CHENNAI l SATURDAY l MAY 30, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l VELLORE EDITION AFTER PUSHBACK, TWITTER MASKS TRUMP’S TWEET But the White House’s official Twitter account retaliated on Friday by retweeting the Trump tweet that was masked PRESIDENT’S TWEET ‘GLORFIED VIOLENCE’ Twitter found Trump’s tweet on the situation in the city of Minneapolis— where the death of a black man in police custody has sparked massive protests—violated its rules about glorifying violence. Trump had tweeted, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!” in reference to the widespread looting reported in the city amid the ongoing protests 0.72% TRUMP SIGNS EXECUTIVE ORDER ■ Trump on Friday signed an executive order seeking to strip social media giants of legal immunity for contents posted on their sites ■ Experts are sceptical that the order could achieve much without Congressional support. But for Trump it serves to rally his base against the tech giants long accused of anti-conservative bias FALL IN TWITTER’S SHARE PRICE ON FRIDAY 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 India sets record straight, says no Trump-Modi call before mediation offer P U S H K A R B A N A K A R @ New Delhi Did US President Donald Trump really speak to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Sino-Indian border flare-up before he made his unilateral offer of mediation recently? While Trump claimed on Friday that he did speak to Modi over the stand-off, India rub- bished it saying the last contact between the two was on April 4 when the Don had sought expediting supplies of an anti-viral drug, hydroxychloroquine. Both India and China also firmly rejected the unsolicited offer for mediation, saying robust bilateral mechanisms exist for sorting them out. “I can tell you, I did speak to Prime Minister Modi. He is not in a good mood about what is going on with China,” Trump told reporters at the Oval Office. But the ministry of external affairs (MEA) here quickly rebutted it. “There has been no recent contact between PM Modi and President Trump. The last conversation between them was on 4 April 2020 on hy- Using bilateral mechanisms: India Defence Minister Rajnath Singh told his US counterpart Mark T Esper on Friday that India is addressing the stand-off on the Ladakh border with China through bilateral mechanisms droxychloroquine,” government sources said. On Thursday, MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava had said that India was peacefully engaging with China to resolve the issue. “Communication channels are open in New Delhi as well as in Beijing,” he said. Meanwhile, China too rejected Trump’s offer for mediation. Triple whammy for economy in a deep negative pit THE real depth of the sinkhole India’s economy has plunged into came from three separate sets of data on Friday — growth slipped to a 11-year-low of 4.2% for the financial year ending March 31; fiscal deficit climbed to 4.6%, way above the revised target of 3.8%; and core sector data for April contracted by a whopping 38%, when the country was under full lockdown. “In view of nationwide lockdown during April 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic, various industries - Coal, Cement, Steel, Natural Gas, Refinery, Crude Oil etc experienced substantial loss of production,” the commerce ministry said in a statement. The core industries comprise more than 40% of the Index of Industry Production. The numbers are worrying though not surprising, as experts have already said the worst impact of slowdown will be visible in the April to June quarter. Goldman Sachs had predicted that the Indian economy will contract by as much 10 5 0 -5 5.2 3.8 as 45% in the first quarter of the current year. “This picture would be replicated in May too though not to this extent. IIP growth, too, would be in a similar range most probably given the high weight of these industries in the index,” said Madan Sabnavis, Chief Economist, Care Ratings said. As for GDP growth, it slipped to 3.1% in the January-March quarter of 2019-20, dragging the growth for the whole fiscal year 4.2%, way below the government estimate of 5%. Defending the numbers, finance ministry officials said slowing down of business and exports had started since January . More worrying is the fiscal deficit, which has gone up to 4.6%, mainly due to poor revenue collection. Data released by the Controller General of Accounts showed fiscal deficit at `9.36 lakh crore in 2019-20 as against the revised estimate of `7.67 lakh crore, as tax revenues fell short by nearly `1.5 lakh crore from the revised estimates. CORE CONTRACTION 1.2 Apr 19 May 19 Jun 19 2.6 Jul 19 -0.2 -5.1 -5.5 0.7 3.1 2.2 7.1 Aug 19 Sep 19 Oct 19 Nov 19 Dec 19 Jan 20 Feb 20 Mar 20 Apr 20 -9.0 -10 -15 -20 -25 -30 -35 -40 -45 CONSTRUCTION SECTOR TOOK THE BIGGEST HIT The cement and steel sectors were the worst performing in April, as they contracted by 86% and 83.9%, respectively. Fertilizers and crude oil too contracted, but the figures were comparatively small, at 4.5% and 6.4%, respectively -38.1 SORE SOLES A migrant who set out on foot without slippers to his native village taking a nap at a dhaba along