HIGHLIGHTS AT 5.15 PM

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New Delhi, Mar 24 (PTI) These are the top stories at 5.15 PM: Following are the stories related to the first anniversary of the national lockdown: DEL21 LOCKDOWN-ANNIVERSARY-UNEMPLOYMENT One year since COVID-19 lockdown: India still recovering from unemployment blow New Delhi: India is still not out of the woods as far as unemployment is concerned after a year when the lockdown was imposed to contain the spread of deadly COVID-19 on March 25 last year as pandemic-induced job loss has not tapered off consistently.

DEL34 LOCKDOWN-ANNIVERSARY-ELECTIONS In shadow of a pandemic: After Bihar, EC set for polls in four states and one UT New Delhi: Beating Covid fears, the Election Commission held assembly polls in Bihar, one of India's most populous states, late last year and is now gearing up for a massive electoral exercise in four states and a union territory.

DEL37 LOCKDOWN-ANNIVERSARY-MHA 'Janata curfew' to vaccination: India's year-long fight against COVID-19 New Delhi: It has been a year since India's 1.3 billion people responded positively to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for a 'janata curfew' to break the chain of novel coronavirus, which had then started to spread in some parts of the country.

DEL23 LOCKDOWN-ANNIVERSARY-MENTAL HEALTH Panic to paranoia: One year on, mental health crisis still unfolding across India New Delhi: One year ago, Indians locked down in their homes as COVID-19 tightened its grip over the country. When they emerged months later, tentative and timorous, the world many knew had changed, perhaps forever, leaving them grappling with a spectrum of mental health issues ranging from depression to paranoia.

DEL25 LOCKDOWN-ANNIVERSARY-ONLINE EDUCATION A year of online classes, exams: COVID-19 prompts shift to 'new normal' in teaching & learning New Delhi: A year of learning in 'smartphone class rooms' and appearing for 'WhatsApp exams', virtual campus tours to Zoom placement drives and ultimately massive increase in 'screen time', the last academic session will go down in history as beginning of the 'new normal' prompted by coronavirus-induced lockdown. By Gunjan Sharma NATION CAL14 WB-POLL-LD MODI No Indian is outsider in Bengal, BJP CM will be son of soil: Modi Kanthi (WB): Bengal has brought together the nation through 'Vande Mataram', and on this land, CM Mamata Banerjee was terming people 'bohiragoto' (outsider), Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday, announcing that if voted to power, a son of the soil will be made the BJP chief minister of the state.

DEL30 VIRUS-FESTIVALS-RESTRICTIONS COVID: Centre asks states to restrict public observance of festivals, limit or stop gatherings New Delhi: Amid a spike in COVID-19 infections in some parts of the country, the Centre on Wednesday asked states and union territories to consider imposing local restrictions in public observance of the upcoming festivals and limit or do away with mass gatherings for effective control of the pandemic. DEL14 PM-NCDS India at forefront of initiatives to prevent non-communicable diseases: PM Modi New Delhi: India is at the forefront of initiatives that seek to prevent non-communicable diseases and further wellness, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday.

DEL11 VIRUS-LD CASES India records highest single-day spike with 47,262 fresh COVID-19 cases New Delhi: India recorded 47,262 fresh coronavirus cases in a day, the highest single-day rise so far this year, taking the nationwide COVID-19 tally to 1,17,34,058, the Union health ministry said on Wednesday.

DEL28 VIRUS-NEW VARIANTS New double mutant variant of SARS-CoV-2, several 'variants of concern' found in India: Govt New Delhi: A new 'double mutant variant' of SARS-CoV-2 has been detected in India in addition to the several 'variants of concern' that have already been found in at least 18 states, the Union Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

DEL9 BIZ-PETROL-PRICE-CUT Petrol price cut by 18 paise, diesel by 17 paise New Delhi: In the first reduction in rates in over a year, petrol price on Wednesday was cut by 18 paise per litre and diesel by 17 paise a litre as international oil prices tumbled to the lowest since early February.

