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Thursday,04-March-2021

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Vaccine onboard: Airlines to transport 56.5L doses on Tuesday

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With the much-anticipated vaccination drive to combat Covid-19 on the anvil, domestic airlines on Tuesday have started transporting doses of the vaccine to cities across the country.

Flights across airlines would carry a total of 56.5 lakh doses to several cities during the day from Pune. The first two flights of carrying vaccines have already departed from Pune to Delhi and Chennai.

Taking to Twitter, Union Minister for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri said: “Civil aviation sector launches yet another momentous mission. Vaccine movement starts. First two flights operated by @flyspicejet & @goairlinesindia from Pune to Delhi & Chennai have taken off.”

In another tweet, Puri said that Air India, SpiceJet, GoAir and IndiGo will operate nine flights from Pune with 56.5 lakh doses to Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Guwahati, Shillong, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Bhubaneswar, Patna, Bengaluru, Lucknow and Chandigarh.

Ajay Singh, the Chairman of SpiceJet, tweeted: “Proud to say that @flyspicejet carried India’s first consignment of COVID vaccines from Pune to Delhi this morning.”

The Union Health Ministry on Saturday said that the much-awaited coronavirus vaccination drive will kick off on January 16.

The roll-out of Covid-19 vaccine will give priority to the healthcare and frontline workers who are estimated to be around 3 crore, followed by those above 50 years of age and the under-50 population groups with comorbidities numbering around 27 crore.

On January 3, two vaccines – Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield manufactured by Serum Institute of India – were approved for restricted emergency use.

The vaccine approval process has been marred with controversies after Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin was approved for emergency use without the phase-3 trials.

The total tally of Covid-positive cases in India have scaled up to over 1.04 crore cases and death toll stands at over 1.51 lakh, as per Health Ministry data.

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Shut briefly over hoax bomb call, Taj Mahal reopens

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The Taj Mahal was briefly shut and tourists evacuated on Thursday morning after the Uttar Pradesh Police received a call about a bomb at the monument. It turned out to be a hoax, police said.

The call was made to the police helpline following which the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel got the the 17th-century monument vacated.

Authorities conducted thorough checks following the bomb threat.

Entry for tourists resumed a little after 11 a.m. A senior police officer said no bomb was found.

The hoax call, meanwhile, has been traced to Firozabad, official sources said.

A Satish Ganesh, Inspector General, Agra, said, “This morning, an unknown person called on UP 112 and said there will be a bomb blast at the Taj Mahal. Immediately, as per SOP, our bomb squad and other teams conducted a thorough search of the premises. So far, our field units haven’t given any information of such an item being found.”

The Taj Mahal is conserved by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and protected by armed personnel of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).

The Taj Mahal was reopened for tourists last September with strict coronavirus safety guidelines after being shut for over six months. It had been closed since March 17 last year due to the pandemic.

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Strong earthquake shakes Kashmir as people run out of homes

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A strong earthquake rocked Jammu and Kashmir overnight as people ran out of their homes to escape being trapped with reports of several structures developing cracks due to the temblor.

Authorities have so far not reported any casualty due to the strong earthquake that shook the Valley causing fear and panic.

There are reports of widespread panic caused by the earthquake with locals at many places in the Valley spending a sleepless night fearing after shocks.

Officials of the disaster management authority said, “A strong earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale occurred in J&K at 10.34 p.m. on Friday.

“The epicentre of the earthquake was in Tajikistan with its latitude 31.57 degrees north and longitude 75.09 degrees east. It occurred 10 Kilometres inside the earth’s crust.

Earthquakes measuring 6 to 6.9 on the Richter scale are seismologically classified as of ‘strong’ magnitude.

Kashmir has a history of devastations caused by earthquakes because the Valley is situated in a highly earthquake prone region.

Over 80,000 people were killed on two sides of the line of control (LoC) in Kashmir Aby an earthquake that occurred on October 8, 2005 with a magnitude of 7.3 on the Richter scale.

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Supreme Court says young adults choosing life partners mustn’t succumb to ‘class honour’

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The Supreme Court, echoing B.R. Ambedkar’s views that remedy for breaking caste is inter-marriage, said boys and girls choosing their life partners cannot succumb to the concept of class honour or group thinking.

A bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy observed: “Educated younger boys and girls are choosing their life partners which, in turn is a departure from the earlier norms of society where caste and community played a major role.”

Stressing it as a progressive outlook, the bench said this may reduce caste and community tensions brought out by inter-marriage.

The bench said: “We are fortified in our view by earlier judicial pronouncements of this Court clearly elucidating that the consent of the family or the community or the clan is not necessary once the two adult individuals agree to enter into a wedlock and that their consent has to be piously given primacy.”

The bench noted that intimacies of marriage lie within a core zone of privacy, which is inviolable and even matters of faith would have the least effect on them. “The right to marry a person of choice was held to be integral to Article 21 of the Constitution,” said the top court.

A missing person complaint was lodged in Karnataka by the father of a girl after she eloped and married a person, based in north India, without informing him. The investigating officer after learning about their marriage insisted that the girl should appear in person at a police station to record a statement to close the case, and if she fails, then there is a possibility of kidnapping case against her husband.

Faced with these dire consequences, the couple moved the Supreme Court, which criticized the police officer’s conduct putting the girl under threat of action.

The top court said the choice of an individual is an inextricable part of dignity, for dignity cannot be thought of where there is erosion of choice.

“Such a right or choice is not is not expected to succumb to the concept of ‘class honour’ or ‘group thinking’,” said the top court.

Quashing the FIR lodged by the girl’s father, the bench said it expects the police authorities to take action in this behalf in the next eight weeks to lay down some guidelines and training programmes on how to handle such socially sensitive cases.

The bench emphasized that girl’s family should accept the marriage and re-establish social interaction with the couple. “Under the garb of caste and community to alienate the child and the son-in-law will hardly be a desirable social exercise,” added the bench.

Concluding the order, the bench cited B.R. Ambedkar: “Where society is cut asunder, marriage as a binding force becomes a matter of urgent necessity. The real remedy for breaking caste is intermarriage. Nothing else will serve as the solvent of caste.”

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