Morning Digest | Centre writes to States flagging below-par vaccination, fresh round of India-China talks likely on Friday, and more


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The Centre wrote to Maharashtra, Punjab and Delhi governments on Wednesday flagging below-par vaccination of eligible beneficiaries, including healthcare workers. The letter comes after a strongly worded statement issued by Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan in which he hit out at Maharashtra and some other States, accusing them of trying to cover their “failures” and spreading panic among people.

India and China are likely to hold the next round of corps commander level talks on Friday that is expected to focus on disengagement of troops in remaining friction points in eastern Ladakh. India will insist on early disengagement of troops in Gogra and Hot Springs besides pressing for resolution of pending issues in Depsang plains.

Police has been able to establish contact with the group of Maoists who abducted a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) commando after the April 3 encounter at Tarrem in Chattisgarh’s Sukma. A day ago, the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) released a statement where it demanded that the State government announce a mediator for the release of the commando.

Accepting that there is a capability differential between India and China, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat on Wednesday said the biggest differential lies in the cyber field and China is “capable of launching cyberattacks on us and it can disrupt a large number of systems”.

India’s debt to GDP ratio increased from 74% to 90% during the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Monetary Fund has said, noting that it expects this to drop down to 80% as a result of the country’s economic recovery.

The Delhi High Court has agreed to hear on Thursday a plea seeking directions to the Election Commission to take action against leaders, campaigners and candidates not following the mandatory use of face mask in the ongoing Assembly elections in various States and Union Territories.

Though students missed a year of school life and interaction with their teachers and friends due to COVID-19, the pandemic has also taught them many lessons about the true value of essential things and strengthened the emotional bonds between family members at a time of social distancing, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday.

The government on Wednesday said that all seven manufacturers of remdesivir in the country have been asked to ramp up production to full capacity by next week. The direction comes against reports of shortages of the critical drug. Remdesivir is considered as a key antiviral drug in the fight against COVID-19, especially in adult patients with severe complications.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said on Wednesday it had found a possible link between AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine and reports of very rare cases of blood clots in people who had received the shot. Safety concerns have prompted more than a dozen countries in recent weeks to suspend use of the vaccine, which has been given to tens of millions of people in Europe.

The Biden administration announced on Wednesday it would provide $235 million in U.S. aid to the Palestinians, restarting funding for the United Nations agency supporting refugees and restoring other assistance cut off by then-President Donald Trump.

Kylian Mbappé scored twice to lead Paris Saint-Germain to a 3-2 win against defending champion Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal on Wednesday.

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