THRISSUR l FRIDAY l FEBRUARY 21, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 16 l CITY EDITION 1ST COVID-19 DEATH IN SOUTH KOREA, 2.5 MN TO STAY AT HOME The mayor of Daegu city urged 2.5 million residents to stay indoors as infections, linked to a church congregation, spiked AI SUSPENDS CHINA FLIGHTS TILL JUNE 30 CHINA TWEAKS COUNTING METHODOLOGY Air India on Thursday extended the suspension of its flights to China till June 30. Meanwhile, one more Indian aboard a quarantined cruise ship off Japan tested positive for the novel coronavirus and was shifted to hospital, taking the number of infected Indians to 8. On Thursday, the last of the third coronavirus patient was discharged from a Kerala hospital ■ ■ ■ To bring down the number of new cases being reported, China has changed the counting method for the second time in a week Experts say this could muddle statistics and complicate efforts to track spread of the illness India to send a third flight to airlift 100 Indians stuck in Wuhan LPR CHINA TO CUT LOAN PRIME RATE FROM 4.15% TO 4.05% TO BOOST ECONOMY 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 ONE ACCIDENT, 19 TRAGEDIES Truck jumps median, crashes into Kochi-bound KSRTC bus coming from Bengaluru at Avinashi 5 women among 19 dead; 23 injured. 48 were on board. Lorry driver flees and then surrenders Police suspect lorry driver may have dozed off at the wheel; state announces compensation, orders probe E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Tirupur Extremely anguished by the bus accident in Tamil Nadu’s Tirupur district. In this hour of grief, my thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families. I hope those who are injured recover at the earliest Narendra Modi, Prime Minister This is a sad day for our state. All of us are still grieving and in shock from the tragedy. Our hearts go out to the families, friends and colleagues of those who lost their lives. KSRTC also lost two of its finest employees Pinarayi Vijayan, Chief Minister CM’s office is coordinating the proceedings to render all available help to those injured. I’ve ordered an enquiry. KSRTC MD will conduct it and submit a report A K Saseendran, Transport Minister NINETEEN passengers travelling on a Kerala State Road Transport Corporation bus were killed after a lorry collided with the vehicle on the Coimbatore-Salem stretch of NH at Avinashi, in the early hours of Thursday Police said the cause of . the accident will be known only after an investigation. The deceased include the bus driver and his assistant. As many as 25 passengers seated on the left side of the bus survived with injuries of varying degrees. The bus was on its way from Bengaluru to Ernakulam, carrying a total of 48 passengers. When it neared Avinashi around 3.30 am, a container lorry carrying tiles coming from the opposite side overshot the divider and hit the right side of the bus. In the impact, 14 men and 5 women died on the spot. Over 15 ambulances, a crane, and scores of poSeven lice and fire personnel Nepalese were pressed for rescue killed in bus operation. While the bodaccident ies of the deceased were on NH taken to Government Avinashi Hospital for post- Seven persons, mortem, the injured were including two taken to three private hos- women, pitals in Coimbatore and belonging to Tirupur. Tirupur Collec- Nepal who had tor K Vijay Karthikeyan come on a visited the spot to oversee pilgrimage were killed when the operation. As all the deceased were their bus natives of Kerala, several collided with an teams from the state were omni bus deployed for the opera- around 1 am on tion. Later in the day, SalemTirupur police arrested Bengaluru NH the lorry driver, Hemaraj, on Thursday. who fled the spot soon after the accident. Bodies of the victims were transported to Kerala in the evening. The Chief Minister’s Office got in touch with his Tamil Nadu counterpart’s office and Tirupur district administration to coordinate the rescue work. