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Last Updated : Jan 18 2021 7:08PM     Screen Reader Access
News Highlights
PM Modi lays foundation stone of environment friendly Ahmedabad Metro Rail Project Phase-II and Surat Metro Rail Project            National COVID-19 recovery rate improves to 96.59 per cent            Over 2 lakh people vaccinated for Covid-19 across country during past two days            Britain invites PM Modi to attend G7 Summit to be held in June this year            Brisbane Test: Australia bundled out for 294 on day 4           

Text Bulletins Details

Morning News

0830 HRS


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address Smart India Hackathon this evening.

  • New guidelines for opening up more activities in areas outside Containment Zones come into force today.

  • Government extends ban on international flights till 31st of August.

  • Fifth phase of  Vande Bharat Mission begins today to repatriate Indians from 23 countries.

  • Eid-ul-Azha being celebrated across the country today.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the Smart India Hackathon of All India Council for Technical Education at 4:30 PM today. He will also interact with students on the occasion. Human Resource Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank said that the Grand Finale of Smart India Hackathon-2020 (Software) will be held till 3rd of August.

Our Correspondent reports that this is the fourth edition of the hackathon organised by the HRD Ministry and it has proved to be extremely successful in promoting out-of-the-box thinking in young minds.

"Smart India Hackathon is a nationwide initiative to provide students with a platform to solve some of the pressing problems we face in our daily lives. The first edition of Smart India Hackathon 2017 saw participation of 42 thousand students which increased to one lakh in 2018 and to two lakh in 2019. The first round of Smart India Hackathon 2020 saw participation of more than four lakh 50 thousand students. The Grand Finale will be organized online by connecting all the participants throughout the nation together over a specially-built advanced platform. Over ten thousand students will compete to solve 243 problem statements from 37 Central Government departments, 17 State Governments and 20 industries.With Dipendra kumar, Anand Chaturvedi, AIR News Delhi".

On the ocassion, the Prime Minister will also speak on the new National Education Policy 2020. Recently, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the National Education Policy 2020 making way for large scale, transformational reforms in both school and higher education sectors. This new policy will replace the thirty four year old National Policy on Education 1986.


The new guidelines for opening up of more activities in areas outside the Containment Zones will come into effect from today. The process of phased re-opening of activities has been extended further in Unlock 3. The new guidelines issued by the Home Ministry on Wednesday are based on feedback received from States and UTs, and extensive consultations held with related Central Ministries and Departments. A report:

"Restrictions on movement of individuals during night have been removed. Yoga institutes and gymnasiums will be allowed to open from 5th of August. Independence Day functions will be allowed with social distancing and by following other health protocols. Schools, colleges and coaching institutions will remain closed till 31st August. International air travel of passengers has been permitted in a limited manner under the Vande Bharat mission. Further opening up will take place in a calibrated manner. All activities except Metro Rail, Cinema halls, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars shall be permitted outside containment zones. Social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural, religious functions and other large congregations will not be permitted. With Anand Chaturvedi, Suparna Saikia, AIR News, Delhi".

Activities in the Containment Zones shall be monitored strictly by State and UT authorities, and the guidelines relating to containment measure in these zones shall be strictly implemented. Health Ministry will monitor the proper delineation of Containment Zones and implementation of the containment measures.

States and UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may prohibit certain activities outside the Containment zones, or impose such restrictions as deemed necessary. However, there shall be no restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods.


The government has extended ban on international flights till 31st of August amid the coronavirus pandemic. However, this restriction will not be applicable for international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by the DGCA.

India had first suspended international flights on March 22, just before the national lockdown was announced.

As part of allowing gradual movement of passenger traffic amid the pandemic situation, 'Transport Bubble' agreements have been signed with the US, France, and Germany.

Such bilateral agreements allow operation of flights between the two countries subject to a set of regulations.

International flight services to and from India remain suspended since March 23 due to the pandemic.