National Highway-16 ahead of Sri City. His sore feet indicate the strain his body is taking to go back home amid the hot summer | SHIBA PRASAD SAHU GOVT WORKING TO ALLEVIATE SUFFERINGS OF POOR: MODI EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi ASKING people to ensure that inconveniences do not turn into disasters, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an anniversary message said that patience is the need of the hour in the long battle against the Covid-19 pandemic. “In a crisis of this magnitude, it can certainly not be claimed that no one suffered any inconvenience or discomfort. Our labourers, migrant workers, artisans and craftsmen in small scale industries, hawkers and such fellow countrymen have undergone tremendous suffering. We are working in a united and determined way to alleviate their troubles,” Drug dealers turn innovative, trump Covid-19 crisis THE near three-month lockdown has decimated many industries. The economy has slumped and experts say it could take a few years to bring it back on track. One business alone continues to thrive — narcotics. The demand and supply for drugs continue to be the same, say sleuths handling anti-narcotics operations. In keeping with current trends, the peddlers are now donning the roles of delivery agents to get the materials across. On May 2, the city police arrested a 25-year-old man from Besant Nagar for posing as a food delivery agent and trying to sell ganja. Based on the information provided by him, a customer was also nabbed. Sales apart, violence over drug deals have also not stalled. On April 23, a 24-year-old man was hacked to death near Red Hills by a gang during a dispute over a ganja deal. In another incident, on April 26, the city police arrested six men for murdering an 18-year-old boy during a dispute over ganja sale and burying his body . Lockdown effect Police say that Tentacles of drugs Around 2,160 kg ganja, 9.99 kg ketamine, 4.785 kg pseudo ephedrine, 1.06 kg charas, 91.18 grams of LSD, 75 grams of heroin, 25 grams of opium, 20.35 grams of MDMA and 15 grams of cocaine have been seized across the State between January 1 and May 25 AMIT BANDRE new cases, a growth rate of 1.54 per cent daily . Likewise, France which touched 1 lakh cases on April 8 had 1.86 lakh cases 50 days later, on May 28. The average growth rate stood at 1.72%. Covid cases in Spain and Italy also followed a similar growth trajectory. In Spain, which reported 1 lakh cases on April 1, there were 2.84 lakh cases 57 days later on May 28. The average growth rate was 3.17%. As for Italy, which hit the grim milestone on March 30, the total cases stood at 2.31 lakh 59 days later on May 28. Its average growth rate was 2.22%. But Russia, Brazil and the US, fared much worse than India.The average daily growth rate of cases in the US since hitting 1 lakh cases on March 27 was 29.5%; Brazil’s grew by 13.25% and Russia by 10.25%. India’s jump in cases coincide with the easing of lockdown, opening markets, plying migrant trains and learning to live with the new normal. K U M A R V I K R A M @ New Delhi NEW DEAL J AYA N T H I PA W A R @ Chennai policy and his assessment of Modi not being in a good mood could have emanated out of the fact that the prime minister had a meeting with the defence chiefs and the NSA over Ladakh.” A former senior diplomat said that Trump’s claims are just a figment of his imagination and that his foreign policy is Twitter-based. Virus spread now faster in India than Europe Core sectors contract by as much as 38%; fiscal deficit at 4.6%; FY20 growth 4.2% A N U R A D H A S H U K L A @ New Delhi “We need no third party intervention,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said in response to a query . Trump’s comments came as a surprise to Indian officials and experts alike. An expert who has closely watched IndoUS relations for a long time, said: “Trump has an unconventional way of acting out foreign unlike alcohol which is sold in shops, drugs have always been smuggled in, and with the lockdown in effect, only the location of exchanging drugs has changed. A senior officer from the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), a national agency said, , “Nowadays, youngsters are smuggling drugs in lesser quantities fearing the police check. However, transporting drugs from other districts has reduced because border check points are on high alert due to the pandemic.” “We were not able to make any major seizures during the lockdown as most officials were posted on Covid duty,” said a senior officer from the NIB, the State police wing dealing with narcotics. Modi stated in the letter to the citizens on the occasion of the first anniversary of the second term of the NDA government at the Centre. The message came on the eve of Lockdown 4.0 ending, while people await the next course of actions. The prime minister said India is in a better state than many other countries. “It is very important for every Indian to follow all rules and guidelines. We have displayed patience so far and we should continue to do so. This is one of the important reasons for India being safer and in a better state than many other countries. This is a