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New Delhi, Apr 28 (PTI) Following are the top stories at 1700 hours: NATION CAL8 AS-3RDLD QUAKE Quake of 6.4 magnitude strikes Assam, seven more follow Guwahati/New Delhi: A series of earthquakes jolted Assam and most of the Northeast on Wednesday, causing extensive damage to buildings and forcing people to scamper out of their homes.

DEL36 VIRUS-PM-IAF IAF on 24X7 readiness to help in COVID-19 relief operations: Bhadauria tells PM New Delhi: The Indian Air Force has ordered round-the-clock readiness of its entire heavy-lift fleet and substantial numbers of its medium-lift fleets to rapidly meet COVID-19 related tasks across the country and overseas, Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria told Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday.

DEL38 EC-COUNTING-CURBS Negative Covid-19 report or full vaccination mandatory for entering counting halls: EC New Delhi: No candidates or their agents will be allowed inside counting halls without a negative coronavirus report, according to the latest result-day guidelines issued by the Election Commission.

DEL26 VIRUS-STATES DEATHS SURGE Ten states account for over 78 per cent of new COVID-19 deaths in India New Delhi: Maharashtra, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh are among the 10 states that account for 78.53 per cent of the new COVID-19 deaths reported in a day, the Union Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

DEL30 DEF-TEJAS MISSILE Tejas cleared to carry Python-5 air-to-air missile New Delhi: Indigenously-developed light combat aircraft Tejas has been cleared to carry fifth generation Python-5 air-to-air missile as part of its weapons package that would significantly enhance the combat prowess of the jet, officials said on Wednesday.

DEL44 DEF-IAF-2NDLD OXYGEN IAF airlifts 3 oxygen tankers from Bangkok to Jamnagar New Delhi: The Indian Air Force (IAF) airlifted three oxygen tankers from Bangkok in Thailand to Gujarat's Jamnagar on Wednesday, senior officials said.

DEL24 BIZ-OXYGEN-FERTILISER FIRMS Fertiliser firms to supply 50 tonnes of oxygen per day to COVID-19 patients New Delhi: The centre on Wednesday said fertiliser companies like IFFCO are expected to supply 50 tonne of medical oxygen per day to hospitals for treatment of COVID-19 patients.

DEL22 MHA-LD DELHI ACT-NOTIFY L-G now effective in-charge of Delhi, MHA notifies Act New Delhi: Delhi’s lieutenant governor has become the effective in-charge of the national capital with the Centre notifying a new law making it clear the city’s elected government will now have to seek the opinion of the L-G before any executive decision.

DEL47 UKD-AVALANCHE-TOLL U'khand avalanche: One more body recovered, death toll rises to 16 Gopeshwar (U'khand): The death toll in a recent avalanche in Sumna, near the Indo-China border in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district, rose to 16 on Wednesday with the recovery of one more body.

DEL25 RAHUL-GOVT Govt with vision essential, not Central Vista project: Rahul Gandhi New Delhi: The Central Vista project is not essential now, but a central government with a vision is, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said on Wednesday as the country saw a record single-day rise of over 3.60 lakh coronavirus cases.

DEL42 HELPING HANDS-COVID CRISIS The good that people do: Indians reach out with helping hand as Covid spirals New Delhi: Even the darkest cloud, it is said, has a silver lining. And because most oft-quoted clichés are rooted in reality, myriad acts of kindness, be it home cooked meals for the ill or arranging an oxygen cylinder, are shining through India’s gravest health emergency.

LEGAL LGD18 SC-VEDANTA-ORDER SC allows Vedanta to run oxygen plant in TN for national requirement during pandemic New Delhi: The Supreme Court has allowed Vedanta to operate its closed oxygen plant at Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu in view of 'national requirement' amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic.

LGD17 DL-HC-REMDESIVIR It appears Centre wants people to die, says HC on new protocol on Remdesivir use New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Wednesday said it appeared that the Centre wanted people to die as according to the new protocol on use of Remdesivir for COVID-19 treatment, the drug was to be given only to those on oxygen support.

LGD 12 SC-LD JOURNALIST SC directs UP govt to shift arrested scribe Kappan to Delhi hospital for better treatment New Delhi: The Supreme Court Wednesday directed the Uttar Pradesh government to shift Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan, arrested last year on way to Hathras where a young Dalit woman had died after being gang raped, to a hospital in Delhi for better medical treatment.

FOREIGN FGN21 CHINA-SCHOOL-ATTACK 18 injured in knife attack on kindergarten school in China Beijing: Sixteen children and two teachers were injured in a knife attack on a kindergarten school in China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on Wednesday, police said. By K J M Varma FGN26 AUS-DEFENCE-INDOPACIFIC Australia to spend 747mln dollars for upgrading four defence bases to boost Indo-Pacific engagements Melbourne: Australia will invest 747 million dollars in upgrading four key military training areas and ranges in the Northern Territory to defend the country's interests and support greater engagement with the Indo-Pacific neighbours and allies, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Wednesday, amid China's increasing assertiveness in the region. By Natasha Chaku PTI SRY