The fifth phase of the Vande Bharat Mission begins today to rescue Indians stranded abroad. This phase will continue till 31st August 2020.

In an interview to DD NEWS, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri said, that under various phases of Vande Bharat Mission, more than 8 lakh 45 thousand Indians have been repatriated. He said upto 1200 flights are likely to be added in Phase 5 of Vande Bharat Misison. In total, Air India and Air India Express have airlifted 2 lakh 67 thousand 436 stranded passengers and other charters have brought home 4 lakh 86 thousand 811 stranded passengers between 6th of May and 30th of July this year.

These flights will come from Gulf countries, the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, France, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, China, Israel, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. The flights will cater to 21 different airports across India and repatriate an estimated 1 lakh 30 thousand Indians stranded abroad.


Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, India has achieved the milestone of more than ten lakh recoveries which has taken the recovery rate to 64.54 per cent.  Speaking  during the 19th meeting of the high-level Group of Ministers on COVID-19 in New Delhi yesterday, he said this shows that the active cases under medical supervision are only 33.27 per cent or approximately one third of total positive cases. The Minister said, India’s Case Fatality Rate is also progressively reducing and currently stands at 2.18 per cent, one of the lowest globally. On the severity of cases found in the country, Dr. Harsh Vardhan stated that, out of the total active cases, only 0.28 per cent patients are on ventilators, 1.61 per cent patients needed ICU support and 2.32 per cent are on Oxygen support. He said, through a network of one thousand 331 labs, India has conducted a record of over six lakh 42 thousand tests in the last 24 hours. This has taken the cumulative tests to more than one crore 88 lakh.


The government has taken several steps to provide affordable and quality healthcare to the people and build a robust health infrastructure in the country during the last six years. These initiatives played an important role in containing the Covid-19 pandemic.

Exclusively speaking with AIR News, CEO of Ayushman Bharat Scheme, Dr. Indu Bhushan said, India has shown accelerated direction to the health facilities in last six years and public health infrastructure has been strengthened in these years.


The recovery rate of COVID patients in Delhi has further improved to 89.18 per cent. It continues to be the state with the highest recovery percentage in the country. The city recorded recovery of one thousand 206 patients in the last 24 hours taking the total number of recovered patients till date, to one lakh 20 thousand 930. With increased testing, the city has achieved the remarkable mark of conducting 54 thousand 357 Corona tests per million of its population. A total of one thousand 195 new confirmed cases of Coronavirus were reported in the National Capital during the last twenty four hours. With this the total number of COVID cases in the city has reached  one lakh 35 thousand 598.


Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal has rejected the Delhi Government's decision to allow hotels and weekly markets under Unlock 3. An official said, the matter was discussed with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and it was agreed that while there has been improvement in the situation, the pandemic threat is still far from over. Therefore a cautious and more conservative approach is required.

The proposal to allow Rehari Patriwallahs to operate for longer hours from today has been approved. However, the proposals regarding opening of hotels and hospitality services and opening of weekly Bazaars have been deferred for the time being. It will be reviewed by the State Disaster Management Authority later.


Protection is the keyword to prevent corona infection and for that it is very important to wear a mask at all times. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also appealed to the people to wear masks and follow physical distance. Following the Prime Minister's appeal, a public awareness campaign called ‘Ek Mask-Anek Zindagi’ (एक मास्क-अनेक जिंदगी) meaning one mask-many lives will be conducted from today till 15th of August in many districts of Madhya Pradesh. A report:

"During this campaign, people will be informed about measures to prevent COVID-19 infection. The Municipal Corporation will also run a public awareness chariot in the city on the same theme.

Khandwa Municipal Commissioner Himanshu Bhatt said that masks are the simplest and most effective means to prevent Corona infection.

The Mask Bank will also be established under the Ek Mask-Anek Zindgi Campaign. In this mask bank, masks will be collected from donors and distributed free of cost to the poor people. With Hiralal Longre from Khandwa, Sanjeev Sharma, AIR News, Bhopal."


