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Updated on: Monday, August 23, 2021, 04:12 PM IST

Free Press Bulletin: Top 5 news updates of August 23, 2021; watch video

Free Press Bulletin is your one-stop destination to the top 5 news updates of the day.
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Here are the top 5 news updates of August 23, 2021:

1. Is India ready to tackle third wave of COVID-19? As NIDM warns of peak in October, here's all you need to know

In its recent report to the Prime Minister's Office, the National Institute of Disaster Management, had warned of a third wave peak in October. While there is no evidence to suggest this upcoming wave will affect children more than adults, the reports says that there is "a cause for worry if not panic". Children may not be affected more than adults, but they remain among the most vulnerable groups with no vaccinations being available and inadequate infrastructural facilities.

While India recently approved a COVID-19 vaccine (ZyCoV-D) that can be used by all above the age of 12, this will only become available from mid-September. As the report explains, "existing pediatric health care facilities are not robust enough to treat children on a large scale".

Administrative decisions including reopening of schools and relaxation of COVID-19 norms has also prompted concern.

In the meantime, IIT Kanpur Senior Scientist, Professor Manindra Aggarwal has claimed that the possibility of a third wave of corona infection is now negligible. Releasing his new study based on his mathematical 'model formula', he has said that vaccination has further reduced this risk. Prof Agarwal claimed that by October, the number of cases in states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh will reach unit digit.

"The vaccination has ensured the reduction in the infection to a great extent. He said that states like UP, Bihar, Delhi are on the way to become almost infection free. However, the active cases in the country will remain close to 15,000 till the month of October as there will be infection in the Northeastern states and also Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Kerala," he told reporters.

2. Only American, NATO citizens and green card holders to be allowed into Kabul airport, says report - Where does that leave India?

A week after the Taliban took over Afghanistan, reports on Monday suggested that only Americans, NATO citizens and green card holders will now be allowed into Kabul airport. And as thousands scramble to leave the country, it now presents an additional question: How will countries that are not on the above mentioned list evacuate their citizens?

According to a CNN report that cites sources, the United States will only allow its citizens, people from other NATO countries, and green card holders to enter from August 23. Earlier, on August 21, a report quoting government sources had said that the US and NATO forces had allowed the India to operate wo flights per day from Kabul to evacuate its nationals stranded in Afghanistan. It was not immediately clear how the latest update would affect India's ongoing evacuation efforts.

According to the CNN report, Afghans who had worked with western agencies including the NATO will not be able to enter now. Others who have applied for the US Special Immigrant Visa programme will also be similarly barred. Eligible US or NATO citizens can only bring immediate family members such as spouses and children with them.

The CNN report also quotes the source to add that there were "no plans to kick people off the airport". This in turn would leave thousands in a state of limbo. With the US and NATO authorities essentially leading the evacuation efforts, it is unclear whether other nations (such as India) will now be aided in their evacuation efforts or whether things have been put on hold.

3. Afghanistan crisis: Government calls all-party meet on August 26 to brief leaders on developments

The government has called for an all-party meeting on August 26 to discuss the Afghanistan crisis. The government will brief parliamentary leaders of various political parties on the developments in war-torn Afghanistan.

"Floor Leaders of political parties would be briefed by EAM Dr S Jaishankar on the present situation in Afghanistan, on 26th August at Parliament House Annexe in Delhi," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi told news agency ANI.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said Prime Minister Narendra Modi instructed the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to brief the floor leaders of the political parties.

The government's briefing is expected to focus on its evacuation mission from Afghanistan as well as its assessment of the situation in that country. The Taliban swept across Afghanistan this month, seizing control of almost all key towns and cities, including Kabul, following the withdrawal of the US forces from the country.

4. Mumbai: Amid spread of Delta plus and threat of third COVID-19 wave, MVA govt denies permission for customary Dahi Handi celebrations


Amidst the spread of the Delta plus variant and the threat of the third COVID-19 wave, the Maharashtra government has denied permission for customary Dahi Handi celebrations.

The decision was taken after Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray held a meeting with the representatives of Mumbai Dahi Handi Coordination Committee from the state via video conferencing today.

Various Dahi Handi Mandals had requested the state government to allow them to hold Dahi Handi events during Janmashtami on a small scale.

Janamashtami, the festival that celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna on Earth is often observed with numerous rituals of which 'Dahi-Handi' is one of the most prominent.

5. Markets trim gains but end higher on strong global cues, IT stocks gain traction

Equity benchmark Sensex ended 226 points higher on Monday following gains in index heavyweights TCS, HCL Tech and Reliance Industries amid a positive trend in global markets.

After rallying over 450 points during the day, the 30-share index pared some gains to end 226.47 points or 0.41 per cent higher at 55,555.79. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty advanced 45.95 points or 0.28 per cent to 16,496.45.

Palak Kothari, Research Associate, Choice Broking said, "On the technical front, the index has formed a hammer candlestick on four hourly charts which points out strength for upcoming sessions. Moreover, the Index has taken support from 89-HMA and has been trading above 21&50 DMA, which suggest strength for the upside. Momentum Indicator MACD is also showing positive crossover on daily time frame which further adds strength in the index. At present, the Nifty index has immediate resistance at 16,600 levels while downside support shifted up to 16,350 levels."


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Published on: Monday, August 23, 2021, 04:12 PM IST
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