CHENNAI l SATURDAY l FEBRUARY 08, 2020 l `5.00 l PAGES 28 l LATE CITY EDITION WORLD IS RUNNING OUT OF MASKS AMID VIRUS SPREAD The WHO warned on Friday that the world is facing a chronic shortage of masks needed to contain the novel coronavirus Hong Kong residents queue up to buy face masks on Friday | AP FEWER CASES IN THE LAST TWO DAYS WOMEN SHUTTLERS SKIP ASIA MEET There have been fewer new cases of infections in China in the last two days. But the WHO says the numbers could go up again. Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping told US President Donald Trump to assess the epidemic in a "calm" manner in their first conversation since the outbreak. China had earlier slammed the US for panic-mongering over the virus ■ ■ An eight-member India women's badminton team has decided to skip the Badminton Asia Team meet in Manila because of 'unforeseen health hazard apprehension due to coronavirus' The death toll from the virus climbed to 637 on Friday. There are more than 31,000 confirmed cases of infection now | P11, 17, 19 41 NEW CASES OF VIRUS REPORTED ON A QUARANTINED CRUISE SHIP IN JAPAN CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOGGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ WARANGAL ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI Delhi poll eve ruckus in LS over Rahul Cong, BJP members almost come to blows over minister Harsh Vardhan assailing GOP leader for criticising Modi EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi Officials of Haldia Petrochemicals Limited holding talks with Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami at his residence in Chennai. | EXPRESS Haldia top brass holds talks with EPS on `50k crore venture ment during Palanisami’s visit to New York last year. Recently, the State Cabinet KOLKATA-based Haldia Pet- cleared petrochemical refinrochemicals Limited (HPL) ery project in Thoothukudi which signed an agreement district by Middle East-based with the Tamil Nadu govern- Al Kharafi with an investment ment in September last year of `49,000 crore. Purnendu for setting up its unit Chatter jee, HPL with an investment of Chairman, and Rabin `50,000 crore, held preMukhopadhyay, execliminary talks with utive vice-president, It is not a Chief Minister EdapStrategic Initiatives padi K Palaniswami at refinery. A lot of and Projects of HPL, h i s r e s i d e n c e o n subsidiary units held discussions with will come up in Friday . Palaniswami. the near future A few months ago, in this complex. Industries Minister HPL filed a fresh bid MC Sampath, Chief Around 3,000 for oil refinery of NaSecretary K Shanwill get direct garjuna Oil in Cuddamugam, Industries jobs lore district, a plant Secretary N MurugaOfficials facing liquidation. nandam and Chief Now, the complex will Minister’s Secretary be set up in the same location. M Saikumar were present. “It is not a refinery. A lot of Meanwhile, CEAT Tyres subsidiary units will come up CFO Kumar Subbaiah and V-P in the near future. Direct em- (Corporate Affairs) P Sundarployment will be around 3,000 arajan called on the CM and and indirect employment, invited him for the inauguramore than a lakh,” official tion of radial tyre manufacsources said. turing unit scheduled for FebThe HPL signed this agree- ruary 12 at Sriperumbudur. EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai NIRBHAYA CASE Delhi court junks plea for execution date EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi A Delhi court on Friday dismissed Tihar jail’s request for a fresh date to hang the four men sentenced to death in the 2012 Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case. “It’s criminally sinful to condemn the convicts when the law permits them to live,” the court observed. During the hearing, Additional Sessions Judge Dharmendra Rana asked Tihar jail authorities how they concluded that no plea would be filed by Pawan Gupta, one of the convicts, within the one-week deadline granted by the Delhi High Court on February 5. Prosecutor Irfan Ahmed, representing Tihar jail, argued that he had not filed any legal challenge since 2018, and it was unlikely that he would file one now. The court didn’t agree and said it upholds the right to legal remedies for all convicts. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Friday deferred hearing on an appeal filed by the Union and Delhi governments challenging a Delhi High Court ruling that refused to change the postponement of the execution but gave the convicts a week to exhaust all legal remedies. The SC said it would be appropriate to wait for a few more days for the convicts to pursue their options and slated the matter for hearing on February 11. P11 THE Lok Sabha on Friday plunged into pandemonium as BJP and Congress members came close to a scuffle in the well of the House after Union minister Harsh Vardhan berated Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his “outlandish” barbs against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Vardhan’s intention was to make a sharp political point on the eve of the Assembly elections in Delhi. It all began during Question Hour when in response to a question by Rahul, Vardhan chose to first read out a statement against the Congress leader, telling Speaker Om Birla that he needed to say a few words before his formal reply . The target of Vardhan’s attack was Rahul’s recent statement at a Delhi poll rally that