The four-day Monsoon Session of Bihar Assembly beginning August 3 has been curtailed to single day in view of Corona pandemic. The decision was taken at an all party meeting chaired by Assembly Speaker Vijay Kumar Chaudhary. Earlier the session was scheduled from August 3 to 6. This session will be the last before the Assembly elections in the state. For the first time the session will not be held in the Assembly building. This time it will be held in another building outside Assembly in view of Corona threat. Meanwhile positive cases in Bihar have mounted to 50 thousand 987 with reporting of 2,986 fresh cases.


In Gujarat, the number of Covid 19 cases crossed 61,000 mark yesterday. A total of 1,153 fresh cases were reported in the state in the last 24 hours.

According to state health department, 23 Covid 19 patients lost their lives yesterday taking the death toll to 2,441.

Our correspondent reports that the number of recovered patients in the state has gone up to 44,907. Here is a report:

"Surat district continues to report highest number of cases in the state. Yesterday the district reported 289 cases for Covid ,19. But the district is also on the top in terms of revoveries. Out of the total 833 patients who recovered yesterday and got discharged from different hospitals, 189 were from Surat district alone. With average 700 to 800 patients getting discharged on daily basis, around the State's recovery rate now stands at  73.09 per cent. The state is continuously ramping up its daily testing,  as many as 26,000 samples were tested in a single day yesterday. Aparna Khunt AIR news Ahmedabad."


Maharashtra reported 10,320 new cases, taking the COVID-19 tally to 4,22,118. 265 fresh deaths have taken the toll to 14,994. As many as 7,543 patients were discharged from hospitals yesterday after they recovered from the viral infection. More from our correspondent:

"The State Health Department said that a total of  2,56,158 COVID-19 patients have been discharged so far in Maharashtra. The recovery rate in the state is now 60.68 per cent, while the fatality rate is 3.55 per cent. There are 1,50,966 active cases in the state, while the number of people tested so far stood at 21,30,098. The COVID-19 tally in Mumbai increased to 1,14,287 with the addition of 1,100 new cases, while the death toll rose to 6,350 with 53 more patients succumbing to the infection. According to BMC, so far, 87,074 patients, out of the total 1,14,287, have recovered from the disease. Madhuri Pange, AIR News, Mumbai."


Karnataka reported 5,483 new Covid - 19 cases yesterday among them 2,220 reported from the Bengaluru city. The total active cases in the State now stands at 71,968. More from our Correspondent:

"There are 3,130 people who recovered from various hospitals in the State and the total number of recovered patients has gone up to 49,788.  The recovery rate stands at 40.14 percent. Karnataka Medical Education Minister Dr.K.Sudhakar in a tweet has again warned of stringent action against private hospitals which do not cooperate with Arogyamitras deployed by Suvarna Arogya Surakshas Trust. Arogyamithras, facilitate treatment of Covid patients and  dashboard with information on bed availability in various hospitals. R.MURTHY, AIR NEWS BENGALURU".


In Tamil Nadu, Ayurvedha formulations have been made a part of the clinical management practice against Covid-19. They are being promoted as the means of boosting immunity to prevent the infection.

Meanwhile, the total Covid-19 infection in the state has crossed two lakh forty five thousand with more than 5800 new cases reported yesterday. More from our correspondent:

"Complementary to the allopathic system, AYUSH practices are being widely used in the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic. In Tamil Nadu, the Siddha formulation "Kabasura Kudineer" and the Homeopathic medication Arsenicum Album-30 have a huge following as they are known as immunity boosters. They are being distributed freely to the public and the field workers. A statement by the health department yesterday says Ayurvedha medicines can also be availed in government health facilities. They include popular formulations like “Indhukantham Kashayam” and “Agasthiya Rasaayanam,” to enhance immunity. While Allopathy remains the mainstay in the clinical management, AYUSH also plays a vital role. Jayasingh, AIR News, Chennai".


