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New Delhi, Dec 18 (PTI) These are the top stories at 12.30 pm: NATION DEL13 VIRUS-VACCINE-HEALTH MINISTRY Vaccination for COVID-19 will be voluntary: Health ministry New Delhi: Getting vaccinated for COVID-19 will be voluntary, the Union Health Ministry has said while underlining that the vaccine introduced in India will be as effective as any vaccine developed by other countries.

DEL9 VIRUS-LD CASES With 22,890 fresh cases, India's COVID-19 tally rises to 99.79 lakh New Delhi: India's COVID-19 caseload rose to 99.79 lakh with 22,890 new infections being reported in a day, while total recoveries crossed the 95 lakh-mark, according to the Union Health Ministry's data updated on Friday.

LGD8 SC-CONTEMPT-ARTISTS SC issues show-cause notices to Kamra, Taneja in contempt cases New Delhi: The Supreme Court issued show-cause notices to comedian Kunal Kamra and comic artist Rachita Taneja on Friday for their alleged scandalous tweets against the apex court.

CAL2 WB-DUTTA-RESIGN Barrackpore MLA Shilbhadra Dutta quits TMC Kolkata: Barrackpore MLA Shilbhadra Dutta resigned from the Trinamool Congress on Friday in the third major exit from the party in the last 24 hours.

DEL2 DL-KEJRIWAL-WB POLICE Centre encroaching on rights of states: Kejriwal on transfer of three IPS officers from WB New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal on Friday accused the Centre of blatantly interfering in the West Bengal administration, saying its move to transfer police officers in the state was an 'assault' on federalism.

FOREIGN FGN7 VIRUS-BIDEN-LD ADVISER Biden's close adviser tests positive for COVID-19 Washington: Congressman Cedric Richmond, a close adviser to President-elect Joe Biden, has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the transition team. By Lalit K Jha FGN8 US-LAWMAKERS-H1B-SPOUSES 60 US lawmakers urge Biden to extend work authorisations to spouses of H-1B visa holders Washington: A group of 60 US lawmakers have urged President-elect Joe Biden to revoke a Trump administration policy and extend the validity of work authorisation documents for H4 visa holders, who are spouses of those possessing H-1B visas, with majority being highly-skilled Indian women. By Lalit K Jha. PTI SNE SNE