long battle but we have started traversing on the path of victory, and victory is our collective resolve,” Modi asserted. He exuded confidence that India will surprise the world with its economic revival in the face of the global disruptions caused by the pandemic. “Given the way India has surprised the world with its unity and resolve in the fight against coronavirus, there is a firm belief that we will also set an example in economic revival. It is the need of the hour that we must become self-reliant,” said Modi, adding the `20 lakh crore package given for “Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan” is a major step in this direction. FULL TEXT OF LETTER: P7 WITH over 7,300 new Covid-19 cases in a day on Friday—the biggest single-day jump—a study of select countries after they recorded 1 lakh confirmed cases shows the average daily growth rate of new cases thereafter is much higher in India than in Iran, France, Spain and Germany, but slower than in Russia, Brazil and the US. India recorded 1,00,328 cases on May 18. In 10 days, it added more than 65,000 new cases to reach 1,65,799 on May 28, recording an average daily growth rate of 6.5%. In contrast, in Iran, France, Spain and Germany, countries which have also been badly hit by the pandemic, the growth of confirmed Covid-19 cases after they also recorded 1 lakh cases was much slower. Take for instance Germany . It had 1 lakh confirmed cases on April 5. On May 28, or 53 days later, it had added 82,000 HOW THEY COMPARE Country India May 18 1.65 lakh 6.5% 2,527 Iran High cases despite less testing Significantly, India has conducted only 2,527 tests per mn, which is the lowest among all the countries in the table on the right Total positive cases on May 28 Average growth rate after reaching 1 L cases When it reached 1 lakh cases May 5 1.44 lakh 1.91% 10,448 Germany April5 1.82 lakh 1.54% 47,194 France April 8 1.86 lakh 1.72% 21,217 Spain April 1 2.84 lakh 3.17% 76,071 Italy March 30 2.31 lakh 2.22% 60,909 Russia April 30 3.87 lakh 10.25% 68,527 Brazil May 3 4.38 lakh 13.52% 4,104 USA March 27 17.7 lakh 29.5% 49,344 Tests per million (Source: Worldometer) `300-cr package to boost rural economy C S H I V A K U M A R @ Chennai IN an effort to strengthen rural enterprises, the State government has come up with a `300-crore Covid-19 assistance package, which is likely to benefit as many as 1.4 lakh people, under the Tamil Nadu Rural Transfor mation Project (TNRTP). The package, backed by the World Bank, and launched by Chief Minister Edapadi K Palaniswami, will not only ‘SITUATION UNDER CONTROL’ Strongly denying the charge of the Opposition that his government had failed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, CM Palaniswami said, “Only due to the concerted efforts of collectors and officials from all key departments, the infection has been kept under control. Since we are doing maximum number of tests, high number of infected persons are being identified.” | P3 bridge the supply-chain gap in rural enterprises during the lockdown but also help the far mer-producer group, besides supporting women selfhelp groups. P Karthikaa, Chief executive officer of TNRTP, told Express that reverse migration is happening in the State as people are returning to villages after leaving jobs in cities and other States. The fund will provide hope to those returnees who want to start their own enterprise in the State. While the State does not have any proper figures on how many people are returning to villages, it is learnt that many villages spread across 120 blocks in Tamil Nadu are witnessing the return of at least 10 to 15 people each. There may be various fac- tors forcing these people to return to villages, following the lockdown. “It could be either because of hunger or fear of the viral infection,” says Karthikaa. “We are planning to support 5,000 such migrants who are skilled,” she says. Interestingly, the project aims at rural transformation through strategies that focus beyond poverty alleviation by building sustainability and prosperity of rural communities. P4 TN tally crosses 20K with 874 fresh cases EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai EVEN as the State crossed yet another grim milestone of 20,000 Covid-19 cases on Friday , CM Edappadi K Palaniswami attributed the spike to the high testing rate. The State recorded 874 new cases on the day taking , the tally to 20,246, and nine deaths taking the toll to 154. With 618 cases, Chennai contin- ued to add the most to the pital. Three of them had been State’s kitty. The city’s tally transferred from private hospistands at 13,362. Meanwhile, tals, and they died within 48 Chengalpattu reported hours of referral or test61 fresh cases taking the ing positive. Four others district’s tally to 1,000. died at private Among fresh cases, 141 hospitals. are people from outMeanwhile, 31 prisDEATHS side which include 135 oners in Puzhal prison- I from Maharashtra. and nine from other prisAmong the nine deaths, ons in the State tested posifive succumbed at Rajiv Gan- tive for the viral infection on dhi Government General Hos- Friday . P2 9
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