SATURDAY www.thestatesman.com 03 JULY 2021 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |`5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR COSBY CASE: TOUGH LESSONS FOR LAWYERS, VICTIMS ‘POOR KIDS’ EDUCATION WORST-HIT’ STATUS QUO AT LAC CAN BE ACHIEVED, SAYS CDS RAWAT P5 P7 ‘SECOND-STRING INDIA TOURING SRI LANKA NOW’ P10 P12 Partly cloudy sky with light rain/ thundershowers. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 39 and 26 degrees Celsius respectively. Pregnant women can get Covid vax ‘2nd wave not over’: Centre rushes Covid teams to 6 states with upsurge RAINFALL: 000.4 Mm RELATIVE HUMIDITY MoHFW’s nod comes after NTAGI recommendations NEW DELHI, 2 JULY Max: 73% PRESS TRUST OF INDIA WEATHER Min: 35% NEW DELHI, 2 JULY TEMPERATURE Max: 41.3°C (+5) SUN RISES 05:28 hrs MOON RISES 01:22 hrs Min: 27.2°C (-1) SUN SETS 19:23 hrs MOON SETS 13:39 hrs THUMBNAILS Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, Speaker Biman Banerjee and chief minister Mamata Banerjee during the inaugural session of newly constituted West Bengal Legislative Assembly. (See P4) In Kolkata on Friday. SUBAL SAHA Tirath Rawat resigns as Uttarakhand CM: Four months after he took charge, Uttarakhand CM Tirath Singh Rawat Friday night resigned from his post. Mr Rawat met the Uttarakhand Governor Baby Rani Maurya late tonight, at the Dehradun Raj Bhavan and handed in his resignation, hours after his return from New Delhi where he had meet top BJP leaders, including BJP president J P Nadda. (P4) Parl Monsoon session from 19 July to 13 Aug: The Sixth Session of the 17th Lok Sabha will commence from 19 July and will continue till 13 August, an official communication said on Friday. Both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha issued official orders about the convening of the Monsoon session from 19 July. 5 LeT terrorists, Army jawan killed in Pulwama: Five Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists, including a district commander, and an Army jawan were killed in an encounter between the ultras and the security forces in J&K's Pulwama district on Friday, police said. (P5) P regnant women in India are now eligible to get vaccinated against Covid with the Union Health Ministry on Friday giving the approval based on recommendations of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI). The decision empowers pregnant women to make an informed choice on taking the Covid vaccination, the ministry said, adding these women can now register on CoWIN or walk-in to the nearest Covid vaccination centre to get themselves inoculated. The decision has been communicated to all the states and union territories to implement it under the ongoing National Covid Vaccination Program, it said in a statement. India’s Covid vaccination programme incorporates recommendations of the foremost experts in the field of immunization, public health, disease control and information technology. Based on scientific and epidemiological evidence, the programme gives priority to strengthening the country’s healthcare system by protecting the professionals, health and frontline workers, manning it, as well as protecting the most vulnerable population groups, the ministry said. Till now, all groups except pregnant women were eligible for Covid vaccination. Now, it is expanded to even pregnant women in the world’s largest immunization drive, the statement All post-poll violence charges to be considered as FIRs: HC STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA, 2 JULY All allegations of post-poll violence are to be considered as FIRs by the state, a Bench of Calcutta High Court comprising acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal, Justices I P Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen and Subrata Talukdar that is hearing the matter on post-poll violence directed on Friday. The court further directed the state government to arrange the medical treatment of the persons who were injured in the violence which took place in the wake of the recently held Assembly elections. The state was directed to provide rations to those whose ration cards had been taken away and had returned home O P Chautala released from Tihar Jail after fleeing their dwelling after violence broke out. The Bench directed a second post mortem of the body of BJP activist, Avijit Sarkar, who was killed at Kankurgachi and the post mortem is to be conducted at Command Hospital. All documents relating to post-poll violence are to be preserved with the chief secretary. These documents are to be handed over to the team of the National Human Rights Commission that is probing the post-poll violence, it was directed. The NHRC team met with a violent demonstration at Jadavpur recently. The Bench asked the state why a notice of contempt of court not issued against Rashid Muneer Khan, deputy commissioner of police, the concerned police officer. INCREASED RISK Previous studies have shown that Covid infection during