CMYK SATURDAY www.thestatesman.com 28 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 CIA AND TALIBAN ‘WE WILL HUNT YOU DOWN’: BIDEN TO KABUL ATTACKERS P10 TEST CHAMPIONS COULD DO WITH T20 WORLD CUP ‘INDUSTRY SHOULD UP RISK-TAKING’ P6 P7 P12 RAINFALL: 22 mm RELATIVE HUMIDITY Priority evacuation, lack Airlift urgency after of clarity on formation of Kabul attacks kill 169 Afghan govt, says MEA Max. 98% PRESS TRUST OF INDIA WEATHER Generally cloudy sky with few spells of thundershower. Temperature will be in the range of 32-26 degrees Celsius. TEMPERATURE US warns more attacks could come ahead of 31 Aug withdrawal deadline Min. 84% Max: 31.0 °C(-1) Min: 25.5 °C(-1) SUN RISES SUN SETS 05:18 hrs 17:58 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 21:11 hrs 09:23 hrs Next moon quarter on 30 August THUMBNAILS Afghan refugees protest outside the UNHCR office for the fifth day urging help from the international community. At Vasant Vihar, in the Capital on Friday. SNS Five truckers killed by militants in Assam: Five truckers transporting coal were killed and their vehicles set ablaze by suspected militants in Assam's Dima Hasao district, police said. A group of suspected Dimasa National Liberation Army militants opened fire at the trucks lined up in the Rangerbeel area, around 5 km from Diyunmukh police station, on Thursday night. NEW DELHI, 27 AUGUST A day after over 100 people were killed in two suicide bombings outside the Kabul airport, India on Friday said its primary focus has been on evacuating the remaining Indians from the Afghan capital and questions on whether to recognise a Taliban regime are not pertinent now in view of a lack of clarity on government formation in Afghanistan. Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi also said at a media briefing that around 20 Indians and a number of Afghan nationals could not reach the Kabul airport on Wednesday to board an evacuation flight to India in view of the precarious security scenario there. Asked specifically whether India will recognise a Taliban government, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that around 20 Indians and a number of Afghan nationals could not reach the Kabul airport on Wednesday to board an evacuation flight to India in view of the precarious security scenario there. he said, “I think we are jumping the gun.” “The situation on the ground is uncertain. The prime concern at present is the security and safety of the people. Currently, there is a lack of clarity or no clarity about any entity forming a government in Kabul. So I think we are jumping the gun here regarding the recognition,” Bagchi said. “We, of course, continue to monitor the situation very carefully. This is an evolving situation. For the moment, that is all that I have to say about this element,” he added. Thursday’s deadly blasts outside the Kabul airport came as the US and allies were scrambling to evacuate their citizens and Afghan partners ahead of the August 31 deadline for withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan. Asked whether India was part of any back-channel negotiations with the Taliban, he said the country has contacts with all the stakeholders and remains in touch with its allies on the latest developments. “Our overall assessment is that the vast majority of Indians who wished to return have been evacuated. Some more Indians are likely to be in Afghanistan. I do not have an exact number for that,” he said. “You are aware of the very difficult situation on the ground right now. We are in touch with various parties regarding when we can mount such evacuation flights,” Bagchi said. SAFE HOME CBI registers 11 FIRs in WB post-poll violence: p The CBI has so far registered 11 FIRs related to incidents of murder, gangrape, and attempt to murder reported during the post-poll violence in West Bengal with 99 people being named in them, officials said. Some of the FIRs showed that one case pertained to the murder of a TMC worker, three were related to the murder and attempt to murder of BJP workers. (P3) Bhavinaben secures medal in Paralympics: Bhavinaben Patel on Friday scripted history by becoming the first Indian table tennis player to secure a medal in the Paralympics after she entered the semifinals with a stunning straight-game win over world No 5 Borislava Rankovic of Serbia in the women's singles Class 4 event. (P12) Passengers disembark from the last plane from Afghanistan carrying evacuees from Kabul arriving at Copenhagen Airport on Friday. AP Sidhu to Congress high command: Allow me to take decisions or face consequences STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE CHANDIGARH, 27 AUGUST Under fire over the controversial remarks made by his two advisors, Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu on Friday courted new controversy by declaring he will “destroy everything” if he is not given freedom in decisionmaking by the Congress high command. “Today I have told the high command only one thing. If I fulfil the expectations of the people (of Punjab), the Congress will remain undefeated for the next 20 years. But if you don’t allow me to take decisions, itt naal itt baja deyanga (I will destroy everything),” said Sidhu while addressing supporters at Amritsar. Sidhu’s comment came on the day one of his two controversial advisors, Malwinder Singh Mali, resigned from his post citing an attempt to push him “into the struggle with tied hands”. The party high command had directed Sidhu to remove both his advisors, Mali and Pyare Lal Garg for their statements on Kashmir and Pakistan. While Garg had questioned Amarinder’s criticism of Pakistan saying it was not in the interest of Punjab. Mali on his Facebook account, wrote, “Kashmir is a country of Kashmiris, in accord with the agreement when it left India in 1947 and in violation