CMYK FRIDAY www.thestatesman.com 27 AUGUST 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 MS HARRIS & CHINA ‘BIDEN SAID NO TO ALLIES AND YES TO TALIBAN’ P10 WEATHER Generally cloudy sky with few spells of thundershower. Temperature will be in the range of 32-26 degrees Celsius. RAINFALL: 22 mm RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max. 98% TEMPERATURE GUNNERS BLAZING AS AUBAMEYANG HITS HAT-TRICK CHHATTISGARH CONG IN DENIAL OVER CHANGE OF GUARD P6 P5 P12 2 suicide attacks near Govt committed to full evacuation of Indians Kabul airport; 13 dead from Afghanistan: MEA Complex attack believed to have been carried out by Islamic State:US Min. 73% TWIN BLASTS THUMBNAILS US Air Force loadmasters and pilots load people being evacuated onto a US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on 24 August. ASSOCIATED PRESS KABUL, 26 AUGUST Athletes who participated in the Tokyo Olympics 2020 pose for a group photo after being felicitated with Tata Altroz hatchback, in the Capital on Thursday. SUBRATA DUTTA CBI registers 9 cases in post-poll violence in WB: p The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered nine cases in connection with postpoll violence in West Bengal in the last few days. The cases are based on information provided by the DG, West Bengal Police to the Central investigating agency, CBI sources said. (P3) ‘Shift Unitech group directors from Tihar jail’: The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered that former Unitech Group directors, Sanjay Chandra and his brother Ajay Chandra, should be shifted from Delhi's Tihar Jail to Arthur Road jail and Taloja jail in Mumbai. The top court bench passed the order following a report by the ED claiming it has found a "secret underground office", which was being operated by their father and Unitech founder Ramesh Chandra in collusion with the Tihar jail authorities. Yahoo shuts down news sites in India: Yahoo has shut down its news websites in India due the new foreign direct investment (FDI) rules that limit foreign ownership of media companies that operate and publish digital content in India. (P8) 15 were wounded, according to Russia’s Foreign Ministry, which gave the first official casualty count Members of the U.S. military were among the wounded. Even as the area was hit, the official said evacuation flights continued to take off from Kabul airport One explosion went off in a crowd of people waiting to enter the airport and another was a short distance away by a hotel. British Armed Forces Minister James Heappey had said early Thursday there was “very, very credible reporting of an imminent attack” at the airport, possibly within “hours.” Max: 33.8 °C(+1) Min: 27.1 °C(+1) SUN RISES SUN SETS 05:18 hrs 17:59 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 20:38 hrs 08:31 hrs Next moon quarter on 30 August wo suicide bombers and gunmen targeted crowds massing near the Kabul airport Thursday, in the waning days of a massive airlift that has drawn thousands of people seeking to flee the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. At least 13 people were killed and 15 wounded, Russian officials said. A U.S. official said the complex attack was “definitely believed” to have been carried out by the Islamic State group, whose affiliate in Afghanistan grew out of disaffected Taliban members who hold an even more extreme view of Islam. At least 13 people died and 15 were wounded, according to Russia’s Foreign Ministry, which gave the first official casualty count. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby also confirmed the blasts, saying one was near an airport T entrance and another was a short distance away by a hotel. The U.S. official said members of the U.S. military were among the wounded. Even as the area was hit, the official said evacuation flights continued to take off from Kabul airport, which Western governments earlier warned was a target. One explosion went off in a crowd of people waiting to enter the airport, according to Adam Khan, an Afghan waiting nearby. Several people appeared to have been killed or wounded, including some who lost body parts. Several countries urged people to avoid the airport earlier in the day, with one saying there was a threat of a suicide bombing. But just days — or even hours for some nations — before the evacuation effort ends, few appeared to heed the call. Over the last week, the airport has been the scene of some of the most searing images of the chaotic end of America’s longest war and the Taliban’s takeover, as flight after flight took off carrying those who fear a return to the militants’ brutal rule. Already, some countries have ended their evacuations and begun to withdraw their soldiers and diplomats, signaling the beginning of the end of one of history’s largest airlifts. The Taliban have pledged not to attack Western forces during the evacuation, but insist the foreign troops must be out by America’s self-imposed deadline of 31 August. Overnight, warnings emerged from Western capitals about a threat from Afghanistan’s Islamic State group affiliate, which likely has seen its ranks boosted by the Taliban’s freeing of prisoners during their blitz across the country. British Armed Forces Minister James Heappey told the BBC early Thursday there was ”very, very credible reporting of an imminent attack” at the airport, possibly within “hours.” Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said his country had received information from the U.S. and other countries about the “threat of suicide attacks on the mass of people.” Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said his country had received information from the U.S. and other countries about the “threat of suicide attacks on the mass of people.” The acting U.S. ambassador to Kabul, Ross Wilson, said the security threat at the Kabul airport overnight was “clearly regarded as credible, as imminent, as compelling.” But in an interview with ABC News, he would not give details and did not say whether the threat remained. INDIA'S WAIT AND WATCH APPROACH External Affairs Min- ister S Jaishankar said the government has adopted a “wait and watch” approach in dealing with PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 26 AUGUST The government is committed to “full evacuation” of Indians from Afghanistan, where the situation is “critical”, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Thursday after briefing the leaders at an all-party meet on the Afghan situation. During the meeting, which lasted for about three and a half hours, Jaishankar said the government has adopted a “wait and watch” approach in dealing with the Taliban, depending on the evolving situation, and later said that let the situation settle down there. “Let the situation settle...You will have to keep patience on the question of our future policy,” he said when asked about the government’s approach towards the Taliban. Later in a tweet, Jaishankar said, “our immediate concern and task is evacuation and long term interest is the friendship for the Afghan people”. Besides Jaishankar, Union minister and Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha Piyush Goyal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi were also present during the briefing on the latest situation in the Taliban, depending on the evolving situation “Let the situation settle...You will have to keep patience on the question of our future policy. Our immediate concern and task is evacuation and long term interest is the friendship for the Afghan people” Afghanistan after the Taliban captured power there last week. Senior officials of the external affairs ministry, including Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla also participated in the meeting. As per the evacuation data shared among the participants at the meet, the government has evacuated ~ 175 Embassy Personnel, 263 other Indian Nationals, 112 Afghan Nationals including Hindus and Sikhs, 15 third country nationals and the total figure stood at 565. NCP leader Sharad Pawar, Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, Leader of Congress party in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, DMK’s T R Baalu, former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, Apna Dal’s Anupriya Patel were among those who attended the meet. “We have a strong national position on Afghanistan. The friendship with the Afghan people is something which matters to all of us. So we (all parties) approached this situation very much in a spirit of national unity,” he said. Under Operation ‘Devi Shakti’, the government has undertaken six flights and brought back most of India logs 46K fresh Covid cases; Celebrate festivals with caution, 2nd wave not over’ No plan yet to revise Covishield nearly 22 per cent jump in 24 hrs dose gap, clarifies govt SNS & PTI Union Health Secretary NEW DELHI, 26 AUGUST STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 26 AUGUST India on Thursday reported 46,164 new Covid cases, registering a 22 per cent jump in the last 24 hours. A total of 607 deaths in the last 24 hours have pushed the total toll in India to 4,36,365, according to Union Health Ministry data. A 22 percent jump in new cases was recorded on over 37,593 fresh infections logged on Wednesday, while on Tuesday the country had registered 25,467 new cases and 354 deaths in a day. Kerala:The surge in Covid infections in Kerala continued with the daily cases soaring past 30,000 for the second con- secutive day on Thursday, even as Opposition attacked the state government’s alleged “unwise” decisions for the spike. Kerala today clocked 30,007 fresh cases, which is slightly lower than yesterday’s 31,445 virus infection. Bengal:West Bengal today logged 717 new Covid cases and 9 deaths with Kolkata recording 118 cases and 1 death. Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on Thursday reviewed the steps taken by the state governments of Kerala and Maharashtra for checking the spread of Covid. The state governments were advised that they should continue with their vaccination programmes. Police siding with ruling party a disturbing trend: CJI Ramana SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 26 AUGUST Filing of sedition cases when regimes change is a “disturbing trend”, the Supreme Court said on Thursday while granting protection from arrest to the suspended Director of Chhattisgarh Police Academy against whom two criminal cases of sedition and amassing of disproportionate assets have been filed by the state government. “State of affairs in the country is sad,” said a bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana. Gurjinder Pal Singh, the 1994-batch IPS officer who had served as the IG of Raipur, Durg and Bilaspur during the earlier BJP rule, was initially booked in the disproportionate assets case following raids at his premises by state’s AntiCorruption Bureau (ACB) and Economic Offences Wing (EOW). Another case of sedition was invoked against him later on the grounds of his alleged involvement in hatching a conspiracy against government. The bench expressed displeasure over the trend of filing of sedition cases just after senior advocate F S Nariman made opening submissions on behalf of Singh, saying “the gentleman has served as the ADGP and was acting as the Director of the Police Academy and now the proceedings under section 124A (sedition) have been initiated against him”. 3,25,58,530 3,33,725 46,164 34,159 4,36,365 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. THURSDAY 26 AUGUST 2021 ‘PM-CARES for Covid orphans’ NEW DELHI, 26 AUGUST The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the district magistrates to complete the process of approval of applications for children, registered under the ‘PM-CARES for Children’ scheme, so that those who have lost their parents or guardian due to the Covid-19 could get the benefit. The apex court came out with the direction after the Centre informed it that a separate portal has been created for the scheme and as on August 21 this year, 2,600 children have been registered on the portal by 30 states and UTs and out of these, 418 applications have been approved by the district magPTI istrates. The Central government on Thursday said the months of September and October will be crucial in pandemic management and cautioned that festivals should be celebrated in accordance with Covid19-appropriate behaviour. Addressing a media briefing, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan reiterated that the country is still in the midst of the second wave. ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava said vaccines are disease modifying and not disease preventing so it is very important to continue the use of masks even after vaccination. Bhushan said, “We are still in the midst of the second surge of Covid-19 in our coun- Rajesh Bhushan said that the country is still in the midst of the 2nd wave. ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava said vaccines are disease modifying and not disease preventing so it is very important to continue wearing masks even after vaccination. try. The second surge has not yet concluded. It is not over and therefore, we have to maintain all necessary precautions, particularly in light of our experience that after every festival we see a spike.” “September and October are crucial for us because we would be celebrating a few festivals. Thus festivals have to be celebrated with Covid- There is no plan to reduce the 84-day dose gap for Covishield, top government expert NK Arora said today as reports said the interval between two shots will be reviewed for the third time this year following a recommendation by health experts. The IAPSM or Indian Association of Preventive and Social Medicine has recommended reducing the gap. But Dr Arora, the chairman of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI), denied any rethink for now. “NTAGI reviews vaccine effectiveness data on a regular basis. Currently there is no proposal for change in the dose interval for Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V,” Dr Arora said. appropriate behaviour,” he added. The government said 41 districts in India were reporting a Covid weekly positivity rate of more than 10 per cent. “Kerala is the only state reporting over 1 lakh active Covid cases, while four states have 10,000 to 1 lakh active cases and 31 states have less than 10,000 active cases,” it said. The government said over 400 evacuees were brought back from Afghanistan so far and that some of them have tested Covid positive. Decks cleared for BV Nagarathna’s possible elevation as Chief Justice of India in 2027 STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE The Supreme Court Collegium, headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana had recommended nine names, including eight HC judges and a senior advocate for the elevation to the top court. It is the first time nine names have been recommended. Justice B V Nagarathna of the Karnataka High Court is in line to become the first woman Chief Justice of India. Chandrachud and L. Nageswara Rao, had recommended nine names, including eight high court judges and a senior advocate for the elevation to the top court. Justice B V Nagarathna of the Karnataka High Court is in line to become the first woman Chief Justice of India in September 2027. Justice Nagarathna’s father, Justice E.S. Venkataramiah had been a CJI for a few months in 1989. Top court Justice Navin Sinha retired on 18 August, which left 10 vacancies against sanctioned strength of 35. The other two women judges selected are Justice Hima Kohli, who is the Chief Justice of Telangana High Court and Justice Bela Trivedi, who is a judge at the Gujarat High Court. NEW DELHI, 26 AUGUST The Centre on Thursday approved all nine names recommended by the Supreme Court Collegium, including three women judges, for the appointment as judges to the top court. It is the first time nine judges have been recommended for elevation by the Collegium, and the Centre has approved all the names. The names have been sent to the President for approval. The Supreme Court Collegium, headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and comprising Justices~ U.U. Lalit, A.M. Khanwilkar, D.Y. CMYK Senior advocate P.S. Narasimha is the Collegium’s choice for the direct appointment to the bench. Narasimha’s recommendation has come after the retirement of Justice Rohinton F. Nariman, who was the fifth lawyer to be directly appointed from the bar and retired on 12 August. Other names finalised by the collegium are~ Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka, Chief Justice of Karnataka HC; Vikram Nath, Chief Justice of Gujarat HC; Justice Jitendra Kumar Maheshwari, Chief Justice of Sikkim HC; Justice C.T. Ravikumar, judge in Kerala HC; and Justice M.M. Sundresh, judge in Kerala HC. Taliban stops 140 Hindu, Sikh Afghans from leaving Kabul At least 140 Afghan Sikhs and Hindus and others have been stopped by the Taliban from going to the Kabul airport, said president of the Indian World Forum Puneet Singh, who has been coordinating the evacuation with the Ministry of External Affairs and the Indian Air Force. The development has forced a delay in the departure of a special IAF aircraft, which has been waiting at the Kabul airport since Wednesday. The Indian World Forum said the Taliban turned back the passengers from outside the airport on Wednesday night. AGENCIES the Indians but not all of them, he said, noting that a few Indians are still there. “Some of them could not make the flight yesterday. But definitely we will try and bring everybody. We have also brought out some Afghan citizens who wanted to come to india at this point of time. We have tried to address many of the other issues by instituting an E-visa policy. So the overall sense was that the government is very very strongly committed to ensuring the full evacuation ASAP he said. ,” On the all-party meet, he tweeted “briefed the floor leaders of all political parties today on Afghanistan and 37 leaders from 31 parties attended. Thank them all.” Centre eases rules for operation of drones in India Approvals, compliance requirements and entry barriers have been significantly reduced NEW DELHI, 26 AUGUST The Ministry of Civil Aviation has eased the rules regarding drone operations in the country by reducing the number of forms that need to be filled to operate them from 25 to 5 and decreasing the types of fees charged from the operator from 72 to 4. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter that the new drone rules usher in a landmark moment for the sector in India. “The rules are based on the premise of trust and self-certification. Approvals, compliance requirements and entry barriers have been significantly reduced,” he stated. The Drone Rules, 2021, were issued on Wednesday. They supersede the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2021, which had come into force on 12 March. The Prime Minister said the new rules will tremendously help start-ups and youth working in this sector. “It will help leverage India’s strengths in innovation, technology and engineering to make India a drone hub,” he mentioned. The fee, according to the new rules, has been reduced to nominal levels and delinked from the size of the drone. For example, the fee for a remote pilot license has been reduced for Rs 3,000 (for a large drone) to Rs 100 for all categories of drones and PTI it is valid for 10 years.
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