pregnancy may result in rapid deterioration of health of pregnant women and they are at an increased risk of severe diseases and it might affect fetus too. The studies had also indicated that pregnant women with Covid-19 infection are at an increased risk for preterm birth and other adverse pregnancy outcomes including higher chances of neonatal morbidity said. Studies have shown that Covid infection during pregnancy may result in rapid deterioration of health of pregnant women and they are at an increased risk of severe diseases and it might affect fetus too, it said. The matter has been examined by domain knowledge experts based on the evidence that indicate pregnant women are at an increased risk for severe illness from Covid compared to non-pregnant women in case they get infected. “Pregnant women with Covid-19 infection are at an increased risk for preterm birth and other adverse pregnancy outcomes including higher chances of neonatal morbidity. The experts have also highlighted pre-existing comorbidities, advanced maternal age, and high body mass Index as factors for severe Covid-19 in pregnancy,” the statement said. The NTAGI has recommended vaccination for pregnant women. The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC) too has unanimously recommended it. Further, a national level consultation on Covid vaccination for pregnant women was also convened by the health ministry to build consensus on Covid vaccination of pregnant women. Over 34 crore Covid jabs given till now: The cumulative Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in the country crossed 34 crore on Friday, the Union Health Ministry said. A total of 9,41,03,985 persons in the age group of 18-44 across all states and UTs have received their first dose and 22,73,477 received the second dose, it said. The ministry said 34,00,76,232 vaccine doses were administered till 7 am, with over 42 lakh doses being given in a span of 24 hours. On Day-167 of the vaccination drive (1 July), out of the total 42,64,123 vaccine doses that were given, 32,80,998 beneficiaries were vaccinated for the first dose and 9,83,125 beneficiaries received the second dose. The Centre on Friday deputed multi-disciplinary teams to Kerala, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Manipur in view of the high number of Covid-19 cases being reported by these states, as it cautioned that the second wave of the pandemic is not over yet, and people should not lower their guard. The teams will be supporting the states in their efforts to carry out a targeted Covid response and management, and effectively tackling the pandemic, a Union Health Ministry statement said. Each two-member high level team to these states comprises a clinician and a public health expert, the statement said. A health worker collects swab sample for Covid-19 testing in Mumbai The teams will visit the states immediately and monitor the overall implementation of Covid-19 management, especially in testing, including surveillance and containment operations; Covid appropriate behaviour and its enforcement; availability of hospital beds, sufficient logistics including ambu- lances, ventilators, medical oxygen etc., and Covid19 vaccination progress. The teams will monitor the situation and also suggest remedial actions, the statement said. Among the states, Kerala is currently the only state adding over 10,000 new cases on a daily basis. On Friday, it reported 12,095 fresh Covid-19 cases, with 146 deaths. Health ministry officials stressed on vaccination and following Covid19 protocols as it noted that the second wave of the pandemic is not over yet and people should not lower their guard. Though daily new Covid-19 cases continue to show a declining trend, 71 districts reported a case positivity rate of more than 10 per cent from June 23 to 29, Joint Secretary in the Health Ministry Lav Agarwal said at a press conference. “The second wave of Covid-19 is not over yet,” he said. NITI Aayog Member (Health) Dr V K Paul said, “We are not safe till the entire nation is safe. There cannot be a lowering of guard. Virus keeps evolving.” India’s Covid-19 toll goes past 4L STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 2 JULY India on Friday became the third country, after the USA and Brazil, to cross four lakh deaths due to the Covid-19 pandemic. There were 853 deaths reported in the past 24 hours, which has taken the country’s total confirmed Covid-19 death toll to 4,00,312. According to data released by the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry on Friday, there were 46,617 fresh cases during the same period. With six lakh deaths, the USA is at the top of the list followed by Brazil with 5.2 lakh deaths due to the coronavirus. The first death due to Covid-19 in the country was reported last year in March. On 23 May, 2021, the country witnessed the highest number of fatalities with 4,454 deaths in 24 hours. On 30 June, India recorded 817 fatalities due to