Delhi IPL The Buzz

BCCI likely to allow 50 percent crowd attendance for England Tests

New Delhi, January 20

The BCCI brass is seriously contemplating allowing 50 percent crowd attendance at both Chepauk and the newly constructed Motera Stadium during India’s upcoming four Test matches against England.

The first two Tests will be held in Chennai, beginning on February 5, while the next two will be played at the renovated stadium at Motera in Ahmedabad.

The BCCI is believed to be taking a cue from Cricket Australia which had allowed entry of spectators during the India series that concluded on Tuesday.

“As of now, we are likely to allow 50 percent spectators for the four Test matches. The BCCI is in talks with both state cricket associations (TNCA and GCA) and also state health authorities,” a senior BCCI source told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

However, the BCCI is also factoring the fluid public health situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic and if case load in either Chennai or Ahmedabad increases, then the decision will change accordingly.

“If you allow 50 percent crowd with all necessary precautions, then it will be an indicator if we can also allow spectators during IPL in India,” the source said.

In Ahmedabad, which can hold over one lakh spectators, spacing of seats to maintain social distancing will not be an issue.

Meanwhile, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) will name the squad for first two Test matches against India on Thursday.

This is the first time that a touring team is not naming a squad for full away series keeping the workload management of its players in mind.

The fact that Chennai and Ahmedabad will have two separate bio-bubbles and the teams will travel by chartered flight within the country may also be the reason that England, like the Indian team, decided to name its squad for two Tests. — PTI

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Delhi The Buzz

Tenth round of talks between Centre and farmers begins

Vibha Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 20

Though they have already indicated that they “do not expect much” from Wednesday’s talks, farmer unions are expected to raise the issue of the “police repression, including NIA raids, on those associated as well as not associated with the agitation” at the 10th round of talks between the Centre and farmer leaders that began here.

Farmer leaders arrive for the talks at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Manas Ranjan Bhui

According to BJP leaders, if these people “have not done anything wrong they should not be worried about the NIA action”.

Baldev Singh Sirsa, whom the NIA has served summons, is present at Wednesday’s meeting. 

Meanwhile, the issue related to their demand for a law on MSP is expected to be taken up as indicated by some union leaders.

The issues related to the January 26 tractor parade and the repeal of the three laws may also figure at the meeting that started almost 45 minutes later than the scheduled 2 pm.

While farmers’ unions and the government continue to stand firm on their respective stances, in the last meeting they had reaffirmed their commitment to continue with the direct dialogue process. 

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has urged protesting farm leaders to have a clause-by-clause discussion on the laws. Union leaders have already said that they do not expect much from Wednesday’s talks. 

Sources said when the unions raised the issue of NIA summons to those related to the agitation, Tomar said he would like to assure them that no “innocent person will suffer”. “Kisi nirdosh vyakti pe karyavaahi nahi hogi,” Tomar was quoted as saying.

The issue related to the arrest of three farmers from Shimla was also raised besides a letter, purportedly written by the Delhi BJP asking party supporters to incite violence on January 26. While the letter, which was widely circulated on social media, has been established as “fake”, officials at the meeting are believed to have produced a complaint in this regard.


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Delhi The Buzz

Delhi Police may allow tractor rally on Jan 26, but under strict supervision: Sources

Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 20

Delhi Police may allow protesting farmers to hold their planned tractor rally in the National Capital on January 26, but on the “pre-identified and sanitised” routes with a limited number of participants and under “strict police supervision”, said sources.  

Sources in the Delhi Police said the officials are in talks with the protesting farmers and trying to convince them with the plan given the sensitivity of the day (January 26). But in case the farmers do not adhere to the plan and try to breach the blockade at the borders, the police will use all its might to push them back, they added.

The sources further said that the permission for the proposed rally could only be granted if there is a “mutual consensus” on the route, number of persons and number of tractors. “We would like to have in advance details of participating farmers including vehicle number, RC details, names of drivers, and co-passengers,” said a senior police officer. 