within six months youth would beat Modi with sticks over unemployment. While Congress members protested against using Question Hour to make a political statement, Vardhan refused to budge. “Please excuse me, sir, for I want to condemn the outlandish statement of the Congress leader against the prime minister,” Vardhan told the Speaker, though Om Birla asked him to stick to his answer. As Congress member Manickam Tagore tried to approach Vardhan to prevent him from reading the statement, he was blocked by BJP’s Brij Bhushan Singh, who held him by his arm. Soon, a few more Congress members joined Tagore Videograb of the high-pitched drama in the well of the Lok Sabha on Friday | PTI SPEAKER RAPS SUPRIYO’S COMMENT Sparks also flew when Union Minister of State Babul Supriyo lashed out at the leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Choudhary Learn from Bodos, PM tells J&K youth, Naxals Centre and Assam government signed with Bodo insurgent groups and two other Bodo organisations. Stating that the accord’s signing is a new beginning for those who laid down arms as well as Assam in the 21st century, as it helped achieve permanent peace in Bodo areas, the PM said 130 crore Indians were congratulating the Bodos for their peace initiative. “The country is celebrating the 150 birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and its rele- P R A S A N TA M A Z U M D A R @ Guwahati PRIME Minister Narendra Modi on Friday appealed to the youth in the country’s Red belt and Jammu and Kashmir, who still believe in bombs and guns, to take a leaf out of the book of the Bodos and eschew the path of violence. “I congratulate you for taking the right path by shunning bombs and pistols. I will ensure that no thorn pricks you hereafter. I appeal to the youth in Northeast, Naxal areas and Jammu and Kashmir, who still believe in guns, bombs and pistols, to learn a lesson from the Bodos,” Modi said at a massive rally organised in Assam’s Kokrajhar to mark the historic third Bodo peace accord the DISPEL DARKNESS OF VIOLENCE FOREVER: MODI “Today is a day to take a resolve on development. We should work to ensure that the darkness of violence does not return to this land again. No blood should spill and no violence should recur,” Prime Minister appealed to the gathering MEHBOOBA GOT NOTES IN CHAPPATIS SITUATION HAS CHANGED NOW: ILTIJA Speaking to this newspaper, Iltija revealed that her Twitter post dealt with the modus of communication during the initial weeks of her mother Mehbooba Mufti’s detention, as there was no other access. The situation has since changed as Mehbooba is now allowed to meet family members twice a week. So, there is no need to secretly exchange notes, she explained F AYA Z W A N I @ Srinagar HOW did former chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti communicate with her politically active eldest daughter Iltija despite being under detention ever since the hollowing of Article 370 on August 5? Through notes exchanged via a tiffin box, as Mehbooba was allowed home cooked food, Iltija revealed, adding she would respond with letters tucked into chappatis while being prepared at home. Mehbooba and NC leader Omar Abdullah were on Thursday booked under the stringent Public Safety Act. Putting out a long post on Twitter using her mother’s handle, Iltija said: “I received a crumpled and tersely worded note, the first of many furtively exchanged letters. I found it in a tiffin box that contained home cooked food sent for her.” Disclosing how she managed to respond, Supreme Court appoints team to take stock of Sabarimala treasures EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi THE Supreme Court on Friday ordered a detailed inventory of sacred ornaments belonging to the Sabarimala deity under the supervision of retired Kerala High Court Judge Justice C N Ramachandran Nair. The bench was acting on the advice of Attorney General K K Venugopal, who was representing the Kerala government. Venugopal cited the example of Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple in Kerala where an inventory was prepared to ensure that treasures valued at lakhs of crores of rupees are not replaced with fake items. Venugopal submitted a list of ornaments belonging to Speaker Om Birla chided Supriyo for the manner in which he spoke, while asking Prahlad Joshi to sensitise Supriyo about Parliamentary norms Lord Ayyappa that were in the government’s possession. After perusing it, the bench expressed surprise. “Are there only 16 ornaments?” it asked. Venugopal said the rest was with the Pandalam royal family. He urged the court to direct the royal family to submit the full inventory and allow a jeweller to assess them for their valuation. But senior advocate K Radhakrishnan, appearing for the royal family, objected. “This is an attempt by the state to take indirect control of the jewellery,” he argued. Raja Raja Varma, a member of the royal family, had moved an impleading application in the Supreme Court seeking directions to enable senior family members to access the jewellery . INFIGHTING WITHIN THE ROYAL FAMILY On February 5, the top court had taken note of internal bickering and prolonged litigations in the Pandalam royal family, which is the custodian of sacred ornaments of Sabaraimala temple. The court then asked the government to suggest measures to safeguard the treasures Iltija said, “Soon the dilemma