THE WEEK morning brief: All-party meet, Shab-e-Barat

Here are the key news stories to watch out for on Wednesday (April 8, 2020)

modi Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the video conference with the chief ministers of various states | BJP Twitter

All-party meet on coronavirus

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to chair a meeting at 11am on Wednesday of all floor leaders of political parties in the Parliament to discuss the coronavirus crisis. The meeting will be held with floor leaders of parties with more than 5 MPs in either house of Parliament.

Most opposition parties are expected to attend the meeting, which will discuss the measures against coronavirus and the ongoing nationwide lockdown. The meeting comes amid reports that several states have sought that the lockdown be extended to prevent spread of the coronavirus.

In addition to the coronavirus situation, the meeting is expected to discuss the government's contentious move to suspend the Member of Parliament Local Area Development scheme (MPLADs), which most opposition parties have decried. The Trinamool Congress has announced it would use the meeting to demand additional funds for states and clearance of dues from the Centre to the states.

Japan emergency takes effect

The state of emergency declared by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in capital Tokyo and six prefectures to curb the spread of the coronavirus will take effect on Wednesday. Governors in Tokyo and the prefectures of Saitama, Kanagawa, Chiba, Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka are expected to seek stronger curbs on nonessential outings and some business operations.

While the emergency declaration will not result in the stringent lockdown measures seen in other parts of the world, the move has triggered anxiety in Japan. The seven areas affected by the emergency declaration account for about 50 per cent of Japan's economic output, Bloomberg reported. Bloomberg noted, "Automakers, including Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co., plan to continue assembly, while Toshiba Corp. affiliate Kioxia Holdings is maintaining normal operations at its Yokkaichi plant, a key producer of memory chips for iPhones and other smartphones."

Air India to repatriate Canadians

Air India is planning to conduct three special flights to London from Wednesday to Friday to repatriate Canadians who are stranded in India amid a 21-day lockdown imposed to curb the coronavirus pandemic. Once the Air India flights drop them in London, the Canadian government will arrange flights to take them to Canada.

"One flight on Delhi-London route will take place on April 8. Another one would take place on April 10," said senior airline officials. One flight on the Mumbai-London route will take place on April 9, official said.

All three special flights to take Canadians from India to London's Heathrow airport will be conducted using the Boeing-777 wide body aircraft.


The Shab-e-Barat (night of forgiveness) will be observed by Muslims across the world on Wednesday night. Considered a moment of atonement, Shab-e-Barat had traditionally been observed by congregating in mosques and visiting graves of ancestors.

Governments and Muslim community leaders had requested the faithful to observe the occasion at home to minimise possibility of spread of coronavirus.