CMYK THURSDAY www.thestatesman.com 14 JANUARY 2021 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |` 5.00|LC* KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR WHEN POLITICS AT HOME IMPACT FOREIGN POLICY MERKEL’S MODERATION P6 WEATHER Mainly clear sky. Maximum and minimum temperature most likely to be around 23 °C and 15 °C respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max. 85% TEMPERATURE P7 P4 Max: 23.1°C (-2) Min: 16.6°C (2) SUN RISES SUN SETS 06:19 hrs 17:12 hrs MOON SETS MOON RISES 17:21 hrs 06:22 hrs Next moon quarter on 21 January THUMBNAILS At least 40 shanties were gutted as a major fire broke out at a slum in north Kolkata's Bagbazar area on Wednesday evening with firefighters struggling for hours to bring the P3 blaze under control. PTI & SNS STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 13 JANUARY gainst the backdrop of the SinoIndian military stand-off in eastern Ladakh, the Union Cabinet today approved the procurement of 73 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mk-1A fighter aircraft and 10 LCA Tejas Mk-1 Trainer aircraft at a cost of Rs 45,696 crores along with the sanction of Rs 1,202 crores to the Indian Air Force for infrastructure design and development. “The CCS chaired by PM today approved the largest indigenous defence procurement deal worth about (Rs) 48000 crores to strengthen IAF’s fleet of homegrown fighter jet ‘LCATejas’. This deal will be a game-changer for selfreliance in the Indian A defence manufacturing," Defence minister Rajnath Singh tweeted. He said, ''The LCA-Tejas is going to be the backbone of the IAF fighter fleet in years to come. LCA-Tejas incorporates a large number of new technologies many of which were never attempted in India.'' The LCA Mk-1A variant is an indigenously designed, developed and manufac- tured state-of-the-art modern fourth generation fighter aircraft. The aircraft is equipped with critical operational capabilities of Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar, Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Missile, Electronic Warfare (EW) Suite and Air to Air Refuelling (AAR). It would be a potent platform to meet the operational requirements of the Indian Air Force (IAF). It is the first indigenously designed and manufactured combat aircraft with an indigenous content of 50 per cent which will progressively reach 60 per cent, the Defence Ministry said. Around three years back, the IAF had issued an initial tender for procurement of 83 Tejas aircraft, The Cabinet has also approved infrastructure development by IAF under the project to enable the force to handle repairs or servicing at its base depots so that the turnaround time would get reduced for mission critical systems. It would also lead to increased availability of aircraft for operational exploitation. This would enable the IAF to sustain the fleet more efficiently and effectively due to availability of repair infrastructure at its own bases. ‘Farmers must join proceedings of SC’s panel’ INTO THE FIRE NEW DELHI, 13 JANUARY Bengal polls: The Election Commission on Wednesday indicated that the schedule of the upcoming Assembly elections in Bengal would be announced in mid-February and the entire process would be completed by the end of April as CBSE board exams are scheduled in May. The EC is considering completing the entire poll procedure in the states of West Bengal, Kerala, Assam and Tamil Nadu and union territory Puducherry by April-end, an EC official said. P3 KD Singh arrested: The Enforcement Directorate has arrested former TMC MP and businessman K D Singh on money laundering charges. A Delhi court has sent him to three days ED custody after the agency said he was needed for custodial interrogation. The agency charged the 59-year-old with non-cooperation in the investigation and arrested him under the P3 Prevention of Money Laundering Act. P12 Govt clears purchase Vaccine drive gains pace, doses reach far corners of 83 Tejas jets for IAF Deal to cost `45,696 cr; `1,202 cr sanctioned to IAF for infra development Min. 59% SMITH: SUGAR AND SPICE AND EVERYTHING NICE? YEDIYURAPPA EXPANDS CABINET Farmers protesting the new farm laws burn copies of the leglslations during Lohri cel(P5) ebrations at a location on the Delhi-Meerut expressway on Wednesday. DEEPAK The government on Wednesday asked protesting farmer unions to take part in the proceedings of the panel appointed by Supreme Court on the new agri laws, even as uncertainly prevails over the fate of the ninthround of talks between the Centre and the farm bodies on January 15. The meeting is on as of now and both parties will decide whether to hold talks or not, minister of state for sgriculture Kailash Choudhary said. The last eight rounds of talks between the government and the unions have failed to resolve the crisis. PTI NEW DELHI, 13 JANUARY India's drive against Covid19 gathered momentum on Wednesday with planes carrying vaccines flying into airports across the country from where the cargo was dispatched to small cities and towns in readiness for the inoculation exercise starting January 16. From Assam to Goa and from Jammu and Kashmir to Kerala, the vaccines were swiftly transported to far corners of the country, a day after the first consignment of the Covishield vaccine from the OxfordAstraZeneca stable rolled out of the Serum Institute of India manufacturing facility in Pune. While SII moved about 56 lakh doses of Covishield to 13 cities, Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech said it had successfully transported the indigenous Covaxin, developed in collaboration with the ICMR and the National Institute of Virology, to 11 cities. It said it has donated 16.5 lakh doses to the Centre. “After having received the