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also directed the Palakkad district collector and top officials to visit the spot and lead the rescue work. The state Health department had sent 20 ambulances, including ten 108 ambulances, to the accident spot to bring the injured to hospitals and take the bodies of the deceased to their native places. In a tweet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi mourned the deceased. Governor Banwarilal Purohit and Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami also condoled the death of the passengers. P T I @ New Delhi SENIOR Cong ress leader Shashi Tharoor on Thursday urged the Congress Working Committee (CWC) to hold leadership elections to “energise workers and inspire voters”. Tharoor’s appeal came in support of his party colleague and former MP Sandeep Dikshit’s remarks that the biggest challenge the party faces is the “leadership question”. Dikshit accused senior leaders of failing to find a new chief after all these months because they are “scared who will bell the cat”. India and the US are hoping to sign around five pacts on intellectual property rights, trade facilitation and internal security during Trump’s visit MEA downplays Trump’s complaint that the US has not been treated very well by India, says it was in the context of balance of trade Don’t want to rush into a trade deal by creating artificial deadlines, says MEA A change in plan cost Gopika her life A change in her travel plan cost Gopika Gokulanathan her life. She had initially decided to start from Bengaluru on Thursday evening along with her friends. However, she changed her plan as she was told that there will be traffic block at Aluva on Friday as thousands will be arriving for Sivarathri. P5 passengers seated on the left side of the bus sustained injuries 4 How it happened 3 1. Container lorry comes from opposite direction in top speed Po li c t h e me m e n c l e a r of t h a n g led re i n g KS R T Ce i l l- f a t e d m a i n s Av i n a b us n ea r Natio shi on the Th u rs n a l H i g hw d a y. ay PT I o n 2. KSRTC bus is on its way carrying passengers from Bengaluru to Ernakulam 3. Lorry driver loses control of vehicle and overshoots divider 4. Lorry collides with bus killing 14 men and 5 women on the spot Rescue operation Over 15 ambulances, a crane and scores of police and fire personnel were pressed for rescue operation 1 MIN ANNOUNCES COMPENSATION The ill-fated KSRTC Volvo bus (KL 15 A 282) was held back in Bengaluru for a day to meet the demands of people going home on an extended weekend holiday A10L H2L each to the families of those who lost their lives Tragedy struck KSRTC on Bus Day. It was the 82nd anniversary since King Chithirathirunal started the State Motor Service on February 20, 1938 The mangled remains of the KSRTC bus | PRABHU KUMAR A8L of that will be disbursed immediately as emergency assistance will be disbursed within a month, after completing the formalities Treatment cost of the injured will be borne by the government A terrible surprise for Sanoop’s kin, fiancee A sudden decision to travel to Kochi to give his fiancee a surprise ended up as a terrible one for her as well as the family of Sanoop N V, 28, a young software engineer who loved to live his life to the fullest. The news of his death shattered his family. P5 Conductor-driver who saved Kavitha’s life Kavitha Warrier, the homoeo doctor who was saved by the conductor-driver pair of the illfated bus during an earlier journey, could not believe they are no more. She and her mother started their day by watching the news and were shocked to realise they were the same duo. P4 2 gifted drivers hugely popular with commuters TOBY ANTONY & A N I L K U M A R T @Kochi GIREESH, 43 and Baiju, 44, driver-cum conductor of the illfated KSRTC Volvo King Class bus, which met with a deadly accident at Avinashi near Coimbatore early on Thursday, were easily two of the best drivers at the state carrier’s Ernakulam depot. Their endearing ways ensured that frequent travellers to Bengaluru booked tickets on E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi Around five MoUs lined up 25 2 Expect Modi to take up H1-B visa, civil N-ties with Trump Hold leadership election, energise workers: Tharoor INSIDE PAGES From Bengaluru to Ernakulam INDIA on Thursday said that the H1-B visa squeeze could figure in talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump on February 25. “The H1-B visa issue could come up. We have remained engaged in this issue with the government and the US Congress. We do expect that movement of Indian professionals is part of the agenda that could come up for discussions,” External Affairs Ministry’s Raveesh Kumar said. There could be some announcements related to defence and counter-terror, too, during the visit. “We have been on the same page with regard to counter-terror. The US support to us, especially during the post-Pulwama attack phase, has been unprecedented. It also supported us in designating some terrorists who operate out of Pakistan,” he said. Discussions on civil nuclear cooperation and space cooperation would also be held. “Westinghouse and NPCIL