As the Delhi Police had approached Supreme Court to seek instructions against the proposed rally or any other kind of protest by farmers, the top court had said the Delhi Police is competent and should decide on its own on the entry of protesting farmers into the national capital on Republic Day.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Police has made an elaborate arrangement to guard the national capital in the run-up and on the Republic Day this year. Nearly 75 per cent (more than 65,000) of the city’s 87,000 police personnel could continue to be on duty, supported by heavy barricading at many intersections and checkpoints on arterial roads, said a senior official.

“The iron barricading at the borders is being strengthened, and a number of large vehicles, water cannons and cranes will also be stationed there on Republic Day. The police have identified non-functional CCTV cameras in order to replace them,” he said, adding that recently an order has also been issued to ban the operation of “sub-conventional aerial platforms”, including UAVs, paragliders and hot air balloons, in the national capital for 27 days beginning January 20.

The Delhi Police has also asked the MHA for additional manpower in terms of CAPFs reinforcement, as work on the listing of deployment is being undertaken at Police headquarters to bring about a surprise for protesting farmers, the official said.

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Coronavirus COVID-19 Delhi The Buzz

Rajasthan Congress MLA Gajendra Singh Shaktawat dies at 48

Jaipur, January 20

Rajasthan Congress MLA Gajendra Singh Shaktawat, who was suffering from liver infection, died at a private hospital in Delhi on Wednesday morning. He was 48.

The MLA had also tested positive for coronavirus, family sources said.

Shaktawat represented Vallabhnagar constituency of Udaipur.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, PCC president Govind Singh Dotasra, former deputy CM Sachin Pilot and other leaders expressed grief over the demise.

“Deep condolences on untimely demise of Congress MLA Shri Gajendra Shaktawat,” Gehlot tweeted, saying he was sick for a long time. The Chief Minister said he was in touch with the legislator’s family as well as Dr Shiv Sareen to enquire about his health.

“I am deeply saddened by the devastating news of the passing away of my colleague & MLA Shri Gajendra Singh Shaktawat ji. He was a humble and a kind soul, always dedicated towards the development of his constituency. My heartfelt condolences to his family,” Pilot said on Twitter.  

Shaktawat, a two-time MLA, was among the Congress legislators, led by Pilot, who had revolted against the leadership of the Chief Ninister in July last year.

He is survived by wife, son and two daughters. 

Shaktawat is the third Congress and fourth sitting MLA in Rajasthan to have died in the recent past.

Congress MLAs Master Bhanwar Lal Meghwal (Sujangarh in Churu), Kailash Trivedi (Sahara in Bhilwara) and BJP MLA Kiran Maheshwari (Rajsamand) are the others who died recently. 

Meghwal, the social justice and empowerment minister, had suffered brain haemorrhage and died in November last year. Kailash Trivedi and Kiran Maheshwari died due to coronavirus infection. While Trivedi died in October, Maheshwari passed away in November last.

With this, the tally in the House of 200 has come down to 196 in the Congress-ruled state.

Bypolls will now be conducted to four Assembly constituencies in the state. PTI

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Coronavirus COVID-19 The Buzz

In farewell address, Trump wishes luck to next administration without mentioning Biden

Washington, January 20

US President Donald Trump, in a farewell address released on Tuesday, touted his legacy and wished luck to the new administration of President-elect Joe Biden but without acknowledging his successor by name.

Trump has refused to offer a full concession to Democrat Biden, who won the November 3 election with 306 Electoral College votes to Trump’s 232. Biden will be inaugurated at 12 pm on Thursday and Trump is not meeting with Biden beforehand or attending the swearing in as is customary in the handover of power to the White House. Trump instead plans to fly to Florida.

“This week, we inaugurate a new administration and pray for its success in keeping America safe and prosperous,” the Republican president said in recorded remarks. “We extend our best wishes, and we also want them to have luck – a very important word.”

