HIGHLIGHTS AT 9:30 PM

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New Delhi, Mar 31 (PTI) Following are the top stories at 9:30 PM: NATION: DEL85 MAMATA-LDALL OPPOSITION LEADERS Mamata calls for a 'united and effective' struggle against BJP, says oppn should present a 'credible alternative' New Delhi: As she faces a high-stakes poll battle in West Bengal, TMC supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has said the time has come for a 'united and effective' struggle against the BJP's alleged attacks on democracy and the Constitution, and that opposition leaders should try present a 'credible alternative' to the people of the country.

DEL12 VIRUS-LD CASES India records 53,480 new COVID-19 cases, 354 deaths New Delhi: As many as 53,480 fresh infections pushed India's COVID-19 tally to 1,21,49,335, while 354 new fatalities, the highest single-day spike so far this year, took the death toll to 1,62,468, according to Union health ministry data updated on Wednesday.

DEL17 VIRUS-ACTIVE CASES COVID-19: Five states account for over 79 per cent of active cases New Delhi: Five states cumulatively account for over 79 per cent of the total COVID-19 active cases in the country with Maharashtra alone accounting for more than 61 per cent of the active caseload, the Union Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

DEL66 DL-LD FARMERS-PROTEST Farmers to march on foot to Parliament in May: SKM New Delhi: The Samyukt Kisan Morcha on Wednesday announced a slew of plans for upcoming two months to strengthen the ongoing agitation against the new farm laws, including a proposed march to Parliament on foot in May.

DEL11 DCGI-COVISHIELD-SHELF LIFE DCGI extends shelf life of Covishield from 6 to 9 months New Delhi: India's drug regulator DCGI has extended the shelf life of Covishield, the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, from six to nine months from its manufacturing date.

DEL71 AVI-DL-AIRPORT-LD TEST DDMA to randomly test for COVID flyers coming from states where cases are rising: Delhi airport New Delhi: The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) will conduct random COVID-19 test of passengers coming from states where there has been a surge in cases recently, said the Delhi airport's operator DIAL on Wednesday.

DEL72 MEA-INDIA-BAHRAIN India and Bahrain take stock of ties New Delhi: Ahead of Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani's India visit, the two countries on Wednesday reviewed cooperation in areas of oil and gas, trade and investment, defence and security, healthcare and renewable energy.

DEL15 NIA-LET-TERRORIST-SENTENCE NIA court jails Pakistani LeT terrorist for 10 yrs for conspiring to attack India New Delhi: A special NIA court here has sentenced a Pakistani LeT terrorist to 10 years' imprisonment for conspiring to carry out terrorist attacks at different places in India, including Delhi, after crossing over to Jammu and Kashmir following instructions from his handlers across the border, an official said on Wednesday.

DEL67 VACCINATION-LD CENTRE-STATES Centre holds review meet with states, UTs ahead of opening up COVID vaccination to people above 45 New Delhi: As India prepares to open up its COVID-19 vaccination drive to people above 45 from April 1, the Centre on Wednesday asked states and union territories to identify low vaccine-coverage pockets, particularly in districts reporting a surge in new infections, and take corrective action.

DEL68 IMD-LD SUMMER FORECAST Day temperatures likely to be above normal over north India from April to June: IMD New Delhi: Day temperatures are likely to be above normal over north and east India from April to June, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in its summer forecast.

DEL27 CHANDY-INTERVIEW Results of assembly polls will mark beginning of Cong's return to Delhi in 2024: Oommen Chandy New Delhi: The Kerala poll results along with those of other states will mark the beginning of the Congress' comeback nationally and its return to Delhi in 2024, former Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy said on Wednesday. By Asim Kamal MDS11 KA-VIRUS-LD GOWDA Former PM H D Deve Gowda, wife tests COVID-19 positive Bengaluru: Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda on Wednesday said he and his wife Chennamma have tested positive for COVID-19.

DEL73 VP-FARMERS Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday underlined the need for 'much-needed' reforms in agriculture sector to improve the status of farmers and asked the governments to think beyond loan waivers, saying the farming community needs support in the form of infrastructure and power supply than just doles.

DEL69 DL-MARCH WEATHER-IMD Hottest March in Delhi since 2010: IMD New Delhi: Delhi recorded a mean maximum temperature of 33.1 degrees Celsius this month, making it the 'hottest' March in the last 11 years, the India Meteorological Department said on Wednesday.

FOREIGN: FGN23 NASA-MARS-DATA NASA exchanges data of its Mars mission with India, China, UAE & European Space Agency Beijing: The US space agency NASA has exchanged data of its current Mars mission with its counterparts in China, India, the UAE and the European Space Agency to lower the risk of a collision as their spacecraft were also currently hovering the red planet, a media report said on Wednesday. By K J M Varma PTI KJ KJ