India in 2 minutes

Mumbai escapes cyclone with limited damage

At least three people were reported dead in Maharashtra as coronavirus-hit Mumbai appeared to escape the worst of Cyclone Nisarga on Wednesday.

It was the first severe storm to threaten India's financial capital in more than 70 years.

The authorities had evacuated at least 100,000 people, including coronavirus patients, from flood-prone areas in Maharashtra and Gujarat ahead of Nisarga's arrival.

The cyclone ripped roofs off buildings in nearby coastal towns, but appeared to have left the sprawling, crowded Mumbai largely unscathed.

Five states leading economic recovery

Five states contributing nearly 27 per cent of India's gross domestic product are leading a recovery of the economy as it slowly emerges from the world's biggest lockdown, a study by Elara Securities shows.

Kerala, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Haryana and Karnataka have seen a pickup in activity, based on an analysis of indicators such as power consumption, traffic movement, arrival of farm products at wholesale markets and Google mobility data.

Student's death sparks protests

Students protested in Kerala on Tuesday after the suicide of a teenage girl who was unable to attend online classes because she did not have a television or a smartphone.

Devika Balakrishnan, the 14-year-old daughter of a daily wage labourer, was found dead near the family home at Valanchery in Malappuram district on Monday, the first day of the new school term.

"The government action (to hold school classes online) has put the poor students under stress and pressure," said Abhijith K.M., who heads the Kerala Students' Union.

More easing of lockdown restrictions

The Central government on Tuesday allowed restaurants and malls to reopen and a near-free movement of people, including to places of worship.

While the metro is still closed, buses started running again and rail services resumed fully on Monday.

The moves come two months after a stringent lockdown that brought economic activities to a halt.

Monkeys steal Covid-19 blood samples

A troop of monkeys attacked a medical officer and snatched away blood samples of patients who had tested positive for Covid-19, authorities said last Friday.

The attack occurred last week when a laboratory technician was walking on the campus of a state-run medical college in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh.

Emergency use of remdesivir approved

The Central government on Tuesday approved Gilead Sciences' antiviral drug remdesivir for emergency use in treating Covid-19 patients.

Remdesivir, which is administered intravenously in hospitals, is the first drug to show improvement in Covid-19 patients in formal clinical trials and is at the forefront of the battle against the coronavirus, which has no approved treatment or vaccine.

Alleged bird spy released

Police in Jammu and Kashmir have released a pigeon belonging to a Pakistani fisherman after a probe found that the bird, which had flown across the border between the two nations, was not a spy.

"The pigeon was set free after nothing suspicious was found," said senior police officer Shailendra Mishra in Srinagar.

It was unclear where the bird was released and whether it flew back to its owner.

Taj Mahal damaged in thunderstorm

A thunderstorm that rolled across parts of northern India last week damaged sections of the Taj Mahal complex, including the main gate and a railing running below its five lofty domes, officials said last Sunday.

One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, India's top tourist attraction in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, has been shut since mid-March as part of measures to curb the coronavirus pandemic.

20 dead in Assam landslides

At least 20 people, including three children, were killed in three separate landslides in southern Assam on Tuesday.

According to the district administration officials, among the dead, seven each were from Cachar and Hailakandi and six from Karimganj. Several others were injured.

Order to keep middle seats vacant on flights Days after the Supreme Court directed that safety and social distancing norms should be followed on all domestic flights, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Monday asked airlines to keep the middle seats of a row vacant if the passenger load and seat capacity allowed.

If the middle seat is occupied owing to passenger load, additional protective equipment like "wrap-around gowns" must be provided to people occupying those seats in addition to the three-layered face mask and face shield, the aviation regulator said.

Monsoon arrives in Kerala on time

The south-west monsoon arrived in Kerala on Monday as predicted by the Indian Meteorological Department, bringing heavy rains to several parts of the state and marking the commencement of the four-month-long rainy season in the country.

The monsoon ushers in the rainy season, ending the hot and dry season.

Astrologer Daruwalla dies

Renowned astrologer Bejan Daruwalla died last Friday aged 89.

He had reportedly been seeking treatment for pneumonia and brain hypoxia at a hospital in Gujarat's capital, Gandhinagar.

Mr Daruwalla was one of India's most famous astrologers and his predictions won him millions of followers.

He was a practising Zoroastrian and a Ganesha devotee.

The astrologer was known for his columns in leading newspapers that went under the title "Ganesha Speaks". He also released annual sun sign predictions every new year.

Google removes service that detects 'China apps'

Google has removed an app that millions of Indians had downloaded, hoping that it would help them boycott Chinese software.

"Remove China Apps" was not available on the Google Play Store on Wednesday, a little over two weeks after it was launched.

It was downloaded more than four million times before it was taken down.

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