THURSDAY www.thestatesman.com 17 JUNE 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 EU CHIEF GIVES INITIAL APPROVAL TO NATIONAL RECOVERY PLANS SUU KYI IN DOCK P6 WEATHER Partly cloudy sky with possibility of very light rain/thundershowers. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 37 and 26 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max: 77% P4 Twitter ‘deliberately’ i defied IT rules: Prasad Microblogging platform lost its ‘safe harbour’ protection in India ‘TWITTER FAILED TO COMPLY WITH IT RULES’ NEW DELHI, 16 JUNE TEMPERATURE Max: 34.2°C (-5) SUN RISES 05:24 hrs MOON RISES 11:27 hrs P10 SNS & PTI Min: 55% Min: 26.2°C (-2) SUN SETS 19:21 hrs MOON SETS 00:32 hrs THUMBNAILS Students and travellers completing paperwork before being vaccinated at a dedicated vaccination centre for travellers, in the Capital on AMARJEET SINGH Wednesday. Fire breaks out at AIIMS: A fire broke out at an AIIMS hospital building in Delhi on Wednesday night, Delhi Fire Service officials said. In the preliminary report no injury was reported in the fire that broke out on the ninth floor of the hospital's Convergence Block, they said adding that a call about the fire was received at around 10.30 pm after which 22 fire tenders were rushed to the spot. Fire-fighting operations were underway and the cause of the fire was yet to be ascertained. Crash course for frontline workers: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch a customised crash course programme for Covid-19 frontline workers on Friday through video conferencing, the Prime Minister's Office said. The launch will commence the programme in 111 training centres spread over 26 states, the PMO said. Modi will launch 'Customized Crash Course programme for COVID-19 Frontline workers' on 18 June at 11 am through video conferencing, it said. I T Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday said Twitter has “deliberately” defied and failed to comply with intermediary guidelines. Slamming the micro-blogging platform over non-compliance, Prasad said that it is “astounding” that Twitter which portrays itself as the flag bearer of free speech, chooses the path of deliberate defiance when it comes to the Intermediary Guidelines. “There are numerous queries arising as to whether Twitter is entitled to safe harbour provision. However, the simple fact of the matter is that Twitter has failed to comply with the Intermediary Guidelines that came into effect from the 26 May,” Prasad said in a series of posts on homegrown microblogging platform Koo. The minister also tweeted on the issue. Twitter fails to address the grievances of users by refusing to setting up process as mandated by the law of the land. Additionally, it chooses a policy of flagging manipulated media, only when it suits, its likes and dislikes, says Prasad. The minister said that what happened in Uttar Pradesh was illustrative of Twitter’s “arbitrariness” in fighting fake news Prasad questioned why Twitter was reluctant to follow Indian laws designed to give voice to victims of abuse and misuse. “Further, what is perplexing is that Twitter fails to address the grievances of users by refusing to setting up process as mandated by the law of the land. Additionally, it chooses a policy of flagging manipulated media, only when it suits, its likes and dislikes,” he said. The minister said that what happened in Uttar Pradesh was illustrative of Tw- itter’s “arbitrariness” in fighting fake news. An FIR has been filed against Twitter over an incident in Ghaziabad’s Loni where an elderly man was allegedly assaulted. Prasad said that Indian companies, be it pharma or IT or others that go to do business in the US or in other countries overseas, voluntarily follow the local laws. “Then why are platforms P12 Covishield: India will revisit dosage interval SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 16 JUNE like Twitter showing reluctance in following Indian laws designed to give voice to the victims of abuse and misuse,” the minister questioned. In a major setback to Twitter, the microblogging platform has lost its ‘safe harbour’ protection in India over non-compliance with IT rules and failure to appoint key personnel mandated under the new guidelines. It will now be liable for action under IPC for third party unlawful content. Earlier this month, the government had given one last chance to Twitter to comply with the new IT rules and had issued a stern warning that failure to adhere to the norms will lead to the platform losing exemption from liability under the IT Act. IT Ministry had questioned Twitter over not providing information about the Chief Compliance Officer as required under the SEE P4 rules. UNLOCKED CAPITAL A crowded market after lockdown was eased in the Capital on Wednesday. ‘ASHWIN, JADEJA SHOULD PLAY AT SOUTHAMPTON’ RAJNATH CALLS FOR PEACEFUL RESOLUTION OF DISPUTES AMARJEET SINGH India will revisit the dosage interval for Covishield vaccine and take appropriate action based on emerging data, N K Arora, chairperson of the working group of immunisation advisory body NTAGI, said. He said in a statement that the emerging evidence and reports regarding efficacy of partial versus full immunisation are also under consideration. On the decision to increase the gap between two doses of Covishield from four-six weeks to 1216 weeks, he said the move was based on scientific decision and there was no dissenting voice among the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) members. In April-end, data released by Public Health England, showed that vaccine efficacy varied between 65 and 88 per cent when interval is 12 weeks. “This was the basis on which they overcame their epidemic outbreak due to the Alpha variant. The UK was able to come out of it because the interval they kept was 12 weeks. Hence the decision was taken on 13 May to increase the interval to 12-16 weeks,” he said, adding that this also gives flexibility. We have a very open and transparent system where decisions are taken on scientific basis. Arora said the earlier decision of four weeks was based on the bridging trial data available then. He also cited