PAR9 RS-LD PETROL-GST-SUSHIL Not possible to bring petrol, diesel in GST regime even for next 8-10 yrs: Sushil Modi New Delhi: Bringing petrol and diesel under the GST regime is not possible for the next 8-10 years as no state is ready to face the annual revenue loss of over Rs 2 lakh crore on this account, BJP member Sushil Kumar Modi said in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

DEL16 CHIDAMBARAM-LANKA Chidambaram attacks Centre for abstaining from voting on UNHRC resolution against Sri Lanka New Delhi: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Wednesday urged the people of Tamil Nadu to “punish the AIADMK-BJP alliance” in the upcoming state assembly elections for abstaining from the UNHRC vote on Sri Lanka.

DEL15 CONG-BIHAR Democracy murdered in Bihar: Congress New Delhi: The Congress on Wednesday alleged that democracy has been murdered in Bihar after opposition legislators were allegedly roughed up by the police inside the state assembly.

BOM2 MH-BJP-SENA Sena alleges collusion between BJP and some Maha officials Mumbai: Stating that the BJP's 'key motive' is to create instability in Maharashtra by imposing President's Rule, the Shiv Sena on Wednesday alleged 'collusion' between the BJP and some officials with an aim to weaken the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.

LEGAL LGD17 SC-AP CM COMPLAINT SC dismisses complaint of Andhra Pradesh CM against sitting top court judge New Delhi: The Supreme Court Wednesday said it has dismissed the complaint of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy against a senior top court judge after giving it 'due consideration'.

LGD2 SC-LD CJI CJI Bobde recommends name of Justice NV Ramana as his successor New Delhi: Chief Justice of India SA Bobde has recommended senior-most judge Justice N V Ramana as his successor and the 48th Chief Justice of India in keeping with convention and norms of seniority, according to sources.

LGD14 SC-2NDLD PARAM BIR 'Quite serious', says SC on issues raised by Param Bir Singh in plea against Deshmukh New Delhi: The Supreme Court Wednesday said there was no doubt that the issues raised by former Mumbai police chief Param Bir Singh in his plea against Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh were 'quite serious', but asked him to approach the Bombay High Court with his grievances.

FOREIGN FGN8US-ADMIRAL-INDIA-CHINA Mistrust between China, India at all-time high, says US admiral Washington: While the US-India military relationship is at its best level in years, the mistrust between China and India is at an all-time high, a top US admiral has said and alleged that Beijing's lack of transparency and duplicitous actions in the Indian Ocean region threaten stability and security there. By Lalit K Jha FGN7 US-EMPLOYMENT AUTHORISATION-LAWSUIT Lawsuit filed against delay in processing of EADs for spouses of H1B and L1 visas Washington: A top American association of immigration lawyers has filed a class action lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security for extraordinary delays in processing employment authorisation documents (EADs) of spouses of foreign workers in the country on H-1B and L1 visas, a significantly large number of whom are technology professionals from India. By Lalit K Jha FGN37 LANKA-UNHRC UN begins monitoring Sri Lanka after adverse resolution at rights body: Report Colombo: The critical resolution against Sri Lanka's human rights policies which was adopted by the UNHRC will take immediate effect with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights beginning the process to closely monitor the country, according to a media report on Wednesday.

FGN21 UN-INDIA-AFGHAN-VACCINE India's donation of COVID-19 vaccines to Afghanistan lauded United Nations: India's donation of COVID-19 vaccines to Afghanistan has been lauded by top UN officials and diplomats from Kabul, as the war-torn country undertakes a vaccination campaign to combat the deadly virus. By Yoshita Singh FGN14 US-SENATE-MURTHY Senate confirms Dr Vivek Murthy as US Surgeon General Washington: Indian-American physician Vivek Murthy has been confirmed by the Senate as President Joe Biden's surgeon general, a role in which his top priority would be responding to the coronavirus pandemic that has severely hit the country. By Lalit K Jha. PTI HDA