SATURDAY www.thestatesman.com 24 OCTOBER 2020 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |`5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR NEXT 3 MONTHS DECISIVE FOR INDIA’S COVID TRAJECTORY: VARDHAN P5 WEATHER Mainly clear sky. Mist in the morning. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 34 and 14 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max: 93% PAK BODY SLAPS FRESH GRAFT CASE ON NAWAZ SHARIF ‘VAJPAYEE CONSULTED NDA ALLIES’ P7 PM rakes up Article 370, ‘lawlessness’ under RJD TEMPERATURE Max: 34.0°C (+2) SUN RISES 06:28 hrs MOON RISES 13:36 hrs Min: 14.4°C (-2) SUN SETS 17:43 hrs MOON SETS 00:41 hrs THUMBNAILS Women devotees at a Durga Puja event organised by Arambagh Puja Samiti in the SUBRATA DUTTA Capital on Friday. 33 Indians stuck in Somalia: 33 Indian labourers have allegedly been held hostage by a company in Somalia for 8 months. The government is in touch with the Somalian authorities to ensure their safe return. "MEA and our High Commission in Nairobi are working on the relief & return of 33 Indians stuck in Mogadishu, Somalia. The HC @IndiainKenya has taken up their predicament with the Somalian authorities. We are also in touch with the Somali Embassy in India. Hope for an early resolution," external affairs minister S Jaishankar tweeted. ED summons Punjab CM's son: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned Punjab CM Amarinder Singh's son for questioning in an alleged foreign exchange violations case, official sources said on Friday. Raninder Singh has been asked to depose at the central probe agency's office in Jalandhar on 27 October. The summons pertain to a case registered by the ED under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) with regard to alleged possession of undisclosed assets abroad. Raninder had earlier denied any wrongdoing. PTI DEHRI/GAYA/BHAGALPUR, 23 OCTOBER P rime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday launched his campaign for the Bihar assembly elections with three back to back rallies where he castigated the opposition over its stand on repeal of Article 370 and reminded the people of the 15-year reign of “crime” and “loot” under the RJD. Modi addressed rallies in Rohtas, Gaya and Bhagalpur districts, where he shared the stage with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and excoriated the Congress-led opposition for adopting a contrarian position on “any step taken in national interest”. The prime minister counted abrogation of Article 370, the law against triple talaq, commencement of construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya, and military operations at the borders among the steps taken in national interest which the opposition frowned upon. Appealing to the nationalistic zeal of the electorate, Modi raked up the issue of annulment of Article 370 which bestowed special status on the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. “You tell me, was not the country waiting for Article 370 to be scrapped? When the NDA government did that, they are talking about restoring the provision if they are back in power. “Still they have the audacity to come and seek votes in Bihar which sends its sons and daughters to protect the nation. Is it not an insult to the people of Bihar?” he told an election rally at Dehrion-Sone in Rohtas district. Referring to the Galwan Valley clash with Chinese troops, Modi said the sons of Bihar laid down their lives for the tricolour but did not let “Mother India bow her head”. The soldiers of Bihar were also martyred in the Pulwama attack, he said. True to form, Modi commenced his speeches at Dehri, Gaya and Bhagalpur by greeting the people in the local dialects Bhojpuri, Magahi and Angika respectively. The prime minister began his address at the first rally in Rohtas by paying tributes to late Ram Vilas Paswan, a member of his cabinet, and former Union minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh who died a month ago shortly after burning bridges with Lalu Prasads RJD. Paswan's son Chirag, the LJP president who has pulled out of the NDA vowing to dislodge Kumar from power while proclaiming his loyalty to Modi, profusely thanked him for the gesture and tweeted: “As a son, it is natural for me to be moved by the P12 P11 Modi kicks off his Bihar poll campaign, slams Oppn for its contrary stand on repeal of Article 370 Min: 35% KAPIL DEV UNDERGOES ANGIOPLASTY respect and love shown by the Prime Minister for my deceased father”. Modi did not name Chirag but referred to the “confusion” being sought to be created by some people. “But there is a good trait among Biharis and that is clarity. They don't get confused,” he said. Modi reminded the electorate rally after rally to vote for the