SUNDAY www.thestatesman.com 05 DECEMBER 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 ‘CASES SHOULD BE TAKEN TO LOGICAL CONCLUSION SPEEDILY’ PRESIDENT LAUNCHES PAC’S CENTENNIAL YEAR CELEBRATION P5 WEATHER Generally cloudy sky with one or two spells of rain.Temperature most likely to be in the range of 23-20 degrees Celsius. RAINFALL: 3.9 mm RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max. 93 % TEMPERATURE P8 P10 Max: 23.0 °C(-5) Min: 20.8 °C(+5) SUN RISES SUN SETS 06:01 hrs 16:51 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 05:47 hrs 16:52 hrs Full moon on 19 December THUMBNAILS General Bipin Rawat (CDS), General MM Naravane Chief of the Army Staff, Admiral R Hari Kumar Chief of the Naval Staff , and Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, Chief of the Air Staff pay homage to the martyrs at National War Memorial on the occasion of Navy Day, in New Delhi on Saturday. ANI NGT on solid waste: The National Green Tribunal has directed Chief Secretaries of States and Union Territories to personally appear before it with the status of compliance in respect to Solid Waste Management and Sewage Management. The NGT made it clear that the data to be furnished should cover all categories of areas in the State - big cities, towns and villages.The NGT had viewed that proceedings in this matter need to cover Solid Waste Management and Sewage Management, these issues being crucial and required to be monitored by this Tribunal. Veteran journalist Vinod Dua passes away: Vinod Dua, veteran journalist and father of comedian Mallika Dua, passed away on Saturday at the age of 67.The news was confirmed by Mallika on Instagram where she shared a picture of her late father with the message: "Our irreverent, fearless and extraordinary father, Vinod Dua has passed away. He lived an inimitable life, rising from the refugee colonies of Delhi to the peak of journalistic excellence for over 42 years, always, always speaking truth to power." Dua was a pioneer in broadcast Hindi journalism with stints in Doordarshan and NDTV. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA, 4 DECEMBER 72-year-old native of Jamnagar in Gujarat, who recently returned from Zimbabwe, and a 33-year-old man from Maharashtra's Kalyan-Dombivli who arrived from South Africa on Sunday became India’s third and fourth cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. The first cases of Omicron were reported in Karnataka. The Gujarat patient, said to be a long-time resident of Zimbabwe, arrived on November 28. After he got a fever, he had an RT-PCR test done which came out posi- A 3,46,24,360 99,974 8,603 8,190 4,70,530 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. SATURDAY 04 DECEMBER 2021 Bengal registered 621 fresh cases and 11 deaths tive. As he had returned from one of the "at risk" countries identified by the authorities, his samples were sent to an Ahmed- abad laboratory for genome sequencing. State authorities said all his close contacts have been traced, screened and found negative. His vaccination status could not immediately be confirmed. The Maharashtra man is currently at a Medical Isolation Facility in Mumbai and is reported to be suffering mild symptoms. The 33-year-old arrived in Mumbai on 24 November from Cape Town,through Dubai and Delhi. His samples were taken in Delhi and genome sequenced at the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune. He hasn't taken any vaccine. Twelve of his high-risk contacts and 23 Centre tells 6 high Covid reporting states to curb infection, fatality STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 4 DECEMBER The Union Health Ministry on Saturday directed six high Covid19 cases reporting states to take steps to curb the spread of the infection, and also reduce fatalities, officials said. The states -- Kerala, Jammu & Kashmir, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Odisha and Mizoram -- have been told to take the required steps according to the strategy of Test-TrackTreat-Vaccinate-Covid Appropriate Behaviour to keep the situation under control. In separate letters addressed to each of the six states ~ the Centre has said that in the context of the new Variant of Concern ~Omicron, all states have been advised to undertake enhanced surveillance of international travellers, continued monitoring of emerging hotspots. Also, it advised them to have prompt and comprehensive contact tracing of positive individuals and a follow-up for 14 days. The states must send all positive samples for genome sequencing quickly to INSACOG Labs, early identification of cases through adequate testing, review of health infrastructure preparedness and most importantly to focus on IEC and community sensitization. In the letter to the Kerala government, the Health Ministry has said that 13 out of 14 districts in the state are reporting high quantum of weekly new cases in the southern state. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 4 DECEMBER Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurating multiple projects, in Dehradun on Saturday. ANI the foundation stone for the Child Friendly City Project, Dehradun, development of water supply, road & drainage system in Dehradun, infrastructure development works at Shri Badrinath Dham and Gangotri-Yamunotri Dham and a medical college in Haridwar. The PM inaugurated seven projects which focus on making travel safer by tackling the problem of chronic landslides in the region, road widening project from Devprayag to Srikot, and from Brahmpuri to Kodiyala on NH-58, 120 MW Vyasi Hydroelectric Project, built over River Yamuna, Himalayan Culture Center at Dehradun and State of Art Perfumery and Aroma Laboratory (Centre for Aromatic Plants) in Dehradun. Addressing the gathering, Modi said that Uttarakhand was not just the centre of faith but was the symbol of hardwork and determination also. That was why development of the state was one of the foremost priorities of the ‘double