A passenger train was set on fire, and another pelted with stones by protestors in Bihar, and Nepal recorded its lowest population growth in eight decades…writes Joyeeta Basu

News in brief from South Asia

India

Protesters block roads, burn trains over railway exam in Bihar bandh: A passenger train was set on fire, another attacked with stones, and roads blocked by protestors in Patna and other places, after opposition parties called a bandh over alleged “irregularities” in the Railway Recruitment Board exam, reports NDTV.

Probe ordered as kids made to hail Modi, Yogi at R-Day event: A probe has been ordered into an incident in which schoolchildren were allegedly made to raise slogans, hailing Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UP CM Yogi Adityanath, by their principal and teachers on Republic Day, reports IANS.

COVID-19: Daily infections in India dropped by 12 per cent as the country reported 2.51 lakh new cases today. The positivity rate is down from 19.59% to 15.88%, reports NDTV.

Air India comes with over 140 aircraft but no real estate assets for Tata Sons: Tata Sons subsidiary Talace, which took over the managerial control of Air India on Thursday, will get more than 140 aircraft and eight logos, among other assets such as human resource, reports IANS.

Financial news

Google to invest up to $1 bln in Airtel and also bring cheap smartphones: Google will invest up to $1 billion in Bharti Airtel, which includes an investment of about $700 million to acquire a stake in the company, to bring affordable smartphones and develop India specific 5G use cases, the telco said in an announcement Friday, reports the Financial Express.

Pakistan

10 soldiers killed in terror attack in Balochistan province: Ten Pakistani soldiers were killed when terrorists attacked a security forces’ check-post in Kech district of the restive southwestern Balochistan province, the army said on Thursday, reports The Indian Express.

No one allowed to raise funds for ‘Jihad’ in Pakistan: Lahore High Court: Inciting public to raise funds for ‘Jihad’ is not allowed for individuals or any organisations and is considered treason, the court ruled today, as it dismissed appeals by two terrorists convicted for raising funds for a proscribed terror outfit, reports the Times of India.

Bangladesh

Fierce protests at Indo-Bangladesh checkpoint after BSF crackdown: Truck drivers and transporters in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas staged a fierce sit-in demonstration against the Border Security Force and the Land Port Authority of India checking the driving license of drivers, bringing India-Bangladesh trade to a standstill for hours, reports India Today.

Afghanistan

India, Central Asia to form working group on Afghanistan, TAPI pipeline talks back on table: In their first summit meeting on Thursday, India, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyz Republic have decided to form a joint working group on Afghanistan, when dealing with the Taliban regime there, reports The Print.

Nepal

Nepal’s Population Witnesses Lowest Growth In 80 Years: Reports: Nepal’s population has witnessed a growth of a mere 0.93 per cent, the lowest in the last eight decades, reportedly due to the outward migration of Nepalis for jobs and studies, media reports have said, according to NDTV.

On a lighter note…

Actor Shweta Tiwari’s remark leads to probe: Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra has directed police to investigate TV actor Shweta Tiwari for allegedly referring to God while making a statement about her undergarment. While speaking at an event in Bhopal, she said, “Mere bra ki size bhagwan le rahe hai.” (God is taking the measurements for my bra), reports NDTV.

Shweta Tiwari

Shruti Haasan marks birthday: Wishes are poured in for actress Shruti Haasan as she celebrates her birthday today. Fans who are eagerly waiting for her upcoming movie #Salaar with #Prabhas, are wishing her the very best.

Radhika Apte: I felt that I was just a part of the rat race: With the pandemic making her reconsider her choice of films and priorities, actress Radhika Apte, in a chat with Mid-day, says Vikram Vedha and upcoming projects reflect her learning curve.

Actor Radhika Apte

ALSO READ: MEDIA SCAN: India improves by one position while Pakistan drops 16 places in Corruption Index report

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