candidates of JD(U), BJP, HAM and VIP that constitute the NDA in Bihar. Without naming any opposition party, he said, their protests against the recent farm reform laws were in fact aimed at “saving” middlemen and brokers in the garb of backing the Minimum Support Price regime and agriculture 'mandis'. They had spoken the language of middlemen and brokers even when the Rafale fighter aircraft were bought, he said, asserting that India will not back off from the decisions it has taken. While speaking of various development initiatives of the NDA governments at the Centre and in the state, he spoke of frequent heinous crimes like “murders, dacoity and extortion” under the 15-year rule of Lalu Prasad Yadav's RJD and said people can now live without any fear. “The people of Bihar cannot forget the era when life would come to a standstill after sunset. Today, roads, electricity and lights are there. The biggest thing is that a common man in the state can live without fear,” he said. Without mentioning the RJD by name, Modi made a series of scathing attacks on the party, asking young voters be mindful of the “chaos and lawlessness of the 1990s” and remarked “Bihar now has electricity, it does not need lantern”, an obvious reference to the poll symbol of Lalu Prasad's party. “People used to be wary of buying cars as workers of a political party used to be on the prowl, carrying out kidnappings for ransom. Train travellers used to stay back at the station if they reached their destination in Bihar late in the night. People travelling through the state by road used to spend the journey in fear of abductors who could strike anywhere, any time,” he alleged. He also took a dig at the promise of 10 lakh government jobs made by Prasad's son Tejashwi Yadav, the chief ministerial candidate of the 5-party grand alliance. “Can those who look at government jobs as a means for taking bribes ensure creation of jobs?” Hitting out at the Congress without mentioning it by name, Modi alleged the UPA governments headed by the party stalled Bihar's development. TURN TO PAGE 5 PM Modi ‘insulted’ soldiers, didn’t help migrants: Rahul PTI HISUA/BHAGALPUR (BIHAR), 23 OCTOBER Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Friday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of having “insulted” the soldiers with his comment that nobody had intruded into Indian territory in Ladakh, and also alleged that his government did not help the migrant workers from Bihar during the lockdown. Addressing his first poll rallies in the state, Gandhi said the BJP's election promise of providing 19 lakh jobs is akin to its pledge of depositing Rs 15 lakh in bank accounts of the people. Raising the China issues at his both rallies -- the first at Hisua in Nawada district and another at Kahalgaon in Bhagalpur -- he said the Chinese army had indeed intruded into the Indian territory, and the prime minister should tell the country when they will “be thrown out”. “They have seized 1,200 sq km of our land. But when the Chinese army intruded, why did our prime minister insult our soldiers by saying that nobody entered into the Indian side?” Gandhi said. “You ask any Army jawan, he will tell you that today the Chinese army is standing in the area which we use to patrol earlier. Our land has been snatched away from us,” he claimed. “The question is, Modi ji, when will you throw out the Chinese soldiers sitting in our territory?” he asked. Earlier in the day, the prime minister also addressed his first election rally in Bihar and referred to the Galwan Valley clash with Chinese troops, stating that the sons of Bihar laid down their lives for the tricolour but did not let “Mother India bow her head”. Upping the ante, Gandhi said that the prime minister who calls himself a nationalist and a patriot has weakened the country over the last six years. “Hindustan is weak today. Its economy is suppressed, farmers oppressed and small shopkeepers restless. That is why China has intruded into Indian territory,” he said. At his rally in Hisua, where the Congress's Neetu Singh is contesting against sitting BJP MLA Anil Singh, Gandhi was joined by RJD leader and Mahagathbandhan's chief ministerial face TejashwiYadav. The Congress leader also hit out at the Centre over the recent farm laws, saying that these have been brought to attack the farmers. “They had ended the mandi system and the MSP regime in Bihar already and now, they are doing that across the country,” Gandhi said. He also accused the prime minister of working for large corporates. TURN TO PAGE 5 India’s active virus caseload below 7L after 2 months US-India to discuss LAC I during ‘2+2’ dialogue SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 23 OCTOBER The Covid-19 