Top Headlines: Ram temple work begins, July services activity shrinks, more

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel and RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat take part in 'Bhoomi Pujan' for Ram Temple, at Ram Janmabhoomi site in Ayodhya.
'Every heart is illuminated': Modi in Ayodhya as Ram temple work begins
After laying the foundation stone for a Ram temple in Ayodhya on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the 'bhoomi pujan' event was an "emotional moment" for the entire country and "every heart is illuminated today". Beginning his speech with 'Jai Siya Ram', the prime minister told the gathering that a grand temple will be built for Ram Lalla, the infant Ram, who had been living in a temporary tent for years. "Every heart is illuminated; it is an emotional moment for the entire country... A long wait ends today... A grand temple will now be built for our Ram Lalla who had been living under a tent for many years," said Prime Minister Modi at foundation stone-laying ceremony of the Ram temple. Read more here...

July services activity shrinks for fourth month in a row; PMI at 34.2
India's services industry contracted for the fourth straight month in July as sales plunged and companies were scuttled by lockdowns to contain the coronavirus pandemic, said a monthly survey on Wednesday. The IHS Markit Services Business Activity Index (Services PMI) rose to 34.2 in July, up from 33.7 in June. In PMI parlance, a 50-mark threshold separates expansion and contraction. Services PMI had been rising for three months, but the pace has slackened in recent times. PMI registered 12.6 in May and just 5.4 in April. Read on...

Zydus Cadila to begin phase II Covid-19 vaccine clinical trials from Aug 6
Drug firm Zydus Cadila on Wednesday said the phase I clinical trial of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate, ZyCoV-D, has been completed and it will commence phase II clinical trials from August 6. "ZyCoV-D was found to be safe and well tolerated in the phase I clinical trial. The company will now commence phase II clinical trials from the 6th of August, 2020," Cadila Healthcare, the listed entity of the group, said in a regulatory filing. Read on...

India has worst disconnect between stock rally, gloomy economy
The nation’s shares have logged the one of the best rebounds from the March lows globally while battling some of the world’s worst economic data. The surge has pushed up valuations to a record as investors look past the grim reality and the world’s third-highest tally in coronavirus cases. Read on...

Sashidhar Jagdishan to succeed Aditya Puri; brokerages bullish on HDFC Bank
Most brokerages have given a thumbs-up to the development, saying the appointment of an internal candidate will make the transition and subsequent handling of operations at the bank easier. This is what leading brokerages said. Jefferies said, "We believe that the appointment should offer a smoother transition as Mr. Jagdishan has been closely connected internally with the management team and the board of directors, as well as external stakeholders like clients, investors and regulators." Read on... 

Virgin Atlantic gives in to Covid-19, seeks US bankruptcy protection
Virgin Atlantic, the airline founded by British businessman Richard Branson, filed Tuesday for protection in US bankruptcy court as it tries to survive the virus pandemic that is hammering the airline industry. The airline made the Chapter 15 filing in US federal bankruptcy court in New York after a proceeding in the United Kingdom. Read more... 

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