government purchase order for 55 lakh doses, the company shipped the first batch of vaccines (each vial containing 20 doses),” Bharat Biotech said in a statement on Wednesday. It said that the vaccine was sent to Ganavaram, Guwahati, Patna, Delhi, Kurukshetra, Bengaluru, Pune, Bhubaneswar, Jaipur, Chennai and Lucknow. As the vials began reaching their destinations, in readiness for the pan-India vaccination drive that will be launched on Saturday, states firmed up their plans and fine-tuned logistical details. In Delhi, where the drive will begin in 89 centres, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said his government will provide the vaccine free Active caseload dips to 2.14 L NEW DELHI/KOLKATA, 13 JANUARY The steady decline in the number of Covid-19 cases in the country continued with India’s active caseload standing at 2.14 lakh after 197 days, according to the Union Health Ministry. Altogether 15,968 new coronavirus cases were reported in the last 24 hours, taking the overall tally to 1,04,95,147, the ministry said. A total of 202 deaths were reported in the same period, taking the death toll to 1,51,529. Till now, 1,01,29,111 people have recovered. Currently, there are 2,14,507 active cases. The number of people who have tested positive for the new UK variant of coronavirus has climbed to 102. Bengal today registered 723 fresh Covid-19 if the Centre fails to do so. The first consignment of about 94,000 doses of the Covishield vaccine reached Madhya Pradesh capital Bhopal on a scheduled flight from Mumbai. Kerala, too, received its first Covishield vaccine consignment on Wednesday morning on a Go Air flight that landed at Kochi. Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope said Verdict decriminalising adultery should not be Bird flu: Sale of poultry applicable to armed forces, Centre tells SC products banned in Delhi PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 13 JANUARY The Centre on Wednesday urged the Supreme Court that its 2018 verdict decriminalising colonial era offence of adultery under the Indian Penal Code should not be not made applicable to the armed forces. A bench comprising Justices R F Nariman, Navin Sinha and K M Joseph, after issuing the notice to the PIL petitioner, one Joseph Shine, and others on the Centre's plea, referred the matter to Chief Justice S A Bobde for setting up of a Constitution Bench which can clarify the position. In a path-breaking 2018 verdict, a fivejudge Constitution bench had unanimously struck down Section 497 (adultery) of the Indian Penal Code and declared that adultery is not a crime and the penal provision was unconstitutional During the hearing, Attorney General K KVenugopal said that under the relevant rules of the armed forces, adultery is a ground for court martial for unbecoming conduct and therefore armed forces should be exempted from the purview of the 2018 judgment of the Constitution bench. He said that a clarification is needed in this regard from the top court. In a path-breaking verdict, a five-judge Constitution bench headed by the then CJI Dipak Misra unanimously struck down Section 497 (adultery) of the Indian Penal Code and declared that adultery is not a crime and the penal provision was unconstitutional as it dented the individuality of women and treated them as “chattel of husbands”. The court, in its September 2018 judgment, however had said that adultery would continue to be a ground for seeking divorce in matrimonial disputes. The Centre, in its interim plea filed in connection with the PIL, sought clarification and a direction that the judgment be not made applicable on special statutes and rules governing the armed forces which take actions on its personnel for indulging in adulterous relationships to ensure discipline in forces. It has been said when jawans and officers are posted in forward areas, their families are taken care of at base camp by other officers and the rules, providing actions for indulging in adulterous or promiscuous activity, help in maintaining discipline. PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 13 JANUARY Fresh bird deaths and avian influenza cases were reported in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday, while in neighbouring Delhi, civic bodies banned the sale of poultry products, even as the city government asked people not to panic and eat completely cooked eggs and chicken. Unusual mortality among birds has also been reported in some districts of Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir, as per a statement of the Union fisheries, animal husbandry and dairying ministry, which has asked state gov- ernments not to ban supply of poultry products. However, bird flu outbreak has been confirmed only in Delhi, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra and Gujarat till now, according to the ministry. “Further, cases of unnatural mortality of birds have been reported in Ganderbal district of Jammu and Kashmir and four districts of Jharkhand,” it said. On banning of poultry products, the ministry said it has been found that many states are banning supply of poultry and poultry products from other states. This will add to the negative impact on the poultry industry and hence, states are requested to reconsider such decision, it said. In the national capital, the ban on sale, storage of poultry or processed chicken meat by shops and restaurants has been imposed by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, the East Delhi Municipal Corporation and the South Delhi Municipal Corporation. Earlier, the Delhi government had imposed a ban on sale of processed and packaged chicken brought from outside the city, after bird flu cases were confirmed in the national capital on Monday. Donald Trump on