Trump campaigned on a pledge to “Make America Great Again” but leaves office with more than 400,000 people dead of the novel coronavirus – the most in the world – whose risk he played down, an economy struggling from the pandemic, and relationships strained with key U.S. allies.

“The greatest danger we face is a loss of confidence in ourselves, a loss of confidence in our national greatness,” Trump said.

For months Trump said without evidence that the election was rigged against him and applied pressure on state officials to overturn the results. At a rally near the White House on Jan. 6 he encouraged followers to march on Congress while lawmakers were certifying Biden’s win.

Trump has been holed up at the White House for the final weeks of his term, reeling after the riot by his supporters at the Capitol that led to five deaths, including a Capitol Police officer.

The stampede, which followed a rally in which Trump repeated false allegations of election fraud and urged his supporters to fight, has overshadowed any efforts to emphasize the president’s legacy in his final days in office.

The House of Representatives impeached Trump on a charge of incitement, making him the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice. He will have to face the charges after leaving office.

In Tuesday’s farewell, without specifically mentioning Twitter’s decision to suspend his @realDonaldTrump account, Trump made reference to his complaint that free speech had been muzzled by the company. Twitter said it suspended the account because of the risk of the incitement of further violence.

“Shutting down free and open debate violates our core values and most enduring traditions,” Trump said. “America is not a timid nation of tame souls who need to be sheltered and protected from those with whom we disagree.” In the recorded remarks Trump sought to highlight aspects of his presidency in which he took pride.

“We did what we came here to do, and so much more,” he said.

“I took on the tough battles, the hardest fights, the most difficult choices – because that’s what you elected me to do.” Trump noted Middle East peace deals his administration brokered and lauded his foreign policy agenda.

“We revitalized our alliances and rallied the nations of the world to stand up to China like never before,” he said. “I am especially proud to be the first president in decades who has started no new wars.”

Trump, who leaves amid deep divisions in the country, acknowledged the Capitol riots, which in the immediate aftermath of the violence he was slow to condemn.

“All Americans were horrified by the assault on our Capitol.

Political violence is an attack on everything we cherish as Americans. It can never be tolerated,” he said.

And the president, who former advisers predict has lost much of a political future after the riots, suggested his movement would go on.

“Now, as I prepare to hand power over to a new administration at noon on Wednesday, I want you to know that the movement we started is only just beginning,” Trump said.

“I go from this majestic place with a loyal and joyful heart and optimistic spirit, and a supreme confidence that for our country and for our children, the best is yet to come.” Reuters

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Delhi The Buzz

Subsidy goes, food in House canteen costlier

New Delhi, January 19

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla today announced that the subsidy on Parliament canteen food would discontinue henceforth and every MP would have to pay the new costs.

Parliament food will get costlier after the subsidy ends and the secretariat will be able to save more than Rs 8 crore per year.

The Speaker also said the question hour and zero hour would resume in the Budget session of Parliament and arrangements for RTPCR tests for MPs had been made in Parliament on January 27 and 28.

“MPs can also get tested closer to their residences where facilities will be provided,” the Speaker said. — TNS

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Delhi The Buzz

Regulatory body experts clear Bharat Biotech’s nasal COVID vaccine for Phase 1 trials

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 19

The subject expert committee of the national regulatory authority on Tuesday night recommended grant of phase one clinical trial for India’s first intra-nasal COVID vaccine being developed by Bharat Biotech.

The Drug Controller General of India is expected to grant the formal approval tomorrow.

The nasal route has excellent potential for vaccination due to the organised immune systems of the nasal mucosa. It is non invasive, needle free and enables ease of administration as it does not require trained health care workers.

Elimination of needle-associated risks (injuries and infections) is another advantage of a nasal vaccine.

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Delhi The Buzz

Lakshadweep reports first ever COVID case, Centre sends team

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 19

Lakshadweep reported its first ever case of COVID-19 on Tuesday.

