1. Farmers observe hunger strike: As many as 40 farmer leaders of United Farmers Front observed a hunger strike on Monday between 8am and 5pm at various border points near Delhi against the Centre’s newly enacted farm laws. Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar said: “The government is ready for discussion anytime. The farmer leaders have to decide and convey when they are ready for the next meeting.”
2. Tribals threaten stir: At least three tribal organisations have once again decided to hold “road rail chakka jam” between December 20 and December 31 demanding the Centre introduce a separate Sarna tribal religion code in the 2021 census in five eastern states – Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha and Assam.
3. MP to ‘reopen’ schools: According to an official, the Madhya Pradesh government is going to reopen schools for classes 10 and 12 from December 18 while colleges will be reopened from January 1. State school education minister Inder Singh Parmar said: “The department has asked schools administrations to follow the Covid-19 guidelines, including proper sanitisation, use of masks and maintaining social distancing.”
4. Air India bids: In a bid to boost efforts to disinvest stake in Air India, the Centre said it has received “multiple expressions of interest” for the debt-laden airline. These include bids from the Tata Group, a consortium comprising several of the airline’s employees and a US-based investment firm.
5. Bengal BJP chief vows revenge: With at least two Bharatiya Janata Party workers allegedly killed in political clashes since Saturday, the BJP’s Bengal chief Dilip Ghosh warned the ruling Trinamul Congress of revenge. He said: “Till date we have broken the law to hold rallies. Now we would violate the law to thrash you. I am warning you. We can do it.”
6. India, Iran, Uzbekistan meet: India, Iran and Uzbekistan on Monday discussed the joint use of Chabahar port to enhance regional connectivity as the three countries held their first trilateral meeting focused on the strategic trade and transit facility in the Gulf of Oman.
7. Singapore approves vaccine: Singapore has approved Pfizer-BioNTech’s novel coronavirus vaccine and expects to receive shots by year-end. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he planned to be among the early vaccine recipients.
8. US court on Tiktok ban: A US court is set to hear arguments in the Trump administration’s appeal of a judge’s order that blocked a ban on Chinese-owned TikTok from domestic app stores.The Trump administration alleged TikTok poses national security concerns as the personal data of US users could be obtained by China’s government. However, TikTok, which enjoys 100 million users in the US, denied the allegation.
9. K’taka iPhone plant violence arrests: Superintendent of Police Karthik Reddy said 160 people have been arrested so far owing to the violence caused at Wistron Corporation, manufacturer of iPhones. Police said the arrests were being made based on CCTV footage and after checking the list of workers in the shift to ascertain the culprits.
10. K’taka ready for Vidyagama: The Karnataka government is ready to restart “Vidhyagama” – the education department’s persistent learning programme during the pandemic with slight modifications. The ambitious scheme aims at imparting education at the doorsteps of students of government and aided schools.