In our series "Expert Speak" on All India Radio we bring you views of leading medical experts on COVID-19. Dr. Nand Kumar, Professor of Psychiatry, AIIMS suggested people to stay at home, spend time with family members and practice Yoga. 


In Uttar Pradesh, Ayodhya is getting ready for Bhoomi Poojan or laying the foundation stone for construction of Ram temple. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will perform Bhoomi Poojan on August 5. Union Minister for Tourism and Culture Prahlad Singh Patel visited Ayodhya yesterday to take stock of preparations. More from our correspondent:

"Volunteers of Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya Awadh University have been given the task for special decoration of more than 25 locations of Ayodhya including Ram Janmbhumi premises and Ram ki Paidee. Around 200 students, expert in Art work are making Rangoli and Deep mala, series of earthen lamps at these locations. Professor Manoj Dixit of Awadh University told AIR

The Saga of Ramayana will be visible through these Rangoli and guidelines of social distancing are being followed in this work. With Rajendra Soni in Ayodhya this is Sushil Chandra Tiwari, AIR news, Lucknow."


In Jammu and Kashmir, the government has been relentlessly reaching out to the people and has accordingly stepped up the developmental initiatives enormously in various areas of the union territory.  Recently, the Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu approved a programme for hundred percent Macadamisation of all roads in Jammu and Kashmir including 11,000 Kms of fair-weather roads. In the meantime, the central government has also left no stone unturned to reach-out to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Under the instructions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, 36 Central Ministers visited various parts in Jammu and Kashmir to oversee, the developmental initiatives in the Union Territory. More from our Correspondent:

"The visit was aimed to give boost to developmental works and to ensure the timely implementation and execution of various centrally sponsored schemes in the region. The Central Ministers also assessed the developmental initiatives undertaken by the Union Territory administration, on ground. They also interacted with the local population to get the first-hand information on developmental front like Roads, Healthcare facilities, Electricity and functioning of Academic Institutions in the Union Territory. The Central Ministers also laid foundation stones of various projects so that the benefits of various centrally sponsored schemes percolate across the Union Territory at the grass-root levels. This is Sunil Koul for AIR News from Srinagar."


Prime Minister Narendra Modi has congratulated the telecom industry for completing 25 years of mobile telephony in the country. Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) organised a special online event "Desh Ki Digital Udaan" to commemorate the event.

In his letter, the Prime Minister appreciated the contribution made by DoT, telecom companies, and COAI in the growth of the telecom sector.


The government is looking to have a distinct identity for 'AatmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyan' by developing a logo based on creative and innovative inputs from the citizens of the country. MyGov.in platform has started the AatmaNirbhar Bharat Logo Design Contest on its website where Indian Citizens can submit their entries without any hassle through online medium. The last date of submission of entries is 5th of August 2020 till 11.45 PM.


Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar has said that he expects a free and fair probe into the actor Sushant Singh Rajput death case to ensure the truth comes out. He was speaking at the Vision Maharashtra event organised by a Marathi news channel in Mumbai. He said that talent should get scope in the film industry.

Meanwhile, amid growing demand for a CBI probe into the actor's death, Maharashtra minister Jayant Patil said the Mumbai police are investigating the Sushant Singh Rajput suicide case and it is expected they will arrive at a conclusion soon.

On the other hand, actor Shekhar Suman met Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari yesterday to demand a CBI inquiry in the matter.


The festival of sacrifice, Eid-ul-Azha or Bakrid is being celebrated with religious fervour and due reverence across the country today. There will be no mass congregation prayers in Eidgahs and Grand mosques in most of the places in view of the coronavirus pandemic.

The faithfuls will offer Eid prayers in local mosques and in their homes in compliance with lockdown norms and guidelines issued to contain covid-19

Eid-ul-Azha is celebrated to commemorate the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his only son in obedience of God's command. In Kerala, Eid- ul- Azha was celebrated yesterday.

President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu have greeted the people on the occasion of Idu’l Azha. In his message, Mr Kovind said, Idu’l Azha symbolizes the spirit of sacrifice and amity which inspires people to work for the well-being of one and all.  


