Daily Briefing: Pfizer doses could come in July, says govt; Twitter calls Delhi Police visit ‘intimidation tactics’

Goa government calls acquittal of Tarun Tejpal “erroneous in law” and “unsustainable”; Antigua and Barbuda PM says he has asked Dominica to repatriate fugitive diamond trader Mehul Choksi to India directly.

The Big Story

As the country fights against a shortage in vaccine doses, the head of the India’s Covid-19 Task Force, Dr V K Paul, has said that Pfizer has indicated that it would be able to make available a “certain amount” of its mRNA Covid-19 vaccine to India, “possibly starting in July”.

Only in the Express 

John Varghese, the principal of St Stephen’s College, could not grasp the fact that Satyam Jha — a “brilliant student” with “immense potential”, as his teachers described him — died without being able to step into the campus he worked so hard to get into. On May 25, the 19-year-old first-year BA (Hons) History student died of Covid at a private hospital in Kota, Rajasthan — a death that moved his principal to pen an anguished note on the college website.

From the Front Page 

A day after Facebook-owned WhatsApp approached the court to challenge the traceability provision in the new IT Rules, another US social media giant Twitter termed the Delhi Police’s visit to its offices as “intimidation tactics” — and said it was concerned for its employees in India and by a “potential threat” to free speech of Twitter users.

A Romanian firm that said it would provide Pfizer Covid vaccines to Mumbai withdrew its bid after the manufacturer said it had no authorised agents; firms linked with food products, apparel, consultancy, rather than vaccines, one that’s been associated with media and film-making — a motley crew of companies have responded to global Expressions of Interest by Maharashtra and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation for 5 crore and 1 crore shots respectively.

Appealing against the acquittal of Tarun Tejpal, former editor-in-chief of Tehelka, who had been charged with sexual assault of his then colleague in a Goa hotel in 2013, the Goa government pushed for its early hearing, saying “we owe it to our girls” and that the acquittal order is “erroneous in law” and “unsustainable”.

Must Read 

Deep within a forest in Chhattisgarh’s Naxal-dominated Sukma area, more than 25 km away from the nearest highway, the village of Karma Gondi is reporting a startling number of Covid cases despite its relative seclusion. In the past week alone, nearly one out of three residents — 91 of 239 — tested positive for the coronavirus. 

A political crisis is brewing within the Srinagar Municipal Corporation, with corporators rallying against Joint Commissioner (Planning) Ghulam Hassan Mir, accusing him of corruption and seeking his immediate removal. To press for their demands, the Mayor and 60 corporators, cutting across political lines, launched an indefinite hunger strike.

A day after fugitive diamond trader Mehul Choksi was arrested in Dominica, Gaston Browne, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, said he had requested Dominica to repatriate Choksi to India directly. However, Choksi’s lawyer said since he is no longer an Indian citizen, under the existing laws, he cannot be handed over to India. 

And Finally 

German javelin thrower Johannes Vetter makes 90 metre-plus throws look easy. Vetter, a favourite for the Olympic gold in Tokyo, has made seven such throws this season. In the year of the postponed Olympics, the 28-year-old has made ‘consistency’ his middle name. In a short span of time, he has won four events in a row with 90-metre throws. 

Delhi Confidential: With protests against the delay in releasing the pending payments for sugarcane farmers brewing in UP, BSP MP Danish Ali shot off a letter to PM Modi reminding him of his poll promise before 2017 UP Assembly elections — that the payment would be done within 14 days of the government coming to power. 

In today’s episode of ‘3 Things’, we look at why Whatsapp is fighting the new traceability clause in the government’s IT rules 2021, how Rajasthan became one of the top three performing states in India’s ongoing vaccine drive, and Twitter’s response to the toolkit case. 

Until tomorrow,
Rahel Philipose and Rounak Bagchi

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