CMYK THURSDAY www.thestatesman.com 27 MAY 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 THE ART OF BEING KAMALA HARRIS GHOSN PINS HOPE ON FRENCH PROBES TO CLEAR NAME P9 Generally cloudy sky. A few spells of rain or thundershower. Temperature likely to be in the range of 30-25°C. RAINFALL: 24.9 mm RELATIVE HUMIDITY TEMPERATURE Max: 30.1°C (-5) SUN RISES 04:52 hrs MOON RISES --:-- hrs New moon on 10 P7 P10 SOLSKJAER SEES EURO FINAL AS STEPPING STONE P12 Yaas pounds Odisha-Bengal coasts WEATHER Max. 95% BLINKEN SEEKS TO REBUILD U.S. TIES WITH PALESTINIANS Min. 76% Min: 25.2°C (-2) SUN SETS 18:15 hrs MOON SETS 05:24 hrs June THUMBNAILS Farmers and supporters protest with black flags against farm laws marking a Black Day, at Singhu border,in the capital on Wednesday. SNS Farmers mark six months of protest: Vowing to continue their stir till the agri laws are repealed, agitating farmers marched with black flags, burnt effigies and shouted antigovernment slogans at Tikri, Singhu and Ghazipur protest sites on Delhi borders as well as in several parts of Punjab and Haryana to mark the completion of six months of their agitation. A brief ruckus was reported at the Ghazipur protest site on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border where police tried to stop proP4 testers from burning an effigy. High winds, massive sea surge devastate coastal villages; at least three killed; over 1 crore people affected in Bengal, says Mamata SNS & AGENCIES KOLKATA, 26 MAY yclone Yaas, packing winds of up to 130-145 kmph, whiplashed the country's eastern coasts on Wednesday, dumping heavy rain, damaging houses and farmlands, and leaving at least three persons dead ~ two in Odisha and one in Bengal ~ officials said. Yaas, classed as a very severe cyclonic storm with wind speeds of 130 to 140 kmph gusting to 155 kmph, made landfall at around 9.15 a.m, close to Dhamra in Odisha, with surging waters swamping mud-and-thatch houses in the low-lying areas,where a massive evacuation drive has been undertaken to move more than 20 lakh people to safety. Yaas is the second cyclonic storm to hit India within a week after Tauktaetore into its western coast, causing death and destruction. Yaas barreled through Bhadrak, Balasore and Mayurbhanj districts of Odisha after landfall at Bahanaga at 9 a.m. and its bandwidth of intensity covering south of Balasore with a wind speed much less than 165 kmph gusting to 185 kmph as had been pre- C Buddhadev Bhattacharjee stable: The health condition of former Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who had tested positive for Covid-19 is stable and he is responding to commands, the private hospital where he is undergoing treatment said. The condition of Bhattacharjee's wife Mira, who was also taken to the same hospital, is also stable. “Bhattacharjee is still in the CCU and on BiPAP and is maintaining oxygen level at 92 per cent. He is a bit drowsy but is responding to commands. His blood presP3 sure is stable,” the hospital said. Jaiswal takes charge as CBI director NEW DELHI, 26 MAY India's daily Covid-19 positivity rate has reduced and now stands at 9.42 per cent, while the country added 2,08,921 fresh cases and 4,157 fatalities, the Union health ministry said on Wednesday. A total of 22,17,320 tests, the highest in a day, were conducted on Tuesday, taking the cumulative number so far in the country to 33,48,11,496, while the daily positivity declined to 9.42 per cent, it said. This is the second day in a row that the case positivity rate has remained below 10 per cent, the ministry said. The weekly positivity rate has also declined to 11.45 per cent. NEW DELHI, 26 MAY Former SPG officer Subodh Kumar Jaiswal, IPS (Maharashtra cadre-1985), today assumed charge as Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Jaiswal took over the post after handing over charge as Director General, Central Industrial Security Force (CISF). He served as DGP Maha, rashtra for nearly two years from February 2019 before joining the post of DG, CISF. Jaiswal has served in Close Protection Teams of the Prime Minister of India during his six year tenure with the Special Protection Group as AIG & DIG. He also served in the Cabinet Secretariat for 10 years from 2008 to 2018. He has served as SP (Gadchiroli, Aurangabad & Osmanabad); DIG, in-charge Special Investigation Team; Additional CP Anti-Terrorism Squad, , Mumbai; Additional CP Cen, tral Range, Mumbai; IGP Amravati Range and commissioner of police, Brihan Mumbai. SNS after her house collapsed. Odisha has shifted 5.8 lakh people to safer places, and West Bengal 15 lakh, ahead of the cyclone, amid concerns over spread of Covid-19 