In a major development and push to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of achieving universalization of membership of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), the requisite number of member countries has given the go-ahead. After ratification to the amendment of the ISA framework, all the Member States of the United Nations will now be able to join the International Solar Alliance, including those countries which are beyond the Tropics.


India has received a strong bipartisan support from members of the US Congress against the recent Chinese military aggression in Ladakh. In the last few weeks, dozens of lawmakers, across the aisle, both on the floor of the House of Representatives and the Senate and outside the Capitol have praised India of standing strong against the Chinese efforts to grab Indian territories.

Addressing US House of Representatives, Congressman Frank Pallone, one of the senior-most Democratic lawmakers, asked China to end its military aggression. Other lawmakers also condemned the recent Chinese aggression along the LAC in Ladakh region.

At a time when there is a bitter political divide in Washington DC, influential lawmakers from both the GOP and Democratic Party have been supporting Indian stand against China.


Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has announced that the government will postpone highly anticipated legislative elections by one year, citing a worsening coronavirus outbreak in the semi-autonomous Chinese city. The Hong Kong government is invoking an emergency ordinance in delaying the elections. Lam said the government has the support of the Chinese government in making the decision to hold the elections on September 5, 2021.


Now, let us take a look at today's weather forecast. To the North, in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the minimum temperature in Jammu was 25 degrees Celsius while the maximum will be around 33 degrees Celsius. The city will have a partly cloudy sky with one or two spells of rain or thundershowers.

In Srinagar, the minimum temperature was 18 degrees while the maximum will be 32 degrees Celsius. The city will have mainly clear skies becoming partly cloudy towards afternoon or evening.

Ladakh will have mainly clear sky becoming partly cloudy towards afternoon or evening. The temperature will hover between 14 and 27 degrees Celsius.

In Gilgit, the temperature will hover between 19 and 39 degrees Celsius. It will experience mainly clear sky becoming partly cloudy towards afternoon or evening.

In Muzzafarabad, there will be partly cloudy sky with one or two spells of rain or thundershowers. The minimum temperature was 23 degrees Celsius while the maximum temperature will be around 35 degrees.

Chandigarh will have a generally cloudy sky with one or two spells of rain or thundershowers. The minimum temperature in the city will be 27 degrees Celsius while the maximum will be around 33 degrees.

The National Capital Delhi may have thunderstorm with rain tomorrow. The minimum temperature was recorded 27 degrees Celsius and maximum will be 34 degrees Celsius.

In Dehradun, the temperature will hover between 24 and 31 degrees Celsius. The city will have generally cloudy sky with a few spells of rain or thundershowers.

In Hyderabad, the minimum temperature was 24 degrees celsius while the maximum will be around 34 degrees. It will have a generally cloudy sky with one or two spells of rain or thundershowers.

Rain or thundershowers would occur in Bhopal towards  evening or night.

Guwahati will have a generally cloudy sky with one or two  spells of rain  or thundershowers.


Newspapers Headlines

  • Under the headline, "At 650 thousand, India closes in on 1 million daily tests target", Hindustan Times reports on positivity rate of Covid crisis declining as strategy to test , trace, and treat is scaled up in the country.

  • A front page headline in the Economic Times notes the Prime Minister focussing on digital connectivity calling for  "Focus on Telecom Self -reliance and  Security."

  • "Online open, 3.7 lakh get domicile in a month , 78 percent of them in Jammu "reports The Indian Express.

  • The Times of India reports about IMD forecast hinting at heavy September rainfall under the  headline, "Monsoon 10 percent deficient in July, Driest in 5 years."

  • In a landmark move to protect independent journalism"Australia to make Facebook , Google pay for News "writes Financial Express.

  • Quoting DGCA The Tribune writes , "No International Flights till August 31."

  • "Foreign University campuses welcome Education policy-2020" calling it a game changing initiative, writes the Asian Age.


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