the coronavirus, the lowest since 10 April. The total caseload rose to 3,04,58,251 after India crossed the three crore mark on 25 June. India is the second country after the USA to record more than three STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA, 2 JULY The Trinamul Congress has written to the Prime Minister seeking the removal of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta from his present position over his meeting with the BJP’s Leader of the Opposition in the West Bengal Assembly, Suvendu Adhikari. In their letter, Trinamul MPs Derek O’Brien, Sukhendu Shekhar Roy and Mahua Moitra stated that the meeting between Adhikari and the Solicitor General at the latter’s Delhi residence, “reeks of impropriety” as the BJP MLA is an accused in the Narada and Saradha cases where investigations are underway. The letter said that Adhikari was accused in various cases of cheating, bribery and illegal gratification, related to the Narada and Saradha scams. The MPs also stated in their letter that the meeting was fixed at the Solicitor General’s residence after Mr Adhikari met Union home minister Amit Shah. They noted that Mr Mehta was appearing for the CBI in the Narada case in the Supreme Court and Calcutta High Court, besides advising the investigation agency in the Saradha chit fund scam. Trinamul Congress Diamond Harbour MP Abhishek Banerjee stated Mr Tushar Mehta’s efforts to dismiss speculations regarding his “clandestine” meeting with Suvendu Adhikari can only be valuable if he makes public all CCTV footage of when Mr Adhikari was in his residence. “Reports stated that Mr Adhikari entered Hon'ble SG's residence in the presence of a cavalcade of officers and stayed there for nearly 30 minutes. Does that imply that a meeting was indeed due?” Mr Banerjee asked. “As the episode gets murkier, one can only hope that the truth should surface,” he said. The Solicitor General of India is the second-highest law officer of the country after the Attorney General of India and advises the Government of India and its various organs in crucial legal matters. Such meeting between an accused with the learned Solicitor General who is advising such investigating agencies by whom the said accused is being investigated, is in direct conflict of interest with the statutory duties of the Solicitor General of India, said TMC MP and party’s chief whip in Rajya Sabha, Sukhendu Shekhar Roy. “In order to avoid any doubt in the mind of the public, to maintain the integrity and neutrality of the office of the Solicitor General of India, we approach you to initiate necessary steps for removal of Tushar Mehta from the post,” the MPs stated. Concerns grow over WHO leading Covid origins probe ASSOCIATED PRESS BEIJING, 2 JULY As the World Health Organization draws up plans for the next phase of its probe of how the coronavirus pandemic started, an increasing number of scientists say the UN agency it isn’t up to the task and shouldn’t be the one to investigate. Numerous experts, some with strong ties to WHO, say that political tensions between the US and China make it impossible for an investigation by the agency to find credible answers. They say what’s needed is a broad, independent analysis closer to what happened in the aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The first part of a joint WHO-China study of how The six states are Kerala, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Manipur The teams will be supporting the states in their efforts to carry out a targeted Covid response and management Each two-member high level team to these states comprises a clinician and a public health expert crore cases, adding one crore cases in the last 50 days. The active cases have now come down below 6 lakh. According to the Union Health Ministry, a total of 59,384 people have been discharged in the last 24 hours, taking the total discharge to 2,95,48,302 till date. Delhi cases: The national capital today reported 2 more Covid-linked fatalities and 93 fresh coronavirus infections with a case positivity rate of 0.13 per cent, according to the Delhi government’s latest health (See P2) bulletin. 3,04,58,251 5,09,637 46,617 59,384 4,00,312 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. FRIDAY 02 JULY 2021 TMC seeks SG’s removal for meeting Suvendu Drone seen over Indian NEW DELHI, 2 JULY Former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala, who was serving a 10-year prison term in a teacher recruitment scam case, was released from the Tihar Jail here on Friday after completing due formalities, prison officials said. The 86-year-old Chautala, was already out on parole. According to officials, since Chautala has already served nine years and nine months of his sentence, he was eligible to get out of prison. O P Chautala, his son Ajay Chautala, and 53 others, including IAS officer Sanjiv Kumar, were convicted and sentenced in the case of illegal recruitment of 3,206 junior basic teachers