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Centre tells states to take note of new Covid-19 variant, and nine other top stories

A look at the headlines right now:

  1. Centre flags new variant of Covid-19 virus, asks states to ensure screening of international travellers: Three cases of the B.1.1.529 variant have so far been reported in Botswana, six cases in South Africa and one case in Hong Kong.
  2. Former Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, 11 other Congress MLAs in Meghalaya join TMC: As a result of the development, the Trinamool Congress has become the main Opposition party in 60-member state Assembly.
  3. Supreme Court orders Centre to deploy extra forces amid reports of violence in Tripura civic polls: The Trinamool Congress alleged that its candidates were being beaten up by Bharatiya Janata Party supporters and people were being stopped from voting.
  4. Centre to review Rs 8 lakh annual income criteria for economically weaker section quota: Solicitor General Tushar Mehta made the submission in Supreme Court during hearing of a plea challenging the quota in postgraduate medical courses.
  5. Narendra Modi lays foundation stone of Noida International Airport ahead of UP Assembly polls: The airport, located in Greater Noida’s Jewar area in western Uttar Pradesh, will be Asia’s biggest, Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia had claimed on Wednesday.
  6. Are you willing to ban convicted politicians from contesting elections for life? SC asks Centre: The court was hearing a petition filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, who argued that convicted MPs and MLAs should be treated like bureaucrats, who are barred from service for life after a criminal conviction.
  7. Former Mumbai Police chief Param Bir Singh questioned in extortion case: Singh, who is facing multiple extortion cases in Maharashtra had been absconding since last month and made his first public appearance on Thursday.
  8. Navjot Sidhu threatens hunger strike if Punjab doesn’t make reports on drug abuse, sacrilege public: The state Congress chief said that the Congress had come to power in Punjab by promising eradication of drugs.
  9. No ban on publication, sale of Congress leader Salman Khurshid’s book, says Delhi High Court: The court said that if anyone has problems with the book, they should not read it.
  10. At least 31 dead after boat ferrying migrants capsizes in English Channel: Four persons have been arrested on the suspicion of being linked to the sunken boat.

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