Daily Briefing: Metros show gender gap in vaccination; US aviation hit by fears over 5G

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The Big Story 

In Mumbai, only 694 women got vaccinated against Covid for every 1000 men. In Delhi, it is 742 women for every 1000 men. The figures are sharply lower than their Census sex ratio. The same is true for Bengaluru and Chennai. Metros have shown this widening gender gap even when, ironically, they have better accessibility to vaccination centres. 

In what could further underline the importance of vaccination, a new study shows that an infection with the Omicron variant of the Covid virus may not generate broad immunity in unvaccinated individuals that can protect against other variants. Researchers found that mice infected with Delta developed the best protection against the other variants, except the Beta variant which is known to be highly immune evasive.

Only in the Express 

Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer, Meta, spoke to Anant Goenka, Executive Director, Indian Express Group, about how women can break the glass ceiling, at the Express Awards for Women Entrepreneurs. 

From the Front Page

Worried over the commercial rollout of 5G in the US affecting aircraft navigation systems, Air India has joined other global operators including Emirates in cancelling flights on several US routes. The issue stems from a warning issued by the US Federal Aviation Administration that the new 5G technology could potentially lead to interference with onboard instruments such as radar altimeters. It appeared to particularly impact the Boeing 777, a wide-body aircraft used by carriers for long-haul operations.

Imagine getting points for fast-tracking proposals to clear green spaces while seeking fewer “essential details”. The Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, whose mandate is conservation and protection of the environment, is planning to do exactly that by ranking states on the speed at which projects are cleared. The plan, understandably, was criticised by environmentalists.  “This order is like telling a forest officer that the more he visits a forest, the fewer marks he will get,’’ said environmental lawyer Ritwick Dutta.

Must Read 

Don’t mix family with politics seems to be Samajwadi Party Chief Akhilesh Yadav’s new strategy as he tries to reduce the family’s footprint in the party which he is leading into elections almost single-handedly for the first time. The recent exit of his sister-in-law Aparna Yadav, who joined the BJP on Wednesday, may actually fit in well with his plans. Sources said Akhilesh is trying to avoid charges of dynastic politics levelled at the SP. 

Over a third of the 8.5 lakh Class 10 students of the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) who were promoted to Class 11 in the 2020-2021 academic year had to be given grace marks for them to get past the threshold of 33 per cent that’s required to pass, data accessed by The Indian Express show. 

Coomi Kapoor writes on why Goa has witnessed a record number of defections over the last five years: “Through a series of wily manoeuvres, the BJP retained power, despite the tragic death of Parrikar and the party’s attempt to clip its alliance partners’ wings. The Goa government remained afloat because of a series of defections.”

A petition challenging the constitutional validity of marital rape and the immunity given to married men under the Indian Penal Code will be heard in the Delhi High Court this week. The case has put the spotlight on crucial issues concerning consent, the extent of state control on female sexual autonomy, and correcting historical prejudices in law. Why is the provision in place, what rights does it infringe on, and what are the arguments before the court? We explain. 

And Finally 

Sania Mirza, the trailblazer who set the path to the top of her sport for generations of Indian women, has decided that the end of this season will mark the end of her playing career. And she will do it on her terms. The body has faced severe niggles – often needing surgery – over the years but Mirza would simply not go away. She’d take a break, get back on court again and start edging her way back to the top. But now Mirza says she no longer has the energy she once did. “Beyond this season, I don’t feel my body doing it. It’s beat.”

Delhi Confidential: Despite top AICC leaders pushing for re-inducting Harak Singh Rawat into the Congress, his re-entry had been delayed due to strong opposition from Harish Rawat. As a middle ground, sources said the former minister will be inducted but will not be fielded as a candidate. 

In today’s episode of the ‘3 Things’ podcast, we look at the extent to which Covid-19 cases are declining in Mumbai, the loopholes in the NREGA scheme in Jharkhand, and how a muslim man and Hindu were forcibly taken off a train. 

Until tomorrow, 

Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

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