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News18 Evening Digest: Suvendu Adhikari Joins BJP, Health Min Says India on Cusp of Authorising First Set of Vaccines & Other Top Stories

Suvendu Adhikari speaks at Amit Shah’s Midnapore rally after joining the BJP on Saturday. (Twitter/@ANI)

Suvendu Adhikari speaks at Amit Shah’s Midnapore rally after joining the BJP on Saturday. (Twitter/@ANI)

Here are the top stories we are covering this evening: Suvendu Adhikari joins BJP; Harsh Vardhan says India on the cusp of authorising first set of Covid-19 vaccines; Allahabad HC stops arrest of Muslim man charged under UP's 'love jihad' law; US accuses China of 'obstructing' WHO probe on Covid; India record their lowest-ever test score in match against Australia; how Bollywood defined nepotism in its own creative way post SSR's death; Twitter confused over Neha Kakkar's pregnancy.

Suvendu Adhikari Joins BJP, Says Never Received 'Love and Respect' in TMC

West Bengal political heavyweight Suvendu Adhikari joined the BJP along with nine MLAs of different parties and a TMC MP at Union home minister Amit Shah's rally in Midnapore on Saturday, ending weeks of speculation. Adhikari resigned from the Trinamool Congress earlier this week, besides giving up his cabinet portfolios in the Mamata Banerjee government. He has also resigned as an MLA, but it is yet to be accepted. In an open letter addressed to the grassroots members of the Trinamool Congress, Adhikari said West Bengal is standing at a critical juncture as the people of the state are destined to make a choice in the 2021 Assembly elections that will impact them forever. Adhikari said that "an extremely deep rot and malaise" has set in in the Trinamool Congress. READ MORE

India on the Cusp of Authorising First Set of Covid Vaccines, Says Harsh Vardhan

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday announced said India is at the cusp of authorizing the first set of Covid-19 vaccines and expressed the need for an expeditious vaccination drive to cover all the target populations, estimated to be around 30 crore. The minister made the announcement while chairing the 22nd meeting of the high-level Group of Ministers (GoM) on Covid-19 through a video-conference as India crossed the 1 crore infection mark. He was joined virtually by external affairs minister S Jaishankar, civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri, MoS for health and family welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey, MoS home affairs Nityanand Rai, Member (Health) NITI Aayog Vinod K Paul, and advisers to the Prime Minister Amarjeet Sinha and Bhaskar Khulbe. READ MORE

Allahabad HC Stops Arrest of Muslim Man Charged Under UP's 'Love Jihad' Law

As the debate over "love jihad" continues to grow, the Allahabad High Court on Friday stayed the arrest of a 32-year-old Muslim man booked under the Uttar Pradesh government's controversial anti-conversion law. Akshay Kumar Tyagi had named Nadeem and his brother Salman in the complaint last month in Muzzafarnagar. Tyagi is a labour contractor in a prominent pharmaceutical company, NDTV reports. Nadeem had been booked under the recently promulgated Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020, a law which UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has touted would curb "love jihad". READ MORE

US Accuses China of 'Obstructing' WHO Probe on Covid, 'Peddling' Questionable Vaccines

Urging the international community to demand transparency from China about the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the US has accused Beijing of "obstructing" a WHO probe into the origin of the deadly virus in the central Chinese city of Wuhan and "peddling" questionable vaccines one year after the disease broke out. The US leads the world with over 17,442,100 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 313,000 deaths. READ MORE

India vs Australia 1st Test: 36/9-India Record Their Lowest-Ever Test Score

India registered their lowest ever Test score of 36. Incidentally they were not bundled out on that score as number eleven Mohammad Shami got retired hurt owing to an injury on his elbow. India were 9/1 when the Stumps were called on Day 2. Resuming from the overnight score, India lost five wickets for just 10 runs on board and when Skipper Virat Kohli was dismissed, Team India were reduced to 19/6. Their second innings ended at 36/9 and at once it looked like they will bundle out below their lowest ever Test score of 42. Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood were the pick of the bowlers, taking four and five wickets each. READ MORE

Focus on Star Kids OK. But What About Caste? How Bollywood Defined Nepotism in its Own Creative Way Post Sushant's Death

In the year 2020, we saw the resurgence of a strong debate around nepotism in Bollywood, triggered by the tragic death of Sushant Singh Rajput. As the year comes to an end, unfortunately the debate is also dying down. Bollywood, which is known for its creativity, tried to define nepotism in its own creative way. The debate is now new. There have been a few who have been raising the issue for a while, and there have also been marked silence among few. The narrative around the binary of ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’ from the lens of the star kid phenomenon has strengthened. How consistent and inclusive were these debates? Were they real or were they just excuses for mudslinging? READ MORE

Is Neha Kakkar Pregnant or Was it Publicity Stunt for New Song? Poster Reveal Leaves Twitter Confused

A day after the alleged news of singer Kakkar and husband Rohanpreet Singh being pregnant with their first child broke the internet, it turns out that the singer is indeed not pregnant. As it turned out on Saturday, it was all a publicity stunt that Kakkar seems to have executed herself. A day after sharing the image of Kakkar posing with Rohanpreet and a visible baby bump on Instagram, the singer on Saturday revealed that the image was nothing more than a publicity stunt for an upcoming music video 'Khyaal Rakhya Kar', which is set for release this December 22. READ MORE