of the UNO decision, Kashmir was cut into two pieces, which has been occupied by Pakistan and India.” Mali had also posted a sketch of the late Indira Gandhi, in which she is seen standing near a heap of human skulls with a gun in her hand. “These advisers were not appointed by the party.We have asked Sidhu to dismiss them. If Sidhu does not do that, I will. We do not want people who embarrass the party,” Rawat had said on Wednesday. These controversial statements landed the newlyappointed Punjab Congress chief in a soup with Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh also asking Sidhu to “rein in” his advisors. The Congress sought to play down Sidhu’s remarks, saying that state chiefs are free to take their decisions within the party’s norms and constitution. See also Page 5 ASSOCIATED PRESS KABUL, 27 AUGUST vacuation flights from Afghanistan resumed with new urgency on Friday, a day after two suicide bombings targeted the thousands of people desperately fleeing a Taliban takeover and killed dozens. The US warned more attacks could come ahead of next week’s end to America’s longest war. Two officials, who spoke on consition of anonymity, said 169 Afghans died, but a final count might take time amid confusion, with many bodies dismembered or not yet identified. Scores more were wounded in the blasts. The US said 13 troops were killed in the deadliest day for American forces in Afghanistan since August 2011. As Afghan officials struggled to deal with the dead, at least 10 bodies lay on the grounds outside Wazir Akbar Khan Hospital, where relatives said the mortuary could take no more. As the call to prayer echoed Friday through Kabul along with the roar of departing planes, the anxious crowds outside the city’s airport appeared as large as ever despite the risks. They are acutely aware that the window is closing to board a flight before the airlift ends and Western troops withdraw. In an emotional speech Thursday night, President Biden blamed the Islamic State group’s Afghanistan affiliate, which is far more radical than the Taliban fighters who seized power less than two weeks ago in a lightning blitz across the E Afghans lie on beds at a hospital after they were wounded in the deadly attacks outside the airport in Kabul on Friday. AP THREAT RISES The US said 13 troops were killed in the deadliest day for American forces in Afghanistan since August 2011. Final count might take time amid confusion, with many bodies dismembered or not yet identified President Joe Biden blamed the Islamic State group’s Afghanistan affiliate country. “We will rescue the Americans; we will get our Afghan allies out, and our mission will go on,” Biden said. But despite intense pressure to extend Tuesday’s deadline and his vow to hunt down those responsible, he has cited the threat of more terrorist attacks as a reason to keep to his plan~ as the Taliban have repeatedly insisted he must. The Taliban have wrested back control of Afghanistan two decades after they were ousted in a USled invasion following the Anxious crowds out- side the city’s airport appeared as large as ever despite the risks. They are acutely aware that the window is closing to board a flight before the airlift ends and Western troops withdraw 9/11 attacks, which were orchestrated by al-Qaida extremists being harbored in the country. Their return to power has terrified many Afghans, who fear they will reimpose the kind of repressive rule they did when they were last in control. Thousands have rushed to flee the country ahead of the American withdrawal as a result. The U.S. said more than 100,000 people have been safely evacuated from Kabul, but thousands more are struggling to leave in one Baghel meets Rahul in New Delhi, invites Cong chief to Chhattisgarh PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 27 AUGUST Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel on Friday had an over three-hour meeting with Rahul Gandhi at the latter’s residence and said the former Congress chief will be visiting the state on his invite. Baghel held a series of meetings at Rahul Gandhi’s residence, where party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, AICC general secretary KC Venugopal and party’s incharge PL Punia were present. After the meeting, the CM said he told Rahul Gandhi everything he had to and discussed the state’s politics and development sche-mes that were initiated when the Congress came to power in Chhat- About change of guard, the Chhattisgarh CM said the party’s in-charge for the state had already mentioned last time that there was a discussion on the leadership and there was nothing more to be said tisgarh. Asked about the change of guard, he said the party’s in-charge for the state had already mentioned last time that there was a discussion on the leadership and there was nothing more to be said. “I have said everything that I had to say. Briefed him on the state’s policies and governance. I invited him to the state and he has accepted the invite and will be visiting Chhattisgarh next week,” Baghel told reporters after the meeting. This is Baghel’s second meeting with Rahul Gandhi this week, after Tuesday, amid talk of a possible leadership change in the state. Baghel later held a meeting with over 40 MLAs and ministers of Chhattisgarh who had arrived here in solidarity with the chief minister. These legislators put up a show of strength in Baghel’s support and wanted him to continue as chief minister. Rahul had also separately met state health minister T S Singh Deo on Tuesday. Both Baghel and Deo had also met Venugopal on Wednesday, amid talks of a leadership change sought by Deo following differences between the two state leaders. Scientists discover three super Kerala reports over 30K cases for 3rd day Over 93L jabs administered in 1 day massive black holes merging