of dispatching a reply arose. My grandmother found an ingenious solution. The letter I wrote was folded into a tiny square and carefully sealed, rolled and locked inside the middle of a chapatti.” In the first note, Mehbooba advised Iltija against using her Twitter handle. “They have taken an undertaking that I won’t be using social media to communicate. In case someone else does it, he’ll be booked on charges of impersonation,” she wrote. vance has increased after the signing of the Bodo Accord. It will serve as an inspiration (for others) to abjure the path of violence,” Modi said. “After five decades, the Bodos have got respect. You have created a new history The two pre. vious accords signed in 1993 and 2003 could not restore peace completely. After the signing of the latest accord, no demands of the Bodos are left. Through this pact, the (newlycreated) BTR (Bodoland Territorial Region) will get strengthened. Everybody has won. Peace and humanity too have won. Our first and foremost priority now will be development. ... I will never retreat without fulfilling your aspirations,” the PM told the crowd. EXPRESS READ TN Budget for 2020-21 on February 14 Chennai: Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam will be presenting the Budget for 2020-21 on February 14. The Budget session of the Assembly is likely to last till the third week of March. SBI lowers interest rates on home, car loans Mumbai: The SBI has cut its interest rates for home and car loans to 8% and 8.5% per annum with effect from February 10. The bank has also lowered its interest rates on fixed deposits | P17 in the well, which led to more BJP MPs forming a human shield protecting Vardhan, who continued reading his statement criticising Rahul. Vardhan later tweeted that Tagore tried to attack him and snatch his papers. He and Union parliamentary minister Prahlad Joshi urged the Speaker to take action against Congress members for their conduct in the well of the House. For his part, Tagore wrote to the Speaker urging him to examine CCTV footage and take appropriate action against the BJP MPs. Rahul, too, met the Speaker in his chamber. The House was adjourned twice, with the BJP demanding action against Rahul and other Congress members. The party sought Rahul’s suspension for his “stick” remark. ASIAN WRESTLING Post-Pulwama, first Pak team on Indian trip F I R O Z M I R Z A @ Chennai After much dilly-dallying, Pakistan wrestlers are set to become the first athletes from the neighbouring country to compete in an international event in India since the Pulwama terror attack last year. As reported by this newspaper, the Indian High Commission that had not been “accepting” visa applications from Pakistan team, has finally accepted them. Pakistan Wrestling Federation operational manager Farid Ali confirmed the development and said their participation at the Asian Championships is certain. “Yes, it’s done. We expect to get visas in a couple of days,” he said. The event is scheduled in New Delhi from February 18 to 23. “After clearance from the ministry of external affairs, the Indian High Commission has accepted passports and visa applications from the Pakistan wrestlers on Friday,” an official of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) said. Only home ministry nod is awaited. India was under pressure after National Olympic Committee of Pakistan wrote to International Olympic Committee and the United World Wrestling of the application rejection. P19 OF LIFE & STRUGGLE Love stands taller than any barrier INTER-CASTE COUPLE FEAR FOR LIFE A R A V I N D R A J @ Karur LOVE stands taller than any barrier, be it manmade — such as caste and religion — or otherwise. A couple has approached the Karur all-women’s police station seeking protection from the bride’s irate family members. Pavithra (24), the bride, met her husband Vigneshwaran ( 2 5 ) t h re e ye a r s a g o o n Facebook. Her family did not want Pavithra to marry Vigneshwaran, who was managing an online trading business, because he was affected by dwarfism. Realising her parents were not going to give in, Pavithra left her hometown in Sivaganga and came to Karur a few days ago to meet Vigneshwaran. With the support of the groom’s family, the duo married at a temple here. Hearing that her family had The girl’s kin objected to the wedding, citing the man’s dwarfism | EXPRESS come to Karur, the couple rushed to the police station seeking protection. The family members were counselled and sent back. Nagapattinam: Threatened with murder, an inter-caste couple, who got married on Friday, approached police in Nagapattinam seeking protection. M Sowmya and S Sivaprakash have been in love for the past five years. Both their parents threatened to kill them if they dared get married. Sowmya hails from a caste Hindu family while Sivaprakash is a Dalit. Unable to convince her to let go of the relationship, Sowmya’s parents tried to get her married off to her maternal uncle. Sowmya and Sivaprakash fled their homes on Thursday, got married and approached the police by Friday afternoon. Sowmya’s parents, meanwhile, filed a complaint. SP Selvanagarathinam told Express: “I have directed the local police to summon their parents and arrange for mediation talks.”
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08022020 of The New Indian Express-Chennai
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