HIGHLIGHTS

New Delhi, May 22 (PTI) Following are the top stories.

DEL28 VIRUS LD CASES India records biggest single-day spike of 6,088 COVID-19 cases; death toll mounts to 3,583 New Delhi: The country has recorded the biggest single-day spike of 6,088 COVID-19 cases, while the death toll due to the virus has climbed to 3,583, the Union Health Ministry said on Friday.

CAL22 WB-PM-LD RELIEF PM Modi announces Rs 1,000 cr interim relief for cyclone-hit Bengal Basirhat: Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an advance assistance of Rs 1,000 crore for cyclone-hit West Bengal on Friday, ravaged by a cyclone that claimed at least 77 lives and pulverised several southern districts, including state capital Kolkata.

CAL21 MAMATA-CYCLONE-LD MEET Bengal suffered losses of over Rs 1 lakh crore due to 'Amphan': Mamata Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said West Bengal has suffered losses of more than Rs 1 lakh crore due to super cyclonic storm 'Amphan', which has killed 80 people and left thousands homeless in the state.

DEL101 OPPN-SONIA Spirit of federalism forgotten, govt has abandoned any pretence of being democratic: Sonia New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi launched a scathing attack on the government on Friday over its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and alleged that the spirit of federalism is all but forgotten and it has abandoned any pretence of being democratic.

DEL54 BIZ-2NDLD RBI RBI's 2nd booster shot to economy: Key interest rates slashed to lowest levels since 2000 Mumbai: The Reserve Bank on Friday unexpectedly slashed benchmark interest rates to their lowest levels since 2000 and extended the moratorium on repayment of loans for three months to ramp up support for the economy which is likely to contract for the first time in over four decades.

NATION DEL95 OPPN-CYCLONE-RESOLUTION 22 oppn parties call upon Centre to declare Cyclone Amphan as national calamity New Delhi: Twenty-two opposition parties urged the Centre on Friday to immediately declare the devastation caused by Cyclone Amphan in Odisha and West Bengal as a national calamity and called for substantially helping the states in facing the impact of the disaster.

DEL77 MHA-LD VISA Govt allows certain categories of OCI cardholders to visit India New Delhi: The central government on Friday allowed certain categories of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders, who are stranded abroad, to come to the country.

DEL65 VIRUS-CISCE-EXAMS CISCE board to conduct pending class 10, 12 exams from July 1-14 New Delhi: The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) will conduct pending class 10 and 12 examination from July 1 to 14, it announced on Friday.

DEL97 HEALTH-VARDHAN-LD WHO Vardhan takes charge as WHO Executive Board chairman New Delhi: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, who is at the forefront of India's battle against COVID-19 pandemic, took charge as the chairman of the 34-member WHO Executive Board on Friday, officials said.

DEL78 HEALTH-VIRUS PROTEST Healthcare workers hold black ribbon protest against new quarantine guidelines New Delhi: Healthcare workers at several Central and city government hospitals sported black arm bands on Friday to protest the government's decision to end the need for their quarantine after COVID-19 duty unless there has been any form of high-risk exposure.

BOM2 MH-VIRUS-HOSPITALS Maha fixes price cap on pvt hospitals treating COVID-19 cases Mumbai: The Maharashtra government has come out with three slabs on per day charges on treatment of COVID-19 patients in private and charitable hospitals and also decided to regulate rates for 80 per cent of the operational bed capacity in these medical facilities.

LEGAL LGD1 VIRUS-DL-HC-FUNCTIONING COVID-19: Delhi HC, district courts functioning restricted till May 31 New Delhi: Restrictions on the functioning of the Delhi High Court and district courts will remain in place till May 31 in view of COVID-19 and only urgent matters will be heard.

LGD15  DL-HC-LD COAL HC declines to stay former Jharkhand CM Madhu Koda's conviction in coal scam case New Delhi: In a setback to former Jharkhand CM Madhu Koda, the Delhi HC on Friday declined to stay his conviction in a coal scam case to enable him to contest elections, saying it would not be apt to facilitate him to contest polls for any public office, till he is finally acquitted.  FOREIGN FGN32 PAK-PIA-LD CRASH Pakistan passenger plane with 98 on board crashes near Karachi: officials Karachi: A Pakistan International Airlines plane with 98 people on board crashed near the Jinnah International Airport here on Friday, according to officials.

FGN27 CHINA-HK-2NDLD BILL China introduces controversial security bill in parliament to tighten controls over Hong Kong Beijing: China on Friday introduced the draft of a controversial national security law in Hong Kong in its parliament to tighten Beijing's control over the former British colony, in what could be the biggest blow to the territory's autonomy and personal freedoms since 1997 when it came under Chinese rule. By K J M Varma FGN24 CHINA-DEFENCE-LD BUDGET China hikes defence budget to USD 179 billion, nearly three times that of India Beijing: China, the second-largest military spender after the US, on Friday hiked its defence budget by 6.6 per cent to USD 179 billion, nearly three times that of India, the lowest increment in recent years amidst the massive disruption caused to the communist giant's economy by the COVID-19 pandemic. By K J M Varma. PTI IJT