that the increase in gap between two doses was based on studies that showed higher efficacy with increase in gap. “Later we came across additional scientific and laboratory data, based on which after six weeks or so, we felt we should increase the interval from four weeks to eight weeks, since studies showed that vaccine efficacy is about 57 per cent when it is four weeks and about 60 per cent when it is eight weeks,” he said. On why the NTAGI did not increase the gap earlier to 12 weeks, he said that it was decided to wait for ground-level data from the UK. On the protection from single dose versus two doses, Arora explained that two-three days after taking decision to increase the dosage interval, there were reports from UK that single dose of AstraZeneca gives only 33 per cent protection and two doses give about 60 per cent. Since mid-May there were discussions whether India should revert to four or eight weeks, he said. It was decided to establish a vaccine tracking platform-to assess not only the impact of vaccination, but also type of vaccine and interval between doses, and what happens when someone is fully/partially immunized. Arora referred to a study by PGI Chandigarh which compared effectiveness of partial versus full immunisation. Guj: Two kids among nine Modi urges world to invest in India India reports 62,224 new cases, 2,542 fresh fatalities killed in car-truck collision STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 16 JUNE PRESS TRUST OF INDIA ANAND, 16 JUNE Two children and seven adults were killed in a road accident after the car collided with a truck near Indranaj village in Gujarat’s Anand district on Wednesday morning, police said. Apart from the two children, who were aged between three and five years, two women also died in the accident, they said. Police revised down the number of victims of the accident, which took place on a state highway connecting Tarapur (in Anand district) to Vataman (in Ahmedabad district), to nine from 10, which they had previously said. The bodies of all the victims have been pulled out of the mangled car, officials said. “The front seat of the car was badly mangled, and we were initially not sure about the number of bodies on the front seat,” DSP Bhartiben Pandya said. The victims, who have been identified, were from Vartej in Bhavnagar district, she said, adding that they were on their way back home from Maharashtra. The bodies have been sent for post-mortem. The accident took place on the state highway when the car was hit by a loaded truck which was going from Morbi in Saurashtra towards south Gujarat, said SP, Anand district, Ajit Rajiyan. Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani and Union Home Minister Amit Shah expressed grief over the incident. Prime Minister Narendra Modi today invited the world to invest in India based on five pillars of talent as he hailed country’s start-up community for bolstering the fight against Covid-19. “Indian tech-talent pool is famous across the world as the youth have given tech solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems,” he pointed out while addressing the Viva Tech summit. Modi said the challenges the world faced today could only be overcome with a collective spirit and a human centric approach. “For this, I call upon the start-up community, dominated by youngsters, to take the lead. These are people free from the baggage of the past, best placed to power global transformation.” Talking about innovation in the context of Covid-19, the PM noted that digital technology helped India to tackle problems stemming from the pandemic by connecting, History has shown that leadership in new technology drives economic strength, jobs and prosperity. But our partnerships must also serve a larger purpose, in service of humanity. This pandemic is not only a test of our resilience, but also of our imagination NARENDRA MODII NARENDRA MOD PRIME MINISTER PRIME MINISTER comforting and consoling people. “Through digital platforms, we could work, talk with our loved ones, and help others,” he said, adding that Aadhar has enabled timely financial support to the poor and providing food to 800 million people, and delivering cooking-fuel subsidies to many households. Innovation made the fight against pandemic more effective and the role of start-up has been paramount, he said. He recalled that when the pandemic ravaged the country, testing capacity was nascent, there was shortage of masks, PPE, ventilators and essential kits. “Our private sector played a key role in addressing this shortage. Our doctors adopted telemedicine in a big way so that some Covid and other nonCovid issues could be addressed virtually,” he added. Modi noted that two vaccines were being made in India and more were in the trial stage. “On the government side, our indigenous IT platform, Arogya Setu enabled effective contact tracing. COWIN digital platform has already helped ensure vaccines to millions. Had we not been innovating, our fight against Covid-19 would have been much weaker,” he added. Modi said India, as an open society and economy, was committed to the international system. “History has shown that leadership in new technology drives economic strength, jobs and prosperity. But our partnerships must also serve a larger purpose, in service of humanity. This pandemic is not only a test of our resilience, but also of our imagination,” he added. SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 16 JUNE A single day rise of 62,224 new Covid-19 cases were reported taking India’s caseload to 2,96,33,105, while the active cases were recorded below nine lakh after 70 days, according to the Union health ministry data updated on Wednesday. The Covid-19 death toll climbed to 3,79,573 with 2,542 fresh fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed. The active cases further declined to 8,65,432 while the national recovery rate has improved to 95.80 per cent. The daily positivity rate dropped to 3.22 per cent. Recoveries continue to outnumber daily new cases for the 34th consecutive day. The number of people who have recuperated surged to 2,83,88,100, data stated. Delhi