engine government’ of the centre and the state. He emphasised that at the beginning of this century, Atal ji started a campaign to increase connectivity in India. However, the Prime Minister said, after that for ten years there was such a government in the country, which wasted valuable time of the country and Uttarakhand. Talking about the changed working style, the PM said “today, India is moving ahead with the intention of investing more than Rs 100 lakh crore on modern infrastructure. India's policy today is ‘Gatishakti’, to work twice or thrice as fast.” of the low-risk contacts have been traced and all have been tested negative, said the Maharashtra health department. Additionally, according to the department, 25 of the co-passengers from the Delhi-Mumbai flight have also tested negative. The other two cases in India are of a 46-yearold fully vaccinated doctor from Bengaluru, who had no travel history , and a 66-year-old South African national who came to India with a negative report. The country has stepped up testing and surveillance of all incoming international passengers, especially from at-risk nations since the variant was first detected in South Africa. Parl panel for evaluation of vax, research on booster dose NEW DELHI, 4 DECEMBER Amid growing concerns over the Omicron variant, a parliamentary committee has recommended that the efficacy of vaccines must be evaluated and the government conduct more research to examine the need for booster doses to contain Omicron. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health, which presented its report on Friday, also said that concerns with regard to the new strain developing immunoescape mechanism should be critically addressed. The committee observed that there is a dire need for improving the geographical spread of testing facilities in rural regions of the ANI country. Cyclone Jawad weakening gradually: IMD NEW DELHI, 4 DECEMBER The Cyclonic Storm Jawad is likely to weaken into a Deep Depression during the next six hours, the India Meteorological Department said. HR Biswas, director, IMD, Bhubaneshwar, said on Saturday that Jawad was observed moving northwards in the past one hour and will continue the same for the next 12 hours. There’s weakening trend in the intensity of the cyclone and it is expected to hit the coastal regions of Puri tomorrow, said Biswas. "The maximum wind speed is expected to be 75 km/hr. Only heavy to very heavy rainfall is expected and there’s no storm warnings in any ANI region," he added. Omicron variant: Precautions to be taken remain the same D P12 Two more cases of Omicron detected PM launches projects worth `18k cr in U’khand r Anurag Agarwal, chairperson ofWHO technical advisory group on SARS- CoV2 virus and Director, Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology. He spoke to Swimmi Srivastava on the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Excerpts: Q:What is Omicron and what makes it a Variant of Concern (VOC)? A: It is a new variant of SARSCoV-2 that has recently been reported from South Africa on 24 November, called as B.1.1.529 or Omicron (based on Greek alphabets like alpha, beta, delta etc). This variant has shown a very large num- SINDHU TO PLAY AN SEYOUNG IN BWF WORLD TOUR FINALS 72 yr-old from Gujarat, 33-yr-old from Maharashtra are 3rd & 4th cases Min. 65 % Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday inaugurated and laid the foundation stone of various projects worth around Rs 18,000 crore in Dehradun, reaffirming his government’s commitment to develop modern infrastructure in the country. This includes the DelhiDehradun Economic Corridor (from Eastern Peripheral Expressway Junction to Dehradun), the greenfield alignment project from DelhiDehradun Economic Corridor, connecting Halgoa, Saharanpur to Bhadrabad, Haridwar, Haridwar Ring Road Project, Dehradun - Paonta Sahib (Himachal Pradesh) road project, Najibabad-Kotdwar road widening project and a bridge across River Ganga next to the Lakshman Jhula. He also laid BIDEN, PUTIN TO TALK AS TENSIONS GROW OVER UKRAINE ber of mutations, especially more than 30 on the viral spike protein, which is the key target of the immune response. Given the collection of mutations in Omicron, which earlier individually have been associated with increased infectivity and/or immune evasion, and the sudden rise in the number of positive cases in South Africa,WHO has declared Omicron as a VOC. Q:Can the currently used diagnostics methods detect Omicron? A:The most accepted and commonly used method of diagnostic for SARS-CoV 2Variant is RT-PCR method. This method detects specific genes in the virus, such as Spike (S), Enveloped (E) and Nucleocapsid (N) etc to confirm the presence of virus. However, in the case of Omicron, as the S gene is heavily mutated, some of the primers may lead to results indicating absence of the S gene (called as S gene drop out). This particular S gene drop out along with the detec- tion of other viral genes could be used as a diagnostic feature of Omicron. However, for final confirmation of the variant genomic sequencing is required. Q: How concerned should we be about the new VOC? A:WHO declares a variant as a VoC after assessment when there is increase in transmissibility or detrimental change in Covid epidemiology; or increase in virulence or change in clinical disease presentation; or decrease in effectiveness of public health and social measures or available diagnostics, vaccines, therapeutics. It is important to highlight that Omicron has been declared VoC based on the observed mutations, their predicted features of increased transmission and immune evasion, and preliminary evidence of detrimental change in Covid epidemiology, such as increased reinfections. The definitive evidence for increased remission and immune evasion is awaited. Q:What precautions should we take? A:The precautions and steps to be taken remain the same as before. It is essential to mask yourself properly, take