infection at the temporary shelters. Winds howling at a speed of about 88 kmph claimed one life and battered the coastal districts of East Midnapore and South 24Parganas in Bengal. Wreaking havoc much before it actually hit land, Yaaslashed the beach towns of Digha, Mandarmani and Sagar Islands from around 6 a.m. with winds blowing at about 88 kmph. The city of Kolkata, which remained calm unexpectedly for most of the day, experienced a wind speed of about 62 kmph at around 6.20 am. Till 2.30 p.m. Yaas lay centered as a severe cyclonic storm inundating the lowlying areas of the coastal districts of the state amid a storm surge. The seaside resorts of Digha and Mandarmani, which are major tourist attractions, were submerged, with sea waves India registered 2,95,955 recoveries in a single day as against 2,08,921 new cases. The count of daily new cases has stayed below three lakh for 10 consecutive days now. The country's active Covid-19 caseload has also reduced to 24,95,591, a net decline of 91,191 in a span of 24 hours. It now comprises 9.19 per cent of the total positive cases. Fatalities linked to Covid19 in the country reached 3,11,388 with the addition of 4,157 fresh deaths. On Monday, India crossed a grim milestone of three-lakh deaths due to coronavirus infections, becoming the third country to do so after the USA and Brazil. In the last 15 days India has recorded over 60,000 deaths. Bengal cases: West Bengal today registered 16,225 fresh Covid cases and 153 deaths. Kolkata saw 2,378 cases and 30 deaths while North 24-Parganas recorded 3,427 fresh cases and 37 deaths in the last 24 hours. The state’s total Covid case count is 13,18,203 and death toll is 14,827 while there are 1,23,377 active cases. Black fungus:The Centre has allocated to states and Union Territories 29,250 additional vials of Amphotericin-B, a key drug to treat mucormycosis cases in India as 11,717 patients were reported from hospitals across the country. Mucormycosis is one of the rapidly spreading infections observed in patients recovering from Covid-19. 2,71,57,795 24,95,591 2,08,921 2,95,955 3,11,388 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. WEDNESDAY 26 MAY 2021 ‘Talks with Sputnik V makers on, they will supply vaccine to Delhi: Kejriwal PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 26 MAY dicted earlier. More than the wind, it was the sea surge that caused maximum devastation with at least 128 villages of Bhadrak and Balasore districts affected by the ingress. The tidal waves, four metres high, crashed in to seaside villages and marooned them. Local sources said two persons were killed ~ one each in Keonjhar and Balasore ~ after trees fell on them, but there was no official confirmation yet. Another elderly woman in Mayurbhanj reportedly died Positivity rate falls to 9.42 per cent SNS & PTI Defamation notice against Ramdev: The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has served a defamation notice on Ramdev for alleged disparaging remarks against allopathy and allopathic doctors, demanding an apology from him within 15 days, failing which it said it will demand a compensation of Rs 1,000 crore from the yoga guru. The notice describes Ramdev’s remarks as damaging to the reputation and the image of allopathy and around 2,000 practitioners of it who are part of the association. P5 A scene of devastation after high tide during the landfall of cyclone Yaas in East Midnapore on Wednesday. BHASKAR MALLICK As Delhi grapples with a shortage of coronavirus vaccines, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday said the makers of SputnikV will supply anti-Covid jabs to the city but the quantity is yet to be decided. He also said there were around 620 cases of black fungus or mucormycosis in Delhi, but Amphotericin-B injections used in its treatment are in short supply. “Talks with the makers of Sputnik V are on. They will give us vaccines, but the quantity is yet to be decided. Our officials and the representatives of the manufacturers met on Tuesday, too,” the CM told reporters at the launch of Delhi's first drivethrough vaccination centre at Vegas Mall in Dwarka. The Centre has asked states to procure vaccines from the international market, but no state government has been able to purchase even “one additional vaccine” so far, he said. “All state governments have tried everything, they have (floated) global tenders and talked to all vaccine-manufacturers. All firms have declined to talk to us,” he said. The Centre needs to demonstrate a It is something like Pakistan declaring a war on India and then they ask if Delhi has manufactured a nuclear bomb and Uttar Pradesh bought a