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News18 Afternoon Digest: WHO Says Covid Death Toll Could Top 2 Million and Other Top Stories

The driver of an ambulance returns after helping cremate the body of a woman who died of Covid-19, in New Delhi. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

The driver of an ambulance returns after helping cremate the body of a woman who died of Covid-19, in New Delhi. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

These are the top stories we are covering this afternoon: The Lancet warns India against positive spin on Covid-19; WHO says global Covid-19 death toll could hit 2 million before vaccines become widely available; Trai drops probe against Vodafone Idea after telco tweaks priority plan offer; Rahul Gandhi takes a dig at PM Modi in birthday wish for Manmohan Singh; confined and beaten by upper caste men, bonded labourers lose 8-year-old son in MP's Guna; Valli Arunachalam’s lone fight against 120-Year-Old Murugappa Group for a place on its board.

India Responded Well in Many Regards But Positive Spin on Covid-19, Avoiding Negative News Wrong: The Lancet

In a scathing opinion piece on how India has handled the Covid-19 pandemic, the Lancet has given a thumbs down to information dissemination in the country. Giving a positive spin to the Covid-19 situation, not relying on science despite a strong response at the outset of the pandemic is not a good situation to be in. The British journal underscored that the country has the world's fastest growing outbreak of Covid-19 in absolute numbers, yet there is an atmosphere of fatalism mingled with false optimism that undermines effective use of non-pharmaceutical interventions such as masks and physical distancing”. READ MORE

Global Covid-19 Death Toll Could Hit 2 Million Before Vaccine In Wide Use, WHO Says

The global death toll from Covid-19 could double to 2 million before a successful vaccine is widely used and could be even higher without concerted action to curb the pandemic, the World Health Organization has said. “Unless we do it all, (2 million deaths) it is not only imaginable, but sadly very likely,” Mike Ryan, head of the UN agency’s emergencies program, said. The number of deaths about nine months since the novel coronavirus was discovered in China is nearing 1 million. READ MORE

Trai Drops Probe Against Vodafone Idea After Telco Withdraws Speed Claim, Tweaks Priority Plan Offer

Telecom regulator Trai has decided to drop proceedings against Vodafone Idea Ltd (VIL) in priority plan matter after the telco withdrew contentious claims on faster speed and modified its offering. The move brings down curtains on the controversial priority plan issue, which saw the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) initiating a probe into telco's claims of priority network and faster data speeds for premium customers. READ MORE

'India Feels...': In Birthday Wish for Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi Takes a Dig at PM Modi

India feels the absence of a PM with the depth of Manmohan Singh, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said on Saturday, taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he wished the former prime minister on his birthday. Singh, who headed the UPA coalition government between 2004 and 2014, turned 88 on Saturday. “India feels the absence of a PM with the depth of Dr Manmohan Singh. His honesty, decency and dedication are a source of inspiration for us all,” Gandhi said. “Wishing him a very happy birthday and a lovely year ahead,” the former Congress chief tweeted with the hashtag #HappyBirthdayDrMMSingh#. READ MORE

Not Allowed to Visit Hospital, Confined and Beaten, Bonded Labourers Lose 8-Year-Old Son in MP's Guna

An eight-year-old boy lost his life after his parents were physically barred from taking him to the hospital by upper caste men who had trapped the family into bonded labour since the last five years for mere Rs 25,000 in Madhya Pradesh's Guna. The child’s father, Pahalwan Singh, who belongs to the Sahariya Scheduled Tribe escaped illegal confinement, and lodged a complaint, but no action has been taken. READ MORE

Lone Fight of Valli Arunachalam against 120-Year-Old Company That Never Had a Woman Board Member

MV Murugappan, executive chairman of Ambadi Investments Ltd (AIL), the holding company of 120-year-old Murugappa Group, died three years ago. His daughter and scientist Valli Arunachalam has since then waged a lone battle to be inducted into the all-male board of one of India’s oldest business houses. “I pity the group… It is shocking that in this day and age when women are breaking barriers in numerous fields, the so-called Titans of South Indian Business have such utter disregard for women in their own family. Their promoters, for self-serving reasons, are depriving the group of the value that qualified family women can bring on the board," she told News18.com. READ MORE


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