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News18 Evening Digest: Next Round of Centre-Farmer Talks on Jan 19, Nepal Approves AstraZeneca Vaccine & Other Top Stories

Members of Kisan Sangarsh Committee stage a protest against new farm laws in Patiala on Friday. (PTI)

Members of Kisan Sangarsh Committee stage a protest against new farm laws in Patiala on Friday. (PTI)

Here are the top stories we are covering this evening: Next round of Centre-farmer talks on Jan 19; Covid-19 vaccination drive kicks off tomorrow; prosecutors say US rioters sought to 'capture and assassinate' lawmakers at Capitol; BJP picks Modi's aide Arvind Kumar Sharma for UP Legislative Council Polls; Nepal approves AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use; who is Joe Biden's latest recruit Sameera Fazili?; 'bloody grub'-Aussie fans went after Mohammed Siraj, again; and space is filling up with junk.

Next Round of Talks on Jan 19 as Deadlock Continues; Agri Min Tomar Asks Farmer Groups to Be Flexible

Three central ministers and farmers unions on Friday committed to continue holding direct talks to resolve the over-one-month-long deadlock over three agri laws, with Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar urging farmer leaders to be flexible in their approach as has been done by the government. The ninth round of talks between protesting farmer unions and three central ministers got underway here on Friday afternoon and discussions were held on all the three laws before the lunch break. Besides Tomar, Railways, Commerce and Food Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash are holding the talks with the representatives of around 40 farmer unions at the Vigyan Bhawan here. LIVE UPDATES HERE

As Covid-19 Vaccination Drive Kicks Off Tomorrow, India’s Past Experience in Mass Inoculation Can Be Handy

India will launch its most ambitious and the world’s largest Covid-19 vaccination drive on Saturday. Inoculating the country’s vast and distributed population is a big challenge but India’s past experience in mass vaccination will come in handy here. The current Covid-19 vaccination drive also leans heavily on processes, manpower, database and experience of the Universal Immunisation Programme that vaccinated over 27 million pregnant women and 25 million infants every year. READ MORE

US Rioters Sought to 'Capture and Assassinate' Lawmakers at Capitol, Say Prosecutors

US prosecutors now believe supporters of President Donald Trump planned to "capture and assassinate elected officials" in their siege of the Capitol building last week, according to a new court filing. The filing, submitted by Justice Department lawyers late Thursday, sought the detention of Jacob Chansley of Arizona, the QAnon conspiracy theorist pictured in the riot dressed as a horned shaman at the desk of Vice President Mike Pence. READ MORE

BJP Picks Modi's Aide Arvind Kumar Sharma for UP Legislative Council Polls, May Get Key Position in Team Yogi

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday named UP BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh, UP Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma, vice president Laxman Prasad Acharya and former IAS officer Arvind Kumar Sharma as its candidates for the biennial elections to 12 legislative council seats in Uttar Pradesh. Among the contenders, Sharma is an interesting pick who is said to be a close aide of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for two decades. He took voluntary retirement this week to join the BJP. READ MORE

Nepal Approves AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccine Manufactured in India for Emergency Use: Report

Nepal on Friday granted approval for AstraZeneca's COVISHIELD vaccine against the novel coronavirus in the country. "Conditional permission has been granted for emergency use authorization of COVISHIELD vaccine against COVID-19 in Nepal," a statement by the country's Department of Drug Administration said. Nepal has reported 266,816 cases and 1,948 deaths from COVID-19 so far, according to official data. READ MORE

Former Obama Aide and Joe Biden's Latest Recruit: Who is Kashmir-born Sameera Fazili?

US president elect Joe Biden is constituting an economic team to help America steer out of the economic distress caused by the coronavirus pandemic. As Biden's teams continue to be diverse with people of color holding important posts, his latest addition to the National Economic Council is Kashmir-origin Sameera Fazili. She will be the deputy director of the NEC whose focus is manufacturing, innovation and domestic competition. READ MORE

India vs Australia, 4th Test: 'Bloody Grub'-Aussie Fans Went After Mohammed Siraj, Again

Indian pacer Mohammed Siraj was again targeted by the Aussie cricket fans at the Gabba, Brisbane days after the bowler faced racial taunts during the third Test match in Sydney. The game was stopped midway and the guilty were ejected from the stadium in the aftermath. Now the Hyderabad cricketer has been targeted once again, debutante Washington Sundar too wasn't spared. READ MORE

Plastic Island: Space is Filling up with Junk but Elon Musk isn't Telling You That

In the 17th-century, when Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei looked out into the unknown vastness of space using his ingenious telescope, he saw the sun, the moon, planets, and stars. Had the polymath been looking through the telescope in the year 2021, he perhaps would have been disappointed to find not stars and other 'space oddities' so eulogized by mortals but bits of trash and plastic. READ MORE

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