News of the Hour: Here's what is making headlines on December 30, 2020

First Published Dec 30, 2020, 1:05 PM IST

Here is a roundup of what is making the news at this hour.

<p><strong>Oxford Covid vaccine gets UK nod</strong><br />
&nbsp;</p>

<p>AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid vaccine has been approved for use in the United Kingdom.<br />
&nbsp;</p>

<p>On November 23, Oxford and AstraZeneca&nbsp;announced that the regimen of a half dose followed by a full dose booster appeared to be 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 in the UK. Two full doses scored 62%.</p>

Oxford Covid vaccine gets UK nod
 

AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid vaccine has been approved for use in the United Kingdom.
 

On November 23, Oxford and AstraZeneca announced that the regimen of a half dose followed by a full dose booster appeared to be 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 in the UK. Two full doses scored 62%.

<p><strong>Maharashtra extends Lockdown till January 31</strong><br />
&nbsp;</p>

<p>Maharashtra government has extended lockdown restrictions in the state till January 31, 2021, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.<br />
&nbsp;</p>

<p>The decision comes a day after Maharashtra's coronavirus caseload rose to 19,25,066 with 3,018 new cases and amid the new strain of the coronavirus emerging in the United Kingdom.</p>

Maharashtra extends Lockdown till January 31
 

Maharashtra government has extended lockdown restrictions in the state till January 31, 2021, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
 

The decision comes a day after Maharashtra's coronavirus caseload rose to 19,25,066 with 3,018 new cases and amid the new strain of the coronavirus emerging in the United Kingdom.

<p><strong>Reliance Jio writes to Punjab CM, DGP</strong><br />
&nbsp;</p>

<p>Reliance Jio Infocomm has written to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Punjab DGP seeking their intervention into "incidents of sabotage and vandalism at Jio Network sites" in Punjab by unknown persons.<br />
&nbsp;</p>

<p>Farmers' groups and their kin have allegedly vandalised over 1,500 Reliance Jio mobile towers in Punjab, leading to communication outage in several parts of the state.&nbsp;</p>

Reliance Jio writes to Punjab CM, DGP
 

Reliance Jio Infocomm has written to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Punjab DGP seeking their intervention into "incidents of sabotage and vandalism at Jio Network sites" in Punjab by unknown persons.
 

Farmers' groups and their kin have allegedly vandalised over 1,500 Reliance Jio mobile towers in Punjab, leading to communication outage in several parts of the state. 

<p><strong>India extends UK flight ban till January 7</strong><br />
&nbsp;</p>

<p>India has decided to extend the temporary suspension of flights to and from the United Kingdom till January 7, 2021.<br />
&nbsp;</p>

<p>Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said after January 7 strictly regulated resumption will take place for which details will be announced shortly.</p>

India extends UK flight ban till January 7
 

India has decided to extend the temporary suspension of flights to and from the United Kingdom till January 7, 2021.
 

Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said after January 7 strictly regulated resumption will take place for which details will be announced shortly.

<p><strong>20 more test positive for UK virus variant</strong><br />
&nbsp;</p>

<p>20 persons have been found with the new variant of SARS- CoV-2 virus reported from the United Kingdom. The situation is under careful watch and regular advice is being provided to States for enhanced surveillance, containment, testing and dispatch of samples to INSACOG labs.<br />
&nbsp;</p>

<p>These include the six persons reported earlier (3 in NIMHANS, Bengaluru, 2 in CCMB, Hyderabad and 1 in NIV, Pune). 107 samples were tested in the 10 labs.</p>

20 more test positive for UK virus variant
 

20 persons have been found with the new variant of SARS- CoV-2 virus reported from the United Kingdom. The situation is under careful watch and regular advice is being provided to States for enhanced surveillance, containment, testing and dispatch of samples to INSACOG labs.
 

These include the six persons reported earlier (3 in NIMHANS, Bengaluru, 2 in CCMB, Hyderabad and 1 in NIV, Pune). 107 samples were tested in the 10 labs.