cases: Delhi today recorded 212 fresh coronavirus cases and 25 Covidlinked deaths while the positivity rate dipped to 0.27 GENEVA, 16 JUNE Russian President Vladimir Putin says he and the US President Joe Biden agreed in a “constructive” summit to return ambassadors to their posts, lowering tensions and beginning consultations to replace the last remaining treaty between the two countries limiting nuclear weapons. Putin said after the summit meeting on Wednesday that there was “no hostility” during the talks that wrapped up more quickly than expected. The two sides had said they expected to meet for four to five hours but spent less than three hours together, including an opening meeting with just the two Presidents and each one’s top foreign aide. When it was over, Putin had first crack at describing the results at a solo news conference, with Biden to follow with his own session with reporters The Russian president said there was an agreement between the leaders to return their ambassadors to their respective postings. Both countries had pulled back their top envoys to Washington and Moscow as relations chilled in recent months. Russia’s ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, was recalled from Washington about three months ago after Biden called Putin a killer; US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan left Moscow almost two months ago, after Russia suggested he return to Washington for consultations. Putin said that the ambassadors were expected to return their posts in the coming days. Putin also said the two sides agreed in principle to begin consultations on cybersecurity issues, though he continued to deny US allegations that Russian government was responsible for a spate of recent high-profile hacks against business and US government agencies around the globe. Biden and Putin plunged into the face-to-face talks Wednesday at a lush lakeside Swiss mansion, a highly anticipated summit at a time when both leaders say relations between their countries are at a low point. As the two leaders appeared briefly before media at the start of the meeting, Biden called it a discussion between “two great powers” and said it was “always better to meet face to face.” Putin said he hoped the talks would be “productive.” The meeting in a book-lined room had a somewhat awkward beginning -both men appeared to avoid looking directly at each other during a brief and chaotic photo opportunity before a scrum of jostling reporters. Biden nodded when a reporter asked if Putin could NEW DELHI, 16 JUNE Union Health Ministry on Wednesday dismissed media reports claiming there was dissent from technical experts about increasing the gap between two Covishield doses and said the decision was based on scientific reason. “The STSC of NTAGI gave the following recommendation: ‘as per the Covid-19 Working Group recommendation, a dosing interval of minimum three months between two doses of Covishield vaccine was recommended’,” the PTI statement said. A PGI Chandigarh study very clearly shows that vaccine effectiveness was 75 per cent for both partially immunised and fully immunized, Arora said in relation to the Alpha variant which had swept Punjab, north India and came to Delhi. This also meant that even if you received only one dose, still you are protected. Results from the CMC Vellore study are similar, he says. Another very important study by CMC Vellore, Tamil Nadu shows that if somebody is partially immunised, vaccine effectiveness of Covishield is 61 per cent and with two doses, the effectiveness is 65 per cent, he said. Delhi Police moves SC over bail to 3 student activists SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 16 JUNE 2,96,33,105 8,65,432 62,224 1,07,628 3,79,573 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. WEDNESDAY 16 JUNE 2021 per cent, according to the Delhi government's latest health bulletin. The city had yesterday reported 228 coronavirus infections and 12 Covid-linked fatalities while the positivity rate was then SEE P 2 0.32 per cent. Biden, Putin set ‘consultations’ on updating nuclear pact ASSOCIATED PRESS Centre rejects reports of dissent by med experts be trusted, but the White House quickly sent out a tweet insisting that the president was “very clearly not responding to any one question, but nodding in acknowledgment to the press generally.” The two leaders did shake hands. For months, Biden and Putin have traded sharp rhetoric. Biden has repeatedly called out Putin for malicious cyberattacks by Russian-based hackers on US interests, for the jailing of Putin critic Alexei Navalny and for interference in American elecSEE P 10 tions. Delhi Police on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court challenging three separate judgments of the Delhi High Court granting bail to three student activists in last year’s north-east Delhi riots cases. The HC on Tuesday had granted bail to two JNU students Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita and a Jamia Millia Islamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha saying in its anxiety to suppress dissent, the state has blurred the line between right to protest and terrorist activity. Terming as “somewhat vague” the definition of 'terrorist act' under the stringent UAPA laws and warning against its use in a “cavalier manner”, the high court set aside the trial court orders denying bail to the student activists. “We are of the view that the foundations of our nation stand on surer footing than to be likely to be shaken by a protest, however vicious, organised by a tribe of college students or other persons, operating as a coordination committee from the confines of a University situate in the heart of Delhi,” the high court had said. The HC had said there is absolutely nothing in the charge sheet, by way of any specific allegation to show the possible commission of a terrorist act within section 15 UAPA, an act of raising funds to commit a terrorist act under section 17 and an act of conspiracy to commit or an act preparatory to commit, a terrorist act within SEE P4 section 18 UAPA.
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