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News18 Afternoon Digest: Approval for Covid Vaccine on Cards as Panel Meets Today, Delhi Sees Coldest Day in 15 Yrs & Other Top Stories

A medic administers an experimental COVID-19 vaccine to a health worker during trialsin Ahmedabad. (REUTERS)

A medic administers an experimental COVID-19 vaccine to a health worker during trialsin Ahmedabad. (REUTERS)

Here are the top stories we are covering this afternoon: Approval for Covid Vaccine on Cards; Congress of Today is Not Ready to be the Common Denominator; Delhi Wakes up to Freezing 1.1 Degree C Weather; WHO Grants 'Emergency Validation' to Pfizer Vaccine; Trump Extends Curbs on Work Visas; What's the Perfect Ingredient to Make a Queer Film in 2021?;Zomato Clocks in 4,100 Orders Per Minute on New Year's Eve.

Approval for Oxford-AstraZeneca, Bharat Biotech Vaccines Today? Panel to Meet Ahead of India-Wide Dry Run Tomorrow

An expert panel in the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) will meet today to further deliberate on considering emergency use authorisation applications by Serum Institute of India (SII) for the Oxford-AztraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine and Bharat Biotech's 'Covaxin'. India’s Covid-19 tally, meanwhile, has gone up by 20,036 to touch 1,02,86,710 cases. The death toll hit 1,48,994 with 256 deaths recorded in last 24 hours. LIVE UPDATES

Congress of Today is Not Ready to be the Common Denominator, the Masses Must Force Open Its Doors

A soul-less party. A clueless, self-serving rank and file. A rotten mess. The Indian National Congress (INC) of 2020 is anything but a political instrument of the masses for the masses that it once was. At best, it’s a group of clueless leaders with little or no connect with the people of India, with little or no connect with their own historic past. And virtually no formal position on anything. READ MORE

Delhi Wakes up to Freezing 1.1 Degree C Weather, Coldest in 15 Years as Thick Fog Blankets Dawn Sky

Asevere cold wave swept Delhi on New Year's Day as the mercury plummeted to 1.1 degrees Celsius, the lowest in 15 years, and "very dense" fog lowered visibility to "zero" metres, affecting traffic movement. On January 8, 2006, the city had recorded a minimum of 0.2 degree Celsius. The lowest minimum temperature recorded in January last year was 2.4 degrees Celsius, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said. Kuldeep Srivastava, the head of the IMD's regional forecasting centre, said "very dense" fog lowered visibility to "zero" metres at Safdarjung and Palam at 6 am. READ MORE

WHO Grants 'Emergency Validation' to Pfizer Vaccine, Paving the Way for Quicker Nod from Nations

The World Health Organization says it has cleared the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for emergency use, meaning poorer countries may soon get access to the shot already available in Europe and North America. Every country that has a drug regulatory agency will have to issue its own approval for any COVID-19 vaccine, but countries with weak systems usually rely on WHO to vet the shots. READ MORE

Trump Extends Curbs on Work Visas, Immigration Citing Pandemic's Impact on Labour Market

US President Donald Trump extended certain restrictions on legal immigration and on visas that allow immigrants to temporarily work in the United States on Thursday, just hours before those restrictions were set to lapse. Trump extended the restrictions through March 31, two months after he will leave office. READ MORE

What's the Perfect Ingredient to Make a Queer Film in 2021 That is Not 'Laxmii' or 'Pati Patni Aur Panga'?

In the tedious and strained equation between the queer community and the mainstream film industry, 2020 began with a glimmer of hope. In January, PVR Cinemas – the largest exhibitor in the country – put up a few screenings of LGBTQIA+ short films in an arrangement with the Kashish Film Festival. Weeks later, Neena Gupta’s The Last Colour, starring trans actor and model, Rudrani Chettri, made it to the Best Picture long-list at the Oscars. At the same time, large film production houses were scouting for and buying books written by queer authors hoping to turn them into OTT series and feature films. READ MORE

Zomato CEO Left Stunned as Food Delivery App Clocks in 4100 Orders Per Minute on New Year's Eve

Zomato CEO Left Stunned as Food Delivery App Clocks in 4100 Orders Per Minute on New Year's Eve

With Covid-19 keeping many revellers indoors even on New Year's Eve, food delivery platforms seem to be having a hard time meeting the sudden spike in demand, with orders on Zomato alone going up to over 3,200 per minute on Thursday evening. "Our order velocity right now is the highest we have seen in our life so far (approximately 2500 orders per minute (opm)). Surpassed India vs Pakistan day wala opm. And it's only 6pm! I hope our tech lives through this," Zomato CEO Deepinder Goyal said in a tweet. READ MORE


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