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New Delhi, Dec 29 (PTI) Following are the top stories at 5 pm NATION DEL14 VIRUS-LD UK STRAIN DETECTED Six UK returnees test positive for contagious variant of COVID-19 New Delhi: Six persons who returned to India from the United Kingdom have tested positive for the new mutated strain of coronavirus, the Union Health Ministry said on Tuesday.

DEL51 HEALTH-VIRUS-VARIANT-PASSENGERS Genome sequencing for all COVID-19 positive flyers who arrived in India from Dec 9 to 22 New Delhi: Samples of all international passengers who arrived in India from December 9 to 22 and tested positive for COVID-19 will be subjected to genome sequencing as part of the Centre's strategy to detect the mutated coronavirus strain that has emerged in the United Kingdom recently.

DEL 35 AVI-UK-FLIGHTS-PURI Foresee slight extension of suspension of UK flights: Aviation Minister Puri New Delhi: Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri Tuesday said he foresees a slight extension of temporary suspension of passenger flights between India and the UK, where a new variant of the coronavirus has been detected. DEL41 UP-3RDLD PM PM attacks previous govts for delaying work on dedicated freight corridor project Lucknow: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday accused previous governments of delaying the dedicated freight corridor project and ignoring modernisation of railways, and said politics should be kept away from infrastructure development.

BOM9 MP-CONVERSION-LD ORDINANCE MP cabinet gives nod to ordinance on freedom of religion bill Bhopal: The BJP government in Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday gave its nod to an ordinance on the bill against religious conversion through fraudulent means, including those for the sake of marriage, that stipulates a jail term of up to 10 years for violators, and sent it to state Governor Anandiben Patel for approval.

MDS13 TN-LD RAJINIKANTH Rajini does a U-turn; says he is not going to take the political plunge Chennai: Making a U-turn on his political plunge, superstar Rajinikanth on Tuesday announced that he will not join politics and start a party as announced earlier, citing his frail health.

DEL53 FARMERS-PAWAR INTERVIEW Govt bulldozed three farm laws; Agriculture can't be run sitting in Delhi: Pawar New Delhi: NCP supremo and former agriculture minister Sharad Pawar on Tuesday accused the Centre of bulldozing three new farm laws without consulting states and asserted that agriculture cannot be run 'sitting in Delhi' as it involves farmers toiling in distant villages. By Jatin Takkar & Prashant Rangnekar MDS2 KA-DEPUTY CHAIRMAN-LD SUICIDE Karnataka Legislative Council deputy chairman found dead on rail track, suicide suspected Bengaluru: Karnataka Legislative Council Deputy Chairman S L Dharme Gowda was found dead on a rail track in Chikkamagaluru district of Karnataka in the early hours of Tuesday, with police sources claiming he died by suicide.

CAL7 WB-AMARTYA-INTERVIEW People of Bengal won't be worthy heirs of Tagore, Netaji if they don't reject communalism: Amartya Kolkata: Political parties sure have good reasons to pursue individual goals, but rejection of communalism ought to be a shared value without which 'we shall not be worthy heirs of Tagore and Netaji', Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has said. By Pradipta Tapadar BOM6 GJ-VASAVA Gujarat BJP MP Mansukh Vasava quits party Bharuch: Gujarat BJP MP and former Union minister Mansukh Vasava, who has been vocal on tribal issues, on Tuesday quit the party and said he would resign from Lok Sabha in the budget session of Parliament.

FOREIGN FGN15 VIRUS-CHINA-VACCINATION China kicks off emergency COVID-19 vaccination in Wuhan Beijing: The Chinese city of Wuhan, where the novel coronavirus emerged a year ago before it became a pandemic and upended life across the globe, has started the emergency COVID-19 vaccination on some key groups, a senior health official said on Tuesday, even as China is yet to officially certify its multiple vaccines. By K J M Varma FGN12 US-HOUSE-LD COVID RELIEF US House passes bill to increase COVID-19 stimulus cheques to USD 2000 Washington: The Democratic-controlled US House of Representatives has passed a bill to meet President Donald Trump’s demand for increasing direct coronavirus relief payments to some Americans to USD 2,000, but the measure faces an uphill battle in the Republican-run Senate. By Lalit K Jha FGN14 UN-INDIA-ECONOMY India's economy could prove to be 'most resilient' in subregion over long term: UN United Nations: India's economy could prove to be the 'most resilient' in the subregion of South and South-West Asia over the long term, according to a report by the UN, which says a positive but lower economic growth post COVID-19 pandemic and the country’s large market will continue to attract investments. By Yoshita Singh NSD NSD