<p><strong>Navjot Singh Sidhu apologises</strong><br />
&nbsp;</p>

<p>Day after a photograph of Navjot Singh Sindhu wearing a shawl with Sikh motif triggered controversy, the cricketer-politician has tendered an apology.<br />
&nbsp;</p>

<p>Taking to Twitter, Sidhu said: "Shri Akal Takht Sahib is Supreme. If I have unknowingly hurt the sentiments of even One Sikh, I apologise !! ... Millions wear the revered Symbols of Sikhism on there Turbans, Clothes and even carve Tattoos with Pride, I too as a humble Sikh wore the Shawl unintentionally"</p>

Navjot Singh Sidhu apologises
 

Day after a photograph of Navjot Singh Sindhu wearing a shawl with Sikh motif triggered controversy, the cricketer-politician has tendered an apology.
 

Taking to Twitter, Sidhu said: "Shri Akal Takht Sahib is Supreme. If I have unknowingly hurt the sentiments of even One Sikh, I apologise !! ... Millions wear the revered Symbols of Sikhism on there Turbans, Clothes and even carve Tattoos with Pride, I too as a humble Sikh wore the Shawl unintentionally"

<p><strong>UAE-based Lulu Group to import Kashmiri apples</strong><br />
&nbsp;</p>

<p>In a major boost to the central government plan of bringing big investors to Jammu and Kashmir, Lulu group of UAE would import Kashmiri apple from Srinagar starting from 1 January 2021.<br />
&nbsp;</p>

<p>Lulu Group, which runs more than 180 hypermarkets and shopping malls across the Middle East, would import one container (20 tonnes) of apples from Kashmir every week from January 1.</p>

UAE-based Lulu Group to import Kashmiri apples
 

In a major boost to the central government plan of bringing big investors to Jammu and Kashmir, Lulu group of UAE would import Kashmiri apple from Srinagar starting from 1 January 2021.
 

Lulu Group, which runs more than 180 hypermarkets and shopping malls across the Middle East, would import one container (20 tonnes) of apples from Kashmir every week from January 1.

<p><strong>Sudha Bharadwaj to court: Withdraw scurrilous allegations</strong><br />
&nbsp;</p>

<p>Sudha Bharadwaj, an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case that is being investigated by the National Investigation Agency, has filed an application before the special court.<br />
&nbsp;</p>

<p>In her four-page application, Sudha has expressed her dissatisfaction over the slanderous comments made against her by the agency and the special public prosecutor. She has requested the special NIA court to ask the agency and special public prosecutor Prakash Shetty to withdraw "scurrilous allegations” against her.&nbsp;</p>

Sudha Bharadwaj to court: Withdraw scurrilous allegations
 

Sudha Bharadwaj, an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case that is being investigated by the National Investigation Agency, has filed an application before the special court.
 

In her four-page application, Sudha has expressed her dissatisfaction over the slanderous comments made against her by the agency and the special public prosecutor. She has requested the special NIA court to ask the agency and special public prosecutor Prakash Shetty to withdraw "scurrilous allegations” against her. 

<p><strong>Govt hikes penalty for missing tax returns due date</strong><br />
&nbsp;</p>

<p>The government has raised the penalty amount for missing the deadline for filing of income tax returns, imposing a fine up to Rs 10,000 as opposed to the Rs 5,000 last year.&nbsp;<br />
&nbsp;</p>

<p>The Central Board of Direct Taxes had extended the deadline to file the income tax return for the financial year 2019-20 till December 31.</p>

Govt hikes penalty for missing tax returns due date
 

The government has raised the penalty amount for missing the deadline for filing of income tax returns, imposing a fine up to Rs 10,000 as opposed to the Rs 5,000 last year. 
 

The Central Board of Direct Taxes had extended the deadline to file the income tax return for the financial year 2019-20 till December 31.

<p><strong>Haryana local polls: BJP-JJP trail in vote-count</strong><br />
&nbsp;</p>

<p>Early trends of the municipal corporation elections in Haryana have come as a jolt for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and its ally Jannayak Janata party.&nbsp;<br />
&nbsp;</p>

<p>The alliance has suffered a defeat for the post of president in three municipal committees, Uklana (Hisar), Dharuhera (Rewari) and Sampla (Rohtak), at the hands of independent candidates.</p>

Haryana local polls: BJP-JJP trail in vote-count
 

Early trends of the municipal corporation elections in Haryana have come as a jolt for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and its ally Jannayak Janata party. 
 

The alliance has suffered a defeat for the post of president in three municipal committees, Uklana (Hisar), Dharuhera (Rewari) and Sampla (Rohtak), at the hands of independent candidates.