Daily Briefing: Expert panel recommends approving Covaxin for kids; Pandora Papers Part-9

Bharat Biotech is also expecting a decision soon on its separate application for EUA of Covaxin in adults from WHO.

Good morning, 

The Big Story

With the government’s expert panel recommending the grant of Emergency Use Authorisation, India is just one step away from formally clearing Covaxin for children in the age group 2-18 years. Globally, the panel’s green signal is the first by an expert panel of a national regulator for the 2-18 age group. So far, India has approved Zydus Cadila’s vaccine for children aged above 12 years.

The Pandora papers 

Two former Maharajas of erstwhile princely states figure in the Pandora Papers for offshore entities they set up years ago, records investigated by The Indian Express show. Both are categorized as PEPs (Politically Exposed Persons) and they had to clarify that their place of residence were their royal palaces currently being run as luxury hotels.

From the Front Page

Christian missionaries are “running a campaign…for forced conversions” in the border areas of Punjab over the past few years and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has launched a drive to counter this, Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh said Tuesday. “Religion is a matter of spirituality. Forced conversion or luring someone can never be justified…,” he said.

Orders have been issued by the J&K administration to ensure that migrant employees need not leave the Valley and that “whosoever will be absent shall be dealt as per Service Rules”.  The employees who had left the Valley feeling unsafe after a Sikh school principal and Kashmiri Hindu teacher were killed last week by terrorists, said the administration was being “insensitive”.

The alleged murder of a factory worker over a few kilograms of stolen cashew nuts has landed a DMK MP in trouble, with the MP and five of his aides now under arrest. Ramesh and the others are accused of allegedly killing K Govindarasu, a 60-year-old daily-wage labourer working in the cashew unit owned by the MP in Panruti.

Must Read 

While Air India has gone back to its original owner, the Tatas, what happens to the ‘Maharaja Collection’ — the extensive art collection built by JRD Tata? Well, it seems it will be staying with the government. From MF Husain to VS Gaitonde, the collection includes over 4,000 works by some of India’s most legendary artists. Sources in the Ministry of Culture said that the collection will be displayed at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) in Delhi.

Amidst a spate of attacks on civilians in the valley, the militant responsible for the killing of a Srinagar street vendor from Bihar was shot dead in an overnight operation. The militant was amongst five killed in two separate operations in south Kashmir’s Shopian, which began on Monday evening, according to the police. 

Around 350 people from tribal communities in Chhattisgarh’s Sarguja and Korba districts have been walking for the last nine days to reach the state capital, Raipur . The 300 km march is being held in protest against coal mining projects, and what they allege is “illegal” land acquisition. “If we don’t walk now, our children will have nowhere to live,” Shakuntala Ekka, one of the protesters marching to Raipur from Madanpur said.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) MD Kristalina Georgieva is under scrutiny for her role in the alleged rigging of World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings when she was chief executive there. The trouble started in 2018, when Paul Romer, then the chief economist of the World Bank, claimed that the rankings were tweaked for political reasons. In August 2020, the World Bank suspended its EoDB rankings after finding some “data irregularities”. We take a look at the claims and the findings. 

And Finally

For 18-year-old athlete Dalip Gavit, who lost his right arm when he was 4, para-athletics tournaments just aren’t challenging enough. “It’s too easy for me. There’s no thrill in winning there.” And he may have a point. At the recent 400m nationals in Delhi, Gavit reached the U20 finals finishing second in his heat. With four national-level medals in open competitions, the Maharashtra runner and his coach have big plans for the future. 

Delhi Confidential: There is buzz that Rajasthan Minister Harish Chaudhary could succeed Harish Rawat as AICC in-charge of Punjab. Chaughary, who was one of the AICC observers who oversaw the change of guard in Punjab, is said to be in Chandigarh meeting party leaders.

Until tomorrow, 

Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose

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