recoveries in India have crossed 69 lakh, while the number of coronavirus infections reported in a span of 24 hours remained below 60,000 for the fifth consecutive day as the country's caseload rose to 77,61,312, according to the Union health ministry today. A total of 54,366 new infections were reported in a day, while the death toll climbed to 1,17,306 with 690 fatalities, the ministry data updated at 8 am stated. In a “significant milestone” India's active COVID-19 caseload has fallen below 7 lakh for the first time after two months, while the total recoveries have crossed 69 lakhs, the Union health ministry said. The recovered cases are nearly 10 times more than the active cases, it pointed out. There are 6,95,509 active cases of COVID-19 in the country as on date, which comprises 8.96 per cent of the total caseload. A total of 69,48,497 people have recuperated from the disease so far pushing the national recovery rate to 89.53 per cent while the case fatality rate due to Covid was recorded at 1.51 per cent. India's Covid tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 30 lakh on August 23 and 40 lakh on September 5. It went past 50 lakh on September 16, 60 lakh on September 28 and crossed 70 lakh on October 11. According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), a cumulative total of 10,01,13,085 samples have been tested up to October 22 with 14,42,722 samples being tested on Thursday. The active caseload of the country has fallen below 7 lakh for the first time after two months (63 days), the ministry said. The active caseload was below the 7-lakh mark (6,97,330) last on August 22. “With a high number of COVID-19 patients recovering every day along with a steadily falling and sustained low mortality rate, India's trend of registering decreasing active cases continues,” the ministry said.Increased countrywide medical infrastructure, implementation of the Centre's Standard Treatment Protocol by states and union territories (UTs), and dedication and commitment of doctors, paramedics and frontline workers have “led to a persistent increase in the number of total recoveries with commensurate dip in the fatality rate”, the ministry said. “These have together resulted in a consistent slide in the active cases,” the ministry underscored. Twenty-four states and UTs have less than 20,000 active cases of COVID-19. The ministry said 81 per cent of the new recovered cases are observed to be concentrated in 10 states and UTs which are Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Maharashtra has contributed more than 16,000 to the single-day recoveries followed by Karnataka with more than 13,000 recoveries, it said. Of the total 54,366 new cases of Covid recorded in a span of 24 hours, 78 per cent are from Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, West Bengal, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha. 77,61,312 6,95,509 54,366 73,979 1,17,306 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8 A.M. FRIDAY 23 OCTOBER 2020 STATESMANNEWSSERVICE NEW DELHI, 23 OCTOBER The United States will discuss with India the situation at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the wake of the ongoing Sino-India military stand-off at eastern Ladakh when the two countries hold their third '2+2' ministerial dialogue in New Delhi next week. While US officials confirmed that the India-China border row would come up for discussion, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the two sides would exchange views on salient regional Trump fires 'filthy air' barb at China, India, Russia PTI WASHINGTON, 23 OCTOBER US President DonaldTrump has accused China, India and Russia of not taking care of their “filthy air” as he justified America's withdrawal from the “unfair” Paris climate agreement. Trump, a known climate change sceptic, wants to expand non-renewable energy. He aims to increase drilling for oil and gas, and roll back further environmental protections in America. “Look at China, how filthy it is. Look at Russia. Look at India, it's filthy. The air is filthy,” Trump said during the final presidential debate with his Democratic challenger Joe Biden in Nashville, Tennessee on Thursday night. “We have the best emission numbers that we've had in 35 years under this administration. 