verge of second impeachment after Capitol siege ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON, 13 JANUARY President Donald Trump is on the verge of being impeached for a second time in an unprecedented House vote Wednesday, a week after he encouraged a mob of loyalists to “fight like hell” against election results just before they stormed the US Capitol in a deadly siege. While Trump’s first impeachment in 2019 brought no Republican votes in the House, a small but significant number of leaders and lawmakers are breaking with the party to join Democrats, saying Trump violated his oath to protect and defend US democracy. The stunning collapse of Trump’s final days in office, against alarming warnings of more violence ahead by his followers, leaves the nation at an uneasy and unfamiliar juncture before Democrat Joe Biden is inaugurated January 20. “If inviting a mob to insurrection against your own government is not an impeachable event, then what is?” said Democrat Representative Jamie Raskin, a drafter of the article of impeachment. Trump, who would become the only US president twice impeached, faces a single charge of “incitement of insurrection.” The four-page impeachment resolution relies on Trump’s own incendiary rhetoric and the falsehoods he spread about Biden’s election victory, including at a White House rally on the day of the January 6 attack on the Capitol, in building its case for high crimes and misdemeanors as demanded in the Constitution. Trump took no responsibility for the riot, suggesting it was the drive to oust him rather than his actions around the bloody riot that was dividing the country. “To continue on this path, I think it’s causing tremendous danger to our country, and it’s causing tremendous anger,” Trump said Tuesday, his first remarks to reporters since last week’s violence. A Capitol police officer died from injuries suffered in the riot, and police shot and killed a woman during the siege. Three other people died in what authorities said were medical emergencies. Lawmakers had to scramble for safety and hide as rioters took control of the Capitol and delayed by hours the last step in finalising Biden’s victory. At least five Republican lawmakers, including thirdranking House GOP leader Liz Cheney of Wyoming, were unswayed by the president’s logic. The Republicans announced they would vote to impeach Trump, cleaving the Republican leadership, and the party itself. “The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack,” said Cheney in a statement. “There has never been a greater betray- CMYK al by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.” Unlike a year ago, Trump faces impeachment as a weakened leader, having lost his own reelection as well as the Senate Republican majority. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is said to be angry at Trump, and it’s unclear how a Senate impeachment trial would play out. The New York Times reported that McConnell thinks Trump committed an impeachable offense and is glad Democrats are moving against him. Citing unidentified people familiar with McConnell’s thinking, the Times reported McConnell believes moving againstTrump will help the GOP forge a future independent of the divisive, chaotic president. In the House, Republican leader Kevin McCarthy of California, a top Trump ally, scrambled to suggest a lighter censure instead, but that option crumbled. So far, Republican Representatives John Katko of New York, a former federal prosecutor; Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, an Air Force veteran; Fred Upton of Michigan; and Jaime Herrera Beutler ofWashington state announced they, too, would join Cheney to vote to impeach. The House tried first to push Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to intervene, passing a resolutionTuesday night calling on them to invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to removeTrump from office. But Pence has made it clear he would not do so. More reports on Page 10 1,04,95,147 2,14,507 15,968 17,817 1,51,529 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. WEDNESDAY 13 JAN 2021 cases and 18 deaths due to the virus. The total case count is 5,62,795 while the death toll is 9,993 in the state till now. There are 7,303 active cases. SNS/PTI the state had already received 9.83 lakh doses of the total requirement of 17.5 lakh for the first phase. Assam received its second consignment of Covid19 vaccines on a cargo flight of a private airline carrying 12,000 doses of Covaxin. Guwahati's LGBI Airport has been marked as the nodal point of distribution of vaccines for the north-east. 150-metre cross-border tunnel detected in J-K JAMMU, 13 JANUARY BSF troops on Wednesday detected yet another crossborder tunnel that was dug by Pakistani agencies to push in terrorists in the Samba sector of Jammu. The nearly 150 metres long tunnel that was constructed beneathe border fence from across the border was detected by BSF troops in Bobiyaan village during an operation this morning. A BSF spokesman said that the border force in view of Republic Day has heightened vigil along the international border. An intelligence input about the tunnel was received this morning. The tunnel has opening of about 2 to 3 ft and is about 30 ft deep. Sandbags with Karachi markings were found near the opening of the tunnel that has its origin in Pakistani territory. BSF has already laid a multi-layered security grid on the IB following incidents of tunneling by Pakistan, the spokesman said. CRPF and police personnel were scanning the area and conducting door-to-door investigation in the nearby villages to see whether any terrorists had already infiltrated through the tunnel. SNS
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