both doses of vaccines (if not yet vaccinated), maintain social distancing and maintain good ventilation to the maximum possible. SKM forms 5-member panel to hold talks with Centre ASIAN NEWS INTERNATIONAL NEW DELHI, 4 DECEMBER Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) has formed a five-member committee to hold talks with the Government of India (GoI), informed Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait on Saturday. The committee will comprise of Balbir Singh Rajewal, Shiv Kumar Kakka, Gurnam Singh Charuni, Yudhvir Singh and Ashok Dhawale, said Tikait. While speaking to reporters after a meeting of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha on Saturday, Tikait said, "SKM has formed a 5-member committee to talk to the Government of India. It will be the authorised body to talk to the Government.” “The committee will have Balbir Singh Rajewal, Shiv Kumar Kakka, Gurnam Singh Charuni, Yudhvir Singh and Ashok Dhawale. Next meeting of SKM on Decem- Bharatiya Kisan Union spokesperson Rakesh Tikait arrives for a SKM meeting to decide the further course of farmers' protest, at Singhu Border on Saturday. ANI ber 7 where we will submit our agenda,” he added. Earlier in the day, Tikait had said that the talks between Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and farmers, which was held on Friday, remained inconclusive. On November 19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the Centre will bring necessary bills in theWinter Session of Parliament beginning later this month to repeal the farm laws. The Prime Minister also said that the government will constitute a committee to work on a new framework for Minimum Support Price (MSP). Both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha passed the Farm Laws Repeal Bill on the first day of the winter session on November 29. President Ram Nath Kovind has also given his assent to the Bill that completes the process of repealing the three farm laws. The SKM called off a planned tractor march to Parliament on November 29 and said that it would wait until December 4 for the Union government to formally respond to its demands, which it had stated in an open letter to the Prime Minister. Farmers have been protesting against the farm laws on various borders of Delhi since November 26, 2020. India, Russia to ink 10 bilateral pacts during Putin visit Chargesheet filed against Param Bir, Waze in extortion case STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE MUMBAI , 4 DECEMBER NEW DELHI, 4 DECEMBER In order to give a major boost to Indo-Russia ties especially in the context of postCovid world and at a time when Taliban took over reins in Afghanistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin are set to oversee signing of at least ten agreements in multiple sectors. “About 10 bilateral agreements will be signed, which are quite important and include some semi-confidential ones,” Russian news agency Tass has quoted Russian Presidential Aide Yuri Ushakov as saying. “We are confident that the package of agreements will be signed as part of the visit (of Putin),” he said. Putin would be heading straight for talks with Modi immediately after his arrival in New Delhi on Monday afternoon around 1730 hours. No specific limits have been planned for the PutinModi talks, but sources indicate Putin would not make a night halt and could depart from India the same evening around 2200 hours. A Joint Statement also is proposed to be issued, Indian officials have said.“The President and the Prime Minister will talk as much as they want. And then the departure, regardless of whether it's late evening or night time," Ushakov also said. “There ENDURING TIES Putin would be heading straight for talks with PM immediately after his arrival in New Delhi on Monday afternoon. The Russian delegation for the New Delhi summit has been downsized with only foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, defence minister Sergey Shoigu, Dy PM Yuri Borisov, Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin and Ushakov accompanying Putin. will be a series of meetings that day (6 Dec)..We foresee an intensive engagement,” MEA spokesman Arindam Bagchi said referring especially to the the inaugural “2 plus 2” dialogue. Besides the “2Plus2” meet, external affairs minister Jaishankar will also hold a bilateral meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. Defence minister Rajnath Singh and Jaishankar will represent the Indian side in the dialogue with Russian foreign minister Lavrov and defence minister Sergei Shoigu.Theyare expected to arrive on Sunday. The leaders will discuss bilateral, regional,international and defence related issues. Mumbai Police Crime Branch Unit 11 on Saturday filed chargesheet against former police commissioner Param Bir Singh and three others including Sachin Waze in Esplanade Court. The 400-page chargesheet has been filed in the Goregaon alleged extortion case. Singh had recorded his statement in the case last week. “400-page chargesheet filed against Param Bir Singh, Sachin Waze, Alpesh Patel and Sumit Singh in Goregaon alleged extortion case. Singh and Waze will be served a copy each on the next date of the case," Special Public Prosecutor Advocate Shekhar Jagta said. A case of extortion was registered on 23 July against Sachin Waze, former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh, and others at Goregaon Police Station, and the investigation was handed over to the Mumbai Crime Branch. Six cases of corruption and extortion were filed against Singh after he wrote a letter to Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray levelling corruption and misconduct against the NCP leader Anil Deshmukh. Singh was removed from the post of Mumbai Police Commissioner on 17 March and was made the General Commander of Maharashtra State Home Guard after he levelled allegations against Deshmukh. ANI
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