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News18 Afternoon Digest: AstraZeneca Pauses Coronavirus Vaccine Trial, SC Dismisses Plea to Postpone NEET 2020

A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a "Vaccine COVID-19" sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration taken on April 10, 2020. (REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo)

A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a "Vaccine COVID-19" sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration taken on April 10, 2020. (REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo)

These are the top stories we are covering right now: AstraZeneca says volunteer who took its coronavirus vaccine during trial developed unexplained illness; Silver Lake Partners to invest Rs 7500 crore in the retail arm of Reliance Industries; and Indian Army expands stockpiles of extreme-cold weather equipment as LAC faces 'Siachenisation'.

AstraZeneca Pauses Covid-19 Vaccine Trial after Volunteer Develops Unexplained Illness

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said on Tuesday it had "voluntarily paused" a randomized clinical trial of its coronavirus vaccine after a volunteer developed an unexplained illness. The company, which is developing the drug alongside the University of Oxford, is a frontrunner in the global race for a Covid-19 vaccine. "As part of the ongoing randomized, controlled global trials of the Oxford coronavirus vaccine, our standard review process was triggered and we voluntarily paused vaccination to allow review of safety data by an independent committee," a spokesperson said. READ MORE

Last Ditch Attempt to Get NEET Date Postponed as Supreme Court Junks Plea

A last-ditch attempt to get NEET, which is scheduled to be held this Sunday, postponed failed on Wednesday as the Supreme Court refused to entertain a batch of petition to defer the entrance exam dates due to coronavirus pandemic and floods in some states. "Now everything is over," a three-judge bench remarked as it dismissed the pleas, and observed that even review petitions have been dismissed by the court earlier. READ MORE

After Jio Investment, Silver Lake Snaps Up 1.75% Stake in Reliance Retail for Rs 7,500 Crore

After acquiring a piece of Jio Platforms, the world’s largest tech investor, Silver Lake Partners, will invest Rs 7500 crore in the retail arm of Reliance Industries Ltd. The investment will give Silver Lake a 1.75 per cent stake on a fully diluted basis in Reliance Retail, which had a few days ago inked a deal to acquire rival Future Retail. The investment values Reliance Retail at Rs 4.21 lakh crore or about 57 billion US dollars. READ MORE

Faced with Prospect of 'Siachenised' LAC, Indian Army Prepares for Cold, Long Haul in Ladakh

Faced with the prospect of troops having to occupy high-altitude outposts in Ladakh through the winter, the Indian Army has tapped suppliers worldwide to expanded its stockpiles of extreme-cold weather equipment, including clothing designed to provide thermal insulation at temperatures of -50ºC, government sources have told News18. Experts have been warning of the risk that the crisis along the LAC could result in the two armies being pushed into Siachen-like long-term deployments in some of the world’s most inhospitable terrain. READ MORE

School Are Reopening Partially. Here’s What Going Back Will be Like for Students and Teachers

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has said that schools can be partially opened from September 21 for students in Classes IX-XII on a voluntary basis for taking guidance from teachers. However, this will not be similar to regular classes held during school. Students will have to take consent from parents and social distancing will have to be ensured at all times. News18 explains how the new reopened special schools will work. READ MORE

'Smash Patriarchy': Vidya Balan to Anurag Kashyap, Bollywood Bigwigs Demand Justice for Rhea

Actress Rhea Chakraborty was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on Tuesday under several sections of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, in relation to the drugs case linked to the death of Sushant Singh Rajput. The arrest, which came after Rhea was subjected to intense scrutiny and media trial, has stoked a debate about patriarchy and how the media treats women who are under scanner as opposed to men. READ MORE