in 2000. PTI PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Peter Ben Embarek of the WHO team holds up a chart showing pathways of transmission of the virus in Wuhan on 9 February. Covid-19 started concluded in March that the virus probably jumped to humans from animals and that a lab leak was extremely unlikely. The next phase might try to examine the first human cases in more detail or pinpoint the animals responsible possibly bats, perhaps by way of some intermediate creature. But the idea that the pandemic somehow started in a laboratory and perhaps involved an engineered virus has gained traction recently, with President Joe Biden ordering a review of US intelligence within 90 days to assess the possibility. Early in June, WHO’s emergencies chief, Dr. Michael Ryan, said that the agency was working out the final details of the next phase of its probe and that because WHO works by persuasion, it lacks the power to compel China to cooperate. Some said that is precisely why a WHO-led examination is doomed to fail. We will never find the origins relying on the WHO, said Lawrence Gostin, director of the WHO Collaborating Center on Public Health Law and Human Rights at Georgetown University. For a year and a half, they have been stonewalled by China, and it’s very clear they won’t get to the bottom of it. Gostin said the US and other countries can either try to piece together what intelligence they have or create some new entity to investigate. The first phase of WHO’s mission required getting China’s approval not only for the experts who travelled there but for their entire agenda and the report they ultimately produced. Jeffrey Sachs, a professor at Columbia University, said the US must be willing to subject its own scientists to a rigorous examination and recognise that they might be just as culpable as China. The US was involved in research at the laboratories in Wuhan, Sachs said, referring to US funding of controversial experiments and the search for animal viruses capable of triggering outbreaks. mission in Islamabad; New Delhi lodges protest STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 2 JULY The Ministry of External Affairs today confirmed that a drone was spotted over the Indian High Commission in Islamabad last week, forcing New Delhi to lodge a protest with the Pakistani authorities. “A drone was spotted over the Indian High Commission in Islamabad on 26 June and the matter has been taken up officially with Pakistan,” Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a media briefing. He said India expected Pakistan to investigate the incident and prevent such breach of security. This was the first such incident involving the Indian mission in Pakistan. It happened hours before a drone attack at the Indian Air Force station in Jammu in the wee hours of Sunday. Two IAF personnel were injured in the attack in which improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were dropped by the drones. A day later, Indian army personnel fired at a drone at Kaluchak, also in Jammu. Preliminary investigations suggested the involvement of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) in the Jammu IAF station attack. The drone over the Indian High Commission in Islamabad was spotted apparently when a function was going on inside the mission. Asked if India was sure about the involvement of LeT in the Jammu drone attack, the spokesperson said the investigating agencies were carrying out a probe. He, however, made it clear that India has a “zero tolerance” policy against terrorism. JAMMU DRONE ATTACK “What happened at Jammu was essentially a terrorist act which attempted to target our assets there. The attempt failed of course. The assets were not damaged. Two explosives were used” RKS BHADAURIA AIR CHIEF MARSHAL “All countries must take action, end terror havens and financing. We call upon Pakistan to take credible, verifiable and irreversible action against cross-border terrorism and bring perpetrators of Mumbai and Pathankot attacks to justice,” he added. Pakistan rejected India’s claim of a drone flying over the premises of the Indian mission. “These preposterous claims have no basis in facts and no proof whatsoever has been shared with Pakistan to substantiate these allegations,” Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said. Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, speaking in an interactive session at a think tank, said the drone strikes in the Jammu airbase were an “act of terror” that was aimed at targeting key military assets. The Chief of Air Staff said the IAF has carried out a detailed analysis in terms of implications of drones and other capabilities falling into the hands of non-state actors, and taking a series of measures to counter them. He said a detailed investigation into the attacks was underway and measures would be on the table based on the findings. (With PTI input)
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