The index case is a traveller who had come to Lakshadweep from Kochi in Kerala on January 4 by a ship. The case had reported to hospital with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 and was tested positive. Initially, 31 primary contacts of the index case have been traced and quarantined of which 14 have now been found to be positive and have been isolated.

56 contacts of positive cases detected so far have also been traced and quarantined.

The UT Administration has initiated disinfection procedures and intensive risk-communication activity has been operationalised. The centre has also sent an expert team to Lakshadweep to help in containment.

Lakshadweep had so far remained COVID free despite a whole year of virus transmission across India.

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Bollywood The Buzz

‘Tandav’ makers say they will make changes to web series following controversy

Mumbai, January 19

The cast and crew of Amazon Prime Video series “Tandav” on Tuesday said they have decided to implement changes to the political drama to address concerns.

“Tandav”, a nine-episode political thriller starring Bollywood A-listers Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia and Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub, started streaming last week but the show landed in a huge controversy over its depiction of Hindu deities.

At the centre of the row is a scene with Zeeshan Ayyub, in the role of college student Shiva, playing the Hindu god Mahadev in a theatre production.

In an official statement, the team reiterated that they had no intention to hurt anyone’s sentiments.

“We have utmost respect for the sentiments of the people of our country. We did not intend to hurt or offend the sentiments of any individual, caste, community, race, religion or religious beliefs or insult or outrage any institution, political party or person, living or dead.                  

“The cast & crew of ‘Tandav’ have made the decision to implement changes to the web series to address the concerns raised towards the same,” the statement read.

The team also thanked the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for the guidance and support in the matter.

“We once again apologise if the series has unintentionally hurt anybody’s sentiments,” the statement said. — PTI

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Delhi IPL The Buzz

Kohli returns for England Test series along with Hardik, Ishant

New Delhi, January 19

Virat Kohli returned to lead India against England in the upcoming home Test series while the selectors also recalled all-rounder Hardik Pandya and pacer Ishant Sharma to bolster the squad, announced by the BCCI on Tuesday.

Kohli, who headed back to India on a paternity leave after the Adelaide Test, was named in the 18-man squad along with pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah, who missed the final Test in Brisbane against Australia due to an abdominal strain.

The squad was named only for the first two Tests of the four-match series, starting on February 5 in Chennai.

Senior pacer Ishant had missed the Australia tour due to the side strain he suffered during the IPL in the UAE while Pandya only played the ODIs and T20Is Down Under. 

Tamil Nadu paceman T Natarajan was dropped as the selection panel added Axar Patel, a left-arm spinner and useful batsman down the order, to the squad as he would be more effective to counter England on Indian pitches.

The 26-year-old Patel is yet to make his Test debut while he last played for India in T20Is in February 2018 against South Africa. He has also played 38 ODIs.

He is an apt replacement for Ravindra Jadeja.

Ajinkya Rahane, who led India in three Tests in Australia after Kohli’s departure, was named as the vice-captain.

Expectedly, the selection panel retained youngster Shubhman Gill and Washington Sundar, rewarding them for their excellent performance in Australia.

Pacer Mohammed Siraj and Shardul Thakur, whose all-round ability helped India immensely in Brisbane, also kept their places along with Mayank Agarwal, who struggled for runs.

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who missed the Brisbane Test due to back injury, has also been named in the line-up as he is expected to recover by the time England land in India.  

Wriddhiman Saha is the second wicketkeeper in the squad along with Rishabh Pant, whose gritty 89 not out shaped India’s three-wicket win in Brisbane.

The second Test will also be played in Chennai (February 13-17) while Ahmedabad will host the third (February 24-28) and fourth Test (March 4-8).

The four-Test series will be followed by a five-match T20I series and three-match ODI rubber that will conclude on March 28 in Pune.

KS Bharat, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Shahbaz Nadeem, Rahul Chahar and Priyank Panchal have been named as standby players.


Virat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma, Shubhman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Mayank Agarwal, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Wriddhiman Saha, Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, R Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar and Axar Patel. PTI

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