Here are the top 5 news of December 29, 2020:
Six persons who returned to India from the United Kingdom have tested positive for the new UK variant of COVID-19, the Union Health Ministry said today. It said the mutated UK strain was detected in samples in National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, in Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad and one in National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune. All these persons have been kept in single room isolation at designated health care facilities by respective state governments and their close contacts have also been put under quarantine, the ministry said.
"Comprehensive contact tracing has been initiated for co-travellers, family contacts and others. Genome sequencing on other specimens is going on. The situation is under careful watch and regular advice is being provided to the states for enhanced surveillance, containment, testing and dispatch of samples," the ministry added.
Superstar Rajinikanth today announced he will not take the political plunge and start a party as announced earlier, citing his frail health. Discharged from a Hyderabad hospital on Sunday after being treated for blood pressure fluctuations, the actor expressed fears over those accompanying him in his possible political journey facing "mental and economic" problems in the due course.
He indicated he did not want to sound chivalrous by saying he will join politics despite his severe health concerns and that he did not want to "make a victim" of his supporters now. "Therefore, I inform with great regret I am unable to come to politics by floating a political party. Only I know the pain behind making this announcement," the 70 year-old actor said in a statement. Rajinikanth, however, said he will serve the people in whatever ways he can without entering electoral politics.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut's wife has sought more time to appear before the Enforcement Directorate for questioning in the PMC Bank scam case. Varsha Raut had been summoned by the agency that investigates financial crimes on Sunday prompting a war of words between Maharashtra's ruling Shiv Sena and ally-turned-adversary BJP.
Raut had on Monday alleged that central agencies were being used to "destabilise" the Uddhav Thackeray-led government and claimed he had been warned by BJP leaders about the plan for over a year. He added that was not afraid of the ED or any other central agency. However, he announced that if the BJP were to go on targeting the opposition by roping in central investigating agencies, he would reveal at an appropriate time, cases related to 120 BJP leaders which would jolt the Centre.
Gujarat BJP MP and former Union minister Mansukh Vasava, who has been vocal on tribal issues, today quit the party and said he would resign from Lok Sabha in the budget session of Parliament. Vasava had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week seeking withdrawal of a Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change notification declaring 121 villages of Narmada district as eco-sensitive zone.
A six-term MP from Bharuch, Vasava in his letter to Gujarat BJP President C R Paatil said, "I am resigning so that the image of the party is not damaged because of my mistakes. I have been a loyal worker of the party, so please forgive me." Vasava said he tried his best to be loyal to the party and assimilate the party's values in his life, adding he is human and prone to mistakes.
5. IND vs AUS, Boxing Day Test: Skipper Ajinkya Rahane hits winning runs as visitors level series 1-1
No Virat Kohli, no Rohit Sharma, no Ishant Sharma, no Mohammad Shami and the humiliation of getting bundled out for 36 in the second innings of the first Test notwithstanding, Team India under stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane scripted a majestic comeback in the Test series against Australia as they won the second Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground by eight wickets on Tuesday. Chasing 70 for a win, it was only poetic justice that Rahane hit the winning run off Nathan Lyon as the series stands 1-1 with two Tests remaining. The win not only brings India right back in the series, but also a step closer to the final of the World Test Championship.
While no word is enough to describe the heroics of skipper Rahane, one man who deserves special praise is opener Shubman Gill. Brought into the team after first-choice opener Prithvi Shaw failed in the opening game, Gill showed application in both innings and was unbeaten with skipper Rahane (27) when India crossed the line. His unbeaten 35 off 36 balls will stand India in good stead with Rohit set to start the third game.
(With input from agencies)