Photo Credit: EMMANUAL YOGINI

Coronavirus | Genome sequencing studies show variants of concern and a novel variant in India: Health Ministry

Two new ‘variants of concern’ and a new ‘double mutant’ COVID-19 variant have been found in India, the Health Ministry said. Variants of concern are mutated types of coronavirus associated with either increased transmission, a reduction in neutralising antibodies or severe disease.

Attorney General denies consent to contempt proceedings against Rahul Gandhi

Raising an interesting point, the Attorney General said Mr. Gandhi’s statements had generally referred to the “judiciary” and no specific mentions were made about the Supreme Court or its judges.

Chief Justice of India Bobde recommends Justice Ramana as successor

The CJI’s recommendation to the government was followed by the publication of a short statement informing that a complaint sent by Andhra Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy against Justice Ramana was dismissed under an in-house procedure after due consideration.

Parliament proceedings | Rajya Sabha witnesses repeated adjournments over the NCT Bill

The Rajya Sabha has returned the Finance Bill 2021 without any new amendment, completing the Parliamentary approval for Budget 2021-22. The Lok Sabha has given its nod to the National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions Bill, 2021.

NIA court holds Stan Swamy is member of banned CPI (Maoist)

While refusing bail to the 83-year-old Jesuit priest Father Stan Swamy in the Bhima Koregaon violence case, the special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court held, “prima facie it can be gathered that Fr Swamy along with other members of the banned organisation hatched a serious conspiracy to create unrest in the entire country and to overpower the Government, politically and by using muscle power”.

Puducherry Assembly Elections | Presence of rebels, fate of minority votes a concern for NDA

The National Democratic Alliance, though buoyant on capturing “anti-incumbency’’ votes against the previous Congress-DMK government, is equally concerned about the presence of rebels from its key constituent - the All India N. R Congress and fate of minority votes.

Assam Assembly Elections | Modi terms Congress-AIUDF alliance a Mahajhoot

“Congress ke paas na neta hai na niti, sirf Mahajhoot hai (Congress doesn’t have either a leader or ideals, it only has a grand lie),” the Prime Minister said.

Tamil Nadu Assembly Election | Modi’s support strengthened government, says Palaniswami

Canvassing votes for BJP’s Aravakurichi candidate K. Annamalai at K. Paramathi on the outskirts of Karur, Mr. Palaniswami said that on several occasions when he met Mr. Modi, the latter had offered him a number of valuable suggestions to run the government.

West Bengal Assembly Elections | Trinamool government will be shown the door on May 2, says Modi

“When the elections are round the corner, TMC government is saying ‘Duare Duare Sarkar’ (government at doorstep). The people of the State have understood your game. On May 2, they will show the door to the Trinamool Congress,” he said addressing a rally at Kanthi in Purba Mednipur district.

Kerala Assembly Elections | Amit Shah holds road show in Ernakulam

Mr. Shah travelled in a specially designed vehicle from Kizhakkekotta junction to Poornathrayesha temple premises as part of the road show and greeted the voters and workers who gathered in good numbers.

India, U.S. agree to re-establish Homeland Security Dialogue

India and the U.S. have agreed to re-establish the U.S.-India Homeland Security Dialogue, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced, following a discussion on March 22 between India’s Ambassador to the United States, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas.

China slams U.S. over racism, inequality, pandemic response

The report issued by China’s Cabinet said the U.S. in 2020 “saw its own epidemic situation go out of control, accompanied by political disorder, inter-ethnic conflicts, and social division.” The document released by the State Council Information Office also highlighted the January 6 insurrectionist attack on the Capitol as well as gun violence and health disparities.

AP journalist Thein Zaw released from detention in Myanmar

Thein Zaw, a journalist for The Associated Press who was arrested more than three weeks ago while covering a protest against the coup in Myanmar, was released from detention on March 24.

Massive cargo ship turns sideways, blocks Suez Canal

It wasn’t immediately clear what caused MV Ever Given, a Panama-flagged container ship with an owner listed in Japan, to turn sideways in the canal. GAC, a global shipping and logistics company, described Ever Given as suffering “a blackout while transiting in a northerly direction”, without elaborating.

Tesla can now be bought for bitcoin, Elon Musk says

Bitcoin, the world’s biggest digital currency, rose more than 4% after Mr. Musk’s tweet.

Parliament proceedings | Do not see India’s rating downgrade: Nirmala Sitharaman

Replying to a debate on Finance Bill 2021 in the Rajya Sabha, the Finance Minister cited low inflation, higher GDP growth, record foreign investment and lower fiscal deficit to defend her government’s handling of the economy.

No digital tax if goods, services sold via Indian arm of foreign e-commerce players

The amendment to Finance Bill 2021 clarifies that offshore e-commerce platforms don’t have to pay 2% equalisation levy if they have permanent establishment or they pay any income tax here.

Umpires’ Call and Sawhney’s future to come up at ICC Meeting on March 30

Chief Executive Manu Sawhney is currently on leave after an internal investigation allegedly found him to be “abrasive” in his behaviour towards the employees of the organisation.

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Printable version | May 19, 2021 7:25:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/top-news-of-the-day-march-24-2021-genome-sequencing-studies-find-a-novel-coronavirus-variant-in-india-attorney-general-denies-consent-to-contempt-proceedings-against-rahul-gandhi-and-more/article34152700.ece

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