FPJ Evening Brief
FPJ Evening Brief

Here are the top 5 news of December 31, 2020:

1. Jio announces free domestic voice calls from Jan 1 as IUC regime ends

With the interconnect usage charges (IUC) regime for domestic voice calls coming to an end, Reliance Jio today said that all calls from its network to other networks anywhere in India will be free from January 1, 2021. As per the telecom regulator's directions, 'Bill and Keep' regime is being implemented in the country from January 1, 2021, thereby ending IUC charges for all domestic voice calls, it said in a statement.

"Honouring its commitment to revert off-net domestic voice-call charges to zero, as soon as IUC charges are abolished, Jio will once again make all off-net domestic voice calls free, starting 1st January 2021. On-net domestic voice calls have always been free on the Jio network," it added. Put simply, off-net calls refer to calls that terminate in other networks.

2. Lone BJP MLA in Kerala backs Assembly resolution against new farm laws

In an unprecedented move, the lone Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA O Rajagopal did not object to the resolution passed against farm laws by the Kerala Assembly today, and later said that he "supports the resolution". After the Assembly session, Rajagopal said he abstained from voting and did not oppose the resolution because people do not need to know these differences in opinions.

"I support this resolution. During the discussion, I opposed certain references made in the resolution against the farm laws but I do not object to the general consensus reached by the house against the farm laws," he said. When asked if it was against the BJP's stand, the MLA said, "It may not be the party's stand. These compromises are part of a democratic system. We must not be adamant. We must go with the consensus."

3. PM Modi urges citizens to avoid rumours as country prepares to run world's largest COVID vaccination drive

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that preparations are underway to run the world's largest vaccination programme in the next year. He appealed to everyone to be careful regarding rumours and as responsible citizens refrain from forwarding messages on social media without checking. "The number of new cases of COVID-19 is decreasing in the country now. We are preparing to run the world's largest vaccination programme in the next year. In our country, rumours spread quickly. Different people for their personal gains or due to irresponsible behaviour spread various rumours. Maybe rumours will be spread when vaccination begins, some have already begun," said Prime Minister Modi.

"I appeal to the people of the country that fight against COVID-19 is the one against an unknown enemy. Be careful about such rumours and as responsible citizens refrain from forwarding messages on social media without checking," he added. The comments came as the Prime Minister laid the foundation stone of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Rajkot, Gujarat, via video conferencing today.

4. 26 arrested over attack on Hindu temple in northwest Pakistan

Pakistani police have arrested 26 people belonging to a radical Islamist party after a Hindu temple was vandalised and set on fire by a mob protesting its renovation in northwest Pakistan. A central leader of radical Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party, Rehmat Salam Khattak, is among 26 arrested in raids following the attack on the temple in Terri village in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Karak district on Wednesday, Station House Officer Rehmatullah Khan said.

The mob, led by the supporters of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party (Fazal ur Rehman group), protesting the expansion work of the temple, demolished the newly constructed work alongside the old structure. The incident drew condemnation from human rights activists and the minority Hindu community.

5. Gal Gadot hails Shaheen Bagh's activist Bilkis Bano as one of 'My Personal Wonder Women'

Bilkis Dadi, the octogenarian who was the face of the months-long anti-citizenship law protest in the Delhi's Shaheen Bagh neighbourhood, has now found herself on Hollywood star Gal Gadot's list of 'My Personal Wonder Women'. The actor, who was recently seen reprising the titular role in "Wonder Woman 1984", shared a series of pictures on her Instagram page, acknowledging young girls and women from all walks of life across the globe.

Sharing Bilkis' picture, she wrote, “The 82-year-old activist fighting for women's equality in India showed me it's never too late to fight for what you believe in.” After trolling on social media, Gadot deleted the story but the post can be seen in her feed.

(With input from agencies)

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