'Look at China, how filthy it is. Look at Russia. Look at India, it's filthy. The air is filthy,' Trump said during the final presidential debate with his Democratic challenger Joe Biden in Nashville, Tennessee on Thursday night. We are working so well with the industry, he said responding to a question on climate change during the debate that lasted just over 90 minutes. Trump has repeatedly blamed countries like India and China for not doing enough on climate change, labelling them as regions with air that is impossible to breathe. Reiterating that he loves the environment, Trump said he wants cleanest, crystal-clear water, the cleanest air. “We have the best, lowest number in carbon emissions, which is a big standard that I notice (Barack) Obama goes with all the time, not Joe. I haven't heard Joe use the term because I'm not sure he knows what it represents or means, but I have heard Obama use it,” he said. “The Paris Accord, I took us out because we were going to have to spend trillions of dollars and we were treated very unfairly. When they put us in there, they did is a great disservice. They were going to take away our businesses,” he asserted. In 2017, Trump pulled the US out of the 2015 Paris climate agreement, saying the international deal to keep global temperatures rises below 2 degree Celsius was disadvantageous to US workers. Biden, on the other hand, said that if voted to power in November, he would rejoin the historic Paris agreement on climate change and hold countries like China accountable for pollution. Trump has continuously argued that countries like China and India are benefiting the most from the Paris agreement. Speaking to his cheering supporters at an election rally in the key battleground State of North Carolina last week,Trump had blamed countries like China, Russia and India for adding to the global air pollution. “We have the best environmental numbers, ozone numbers, and so many other numbers. In the meantime, China, Russia, India all these countries they're spewing stuff into the air, he alleged. China is the world's biggest carbon emitter followed by the US, India and the EU. Trump's latest comments come at a time when pollution levels in New Delhi dropped to the 'very poor' category and are likely to worsen in the coming days. Delhi's Air Quality Index (AQI) has been recorded at 302, which is in the 'very poor' category. Trump asserted that he will not sacrifice tens of millions of jobs, thousands and thousands of companies, because of the Paris Accord. “It was so unfair. China doesn't kick in until 2030. Russia goes back to a low standard. And we kicked in right away. It would have destroyed our businesses, he said. “We have done an incredible job environmentally. We have the cleanest air, the cleanest water, and the best carbon emission standards that we've seen in many, many years,” Trump (SEE ALSO PAGE 10) claimed. and global issues. U.S. Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo and Secretary of Defence Mark T Esper will be visiting India on 26-27 October to participate in the dialogue. From the Indian side, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will lead the delegations from the ministries of Defence and External Affairs, respectively.The first two '2+2' ministerial dialogues were held in New Delhi in September 2018 and in Washington in 2019. The agenda for the third dialogue will cover all bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest. When asked if the LAC tensions would figure, a US official said: “We’re watching the situation closely. I think both sides have expressed a desire to de-escalate violence.” The Indian spokesperson said the dialogue would entail a comprehensive discussion on cross cutting bilateral issues of mutual interest. The US official confirmed that the two sides were in the process of finalising several agreements, including the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) for geospatial cooperation. Amazon refuses to appear before Parliament panel PTI NEW DELHI, 23 OCTOBER E-commerce giant Amazon has refused to appear before the Joint Committee of Parliament on the Data Protection Bill on October 28 and this amounts to breach of privilege, panel chairperson and BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi said on Friday. Lekhi said that “the panel is unanimous in its opinion that coercive action can be suggested to the government against the e-commerce company”. “Amazon has refused to appear before the panel on October 28 and if no one on behalf of the e-commerce company appears before the panel it amounts to breach of privilege,” she told PTI. Meanwhile, Facebook's policy head Ankhi Das appeared before the panel on the issue of data security on Friday. Facebook India representatives were asked some tough and searching questions by the members of the panel, sources said. During the meeting, a member suggested that the social media giant should not draw inferences from the data of its users for commercial benefits of its advertisers. The panel has summoned officials of micro-blogging site Twitter on October 28, and Google and Paytm on October 29.
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