are in discussion to build six 1,100 MW reactors at Kovvada, AP The two sides are in dis. cussion regarding the division of responsibility of the work. NPCIL has visited the US reference plant to understand Westinghouse’s modular construction methodology Kumar said. ,” the 7pm Volvo service to travel with the duo. As friends and colleagues grappled with news of their shock death, a funereal atmosphere -- flex boards condoling the demise of Gireesh and Baiju were put up -- greeted TNIE at the KSRTC main b u s s t a n d o n T h u r s d ay afternoon. Gireesh and Baiju have been serving on the Ernakulam-Bengaluru route since 2008, a record of sorts for the drivercum-conductor team of 12 Byju V R Gireesh V D under various insurance schemes will be disbursed to the families of the two drivers A30L years. When KSRTC introduced Volvo multi-axle buses, they received special training on operating the uber-luxury vehicle and courteous behaviour towards passengers. “Soon after joining the KSRTC in 2008, they were selected for driving multiaxle buses on the ErnakulamBengaluru route. “Known for their congeniality, they have been the best drivers in our Ernakulam depot. Due to their friendly disposition, several passengers opted to travel on the 7pm Volvo service. Most of the passengers are their Faceb o o k f r i e n d s, ” s a i d U n nikrishnan, Traffic Controller, KSRTC Ernakulam. D u r i n g t h e 2 0 1 8 fl o o d , Gireesh and Baiju had collected relief materials from Bengaluru-based Malayalis and transported them to Kochi, he said. M S Badurshah, a drivercum-conductor deployed on the KSRTC Deluxe service to Bengaluru, broke down on hearing the news of their demise. P5 Nationalism is ‘Nazi’, purged from RSS lexicon EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi WITH the Sangh Parivar increasingly coming under attack for its aggressive advocacy of nationalism, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Thursday sought to make a course correction, acknowledging that the term is internationally understood as a synonym for “Nazism and Fascism”. Address- ing an RSS event in Ranchi, he advised members not to use ‘nationalism’ so as to counter negative perceptions against the organisation. He said he realised the nuance of the word during a UK visit. “A karyakrata advised me not to use the word nationalism as English is not our language and it has a different connotation globally It’s okay to say nation, . national and nationality but not nationalism because it alludes to Hitler, Nazism and Fascism,” he said. While Bhagwat spoke about it for the first time on Thursday, other leaders like RSS joint general secretary Manmohan Vaidya have been articulating that position for quite some time now. Speaking at the Nagpur Literary Festival last Saturday, Vaidya said, “Nationalism isn’t a Bharatiya concept. It was born in the Western concept of nation-state and comes with ideologies like Fascism.” EXPRESS READ VACB raids Sivakumar’s residence Shaheen Bagh: Talks make little progress Nirbhaya: Court seeks Tihar jail’s reply Govt looks at balancing act on AGR dues T’Puram: The Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) on Thursday raided the house of V S Sivakumar, MLA, in connection with a disproportionate assets case. Searches were also held on the houses of his associates, suspected as benamis of the MLA. VACB had booked Sivakumar and his three associates, including his driver, last week. New Delhi: Talks between the SC-appointed interlocutors and protesters to vacate the road at Shaheen Bagh made little headway on Thursday as the latter stayed firm on continuing with their sit-in at the site. They said once the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and National Register of Citizens are rolled back, they will vacate the road and clean it. New Delhi: A Delhi court on Thursday sought a response from Tihar jail authorities on a plea by Vinay Kumar Sharma, one of the four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case, seeking better treatment for his claimed mental illness and injuries. Additional Session Judge Dharmender Rana directed the prison authorities to file a reply on Saturday. New Delhi: The government is looking to strike a balance between complying with the SC order on AGR dues, ensuring health of the telecom sector and safeguarding consumer interest. Vodafone Idea Ltd, paid another C1,000 crore on Thursday, while Sunil Mittal’s Bharti Airtel promised to clear all dues, “expeditiously” and before March 17 deadline.
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