Today's top news
1. *Five assembly polls to begin March 27, West Bengal to have max 8 phases, counting of votes on May 2* : Everyone on poll duty to get COVID-19 vaccine before assembly elections.
2. *Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah saluted the IAF on Friday as India observes two years of the airstrike on terrorist camps in Pakistan’s Balakot.*
3. *The authorities in Maharashtra's Palghar have banned weekly markets and mass marriages across the district in view of spike in prevailing coronavirus cases situation in the state.*
4. *Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has hit out at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for failing to 'understand Kerala'* : Rahul Gandhi conducted a tractor rally at Wayanad and swam in the sea with the fishermen in Kollam. I am very thankful for this interest he is showing towards Kerala. However, 70 people died in the Delhi farmers' protest. He simply ignored that and declared his support for the farmers in Kerala," said Pinarayi Vijayan. Meanwhile, Kerala CM also hit out at Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's statement where he said that Kerala lags in various factors.
5. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal on Friday led a roadshow in Surat following the party's impressive foray in the civic polls, and made it clear that his sights were now set on the 2022 Gujarat assembly polls.
6. *Labour rights activist Nodeep Kaur granted bail by Punjab and Haryana High Court.* This comes over six weeks after she was arrested in Haryana's Sonipat for allegedly gheraoing an industrial unit and demanding money from the company.
6. Climate activist Disha Ravi will continue to stay in Delhi for the next two weeks. Climate activist has been instructed not to speak to media till the disposal of the case, says lawyer.
7. *The Tamil Nadu Assembly on Friday passed a bill providing internal reservation of 10.5 per cent for Vanniyars, a most backward community in government jobs and in admission to educational institutions.*
8. *Jharkhand cabinet has approved a decision to ban hookah bars in the state.* It has also approved a decision to make the sale and purchase of tobacco products like cigarettes at public places illegal. no sale of tobacco to those below 21, As per the decision, those flouting rules may face a prison sentence or a fine of Rs 1 lakh.
9. *LPG cylinder price hiked for third time in a month; Congress slams government* : A 14.2-kg cylinder in Delhi now costs Rs 794 as against Rs 769, according to a price notification from state-owned fuel retailers.
10. *A chargesheet filed against two alleged Khalistani terrorists Bhupinder Singh Dilawar and Kulwant Singh indicates that they had been planning to hoist their flag on the Red Fort for a long time.* Before the Red Fort, they had hoisted the Khalistani flag on the Tehshil building in Punjab's Rajkot.
11. The Kerala Police on Thursday arrested eight members of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) for their involvement in the killing of a 23-year-old RSS worker in the Alappuzha district.
12. In fresh trouble for Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, sitting MLA from Mongolkot in East Burdwan district, Siddiqullah Chowdhury – one of the key faces behind the Nandigram anti-land acquisition movement – has decided not to contest from his own constituency in the upcoming assembly polls.
13. *No postal ballot facility for overseas Indian voters in five assembly polls* : West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry.
14. *Himachal Pradesh Governor Bandaru Dattatraya was allegedly manhandled by some Congress members in the Assembly complex on Friday* , following which five MLAs were suspended for the remainder of the Budget Session. Later, an FIR was registered against the suspended MLAs in Boileauganj Police Station of Shimla in the matter.
15. After the Election Commission (EC) announced *dates for assembly elections in 5 states and UTs, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee lashed out at the body questioning the 8-phases of polling in Bengal* alleging that the division of the districts was being done by the EC to suit the BJP.
16. *The Union education minister, addressed the 16th FICCI* *Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI)* *Higher Education Summit on February 25, 2021.* The summit is being organised in New Delhi from February 25, 2021 to February 27, 2021. The FICCI was established in the year 1927. It is the largest and oldest apex business organisation of India. It is a non-government, not-for-profit organisation which acts as the voice of business and industry in India. The policy allows the students to be more creative in their respective fields.
17. *Senior Communist leader and former Tamil Nadu state secretary of the Communist Party of India (CPI) D. Pandian passed away in Chennai on Friday morning* . He was 89 yrs old.
18. *The Uttar Pradesh government on Friday directed officials to conduct rapid antigen tests for all people arriving into the state from Maharashtra and Kerala at airports*
19. *Rear Admiral B Sivakumar took over as Admiral Superintendent of Naval Dockyard, Mumbai from Rear Admiral Rajaram Swaminathan*. He was commissioned on July 1, 1987 and is a Post Graduate from IIT-Chennai. He is an alumnus of National Defence Academy, College of Defence Management and National Defence College
20. *Coronavirus Cases:* 11,077,957
1. *The Director-General of World Health Organisation (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, lauded India and the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, for sharing the Covid-19 vaccines and supporting the “Vaccine Equality” across the world.*
2. *India, China review the status of disengagement, agree to establish hotline for better communication* : India and China should jointly consolidate the existing outcomes, maintain the momentum of consultation, improve the border control mechanism, advance the border negotiation process, continue to accumulate and enhance mutual trust, further ease the situation and achieve peace and tranquility in the border area, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during his telephonic conversation with India’s External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar.
3. *China has recognized India’s efforts in supplying COVID-19 vaccines to the world especially poorer nations* . In response to a question at a press briefing in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said that it welcomes India shipping more doses of free COVID-19 vaccines around the world.
4. *United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he is encouraged by India and Pakistan's decision to observe a ceasefire along the Line of Control.*
5. *Aviation regulator DGCA on Friday extended the suspension of international commercial passenger flight services till March 31. Scheduled international flight operations were suspended from March 23 last year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.*