Here are the top 5 news updates of May 18, 2021:
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) Director General SN Pradhan today said that the 'worst is over' and Cyclone Tauktae will "become a depression" by evening. Pradhan said, "The cyclone has weakened into a cyclonic storm level and probably in another couple of hours it will become a cyclonic system which is a much lower category. By the time it reaches Gujarat coast in the late evening, it would have become a depression...The worst is over". Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to the chief ministers of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan and took stock of the situation in their states after the landfall of Cyclone Tauktae, news agency ANI reported. Reportedly, the minister extended support of the Union government in aiding and mitigating challenges that arose in the aftermath of the cyclone.
Slamming the Congress for its "toolkit on COVID-19 pandemic", BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra today said that the people can see how the Oppposition party is trying to strengthen its political ambitions while the country is in the midst of a health crisis. Patra alleged that the 'toolkit' has instructions for social media volunteers of Congress to call the new COVID-19 mutant as "Indian strain" or "Modi strain" againt the World Health Organization (WHO)'s instructions. He said there is a column in the 'toolkit' on "Prime Minister Narendra Modi's image", and under that there are instructions to "destroy his image and erode his popularity". Patra alleged that the toolkit has instructions to use "international media coverage by foreign correspondents in India that can be tailored to exclusively focus on Modi and his mismanagement".
3. Pinarayi Vijayan 2.0 to have new faces as ministers, KK Shailaja dropped, son-in-law Riyas gets Cabinet berth
The CPI(M) state committee today appointed Pinarayi Vijayan as its parliamentary party leader and Kerala's Chief Minister. The ministers from CPI(M) in the new Pinarayi Vijayan cabinet include MV Govindan, K Radhakrishnan, VN Vasavan, Saji Cherian, V Sivankutty, Mohammad Riyas, etc. Interestingly, Riyas is the son-in-law of the Chief Minister. As the party only chose freshers, all the ministers of CPI(M) that were part of the previous government, including former Health Minister KK Shailaja, have been dropped from the state cabinet. Shailaja has been chosen as the Party's whip.
4. Kejriwal appeals Centre to cancel flights from Singapore over virus strain 'very dangerous' for kids
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today appealed to the Central government to immediately cancel all air services with Singapore, saying a new strain of coronavirus there is said to be "very dangerous" for children. This new strain of virus could invade India in the form of a third wave, he said in a tweet. "The new form of coronavirus in Singapore is said to be very dangerous for children. It could reach Delhi in the form of a third wave. My appeal to the Central government: 1. Cancel all air services with Singapore with immediate effect 2. Work on vaccine alternatives for children on a priority basis," Kejriwal said in a tweet in Hindi.
Equity benchmark Sensex rallied 613 points to settle above the 50,000-mark today, driven by gains in index-heavyweights HDFC Bank, Reliance Industries and Bajaj Finance amid a positive trend in global markets. At the closing bell, the 30-share BSE index was quoted 612.60 points or 1.24 per cent higher at 50,193.33. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty went past the psychological 15,000-level, and closed 184.95 points or 1.24 per cent higher at 15,108.10.