SNS & PTI STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 27 AUGUST Indian scientists have discovered three super massive black holes, hitherto undetected, merging at the centre of a newly-discovered galaxy. The discovery was made by a team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics comprising JyotiYadav, Mousumi Das, and Sudhanshu Barway along with Francoise Combes of College de France, Chaire Galaxies et Cosmologie, Paris. During their study of a known interacting galaxy pair, NGC7733, and NGC7734, the scientists detected unusual THIRUVANANTHAPURAM/NEW DELHI, 27 AUGUST “This rare occurrence in our nearby galaxy indicates that small merging groups are ideal laboratories to detect multiple accreting supermassive black holes and increases the possibility of detecting such occurrences” emissions from the centre of NGC7734 and a large, bright clump along the northern arm of NGC7733. On further investigations it was found that the clump is moving with a different velocity compared to the galaxy NGC7733 itself. The scientists found that this clump was not a part of NGC7733; rather, it was a small separate galaxy behind the arm and named it galaxy NGC7733N. The supermassive black holes are difficult to detect because they do not emit any light but can reveal their presence by interacting with their surroundings. The study has been published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics. “The UV, H-alpha images support the presence of the third galaxy by revealing star formation along with the tidal tails, which could have formed from the merger of NGC7733N with larger galaxy,” they said. Kerala continued to report over 30,000 cases for the third consecutive day on Friday and showed an increased Test Positivity Rate, while 179 deaths took the the toll to 20,313. The state logged 32,801 cases on Friday, up from 30,007 on Thursday. The figure was 31,445 cases on 25 August. With 1,70,703 samples tested on Friday, the Test Positivity Rate stood at 19.22 per cent, up from 18.03 on August 26. Owing to the spike, which is attributed to exposure at public gatherings during the Onam season, the state government decided to continue with Sunday lockdown, NEW DELHI, 27 AUGUST India administered more than 93 lakh Covid-19 vaccine doses on Friday, the highest ever in a single day, the Union health ministry said in a statement. In another significant achievement, the Covid-19 vaccination coverage in the country has crossed 62 crore (62,09,43,580) doses. In a tweet, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said, “Congratulations to the citizens as India today administers historic 90 lakh #Covidvaccines until now~ and still counting.” PTI which had been relaxed for the past couple of weeks. The Pinarayi Vijayan government, which completed 100 days in office, faced flak from the Opposition for failing to curb the Covid spike. According to the Union health ministry’s 8 a.m. bulletin, India reported 44,658 new Covid cases and 496 deaths in the previous 24 hours.The active caseload saw a substantial growth of 11,174 in last 24 hours to stand at 3,44,899. Delhi schools:Schools for classes 9-12, colleges and coaching institutions in Delhi will reopen from September 1, though the Delhi government has said there will be no compulsory attendance. Bengal cases:West Bengal today registered 703 fresh CMYK 3,26,03,188 3,44,899 44,658 32,988 4,36,861 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. FRIDAY 27 AUGUST 2021 Covid cases and 8 deaths, with Kolkata accounting for 112 cases and one death. of history’s largest airlifts. The White House said Friday morning that 8,500 evacuees were flown out aboard U.S. military aircraft in the previous 24 hours, along with about 4,000 people on coalition flights. That is about the same total as the day before the attacks. More people hoping to flee arrived Friday at the airport, though in one area Taliban fighters set up a cordon about 500 meters away. The attacks led Jamshad to head there in the morning with his wife and three small children, clutching an invitation to a Western country he didn't want to name. This was his first attempt to leave. “After the explosion I decided I would try because I am afraid now there will be more attacks, and I think now I have to leave,” said Jamshad, who like many Afghans uses only one name. Others acknowledged that going to the airport was risky~ but said they had few choices. See also Pages 10,11 Convert official fleet to electric vehicles: Centre to states, UTs Such an action is expected to set an example for the general public and encourage them to switch over to E-Mobility R K SINGH UNION MINISTER FOR POWER VIJAY THAKUR NEW DELHI, 27 AUGUST In a big move to boost Electric Vehicles in the country, Centre asked all state and UT governments to convert their fleet of official vehicles from present Internal Combustion mobility for all official purposes. “Such an action is expected to set an example for the general public and encourage them to switch over to EMobility,” the Union Minister for Power R K Singh wrote to all the Chief Ministers and heads of UTs. The Minister has written a similar letter to all the Union Ministers and heads of various independent departments to adopt EVs. The initiative is part of ongoing GO ELECTRIC CAMPAIGN launched by Government of India to promote Electric Vehicles to meet multiple objectives ~ attaining the goal of reduction in emission, energy security, and energy efficiency, said a senior officer of the Power Minister. The Minister has already taken up issues related to EVs with State Commissions to resolve the pending issues. He laid emphasis on determination of cost reflective tariff, setting up of adequate Consumer Grievance Redressal Forums with consumer representatives.
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