tank. ARVIND KEJRIWAL sense of urgency and run the vaccination drive on a warfooting, he added. “Today, we are at war against Covid-19, wherein the Centre and states have their share of responsibilities. The Centre cannot shirk its responsibility and ask states to fend for themselves. It is wrong,” he said. “It is something like Pakistan declaring a war on India and then they ask if Delhi has manufactured a nuclear bomb and Uttar Pradesh bought a tank...It is the Central government's responsibility to procure and supply vaccines. Delhi can be held accountable if they (the Centre) give us vaccines and we do not open up centres,” a visibly angry Kejriwal said. Asked if the Delhi government is going to lift the lockdown, he said, “A lockdown cannot be extended indefinitely. It has hit economic activity and businesses. We will decide how to go about reopening.” seen topping the coconut trees and cars floating off in the floodwaters. The Kapil Muni Ashram in Gangasagar was submerged as the waves kept rising, inundating the area. Kulpi, Namkhana, Kakdwip, Deulbari-Debipur, Kumirmari, Block-II in Diamond Harbour, Patharpratima, Bakkhali, Mousuni, were some of the places that bore the brunt of the cyclone while Gosaba was one of the worst affected areas in South 24-Parganas, where gushing water inun- dated the villages turning residents into refugees. A fisherman is reported to have died in East Midnapore. Yaas affected the lives of around one crore citizens of the state while causing damage to three lakh houses, according to chief minister Mamata Banerjee. Miss Banerjee said three lakh houses and 134 embankments have been damaged in the state due to the cyclone. She added that relief materials worth Rs 10 crore have been sent to the affected areas. In South 24 Parganas, hundreds of villagers were displaced in Kakdwip, Fraserganj, Gosaba and the Sunderbans region, as multiple homes were extensively damaged in the surging water and gale winds, officials said. Many rivers were in spate owing to the phenomenal rise in water level ~ caused by the dual effect of storm surge and the astronomical tide due to the full moon. There was waterlogging in certain low-lying areas of Kolkata with the authorities facing a tough time clearing the area due to high tide in Hooghly. The weather office has predicted extremely heavy rainfall in East and West Midnapore districts and heavy to very heavy rainfall in Jhargram, Bankura, South 24-Parganas districts over the next 24 hours. In Odisha, a red warning for heavy to very heavy rainfall was issued in nine districts. Heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places with isolated extremely heavy fall are very likely to occur over the districts of Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Kendrapada, Jagatsinghpur, Cuttack, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar and Dhenkanal,” the weather office said. More on Page 3 New digital rules don’t violate privacy: Govt PRESS TRUST OF INDIA LAW OF THE LAND NEW DELHI, 26 MAY The government on Wednesday staunchly defended its new digital rules, saying the requirement of messaging platforms such as WhatsApp to disclose origin of flagged messages does not violate privacy, and went on to seek a compliance report from social media firms. A day after WhatsApp filed a lawsuit in Delhi High Court challenging the new digital rules on grounds that the requirement for the company to provide access to encrypted messages will break privacy protections, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the new norms will not impact normal functioning of the popular freemessaging platform. The requirement of tracing origin of messages under new IT rules is for prevention and investigation of “very serious offences” related to sovereignty and integrity of India and security of the state, a statement from his ministry said. Separately, the ministry asked social media companies such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and WhatsApp to report their status on compliance with the new rules, which kicked in from Wednesday. The new rules, announced on February 25, require large social media platforms to follow additional due diligence, including The new rules, announced on February 25, require large social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp to follow additional due diligence, including the appointment of a chief compliance officer, nodal contact person and resident grievance officer. The rules also require Non-compliance with these significant social rules would result in these media intermediaries social media companies to enable identificalosing their intermediary station of the “first origitus that provides them nator” of the informaexemptions and certain tion that undermines immunity from liabilities for sovereignty of India, any third-party information security of the state, or and data hosted by them. public order. Requiring messages to trace chats is the equivalent of asking us to keep a fingerprint of every single message sent on WhatsApp which would break end-to-end encryption and fundamentally undermines people's right to privacy. WHATSAPP the appointment of chief compliance officer, nodal contact person and resident grievance officer. Noncompliance would result in these companies losing their intermediary status that provides them exemptions and certain immunity from liabilities for any third-party information and data hosted by them. In other words, they could be liable for criminal action in case of complaints. The ministry in the statement termed WhatsApp's last moment challenge to the intermediary guidelines an unfortunate attempt to prevent the norms from coming into effect. The UK, US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada require social media firms to allow for legal interception, it said, adding “What India is asking for is significantly much less than what some of the other countries have demanded”. The government’s response came after WhatsApp filed a lawsuit in the Delhi High Court challenging the new digital rules. The petition, filed on Tuesday evening, seeks declaring the rule requiring the message service provider to identify the first originator of any message flagged as a violation of privacy rights provided by the Constitution. Vaccine inequality in India sends many falling through gaps ASSOCIATED PRESS NEW DELHI, 26 MAY As the coronavirus tears through India, night watchman Sagar Kumar thinks constantly about getting vaccines for himself and his family of five amid critical shortages of shots in the country. But even if he knew how to get one, it wouldn’t be easy. The main way is to register through a government website. But it is in English ~ a language the 25-year-old can’t speak, read or write ~ and his family has a single smartphone, with spotty internet service. And even though his state of Uttar Pradesh gives free shots to those under 45, there is no vaccination site in his village, with the nearest hospital an hour away. The pandemic’s disparities already were stark in India, where access to health care is as stratified and unequal as many other parts of society. Now wealth and technology is further widening those chasms, and millions are falling through the gaps. That worries health experts, who say vaccine inequality could hamper India’s already difficult fight against a virus that has been killing more than 4,000 people a day in recent weeks. “Inequitable vaccination risks prolonging the pandemic in India,” said Krishna Udayakumar, founding director of the Duke Global Health Innovation Center at Duke University in North Carolina. “Reducing barriers for the most vulnerable populations should be a priority.” India’s vaccination campaign began in January with a goal of inoculating 300 million of its nearly 1.4 billion people by August. So far, however, it has fully vaccinated a little over 42 million people, or barely 3% of its population. The government didn’t reserve enough shots for the campaign and it CMYK was slow to scale up vaccine production. Then, with the country recording hundreds of thousands of new infections daily, the government on May 1 opened up vaccination to all adults. That made an already bad shortage even worse. The central government also changed its policy on who can get vaccines and who must pay for them. It allotted itself half of the shots in the country and said it would give free shots to front-line workers and those 45 and older. Individual states and private hospitals could then negotiate deals with vaccinemakers for the other half of the shots, the government said. Many experts say the policy is a mistake, and it will hit the poorest the hardest. “Vaccinating people is the national duty of the government and they need to vaccinate everyone for free,” said K Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India. “Nobody should be denied a vaccine because they are unable to afford it or register for it.” Vaccine disparity is “not just a question of inequality but also inefficiency,” said developmental economist Jean Dreze. If people get sick, Dreze said, they will not be able to work. That in turn could push many more into poverty. “We should not just make vaccines free but also give people incentives to get vaccinated,” Dreze said.
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